SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 1089]
U.S. FORCE STRUCTURE
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
FEBRUARY 26, 2003
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
One Hundred Eighth Congress
DUNCAN HUNTER, California, Chairman
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
HOWARD P. ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico
KEN CALVERT, California
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
ED SCHROCK, Virginia
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
JEFF MILLER, Florida
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
TOM COLE, Oklahoma
JEB BRADLEY, New Hampshire
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCROB BISHOP, Utah
MICHAEL TURNER, Ohio
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota
CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan
PHIL GINGREY, Georgia
MIKE ROGERS, Alabama
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
IKE SKELTON, Missouri
JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
LANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
STEVE ISRAEL, New York
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
JIM MARSHALL, Georgia
KENDRICK B. MEEK, Florida
MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, Guam
RODNEY ALEXANDER, Louisiana
TIM RYAN, Ohio
Robert S. Rangel, Staff Director
James M. Lariviere, Professional Staff Member
Justin Bernier, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Wednesday, February 26, 2003, U.S. Military Force Structure in U.S. European Command
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Wednesday, February 26, 2003
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2003
U.S. MILITARY FORCE STRUCTURE IN U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Hunter, Hon. Duncan, a Representative from California, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
Skelton, Hon. Ike, a Representative from Missouri, Ranking Member, Committee on Armed Services
Donnelly, Thomas, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Kagan, Frederick W., PH.D., Associate Professor of Military History, United States Military Academy
Meigs, Gen. Montgomery C., USA, (Ret.), Former Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army
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[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Forbes, Hon. Randy J.
Hunter, Hon. Duncan
Kagan, Frederick W., PH.D.
Meigs, Gen. Montgomery C.
Miller, Hon. Jeff
Skelton, Hon. Ike
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. Miller
U.S. MILITARY FORCE STRUCTURE IN U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, February 26, 2003.
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 2:03 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (chairman of the committee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DUNCAN HUNTER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
The CHAIRMAN. The hearing will come to order. Today the committee meets to receive testimony on options for U.S. military force structure in Europe. It is a pleasure to welcome our witnesses today, General Montgomery Meigs. Is that the correct pronunciation, General?
General MEIGS. No, sir, it is Meigs.
The CHAIRMAN. Meigs. U.S. Army (Retired), former Commander General U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. Frederick Kagan, Associate Professor of History at West Point, and Mr. Thomas Donnelly, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
So, gentlemen, thank you for being with us and we look forward to your testimony.
Today we begin the debate on the future of our military force structure in Europe. The idea of altering our force mix and basing arrangements in Europe to meet new strategic realities is not new. The 2002 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) outlined the general concept of developing a basing system that provides the United States with greater flexibility. It specifically stated that we should look beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia and look to find bases that allow us to access areas where future conflicts are likely to occur. The QDR went on to discuss the idea of using overseas bases as hubs for power projection, and tasked the Army with sending an Interim Brigade Combat Team to Europe by fiscal year 2007 to provide a more responsive force in the event of a crisis.
More recently, the new Commander General of the U.S. European Command, General James Jones, raised the issue reexamining our military posture in Europe. At a briefing given to a visiting U.S. delegation to Europe, General Jones outlined his thoughts regarding a change in the nature of our presence in Europe from a garrison force to a more expeditionary force. Under this concept U.S. troops would rotate overseas as a unit on a periodic basis rather than be permanently stationed in Europe. Our bases in Europe would become, in General Jones' words, lily pads, bases from which our forces would deploy to crisis areas around the world.
Needless to say, this or any other similar concept would represent a fundamental shift in the way we look at our security arrangements in Europe. Either way, for a variety of reasons I believe the time has come to consider these issues. First, the threats to American interests today are radically different than they were when our forces were first stationed in Europe after World War II. At that time, our forces in Germany were there to prevent the Soviet Union from invading Western Europe through the Fulda Gap. Today, with Western Europe secure and at peace, our forces in Germany are no longer there to defend Germany but instead to forward deploy to the Balkans and the Middle East even in response to requirements in those areas of operation.
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Second, the nature of the NATO alliance has changed. Today the alliance has expanded, allowing former Warsaw Pact nations to join NATO and be part of the new security framework in Europe. With this expanded NATO, the United States may have the opportunity to base its forces in new locations, locations that are closer to potential crisis areas, and that could provide lower training and deployment costs. In the same way that basing our forces in Germany after World War II helped bring peace and security to Western Europe, so moving our forces east and south may allow Eastern Europe to share in the prosperity of the West.
Finally, our military is in an era of change. Both at the Department of Defense and here on Capitol Hill we are looking at new ways to provide for the national defense. As we prepare for a possible base closure round in 2005, in which every base in America will be scrutinized, it is only right that our overseas bases, including those in Germany, receive an examination based on mission and cost and thus get the same scrutiny as military bases within the U.S.
I look forward to today's beginning of this debate and to hearing from our witnesses today.
And before we go to our panel, let me recognize the gentleman from Missouri, the committee's ranking Democrat, my friend Ike Skelton, for any remarks he might wish to make.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hunter can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you very much. Thank you. Dr. Kagan, Mr. Donnelly, this is old stuff to you. A special thanks for our friend General Meigs for coming back and being with us today. I hardly recognize him, Mr. Chairman, out of uniform. But it is the original General Meigs. Thank you so much for sharing with us.
Now it has been more than a decade since the end of the Cold War and almost 18 months since the attacks on September the 11th. I think this is an appropriate time to think strategically about the missions of our country and what we must undertake globally. We should be asking tough questions about where our forces should be based, where they should be deployed.
We cannot hold on to the old way of business because that is the way we did things in the Cold War, but we must carefully consider the implications of any proposals for change. Proposals like those being considered by General Jones in U.S. European Command could have profound impacts on individual soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, on their families, on unit training and on readiness. It could also have major impact on the defense budget and our relationship to the nations, including NATO.
I would like to focus for a minute on this last issue because this has been a very tense time for us and several of our NATO allies. The real disagreements about how to deal with Iraq, and these should not be minimized, but the decisions about where to base our troops and about U.S. presence in the region should be based on a strategic view, not on a single argument like the one we have now, even if it is a bad one.
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Not to put too fine a point on it, but we should be especially careful not to let the emotions associated with the present disagreement associated with France and Germany cause us to act precipitously with respect to basing decisions in Europe. For 50 years the NATO allies, and Germany in particular, have stood with the United States. They are standing with us now in operations like Afghanistan as well as in the Balkans. And I recall in particular the discussion, General, that I had with two very senior German general officers, private conversations, however they both on separate occasions, four star German generals, implored me on the importance of maintaining a substantial United States presence in Germany. I remember them both very, very well. There are deep ties between our countries and we should not radically change the basing posture that has been a linchpin of our deep ties with that country and stability in Europe without considerable deliberation and forethought.
As many of you know, I consider myself somewhat a student of history, and General Montgomery Meigs is probably the finest military historian of this generation, and it is good to have him and get his background on this. How many of us predicted the Berlin Wall would come down even a few months before that dramatic event occurred? That may have been a beneficial occurrence in terms of regional stability, but destabilizing events can happen and they can happen quickly. Regardless of what decision is ultimately made on how to best station our forces overseas, whether Europe, Korea, elsewhere, I think it behooves us to go slow, hedge our bets, and ask the very, very best witnesses their opinion and their thoughts.
So, gentlemen, we thank you very much for being with us. Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Skelton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman from Missouri. At this time, General Meigs, the floor is yours, followed by Dr. Kagan and Mr. Donnelly.
STATEMENT OF GEN. MONTGOMERY C. MEIGS, USA (RET.), FORMER COMMANDING GENERAL, U.S. ARMY EUROPE AND 7TH ARMY
General MEIGS. Sir, let me first say how glad I am to be here and with this body that has been so supportive of American fighting men and women over the years, and many of you have come and visited our soldiers in the field, and all I can do is thank you once again for the time and energy that you spend doing that.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir, for your great service to the country and your dedication.
General MEIGS. Thank you. The pleasure was all mine, I can assure you. Let me very briefly recap some of the points in the prepared testimony that I have submitted to the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly. Without objection, all the written statements will be incorporated into the record.
General MEIGS. After Desert Storm it became very obvious that NATO had to change. It had to be transformed or transitioned, whichever particular descriptor you would like to use. So I welcome this debate because I am one of those people that was suggesting all kinds of changes that would move our presence in NATO in that direction.
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Let us make no mistake here, the issue of forward presence in Europe, not just Germany, goes to the heart of the viability of the North Atlantic alliance, in which I would argue the United States has a vital interest, because if NATO becomes moribund the strategic center of gravity for the consideration of security affairs in NATO gravitates to the European Union, a sovereign body in which the United States has no seat at the table, a sovereign body whose charter specifies that members must be supportive of the internal and external body, of the sovereign body, in which agreements are currently being negotiated and, when approved, are binding on nations. And this is something that is often overlooked in the United States and is very, very important.
In addition, the current Chancellor has made decisions in his previous election and decisions about not softening that position, which is strictly a function of domestic politics and his ability to remain in office. I describe that to some extent in my paper, and I can certainly go into that in detail in questions.
But the three areas in which we have the majority of our forces have been tremendously supportive of the policy, if you will, the intent of this body. Let me give you three quick examples. In Rheinland-Pfalz the Minister President has organized an apprentice program in our major reconstruction facility there and he pays for it. We get German mechanics of very high quality for free. In Hessen the Minister President, the equivalent of the Governor, when I told him that we were going to close Freiberg and Giessen, 14 posts, and move the forces to Grafenwoehr, admonished me and said, look, I am not interested in the jobs but we need American soldiers in contact with our people on a distributed fashion, not just in southern Hessen. The Minister President of Bavaria, when he heard that we were going to restation forces under efficient basing with the support of this body and the Appropriations Committee, did something that was truly unique: Out of his own budget he hired 40 employees to be stationed at Giessen to handle the environmental impact statements and other bureaucratic issues to facilitate that.
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On 9/11 or shortly after 9/11 I came back to the United States. In a meeting, four-star meeting, we discussed the number of personnel, both National Guard and police, that the Governors of our states had mobilized to give additional protection of facilities across our country. I took that number and calculated per capita the number of police and military the German Government had furnished the United States Army Europe to protect facilities in Europe. The ratio was 20over 20 to 1 higher in Germany. And they did not charge us a penny. It was for free.
So, in communities like Beiden the special investigative police schedule was going from an 8-hour day to a 15-hour day in order to cover Giessen and other facilities there. These types of things, unfortunately, never see the light of day and are extremely important and a tremendous contribution to what your intent is about ensuring that, one, we get things done in that part of the world in the most efficient way.
The United States Army Europe (USAREUR) position over these last four years is that we could reorganize. We could become lighter and we could move to the East. On numerous occasions-in fact, some of you have asked me that question. I said absolutely there are a number of opportunities for that, but remember, we will be moving to places that are extremely bare bones and we will have to make investments of capital in order to do that, and whenever folks from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) would come and say, how much would it cost, say, to move a brigade to Taszar, I would say, well, you are talking in hundreds of millions, and we know that it is difficult to get that kind of infrastructure investment overseas. Just beware that we have got to do that. Now, we can make it pay for itself because we close older facilities and consolidate under one.
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The other thing that we could do in Europe that I could never get approval of, quite frankly, is to lighten the force. The Stryker Brigade would have a role in that, but you could also go to transferring a heavy brigade into a light brigade, which could save you considerable operation tempo (OPTEMPO) money given the fact that the majority of spare parts (P2) money that goes into training is for parts and you don't that problem with a light infantry brigade.
Moving on, there is some talk about bringing the families home and doing things on a rotational basis. The Army tried this in the mid-70s. I encourage you to obtain the RAND Arroyo study that was done and read it. It was a very difficult, painful experience. One should look at the number of units who could constantly be in transition if we were going to rotational bases in Korea and Europe, no matter where they are stationed, and have forces in Iraq, because we all know if we have a war in Iraq and that country is destabilized, we are going to be there for a significant amount of time. I don't necessarily agree with the number that General Shinseki gave in testimony yesterday, but it is a considerable number. We are talking a couple of divisions, a significant force, which would also be rotating.
So are we willing to stand the risk of personnel tempo (PERSTEMPO) and are we willing to have a service culture change akin to what the volunteer Army program (VOLAR) did to the Army back after the Vietnam War? There is absolutely no question, as well, in my mind that our forward presence and what our units do with allied armies in those countries in the new NATO states is vital to their pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, and I do not believe that rotational units with the truncated command and control that we would have in that situation can perform that function nearly as well as we do today. Remember, we are talking about 40 or 50,000 contact days with these countries' armies every year.
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So finally, one last point is that if we are going to restation, remember there are hidden costs here. You need two sets of equipment if you are going to have equipment forward to train on and maneuver from and equipment in the rear area to train on. We will have to invest in training facilities that is an additional capital cost and transportation of units back and forth, which will also weigh in on the side of costs.
And so we should go back to the original point: What value is forward presence in our maintenance of our viable NATO and our sustainment of levers that allow us to change that alliance in the direction which is in sync with U.S. strategic needs and policy, as well as in fact of European needs? The price here being the new countries in NATO, the price here being an American voice, a direct American voice inside the tent in European strategic affairs, one that we will not have if the strategic center of gravity moves into the European Union.
Sir, I am ready for questions.
[The prepared statement of General Meigs can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. General Meigs, thank you. We will go to Dr. Kagan and then Mr. Donnelly. Then we will take questions. Dr. Kagan.
STATEMENT OF FREDERICK W. KAGAN, PH.D., ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MILITARY HISTORY, UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. KAGAN. I am very grateful to the committee for this opportunity to participate in the consideration of this issue that is so critical for American national security today. I would like, before I begin, to emphasize that the views I am about to present are my own and not those of any government agency.
Proposals to pull American permanent garrisons out of Germany and to transfer American training bases in Europe to the Eastern European members of NATO are ill-advised and untimely. Taking such action now would do irreparable harm to the NATO alliance. It would undermine the credibility of the American commitment to involvement in international affairs. It would place a significant new strain on the soldiers of the American Army. In addition, the removal of permanent American bases in Europe could very well prove to be a step toward the permanent reduction of the U.S. Army, an action that would be extremely dangerous for America.
We must remember that our national security interests go beyond the war on terrorism. The U.S. remains the only state in the world able to shoulder the burden of maintaining the peace. If aggressive regimes believe that we will not oppose their offensive designs, and our friends believe that we will not come to their defense, then war will become more likely. We must avoid any action that threatens our credibility in foreign affairs, and few actions would call our commitment into question more dramatically than removing our permanent bases from Germany.
The decision to reintegrate West Germany into Western Europe after World War II, to allow it to rearm, and to include it in the political and military structure in NATO was one of the most defining moments of the Cold War. When we did not pull our forces out of Europe in 1991, and when the Europeans did not ask us to do so, we and they made a fundamental statement about our future role in the world. We made it clear by keeping our forces in Germany even after the Soviet threat had passed that we had once and for all turned our backs on our isolationist past.
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Removing our forces from Europe following the war against Iraq will call our commitment to keeping the peace deeply into question. Many will think that America will retreat into a purely defensive posture in which we will only consider military action to support the war on terrorism. If we remove our forces from Europe, we will abdicate our responsibility to ourselves and to the world to keep the peace.
We cannot maintain warm relations and permanent bases in Great Britain, Spain, Italy and all of the new members in Eastern Europe while excluding, isolating and punishing Germany. Doing so would destroy the essential meaning of the NATO alliance, and we must assume that such an action would lead to an even further deterioration in our relationship with Germany. The current problems with Germany are probably transitory. But if we remove our forces we will probably create a long-term, if not permanent, rift.
We would then have to expect Germany's reaction to our proposals in the North Atlantic Council to continue to be hostile and obstructionist. And Germany, unlike France, does sit on the critical military planning bodies in the alliance. Pulling our permanent bases out of Germany will destroy NATO.
There is another great danger in this proposal. Rumors have been circulating for several years about plans to reduce the active Army by eliminating divisions from the force structure. Such action would be devastating to America's security and to our ability to protect our interests around the world. Virtually the entire active Army and a considerable part of the Reserve is required to conduct known operations, prepare for expected wars, and guard against anticipated contingencies. Should other states or nonstate actors seek to take advantage of our preoccupations, seeing in our danger their opportunity, we would be hard pressed to respond rapidly even with the current force structure. The active Army is in fact too small, and this problem will also place an excessively heavy burden on the Reserve as time goes by.
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If, as many suggest, the removal of permanent forces is the first step in reducing Army force structure, then the consequences will be disastrous.
Another problem with this proposal is that unaccompanied deployments like this one put a great strain on soldiers and their families. This additional stress would affect a very significant portion of the active Army and the Reserve. If this new deployment burden is simply added to the pressures already affecting Army units and families, the consequences in terms of morale, retention and reenlistment could be dramatic.
One of the arguments advanced for accepting this proposal is that we will be able to find better training areas and develop more favorable status of forces agreements with the new East European members of NATO. Another is that redeploying our forces into East European countries will allow our forces to move more quickly to crises in the Balkans or Middle East. In truth, we are not likely to be able to obtain either of these advantages for reasons I will be happy to detail at the committee's desire.
There are very few advantages apart from fiscal savings to the proposal to remove U.S. forces from their permanent bases in Europe. Almost all of these advantages could be realized in other ways if we chose to do so. Against the possibility of those fiscal savings, however, must be set the likely security costs. We will harm our relationship with Germany, destroy NATO as a meaningful alliance, increase the strain on our already overstressed soldiers, and undermine our international credibility, thereby making wars more likely. This proposal will increase our risk, weaken our alliances and decrease our ability to protect ourselves and our interests. America should not take that risk.
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[The prepared statement of Dr. Kagan can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Kagan, thank you.
STATEMENT OF THOMAS DONNELLY, RESIDENT FELLOW, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE
Mr. DONNELLY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Skelton. Thanks to all the members of the committee. Mr. Skelton suggested that I have been here before and that is true, but I can tell you sitting on this side of the table is very different than sitting at the left hand of the chairman. I was actually paranoid that Robert was going to send my testimony back to have it rewritten and improved or that Mr. Hefley is going to start
The CHAIRMAN. We are probably going to do it anyway.
Mr. DONNELLY. Let me assure you it is a very profound pleasure and honor to be here. And I will try to keep my remarks very brief so we can get to the questions and to the specifics that I know you want to get to.
What I want to offer is really a general frame of reference for how to think about this problem. It is unfortunate that the current falling out, if you will, with the Germans is the context in which we are addressing this issue. But I would suggest that this would have been a difficult problem anyway and that the difficulties that General Meigs had trying to get pretty sensible reorganization proposals takenconsidered more seriously at the higher levels-was because of the political difficulty. So we are where we are, and this is actually an opportunity to go forward and to do some things that perhaps might have been done better done in previous years. So we ought to try to look at this as an opportunity to make some changes that are overdue.
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I also want to suggest that the question of our military posture in Europe is hard to disaggregate from our global military posture, and that is also a problem that is not dissimilar from the problem we face in Europe. Over the past 10 or 15 years what you might call the American security perimeter has expanded dramatically, and the Cold War posture that we had is not ideal for the challenges that we have given our forces over the past 10 years. Not only in Europe, but certainly in the Middle East and the greater Middle East, that is a far larger theater of operations, so to speak, than we used to think of it ten years ago. Nobody expected that we would be in Afghanistan, that we would have what would amount to semi-permanent bases in Central Asia and elsewhere around the region, and as Fred said, to contemplate the situation in postwar Iraq without some, again, sort of semi-permanent garrison in Iraq on some scale is, I think, unrealistic. Of course, there is the problem of our posture in East Asia, from which we have actively withdrawn over the past 15 years. We don't have those jewels of bases in the Philippines that we used to have and we haven't fully made up for that even as the security situation in that part of the world is a lot more tenuous and uncertain than it was ten years ago.
So, to sort of disaggregate the situation in Europe from the worldwide demands on our forces, I think, will lead us to perhaps pennywise and pound-foolish decisions. Because again, as we have seen over the past 15 years, a lot of the responsibility of our European forces is not simply to, you know, slug it out with the Soviets on the central plain of Germany, but to be able to pick up and move elsewhere when crisis is upon us.
That said, and focusing a little bit more narrowly on the questions in Europe, as General Meigs said, the problems generally speaking have moved southward and eastward. It is already the case and has been for the better part-certainly since the mid-1990s that the forces he commanded have been on constant rotation to the Balkans and elsewhere around the world. A lot of our training, a lot of our air training in Europe is no longer done in Germany but is done in Turkey and even in the Persian Gulf. So this is a phenomenon that has been going on. But we have not accounted for it in our overall Pentagon planning, in our budgets, and in our long-term plans, and so we have in some measure already been hamstrung by a situation that we do not control and we have not planned for.
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At this point, we ought to regard these things as the new rules rather than the exceptions to the rules, and sort of the general picture of the purpose of our forces I would like to suggest in Europe is sort of like the cavalry in the Old West, providing a classic reconnaissance and security mission as the settlers move in to previously hostile territory. As we reclaim Eastern Europe as part of the West, and that is part of the world that is deeply desirous of joining the West and especially the West as led by the United States, and as both previous witnesses have suggested, we have a very profound interest in tying those folks as closely as possible to the United States and to have a military partnership that is the basis for the future of NATO.
I am not suggesting in any sense a reduction in the overall numbers in Europe or a complete withdrawal from Germany. The facilities that we have in Germany, many of them are essential to sustaining whatever presence we are going to have in Europe regardless of whether we move eastward and southward. But on the other hand, we cannot continue to be sort of enmeshed in a set of basing agreements that was designed for a very different era and does not serve our current purposes very well at all.
And, again, without sort of going blow by blow through the history of the past ten years, just simply the activities of our European garrison in the Balkans, in the Middle East, in the Kosovo war when we were scouring the entire Mediterranean Basin for air bases in which to park forward deployed aircraft, we were looking at bases in eastern Turkey even beyond Incirlik and further beyond Incirlik, and I think that is a pattern that we can expect to sustain and see in the future, and we ought to begin to plan for it.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So generally what would that look like? Again, I think it is important to retain essential sort of rear area hubs in Germany and even in England where the most modern and most advantaged facilities are, but it will be necessary to continue to patrol the perimeter, so to speak, in these more tenuous, sketchy areas, again, where our troops are already operating. Presence does not matter, and if we intend to reform NATO, it has to be on the basis of a NATO that remains a useful and reliable tool for the United States. That is why we are in NATO. That is why we want to stay in NATO.
And so moving eastward, to Poland, to Romania, Bulgaria, which have already offered their air bases and other facilities to us in the Afghanistan war and in other operations over recent years, is something that we should very seriously consider.
To address the issue of rotational policy or permanent presence, I would also agree with Fred and with General Meigs that going certainly exclusively to a rotational presence is not only a problem internal to the Army but is also perhaps a strategically short-sighted thing to do. As we cement ties with these new allies, the same kinds of institutional relationships that we have developed through NATO are going to become even more essential. When we go to a war in a coalition of the willing, what we use is essentially the experience that we have gleaned through NATO. We use NATO standards, which are another term for American standards, and that is the kind of coalition that we want to have, a coalition not only of the willing but a coalition of the capable. We need to sustain and expand those institutional relationships if even the only capabilities that these lesser countries can bring to the table are to submit smoothly into an American led coalition.
I want to conclude by giving you the experience of some of the travel I have been doing in recent years by sort of sketching a picture of the kind of facility that General Meigs was talking about of an air base called Graf Ignatievo, which is the central region of Bulgaria. It is a facility that we have used during operations in Afghanistan and, as General Meigs said, there is a big difference between a NATO facility, a U.S. standard facility, and this air base. The good news is that the Bulgarians are more than willing to have us there. It is a superb location. There are opportunities for training and operational improvements over the installations that we currently operate out of our old installations in Germany, but to say that these facilities don't have to be significantly invested in in order to bring them up to a decent operational military standard as well as a decent standard of installation for Americans to live in, whether they are rotational forces or especially families and dependents or permanently stationed troops, would be misleading.
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The Bulgarians have taken the first step. They are improving the airstrip itself and the parking space on the ramp there. They have signed a deal to acquire actually a rather sophisticated air traffic management system that will link also with a similar system in Romania. But you got to say that the Bulgarians don't have a lot of money to bring to the table in this regard. But they do havethey are investing wisely, but it is going to take a lot of American dollars, as well. I am sure also over the course of time that we will realize savings. The cost of living in Plovdiv is well below the cost of living in Bavaria or Berlin or elsewhere in Western Europe. But we ought to be realistic about what we are getting into.
And finally, I would say that the real measure is not the budget savings per se, but the operational effectiveness that will almost certainly be increased that we can count on not only in operations in Europe but in out-of-area and especially in getting closer to what the Defense Secretary has described as the new Europe. These are people who are anxious to nail their colors to an American mast and would welcome American forces in the region. And the kind of restrictions that we have seen even recently, say, on the part of Austria that has made it difficult for to us redeploy out of Central Europe to the Gulf, I think, we can expect would be dramatically improved if we had some new status of forces agreements in some new places.
Again, this should not be taken in any sense as an abandonment of Germany. We need to phrase this in a way, characterize it in a way that links it to our larger strategic posture and, indeed, we have to make sure that our force structure in Europe is synchronized, so to speak, with our force posture elsewhere, especially with our force posture here in the continental United States. But this is an opportunity that we need to seize in order to make changes that are long overdue, and they are really dramatic opportunities that are in front of us.
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With that, I will conclude and I am ready for questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Donnelly can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Donnelly, and thanks to all of you gentlemen for appearing before us.
General Meigs, what was the strategic justification for the 300,000 or so Americans who during the Cold War were stationed mainly in Germany?
General MEIGS. The justification was the defense of Central Europe against a potential Warsaw Pact attack. And the Army number in that was roughly 217,000. The number of Army soldiers in Europe is now 62,000, of which about 7,000 are not really in units. They are attaches, they are staff people in U.S. European Command (EUCOM) headquarters. So you really get today about 55 to 57,000 troops in actual units in actual headquarters that are part of United States Army Europe.
The CHAIRMAN. The reason we had the 300,000 or so or close to 300,000 stationed in Germany was because you had thousands of tanks on the other side of the line of the Fulda Gap, the Warsaw Pact forces, which were fairly formidable, were they not?
General MEIGS. They were indeed, and they outnumbered us at five to one at any given place where they decided to concentrate.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. How many tanks are facing us now?
General MEIGS. Not a whole lot in the former Soviet Union, that is for sure.
The CHAIRMAN. Zero.
General MEIGS. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the strategic mission today for 55,000 GIs; that is, Army personnel, to be stationed in Germany?
General MEIGS. The strategic mission is forward presence as part of the U.S. strategic tools in influencing issues in that region, supporting contingency operations in the European Command and Central Command. And I think if you have an opportunity to examine the troop lists that are going into General Franks' operation you, will see that United States Army units, United States Army Europe units are extremely well represented. In fact, you will find that 5th Corps headquarters, the public domain, is already there.
The CHAIRMAN. So the main mission is to be available for the deployments like the ones that are taking place right now?
General MEIGS. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Those deployments can take place from a number of places, could they not?
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General MEIGS. They could.
The CHAIRMAN. So, at this point, the location of the troops with the bases in Germany with respect to the Fulda Gap and the former Warsaw Pact armored forces that were across the line is not relevant, is it?
General MEIGS. The actual location isn't relevant, Mr. Chairman, but I think we need to remember that we can use rail and air to go to any of these places from the bases we now have established.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any reason we couldn't use that rail and air to move those troops from a base in Poland, for example?
General MEIGS. Absolutely not.
The CHAIRMAN. Then if that is the case, what is the reason or the strategic justification for basing them in Germany as opposed to Poland?
General MEIGS. There isn't. It is primarily the infrastructural investment you would have to make to move them. And clearly if your concern is the Middle East and the areas around the Caucasus and generally moving to the south and east, one would probably be more interested in places, countries like Romania or Bulgaria or perhaps Hungary, where we already have a base.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Have you done an analysis on how much it would cost to move these troops, to duplicate or replicate the infrastructure?
General MEIGS. As a rule of thumb, we are moving a brigadewe are closing 13 posts in the Freiburg-Giessen area and moving that brigade to Grafenwoehr, Germany. The construction costs for the new facilities for that heavy brigade are somewhere between $450 and $500 million. Now, that is costs in the German Republic. You would expect lower labor costs and perhaps some material costs in a country like Bulgaria or Poland, but you are still going to have to do some construction even if you went to Taszar in Hungary, which is a big developed air base.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you heard General Jones' description of an expeditionary force could be sent versus the permanent basing? There seems to be a disagreement, I think, with all of you between your thoughts of the efficiency of that type of operation and General Jones' concepts, because he seems to think it is a cost-effective concept. You mentioned you think this would have quite a bit of turbulence with respect to personnel, and of course General Jones comes from a Marine background where expeditionary forces are the order of the day. But on the other hand, you are not paying that ten grand per move for dependents, you are not having to accompany that presence with the schools, the medical facilities and all of the other infrastructure that attends a permanent basing. And it would seem that that should be pulled off one side of the ledger in terms of cost.
General MEIGS. That is absolutely correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you made that comparison?
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General MEIGS. I have not personally made that comparison. In my prepared statement I encouraged the committee to look at both sides of that very rigorously, because it is true that if you take a post, any given generic post and a stationing area for equipment, you will save operations costs in terms of civilian salaries and the types of funds you use to support families on that side of their ledger. On the other hand, you are going to have to provide a second set of equipment and you will have to contract out the maintenance because right now soldiers are doing maintenance on the single state of equipment that they own. All I am saying is there is no question that you get some puts and takes here. They need to be analyzed very, very carefully.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay. We should also probably compare-if you are looking at the basing as a hub for deployment, it could be compared to a base in the United States, could it not?
General MEIGS. It could. One should take into account the greater distance from the United States to these places that we are talking about.
The CHAIRMAN. But should not one also take into account the fact that, according to our statistics, the German costs, in Germany for costs of living for our troops is about a 130 on a scale of 100, the 100 being a base derived in the Washington, D.C. area, so it is more expensive for our people to be at those bases?
General MEIGS. The indicator of that, Mr. Chairman, would be the cost of living allowance (COLA) that is provided for their compensation.
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The CHAIRMAN. We understand that. We understand that at some point the taxpayer pays that.
General MEIGS. At every point they pay that, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kagan, you spoke about the German cooperation and the need to maintain the bases in Germany, and then you gave several instances of cooperation on the part of the government of Germany. You know, I did, as we all did, a post-mortem on Gulf War I, and the genesis of most of the weapons of mass destruction programs of Iraq and the analysis that I saw showed that German companies were by far the biggest contributors of all the countries in the world, by far the biggest contributors to the development of poison gas plants and other weapons of mass destruction facilities for Saddam Hussein. Does that reflect, in your estimation, a cooperation with American interests?
Dr. KAGAN. Mr. Chairman, if the German industry is providing equipment to the Iraqis or to other enemies of ours, obviously that does not reflect cooperation with our interests. On the other hand
The CHAIRMAN. Not if. They are.
Dr. KAGAN. Then obviously it does not reflect cooperation with our interests. But I think, on the other hand, we have interests that go beyond that.
The CHAIRMAN. So there is my question. If you accept General Meigs' statement that, at this point, the precise location of the American forces in Europe because the Fulda Gap is no longer blocked at one end by massive divisions of Warsaw Pact armor and tanks, and that therefore the location of the American troops is no longer relevant, is important from a strategic standpoint, do you see a compelling interest to maintain at a fairly high cost, some $7 billion a year, the American presence in Germany for diplomatic reasons, to make them like us and accept us and work with us?
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Dr. KAGAN. Well, sir, I certainly believe that there is an extremely compelling argument for maintaining our forces in Germany, and it is not necessarily to make them like us. I am not interested in whether the Germans actually like us or not. I think what is important is that we continue to have our forces there so that we make the statement that we regard Germany as being a critical partner, that we regard Germany as being a central piece in NATO. I just don't think there is any way around that. Whether the Germans are behaving well or not, I can't conceive of a NATO alliance that doesn't have Germany at its heart. To an extent that we move our forces out of Germany that punishes them for any number of reasons
The CHAIRMAN. Let's assume we don't want to punish them. Let's start with a clean sheet of paper. We are going to scrutinize any community in this country for base closure that has a base. These communities are goingthat appear before us or the blue ribbon base closing commission and they are going to lay down their best case for why they, that base carries out, number one, a military mission, number two, at a cost efficient rate, and number three, that the community strongly supports the military. So if you require a mission, the strategic mission with respect to the precise German location no longer exists because the Warsaw Pact forces on the other side of the Fulda Gap no longer exist, so the second thing you go to is cost effectiveness. Cost of doing business in Germany is quite high. You got 130 percent of the base cost of living as reflected in the Washington, D.C. area. If you go to community support, which is another factor that our communities lay out because military forces like to go where they are wanted, where they have support groups in the community, where they don't face protesters when they walk out the gate, it looks to me like Germany has a fairly mixed record.
So my question to you isI don't want you to defend the presence in Germany, I want you to assume you are starting from a clean sheet of paper and you are trying to figure out the best place to place American troops for our interestswhere would you place them in Europe and do you think we need to have 55,500 GIs; that is, Army troops, in Germany?
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Dr. KAGAN. Mr. Chairman, respectfully I don't think that we can start with a clean sheet of paper. I think that any move that we make to withdraw forces from Germany will inherently be seen as a punishment for their behavior on this crisis.
The CHAIRMAN. Let's assume we wait a few months. I want you to presume, I want you to look at this totally on the merits. So forget the politics, totally on the merits, give me the justification for staying there.
Dr. KAGAN. The first justification is because our presence in Europe with the significant number of American ground forces and other forces demonstrates our commitment to keep the peace internationally.
The CHAIRMAN. Could that be maintained with a base in Poland?
Dr. KAGAN. Yes, of course.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay. Go ahead.
Dr. KAGAN. I think the next question is, would it be better for us to leave the fiscal issue aside for the moment? I know that is hard to do in this room. Would it be better to move our forces to Poland for some reason? I can't see any reason why it would be better. We would have to invest an enormous amounts of money in bringing the bases up to standard there. We have already invested that money in Germany. So that would be a reduplication of effort from that perspective. Poland is not any closer to the areas that we are concerned with than Germany is. And the truth of the matter is, if you look at the deployment from Germany as opposed to from some of these other Eastern European countries, it is not at all clear to me that you would be saving more than a day or so in terms of transit time. Frankly, if we are talking about days, we are not talking about sending heavy forces anyway. For light forces it doesn't matter where they are deployed at all. So I really don't see a very significant strategic rationale for moving elsewhere. If we say it doesn't matter where they are based, then it doesn't matter where they are based. But we have already spent the money in Germany. Why would you want to spend it somewhere else?
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The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Kagan.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, may the record reflect that statistics from the Department of Defense on host nation support indicates that Germany provides $1.2 billion in host nation support a year, which is $17,000 per troop that is there, per American troop that is there?
By the way, Mr. Kagan, I have a book on my bookshelf, Origins of War, written by someone named Kagan. Any kin?
Dr. KAGAN. He is my father, sir.
Mr. SKELTON. Well, it is an excellent book. Why would two four-star German generals say to me, it is terribly important for America to stay in Germany?
General MEIGS. I thinkin fact, I know, having been privy to that conversation, that there are a number of reasons for that. First of all, they would reiterate to me, we need you here so we can show our politicians what we need to be like. The other rationale is, we need you here in order to ensure that the appropriate political contact between us and the United States is maintained.
And this goes to this whole issue of forward presence and involvement in the military political life of these societies, of which Germany is very important.
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Mr. SKELTON. There is a book written by Barbara Tuchman a good number of years ago, entitled March of Folly. Are you familiar with it, General?
General MEIGS. I have heard of the book, Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Kagan?
Dr. KAGAN. Yes.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Donnelly?
Mr. DONNELLY. Yes.
Mr. SKELTON. Use your imagination. If you were to write an additional chapter on that book five years from now as it relates to what we do or don't do in moving our forces in Europe, what would that chapter be, Mr. Kagan?
Dr. KAGAN. I think that that chapter would look rather dark. I think it would reveal that we had moved in the direction of destabilizing Europe, destabilizing the world by making clear that we were not committed, in fact, to keeping the peace, and we were going to withdraw, and I think it would give heart to our adversaries around the world that might embolden them to take measures that they think we would not necessarily oppose. I think it would be a very powerful statement.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SKELTON. General.
General MEIGS. I would write a chapter that would say that in pursuit of a unilateralist vision, the United States pulled out of its connectivities with Europe only to find that it had created strategic seams that were exploitable across the board and soon came to regret it in successive years.
Mr. DONNELLY. I think neither of those nightmare scenarios would come to pass. I think the United States is such a great and powerful country, and its ideals are so attractive to people around the world that our general position would only be marginally compromised by either decision. But I would say the burden is on our military, which is already thinly stretched by the many missions that they are given today and have been given for the past decade, would continue to be a problem if the posture in Europe remained the same. This is a problem that should be solved, that would require a modest amount of political courage to solve, and it would not mean the withdrawal or the disconnect or the strategic uncoupling of Europe and the United States.
Mr. SKELTON. One last question, Mr. Donnelly. Should you move forces from Germany to the eastern part of Europe as we have discussed? Are you talking about a company, battalion a brigade, a division or what?
Mr. DONNELLY. Again, I might be overdoing this cavalry bit a little bit, but the idea of a regiment in the sense of being self-contained, highly mobile, capable of taking care of itself in a reasonable sized fight, so to speak, I think
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SKELTON. In other words a brigade?
Mr. DONNELLY. Sure. It would actually be bigger than a brigade.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Weldon.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I am not going to ask any questions, but I want to use this opportunity to make a statement that I hope will go beyond this room. I am not a unilateralist. I spend a great deal of time travelling and interacting with parliamentarians in the former Soviet statesI have been there 31 timesthe German Bundestag, the French Parliament, the British Parliament, the Spanish Parliament, and take great pride in that; but I am offended, and I can tell you I don't know what the answer is, but I am going to express my concern as a nine-term member of this committee and this Congress.
I have seen our troops come to the aid of France and Germany every time they have called for them. It was just a few short years ago that they convinced us that we should lead the effort to remove Milosevic from power in Kosovo because of his human rights record, and we did that. The largest number of sorties were not flown by the French or the Germans. They were flown by U.S. troops. The largest number of troops initially were provided by the United States. The French and the Germans pushed us all the way. They didn't go to the U.N. for a resolution, oh, no. They thought it was time for a new use of NATO, the first time NATO ever was used in an offensive action against a non-NATO country. All of this was because France and Germany, with their high and mighty attitudes, said we have to deal with the war crimes of Milosevic.
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Now, Richard Holbrook, who was the U.N. Ambassador under Bill Clinton, said that Saddam Hussein is far worse than Milosevic ever was on war crimes. I did a one-hour special order last night, and I put on the record reports by the U.S. Army, by U.N. Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, by the watchdog groups, Amnesty International, every other human rights group in America. The U.N. Special Rapporteur himself said there has been no regime and no individual as repressive on human rights as Saddam Hussein since Adolf Hitler.
So my statement is that France and Germany are hypocrites. They use our troops when it is to their benefit. Now geopolitically, perhaps we need to have a presence in Europe. I am not here to argue that. But I can tell you I am sick and tired of the hypocrisy of two nations that talk a good game about the role of NATO, about the strategic alliance with the U.S., and use us to go in and remove Milosevic, who is being tried for war crimes in The Hague, and I totally agree with that. Yet when it comes to Saddam Hussein, who everyone in the world community believes has committed far, far worse human rights abuses against 21 American prisoners of war (POW), as documented by the Army, against Kuwaiti nationals, against Kurdish nationals, used chemical agents, has torn the fingernails out of people, has gouged the eyes out of babiesall of this is documented, and the French and Germans sit back, perhaps because it is not their neighbor or perhaps because France's main goal here and Jacques Chirac's main goal is oil.
Am I offended? Absolutely. And I say this as someone who has considered myself a close friend of members of the Bundestag and the French Parliament. But the game is up. I have to make decisions here with my colleagues as the vice-chairman of this committee, as chairman of our Procurement Committee, about where we put our dollars. I am sick and tired of America responding when France and Germany want us to do their bidding, as we did with Milosevic, and come back 3 years later and say, Saddam Hussein, we can trust him, 3 more months, 6 months, 12 years. We can trust the man, after what he has done to individuals, as documented by every human rights group in the world.
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Now those comments aren't aimed at you three. Thank you for testifying. They are aimed at our French and German friends. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. We will now take a short break to allow our guests to recover. Thank my colleague, and we will be back here shortly.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Saxton.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I remember about 12 years ago, Secretary of Defense Cheney sat where General Meigs is and he said, I have got a mixed message today, or words to that effect. He said, on the one hand, he said, the Soviet Union is going to go away and at the same time, he said, we need to have a smaller force and a more mobile force. And he said in a way that is a mixed message because we are about to go to war with the fourth largest army in the world, Saddam Hussein's. And we all sat here and listened, and then he said, but this time we are going to do it right. And we started to do it right and then somehow we got sidetracked and we didn't do it all 100 percent right. But the fact of the matter was he was saying just as, I think it was General Meigs said, that our current basing arrangement that was established for a different timeone of you said it. I think it was General Meigs. I am not sure. And certainly, the current basing arrangement was, as both Dick Cheney and you pointed out today, a basing arrangement was established for a different time, a different need and a different threat. And so I think it is important for us to focus on that as a major part of this issue. But there are other things that we should focus on, as well.
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Mr. Weldon just articulated a set of thoughts that we can also focus on, and Mr. Kagan also mentioned part of a set of thoughts that we can focus on, expressed the fear, and I understand that going down the road if we make the wrong move, the politicalinternational political implications; that that move could have. But that is only talking about political implications, that is only part of it. The framework in which Mr. Kagan chose to have his discussion was only part of the political framework of issues, because there are other political aspects of this situation that we from the U.S. perspective need to keep in mind, and that is what kind of overall cooperation going forward can we expect from countries like Germany and France, given what we have seen in recent days, the anti-U.S. rhetoric used by German politicians to win elections, maybe the same in France. And so, what we are doing is searching for a way to go forward, hopefully with the Germans and hopefully with the French, and therefore it is important for Members of this Congress to be heard by members of other parliaments in Germany and in France as we ask for their help and assistance as we have in the past.
I mean, we have reached out in many ways. Mr. Weldon pointed out a military action that we took that not everybody in this country agreed with, and yet we did it to accommodate the needs of France and Germany and others. And on a personal level, I went to Ramstein Air Force Base and actually visited with Colonel Meigs in Germany on that same trip, and one of the primary reasons for that trip was to accommodate the mayor of Kaiserslautern who had a water problem that involved Ramstein Air Force Base. So we try to be good neighbors, and essentially what we ask for the Germans to do is to be good neighbors in return. And if it doesn't proveif it doesn't work that way, then we have to find other ways to bring about neighborliness or go find some new neighbors.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I remember when I was first married I lived in a neighborhood, and I had two little kids and I had older folks on both sides of me, and they didn't appreciate my little kids. So I moved. And if we are not appreciated in Germany for the kind of neighbors that we are and have been, then maybe we have to move, too. We are looking at some other things, as well.
The Germans, as was pointed outthe German people, as has been pointed out, or at least the German government, has chosen to involve themselves in some conflicts and not in others. But I will bet everybody would like to be involvedif we do go to Iraq, I bet everybody would like to be involved in helping to rebuild the country after the war with U.S. tax dollars.
Matter of fact, Mr. Chairman, I don't think you know this, but I am in the process of preparing another bill, which essentially says those countries who opt not to be cooperative in this venture, vis-a-vis Iraq, no American taxpayer dollars will flow to their contractors in postwar rebuilding. So if they opt out of this action and opt not to be supportive, when it comes time to rebuild Iraq for the Iraqi people when that time comes, if my bill passes, there will be no money flowing to the French companies or German companies who may opt out of these activities.
So I guess I don't know if I have any questions. I certainly appreciate the points that you have all made. You know, I understand what Mr. Kagan is saying and I sympathize with all of those points, and I sympathize with the German people. I have been to Germany myself and talked to the folks in the bases, in the towns surrounding our bases. I know they are great folks. But this German government is making it very difficult for itself and for its country, and I hope that we will never have to consider taking bases out of any country for short-term political reasons such as those that we are discussing today, but we may have to. We may have to boycott the Paris Air Show.
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Matter of fact, the U.S. Governmenthere is a good onethe U.S. contractors, U.S. aeronautical contractors go to the air show. Guess whose hardware they take? The U.S. Government's hardware. Boeing takes C17s. Lockheed takes our government's F16s. Got another bill in this file, which says the Pentagon is not going to do that anymore, at least not for a while.
So we are just looking for answers to these political questions, and I hope that our friends in France and Germany will try harder to accommodate us.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank the gentlemen.
General Meigs, my chairman is fond of hunting things with four legs, as you are, so if you get to know him, he will probably remember how to pronounce your name. If I recall, the last time I saw you, you were getting ready to go find Porky Pig and turn him into dinner.
I remember about 12 years agoI take that back, it was about 8 years agoone of my colleagues made one of the less brilliant statements I ever heard around here, and that was dealing with the Panama Canal. He says, unless you give us the Canal back we are going to pull out our bases. At that point the Canal was a done deal, the bases were not. We are now spending a fortune replacing those bases in places like Ecuador and places like El Salvador. So maybe before we get too rambunctious, we ought to consider some of the things we are saying.
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Two years ago, the Chinese rammed one of our P3s, seized it, and let us take it home in little pieces. They still have Most Favored Nation status. Walk into a Wal-Mart and tell me their stuff isn't being sold on our shelves. I don't hear anyone blasting the Chinese today. I am not a big fan of being cold. Every time I have been to Germany it was way too cold, the days were too short, and I didn't particularly care for the food, but I will tell you what, they have been great allies for 50 years. I have heard there is a German expression, the Germans are better Germans with Americans around. I think it is kind of true when you consider that for 55 years there has been peace in that part of the world. I don't want to jeopardize that peace. I would hope this committee and this administration would think beyond the last couple of weeks and think about the next 20, 30 years. And yes, we ought to always look for the best place to station our troops. But if I recall, General Meigs, one of the things we had a chance to talk about on our last visit is you were pretty actively involved relocating several of our installations and consolidating them and hopefully getting some promises from our host nation, the Germans, that we could hang on to those installations for a while so that we are not playing musical chairs and not reinventing the wheel every 10 to 12 years. And this is a pitch. I would hope you would make the committee aware of some of those instances, please.
General MEIGS. We had a program called Efficient Basing, and Efficient Basing involved taking older facilities, enclosing them and consolidating those units under one particular location. And the project that Congressman Taylor refers to involves the closing of 13 facilities in the Freiberg-Geissen and moving that brigade to Grafenwoehr. And there were some initial upfront costs in addition to redirecting the money that was designed to renovate the facilities in Freiberg and Grafenwoehr, and then we would amortize that cost over time because the new facility at Grafenwoehr was so much more efficient and less expensive to run, therefore paying the Congress back in rents and other funds no longer needed over time. So in about ten years we recouped the whole cost of that operation.
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We were working on another project of efficient basing in the center of Germany, and that was still on the drawing board when I left. But the key thing about that is, you all know, that if you close posts in the United States it takes a capital investment to close a post and move facilities to another location. When you close Fort McPherson and you move the military police (MP) school to Missouri, you are going to spend some money in Missouri recreating the maneuver center.
And so, if I can, to prime the pump, there needs to be some investment capital to allow us to do that, and there is no question that a review of the structure in Europe is a good thing to do as long as when we agree that we are going to restation folks, understand that there is some upfront costs that we just have to bear.
Mr. DONNELLY. If I may. Look, I think it is also important to remember what has actually happened over the past ten years or so. We went into the Balkans and to Bosnia in 1995 telling ourselves we were only going to be there a year. When I started travelling there as a member of this committee staff and when we would go to places like Tuzla, several years later we still had soldiers living in tents and Conex containers. The last time I travelled to Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey, where we have been flying no-fly zones since 1992, we had hundreds of airmen and pilots living in tents. One of the things I will never forget during my time in the committee
Mr. TAYLOR. To the point, though, sir, because that is a restriction placed on us by the Turkish government. Can you name one similar such restriction in Germany that makes our people live in tents?
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Mr. DONNELLY. No, but this is where our people are operating. I am not critiquing German support for our installations that we have now. But the fact is, is that we have what amounts to semi-permanent installations already in these other countries. And the purposemy argument is to improve those, is to make those not simply more habitable and to provide a decent standard of living that we would all like to see for people who serve in the Armed Forces, but to enable them to operate where they are going to be operating more effectively and more efficiently. When we rotate guys to Bosnia every six months, there is a cost associated with that. There is a training cost associated with it, there is a deployment cost associated with it. And no matter how many times they have been to Bosnia in the past or how good their training is ahead of time, they have to remember who is Croat, who is a Bosniac and who is a Serb, and be able to make a crucial decision at any moment of any day that could have strategic importance for the United States.
One thing I was going to say earlier, one of the things that will always stay with me is the trip we took to Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia after the bombing there. So much of what went wrong there was a problem of an overly turbulent rotational posture that we had there. Again, five years after we made the policy decision to fly Southern Watch no-fly zones, I think for us to continue to bury our heads in the sand and not face the realities of what the operational patterns are, it would continue to be a huge mistake especially in a world where we are as concerned about terrorism as we are.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me just follow up on that, Mr. Donnelly. What would you recommend if you had a magic wand and didn't have to worry about costs of replication right now, and considering the areas of operation where we have been operating most frequently in the recent decade?
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Mr. DONNELLY. If you are just talking about our European posture, the ideal situation would be to have the quality of facilities that we have in Germany, but to have them where we are actually operating and closer to where we will be operating. Bulgaria, Romania, perhaps Poland is a logistics center. I would deferI mean, I think this is requiring more study. We have already beefed up tremendously our presence at Aviano Air Base in Italy to the point where it is overflowing. Some of these older facilities we can no longer expand. We simply don't have the physical capacity or the room. We cannot solve it by throwing money at it.
The CHAIRMAN. I think also at the heart of some of the comments that we receive when it is suggested that we might move troops from Germanyat the heart of those comments is the feeling, the implication, that somehow, somehow we have had a big problem with Germany two times in this century and that there is going to be a certain destabilization of Germany itself that would take place absent the American force.
General Meigs, do you attach any substance to that idea?
General MEIGS. Mr. Chairman, I don't see a destabilization. What I do see, and what many Germans have told me they are very concerned about, is a growing lack of familiarity of German constituents with who we are. That was the basis of the comment to me by the Minister President of Hessen. And I have to admit I was really surprised when the issue for closing the posts wasn't jobs, it was contact, contact with the people in his state.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, understanding that, do you think we have to have 71,400 uniformed American personnel with their dependents in that location to effect what you call beneficial contact?
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General MEIGS. Mr. Chairman, quite frankly
The CHAIRMAN. It is a lot of folks.
General MEIGS. It is indeed, and the Germans like having the families there. They like the families there because of the cultural and social
The CHAIRMAN. No. No. I am talking about the massive investment that we make. And if you look at justifications for having the troops there, the idea that somehow we are going to lose the friendship of Germany if we substantially reduce that number of 71,400 and therefore that presence to some degree is a presence to reassure ourselves and the rest of the world, not that it is a great strategic location any more, but rather to reassure ourselves about Germany itself.
General MEIGS. I would say there are two points I would like to make on that. First of all, the German politicians do really want the families in contact with their people. Now that may not cut a whole lot of mustard when we have to write the bills back here in the United States. But the obligation that you incur if you pull the families out is a rotational system. And one of the things we have to be very careful about here is that with the number of outfits already rotating, when you add a rotational system to Korea, Germany and the other types of commitments that we can expect in Iraq and other places with what we are doing in the world today, you can very quickly create a PERSTEMPO situation that is not tenable by the Army family community, and I am very, very concerned about that.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. SCHROCK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I really cannot add much to what has already been said. I did not hear what Congressman Weldon said, but I was on the train and I heard the Earth move, but I can almost imagine.
I want to identify myself with what my good friend Mr. Saxton said. America is the kindest, most compassionate Nation in the world, and we have done a lot for a lot of countries, including Germany, including France. And I know it was a long time ago that we did it, but it seems like they have forgotten. And frankly, I think Americans are getting tired of getting slapped around. I am hearing it from my constituents big time. They don't like it at all. And I know we have to look at the long-term goal in this thing, you know, what it is going to cost us. And I don't think General Jones is going off half cocked in creating a possible scenario. But the bottom line is, as Mr. Saxton said, if they don't like us in the neighborhood, let us just get out and go someplace that they do.
I don't think it was by accident that the Secretary of Defense referred to old Europe and new Europe. I think that was deliberate and by design and for very good reason, because new Europe understands what a tyrannical government is all about and they know what freedom is. They probably have a greater appreciation for freedom now than the other countries do. And unfortunately, the Chancellor, to get elected, said these things which I think has created a diplomatic brouhaha that is not going to go away for a long, long time, and he may live to regret that. And if you still have friends, you might tell him to cool it because it is not going to get any better. But it is going to be interesting to see how this thing plays out.
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And I am delighted that the chairman has held this hearing today, because I have really enjoyed your testimony and your comments, as well. Thanks.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Saxton, and then we will go to Mr. Cooper.
Mr. SAXTON. Go to Mr. Cooper first.
Mr. COOPER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I may have the wrong information here, but total forces in Europe now, what, the chairman said 71,000, and that is considerably less than it used to be a few years ago. But it is my understanding that we have about the same headquarters structure that we did in the old days, that the general staff is about the same size as it was when we had some 200,000 U.S. troops? That is not right?
General MEIGS. No, sir. You have the same escheloning, but you don't have the same number. Basically, what happened, the old structure was based on two corps of two divisions with some other supporting and ancillary units in it. Half of that command and control structure was taken out, so one of the corps headquarters was disbanded. Divisions were disbanded, that whole piece. And what you have in the general officermanagement structure, if you will, now is U.S. Army Europe and 7th Armyand 7th Army is really only a flag. There is no commander. There is no staff for 7th Army. It is all part of USAREUR. And then you have 5th Corps Headquarters. And the reason that the Army left a corps in that structure is that corps are what run campaigns at the operational level. And knowing what we had to do in Afghanistan with 18th Airborne Corps, the original structure that was put in there couldn't do the job. You needed a corps with a downlink intelligence, a command and control, the oversight of logistics to handle all that even though you didn't have any divisions there. So that is why 5th Corps remained in the structure of U.S. Army Europe. Underneath 5th Corps you have a couple of divisions. You have a corps support command, which is basically your logistics for that. And separate from that, you have the theater support command, which is sort of the wholesale logistics outfit for the retail logistics that goes on in the corps. You have a training command, which is fairly small. There is a brigadier general commanding it. And then you have SETAF, which is Southeast Task Force. And the interesting thing about SETAF is that that is an airborne brigade.
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And just to make a point about expeditionary here, if I could, going to your question. One of the things we did in the last 2 years with the help of this body is we added a light battalion to that brigade, closing down some logistics units, making our force lighter, as one of the changes we did that was fairly significant. Now that outfit is commanded by one major general and then there are some other people in there. You have a small headquarters at the Southeastern Airborne Task Force. And then underneath it, you have a fairly robust brigade headquarters with two battalions. So the number of general officers has changed significantly. It is less than half of what it was. And a lot of the positions have been downgraded. The old Theater Support Command was commanded by a lieutenant general. Now it is commanded by a major general. USAREUR staff has gone from major generals across the border primarily to brigadiers. The intelligence officer for U.S. Army Europe is a colonel. Used to be a major general. So there has been a tremendous reduction in flag rank, if you will.
Mr. COOPER. Is the current staffing appropriate? Is it efficient? Is it working?
General MEIGS. Clearly, clearly, it must be working given thatI have to be a little careful here because of the operation that is ongoing. But in a closed session, if you could see what USAREUR units are going where and what eschelons of command are involved, you would see that everybody is totally committed. And remember, I mean it is no secret at this point that USAREUR units are now working in two different theaters on two different operational directions, which is one of the reasons you have the eschelon command and control that we kept there.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COOPER. Do we need to beef up the general staff if they are so committed?
General MEIGS. No, sir. I don't believe we do. You could make some things a little more efficient, but I think it is about where it needs to be.
Mr. COOPER. Could you tell meas a new member of this committee, I was struck the other day in the hearing when it was pointed out that we have some 591 bases in Germany or installations of some type. What would be the top ten facilities?
General MEIGS. I saw the spreadsheet today and looked at it in horror, because you have the Army Community Service Building in Kaiserslautern that counts in terms of aggregate numbers the same as Grafenwoehr, Germany, which has 2,000 buildings. So unfortunately, in order to be totally precise, the Army has in a way shot itself in the foot in the way that it reports a lot of that information, because a lot of these organizations are part of the same community. But the top facilities in USAREUR are Heidelberg, Wiesbaden and Wurzburg, which are your major headquarters in Kaiserslautern, and then the locations of the major brigades, and what is really the crown jewel of the training facilities are Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels. The gunnery facilities at Grafenwoehr are being completely redone. The training area at Hohenfels is an instrumented training area, much like the National Training Center (NTC), only very much smaller. And if I could just add one thing, the interesting thing that is going on in U.S. Army Europe today is we train in all of these Eastern European countries. The largest instrumented opposed force, deep attack exercise anywhere in the world is run by United States Army Europe in Poland. It is called Victory Strike, and it is unique. And last year, we had an airborne exercise in Hungary in which SETAF executed an evacuation of noncombatant personnel, in which the ambassador was involved, in which the teams went all over Hungary and they dropped all of their equipment in an airfield, and the Hungarians allowed us to use a shaped charge to blow a hole in the ramp so the engineers could fix it.
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Now let me ask you a question. How many of the air fields in your constituencies would let us come in and blow a big hole in the ramp of the airfield?
The CHAIRMAN. Not at Vieques.
General MEIGS. I think we can be sure of that one.
Mr. COOPER. One last question, the Millennium Challenge 2002 gave the Air Force additional requirements for strategic lift. What would be the Air Force's plan to budget for increase in that capability?
General MEIGS. Sir, I am the wrong one to ask about the Air Force budget, but I would like to state a principle that there are a couple ways of increasing strategic mobility. One way is to make the forces smaller and lighter and perhapsexcept the fact that they may be less lethal. The other way is to buy the strategic mobility that year after year we said we are going to need to move the forces that we have to move.
Mr. COOPER. I thank the Chair.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman for his very insightful questions. I wanted to follow up with one, and that is, General, if you look at this, the installations literally dot Germany. There is a lot of them and they are spread out over a fairly large footprint. A blue ribbon base closing and realignment commission, if this wasif this represented the four services, but in the main the Army probably initially look at this thing and say, in light of all the costs that we know that are associated with maintaining a given base, security, medical, et cetera, why can't we consolidate those? In your estimation has there been a good scrub on consolidation or are we maintaining some of these very small, very lightly manned sites basically for diplomatic reasons?
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General MEIGS. That is a great question and, boy, am I glad you asked it. I don't have the sheet in front of me, but I could take you through that, and a lot of these onesies and twosies are things like a separate building that is part of the same post but isn't on the post or a radio relay site that is a remote site that is on top of a mountain somewhere that you are using as part of your microwave communications infrastructure.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand, but even if you look at the major installations, and I have got a batch of them here, it looks like there is more than a dozen, 15, 20 major installations. So the question would be, assuming two-thirds of those are Army, if those were all located in Iowa, the first thing that the base closing commission would say is why can't that be one base or several bases?
General MEIGS. Well, it could.
The CHAIRMAN. And could we save a lot of money?
General MEIGS. We could. And that is exactly what we did with efficient basing; close 13, move to one, maintain new, don't maintain old, save money over the long haul. There is another possibility to do that in the central area of Germany, given that you have the investment capital to rearrange some barracks, renovate some things. If you can get the pump primer to do that, General Bell is going to be able to come back and say, okay, I can do efficient basing in the center part of my sector in this manner.
The CHAIRMAN. So you think there are more efficiencies that could be received here or developed here?
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General MEIGS. I think if someone were willing to start that dialogue, agreeing that there might be some investment capital, you would be surprised at the answer and be pleasantly surprised.
The CHAIRMAN. Ms. Tauscher.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you gentleman. General Meigs, it is great to have you back. It seems to me that we have a lot of opportunities, but it is a question of balance, lightness versus lethality; you know, efficient basing versus working with our new NATO allies on the Prague capabilities. They have a whole bunch of promises they've got to fulfill, a bunch of training issues. This issue of engagementobviously we don't want to look likeI don't believe we want to look like there is any punitive reasoning for doing this, but I think NATO enlargement in and of itself begs the question of, why don't we move more south, more east. Why do we leverage the less encroachment, lower cost opportunities in some of these new NATO countries? The question is wherewhat is the metric for the balance?
Now cost effectiveness has to be a piece of this whole thing. We have to be saying to ourselves, you know, okay, we have got, I don't know how many thousands of houses in our19,000 of our 32,000 residential quarters are not adequate. Do we try to spend a lot of money fixing those things or do we figure out how to make better investments and change the paradigm further out? A lot of these things are a question of what are the metrics you would recommend the committee use. Obviously, part of it is going to be cost, part of it is going to be engagement, part of it is going to be fixing and dealing with the threat paradigm. What would you suggest we look at, because cost is always going to be an issue, but I don't think that can only be the metric we use?
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General MEIGS. That is a great question. The first thing, which isn't quite of a metric, but it is more of a goal is how can you redistribute the forces in a manner that is strategically relevant that allows you to have a presence farther east and south. I think that is important, and we encourage that. And what isgiven that we are going to possibly have a $300 billion deficit this year and you may be dealing with $100 billion to cover the war, what is the amount of discretionary investment capital in the budget that might be available to do this? And I certainly agree with you that there could be other solutions to the housing situation. For instance, when this whole issue of housing was being looked at initially, it was thought that the most efficient thing to do was bring all the families onto the housing that we currently had rather than turn it back and rent housing, because, of course, if you rent the housing, as we found in the United Statesborder of Texas comes to mindyou don't have any of this capital maintenance cost. All you do is pay the rent. And if the housing allowance covers a big slug of that rent, really, you don't have a capital maintenance problem. And I would think that we might want to look at that very hard. Granted, you have a little bit of a problem when you distribute families out into the community in this kind of a terrorist environment, but really they are just as safe there as they are in a separate housing facility.
I think the force can be lightened up. The United States Army Europe now is a contingency oriented force which has to keep a certain amount of warfighting capability and we see that heavy force capability is being used. But to what degree could a lightening up of the force be relevant to saving OPTEMPO dollars that could be used somewhere else. Those would be kind of the three things that I would look at.
Mr. DONNELLY. If I could throw my two cents in, and I don't know how to quantify this in a budgetary way, but you have to give some weight to the cost of actually operating, and you have to ask yourselves where these guys are going to be operating, fighting, you know, in the foreseeable future. And again, it is less likely to fill the gap than it is in the Balkans or in the Middle East.
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If I could add one footnote to a comment of General Meigs' previous remark, there is an alternative in terms of deployability, and that is having ground forces that are either operational or even strategically self-deployable. If you can get yourself to the area of operation either by flying or driving, then the shortfalls in airlift and difficulties inherent with sealift are somewhat ameliorated. So if you are living in the Balkans when you are operating in the Balkans, or if you are based in Bulgaria or Romania and you can drive down to the port and it is a short hop to the port that we are about to disembark at in Turkey, then the whole system is a lot more efficient, more effective, and probably less expensive, as well.
General MEIGS. Mr. Chairman, can I follow up on that? We already do that. And I am glad Mr. Donnelly brought that up. We moved forces on the rotations in the Balkans by rail. We did not use heavy lift aircraft to do that except in the occasion when they were going to move those troops by buses in a terrorist situation. I said I am not putting all those soldiers on the road with the hazard that is going to be involved. We have pioneeredand I keep using ''we.'' I am sorry. I am just recently out of the job.
The CHAIRMAN. It will never go away, General. You are a general. You are always going to be one. We are lucky we've got people like you.
General MEIGS. Thank you. United States Army Europe pioneered the use of jitterbugging around the ports in the area to ensure that we knew how to do ports anywhere in the area of responsibility (AOR). And last year, we did a self-deployment of aircraft not only to Poland. We did a self-deployment of aircraft across the Mediterranean to Tunisia. We did not use widebody aircraft for that. So I agree totally with Mr. Donnelly's comment, but that is already entrained. And the issue goes back to how much discretionary investment income can the committee spare to allow us to do the moving, because we are already doing the mobility piece.
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Ms. TAUSCHER. Mr. Chairman, can I just have a follow-up question, because General Meigs is like the quarterback whose team is going to the Super Bowl pretty soon, although he is not going to get to go himself. The NATO rapid reaction force, what is the nexus between lighterour lighter, perhaps more expeditionary, more lily pad, more forward deployed power projection base, whatever term you want to use, and thisthe new proposed, soon to be NATO rapid reaction force, and how do they maximize our effectiveness? I guess I am always concerned about the balance between lighter and lethality, and I have no clue as to where we start to trade off on lethality when we go lighter. And can you help me with that a little bit?
General MEIGS. Sure. Quite frankly, the Army hasn't done a good job of selling how it creates capability by task organization. And we tendin discussions of this, we tend to focus on a system like a tank or we tend to focus on a flag unit like a brigade or a division. But the fact of the matter is we do not task organize that way. In Bosnia we had one sort of a force that was wrapped around a heavy division because we thought we were going to have to go separate fighting forces. When we went to Rwanda, it was a task organization of engineers doing water purifications and engineers bringing bodies and some light infantry, airborne infantry for security. And that gives you kind of the range.
So in the body of the Army and in the body of U.S. Army Europe, you need a range of capability. You need a certain number of heavy units because those are the people that go deep fast. You needand we are going to have Stryker brigades that fall into the middle and you need light infantry to fight in complex terrain or to create your airborne capability, whatever. What happens when you have a strategic or operational problem, the combatant commander says, look, I need these capabilities and unlike the Cold Warand this is critically importantunlike the Cold War, we put together the team that he needs out of that. And so, the critical metric here is maintaining the range of capability from light to heavy without getting too much on either end so that the combatant commanders get the capabilities out of the Army structure that they need very, very quickly.
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Ms. TAUSCHER. This is almost like a Big Mac. You are building off a menu: You need, I need this, this, this and this. So that range is the investment that you have to keep?
General MEIGS. That is right.
Ms. TAUSCHER. What is the best way for us to measure whether we have that right investment?
General MEIGS. I think you have to combine input from the combatant commanders who will employ the forces. I mean the Army doesn't employ the forces, the combatant commanders do that. If you don't have a purple suit, you are really not a warfighter unless the purple suit has asked you to come to the party. Their voice in this is critical. In addition, and I am no longer in any position to speak to this, but the Army has a say in how we can do these things for the combatant commanders in the best way within their capability profile.
Mr. DONNELLY. If I may very quickly, we also have to remember we are talking about the role of the European garrison in this regard. In the Cold Warthe United States must always be able to deliver a knockout blow at its discretion; but during the Cold War the role of the Army in Europe was basically to start swinging from the heels from round one. Now the role of the European garrison has clearly changed, but it is not that, you know, again heavy armor, toe-to-toe kind of stuff that created the garrison that we now have. So what you have to ask is, what is the role of not only ground forces, but air forces; in fact the whole European garrison? How much of it is in theater in Europe, the missions that it has there, and how much of it is to pick up and go someplace else?
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General MEIGS. Ms. Tauscher, if I could, when you get the opportunity to see the way that USAREUR forces are being used by now, General Jones and General Franks in this latest operation, see if those capabilities aren't doing exactly what Mr. Donnelly said. They are being used in exactly that way; I mean the light forces and the heavy forces. And what we have to remember is that across the Army structure the forces are fungible to all of the combatant commanders, and that is the critical point. So you have to have a range of these forces available in position so they can be most effective and arrive there first with the most troops.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Mr. Chairman, if I could tell you what a stimulating hearing this has been. This has been a great hearing.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Well, Ms. Tauscher, we appreciated your questions. There have been a lot of greatwe never concentrated much on troops in Germany and now we have the opportunity to. It has been very good, I think. And Mr. Saxton?
Mr. SAXTON. A while ago, in answer to Jim Cooper's question, General Meigs, you listed a few, ten or so of the most important basing assets in Germany. So by inference, there are 10 or 15 or so that are perhaps the least important. And I was interested to hear Mr. Donnelly kind of walk us through some parts of new Europe where there were basing opportunities. And General Meigs, you also suggested that it might be a good idea to kind of redeploy some assets. And I wondered if, General Meigs, you and Mr. Donnelly kind of conjecture as to how that redeployment of assets might look. I mean, what makes sense?
General MEIGS. I hesitate to name names herelocations, because that will cause a big stir to our families back in Germany. But here is the principle I think that should apply to this. The building blocks are our brigade combat teams, and it would be very possible to move a brigade combat team eastward to a place like Taszar, to one of the large bases in Romania or Bulgaria. I mean you could do it in Turkey depending upon the politics of the situation and what you get for a status of forces agreement. And what you would want is a very large training area that would allow you to do the type of training that is so important today because our units fight in such a dispersed manner. That is kind of the way to approach the issue.
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And when I was talking to Congresswoman Tauscher earlier, the degree to which you can restation is strictly a function of how much capital the Congress can afford to put on the table to allow that to happen. And moving a brigade combat team, as we saw with efficient basing, is not that hard to do, but you have got to put it in a place that is a viable location for training and for quality of life and has a deployment platform. And, obviously, a place like Taszar or bases in Hungary that are adjacent to a big airfield have that.
Mr. DONNELLY. Look, I am more impressed about what we actually don't know than what we do know about this. I was very interested to hear General Meigs say I think it was $400 or $500 million to consolidate one brigade combat team. This clearly requires more study to be able to do an intelligent cost-benefit analysis, but I would urge the committee to do so.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Chairman, that is kind of whatone of the conclusions that I have reached during the last couple of hours is that maybe we ought to do just that. Maybe we ought to have some of ourI don't know whether travel would be involved or how you do it, but maybe we ought to take a look at some of these places and then collaborate with General Meigs and Mr. Donnelly again in the future to try and see if some of these things do make sense, so that if the time comes when we want to pursue it, we will have some kind of a game plan as to how to move.
The CHAIRMAN. I think the gentleman makes a good suggestion, and the other idea is that we are coming up to base closing and realignment ourselves. And you can'tI don't think you can segregate the footprint of the American uniform forces external to the United States from those that are internal and are going to be subject to closures and realignment. So it would make sense if we are going to do it, we do it fairly soon. A great idea, and we developed some good issues here. The gentleman from Hawaii with the lei around his neck, fabulous Mr. Abercrombie.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I feel like going to a soft shoe. General Meigs, please forgive me, you have given us the courtesy of your thoughts and exchange all afternoon and I haven't been here because of other commitments, but I dare say if I am going over some ground that has been gone over before, just reading your testimony alone indicates that considerable amount of thought has to be given and hard and fast answers aren't necessarily available to us now. Would that be a fair assessment of your testimony?
General MEIGS. That is correct.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. In that context then, could you amplify at least for me a little bit, having heard this initially from General Jones when some of us went to the Munich security conference, heard first in the sense of some of the operational details that might accompany this kind of doctrinal change, if you will, and then having that as a foundation and referring then to particularly pages three and four of your testimonyI am going to skip the politics of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) if that is okayhaving to do with the serious questions about how exactly do you finance the logistics and the infrastructure of such a possibility; that is to say, what would be the shape of the infrastructure and what would be the policy with respect to rotation? You cite, and I am not familiar with it or, if I was, I have forgotten it, the idea of six month rotational tours for units recalls the Army's use of rotational brigades in Europe in the mid-'70s. I encourage members of the committee to obtain and read the RAND Arroyo study of that experience. Is the testimony that follows that a summation of the RAND study?
General MEIGS. No, sir. I was trying to refer to that in reference to Brigade 75, and the RAND Arroyo study, you will find, says that that is not a very happy experience.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Not a happy experience. Why? Because of the particular doctrine being pursued at that time or
General MEIGS. It had a very negative impact on the morale of the soldiers and families that were involved in that project.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Is that because the psychology of the soldiers and the families involved at that time would be different than the kind of rotation that would be contemplated under this change?
General MEIGS. I don't think it was so much the psychology as it was the turbulence that was created and the fact that they were living in rather substandard situations.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I agree. Maybe I didn't make it clear enough. My impression of what General Jones was talking about is that we would begin to deemphasize families there. We beginthis would be deployments, plain and simple, of fighting troops.
General MEIGS. That is what Brigade 75 was. We brought a brigade from the United States to Germany for six months and stationed it at Grafenwoehr, no families. And remember at that time, it may have looked calm in the Cold War army, but my unit that I commanded in 1984 to 1986 had companies that were gone as many as 270 days a year.
General MEIGS. I mean, this was a very fast turning outfit, and this was kind of a step too far.
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When I go to the next paragraph what I am trying to explain is that if you are going to maintain a deployment of units, your unit of measure is about five to one if you are going to do it forever over a long period of time. It is very hard to sustain a three units to one rotation because you got a unit getting ready to go, a unit out there and a unit back home. You had rather not do that. In fact, the business about expeditionary I find kind of strange because U.S. Army Europe, and I quote this number in there, has sustained 40 percent of the deployment activity of the United States Army with one-sixth of the soldiers.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I agree with all of that. That is why I am anxious to ask these questions. Because you see, as I understand what's being contemplated, and I just had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Powell Moore, because the Secretary is now over on the floor, and I cited to him some of my concerns with respect to the aftermath of the particular situation before us now with Iraq, which to me ispeople think that that is the culmination of something. My fear is no, no, no. This is but the beginning of
General MEIGS. You are right.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE [continuing]. A big something or series of somethings. My preconception isor my conceptionthe proposition that worries me the most is that this does make sense, this kind of rotational thing, and that we can look forward not to weeks or months, but years of deployments like this. And the whole question of how you sustain that with the existing strength of the Army seems to me is impossible.
General MEIGS. I think you are right.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. It is easy for someone to say to me, despite my length of service on the committee, look, what the hell do you know? You know out of books. You listen to people like Meigs. Sure, maybe there is some experience there and all that, but let's face it, what do you know? Well, you know, in the end you have to make judgments. I am sitting here. I have to make a judgment. I try to read as much as I can and take the experience of people who have had the experience and see what I can extrapolate. What I get out of this is that if this in fact is where we are going, you can forget all about this idea of we are going to have happy families out here whether it is in Germany or in some base outside Hungary or whatever it is. This is going to be grit-eyed, hard-nosed, year-after-year commitment of troops who understand this is what it is all about, and you are not going to be able to do it with a volunteer service number that exists for the United States Army right now.
General MEIGS. I think you are exactly right, and I think it would be very hard to retain.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Be sure what you just said because it is going to be recorded. If you said I am exactly right about something
Mr. TAYLOR. General, please don't encourage him.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. You can see that Representative Taylor just sat bolt upright at that.
General MEIGS. I think the family strain would be a huge problem for the United States Army if you go to that degree of deployment. So I can give you a piece of an evidence. We can't go through the numbers here because you don't know what the size of the problem is going to be.
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I was in a former job in the Army, I was responsible for the language school at Monterrey. I was making a tour and I met one of the first sergeants for the course there who was handling all the Korean language students, and we started talking about what he had done and I asked him if he was married and he said no, sir, but I have had five tours in Korea. He lost his first family. We need to be very careful with this one.
The other one is the culture shock issue. Whether we like it or not, you go all the way back into the 19th century, the way the Army has always done its business, the families went with the soldiers. We are stuck with that as a cultural norm. That can change over time. If you do it at a time of great stress like we have now, you risk having some things happen that you really don't want to happen. We had that with VOLAR.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I understand. Mr. Chairman, I will conclude. But the reason that I find your testimony particularly compelling, thought provoking, that is what I am trying to say here, is that for someone like myself or for members of the committee that have to try to figure out how are we going to put this together in terms of proper authorization and appropriations, let alone policy with respect to numbers and end strength and all the rest of it issee, my problem, the worst scenario that I see in front of me is multiple deployments being required regardless of whether these bases are back inthis is a momentary thing. I don't want to base policy on fashion of the momentI know State Department stuff back and forthor political pronouncements of the moment. I am talking about long-term strategic interests being addressed. I see multiple deployments being required almost at a moment's notice. You got to have flexibility. You can't have somebody wondering whether their kids are going to get home from school or be yelled at on the school yard, that kind of thing. And this means a kind of almost legions outside of Rome and they are out some place and maybe they will be back in two or three years. I don't mean we would actually have them out two or three years but I am talking about a deployment psychology different from what we have right now.
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General MEIGS. I think with the burden that we are going to put on the Army structure, with the stationing that is going to be required in Iraq, by going
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. For openers.
General MEIGS. For openers. By going to a rotational structure in Korea and Germany, you will have nothing like a 5 to 1 ratio, you will have more like a 2 1/2 to 1 ratio.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. That is not sustainable.
General MEIGS. You can't stand the pain.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Last thing. What if you had toI am not holding you to this and I hope it is not going to be reported that that is what you said, but what would you say had to be done under those circumstances where you are facing possible multiple deployments over an extended period of time with very, very short periods in which to make up your mind as to where you are going to go and what you need to do, six to one? seven to one?
General MEIGS. I wouldn't break five to one, and six to one is sure a heck of a lot better. Because what happens every time you have an unanticipated contingency, your ratio goes into a cocked hat. We are going to have soldiers going to placesin USAREUR, actually, they have been alerted now, some who just got back from Kosovo.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I understand. We are talking about sending them to the Philippines.
General MEIGS. They will salute smartly and go do that. You cannot sustain that forever. You are going to have to have a break after this. They are going to want time with their families.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. At a minimum, would end strength numbers have to change considerably?
General MEIGS. End strength has remained the same. You could increase the end strength, but that is a very difficult issue.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your indulgence. I don't mean to slight the other members of the panel that are there, Mr. Chairman. Their testimony is very, very strong and equally compelling, but obviously we can't explore it right now.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. They say we are going to have the room cleared here in a few minutes. But Mr. Skelton, and, Mr. Taylor, you wanted to ask another question, too, didn't you?
Mr. SKELTON. Just a quick comment, Mr. Chairman. As I recall, the 1st Armored Division went from Germany down to Kosovo for a year. They went back to Germany for nine months. They went back for six months thereafter, and 54 percent of them were the same soldiers. Am I correct?
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General MEIGS. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Taylor, go right ahead for our last question. We will wrap up.
Mr. TAYLOR. I will open this up to the panel because I am a bit bewildered by what some of my colleagues said. Is there a single instance of a German mayor, a German politician of any real stature asking us to leave our installations in Germany? I am not aware of any, but I sure thought my colleagues repeatedly make reference to this.
General MEIGS. I have never
Mr. TAYLOR. You are the experts, guys. I am asking you.
General MEIGS. Even if in thewhen I was a brigade commander, we had a mayor who would use the antipathy in some of the parts of his constituency as sort of the way of ingratiating them to himself. His city government was very supportive. When we got ready to go to Desert Storm, they couldn't do enough for us to get us out the door on to our military mission. I have never had a mayor say we want to get you guys out of here. In fact, when you do notify them that you are going to leave, it is very difficult. I mean they get very upset.
Mr. TAYLOR. Is there a single instance of a protest against an American facility, not our policy maybe someplace else, but is there a single instance of a protest against an American facility in Germany?
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General MEIGS. You do get some of that with noise. Helicopter noise primarily. But when you take the mayors and fly them around, you take the people out and show them how the airfield works, it usually goes away.
Mr. TAYLOR. Take them to Gulfport, Mississippi and do that occasionally, but other than that? Okay.
Mr. DONNELLY. Part of the reason for thinking about redeploying in Europe is exactly to ameliorate the kinds of stresses that Mr. Abercrombie and Mr. Skelton made reference to. The reality has been for the past decade of constant deployments from Germany elsewhere. And now, that is a strain thatyou know it is really surprising that soldiers have put up with as much as they have, because they didn't sign up to be Marines. They signed up to have a middle-class family life like most Americans. What we ought to be doing, you know, beyond our pique at Germany and France, which is an emotion certainly I can share, is asking ourselves what can we do to relocate our forces to make it easier for them to execute the operations that we know at this point that they are going to have to undertake and they will have to undertake for decades to come. That is the argument that I am trying to make.
Again, it is not a question of, you know, what the average German in Kaiserslautern or Bavaria thinks about our soldiers. They are far different from the Chancellor, that is for sure. But how long we lighten the load and still allow our soldiers and our airmen and our sea surface people to execute the missions we are going to continue to ask of them
Dr. KAGAN. If I could very briefly point out that I don't think moving the forces into Eastern Europe is going to help with that. We have been deploying to Bosnia. I don't think anyone here is proposing to move our permanent base into Bosnia or Kosovo.
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The CHAIRMAN. Would you all concur that deploying into the Bosnia theater is fairlyis as efficient out of Germany as it could be from any other European country?
General MEIGS. It costs you a heck of a lot less to do it out of Germany than it would from the States.
The CHAIRMAN. Not the States, from any other European country.
General MEIGS. Obviously the closer you get, the less you will pay in real costs.
Mr. DONNELLY. We already are sort of operating in part from Hungary and have been since the start of the mission. So making that more permanent could be more realistic to rotate guys into Bosnia or into Kosovo to do theyou know, they go out from Camp Bonsteel and they go out to man a checkpoint or something like that for a couple of weeks. This is the pattern of operations. You could do that a heck of a lot easier, as General Meigs says, if you were a lot closer.
General MEIGS. That is true.
Could I make one little comment, Mr. Chairman? The idea that soldiers sign up for a middle-class life grates a little bit here. Soldiers sign up to serve their Nation in whatever capacity that Nation asks and if it is harm's way, bring it on down.
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Mr. DONNELLY. My point was that
The CHAIRMAN. I don't think Mr. Donnelly said that he didn't believe soldiers signed up to go into harm's way.
General MEIGS. They do sign up to go into harm's way. That is part of the contract.
The CHAIRMAN. I don't think Mr. Donnelly contradicted that. I think he said, from other parts of Europe you have more efficient deployment to the places where we have been than to Germany.
General MEIGS. That is correct. I always want to go back to this issue of how much capital we can spare to change the pattern.
The CHAIRMAN. Listen, I think that is a legitimate point. I think we got a great array of positions and good back and forth with the members and we have learned a lot in this particular hearing. One thing I would ask you, General, to maybe takeeven though you are in a retired status, you obviously have great connections with Germanyis I went over the amount of material and expertise that was sold by German companies to build poison gas plants in Iraq. Literally, the bulk of the outlaw contribution to weapons of mass destruction program was German corporations of all the countries in the world. And the idea that we have this enormous presence, military presence, smaller now, but still substantial in Germany, plenty of goodwill ambassadors like you working with presumably a people of good intent in Germany, and the idea that nonetheless none of that seems to have any stemming effect on this flow of killing technology to our adversaries doesn't make a lot of sense. And I don't think it makes a lot of friends, either. And I think maybe that is a backdrop against which the current problem has taken on maybe a greater focus.
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Have you ever worked on that problem? Have you ever been aware of it? Is the Army kind of insulated from that?
General MEIGS. When I was in Bosnia, certain activities became known to me and I made it very clear to both our intelligence services and to the Germans, and not just the Germans by the way, that that was clearly out of bounds.
The CHAIRMAN. It is something they do on a regular basis, and they do it in a more proliferate way than anybody else. Somewhat of a contradiction to this friendship because they give our enemies the capability of killing those same kids who are housed in their barracks and living in those towns with those nice mayors seeing them off.
On that happy note, gentlemen, I think we have had a good discussion and we have had a real good, I think, review of our footprint in Europe and our military position there that maybe we wouldn't have had otherwise. So thank you very much. We look forward to working with you. You are certainly invitedwe are going to have a reception at 5:30. You are invited to stick around and enjoy some refreshments with us. So, appreciate it so much. Thank you.
Hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:32 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]