SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10823]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005H.R. 4200
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
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TITLE IIIOPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
DIVISION BMILITARY CONSTRUCTION AUTHORIZATIONS
FEBRUARY 26, 2004
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado, Chairman
HOWARD P. ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico
KEN CALVERT, California
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJEFF MILLER, Florida
TOM COLE, Oklahoma
ROB BISHOP, Utah
CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan
MIKE ROGERS, Alabama
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
LANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM MARSHALL, Georgia
MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, Guam
Mary Ellen Fraser, Professional Staff Member
B. Ryan Vaart, Professional Staff Member
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDiane W. Bowman, Staff Assistant
Danleigh S. Halfast, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Thursday, February 26, 2004, Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization ActMilitary Construction Budget Request for Programs of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Defense Agencies, and the Active and Reserve Components of the Department of the Air Force
Thursday, February 26, 2004
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2004
FISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTMILITARY CONSTRUCTION BUDGET REQUEST FOR PROGRAMS OF THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, THE DEFENSE AGENCIES, AND THE ACTIVE AND RESERVE COMPONENTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Hefley, Hon. Joel, a Representative from Colorado, Chairman, Readiness Subcommittee
Ortiz, Hon. Solomon P., a Representative from Texas, Ranking Member, Readiness Subcommittee
Brubaker, Brig. Gen. David A., Deputy Director, Air National Guard
DuBois, Raymond F., Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installation and Environment
Fox, Maj. Gen. Dean, The Air Force Civil Engineer
Gibbs, Hon. Nelson F., Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Installations, Environment, and Logistics
Rajczak, Brig. Gen. William A., Deputy to the Chief of Air Force Reserve
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[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
DuBois, Hon. Raymond F.
Gibbs, Hon. Nelson F.
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.]
FISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTMILITARY CONSTRUCTION BUDGET REQUEST FOR PROGRAMS OF THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, THE DEFENSE AGENCIES, AND THE ACTIVE AND RESERVE COMPONENTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
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House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Thursday, February 26, 2004.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:04 p.m. in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Joel Hefley (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JOEL HEFLEY, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM COLORADO, CHAIRMAN, READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. HEFLEY. The committee will come to order.
The Subcommittee on Readiness meets to hear testimony from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of the Air Force on the fiscal year 2005 budget request for military construction (MILCON) and family housing.
I welcome our witnesses. We are going to have two panels today. I look forward to their testimony.
Once again, the subcommittee has received a military construction and family housing budget request that falls far short of addressing the aging and failing facilities of our Nation's military. This Congress and every Congress before it for the last decade has asked for amendments to military construction and family housing budgets. This historic trend should clearly indicate to the Department that the annual budgets being sent to the Hill are inadequate for the task at hand.
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Nevertheless, the fiscal year 2005 military construction and family housing budget request is, once again, disappointing. Not only does it represent a real reduction to the fiscal year 2004 program, but it is nearly $1.4 billion smaller than was forecast for fiscal year 2005 by last year's budget. This only serves to further undermine my confidence in the Future Years' Defense Plan (FYDP), which was supposed to include significant military construction budget increases for fiscal year 2006 and beyond. Not only have similar outyear predictions been proven wrong countless times before, but I note that the forecasted amounts for military construction appear to have been cut by $6 billion from the amounts forecasted in the fiscal year 2004 budget. Such decreases in long-term budget plans cannot support a commitment to meeting DOD's facilities needs, nor can the remaining budgets address Army transformation, increased Army force structure, the Global Posture Review, and other changes, that will have significant effects on facilities requirements.
Last year, Mr. DuBois noted that the installation and environment portfolio includes more than just the military construction and family housing budget. He is correct-the complete picture includes sustainment, repair, modernization, and base operations budget, as well as housing allowances and legislative efforts such as the Readiness and Range Preservation Initiative.
Unfortunately, the complete picture is also disappointing. Consider the following, the military construction budget is a real reduction from last year's program, and the FYDP is nearly 10 percent smaller than was forecast last year. Two-thirds of the services' facilities are rated C3 or C4, an appalling state of readiness. Visits to the field confirm that military facilities are continuing to deteriorate throughout the services. The Department has implemented what appears to be a legitimate model for crafting sustainment budgets, yet it has no model for base operations, repair, and modernization budgets and continues to fund these accounts at levels that do not even support ''must-pay'' bills. And the family housing program is based almost entirely upon the privatization program that will effectively cease to exist if Congress does not provide legislative relief, something it was unable to do last year due to budget constraints.
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In sum, it strikes me that the Department is putting all of its facilities' eggs in the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) basket, by which I mean that the Department has put its facilities program on hold until BRAC 2005, and is expecting that the billions of dollars in funding shortfalls that have accumulated over the past several decades will vanish when it closes excess bases. While the Department may eliminate a small fraction of its problems by disposing of some bases, an examination of projected budgets indicates that they will fall far short of the amounts necessary to build new facilities, repair and modernize old ones and deal with the cost of the base closures and environmental remediation.
In the end, the result will be the same-our Nation's soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, and the families that support them, will be forced to live and work in inadequate facilities. So while I applaud the Department's efforts to improve base and family housing, I must take this opportunity to urge our witnesses to redouble their efforts within the Department to increase facilities budgets and to improve living and working conditions for our service members and their families.
Now, at this time, I would like to recognize the Honorable Solomon Ortiz, my friend and colleague from Texas and the ranking member of the subcommittee, for any comments he would like to makeif they do not disagree with me.
STATEMENT OF HON. SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM TEXAS, RANKING MEMBER, READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ORTIZ. I echo what you just said, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I join you in welcoming our distinguished witnesses today to this Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the fiscal year 2005 budget request for military construction and family housing.
About two-thirds of our military facilities are either, like the chairman stated, C3, which means they have serious deficiencies, or C4, which means that they do not support mission requirements. The need for military construction and family housing is obvious at virtually every base in this country. In this context, Mr. Chairman, I have to say I am disappointed by the budget request for MILCON and family housing. The request for family housing is $4.2 billion, which is up $200 million, 5 percent from the year 2004 level. But just a year ago, when we got the 2004 budget, the Pentagon planned to spend $4.8 billion for family housing for the year 2005. Between last year and this year, the Pentagon has cut $600 million or 12.5 percent from the family housing budget.
Why was funding for family housing cut internally within the Department? What happened in the last year to justify this cut? Excluding the supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan, the overall budget for DOD is 7 percent higher than the 2004 level and the budget for the Missile Defense Agency is up by 20 percent.
The resources for family housing are available, but sadly, it is not as high a priority within the Administration as it should be.
The picture for MILCON is even worse. The request is for $5.3 billion, which is about $450 million, almost 8 percent less than the 2004 level. And last year's budget envisioned $6.1 billion for the 2005 MILCON funding. So MILCON was cut by $800 million, 13 percent during the internal budget deliberations of the Department.
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Again, I am disappointed by this budget because the need is obvious. The resources could be available, but the Administration placed a higher priority on other areas of the defense budget. I know our witnesses care about our infrastructure and the quality of housing for our military personnel and their families. There is no question about that. They do the best they can with the dollars they are given. But I think that MILCON and family housing routinely get shortchanged by the Department, and the ones who suffer the consequences are the men and women in uniform and their families.
I hope our Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) witness, Mr. DuBois, can shed some light on why the 2005 request is so much lower than the Pentagon's own budget plan for last year's vision.
I hope our witnesses can also address two other issues. First, although Goldwater has been in place for almost two decades, we do not see many joint military construction projects. Some facilities are being used by more than one service, but it is a rare to actually plan, design and budget for a joint MILCON project. I think this is an area where we could get more bang for the buck. I hope our witnesses will share their thoughts on this matter with us today.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, the privatized family housing initiative that was founded by this committee is in grave danger here on Capitol Hill. When we established the program, we put a $850 million cap on it, and we will exceed the cap sometime in fiscal year 2005.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Office has changed the scoring of this program. So if we try to eliminate or raise the caps, our committee will get a very large mandatory scoring of that provision. In short, we need the Budget Committee to either overrule CBO's scoring or give us a mandatory allocation large enough to let the program continue.
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I would like very much for the witnesses to tell us how the Department plans to work with the House and the Senate Budget Committees to convince them of the importance of this program. Every committee on Capitol Hill bombards the Budget Committees with requests; we need the weight and influence of the Department to get the assistance we need from the Budget Committees.
Mr. Chairman, the MILCON and family housing accounts are not as glamorous as some of the other programs that we consider, but they are extremely important to our forces and our families. And I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your leadership and for holding these hearings.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Ortiz.
I thank Mr. DuBois. You see that our statements could have been interchangeable in the expression of concern we have for the level of funding. We understand, because we have been at this a long time, that sometimes military construction is a thing that takes it on the chin because we can always patch it together and move forward to next year where we will do great things. But we are talking about that moving forward and it is not reflected, I think, in this budget.
We have with us today witnesses from the Department of Defense and the Department of the Air Force. I ask that each of the witnesses keep their testimony brief. Without objection, all of the statements will be put in the record in their entirety. We will observe the five-minute rule. And let me thank the members of the committee for being here and apologize to our witnesses that we do not have more members here. Unfortunately, we just learned that we had our last vote and members scatter like quail when the last vote is done. But your statements will be on the record.
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Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, would you get a copy of those who are in attendance to the next base closure commission? We will try to effect favorably the outcome for some of us.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Taylor, you always have a way of zeroing right in on the situation. If those that are not here do not care about the base closure process, then we are going to reward those who do care about it that are present. Would you not say, Mr. DuBois, that would be fair?
Our first panel will be made up of Ray DuBois, Jr., the Deputy Under Secretary For Installations and Environment. So, Mr. DuBois, the floor is yours. And we look forward to your testimony.
STATEMENT OF RAYMOND F. DUBOIS, DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR INSTALLATIONS AND ENVIRONMENT
Secretary DUBOIS. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ortiz, distinguished members of the subcommittee, I obviously am very appreciative of this opportunity. It is my third legislative cycle with the Congress in this particular position discussing the President's budget submission.
I might open my remarks by referring to the fact that this very subcommittee will be having a hearing, as I understand it, on the 25th of March, specifically and entirely focused on Mr. Taylor's favorite subject, the BRAC, although that doesn't mean I will not answer questions today on BRAC.
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And with respect to quail, as Solomon Ortiz notes, I was in Texas two weekends ago in south Texas, hunting the wily quail. And I returned with 25 birds and ate them the following day.
The issue of budget and budget submission over last year's budget submission we will get into in this hearing I am sure, but I did want to, on behalf of Secretary Rumsfeld, express to you his sincere appreciation for what this subcommittee in particular does for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines when it comes to quality-of-life issues as driven by the family housing accounts and MILCON.
The Department has a well-defined strategy to address the condition of our installations and facilities and housing; and we know, as you do, that for many years the facilities declined due to competing issues and competing priorities and, yes, less than a precise understanding of how to properly fund those requirements.
Now, I would like to briefly outline some of the accomplishments and some of the initiatives which President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld have directed since we came into office, which we think have significantly improved and transformed our military infrastructure and, we hope, have injected some of the best business practices that corporate America has developed.
Full facilities sustainment: full facilities sustainment is the first pillar and one of the most important pillars of the Department's infrastructure investment strategy. We have requested this year $6.5 billion for sustainment. As you pointed out, Mr. Chairman, sustainment is not just MILCON. Sustainment in large measure is operations and maintenance (O&M), albeit the jurisdiction of another committee, an important one that I think we all have to understand.
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The sustainment record for this Administration, I think, has been a good one. Every year it has increased. This year the Secretary in a meeting not too long ago made it very clear that this trend line shall continue upward; and this year we do have a 95 percent level, which will be achieved with the fiscal year 2005 budget request.
We, of course, hope that we will achieve full sustainment soon. The question is, as you well know those competing priorities, when we will be able to do that. The fact of the matter remains, we recognize that full sustainment does prevent deterioration and ensures that we benefit from the entire useful life of a given building or facility. And managing those full sustainment costs is, as you know better than most, far less expensive than delaying repair, delaying maintenance and ultimately having to replace those facilities earlier than scheduled.
But sustainment alone will not keep our facilities from becoming obsolete. Changing technology certainly drives an obsolescence curve far steeper than in the past. We must continue to recapitalize those facilities based on the immediate short-term and intermediate-term needs of our military services. The quality of our infrastructure, as you all have said upon occasion, directly affects our ability to train, directly affects the readiness of our forces, directly affects recruitment, retention, quality of life and overall morale.
We had requested this year $4.4 billion for recapitalization, the second pillar of our strategy. The facility recapitalization rate, that is, restoring and modernizing our facilities, has improved in this budget to a rate of 107 years versus the rate of 192 years, which is what we faced when we came into the executive branch in fiscal year 2001. Now we have slashed it nearly in half. We are on target to achieve our goal of a 67-year recapitalization cycle by fiscal year 2008.
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Quality housing, the third pillar of our investment strategy: it was the initiative of the President and the Secretary of Defense not too long after they visited Fort Stewart, GeorgiaI believe it was the third or fourth week of President Bush's Administration that he and the Secretary agreed it must be a key initiative. And to eliminate nearly all inadequate military family housing units which was currently in the queue for 2010, '11 and '12, pull it forward to 2007.
What else have the Secretary and the President agreed to do? Increase the basic allowance for housing, eliminate out-of-pocket expense for off-base housing, increase housing privatization projects and maintain military construction funding. You know, and I think Mr. Ortiz mentioned, as a practical matter, there is a balance between military construction for family housing and housing privatization. I think we will get to that in a little bit more detail later.
But that privatization authority that you all provided to advance this goal has yielded and let's not forget, it has yielded at least three times the amount of housing as traditional military construction for the same amount of appropriated dollars. In February 2004, as of this month, we have awarded 27 separate projects, which total over 55,000 family housing units. That is a 50 percent increase over January 2003, a little more than a year ago; and we are continuing to accelerate our efforts in projects. By the end of 2005, we will have awarded over 136,000 privatized units.
Now, you mentioned that the Congress created a cap, a $850 million budget authority with respect to housing privatization. We have probablyand we are down to the last step of the analysis, we believe that we have used about 70 percent of that money. The remaining 30 percent will be committed by the end of this calendar year. By December of 2004 we think we will have committed the rest of that money.
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Clearly, we need to work with you to increase this authority so we can fully implement the President's management agenda initiative to eliminate all that inadequate family military housing, and we ask for your support.
This committee, the House Armed Services Committeethis particular subcommittee has also been extremely helpful in terms of our range sustainment efforts. As you know, this involves mitigating the effects of encroachment around our facilities tests and training ranges. We want, obviously, our men and women in uniform to have the best and most realistic training facilities so they will return safely home to their families after deployment into combat. Training, however, requires substantial resources and ever-increasing cubic dimensions of air, land, and water. Our military forces need to train as they would fight. Replicating the challenges and the stress, the discomfort, the physical and psychological conditions in the very natural environments of actual combat is first and foremost in our minds when we consider our training ranges.
Encroachment of all types, be it environmental encroachment, urban or exurban suburban growth, air space restrictions, competition for frequency spectrum, all of these encroachment aspects interfere with our abilitydo not necessarily prevent or prohibit, but interfere with our ability to train with fidelity and to execute the missions within an envelope of combat realism. When the time and scope and temperature and distance, the sounds and the smell and even the taste of combat cannot be realistically replicated, when we cannot do that, lives are inevitably lost in battle when they might not have been.
The Department appreciates, of course, your involvement in helping us amend some of those environmental statutes over the last two legislative cycles.
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Let me quickly talk about the environmental management issue. The Department obviously takes these issues very seriously. In fiscal year 2005, the budget request includes $3.8 billion for environmental programs, $1.3 billion for cleanup, $300 million for BRAC environmental remediation, $1.6 billion for compliance, $100 million for pollution prevention, $100 million more for conservationall important aspects of our budget request.
Quickly, on energy consumption, because that is another area within my portfolio, we continue to reduce our energy consumption per capita and per square foot of installation facilities. Now, while our energy consumption is largely made up of carbon-based products, we continue to pursue renewable energy technologies, be they fuel cells, geothermal, wind, solar, et cetera.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, the Department believes that it is transforming its installation business practices to better husband the resources that you authorize and that the Congress appropriates. Now, no statement on real property asset management and how we are managing that process from the Installation and Environment Deputy Under Secretary would be complete, obviously, without reference to arguably the most operationally and financially beneficial initiative of the last 10 years, base realignment and closure.
That effort is leading to the delivery of the Secretary's recommendations to the independent base closure commission in May of 2005. It is a critical process and, yes, a most important product by which we will transform the infrastructure for our military to be more flexible and to more quickly and efficiently respond to the challenges of the 21st century.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The global defense posture review will feed into the domestic BRAC process. I testified about two weeks ago in front of your colleagues on the Military Construction Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee that it is my estimate that the Secretary and the President will be able to announce some of these overseas, what we call ''muscle moves,'' back to the United States and its territories sometime in the May time frame.
I sincerely thank you, Mr. Chairman and the members of this committee, for this chance to share with you what I think are some of our challenges that together we have faced and some of the opportunities that we continue to work on. And with your continued support of our installation and environmental portfolio, I will commit to you that we are dedicated, you and I, to do the right thing by the taxpayers and to do the right thing by our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.
Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I welcome your questions.
[The prepared statement of Secretary DuBois can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Very quickly, the 2005 military construction family housing budget is approximately $9.5 billion or about $200 million less than the amount appropriated in fiscal year 2004. It is also $1.4 billion less than the amount projected for the fiscal year 2005 in the 2004 budget. The 2005 FYDP shows a decrease to military construction accounts of more than $6 billion from the fiscal year 2004 FYDP forecast.
Now, I guess I want to know the rationale for this. Is the rationale simply that there are other priorities and we think we can mandate these construction projects or put them off? Or is what I suggested in my opening statement a possibility, that we are just cutting back until we actually see the shape of the BRAC operation? Or maybe there is some other rationale? Would you share with us the rationale for this?
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Secretary DUBOIS. Mr. Chairman, to be sure, competing priorities, as I indicatedas you have indicated, enter into the calculation with respect to the budget bill for military construction and family housing. I would, however, insist that we also take into consideration that in this particular fiscal year's budget submission, as well as in the FYDP, the overseas military construction for facilities and installations and the overseas family housing accounts have been carefully whittled down on the basis of the discussions that we have been having with the combatant commanders and with the service secretaries on what is necessary for consolidation overseas and, yes, reduction of our force structure from overseas.
You heard me mention the fact that we think the Secretary will be in a position to make some announcements as to force structure returning from overseas later on this spring, perhaps in the May time frame, which will have a direct impact obviously on how we are going to analyze the BRAC installations, the domestic BRAC installations. Therefore, I think some of the reduction is driven by that particular overseas factor.
I would also suggest that we have better management techniques now that focus on how best to spend sustainment dollars which, as I said, are not MILCON, but operations and maintenance dollars; and yes, how to spend military construction dollars. The comment was made, and perhaps we will get into it again, about housing and the reduction in housing. As a practical matter, as I indicated, we have accelerated the reduction of inadequate housing by virtue of using the authorities that you gave us under family housing privatization. I think that is a good thing. Because for every dollar less spent in MILCON, we believe we leverage it at least three, four or five times by using private capital. That reduces the MILCON requirement, which I again would submit is a positive factor.
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Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, it was earlier determined that one-third of the Army's European forces are to be moved to stateside division bases. They could then simply rotate to overseas areas with regular six-month deployment and possibly use war reserve stocks.
Has the Department given full consideration to the infrastructure requirements stateside and the added stress of a possible six-month rotation cycle?
My question would be, why close bases until we are certain of the requirements, especially with no near-term end to the follow-on activities in Iraq and the war on terrorism, and then moving troops to Afghanistan and the Pakistan area? Maybe you can enlighten this committee a little bit on that.
Secretary DUBOIS. I think, Mr. Ortiz, that you have raised one of the misunderstoodand I mean that sincerelymisunderstood aspects of what the Secretary is trying to do in terms of BRAC. The Congress authorized a domestic BRAC. And with a number of Members of Congress suggesting to the Secretary that he do an overseas BRAC, he grabbed that bull by the horns, if you will, and in August of 2001 he started an overseas BRAC process.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What are we doing now? We are essentially doing a global BRAC. He recognizes and he has promised the Congress of the United States that we will not make the critical decisions with respect to domestic BRAC, which those decisions are going to be made over the next year, until and in such time as he had made the overseas decisions in terms of force structure movement within an area of responsibility (AOR), force structure movement between AORs, and force structure movement back to the United States.
As I indicated, we have spent the last two years working very hard on it. The Secretary just recently has given instructions to the combatant commanders to refine some of their recommendations in this regard. I believe that he will be able to share with you sometime in the May time frame, which is in plenty of time to inform the domestic BRAC process, which force structure, which major ''muscle moves,'' if you will, will come back to the United States.
You have already read in the paper, no doubt, some of the options. And I think it bodes well for bringing troops back to the United States. People have asked also, as you have, what this is going to do for stress on the force if we do bring back these troops and have to rotate them out to forward operating locations irrespective of where they might be. I think you also have to look at what the subject has suggested. If we can keep families and officers and enlisted men at one base or installation for a longer period of time, that reduces turmoil; that reduces the stress, even if the husband or the wife are deployed for three to six months overseas.
I grew up in a military family. I went to 12 schools by the time I graduated from the university. I know what it means. I would have much preferred, quite frankly, if I could have spent a longer time in each place to go to school and to be with my family and friends.
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Mr. ORTIZ. The reason I ask is because this committee has noticed that we need to do something with end strength, and I think that there was an agreement made that they would accept at least two armored divisions and maybe one Marine division. And if we bring soldiers back from Europe or Korea, with the additional soldiers that would be given to comply with the end strength, where are we going to put them?
Secretary DUBOIS. That is why we have a BRAC process, Mr. Ortiz. And I think if we are very fortunateand I mean this sincerelyin terms of the Congress said the timing is wrong for, 2003 if you remember the debate, but it is right for 2005, it is right for 2005 because of what the Secretary and the President are doing with respect to reducing overseas force structure.
Remember, too, that in 1998, applying a 1987 force structure model, the Department determined we still had an excess capacity of 22 percent.
I also would suggest to you, people talk about surge: are you taking into consideration surge and mobilization requirements? Today, the United States Army with an authorized end strength of 382,400I am sorry, 482,400 actually has an active duty, because of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF), OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF), Afghanistan and Iraq, over 635,000 men and women in uniform. We didn't have to expand our infrastructure to take care of them. We have mobilized to that extent under the authorities granted by the Congress and taken care of it, in point of fact, because we mobilized these troops and deployed them outside of the country.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But one of the key criteria for BRAC is goingis pursuant to the statute, addressing the surge and contingency requirements from that force structure report, which is due probablywe will probably be able to deliver it sometime near the end of next monththat will drive how we analyze contingency and mobilization requirements.
Mr. ORTIZ. Just one little short question. One of the reasons that I worry about this is that I just came back from Iraq. Most of the soldiers that were going in, rotating for those that were coming out, were mostly reserves or national guard.
My feeling is that we are relying so much on them that this is going to have an impact on future reenlistment for the national guard and the reserves, where we are going to have a huge problem that we will have to contemplate.
Secretary DUBOIS. It is an issue that the Secretary actually asked David Chu and the Joint Chiefs almost on a weekly basis for reports. I believe that the Secretary of Defense's testimony pointed out that less than 7 percent of our reserve component's strength has been mobilized more an once over the last 10 years. An interesting statistic. Less than 50 percent has been mobilized at all. In other words, about 50 percent of the entire reserve component strength has not been mobilized once in the last 10 years.
Having said that, the reserve component mixture, what we have on active duty force, what we have in the reserve component is, by the Secretary's own admission, as well as the chiefs', not balanced? We seem to be asking for more out of the reserve components for certain specialties and functions that ought to be in greater numbers in the active duty forces.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is what you are going to see happen over the next several months, a rebalancing of that. I believe that the chief of staff of the Army has already shared with you some of his ideas of how he will go about doing that.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have some other questions, but I would like to submit them for the record.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mrs. Wilson.
Mrs. WILSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your having this hearing. I have to say I was a little bit surprised at where we are on these criteria for BRAC. When I saw the draft criteria come out of the Federal Register, my presumption was that you were going to use the ones as a draft that you had had for the prior three rounds back to the 1980's, and that in this process of public comment is when the Defense Department would bring these up to date and for the 21st century round of BRAC.
Which is why I was even more surprised that after that period of public comment, where your own analysis of the 12th of February shows that those comments and suggested revisions and updates fell into 32 different kinds of categories, 32 different ideas, some of which were brought up by multiple people, that you did not change the criteria at all or did only in trivial ways.
So now we have a BRAC criteria that was designed for a Cold War situation, developed in the 1980's, that has not really changed at all. And even recommendations made by the General Accounting Office (GAO) about taking into account what we learned from the last round of BRAC on inadequacies and the criteria were not incorporated at all. So we have, I think, a defective and outdated criteria.
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And, Mr. DuBois, I would ask you a couple of questions about it. The GAO recommended that the criteria be clarified so that the costs that are analyzed are the cost to the taxpayer, not the cost to the Defense Department. And you did not make that change. I would like to know why you did not make that change and what you think has changed about your model that will keep you from making the same mistakes this time as you made last time?
Secretary DUBOIS. Congresswoman Wilson, we did take, we believe, a very strict interpretation and reflection of what the statute said with respect to BRAC. We believe that it was our obligation to publish the draft selection criteria as reflective of the statute.
There have been changes in the draftin the selection criteria with respect to the 2005 round versus the 1995 round. One of the principal changes is the fact that we are looking not necessarily at capacity alone, but at capabilities.
Now, before I go any further, though, I think that it is important, and I know a number of members here are interested in the same issue, why after the receipt of a number of letters from Members of Congress, governors, and mayors and private citizens during that 30-day public comment period, why were there no changes between the draft selection criteria and the final selection criteria? I would commend to your attention the fact that we accompanied the final selection criteria with an in-depth analysis of the major changes that were suggested.
But I want to say thatand I make no excuses for thiswe believe that the selection criteria honor and, in fact, reflect almost to the letter the statutory wording in the 2005 authorization.
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In addition, we believe that the criteria were designed to be broad enough to accommodate the diversity of missions and the diversity of functions existing
Mrs. WILSON. If I could interrupt you, because I really want an answer to my question. The GAO recommended that you alter your criteria so thatand this is one of the things that is analyzed in yourwhere I got the 32 categories from was your own analysis. They recommended that you change your criteria to make clear that the cost that we are after is the cost to the taxpayer, not the cost to DOD.
You did not change it. I want to know why.
Secretary DUBOIS. I think that in criteria five, where we talk about the extent and timing of potential costs and savings, it includesit is inclusive of costs across the board.
Mrs. WILSON. So you are saying it is implicit that you are talking about cost to the taxpayer and not to DOD?
Secretary DUBOIS. We are being driven by military value. It depends upon what you are addressing. If you are saying, if we close base X and there are nonmilitary, non-DOD functions, on base X, would that therefore mean that those functions would have to move elsewhere or close? The answer is no.
Are you then suggesting that there are costs that are beyond the DOD's in that closure of base X? I am trying to get to the number.
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Mrs. WILSON. I am saying that the General Accounting Office, as well as othersI will admit myself, I am included therethat list of others, recommended that in its criteria the Defense Department make clear that the costs we are interested in saving, the dollars we are interested in saving, are not the dollars to DOD. We want to see that there are savings to the American taxpayer.
I do not care if it shows up on your books, on the National Aeronautics & Space Administration's books, on the Energy Department's books, the books we care about are the taxpayer books. And the GAO recommended you change it and you said, ''No, thanks.'' I would like to know why.
Secretary DUBOIS. I don't think that we said, ''No, thanks.'' I think that we commented that criteria number-five would incorporate costs irrespective of what those costs might be.
Now, granted, we have an obligation, as Congress told us what our obligations were with respect to costs for the Department of Defense.
Mrs. WILSON. Mr. DuBois, you mention in your answer that you were going to change your guidance as to how you gather data and particularly your model for base closure. As I understand it, your first data callsspecifically excludes all aspects of any bases that are not particularly on the DOD books.
I wondered if you were going out for an additional data call that includes all Federal installations on military bases.
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Secretary DUBOIS. We are not authorized. In fact, Congress specificallywhen asked for the authorization to include by statute assets not belonging to the Department of Defense, Congress chose not to give us that authorization.
Mrs. WILSON. So you are not collecting the data?
Secretary DUBOIS. We are not collecting the data particular to facilities not belonging to the Department of Defense.
Mrs. WILSON. So the commission will not have in front of itthey are just black holes which they cannot consider anything about what is on that installation, if it does not have a DOD
Secretary DUBOIS. I wouldn't go so far as to say that. I would not prejudge what the commission will do. I would think that the commission is going to take into consideration, and must take into consideration if a base is recommended for closing, a supermajority of nine; seven of the nine must vote for it, but at least two of the nine must visit the installation. So I will presume that the commission is going to have insights and knowledge about all facilities on that installation.
Mrs. WILSON. You have asked the base commanders, I think it was over 500 discrete questions on data, and it specifically excluded anything that is not.
Secretary DUBOIS. Because we are not authorized to ask the Department of Energy, we are not authorized to ask the Department of Justice for theirdo a data call on them.
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Mrs. WILSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think this illustrates the problems we are having. We may have to take some action. I look forward to working with you on it.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Secretary DuBois, for being with us today. Mr. Secretary, I am going to ask for a clarification, because I am hearing vastly different answers to the same question when it comes to the BRAC process. I am hearing from the proponents about all the money it is going to save us and that the monies are saved immediately. Yet I was just handed a copy of your remarks from December 20th of 2002, at a media round table on BRAC where you stated the following, and I will quote you: ''remember BRAC is not inexpensive. BRAC will probably end up costing the Department of Defense over a four-to-six-year perioddepending on how large the BRAC is, depending on how much capacity you are reducing and, by definition, how much you are realigning, it could cost $10 billion to $20 billion over that period of time.'' now, that is the end of your quote.
For argument's sake, let's say we split the difference: It ends up costing our Nation $15 billion. By your own words, it would take five years to start realizing any real savings.
Secretary DUBOIS. Savings begin in the fourth year. Net savings, I might add, savings begin in year one, but the net savings with a crossover occurs in the fourth year.
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Mr. TAYLOR. I am just curious, when you made that statement in 2002, did you envision that this month the Secretary of Defense would come before this committee and ask for a growth in Army manpower by 30,000?
Secretary DUBOIS. I am not the personnel under secretary, but I will
Mr. TAYLOR. Would that not be a factor in how many bases and how much housing we need?
Secretary DUBOIS. Absolutely. As I indicated, the United States Army today has in uniform on active duty over 640,000 people. We have taken that into consideration with the current infrastructure. We would certainly take it into consideration, as we mustunder the criteria number three, we must accommodate contingency mobilization and future total force requirements.
Mr. TAYLOR. How much is our Nation spending in North Carolina near my friend Walter Jones' district? How much are we spending in North Carolina to build the outlying landing field for the F18E and Fs?
Secretary DUBOIS. I don't know, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. Was that taken into consideration when Cecil Field was closed, which had four runways capable of handling those planes?
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Secretary DUBOIS. I can't respond to your question in terms of what happened in the prior rounds of BRAC.
I will say this
Mr. TAYLOR. The point is, it was not and that we continue to pay long term for short-term mistakes from previous rounds of BRAC. And quite frankly, the whole talk of BRAC started prior to 9/11.
Secretary DUBOIS. That is correct.
Mr. TAYLOR. As a Nation of great people, we should be able to say on occasion, and hopefully only on occasion, I made a mistake. I would sure like to see this Department of Defense, in particular the appointed officials of the Department of Defense, say, maybe we shouldn't rush into BRAC.
The world has changed dramatically since the summer of 2001 when Secretary Rumsfeld called for a 25 percent reduction in capacity.
So while I have got you here, would you please name one Army, one Navy, one Air Force, or one Marine Corps base that you think needs to be closed?
Secretary DUBOIS. Mr. Taylor, the BRAC process
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. No, sir. I keep hearing from folks in your capacity on your team that say, we have too many bases, we have too much infrastructure. And they keep throwing out this 25 percent capacity.
All I would like, sir, is one specific instance from any of you.
Secretary DUBOIS. You are not going to get one specific instance, Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. If you cannot name one, how can you say you have 25 percent in excess capacity?
Secretary DUBOIS. Because the excess capacity analysis was on the basis of aggregate categories of pier space, apron space, runway space, hanger space. It was aggregate. I have testified to this. It is an aggregate gross model.
Now, the Secretary has never said that that will translate into the reduction of 20 to 25 percent of bases.
Mr. TAYLOR. I said capacity, sir.
Secretary DUBOIS. Yes, I appreciate that.
Mr. TAYLOR. I have listened to you. I have been quoting you.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary DUBOIS. I would submit that 20 to 25 percent of the bases are not going to end up being closed. They may end up realigned. That is a key word that people forget about this entire process.
Mr. TAYLOR. Second question, a little closer to home: Keesler Field has the luxuryKeesler Air Force Base has the luxury of owning the land and the housing on that land. I am a bit bewildered looking out thereI think most people who have the opportunity buy a home because they realize in the long term it is cheaper to buy than to rent. There may be exceptions to that, but I don't know of many. Hopefully, the Air Force is going to be around for a long time.
What I am a bit puzzled on, and I will give you the opportunity to defend, is the decision of the Air Force to shut down housing that we own at Keesler Air Force Base and go out and rent housing, because it seems to fly as a complete contradiction of everything that I believe in.
Second, if the answer is going to be for maintenance purposes, please explain to me why private-sector folks, i.e., the renter, can maintain those buildings for less cost than you experts who ought to be able to maintain those buildings that we already own. Because, again, that does not speak well for the folks thatagain, that would not be your words, but that would not speak well for the folks that you have doing that maintenance.
Secretary DUBOIS. Mr. Gibbs, sitting behind me, who is in the next panel, will no doubt have some more specifics as far as Keesler is concerned; but let me answer it in terms of the broad Department of Defense.
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The condition of the housing in January of 2001 was recognized both by the Congress and by Secretary Rumsfeld as being military family housing, as being inadequatea huge percentage inadequate. If on any given installation the housing is substandard, inadequate, and we can eliminate it through a housing privatization project, we will choose to do so because, A, it is less cost to the American taxpayer, B, it can be done faster.
Mr. TAYLOR. How do you document that? Because, again, I do not see how rentinggoing out and renting something and giving up something you own is less expensive.
Secretary DUBOIS. Mr. Taylor, one of the biggest problems that we have had for a long time, preceding my service in this Administration, has been the fact that military construction dollars were never enough to maintain, sustain and recapitalize the large inventory of family housing that we had in the Department. A considered judgment arrived at in conjunction with Members of Congress and this committee and this subcommittee was that in order to, as quickly as possible, eliminate that inadequate, substandard housing, we would enter into a privatization process.
It was an experiment at first, begun some five and a half years ago. It has proven its worth, in my view, in terms of eliminating as quickly as possible that inadequate family housing.
Mr. TAYLOR. So you think in the short term with a long-term expenditure, a higher expenditure long term to solve a short-term problem
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Secretary DUBOIS. I think there have been studies, and I would be glad to share them with you.
Mr. TAYLOR. I am saying this as a very sincere skeptic. I just do not see how our Nation is served in the long term by doing this. And I do not see how the taxpayer, who has paid for those houses and will continue to pay that rent, are served in the long term by doing this.
Secretary DUBOIS. There has always been a debate within the Department, quite frankly. A MILCON dollar less here by virtue of housing privatization, a basic allowance for housing dollar over here, have we really saved any money?
We believe that in that equation, even in that balance, we will saveover the life cycle of the housing, we will save money. I will provide you separately with the reports and the analyses we have done in that respect.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HAYES [presiding]. Mr. Cole.
Mr. COLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, Mr. DuBois, for being here. I appreciate it very much. I want to pick up again, if I may, on this 25 percent overcapacity question just for a second and then move on to a couple of other things.
In that regard, if we are indeed at 25 percent over capacity, when you use that figure, DOD uses that figure, is that a global figure or is that a domestic figure?
Secretary DUBOIS. It is a global figure, sir.
Mr. COLE. So are you saying that after we go through realignment, if you willan overseas BRAC, I think, is roughly the way you described itthat we may have considerably less overcapacity after May of 2004 domestically than that 25 percent figure might lead us to believe?
Secretary DUBOIS. There is no question that with the return of force structure from overseas to the United States, the capacity coefficient in the United States changes, especially when you consider thatwell, I don't know how much of the overcapacity existed in Germany versus the United States, but intuitively, one would come to the conclusion that the United States will have less overcapacity; i.e., when we do the domestic BRAC informed by the overseas closures and realignment and return home of force structure, we have to take that into consideration.
Mr. COLE. Just to be clear on this, in your view of that, the Secretary's and DOD's, even when they used that 25 percent figure, I think that is very important, frankly, something you ought to be stressing a lot more. I think Members' concern might not be quite as high if that were put in that context.
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Fort Sill is in my district. We benefited from reprogramming last year. We saw jobs and capital flow out of Europe to that particular facility; it was very helpful to us, and in the end, we are talking about considerably less than 25 percent. I am not asking you to say that, I don't think you can yet, but could you come back to us with a new estimate after May of 2004, after you have looked beyond the borders of the United States, and give us some idea what you think the figure is at that point?
Secretary DUBOIS. Yes, sir. And I will verify the last exchange. But it is also true that in the reports, that are due under the statute in conjunction with the justification documents to the Appropriations Committeeswhich again my best estimates would be sometime approximately a month from nowmust include a capacity analysis.
Of course, the key report required under the statute is the so-called ''20-year force structure analysis,'' and you all will be able to see how important that particular document is in terms of driving the infrastructure necessary to support that force structure.
Mr. COLE. Again, I would just ask you, when that time comes, just to focusif you would get us some information on redeploying and changing overseas, how that interacts with what you are doing domestically; and if that 25 percent figure has shrunk in some appreciable way, I think that would be very helpful to all of us.
Second area, I was recently advisedand this may or may not be correctthat DOD is thinking about a policy parameter that would say, we closed down Air National Guard bases within 50 miles of major Air Force bases; is that true?
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Secretary DUBOIS. I do not have any insight into that. The guard, be it Air National Guard or Army National Guard, base structure iseach individual service is including that in its particular BRAC analysis. I am not privy to what the Air Force may be doing in that regard.
Mr. COLE. I would ask to look atperhaps there is somebody you could direct me to if you are not the appropriate party on that.
We have a situation in my district, we have a great Air Guard facility at Rogers Air Force Base, I know there is some concern that it might be closed down and its units moved to Tinker.
That is fine in some ways. Tinker actually has the space, but it does not have the physical capacity. We would literally have to go build hangars. We have, frankly, a very new Air National Guard facility.
So if that is indeed the case, it would be one of these situations where a broad policy would locally cost you a lot of money that I would just as soon see you spend on the modernization of the depot at Tinker as opposed to recreatingit goes back to Mrs. Wilson's point about where we are saving money, DOD or taxpayer or what have you?
That is a matter of great concern to me.
Secretary DUBOIS. Those costs are very much a part of this process. My distinguished colleagues, sitting behind me, will be in this chair in a few minutes and will no doubt be able to give you some more details with respect to Tinker.
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Mr. COLE. As you approach your planning both with respect to BRAC and with respect to construction activities, range activities, how much do you factor in what a community can and will do working with you?
To give you a couple of examples: Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahomanot in my district, but certainly in my staterecently, in preparing for BRAC, was literally donated a considerable piece of land. The state rerouted a road just to make sure there was more protection for the base, if you will.
We happen to have a fuel storage facility that was very close to the border. The idea was to create a buffer. Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma County, passed a $50 million bond issue and was happy to do it to clear out houses that might encroach.
How much does that become a factor in both your planning and in the BRAC process?
Secretary DUBOIS. As you know, the Department must make its recommendations based on the final selection criteria and the force structure plan. Military value, while it is well defined in the statute and, we believe, well defined in the first four criteria of the selection criteria, as a practical matter, the communities which have invested in schools and health care and transportation and infrastructure in and around the base will, I think by definition, fare well.
But the issue of what a community can do nowif a community, in my view, has not been sincerely and intimately involved in the health and welfare of that installation in terms of bricks and mortar, but more importantly, in terms of the military families who live and work there, civilian and uniformed, I think you can draw your own conclusions.
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I will say that in my travel, and I have been to 117 different installations in the last 3 years in this job, I have been critical of some in terms of specificsschools for instance, or spousal employment opportunities, those that are not oftentimesspousal employment, not oftentimes considered on the one hand. On the other hand, most of the communities I have visited are absolutely committed to making their quality of life as high as it can be.
Mr. COLE. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HAYES. Mr. Reyes.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And again, thank you for being with us, Mr. Secretary. I wanted to associate myself with the remarks of both the chairman and the ranking member in terms of the frustration of not seeing enough money dedicated to the MILCON account. And I do so because I was part of a four-member congressional delegation led by Chairman Weldon and by Ranking Member Ortiz a couple of years ago that covered, I believe it was 25 bases in 4 days. We were looking specifically at the infrastructure needs and in most cases the high state of deterioration of infrastructure that you have that we normally don't see because it is either, you know, buried pipes or hidden walls, buildings that normally are used for a variety of things. In fact, in this year's budget, after trying for about 4 or 5 years, the Air Defense Education Building for $16 million is included in the President's budget, which I really appreciate.
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Secretary DUBOIS. At Fort Bliss.
Mr. REYES. At Fort Bliss, right.
But the concern that I have when we talk about BRAC is that, as you know, Mr. Secretary, Fort Bliss is in my district, but it is connected to White Sands and Holloman, and it is really a regional basein fact, the largest base in the DOD inventory. And the concern that I haveor maybe I should rephrase that. The question that I have is, is that going to be looked at in this BRAC round where these three facilities that are really one huge regional training center, will that be taken into account? In other words, or will you look at Fort Bliss, White Sands and Holloman each independently?
Secretary DUBOIS. Mr. Reyes, and I don't mean to be cute, but the answer is yes and no. It is really yes and yes. And it is a danger, it seems to me, to think that the Department of Defense and the three military departments are going to look at each installation solely on an individual military value calculation. You have to step back and look at the whole.
In your part of the world, you have got these interconnected ranges and installations. I think Bliss alone iswith White Sands, is a million acres. There are similar situations around the country where, while installations and ranges aren't necessarily contiguous, they are tied in from an instrumentation standpoint. They are looked at in a holistic way.
So, yes, on the one hand, you are going to do a military value calculation with respect to that installation by itself and look at it relative to like installations. On the other hand, they are also''they,'' meaning the joint cost service groups and the military departmentsgoing to look at how these bases fit together.
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Now, I don't want to confuse the issue, but I think it is important to note for the future that base A may have a military value calculation of 80, base B might have one of 70 and base C may have one of 60. But the advantage to the Department of Defense from a multiservice, multimission standpoint is that the military value of B and C together is higher than A, and you might end up realigning or closing A even though this has a higher military value individually than B and C because B and C together constitute a greater importance.
That is an academic argument. I don't know how it is going to come out, but I wanted to just put that in front of you all today.
Mr. REYES. And I appreciate you doing that because it is important, I think, that when we talk about the military value that it represents to our Nation, that it be considered holistically. And in our case, we don't have any encroachment problems, any environmental problems, any of those kinds of things, but there is or there was that concern that because they are individual bases, per se, but yet connected together, that this might not be taken into account. So thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HAYES. Dr. Snyder, if you will indulge me just a minute, I had a quick question.
The issue of a cap on the Residential Communities Initiative (RCI), what is your plan for that, 850?
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Secretary DUBOIS. We are in discussions with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on how we would propose Congress deal with that issue. We are of a single mind in this regard. We know it must be dealt with; we know we must relieve the cap.
There are several schools of thought, sir. One is tolet's have no cap at all. One is to raise it by a billion dollars, B, billion. We believe that we are very close to an agreement with OMB as to how to deal with that.
There is also the issue of scoring.
Mr. HAYES. Okay. That's good for now.
Dr. Snyder, excuse me.
Secretary DUBOIS. I hope to have an answer for you very shortly. But not this afternoon.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary; it is good to see you. Mr. DuBois, you have had a fair amount of, you know, some fairly intense questions this afternoon about BRAC, and I know that is not the first time that has occurred and it is not going to be the last. But as you know, this is a very intense issue for members.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am one that agrees with the need for another round of base closure and have voted that way here. But it does point out, I think, you all have a rough job because this process has to be always perceived as being absolutely fair and evenhanded and based on the merits of the case; and that is acan sometimes be a difficult perception to bring about in this town.
A specific question I wanted to ask, and I know you have been asked it before, is the issue of communities hiring private lobbyists to get involved in this process. Do you have any comments about that?
I think Members of Congress are never quite sure what to say, because some of these are just some horrific prices that communities put into this, and yet, ifI hope to hell that all that is money wasted because I would like to think we have a process that there is no D.C. lobbyist that would have any impact on this process at all.
What are your thoughts about that?
Secretary DUBOIS. The Secretary of Defense and I have both publicly stated that the best proponents, best spokesmen, most knowledgeable individuals with respect to military installations are sitting right up there. You are the best ones.
I do not believe that some of the money being spent by some communities today on Washington-based lawyers, lobbyists and consultants, I do not believe that some of that money is well spent. I think that communities ought to look at their military community, military installation; and they would probably better spend their dollars in determining where and how it might include and increase and improve infrastructure, transportation, health care, housing, schools. That, in my view is where those hard-earned taxpayer dollars ought to be spent.
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There is a case to be made, I suppose, that when a community is not knowledgeable about what goes on inside that installation or how it might impact the economics of the local vicinitywhich, by the way, we must take into consideration in category or selection criteria number six. They should know, and if they don't know, that is probably dollars well spent on knowing what is happening there, as opposed to what might be happening back here.
Dr. SNYDER. I wanted to ask, one of the things at the base back homethis is just a generic question; this is really for the future, but this issue came up after September 11th.
They have an educational facility on the base, and I know it is true all over the country. But then with the security tightening after September 11th, it became a difficulty because of nonmilitary people, who are taking classes on the base and were shut off for a while. So what folks in central Arkansas have come up with, working in cooperation with the base, was some type of joint facility which would be on base property, but outside the perimeter in which the military puts in money to it, and it is a joint thing.
Is that something that is being looked at around the country, do you know? Or is that something, that kind of shared entity, is that something that is unusual?
Secretary DUBOIS. I am aware of a number of installations where functions and facilities which serve both military personnel and nonmilitary personnel from the community have been either moved, or the fence line has been rearranged or the access has been changed, or special IDs have been issued post-9/11.
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Dr. SNYDER. My concern is about this issue of merging. Building a new educational facility that can basically be a small college for 1,500 or 2,000 people is a fairly large building. Is that something that you all are looking at or are we subject to, or is that
Secretary DUBOIS. I don't know of any instance where, in an educational facility or a skills secondary training facility where we have entered into a partnership like that. But I will ask my colleagues and let you know.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Dr. SNYDER. I think it is something worth pursuing. It solves that security problem. The environmental problems at Camp Lejeune got some press attention in the last two or three weeks.
What has been you all's response to, specifically, Camp Lejeune, but also the possibility of there being other problems at other bases?
Secretary DUBOIS. I think you are referring to the water issue.
Dr. SNYDER. Yes. Yes, sir. I am sorry.
Secretary DUBOIS. Secretary Johnson, H.T. Johnson, who will testify in front of you, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Environment, he mentioned that to me in our weekly meeting; and I have asked him for more details.
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A similar question actually arose the other day with some visitors from California. When we are faced with a situation that drinking water has been impacted or the tests indicate that there is a health issue, it is dealt with immediately, and it is dealt with immediately whether it is an active duty base, a formerly used defense site, or as in the case we have found in our own backyard here in Washington, Spring Valley, we didn't know about it at all. We transferred money. We reprogrammed money to directly deal with the situation of the moment.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY [presiding]. Mr. Marshall.
Mr. MARSHALL. Mr. Chairman, I am waiting for somebody from my office to bring something down here. If I could pass for right now and maybe question later.
Mr. HEFLEY. Sure.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And a warm half-a-day to Mr. DuBois. And I would like to say, Mr. Secretary, what a pleasure it was to have you visit Guam with Secretary Rumsfeld last November. As you got to see firsthand, the installations that we have on our island are exposed to some unique conditions which make building in solid concrete almost a must. And they also serve a unique purpose, allowing the Air Force bombers to reach where they need to in the Asia Pacific region.
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Of course, I would like to see the bombers that are on rotation out to Guam permanently based there, and that means building the infrastructure to service them like the war reserve material storage facility that is in the 2005 authorization request. It will be a welcome addition to the base, Mr. Secretary, and it also means taking care of families in the new Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) high school and the 2005 authorization request fulfills that commitment.
But as I look to the future development of the base, I am increasingly concerned about the BRAC process and the global presence and the basing strategy review. While Andersen Air Force Base is undergoing the BRAC process, its neighbors in South Korea and Okinawa are under separate review.
Will the base commander on Guam know the outcome of that global review when he is evaluating the capacity and utilization of Andersen Air Force Base, and will that data enter later in the process? I ask this because Guam's strategic value is, in part, dependent on what the Department of Defense decides to do with its neighbors.
And I know that Ranking Member Ortiz has already touched on this and the outcome seems positive. But if you could delve into the process for me, I would certainly appreciate it.
Secretary DUBOIS. Ma'am, for the very reasons that you have raised, as I have indicated and stated publicly, the Secretary of Defense is no longer doing a domestic BRAC. He is doing an integrated global BRAC. And he knows that it is his obligation to rationalize the overseas basing structure and have that inform the domestic basing structure decisions.
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The Andersen Air Force Base installation commander received a data call, as did every other installation commander around the world, the very same data call.
Some of those questions, of course, are applicable to some bases and not to others. The changes in the Korean peninsula, when those changes are completed, they will have no doubt an impact on the U.S. and its territories, as I have indicated, as will the changes in Germany. And I can assure you that Andersen is going to be part and parcel of that entire integrated analysis, and it will have an impact on Andersen, there is no question.
Ms. BORDALLO. Well, thank you, Mr. Secretary. I amunlike previous rounds of the BRAC, I remain optimistic on this one.
Secretary DUBOIS. Well, so far, the Secretary and the President have increased the force structure on the island of Guam for military value and military operational reasons. Three submarines are out there now. But it does raise an issue as you put it out in your opening remarks about infrastructure on that island, and the typhoon and weather issues require certain construction standards which increase the construction factor to factor 1.4, I believe.
Having said that, Guam is in an awfully advantageous place.
Ms. BORDALLO. Glad to hear that. Thank you Mr. Secretary.
Mr. HEFLEY. Back to Mr. Marshall.
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Secretary DUBOIS. Not that Fort Bliss isn't in an awfully advantageous place.
Mr. MARSHALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, as Ms. Wilson was asking you about GAO's recommendation and why you had not taken GAO's recommendation, I was reminded that I had read the Federal Register release that came out in the last couple of weeks that specifically discussed this, and I thought it might be helpful to you and all of us if I simply read the suggestion made by GAO and the response that was given by DOD.
The suggestion was that the Department's intention to consider potential costs to other DOD activities, or Federal agencies that may be affected by the proposed changes or realignment recommendation under the criterion, relate to the cost and savings. And GAO suggested that DOD modify its criteria to take that into account.
The response, at least as published in the Federal Register as discussed above, DOD recognizes that the BRAC legislation required it to consider cost impacts on other DOD entities and Federal agencies in its BRAC decision-making and will issue implementing guidance to ensure that such costs are considered under criterion five. So it sounds to me as if, at least in the Federal Register, DOD in response to those concerns by GAO is saying, while we are not going to change the BRAC criteria themselves, we are going to issue implementing instructions and guidelines that do direct that we take into account not only cost to DOD, but cost to other agencies.
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Secretary DUBOIS. Thank you, Mr. Marshall, for clarifying that. The question, in our view, was included in its broader definition under criterion number five. It is true we are going to give implementing guidance to each of the jointeach of the seven joint cost service groups.
I think the question that Ms. Wilson raisedand I will be very precise about this when I get back to the officethat the data call for non-DOD facilities, is not within our purview. But I want to respectfully submit that a DOD function or facility on a DOD installation may be realigned or closed, but that does not necessarily mean or follow that the other non-DOD assets, real property assets and functions and facilities, would necessarily have to move.
The question remains, would it remain a military installation or would it be an installation run by the Department of Energy or the Department of Justice? I don't know the answer to that.
Mr. MARSHALL. I heard Ms. Wilson ask two questions, at least. And one was just the general inquiry whether or not you had adjusted your
Secretary DUBOIS. I appreciate that.
Mr. MARSHALL. The second was the one that you bring up now, and I think it was just a follow-up. It was, so why haven't you asked for information from Federal agencies that are occupying installations, along with DOD occupying an installation? And I suppose that you don'tI am not quite sure I understand the response that you have given.
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There has been a choice, obviously, made here. I don't know that the choice not to request the information about impact, cost impact, is one that is volitional or required. I don't know whether these other agencies would have to share with you the information that you have requested, whether you simply decided not to request that information.
Secretary DUBOIS. I think one mustthank you, sir.
I think one must draw a distinction between a data call to a function on a particular military installation for a military facility, how many square feet of class A office space do you have, et cetera. We are interested in the cost structure of that installation, which includes all tenants on that installation; we must take that into consideration.
But with respect to military value and military function, I don't care what the Drug Enforcement Administration has in terms of square footage of class A office space. I do care for the cost structure of the entire installation to include all the tenants, military or otherwise.
Mr. MARSHALL. So in doing your analysis concerning military needs, you might make one inquiry for data, and then at some point, in trying to take into account the costs that will be incurred as a result of a decision to realign to close, what have you?
Secretary DUBOIS. That is correct.
Mr. MARSHALL. You might make another request for data, and at that point, you might inquire of those other Federal agencies that would be impacted by whatever decision that you are making concerning the cost they anticipate incurring; and then you would take those costs into account in trying to make the final decision. Is that essentially the sequence?
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Secretary DUBOIS. Yes, that is my anticipation of how this process will work.
Mr. MARSHALL. Thank you, sir. I have no further questions.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Abercrombie.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, aloha. Good to see you again. I am going to ask you three or four questions, some of which, the answers to which, you might have to give back in writing. It might be more useful because of the limited time today, if that is okay.
Secretary DUBOIS. Very well.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So if you answer in, you know, abbreviated terms, it is not going to hurt my feelings in that respect.
Secretary DUBOIS. I hope I am smart enough to do that.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Oh, I think you are smart enough. I am pretty sure of that.
I do want to indicate, though, Mr. Chairman, that we have caucused up here and I have specifically asked Dr. Snyder whether there was any excess capacity on this row of the Armed Services Committee, and the determination was, there wasn't any at this point. But we will leave the question open on this row.
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Mr. HEFLEY. Ask that question and get him on the record.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Yeah. It was informal, I assure you. If you go to page eight of your testimony, Mr. Secretary, this goeswe have had a conversation on this before. I realize that your testimony has to be general in nature. That is why I said, you might want to respond in more detail in writing. This goes to the budget request on out-of-pocket housing costs of the average military member. We have discussed this before. I am concerned that I still don'tI want to know whether you have an across-the-board formula or whether it is installation by installation with respect to trying to determine what an appropriate market rent is; and whether or not any action has been taken since our last conversation about whether or not we are just applying a formula inespecially in the private sector that ends up with landlords simply raising their rent to meet whatever the number is of the housing allowance and not really providing either better housing or more housing or both.
Secretary DUBOIS. Mr. Abercrombie, you and I have spoken about this. We both share the same concerns. If we find a situation where the housing marketplace merely responds by raising rents by virtue of an increase in basic allowance for housing and not increasing either the quality or the quantity of that housing, we are going to make adjustments.
Housing out-of-pocket expenses and base allowance for housing (BAH) are adjusted and analyzed locally, A; B, you don't have one blanket BAH.
But secondarily or equally as important, number two, the installation commander has some flexibility with respect to how wide a circle he draws, where he indicates this area isyou know, high rent district, not available.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Again, because of the time, so in other words you are saying you have sufficient authority now, you believe, either in legislation or in policy, enunciated to enable you to do that? You can make your adjustments? The commander or the Department can do that and is doing that?
Secretary DUBOIS. Yes. In fact, we make adjustments in between the analytic annual cycle. If an installation commander comes to us and says, I have got a problem, we will deal with it.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Perhaps you could just make a summary of where those things have taken place and what they were and give it to the chairman to pass on. I would be grateful.
Anecdotally, I can tell you that it worked in Hawaii when we actually did move forward with family housing on base and the barracks changes and so on. I know because the landlords and the real estate people complained that the rents were dropping in the private sector, that they were dropping; and of course, I said that was the whole idea, to keep civilian families and military families from competing for the same nonexistent rental housing or highly restricted rental housing.
So if you could do that, I would be grateful.
Secretary DUBOIS. Yes, sir.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. On page 13 the INRMPs, the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan, again, we had a pretty extensive discussion in the last session concerning the Marine Mammal Protection Act, so on and so forth. Again, I realize your testimony has to be presented in a general sense, but perhaps if you could again provide the chairman and the subcommittee with the information on the contention here.
If I understood it correctly, you have pretty much gone through the INRMPs as to what you wanted to do, clarifying the regulatory criteria and so on, the definition of harassment. Have you completed these management plans with respect to sonar and the impact on whales and other sea creatures?
Secretary DUBOIS. The Department of the Navy has spent in excess of $10 million over the last 10 years doing research in conjunction with Cornell University, Scripps and Woods Hole on the impact of the so-called Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) Low Frequency Active (LFA) sonarnot so-called, the SURTASS LFA sonar technology. I would defer to Secretary Johnson, H.T. Johnson, when he appears before you to give you a more detailed answer.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Could you kind of give him a heads up.
Secretary DUBOIS. Absolutely.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And to the degree or extent that you have some responsibility here, pass onyou may be doing this as a matter of course, anyway, to the committee; I don't know. But I would certainly appreciate that if you could be instrumental or be a catalyst in seeing that that information comes forward.
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You indicated in your testimony, I am not sure which page, and it may have been that you said it in addition to that which was written in the formal testimony. With regard to the overseas military facility review, did you say that you thought this might be ready in May? Do I have that correct?
Secretary DUBOIS. Yes, I did.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay.
Secretary DUBOIS. That is my best estimate based on where we have come from and how far we have gotten, quite frankly.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. That is part of the last area that I want to go into.
I am very concernednot me personally, but I meant, I am sure I express a concern that reflects the committee's, as well as your own interests with regard to base capacity and possible closure.
In this instance, it is with openings. I have had, unfortunately, some very sad experience in dealing with Uzbekistan and some of these areas with regard to immigration, student visas, individuals coming to Hawaii, East-West Center and so on, student activity, as well as other situations involving immigration and foreign students. And by that I mean, these countries are ruthless dictatorships. There is no other way to put it.
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Now, I understand we have got strategic interests to take a look at and all the rest. But when we are talking about capacity and we are engaged in this review, the overseas military facility structure, can you illuminate for me a little bit better, are these basing arrangements in places like Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan, are theymaybe a better way to phrase it is, how permanent do we think these base arrangements are going to be?
I thinkand I realize you can't say, well, okay here is the date certain; I understand that. But you get what I mean in terms of building, the money we have to put forward for military construction and so on. There is more than an element of expectation as to how long those buildings will be there, that kind of thing.
How does the Department define permanent? What kind of arrangements are we going to make, the physical arrangements, are we going to make, given the fact that our relationships with these countries are, at best, instrumental and, at worst, highly tentative, depending on what the governmental structure might be tomorrow.
And where does that fit into your formulation or speculation with regard to determining what capacity is or is not in making recommendations for BRAC?
Secretary DUBOIS. Quick answer: We want tothe Secretary wants to minimize the impact, the financial impact, to the American taxpayer with respect to overseas military construction, in a short answer.
Number two, he, however, wants to maximizeand they aren't necessarily exclusive. He wants to maximize the flexibility for the deployment and forward basing and forward force projection of American military.
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You would think that they would necessarily be in conflict. We have found, as most of you know, that during OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM some countries were impediments to the deployment and pass-through of our force structure.
The Secretary, I think being a good businessman, says, I want multiple opportunities not only to leverage a negotiation for potential forward operating locations, but I also want to be in places where they want us to be.
There will not be, in my judgment, a major operating bases built in some of these countries that you have mentioned. There will, however, be basing agreements, assembly point agreements
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Would these be more like staging operations than operational facilities?
Secretary DUBOIS. They could very well be.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Last thing on that. Well, you get my point.
Secretary DUBOIS. I do.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Is that going to be taken into account when you make your report? Will you be making the report on the review of the overseas military facility structures?
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I mean, is that more, is that your responsibility within the DOD structure?
Secretary DUBOIS. It is a combined responsibility of the Joint Staff, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Policy, Program Analysis and Evaluation, and Installations and Environment; the four of us, working with the services and combatant commanders, are pulling that together.
The Secretary, I believeI am confident has promised the Congress that he is going to brief you on his conclusions once the President has approved it.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Ten seconds more, Mr. Chairman.
Then you will be taking into account your analysis with respect to capacity and instructing the BRAC commission and so on to take the things we have just discussed into account, right?
Secretary DUBOIS. Yes, sir.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. And then I thinkI am sorry, Mr. Chairman. That is the main thing that I wanted to make certain that we were going to have before us. Thank you.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Abercrombie, and thank you Mr. DuBois. We appreciate your being with us today. And we look forward to seeing you again.
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Secretary DUBOIS. On the 25th. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. I would like to now welcome our second panel, representing the Department of the Air Force. We have the Honorable Nelson F. Gibbs, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Logistics; Major General Dean Fox, the Air Force Civil Engineer; Brigadier General David A. Brubaker, the Deputy Director, Air National Guard; and Brigadier General William A. Rajczak, the Deputy to the Chief of the Air Force Reserve. I understand that each of our witnesses has a brief statement for the subcommittee, and so again, without objection, their complete statements will be put in the record.
And we will start, I believe, with Mr. Gibbs.
STATEMENT OF HON. NELSON F. GIBBS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, INSTALATIONS, ENVIRONMENT, AND LOGISTICS
Secretary GIBBS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ortiz, members of the committee. I had a 48-page statement I was going to read, but I will try to cut it down.
Mr. HEFLEY. Much appreciated.
Secretary GIBBS. I thought so.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the Air Force fiscal year 2005 military construction program. Air Force missions and Air Force members around the world depend upon this committee's understanding and support of our infrastructure program. We appreciate your support for the military construction efforts, which are essential to supporting our people and our missions.
The Air Force total force military construction and military family housing programs are essential to Air Force operational needs, workplace productivity and quality of life. The Air Force has always acknowledged the importance of robust funding for facility sustainment and recapitalization. In past years, we have found in many cases that higher priorities have not permitted us to address all of the problems we face with aging infrastructure. In the past 3 years, however, we have begun to turn the corner with yearly military construction and family housing program requests in excess of $2 billion.
We are continuing this trend in fiscal 2005. We are requesting more than $2.5 billion for total force military construction and military family housing, a $175 million increase over last year's budget request. In addition, we have maintained our focus on operations sustainment restoration and modernization funding. The 2005 fiscal year budget request includes $2.2 billion in critical maintenance and repair to our operations and maintenance program so that we may begin to reduce the backlog of repairs to our infrastructure.
When one considers the level of effort across the entire infrastructure spectrummilitary construction, military family housing, and operations and maintenance, sustainment restoration and modernizationwe plan to invest more than $4.8 billion in our infrastructure in fiscal year 2005, certainly subject to your concurrence.
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In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the Air Force, I thank the committee for its strong support of Air Force military construction and family housing. At this point, I would like to introduce you to the Air Force Civil Engineer, my partner in guiding the Air Force infrastructure program, Major General Dean Fox.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Gibbs can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. General Fox.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. DEAN FOX, THE AIR FORCE CIVIL ENGINEER
General FOX. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. My comments will be rather brief in the overall testimony.
I, too, appreciate the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the Air Force's fiscal year 2005 active duty military construction program. The support you have given to the Air Force missions and peopleand I underline both of those, missions and peoplearound the world has been tremendous.
Our active duty military construction and military family housing programs are critical to the Air Force mission, whether it is on the flight line where we do our operational day-to-day missions, whether it is in the workplaces, other workplaces, on our bases in community support activities or in the home; and your support is appreciated. We train and we fight from our bases, whether that is home bases or deployed locations; and that makes our facilities very, very critical to our mission. Our active duty military construction and housing budgets increased in fiscal year 2003 and fiscal year 2004 and further in this year's program request of nearly two point four billion.
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In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, thank you and thanks very much to the committee for strong support of the Air Force military construction program and our housing programs. This is my first year to bring the Air Force program before your committee, and I consider it both an honor and a privilege to do so. I sincerely appreciate your strong support and, like Mr. Gibbs, I will be happy to address your questions.
Mr. HEFLEY. General Brubaker.
STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. DAVID A. BRUBAKER, DEPUTY DIRECT0R, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
General BRUBAKER. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you.
And Mr. Ortiz, General James sends his personal regards.
Mr. HEFLEY. General Brubaker, you want to check and see if your
General BRUBAKER. Okay. On behalf of the 107,000 men and women in the Air National Guard, I want to thank you for your continued dedication to providing facilities that enhance training, enable us to support and defend our great Nation.
For fiscal year 2005 the President's MILCON budget request for the Air National Guard contains 9 projects for a total of $127 million. These projects, 3 projects totaling almost $77 million, are required to support the C5 aircraft beddown at Memphis International Airport, Tennessee, and Martinsburg Regional Airport, West Virginia. This is a continuation of the beddown process of the C5 at these two locations.
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This program request also funds 5 projects, totaling almost $27 million, to support the city and state requirements of the air sovereignty alert missions at Duluth International Airport, Minnesota; Atlantic City International Airport, New Jersey; and Truax Field, Wisconsin. These sites have been operating out of temporary facilities.
The President's budget request also included one current mission project totaling $4 million for Otis Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, to address airfield obstructions. The remaining $19 million is for planning and design and unspecified minor construction. These funds are needed to complete design of the fiscal year 2006 construction program and to start design of the 2007 projects. The unspecified minor construction program is our primary means of funding small, unforeseen projects that cannot wait for normal MILCON. Our facilities are critical to sustaining the readiness of our airmen and to maintain the many different weapons systems that the Air National Guard operates.
I am here today to ask for this committee's support to help the Air National Guard remain ready, reliable and relevant for the total force.
In closing, I would like to thank you again, members of this committee, for your continued and unwavering support. We are confident that the men and women in the Air National Guard will always meet the challenges set before them as an air expeditionary force, domestic guardian and caring neighbor protecting the United States of America at home and abroad. Thank you.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
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STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. WILLIAM A. RAJCZAK, DEPUTY TO THE CHIEF OF AIR FORCE RESERVE
General RAJCZAK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the subcommittee I appreciate the opportunity to again appear before you and to thank you for your continued support.
The Air Force Reserve continues to make significant contributions to the total Air Force mission with nearly 14,000 personnel deployed thus far in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. The integrated MILCON request is a continued effort to balance readiness, transformation recapitalization and infrastructure. The facilities in which we train reservists are critical to our single tier of readiness.
The President, the fiscal year 2005 request, contained 11 projects that cost nearly $85 million. Nine of these are for new missions and two are for current support. These include facilities at Wright-Patterson, March, Portland International Airport and Lackland.
On behalf of over 74,200 reservists at home and abroad, I appreciate this committee's interest in our citizen airmen and in modernizing our facilities and infrastructure. Our Air Force mission and people deserve the very best facilities we can provide. I sincerely thank you for your dedicated support in making that possible.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much.
Mr. Gibbs, I have got to ask you a parochial question because you would be disappointed if I didn't. But Lowrey Air Force Base was closed in 1994, and really, in most ways, has been a model of redevelopment around the country. But as you well know, after the facility was turned over to the redevelopment authority, developers began to build houses. Houses are there.
It was discovered that there was asbestos in the soil, and that was traced back to an old hospital that had been on that site that no one reallyI guess somebody knew about, the plans were there somewhere, but we really didn't know about it when it was transferred over. And the idea was that there was an understanding that the site would pose no risk to public health when it was turned over.
When it was discovered and they were already under way, the redevelopment authority and the developers had spent about $4 million on sampling and remediation and other costs.
We have talked to you about this before, but what does the Department plan to do, if anything, in the way of reimbursing these expenses that were incurred due to no fault of their own, just because something was overlooked when the transfer was made? If you could, help me with that.
Secretary GIBBS. I can't say I am not surprised at the question.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HEFLEY. I said I didn't want to disappoint you.
Secretary GIBBS. No, I didn't think so. There were two sets of activities that occurred.
All of the comments that you made are factually correct, as far as I know. The hospital that was torn down was torn down in the late 1950's or 1960's. It was known that was torn down; what was not recognized at the point in the middle-to-latter 1990's, when it was turned over, was that in that time frame, in the 1950's or 1960's, it was an accepted practice for buildings that had basements, when you tore it down, if there was a bunch of stuff left over, you just bulldozed it in the hole and you covered it up. So it was not expected. It was whatever was left.
That is no longer the way anyone, whether they be in the military or civilian construction, does that kind of thing. So what, as I understand it, occurred is that they foundone of the contractors found at the time that they uncovered this, they stuck their finger in the ground, so to speak, and turned it over and they found that there was some asbestos there.
We tried to work with the local people at the time, and it got out of hand. It didn't get handled quickly enough by the Air Force, and it just got out of hand. We tried to get it back under control, but it had snowballed to an extent.
Unfortunately, the Department of the Air Force cannot unilaterally pay claims that are filed retrospectively for previously incurred costs. We can, on our own recognizance, only pay them for prospective costs when we reach an agreement. We attempted to do that, and that was not acceptable to the people on the ground at that point to bifurcate.
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So the Air Force has moved ahead. The process that is being followed, the process that must be followed is the Department of Justice has been brought in to review the claims. The Department of the Air Force, Departments of Defense and Justice are working their way through to make a determination as to which or how much of the claims can be satisfied short of litigation. That process is ongoing.
There have been several discussions with and documentation requested from the individual developers, and given that process, we are trying to move it ahead as quickly as we can.
To move on to more current times, and I am not sure you are aware of this, but we have changed our policies now to try to ensure that that kind of situation does not occur in the future. There was another find at Lowrey in another area. The Air Force immediately became involved and did its investigation. We have made a determination that there is a presumption that this asbestos is the result of a similar kind of situation with a mobile home park that existed on a specific site, and we are moving ahead to do the remediation now.
Mr. HEFLEY. Well, thank you. And I want to get your response on the record there because this is something that continues to perplex us out there as we try to get this thing solved. And if we could have done it quicker, before houses were actually on the ground, we would all be happier, but we understand the situation.
Secretary GIBBS. Well, that kind of situation unfortunately may recur. I don't mean necessarily at Lowrey; it may recur someplace else because it was a practice that existed in those days.
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There is a second level that we are working on with this. There really is nothere is no regulation that relates to this kind of activity. There is no regulation related to asbestos in the ground. So the Air Force has undertakenit has requested cooperation from both the state regulatory authorities and the Environmental Protection Agency to participate in a risk assessment to try to do an evaluation of this. We have a preliminary report back, but it is going it take about nine months further on.
We hope to add to the general knowledge of, really, what is the risk of this type of situation and how does it get treated in the future. It is something we recognize that we should do. But I couldn't promise you that somebody some place, nor could I promise you somebody someplace in downtown Denver, digging a hole, couldn't come across the same situation.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much.
Mr. ORTIZ. I just have a very short question.
Now, I think that the Air Force, when we talk about the national guardand the reserve unit has the best timetable as far as when they are activatedwhen you talk to the pilots, they either go for 30I mean, 3 months, 90 days, and rotate.
But do you have a timetable for those that have been activated as to how long they are going to serve once they are activated?
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Secretary GIBBS. First I would like to say on the activation of the reserve forces that have been activated forces, about 25 percent have volunteered of those that are currently serving on active duty. The others, it depends upon the particular skill and the particular location that get done. We attempt to minimize that amount of time.
General Brubaker, do you want to comment.
General BRUBAKER. The activations range anywhere from two weeks up to a year. We have had a lot of volunteerism, as Secretary Gibbs has noted, but it depends upon the skill and where they are needed. But we are filling them very well.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Cole.
Mr. COLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Just briefly, if I may, because, obviously, this is a more appropriate panel for a question that I had for Secretary DuBois, so probably first directed at you General Brubaker, but, Secretary Gibbs, I would like to have your comments as well.
Is there a policy under way or a thought of one that will begin to draw in Air National Guard bases that are close to major Air Force installations and combine them? If so, could you just make me familiar with what your thinking is and what your planning process is to avoid having to basically, if that is the case, build something brand new within 10 or 15 miles of where you already have something that is pretty functional.
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General BRUBAKER. Right. We do not have an Air National Guard policy that says an Air National Guard base has to move to an active duty base within a certain distance. We do have a transformational program called Vanguard where we are asking all our states to examine within their states opportunities where we could get synergy, but if it does not make sense, there is no forcing action on that. But all of the states are looking for transformational opportunities.
Mr. COLE. That is good to hear. I would just ask you to be very careful when you make that determination. That is something that will look pretty good on paper; and I think we leave you gentlemen, frankly, very unfunded. I think we all wish you were, frankly, a little bit more aggressive in your requests in terms of infrastructure, which is an unusual thing for us to say, but I appreciate your prudence.
But my experience is sometimes when you combine these things together not only, you know, we might end up having to build something again but, more importantly, when the request comes it does not always take all the component parts into consideration the way it would if they were separate. It is just easier to sometimes push them through.
I am always afraid, frankly, that the guard would tend to be under prioritized in that situation. It is always a danger. I do not think it would be deliberate, but it is a possibility.
General BRUBAKER. Thank you, sir. I appreciate your comments.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary GIBBS. I will comment further. There is no overall Air Force policy either that would say that we would do that, but there is, as part of the transformation effort, an ongoing process that is looking at some experimental activities that have occurred. You may be aware of a blended wing for the Join Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARs) down at Warner Robins down in Georgia. There are other activities like that.
Now, first and foremost, we look to the mission and the military requirement for something to occur. The secondary determination would be one that is economic.
Mr. COLE. Thank you.
One question more if I may, Secretary Gibbs. Could you just quickly give me a brief overview of what your plans are for the infrastructure, upgrades and developments within the air depot system, within the three major bases. That has been an area that we have underfunded for a long time, and we are really stretching these folks now, given the operations tempo that we have.
Secretary GIBBS. Two years ago when I came up to this committee, there was a brief discussion on that topic; and I had promised that we would provide something the Air Force had been providing for a number of years and that was a depot maintenance strategy. That was delivered to the chairman of the committees in August of 2001.
One of the parts of that depot strategy was that the Air Force made a commitment that it was setting aside $150 million in order to do exactly what you said. Now it is not limited solely to construction of physical facilities. It is to upgrade or to bring to a more modern structure the overall ability of the depots to perform that which we ask them to do. We are going into the third year of that now.
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I did learn since that time a little bit more about how budgets are put together. So although we have always gone in with 150, we have always ended up with about $3 or $4 million less than that because I find after the budget is finally approved somebody comes through and says, well, you have got to take the hit for the change in the value of money. This year, 2004, we ended up with $146.5 million for various projects. In 2005, the $150 million as it has been presented to you is still there, but in the end we will end up with a few million dollars less. There is a commitment. We said it was a five-year commitment. We intend to honor it.
Mr. COLE. One last point if I may, and I would not take the committee's time on this. But if you could, since I was not here in August of 2001, it would be very helpful if I could have my office get in contact with you and, just frankly, get a little briefing on that, what our status is and how you see things developing.
Secretary GIBBS. I will be happy to do that, and we will send a copy of the study over to your office.
Mr. COLE. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
Mr. TAYLOR. I want to thank you gentlemen for sticking around this long.
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As a point of clarification to Mr. Cole's point, I heard there is no national guard policy, I heard there is no Air Force policy, but what about within DOD as a whole? Are you being encouraged or is there any talk within DOD as a whole about the consolidation of Air National Guard bases with Air Force bases if they are within a certain amount of distance from each other?
Secretary GIBBS. I am not aware of any activity that would be looking at that specifically
Mr. TAYLOR. Are any of you gentlemen?
Secretary GIBBS. There is within the process of the structure for looking and preparing for the 2005 BRAC runthere is a joint cross-service group that is looking at headquarters facilities. It may be that they would come across that activity, but I am not aware of any direction or any indication that that is an outcome.
Mr. TAYLOR. Are any of you gentlemen
General BRUBAKER. I have had no conversations about that outside of the Air Force and the Air National Guard. So I am unaware of any.
Mr. TAYLOR. So this was the first time I have heard of this today when Congressman Cole brought it up. Have any of you gentlemen heard any rumors to that effect?
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General RAJCZAK. No, sir.
General FOX. Congressman Taylor, I have not heard rumors to that effect. I agree with Mr. Gibbs' comment that the joint cross-service working groups as a natural part of BRAC will look. I do know of some instances where it has been advantageous to an airport or to the state for the Air National Guard, for example, to move onto a base, but typically the airport or the city in that state has initiated that issue. It is not a benefit from the Air Force perspective.
Mr. TAYLOR. Secretary Gibbs.
Secretary GIBBS. There was a specific one, going back, the City of Chicago actually asked us to move out of O'Hare Airport, the guard unit, and paid for it. That was the case, and it was moved onto an Air Force base. That was back six or seven years ago.
Mr. TAYLOR. Secretary Gibbs, without wasting the committee's time, you heard my concerns about the privatization of housing at Keesler. I would ask that somebody get back to me. I just cannot see how that would be in anyone's best interest, particularly the taxpayers.
Secretary GIBBS. Can I ask for clarification? Because I did not hear your question.
Mr. TAYLOR. At Keesler Air Force Base, sir.
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Secretary GIBBS. No, but the specific term. You referred to rental of units, and I am not sure what you meant.
Mr. TAYLOR. An announcement has been made by the local base commander that housing would be closed and that the base would go out and rent houses instead. Again, just as an individual, I know I am better off owning or trying to own rather than renting. I just do not see how in the long term that this is in anybody's best interest.
Secretary GIBBS. I am glad I did ask for clarification, because there are really two questions there. One relates to the process that the Air Force went through last year, it goes through repetitively, continuously as we go through it, and that is to look at the housing requirements analysis. Specifically for Keesler, what we foundwhat was found by the agency that does the housing analysis is that there was more adequate housing available in the community so that the Air Force did not need to provide as much housing to its members. We follow the policy that we look to the community first to provide housing. To the extent that the community does not have the infrastructure or the capability to provide adequate housing, then we, the Air Force, will provide that housing for them either through privatization or through military construction
Mr. TAYLOR. I think you are missing the point. This is the case of closing down existing on-base housing.
Secretary GIBBS. That is correct.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. And moving out.
The second problem I see with that is, to a very large extentand this is a commendable thing of the Air Forcethe Air Force, realizing how much their folks are deployed, adopts them. They are the family. They take care of the family when the spouse or the husband, in most instances, or the wife is away. That runs completely contrary to that by spreading them all over south Mississippi instead of right there on the base where we know to take the wife when it is time to have a baby, where we know the kids are at the end of the school day. We know that they are safe. So for a number of reasons I think that is bad policy.
Again, I will welcome you to tell me it is good policy. In fairness, I will let you know that you are starting off, in my eyes, that this is a dumb idea.
Secretary GIBBS. Unfortunately, sir, in this case I cannot tell you whether it is bad or good, but that is the policy. We look to the community first. The Air Force provides housing for less than one-third of its personnel.
Mr. TAYLOR. If you were starting from scratch, that might make sense. You are not starting from scratch.
The last thing to the point, I do want to agree with Congressman Abercrombie, it is supply and demand. And I have witnessed us, the Air Force, literally chasing its tail to try to keep up with adequate compensation for those people who live off base. Because every time we raise the allowance for quarters the rents go up. I am not certain we are getting better apartments for the money, and I am not certain that it is bringing more apartments on line.
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Again, when we have the option of doing this on base, on property we already own, I do not see how it makes sense. I will give you all the time you want in my office to tell me why it does.
Thank you, sir.
Secretary GIBBS. You are quite welcome.
Mr. HEFLEY. Dr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you all for being here.
Secretary Gibbs, I think this is your chart here. Can you see that one? Do you have that with you? We got this from the Air Force. The question I want to ask is
Secretary GIBBS. Go ahead. He will pick it up.
Dr. SNYDER. We have one going down here.
My question is about what is going on in the 2005 proposal. What is the dip there? Then what are your comments about the drop in 2005 and, of course, there will be some adds there I expect, and then the big push up for '06, '07, '08 and '09, and it has been pushed back each time. Do you have any thoughts about why 2005 is a drop? Do you have any comments on that?
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Secretary GIBBS. General Fox will answer that.
General FOX. Dr. Snyder, your question is why the low funding in 2005 compared to previous years?
Dr. SNYDER. More importantly, what is going on in '06, '07, '08 and '09?
Secretary GIBBS. That I will respond to.
General FOX. The 2005 program that you see on that bar chart is about $89 million more than what this panel would have briefed you a year ago. So the Air Force did increase its 2005 MILCON program from this time a year ago. It is approximately the same if you look at the green part of that bar. It is within $2 million of the same amount as the original President's budget request in 2004.
The difference that you see there is we enjoyed some plus-ups in 2004, $292 million in the global war on terrorism supplemental. That is the white bar that you see, the white portion. Congress was extremely good to the Air Force, and we sincerely appreciate it. We had over $400 million worth of congressional adds in 2004. So our end result certainly makes 2005 look like it is down in the dumps.
Dr. SNYDER. How about, Mr. Secretary, with regard to '06, '07, '08 and '09?
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Secretary GIBBS. Dr. Snyder, I would like to take the first part of that question for the record because the chart that you have is not the one that I have. That was just handed to me.
The reason that I turned it over to General Fox is the number 664 is nothing I have ever seen before. I believe the number is 784. That is why we will get back to you with the correction. I apologize.
Dr. SNYDER. That would be great.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Secretary GIBBS. In terms of the '06 through '09, the last 5 years of the FYDP, the Air Force intends to meet the goals that DOD has laid out for us in terms of improving our infrastructure. We intend to meet the requirement to get to a 67-year recapitalization rate by 2008. We also intend to meet the requirement for eliminating, as someone referred to earlier today, the internal readiness report C categories, to eliminate C3 and C4 categories by 2012. This is the program that it takes to do that. We have every intention of fulfilling that. Now we need to ramp up to it because we have to have the capability to manage this level of activity.
Dr. SNYDER. I understand.
I want to ask a couple of Little Rock-specific questions. In your written statement you have mentioned several housing projects, that three more have been completed. You mention Elmendorf, Robins and Dyess. Three more under construction: Wright Patterson, Patrick and Kirkland. And then that the budget contains money for privatization of 7,000 units at 6 bases: Tyndall, Scott, Columbus, Keesler, Holloman and Fairchild, I think.
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But I do not see Little Rock on the list. I was thinking Little Rock was in the queue and we were about to let a contract. Can someone answer specifically about Little Rock Air Force Base?
Secretary GIBBS. Little Rock is in the queue.
Dr. SNYDER. But it is not mentioned in your statement here for having funding coming out this next year, on page 11 of your written statement. I was thinking we were close enough that we would have to have some money in there to fund that the beginning of this year. Am I wrong on that?
Secretary GIBBS. Actually, no, you are not incorrect. Little Rock is in with a group that falls in between these two categories. We already have the funding budgeted to do the privatization on a group of about five or six projects.
What this does is itand I apologize for the construct. This is what we have completed, this is what we have signed contracts for, and then it leaps over to the bases we are asking for funding in 2005. The Little Rock funding would be in 2002 or 2003 or something, but it is my understanding that Little Rock should certainly come down during 2005.
Dr. SNYDER. That is what I thought, too.
My last question iswell, I guess I have two questions: Where do child care facilities fit into your plan as you are looking ahead to this budget cycle and the next budget cycles? Also, I do not know if you heard the conversation I had with Mr. DuBois about the joint facilities for community support and military support. Is that something that is being entertained? We certainly are talking about it at Little Rock. I think they are trying to come up with something. Do you have any thoughts about those?
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Secretary GIBBS. Yes, it is certainly being entertained. There are a number of things I can think of offhand. Wright Patterson Air Force Base a number of years ago, because of the type of mission it had and the transient population that went in there, it needed a hotel. So it went in, effectively developed it, provided the land, used a private developer to develop the hotel; and basically they carved a piece out because the developer could not make it on just the Air Force. They said we have to be able to offer it to other people. So we have done that.
There is an activity going on at Kirkland Air Force Base now for an industrial educational park similar to what you are describing. So, yes, we entertain those things at all times. There is another activity being contemplated for Hill Air Force Base.
Dr. SNYDER. What kind of priority are we putting on child care facilities in this budget?
Secretary GIBBS. Child care facilities have a relatively high priority within the Air Force. I do not have specifics.
General FOX. Dr. Snyder, child care facilities, normally what we do is decentralize the prioritization of those to our major commands, and we support those as a very high quality-of-life requirement if the major commands bring them forward in their requirement list.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you.
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Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Dr. Snyder.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being here today. It has been very helpful, and we look forward to seeing you again.
The committee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:16 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]