SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.N.S.C. No. 1065]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2000H.R. 1401
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
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MILITARY READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS
TITLE IIIOPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
FEBRUARY 26, 1999
REVIEW OF COMBAT TRAINING CENTER OPERATIONS
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Military Readiness Subcommittee,
Washington, D.C. Friday, February 26, 1999
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:15 a.m. in the Officers Club, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Hon. Herbert H. Bateman (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. HERBERT H. BATEMAN, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM VIRGINIA, CHAIRMAN, MILITARY READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. BATEMAN. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to welcome everyone here today for this field hearing which is being conducted by the Military Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.
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This is the first in the series of readiness field hearings that we will be holding this year. We have been conducting the field hearings for the past several years here from all levels of military to hear about the challenges that they face in their day-to-day lives.
I am convinced that the only way to understand the efforts required to maintain the equipment and conduct training in a high operation tempo while trying to maintain a high state of readiness is to go where the work takes place in the field.
As in previous field hearings, we expect that the information obtained in these field hearings may be somewhat different than the information that we routinely receive in Washington. We have great respect for the mission of the training centers and welcome the opportunity to get out of Washington and visit with commanders and participants of the combat training centers.
Congress has demonstrated its support for the military training centers by providing nearly $1 billion for the operation of these centers. In addition to the funding requested by the administration in this area, this committee has added an additional $120 million in just the past 2 years for the operation of the prepositioned fleet of vehicles at the Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.
This hearing is an effort to look at our services combat training centers and the value of the training experience which comes from personnel and units practicing their art of war. I anticipate that this field hearing will help members of this committee understand the efforts involved in the preparation and training required in home station prior to arriving at the training centers, the types of training conducted at the various training centers represented here today, and the impact and value that the training has on units when they arrive back home at their home stations.
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Members of the committee continue to have a growing concern over many of the issues affecting readiness, including operational tempo, increased deployment, morale, the impact of peacekeeping operations, and the increasing use of training funds for other purposes, just to name a few of our concerns.
Until recently, we have had to rely on anecdotal evidence to make our argument that readiness was slipping. It has become increasingly clear to everyone that either the measurement used to determine the status of military readiness was inaccurate or our anecdotal evidence of the last 5 years was a signal of a downward spiral in readiness.
We are finally beginning to hear the service Chiefs of Staff admit to what we on the Armed Services Committee have been chronicling for the past 5 years. Overall readiness of our forces has slipped significantly in the last 5 years, and it takes tremendous effort by the men and women of our armed forces just to keep up with operational requirements.
It seems to me that the combat training centers have a unique opportunity to evaluate how well units are equipped, manned, and trained and to assess a unit's leadership environment. The combat training centers see units from various installations with differing commanders who must fight the doctrine and tactics adopted by their service to win the next war.
If units who have adequate notification of the dates of their training center rotation still arrive at the training center ill-prepared in doctrine and statistics and are short personnel and equipment, I can only surmise that either the training center rotation has lost its priority as a training event or our military's ability to wage war has slipped even further than I had thought.
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We are very fortunate to have three panels of witnesses who can speak to these issues today. The first panel is made up of representatives from the General Accounting Office who will provide us with some insight into how units are affected by their training, by their train up and participation in the training cycle at the National Training Center.
Our second panel will be made up of the commanders of the various service centers here in the United States. We will have a chance to hear from the commander of the 7th Army Training Center situated in Grafenwoehr, Germany during our next field hearing in Europe next month.
We look to this panel to provide us with a true picture of the adequacy of resourcing of their respective training centers, the trends and training level of units, and personnel who are coming to the training centers, and finally any thoughts on how the training experience can be enhanced.
I am particularly pleased to have here today the commander of the Opposing Forces, the OPFOR for the National Training Center, Colonel John Rosenberger, who has had a unique perspective to review and evaluate the level of expertise demonstrated by the units participating in exercises at the National Training Center.
Let me say that I have read with great interest Colonel Rosenberger's article in the Association of the United States Army Land Power Essay Series, and I am particularly interested from two quotes from that article. One was, ''As an Army, we don't organize the way we intend to fight.'' The other was, ''We don't train anymore with the rigor and frequency in the field necessary to develop and sustain full combat potential.''
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I look forward to learning more about these perspectives. I know units are working harder with longer hours and fewer assets and personnel to train up for their training center rotations. We want to hear more from men and women who have experienced the efforts required to juggle all their normal unit requirements while preparing for their training center rotation.
It is important that the members of the committee understand what it takes to be prepared for and conduct a training center rotation, because the effort to go to war can be expected to be nothing less.
I am especially pleased to have as our third panel a selection of commanders and senior noncommissioned officers. They represent the men and women who make up some of the units who have participated in the various training center exercises either as a unit going through their rotation at the center or as a member of an aggressor or opposing force. I look forward to their testimony and to having a dialog with them on how Congress can help to make their lives better.
We are especially fortunate today that we have the entire Nevada representation in the House of Representatives here for our hearing. At this point, I would like to yield to the Honorable Jim Gibbons from the Second District for any comments he would like to make and then yield to the Honorable Shelley Berkley for any comments she would like to make. I thank you both for being here.
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Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Indeed it is a great pleasure to be back home. I want to welcome all my colleagues on the committee to the Second Congressional District of Nevada, the district which covers all of Nellis Air Force Base, the Ph.D. for air force pilots, as well as Navy Fallon, the Ph.D. for the Navy pilots. It is a broad district, and we are certainly glad to have you here as well.
I think it is important for this committee, Mr. Chairman, to be present here today because this is when and where we are going to hear, not just of our military's pride, but Nevada's pride in the training facilities that we are visiting on this trip.
This is an important day for all of us. I am especially pleased to have been a product of training here at Nellis. I can tell you that, during the Persian Gulf War, the experience and the training that I gained from being here at Nellis was very helpful. I think we saw the result of a majority, if not all, of the pilots during Desert Storm having had their training either here at Nellis or at Navy Fallon, which was part and parcel, I believe, for the great success we saw. That today, as we all know, has maintained, I think, the great pride in this base as well as the future of our Air Force.
I look forward to hearing any comments that these people are going to have for us today. But again I want to welcome everybody to the Second Congressional District.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Jim.
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Ms. BERKLEY. Thank you. I want to thank the chairman for holding these hearings right across the street from my own Congressional District and being so kind to invite me to participate with you.
I grew up in Las Vegas, so Nellis Air Force Base has been a major part of my life. I am very proud of the fact that Nellis is so much a part of our community here in Las Vegas. And for us, speaking on behalf of all of southern Nevada and the State of Nevada, we take great pride in Nellis Air Force Base.
The personnel at Nellis has educated me well on the need for military preparedness for our troops. I believe in quality of life. I believe in making this country a better place to live and giving all of our countrymen the opportunities to strive and succeed.
But before we could have any quality of life, we must have a free country, and having a free country means that our armed services must be fully prepared to defend our freedoms in a world that is not as safe as we would all like to see it.
I appreciate the needs of our armed forces, and I am most anxious to be as supportive as possible. I am most anxious to hear all of your testimony today.
Thank you so much.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Congresswoman Berkley. Let me hasten to point out to everyone in the audience that, while it is my prerogative to chair the committee today as the Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, I am accompanied and have here at the rostrum those more senior than I and positions of much greater importance than I.
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Starting with the Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives, who is the bill payer for us all, this is Congressman Jerry Lewis, who represents the adjacent district in California.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Next to him on the right is Congressman Joe Skeen from New Mexico, who also serves on the Appropriations Committee, is on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and who chairs the Agricultural Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. Joe, we are delighted to have you with us today.
Mr. SKEEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We have a little kinship here. I wanted to see if you are any drier here than we are in southern New Mexico.
Mr. BATEMAN. To my right is my good friend, Congressman Duncan Hunter from the San Diego area of California. Duncan is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and chairs the Committee on Procurement.
So with that, let me now introduce to you our first panel, consisting of representatives from the General Accounting Office, who are Ms. Carroll Schuster, the Associate Director for Military Operations and Capabilities Issues of the General Accounting Office. And Mr. William Solis, the Assistant Director for Military Operations and Capabilities Issues.
We look forward to hearing from you. Ms. Schuster, you may proceed.
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STATEMENT OF MS. CAROL R. SCHUSTER, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR MILITARY OPERATIONS AND CAPABILITIES ISSUES, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE; ACCOMPANIED BY MR. WILLIAM SOLIS, THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR MILITARY OPERATIONS AND CAPABILITIES ISSUES, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, AND MR. SID CARROLL, SENIOR EVALUATOR
Ms. SCHUSTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, we are pleased to be here to discuss our observations, observations on our ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of all three maneuver combat training centers, the National Training Center [NTC] at Fort Irwin, California, the Joint Readiness Training Center [JRTC] at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and the Combat Maneuver Training Center [CMTC] at Hohenfels, Germany.
First I would like to introduce my colleagues. Sid Carroll to my right here is basically the institutional memory of GAO on training at the National Training Center. He conducted two evaluations for us in the 1980's. So he has a sort of a historical perspective on what is going on there now.
Mr. BATEMAN. Glad to have Mr. Carroll with us.
Mr. CARROLL. Thank you.
Ms. SCHUSTER. Bill Solis to my left here leads this work, and Bill also visited two of the three centers. He visited the National Training Center as well as the Combat Maneuver Training Center at Hohenfels, and Bill also recently visited the Twenty-Nine Palms facility for the Marine Corps on an unrelated assignment. We have very limited information about that based on one trip that we made there, but Bill does have some insights if you would care to ask him any questions about what he observed with the training there.
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Now, with your permission, I would like to submit my entire statement for the record and just briefly summarize it here.
Mr. BATEMAN. May I say that all of the witnesses' statements will be made a part of the record, and you can proceed to summarize as you see fit, both you, Ms. Schuster, and all the other witnesses who have prepared written statements.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Schuster can be found in the appendix.]
Ms. SCHUSTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me begin by saying that, based on our observations of exercises at all three centers and our discussions with Army personnel at the centers, major Army commands and individual combat units, we are convinced that the training that goes on there is more important today than ever before. And it is just for that reason that we believe that it is critical that the Army derive the maximum benefits from the training that takes place there. For several reasons, and I underscore, many beyond the control of those who manage the center, we have concluded that the full potential of the centers is not being realized.
In arriving at this conclusion, we have not relied solely on our own analysis. Rather, we have surveyed the commanders of all 123 battalions that trained at one of the three centers during fiscal year 1998 and asked for their views on their readiness to undertake training at the centers and value of the training itself. We believe that, in many respects, these individuals are in the best position to evaluate the benefits and weaknesses of their experiences.
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Before summarizing our findings, let me provide some basic background. The Army's three maneuver combat training centers offer an opportunity for units and their leaders to train at a level normally unavailable to them at their home stations. They offer large maneuver areas and opportunities to train on mission essential tasks and wartime missions against an opposing force under demanding conditions.
The NTC offers an open, mountainous, desert setting, while the CMTC provides rolling wooded terrain. The training areas at the JRTC include swamplands, dense forests, and steep ravines.
The NTC and CMTC sponsor exercises designed to train armor and mechanized units. The JRTC provides similar opportunities for nonmechanized or light forces. Forces from the other military services as well as special operations units are brought into the exercises at each center. Each also has a dedicated opposing force that is specially trained to replicate a hostile force, complete with distinctive uniforms, visually modified vehicles, and both U.S. and non-U.S. weapons. Several battalions can train at once due to the large maneuver areas. The NTC is roughly the size of Rhode Island.
Active Army brigades train at one of the centers about once out of 18 months, and each of the National Guard's enhanced brigades train at the NTC once every 8 years.
To provide a frame of reference, the Army's objectives in establishing the combat training centers were to: One, increase unit readiness; two, to produce bold, innovative leaders; three, embed doctrine throughout the Army; and four, provide data for improving doctrine, training, leader development, organizations, and materiel.
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To achieve these objectives, the combat training centers were designed to create a realistic training environment, challenge unit leaders with missions against the well-trained opposing force, and provide in-depth analyses of performance to units and their leaders.
After reviewing the operations at all three centers, we can only conclude that these centers afford extraordinary training opportunities. However, we are here today also to tell you that we believe that the Army is not achieving the full potential of these centers.
There are four principal reasons for this. First, units are arriving at the centers ill-prepared for the type of training to be provided. Many of the reasons are beyond their control. As a result, they cannot take full advantage of the training opportunities they are given.
Whereas in the past, units trained to the battalion level before they arrived, today many units have trained only to the company level. Their leaders struggle with the more complicated planning and synchronization required for the battlefield, for the battalion and brigade level exercises conducted at the centers.
Opposing force commanders and exercise observer controllers at all three training centers told us that they had observed a marked decline in unit proficiency between units arriving today and in prior years.
Of the 85 battalion commanders who responded to our survey, nearly half said their units were only somewhat or marginally ready to execute battalion level tasks at the training centers. Over 50 percent of the respondents cited personnel shortages, personnel turnover, and high operating tempo as one of their top three reasons for being ill-prepared for their training experiences.
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Second, because training units lacked proficiency at the battalion level when they arrived, the centers frequently modify the content of the training to provide less challenging scenarios than would normally be expected.
For example, they place ceilings on the numbers, types, and times that the opposing force can use chemical weapons and mines as well as on the numbers, types, and time of employment of artillery. Opposing force reconnaissance elements are now limited to destroying a specific number of friendly vehicles with artillery at night. While such adjustments permit units to continue fighting longer, they undermine realism and limit the value of the training provided.
Third, commanders are unable to take full advantage of the lessons learned from their participation at the centers. This is because, after returning to their home stations, the combination of personnel turnover, lack of training opportunities, and ineffective take-home packages from the centers prevent commanders from attending to the deficiencies identified at the centers.
Thirty-three commanders said that personnel turnover after returning to their home stations inhibited their use of exercise results. One commander at Fort Hood, for example, said that personnel turnover had left the battalion mostly untrained within 30 days of its return from the NTC.
The unit had lost the 16 tank crew members that it had borrowed from other units for the exercise, 14 platoon leaders had changed jobs, and 4 company executive officers and 10 platoon leaders also left the unit.
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As a result, the unit that was left to put its lessons learned to use was far different from the one that trained at the center. This was not an isolated example. The result of such turnover is that systemic weaknesses demonstrated by units during training center exercises are not being addressed.
Finally, despite spending millions of dollars to collect data from each of itsthe exercises at the combat center, the Army still has not developed a plan for fully integrating training results with its training and doctrine development activities, nor has it periodically assessed whether the centers are achieving their objectives.
As a result, the Army is not taking full advantage of the lessons it learns from training centers and does not know the extent to which center exercises are improving the proficiency of its units and leaders.
In conclusion, the Army is operating training centers that are rightfully the envy of allied and enemy armies around the world. Collectively, they offer diverse physical environments that provide realistic battlefield conditions, enabling the Army's personnel to experience the closest thing possible to actual combat. Their sophisticated instrumentation and network of trained observers provide unparalleled opportunities to develop leaders and improve the readiness of the Army's units to engage in combat.
But despite these advantages, the weaknesses that we have highlighted today need to be addressed if the Army is to gain the full benefits of these outstanding training facilities.
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The Army must find a way to overcome the impact of personnel shortages, personnel turnover, and OPTEMPO so that units can come to the centers better prepared to realize the full benefits of their experiences there.
To maximize the value of their participation, units must be afforded exercise conditions that closely approximate the threats that they are likely to face on future battlefields. The Army must provide units meaningful and specific feedback that they can use to improve their proficiency and readiness once they return home. Finally, the Army must take a serious look at how it can best capture its lessons learned from the training centers and plan now for periodically assessing their effectiveness.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my remarks. We will be happy to respond to any questions that you might have.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Ms. Schuster.
Any comments that Mr. Solis or Mr. Carroll would like to make at this point?
I understand the point that you have made about some of the deficiencies and many of them, as you very appropriately point out, the commanders and the opposing force of those who operate the training centers can't do anything about. It is beyond their control. But you did mention one element that I am curious about. You mentioned ineffective take-home packages. Can you explain what you mean or what you perceive that shortfall to be?
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Ms. SCHUSTER. OK. When we surveyed the commanders, we basically found that the commanders were complaining mostly about the generality of the take-home packages. They were written in such generic terms that they really couldn't get an idea about what it was that they were supposed to correct.
Another problem that we found was that one of the commanders didn't feel that his take-home package matched what he was getting in the after-action reviews after the exercises. With those kinds of take-home packages, and there was pretty mucha pretty big proportion of the respondents who had problems with their take-home packages, it is difficult to design a training program once they get back to their home station that really is tailored to the weaknesses that were demonstrated at the centers.
Mr. BATEMAN. Well, a number of people that you surveyed whose units had gone through had complaints about the take-home package. Did you actually reviewany of you actually review the, quote, take-home package as to its deficiencies or adequacies?
Ms. SCHUSTER. Yes. Sid has done that. And I will refer that question to you, Sid.
Mr. CARROLL. Yes, sir. We have looked at a number of the take-home packages that were provided to the units. At the end of each of the missions that a unit conducts at one of the combat training centers, they perform what are called after-action reviews at all levels, basically from squad level all the way up through the battalion and brigade levels.
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These take-home packages are aggregated at the end of a training rotation and are provided in the form of a take-home package with a summary that cites the strengths and the weaknesses of the unit by what the Army calls battlefield operating system.
That information is given to the commander to take back to the home station so that he can design a training program to maintain the strengths and overcome any identified weaknesses.
What we heard from the commanders that we talked to, sir, and after looking at the take-home packages, is that it may mention a specific area where they need improvement, but it doesn't mention specific tasks that need to be corrected.
So what the generalthe general consensus that we reached after talking with commanders at the 3rd Infantry Division that we visited to make sure that we have an understanding of the take-home packages is that, once they get back to home station, they arethe take-home package, for the most part, is provided to the commander at this point to get ready for the next rotation so that he can see the type of areas where a big improvement might be needed.
But there is not enough specificity, according to the commander, of the take-home package to identify a specific path that they can work on in the limited amount of training time that they have.
Mr. BATEMAN. I can certainly understand the commander of the next unit who is going to rotate in would benefit by the after-action report. But I would think that, in the world of copy machines, that wouldn't mean that the one who had just been there would lose access to the copy.
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This wasn't mentioned in your testimony and is, in a way, beyond the scope of our hearing this morning, but I recently flew over the Jungle Warfare Training Center at Fort Sherman in Panama. The last jungle warfare training class is going through that facility now. And it apparentlynot apparently, it will be reverted to the government of Panama.
Are you aware of what plans we may have for replacing it or delivering that type of training?
Ms. SCHUSTER. Well, you are correct. We have not looked at jungle warfare training, so we really don't have any information on that. But I am here to tell you that we saw some very exciting things at the JRTC in terms of urban warfare. They are doing a lot of things with their military operations and urban training at that particular center.
CMTC also has, I think, four facilities over in Hohenfels where they are training units to operate in urban settings. The one out at JRTC is especially exciting. It has 29 buildings and a mock city. It has a water tower for command and control. It has a church to try to work around obstacles that would be collateral damage. They put civilians on the battlefield. Everyone is there. They have got the media. They have got all sorts of civilians around. And so it does give them good practice for some of the things that we have been seeing ever since the fall of the wall. So that is an excellent facility and one that, I might add, that the NTC is quite interested in adding a mount facility to their installation.
Mr. BATEMAN. Congressman Lewis, do you have questions you would like to raise?
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Mr. LEWIS. Well, Mr. Chairman, first, let me express my appreciation to you for allowing me to interlope here. I think most in the audience are aware that my district is just to the south of Nevada in beautiful downtown California; that the desert side of California is large enough, and I know that our witnesses are aware of this, but large enough to put four eastern States with plenty of room left over.
But as a result of that, there is the NTC, which, as you have described, is this fabulous facility with fantastic potential. But not very far away, as the crow flies, is the Twenty-Nine Palms Marine facility. The two represent some of the best available training opportunities we have.
I am very pleased with your testimony, for I have heard much in the Subcommittee of Appropriations relative to the need for preparation and training before arrival of the troops.
I must confess to those that are here that I have interposed today almost entirely because of concern raised in my subcommittee. A small reason for my being here has to do with our daughter delivering an 8-pound baby boy yesterday. I hope you will excuse me.
Mr. Chairman, I am not going to take any more of your time, but thank you very much for allowing me to be with you. But I appreciate you both, Ms. Berkley and Mr. Gibbons, for their courtesy and their hospitality. I appreciate the opportunity to be here and listen.
Ms. SCHUSTER. And my congratulations to the grandfather.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Yes. We all add those congratulations on the birth of that grandson. And if you have in mind moving four eastern States into the desert, I would like to work with you on selecting which ones.
Ms. SCHUSTER. That wouldn't include the District of Columbia, would it?
Mr. LEWIS. There are some things I would like to let you keep.
Mr. BATEMAN. Congressman Skeen, do you have any questions you would like to raise?
Mr. SKEEN. No, Mr. Chairman, I don't have any questions. I just wanted you to knowor want us to know that, across this country, and I have in my district Holloman Air Force Base, the first line of response has been our military. The biggest concern is how well trained are they, and are we not downsizing at the same time we are asking them to do more and more. This is kind of a catch22 situation. And these training centers are vital.
Of course, we have a problem at Holloman now. We have got the German Air Force in there, and the surrounding communities still haven't given up on World War II. So we have to fight those battles.
So we understand your problem, but we also understand that if you are going to maintain the military, you have got to support it, and you have got to support it financially, and you have got to support it with meaningful training and the whole nine yards, because you can't deploy them over the entire planet, as we have been known to do in the past.
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We share your interests. We share your concerns, and we also want to say we think we have the finest people in the armed services, and the training should be just as good as they are.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Skeen.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is great to be with you and with my colleagues, Joe Skeen, a great supporter of the military and a guy with a lot of wisdom; and Jerry Lewis, our brand-new Defense Appropriations Chairman; and Jim Gibbons, who has more experience than probably anybody else on the Armed Services Committee with respect to real military maneuvers and use of American forces in conflict.
I want to welcome also our new colleague. I hope to work with you and hope we have a lot of productive sessions.
And you, Mr. Chairman, you have gone around the country now doing a series of readiness hearings. You held one in San Diego. They are reflecting a little good news, but largely a lot of bad news, and I wanted to explore that just very briefly with you, Ms. Schuster.
You mentioned that when units come to the National Training Center they have to hold back the aggressor units, have to hold back on chemical usage, artillery usage, and a few other areas that you mentioned.
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Have there been times in the past when units have been so up to speed that youbasically you have been able to throw the whole nine yards at them and they have been able to handle it? The end part of your testimony is that they couldn't handle it if we gave them the full aggressor onslaught, that we would overwhelm them.
Ms. SCHUSTER. Right. One of the difficulties that we have found in trying to assess the results of the exercises were that the data is really not there in order to really make the kind of analysis that you can in terms of results.
We found that there was only one analysis that the Center for Army Lessons Learned has been able to do in terms of the take-home packages, where they sort of compared across the units the kinds of recurring weaknesses that occur.
Sid may be aware of one unit that may be doing better than another. I am not sure whether you have any information on a specific unit.
Mr. CARROLL. I don't know of any specific units, sir. But I think it is important to point out that most units, because of inhibitors to training at their home station, arrive at the center, and some adjustment is necessary so that they receive training value. But it is also important to recognize that toward the end of the rotation, most units that train there have improved to the point where the opposing force can use more of their capability against them.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Well, I guess my question is, we are trying to figure out whether we need to put more resources into pretraining preparation
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Mr. CARROLL. I understand.
Mr. HUNTER [continuing]. Or more resources into post-training preparation or whether it is about right.
So when you discuss the difficulty and the vulnerability of these forces for the aggressor force, I am just trying to figure out whether that is just natural, that is always going to happen. And if you put a bunchif you put one of our highly trained ranger battalions in, would you have exactly the same problems, or are you talking about a chronic problem that now exists with respect to inadequate training at the lower level?
Are we saying that, when people get towhen people are getting to high school, so to speak, we find out that they have been undertrained in eighth or ninth grades; and because of that, it is a disaster situation? What is the degree of inadequacy here that can be addressed with increased resources? That is what I want to know.
Ms. SCHUSTER. Right. I think one of the things that you have put your finger on is, is this a chronic problem and is there anything that you can really do about it?
Mr. HUNTER. Right.
Ms. SCHUSTER. The problems that we have pointed out today in terms of their lack of preparation coming to the center is something that is going to be very difficult; and there are going to have to be some innovative solutions to try to deal with the problems that we have identified in terms of personnel shortages, personnel turnover, and high operating tempo. There aren't any easy solutions to any of those.
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Mr. HUNTER. Because that is a function of force structure.
Ms. SCHUSTER. Right. I mean, we have got a tremendously smaller military than we have had in the past. We had 770,000 Army folks at one time. We now have less than 480. We had 18 active divisions.
Mr. HUNTER. Now you have got 10.
Ms. SCHUSTER. We have got 10. You know, it goes on and on. The problems that we testified to last year at the field hearing in terms of the personnel shortages are not going to go away. We are not going to get a bigger Army force to really fill out those empty positions.
So it really is one of two things, and you have correctly identified it. You either try to work on how your training can be made more effective before you come, with the understanding that you are going to have holes here and there and leaders that are absent and people working in positions above their pay grade, et cetera; or else you come to the training center with a lesser expectation, perhaps the units come to the training centers at that lower level of proficiency, and you start them out at lower level tasks to begin with, and then move on to the brigade size exercises.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. But what you are saying is that, taking force structure down from 18 to 10 divisions, and I presume that that may beyou may find a similar trend in other services. We have gone from 24 to 13 fighter air wings, I think 546 ships to 325 at present. You are saying that going from 18 to 10 divisions is not only obviously a reduction in strength, but it has rendered, because of OPTEMPO, a reduction in unit proficiency.
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Ms. SCHUSTER. Yes.
Mr. HUNTER. Can you say that?
Ms. SCHUSTER. Yes, I can certainly say that.
Mr. HUNTER. Can that be addressed with more money if you don't increase force structure?
Ms. SCHUSTER. I don't think that additional money thrown at units for home station training is going to overcome any of those difficultiesany of those three difficulties.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. So what you are saying is we are going to have to work with this problem that we have got, this inadequacy, and deal with it the best we can by lowering expectations and by doing some other creative things at NTC and trying to bring them up quickly
Ms. SCHUSTER. Right.
Mr. HUNTER [continuing]. And train them thoroughly, but we are going to have to live to some degree with less proficiency than we had when we had 18 Army divisions.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. SCHUSTER. I think that is true, yes.
Mr. LEWIS. Would the gentleman yield.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes, sir.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Schuster, the feedback we were getting is that perhaps a piece of this problem involved the diversion of funds at home station for O&M kinds of activities. If I understand the response you just made to Mr. Hunter, you are not necessarily pointing to that. You are suggesting that the difficulty involves force structure rather than a separate use of funds; is that correct?
Ms. SCHUSTER. Well, there are definitely three money-related problems that I am hoping are unique to the past. No. 1 is there have been a lot of diversions to base operating support this last year. And I got a briefing down at FORSCOM in December on that very issue.
The money was being diverted from training to BASEOPs because BASEOPs has been underfunded, and you can only defer your maintenance to some degree and then you have got to deal with it. And 1998 was a year when the deliberate decision was made that they had to do something about the facilities. Monies were diverted, not only from training, but from other accounts as well to try to cover the BASEOPs. Now this year I don't know that I have the exact number, but there is additional money being put into BASEOPs. So that may, to some extent, alleviate some of that problem with the training money being diverted.
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The second one was we also saw diversions for peace operations which were unbudgeted for. And this year, the budget does include $1.8 billion for Bosnia and $1.1 billion for the Gulf. Now, hopefully, that will also have someeveryone looks so skeptical here. But anyway
Mr. LEWIS. We are watching your eyes.
Ms. SCHUSTER. The third one is the extra money that Chairman Bateman mentioned that was appropriated for the prepositioned [PREPO] fleet at the National Training Center that the units were having to take out of their own funds to use for that purpose. Those three things together should have some impact, but I don't know to what extent at this point.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. You mentioned that the National Guard enhanced brigade goes througha brigade goes through once every 8 years. When did a National Guard brigade last go through the training center?
Ms. SCHUSTER. I am going to refer that question to Sid, because he saw a National Guard rotation at the NTC. We really focused on active units. But he did see a little something at the NTC on that one rotation.
Do you have something that you could add?
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Mr. CARROLL. Yes. The last National Guard enhanced brigade that trained at the National Training Center was the 116th Brigade out of the State of Idaho, which trained there at the latter part of this year. This year they are scheduled to train the 155th Separate Infantry Brigade at the National Training Center.
Mr. BATEMAN. Not to cut you off, but I wanted to very quickly deal with any contrast in the capability of the enhanced National Guard brigade versus the other units that are going through.
Ms. SCHUSTER. He is going to plead the fifth.
Mr. CARROLL. No, sir. I would like to plead the fifth, but I know I don't have that option.
Sir, there is a significant difference in the capability of a National Guard enhanced brigade and the active component Army units that train there. The difference is primarily in the level of organization at which they can operate and the quality of the leadership of those units.
You find that when the National Guard brigade trains there, the leaders simply haven't had the enhancing experiences so that they can effectively synchronize and maneuver that size force.
Mr. BATEMAN. I don't think any of us would be shocked at that answer.
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One quick thing, if you could address, and then I would like to have Mr. Gibbons raise any questions he may have.
You have queried a large number of units who have been through the process. You have commented upon deficiencies and problem areas with reference to their capability when they got there and the value of the experience being degraded while they were there.
It is not the function of the training centers to measure readiness of units. That is a different reporting system. But did you as a part of your study look at the official readiness reports on units that you were studying in terms of their experience at the National Training Center?
Ms. SCHUSTER. Yes. We did one extensive analysis. Looking at the readiness ratings through the SORT system, before and after, we found a straight line in terms of training. They felt that the training was basically C2 level, the second level of readiness before and after, notwithstanding a whole lot of comments about how they weren't able to train on the deficiencies that they learned at the center after they returned to their home stations.
So you would sort of think that, after they have trained at the centers, come home, and you would think that the readiness in the training area might improve. But the trainingthe SORT system really doesn't measure the results, you know, the experiences that units have at the training. It measures other things in terms of the training component of the SORT rating.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BATEMAN. What I am hearing you say is something that apparently we haven't fixed the problem yet. There is a disconnect between the actuality of unit readiness and the way it is officially formally reported.
Ms. SCHUSTER. Right.
Mr. BATEMAN. And there is something wrong in the reporting system that is distorting its accuracy in terms of true measure of readiness.
Ms. SCHUSTER. I think we come up here every year and testify on that just about. We haven't been asked this year, but you are tired of hearing the same thing.
Mr. BATEMAN. You have done it as long as I have been chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee. We keep saying things and doing things, but nothing seems to change.
Ms. SCHUSTER. It is just very, very difficult. In the personnel area, they capture the overall personnel level, which really doesn't say anything at all about these mismatches between grades and positions and lack of leaders. I mean, youit disguises so much that it reallyit sort of washes it out.
And the same thing for the training and, I would add, for the equipment. We are in the process that is doing a review that is looking at Army equipment. We are finding that the SORT readiness rating measures how well they are doing in terms of theirwhat they call their pacing items, their major items, as well as their primary items. But it doesn't tell you how deficient they are in the supporting items that make it critical for these pacing items to go.
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So, yes, we get frustrated, too. But I don'tI am not sure that the answer is adding more and more and more indicators. That is whatwe seem to be coming to that solution, and it doesn't seem to be improving things.
Mr. BATEMAN. OK. Thank you.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Ms. Schuster, I have certainly read your testimony here that you have provided for us in print, and I have listened to your remarks.
From what I gather, listening to you today, there is a gap the size of the Grand Canyon in what this committee hears in Washington, D.C. and what we are being presented to on a very factual matter by what you have studied and reported here today. In that, you are saying that we should lower our expectations of our military based on their lower standards of readiness today.
That has far-reaching affects in terms of our national military strategy. We expect our military to be able to handle a two major regional conflict [MRC] capability. Yet, today, we hear the very sobering news about lowering our expectations of our ability of our military forces.
That being said, knowing that we have changed our training cycles from 12 to 8 or whatever, knowing that we have reduced funding, and seeing that the active Duty forces train every 18 months, guards looking at 8 years, knowing that there is an enormous bias, differential in the amount of money that Active Duty forces allow for our Guard and Reserve Forces to complete their training, that we are now seeing it almost artificially built in, decreasing a readiness capability of our Guard and the Reserve Forces at their own expense, because active duties are now taking more or what littleor what smaller and smaller pie we have got available out there for them.
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Yet our Guard and Reserve Forces are being called upon more and more often to participate in these operations, requiring them to be as capable and as proficient as they are properly trained or, more often, trained Active Duty forces that they are going to be stationed with.
Since the mid-1980's, let me say Goldwater-Nichols required us to have a more joint operation of our forces. How do you propose that the Army accomplish that with the differences that you have highlighted in your report? And I would be just interested in your comments in that regard, because it is a tremendously perplexing issue that I am not sure what the answer is today. I would love to hear what your comments are.
Ms. SCHUSTER. You have touched on several different topics. The first thing I would like to correct is any impression that you may have gotten that we are suggesting that standards ought to be lowered for the military.
Mr. GIBBONS. I didn't mean standards. Expectations.
Ms. SCHUSTER. Expectations.
Mr. GIBBONS. If I said standards, I misspoke. I wanted to mean lowered expectations of readiness.
Ms. SCHUSTER. I don't think that we are necessarily saying that we should lower expectations. I think what we are saying is you have to work at one end or the other given the real world of these personnel shortages, turnover, and OPTEMPO. And one of the things is to look at what is happening before they come and see how you can somehow get better preparation given the fact that we have all these shortages.
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If you cannot do that, if the extent is so great that you can't do it, then you have got to work at the other end. You have got to look at the centers themselves and what can be done to recognize the fact that they are coming at lower levels of proficiency and try to get them up to a greater level of proficiency by the time they leave.
That may mean that they may need to back down to; instead of doing brigade-sized exercises, do battalion-level exercises. So one or the other or a combination of both I think is probably where we come out.
With respect to joint operations and preparing the Guard, I just sat through an entire day of briefings at the National Guard last week. I was very encouraged to see the movement in integrating the National Guard into the total force.
We looked at the enhanced separate brigades several years ago when they were just getting started, and we saw that they didn't really have a role in the national military strategy. Today they do. They do have a real mission.
We have seen the movement toward these integrated divisions, active and Reserve forces, being combined into new divisions. And all of it is very positive in a direction of including the Guard and Reserves.
So I think even though it is a monumental task to bring a National Guard unit to the National Training Center, certainly they need that kind of training in some waywhether it is the way that they are doing it now, I am not sure.
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We did find with the one National Guard unit that we saw, it took people from 43 separate states to get that unit to the position to come. I mean, they came from all different directions and hundreds of individual, individual soldiers that made up that unit. They had to go through extensive gyrations to hire additional full-time support, et cetera, and it takes how long to prepare?
Mr. CARROLL. Three years.
Ms. SCHUSTER. Three years. So it is a major, major effort to do that. We need to find ways to include our National Guard troops in the training that the Army has as an integrated total force.
Mr. GIBBONS. Well, we have been at this project now for over 15 years. The Air Force, I think, is probably one of the premier institutions that has accomplished that jointness regime and has done it remarkably well. Perhaps what we haven't done is lifted the expectations of our Army Guard units and our Army Reserve units to the same standards that we have got our Army Active Duty units. And that may be the old saying that it isn't accepting the new that's difficult, it is letting go of the old
Ms. SCHUSTER. Right.
Mr. GIBBONS [continuing]. That is hard. We need to perhaps do more pushing. And I don't know how we can accomplish that in terms of getting that integration in there.
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I want to ask one final question, Mr. Chairman. I know my time is very limited here.
You mentioned in your remarks that the Army is reluctant to use some of the data or has been reluctant to use the data that it has gained from many of the training exercises. Can you expound a little more on that, what you see is the basis for the reluctance in using the data, and where do we go to improve that?
Ms. SCHUSTER. OK. There are a lot of extenuating circumstances. Are you familiar with the instrumentation at the centers where they have the laser equipment?
Mr. GIBBONS. Yes.
Ms. SCHUSTER. OK. There are three separate MILES systems, that is the name of the instrumentation, among the three centers. All of them are different generations of equipment. Some of them are more accurate than others. I understand one of them is 50 percent inaccurate.
To try to consolidate information that is really not comparable and also is not linked to the specific conditions that were present at the time the data were collected makes it very difficult to do any kind of synthesis or analysis of what is going on at the centers.
We also found that the contractorsthere was a different contractor for each center, each of which had different software which wasn't compatible, so that you couldn't add things up. It was apples and oranges again.
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We worked with the Center for Army Lessons Learned to try to get at what kind of synthesis of information there was from the training results, and they are really doing a lot of things manually, trying to pick out what is relevant across the experiences.
One thing they did was look at fratricide. But each time they have to go through all the after-action reports and manually dig this stuff out to try to see what is going on across the board in terms of systemic problems and how to
Mr. GIBBONS. Would a unified system improve immensely the ability to digest and take advantage of the data that comes from these training systems?
Ms. SCHUSTER. A reasonable man would say that, but we have not really looked at all the ins and out and the cross-benefit and whatever. But certainly that is a problem.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Gibbons.
Ms. BERKLEY. As the mother of two teenage boys who are rapidly reaching the age that, if we had a national emergency, they would be called upon to defend and serve their nation, I am particularly interested in military preparedness and training.
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When I toured Nellis, a recurring theme throughout the day was the need to provide better military pay, better benefits, better living conditions, better housing conditions for the men and women in service.
Is a part of the problem that you are identifying that whereif we have a lack of personnel or we can't keep our personnel, is a part of this solution providing adequate pay for our military and adequate benefits and creating incentives so that people that choose a military career are enticed to stay with it and not to go on to a career in the private sector because the benefits just don't correlate? Would that help?
And if so, is this just a matter of additional money for benefits and pay? Is there something more sophisticated than that? Or is it almost as simple as that?
Ms. SCHUSTER. Are you hungry? Do you want to have lunch? That is a very, very, very good question, and I could spend hours trying to answer that question. But let me say that we have done considerable work on attrition. And we do find that attrition is a problem, first-term attrition as well as just during the first basic training. We see one-third of the military attritting before they ever get through their training. That is very expensive, and it causes a lot of the holes that we see.
But aside from that, yes, we have seen some reduction or some shortages in the recruiting, some shortfalls in the recruiting in the Navy, and we have seen it just recently in the Army. The Army has had a real bad last quarter.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But in terms of benefits, pay, retirement, health care, et cetera, everyone is real concerned about that right now in terms of what it is that we should do to try to keep our military in there. How can we improve our retention? What we have found is there is really a lack of analysis in terms of why people are leaving the military. And so to add pay when there is some evidence to suggest that money is not the problem, you know, that is not going to address the issue.
And the same with retirement. We just testified yesterday on the proposals to roll back the redux retirement, which is less generous. We are just not concernedwe are concerned that there is a lack of analysis and that we are going to be doing knee-jerk kinds of things that aren't really related to the actual problems.
But in terms of the holes in the force structure that are preventing people from training and preparing for the centers, that really is a function of the force structure and the number of people to support that force structure being at a mismatch. There are fewer people to support that.
So right off the bat, you have got holes in your force structure even if everybody that was recruited stayed in and made the military a career. I don't know whether that answers your question.
Ms. BERKLEY. Perhaps a little. Let me ask you another question, though. When I was a university regent, we had a high attrition rate at the universities, and we couldn't figure out why all these freshman that we were recruiting would leave after their first semester. It was very costly, and it created a lot of problems.
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What we did was we started doing, for lack of a better word, exit polling to try to figure out what it was that we weren't doing to meet the needs of these students and what created this desire for them to leave.
Do we do something like that when somebody doesn't stay with the military? Do we probe as to why they chose not to stay and what we can do to keep them so that we would have that analysis available?
Ms. SCHUSTER. Right. One of the recommendations that we made in our attrition report was that they do a better job of using the information, the exit polling that they do, you know, on people leaving the military, to try to channel that into constructive actions to stop the attrition.
We felt that there were probably a lot of opportunities to remediate some of the problems that they had with some of the people that they are just letting go out the door. Perhaps with better training or a switch in jobs or better counseling or whatever, they may be able to retain more of those people there.
So they do do a lot of surveys. But they don't seem to be connected to programs to identify what it is that they need to do about it. GAO is just about ready to embark on a major survey that will get at the reasons why people stay and why people leave the military, and we are very excited about that project. It may cost us a little money to do it, but we feel like that will provide a good baseline that perhaps in the future we can do it every once in a while and see what is happening in the military.
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We would prefer that DOD do it themselves; but for the first step, we are going to try to do that ourselves and do a statistical sample that can be projected and see what we come up with.
Ms. BERKLEY. I met with personnel here at Nellis, and we had lunch together, and they told me some of their issues, and it was pretty much issues you hear across the country in every walk of life. It is, you know, better housing for their families, better retirement benefits, better health care benefits. And if that is what it takes to keep people in so that when we train them that we don't lose them right after, then we ought to move in that direction.
Ms. SCHUSTER. As long as there is a match to the reasons why they are leaving, I think that is a good idea.
Mr. BATEMAN. I have asked of the Department of Defense that they furnish my committee with the in-depth results of the exit polling, as it has been described, for the last 3 years; and I await impatiently that information. It is, I think, something important that we look at that and in depth.
Thank you, Ms. Berkley.
I remind Members and of course witnesses that we will allow any further questions that Members or professional staff may need to raise to be submitted in writing and response for the record. But I think, with that, you are entitled to and excused with our very deep thanks for your being here.
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Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, can I ask one last question.
Mr. BATEMAN. Sure.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ms. Schuster, I just wanted to establish or reestablish what I think you told me earlier, and I didn't know if you changed your position somewhat when you answered Mr. Gibbons' question.
My understanding is, what you said was, because of high OPTEMPO, you don'twe don't havewe have lots of personnel turbulence in these units and perhaps because of units' personnel shortages, and we don't have the time, if you will, or the unitthe unit cohesion time for the adequate training that we would have if we had a larger force structure, meaning if we had 18 divisions, you have more time for training, for concentration on training than if you have 10 divisions with lots of call, lots of OPTEMPO as a result of being deployed at various places around the world. Is that the essence of what you said?
Ms. SCHUSTER. Not exactly.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Tell me what you said.
Ms. SCHUSTER. OK. The shortages that we experience in the military are related to several things, one of which is the mismatch between the force structure and the number of people in there.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. Meaning you don't even have enough people for 10 divisions.
Ms. SCHUSTER. Right. No, you don't. No, you don't.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. I understand.
Ms. SCHUSTER. There aren't enough people to fill out that force structure. OK. So either there would need to be a smaller force structure or more people to make that match. But the things that really exacerbate that situation are the borrowing of people to fill civilian positions because of the tremendous downsizing in the civilian force and the other kinds of taskings that are required. The joint billets need to be filled. The active support to the Reserve units need to be filled. All those other taskings pull people out of those units.
Mr. HUNTER. How about deployments?
Ms. SCHUSTER. Deployments. Well, OPTEMPO is certainly a major portion of it as well.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. So to rephrase the question, then, would you say that OPTEMPO and personnel shortages have resulted in inadequate time for training?
Ms. SCHUSTER. I believe that is what we testified to in our statement, right.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. OK. Now, in response to Mr. Gibbons' question, you said there are some thingswe need to try to do everything we can to try to make up for that with respect to adjusting the National Training Center to understand that they may need to do some thingsthey are not going to be able to move people in at as high a level and expect them to do as much early on as they would if they were adequately prepped for their time at NTC; is that right?
Ms. SCHUSTER. Well, in an ideal world, I guess, if you had all the money that you could to spend on the military, you would have a much larger sized Army if that was your priority to try to make up for those shortfalls, et cetera. And I thinkI think an option certainly is always open, let us don't be involved anywhere in any of these peace operations around the world, and let us be isolationists, and then we would have more people. The reality is these things are going to continue. The things that are required that pull people out of units are important. The joint billets are important.
Mr. HUNTER. Yeah. But my point is that those problems don't exist if you have an 18 division Army, which we had 5 years ago, right, or they don't exist in the same proportion?
Ms. SCHUSTER. I am not sure if you compared the end strength of the Army with the 18 divisions and you compared it to today, the end strength of 10 divisions, whether it would be worse or not. Ihave you done any analysis?
Mr. CARROLL. No.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. SCHUSTER. So I am not sureI mean, we have never had as many people to fill out the force structure. But in the days when we had 18 active divisions, if you recall, we had round out brigades from the National Guard for some of those. Now we have 10 fully active divisions. We took the round out groups out of there. So it doesin a way, it might be a little worse now because they are 10 fully active instead of 18 partially rounded out divisions. But I would have to do the analysis. I would be glad to get those figures for you if you would like.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. What I am suggesting is, understanding that the real world is a dangerous place with lots of calls for deployment no matter who the President is and no matter what your world situation is, you are going to have lots of calls for deployment, perhaps the 10 division force structure is inadequate.
You know, after Korea, the Joint Chiefs issued a unanimous finding that youthis country couldn't make it on 10 divisions, which, interestingly, is what we had when Korea started. So that was myand you mentioned that with thewith less people and with less divisions and with more pull on those divisions, you don't have as much time to concentrate on training. Now you fuzzed it up a little bit.
If that is fine, if that is not a problem, I want to know about it. But if it is a problem, I think we should understand that, in going down from 18 to 10, most people think, when you reduce from a big force to a small force, the small force is really well-equipped now, right, because they got all the stuff the big force had before in spades; and they are really well trained, because now you don't have to run 18 divisions through, you only have to run 10 divisions through, so they should be even better trained than the 18.
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I thought the interesting proposition that you offered us is, when have you a smaller force, because of the OPTEMPO and the personnel turbulence that that involves, that you actually have a worse-trained force than when have you a robust force. Now if that is not so, and that is not really what you are saying, then that is fine, but I thought that is what you answered my first question.
Ms. SCHUSTER. Let me
Mr. HUNTER. So if you went back to 18 divisions, would it be better? Would we be more adequately trained than we are now?
Ms. SCHUSTER. I think you have to correlate the 770,000 end strength with the 18 rounded out divisions somehow and relate that to the 10 divisions with the 480,000 that we have now to really see where the holes were. But I think the important point still is the diversions of the people for thesefor not only the peace operations, but these other things that they are being pulled for that are really causing a bulk of the problem.
Mr. BATEMAN. I think we are going to have to call time on that. But if we can summarize it, it certainly would come through to this Member that we have got too few people doing too much with too little, and we need to do something about that.
Ms. SCHUSTER. And the Army always says can do, right.
Mr. BATEMAN. And we ought to be very, very pleased at how magnificently they are trying and the degree of success that they are having. But that can't just go on indefinitely. Thank you very much. And we will have probably questions for the record for you to supplement what you have already provided us.
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Ms. SCHUSTER. Thank you.
Mr. BATEMAN. Now, our second panel in our hearing today consists of the following persons and whom we are very pleased to have here and to share their information and their expertise with us. Brigadier General William G. Webster, Jr., the Commanding General, National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California; Brigadier General Samuel S. Thompson, III, Commanding General, Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana; Rear Admiral Timothy R. Beard, Commander, Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, Naval Air Station, Fallon, Nevada; Major General Clifford L. Stanley, Commanding General, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twenty-Nine Palms, California; and Colonel John D. Rosenberger, Commander, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California. And joining them shortly, in fact he now appears, is Major General Glen W. Moorhead, III, Commander, Air Warfare Center, Nellis Air Force Base Nevada, and our host. And thank you very much for the fine arrangements that your people have made for us, General.
General MOORHEAD. Yes, sir.
Mr. BATEMAN. General, if you would like, if you are prepared, we will start with your testimony, and then we will proceed apace.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. GLEN W. MOORHEAD, III, COMMANDER, AIR WARFARE CENTER NELLIS AFB, NEVADA AIR COMBAT COMMAND, U.S. Air Force
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General MOORHEAD. Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, it is certainly an honor to host you here at Nellis Air Force Base. I had a little bit of an opening statement, but Congressman Gibbons took most of it in saying that we think alike
Mr. GIBBONS. Yes, sir.
General MOORHEAD [continuing]. In talking about how important Nellis Air Force Base and Fallon and the ranges in Nevada are to the training of our air combat warriors around the world, to our allies and our coalition members.
It is certainly an honor for me to be here. We, because of our unique position, as I have mentioned earlier in doing training and testing, see readiness from a little different perspective. I am looking forward to answering your questions on that with my other colleagues. With that, sir, I conclude my statement, and I appreciate you being here.
[The prepared statement of Gen. Moorhead, can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Next we have Brigadier General William G. Webster, Jr., Commanding General, National Training Center in Fort Irwin.
STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. WILLIAM G. WEBSTER, JR., COMMANDER, NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER AND FORT IRWIN, CALIFORNIA U.S. ARMY
General WEBSTER. Mr. Chairman, Members of Congress, thank you very much. And like the others, I would like to ask that my statement be entered for the record. I will just begin with a few remarks.
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First of all, at the National Training Center, we are very proud of what we do out there. Our business is training and readiness and the very heart of the heavy force. We are just embarking on our 199th rotation since we opened the training center in 1982, and it has been called by many as the crown jewel of the Army.
We have trained just under a million soldiers, active and Reserve components, since we first opened. And our mission is preparing soldiers and leaders and heavy mechanized and armored units for success in their operational missions, and to increase their collective proficiency to fight and win in a tough and realistic environment that can't be duplicated anywhere else.
We are focused on the battalion task forces and the brigade combat teams. We conduct combined arms and joint operations. Many of our sister services participate in nearly every rotation out there.
We also have to be good stewards of the resources you give us, and we thank you very much for what you have been doing for us.
Readiness is more complex than it has ever been before for us at the National Training Center as well as for the units that come out there to train. Our units who come to train there have to be prepared to go anywhere and do anything.
Now at the installation level, readiness for me means training my own soldiers as well as those who come in, maintaining an infrastructure to do that and to support our soldiers, and maintaining a good quality of life for the family members and the troops who live there.
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For our soldiers who come in there in their units, it is a function of battle focus training tasks that they have to train to standards on their equipment, their people, the manning levels that we have talked about in earlier testimony, parts for their equipment, reassurances that their families will be taken care of when they deploy, and training to those high standards that I talked about a few minutes ago.
But for either of us, either at the NTC or for those units that come there to train, it really boils down to a function of people, time, money, and the missions that they have been given, as we have already discussed.
BASEOPs at the NTC, like many other places, has been underfunded for years, somewhere around the 70 percent mark, in some cases as low as 50 percent. So that we have only been able to fix those things that actually broke, emergency repairs in many cases in the real property maintenance. So we, too, have migrated training funds, somewhere between $8 million and $18 million a year for 5 years or so tofrom our OPTEMPO and flying hours to BASEOPs.
So at home station, we find that missions are upthe number of missions are up, people are short, as you have just heard, especially the low density MOS personnel. Leaders have less experience than they used to because they are also deployed out doing other things when 6 to 10 years ago they used to stay in tactical units. Dollars have declined, and some of our posts are crumbling.
So training levels upon entry are down, down over the last 6 to 7 years, but I might add significantly better trained than we were when I first started going there in the middle 1980's. That is the good news, but down since the end ofabout the end of Desert Storm.
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We have to accomplish more tasks. It is a more complex world. We have got less time to do that, less people, and less dollars. Even some of my own soldiers, and we are not a deployment post, but even some of my own soldiers and my colleagues from the other training centers are deployed all the time, supporting operations around the world.
But units who come out there don't complain that it is too easy, that we have downgraded the conditions. They don't come to get a pat on the back. They come because we make it about as tough as they can stand.
Training readiness is a function of specific tasks that are accomplished like physical fitness at a specific frequency, intensity, and duration, like physical fitness. So with deployments up, tasks increased, numbers of people down, dollars down, then frequency, intensity, and duration have all decreased at home station, and we see that in the units who come out to train with us.
As stated earlier, we don't grade, rate, judge, or compare units. We are to train them. We don't analyze them about their readiness. As you know, commanders report that separately. We observe what they do in accordance with our doctrine, and we provide feedback to them so they can improve.
The last point I would like to make, sir, is that there are four key pillars at the NTC that we have to maintain just beyond the reach of our units. That is a professional OPFORColonel Rosenberger will talk about that in a few minutes; it can't be duplicated anywhere''professional operations group of observer controllers'' a BASEOPs infrastructure to support the training we have got, that includes instrumentation, the prepositioned fleet of equipment, live-fire facilities for brigades, et cetera, and the battle space with which we train, some of which needs to be expanded.
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We build on the units' mission essential task list and our doctrine, and we give them an experience that they cannot get at home station or any other place.
But all of those, the PREPO fleet, our instrumentation, the OPFOR, and our infrastructure need upgrading in order for us to stay just beyond where we need to be.
Sir, I appreciate the opportunity to speak before you today, and I will be glad to answer your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Webster can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, General Webster.
Brigadier General Thompson, we will be happy to hear from you.
STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. SAMUEL S. THOMPSON, III, COMMANDING GENERAL, JOINT READINESS TRAINING CENTER AND FORT POLK U.S. ARMY
General THOMPSON. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, first off, thank you very much for the privilege of being able to address you today and also thank you for your support of the armed forces. It is very heartening to listen to what is going on today.
At the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, we have a slightly different mission here. We have a training mission for the combat training centers, but we also have deployable units. So I will be glad to address any questions that you might have. We just got our 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment back from Bosnia. We just got our Warrior Brigade back from Nicaragua. So I can tell you firsthand things if you are interested in that.
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Like the National Training Center, we do 10 rotations a year. Eight of those rotations are active infantry brigades, light infantry brigades. We focus at the low spectrum, low to mid intensity. We start with the terrorist, and we end with an armored attack of an enemy regiment with tanks and armored personnel carriers and the associated combat systems that go with that.
So 10 rotations a year, eight of them are active units. One of them is an enhanced brigade, a National Guard enhanced brigade. There are seven light enhanced brigades. And one of them is a special operations rotation.
I might add that every single one of the rotations has some special operations flavor to it. Normally it is special forces battalion and the special operations aviation that is associated with that.
Likewise, each one of the rotations includes active Guard and Reserve. Very healthy mix. We are a total force for certain. We can't go and do the rotations with just the active unit.
The other point I would make about that also, in a joint world, we have Air Force units every single rotation, Marine Corps units in most rotations and Navy units some rotations.
A dirty battlefield is what we try to present. We try to present what we see in the world today and what we expect to find tomorrow: civilians all over the place, villages with animals all over the place, media all over the place, terrorists all over the place, insurgents all over the place, and then my main force units.
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Our job is to teach and to coach and to met those units, not to evaluate them. I am very happy to hear that everybody understands that. For if we were to evaluate, I am afraid we wouldn't be developing bold, innovative leaders. We want units to come and make their mistakes on our battlefield. Come out here, sweat hard, so we don't bleed needlessly as we have done in the past. So coach, teach, mentorthat is sort of what we are all aboutagainst a tough and uncompromising enemy force who wants to do nothing other than kill you. We don't want it any other way. We want something hard out there.
This is a 16-day exercise, 24 hours a day. It doesn't stop. The mistake that you made yesterday is going to come to haunt you tomorrow. You either have water or you don't. You either have food or you don't. You either have ammunition or you don't. And we don't stop it. If there is a hurricane coming through, then that is just part of the battlefield. Figure it out. That is what it is all about.
When we are all finished, the unit and its leaders are completely exhausted, emotionally and physically. And they feel happy for the experience, for they have felt like they have gone through something worse than war. And that is exactly the result we are trying to get to, and we don't apologize for that.
Now, you have asked us to come and talk about readiness. We have already said we don't evaluate, but we certainly have opinions, because we see an awful lot of units. I was privileged to come through as a brigade commander, go back and serve there for 2 years as a commander of operations group, and then come back and be a commanding general. So I have seen it over a span of time.
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In the light force, we have been able to maintain our training at home station at the brigade and the battalion level. Light forces, as you know, are just inherently less expensive than heavy forces are. And the degree to which we get our home station training rate dictates the level that we enter the training center, which dictates the amount we can learn. That is what we are trying to get to is the maximum learning we can get to.
Now, as General Webster has said, the conditions have changed over time. We have ramped this thing up. It is ever so much more difficult today than it was 6 or 7 years ago. And so, yes, it is true, units are not coming as prepared as they might have been in the past. But we are asking an awful lot more of them at this point.
To me, the real issue is manning. And I amI just love to hear the conversation that we have had today, because here is what I see: squads that normally have nine men in them, nine-man squads show up and they have six. So you will find platoons that have a squad zero out of them sometimes. You cannot do the number of tasks that the organization was designed for when you don't have the people in it.
And so readiness to me is really pretty simple, and it is not a Ph.D. level thing. To have readiness, you have to have the people in the units in order to go do this. To have the people in the units, I would tell you, listening to our soldiers talk, it is all about pay raises. It is all about retirement. It is all about a revamping of the pay scale. That concerns young soldiers, and it concerns our mid-grade people. And that is, in my opinion, why we are having a problem with that going away.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They are listening to all the rhetoric, and they are reading it all. But, honestly, we cannot back up from that. We must produce that or we don't get this turned around, in my estimation.
Now, there is some hope out there. I am seeing units with certain enlistment bonus issues given to them, and the numbers have come up just a little bit in the last two rotations.
The only other point that I would like to make is that when we talk about retention of soldiers, that is a family decision. Soldiers don't make that decision. If Mrs. Smith says to Specialist Smith that this is the best thing I have ever seen, well, then Specialist Smith doesn't have any choice. He is going to stay. Conversely, when Mrs. Smith says this really is bad, he doesn't have a choice either. So I think we have to fix those sorts of issues.
Then I think we can get at the readiness business. See, I am not one of those that goes out and says we have got a real readiness problem. I think we have got a people problem, not necessarily a readiness problem.
Sir, subject to your questions, that's all. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of General Thompson can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, General Thompson.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral Beard.
STATEMENT OF REAR ADM. TIMOTHY R. BEARD, U.S. NAVY COMMANDER, NAVAL STRIKE AND AIR WARFARE CENTER
Admiral BEARD. Good morning. Thank you for this opportunity. Candidly, it is most appreciated.
Every Navy carrier air wing comes through my center before it deploys at the very end of its training cycle. We, therefore, are in the best position to assess the capabilities of naval aviation near the point of deployment. I will say that we do evaluate.
You will get no anecdotal information from me this morning. I have provided hard data in my submitted testimony, quantifying the declines of readiness of the squadrons that we have observed over the past 2 years, and noting the late delivery of equipment with which to train.
As I also noted, at my command we too have problems. I am manned currently at 78 percent. Readiness. I enjoy the support of a contract maintenance effort from the Boeing Corporation that, quite frankly, is really answering the bell.
However, of 23 Hornets that we have signed, the best we are doing every day is 9 to 10 up because of spare parts and engines. Eight Tomcats are assigned. We are doing a little bit better percentage-wise because we have four to five each day to fly out of eight. Of three helicopters, generally the best we can get is two, and most of the time it is one.
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Wednesday of this week, we reported nine of 23 Hornets up, and 137 parts on order off station. That is an average of 10 parts per down airplane, as well as 15 what we call bare firewalls, 15 missing engines. So even if I had all the parts, without the engines, that is eight airplanes of 23 that we could not fly. And a Hornet, of course, is our workhorse.
Our flight hour funding is adequate. Unfortunately, I can't generate enough jets to fly the flight time to train the people to train those that come out to work with us.
I believe this has a definite effect on our air crews' morale, and I believe that this is the No. 1 driver for poor retention, not only among pilots, but amongst our enlisted personnel because they haven't got the tools to fix the jets.
I have two take-aways from this morning for you, sir. The performance of Navy carrier air wings has declined over the past 4 years as a result of the lack of materiel support. No. 2, I think readiness is directly linked to retention.
I am ready to answer any questions you have, sir.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Beard can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you Admiral Beard.
Now we have General Stanley. We are pleased to here from you, sir.
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STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. CLIFFORD L. STANLEY, COMMANDING GENERAL, MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER
General STANLEY. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of Congress. Thank you also for this opportunity. My statement is already entered, and I will just have some very brief comments about what we do.
I am at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. That is MCAGCC for short. We have about 20,000 military members, family members, civilians, who are actually living there, working there. We are, I think, experiencing what I would say, similar to most people here, some of the usual stresses that come in life with regard to being worked hard, put away wet.
We have what I would say the CAX's that come in, that is Combined Armed Exercises; we literally train about a third of our Corps every year. We do not evaluate. What we do is actually train them, and it is a come as you are just as our philosophy is wherever you go. We basically evaluate doing our Marine Corps combat readiness evaluations. That is done by units, the various units where they are. It is also done in our SOC packages, our Special Operations Capable packages that people go out and use.
When they come to us, and we bring them in as they are, what we are actually focusing on are the tactics, trainings, and techniques, procedures, and so forth just to make sure that they understand how to in a very live fire, maneuver, dirty environment, for lack of a better word, to actually teach them the procedures of exactly what you do.
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Our OPFOR is simulated, and we follow tracks based upon enemy doctrine procedures. And then, basically, they have to learn how to operate and actually operate and maneuver through the ground they shoot in for 932 square miles, about three-quarters the size of Rhode Island.
But the bottom line in our focus is actually doing it as we would actually do it. This particular approach has helped us in Desert Shield, Desert Storm more recently, and continues to help us today.
Although we have challenges, particularly when you start talking about maintenance and a lot of the things that we have continued to do in terms of maintaining our equipment, it has actually, I would say, felt the pressures and stresses really of suffering on the base operational support side, which is where we are really having the challenges with the barracks and things like that. That is what affects the readiness eventually in terms of people wanting to stay to continue to do this harsh environment.
I am humbled, so to speak, when I think that in a couple of months we will put an air conditioner in a club on the base for the first time, and you know where we live. I will now wait for questions and talk specifically about issues.
[The prepared statement of General Stanley can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. You are getting soft.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, General Stanley.
Now we hear from Colonel Rosenberger. Colonel, welcome and thank you for being a part of the panel.
STATEMENT OF COL. JOHN D. ROSENBERGER, COMMANDER, 11TH ARMORED CAVALRY REGIMENT (OPPOSING FORCES) NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER, FORT IRWIN, CALIFORNIA
Colonel ROSENBERGER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the committee. I am honored to appear before you today and try to win one for the troops.
My name is Colonel John Rosenberger, born and raised in the great State of New Mexico. I am a commander of the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment, the Opposing Force at the National Training Center. I am here to tell you what I think about the fighting effectiveness of the brigade combined arms teams we oppose and fight each month, and to illuminate performance trends in their ability to fight and accomplish their mission essential tasks.
Given my experience, it is my opinion that the performance and the combat readiness of brigade combat teams at the National Training Center has substantially declined in the past 5 years. Leaders, soldiers, and units enter the battlefield at the National Training Center at a much lower level of fighting ability than they have in the past.
Entry level proficiency and mission essential tasks, those required to be successful in combat, from company to brigade level, are low. Commanders, staff and soldiers at every level, platoon to brigade, display a decreasing level of knowledge, skill, and ability to plan, prepare, conduct, and sustain combat operations.
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The reason for this decline and lower fighting ability is not elusive in my view. What I observe at the National Training Center is a great Army, filled with terrific solders, suffering from an inability to train at every level with the battle focus and frequency necessary to develop and sustain its full combat potential.
What I see is an Army that is reeling from the effects of decisions imposed upon it externally and internally. For example, some of the effects would be a sustained shortage of leaders and soldiers, high personnel turbulence created by an imbalance of force structure and national requirements, less experienced leaders produced by a decreasing amount of time to serve in critical leader development positions, insufficient money at every level to command at each level of command to train as a team of teams at the frequency necessary to sustain combat proficiency at home station, expanding peacekeeping operations which quickly erode warfighting knowledge, skill, and ability, creating a growing generation of young leaders who don't know how to fight effectively as members of the combined arms team, increasing numbers of soldiers diverted from combat training to perform installation support services, backfilling cuts in the civilian work force and severe cuts and contractual support at our installations, and, finally, an absence of time and opportunity to focus, in a predictable fashion, on battle-focused training. All of these effects are conspiring against us.
Mr. Chairman, speaking for myself, it is a hard thing to watch my Army, the Army that delivered the outcome of Desert Storm, the Army that I and so many others sacrificed so much to create from the ashes of the Vietnam War, slowly deteriorate from the conditions that we have been compelled to endure the past 7 years. Anything that this committee or Congress can do to help us reverse these conditions would be welcome and exciting news for the troops.
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I thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today, and I am about ready to lose my voice. I stand ready to answer the committee's questions.
[The prepared statement of Colonel Rosenberger can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Well, Colonel, let me say on behalf of all of the committee that we very much appreciate the candor and the clear emotional content of the statements that you have made. That I would also echo with respect to, I think, the clear warning signs that Admiral Beard and you others have given us.
This is not the time for us to be making speeches. We are here to gather information. But even at the risk of violating that rule, the comment that I think we would want to make to you is that those of us on this committee and the Members who are present at this hearing today have long felt that we were not adequately resourcing our national security requirements in keeping with the demands we were placing upon the people in our military.
Each and every one of us has enormous respect for the quality and the caliber of the people who serve us in uniform, but we are wearing you out, and we know that. You have been drastically underresourced, and we know that.
My subcommittee has been pointing with alarm at decreases in the readiness and the capability that you have. We know of the cannibalization of your aircraft. We know the time being spent in maintaining old worn-out vehicles. We know the spare part shortages. We know the mission capable rates that have declined. We know your retention problems. And we know, yes, even your recruiting problems.
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As we sit here today, and as Congressman Hunter has pointed out, we have more tasks for our armed services to do than we have people to perform the tasks. We need more end strength than you are authorized to have, and yet we have to be realistic in the context that services are now encountering difficulties in keeping up their authorized end strength, as limited as it is, in terms of the demands upon it when we are dealing with totally a volunteer force.
So I hear you, colonel and admiral and generals, very, very clearly. But something that has got to happen before I and my colleagues who hear you and understand you can really have a meaningful effect is we cannot move the mind of the American people to more generously, more adequately resource our national security requirements until the senior leadership of our military make it known to us and to the people of what your requirements are and whether you have genuine unmet needs. Because we cannot convince the American people over the rhetorical expressions in Washington that say, oh, we are increasing your budget, we know that we have got some problems, and everything is going to be fixed, and then have produced some fairly unrealistic program assumptions that may well not give you the resources that rhetorically you might be expecting you are going to receive.
But the real point of all of this comment from me is those who want to help you need help in making people aware of how genuine your needs are and where the country and its security is going to be if we don't more adequately give you the resources that are called for.
Sorry for such a long speech, and having done all of that, I will just ask Congressman Lewis if he has questions or comments.
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Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Chairman, you have been more than generous with this interloper; but nonetheless, this panel, aided very much by the earlier testimony by Carol Schuster from GAO, I have almost an endless string of questions, and many of them I will submit for the record.
But I would like to have a little interaction about OPFOR for a moment since that is close to the heart of my territory. And, Colonel, you were somewhat shy in your remarks, so I thought we might have a little exchange.
The good news is that it looks as though we may have at least begun to plateau. The administration's request this year does at least begin to address the reality that maybe we have cut back enough.
The CINCs asked for close to $148 billion over the fight at the head of this; that the administration is talking about something considerably less than that. But, nonetheless, even in the first year, there is some real addition of new money for the first time for some time. I think we ought to build upon that, but hopefully as a new environment, and start at the very beginning point. That is, we need to have dollars that adequately support those men and women who choose to serve at the fundamental level. You begin with the training and readiness that you all are expressing concern about.
But when I get to OPFOR there is another set of questions. You are there to do a job, to make sure that your people are in the best possible position to be the toughest force that those people can meet who come here for training. I want to know if OPFOR is receiving the help that it needs.
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I see one big hole in OPFOR's activities, for example, just as an outside observer, that I would ask you to comment on relative to the question of are we using our dollars well.
Your equipment is in horrible condition. We don't have the parts to keep them up to speed. We find ourselves constantly short out there in that battlefield. Nonetheless, when we want to repair that equipment, you know, we use it regularly, day in and day out, we want to repair an engine, we put it on a train and send it across the country to repair it. And it doesn't make a lot of sense to this layman.
Right there on the base, there are people who need the training that involves repairing equipment. Nearby, there are logistic facilitiesyou know, we pay lip service or talk about cross-service training. There are facilities local for repairing that equipment and making sure it is the best available.
Do we need to review what we are doing with the dollars that we have received? And, specifically, are there ways we can spend the OPFOR money that you do receive better than we are spending it?
Colonel ROSENBERGER. Thank you, sir. I believe I can answer that question, most of it anyway.
The thing about the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment Opposing Force, first off, is we have got plenty of money. We have got plenty of soldiers. We have time. We have predictability. We have the opportunity to train at very high frequencies to sustain our ability to perform our mission essential tasks. We enjoy every condition that the majority of forces in our Army do not enjoy. So I will say that right off the bat.
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But that is not to say that we don't have some needs. We have got some serious needs that have to be addressed. For example, I have got 2,500 troopers, and those troopers are fighting and using equipment that is based on the old M551 Sheridan tank, designed and built for the Vietnam War, 35 to 40-year-old systems, older than the men that are fighting.
And we maintain those out of the bone yard, what we call the bone yard. In other words, the Army sent us all the hulks and the hulls. My troopers go out there and pull off whatever repair parts that they need, because they don't make parts for those Sheridans anymore. We get some engines. We get transmissions. They don't make parts for Sheridans anymore.
So we are basically cannibalizing out of hulks that have been shipped to us from the various sources. And they work hard, most of these guys, to get those parts off and sustain those Sheridans so we can be able to put the kind of combat power on the battlefield necessary to give them the toughest fight we can. But, now, it is at its limits practically.
We have got two programs. The Army is working at this point in time to design, to replace the Sheridan fleet, not only at the National Training Center, but also at the Joint Readiness Training Center, replace it with what we call an OPFOR surrogate vehicle, which replaces the BMP2 equivalents, which is to say an aggression mechanized infantry fighting vehicle, which is the majority of the force by the way.
That OPFOR surrogate program, for example, the requirement is 190 for us. It is funded in such a fashion we only get 119. Additional dollars have to be found somewhere within the Army's budget to replace that. But that is not my sole problem. I have also got one in my first squadron, which is using Sheridans to replicate the Russian T80 tank, and right now there is only discussion about a replacement program, a surrogate tank vehicle program to replace those.
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That program was planned. Funds were last year canceled. We are working hard to try to argue for the resources necessary to replace both fleets, if you will, the OPFOR surrogate vehicle and the OPFOR surrogate tank.
The other thing that we need is, in terms of being able to replicate realisticmore realistic conditions on the battlefield, is aviation. We are using old UH1 helicopters visually modified to represent Hind, Russian Hind helicopters which have been purchased by many countries and so forth. They are on their last leg. There is only four of them. We have no resources to replace that fleet. And if we could, we would have much better conditions to train our force.
I use those as an example, Mr. Congressman, of some things we need some help with. Now, if we don't just do these things, not just programs to sustain opposing force capability, modernization is an entirely different thing; but to sustain this, in the next 2 to 4 years, we are going to lose that capability because there are no more Sheridans. The parts are gone. The only other options we have is to go with a manufacturer like JRTC has, and the cost will go out of the roof when you have to go out and individually manufacture these things.
So that is a long answer, but those are some of the things that we need programmatically funding.
Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Chairman, I am going to submit for the record a more general question that perhaps General Webster can respond to relative to, if we were to go increase rotations by two, if we were going to emphasize that pre-training that is necessary, we need some budgetary help. If you could provide us for the recordI will give you the specific questionhow much would it cost? Dollars are tough to come by, but how much would it cost?
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General WEBSTER. Sir, I would be glad to answer that for the record.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. I think the witnesses may find that we will have a number of questions that we will want to submit to you to reply to the record.
Mr. SKEEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, gentlemen, I don't think that I have ever seen a better and more candid presentation about what the problem is and what we ought to do about it. I think it is reallyon Colonel Rosenberger's behalf, the reason for that candid statement is because he was trained on green or red chili. If you can do that and sell it, you can almost conquer anything.
Colonel ROSENBERGER. You can't teach me to talk any other way, sir.
Mr. SKEEN. Thank you for your presentation. We really appreciate your sentiment, because I think we are getting down to the real hide, bone, and hair structure. This is exactly what we came to do. We are from the government, but we are here to help you. If that doesn't scare you, nothing will bother you.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BATEMAN. Congressman Hunter.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me ask you maybe, General Thompson, and anybody else can pick this up who wants to deal with it, do you think that having heard GAO testify to the effect that, when folks get to your training operation, they are not as well prepared as they could be. And I analogized it to kids that leave junior high school going to high school, and they haven't had the background in junior high to get them ready for high school. They don't have that base.
Would you recommend any type of a prep couple of weeks before they get into your operation to make it more valuable to them when they get there? And that is formaybe lead off, General Thompson, and any of the rest of you can answer that and comment on it.
General THOMPSON. Yes, sir. The answer is absolutely. Absolutely. We have two of the divisions that routinely do a home station train-up before they come. Now, it is costly, because it takes more than just that brigade. You have to go to another brigade to get an enemy force. You have to get observer controllers. You have to get civilians and media and all that other stuff. So it is costly.
Two divisions do that routinely before they come; and, consequently, they come in at a much higher level of an ability to synchronize themselves in their battle over time. A couple of the others are so busy that they can't afford to do that.
So the simple answer is, yes, we should do that.
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Mr. HUNTER. What would you recommend, coming from your background?
General THOMPSON. Well, the FORSCOM commander is helping us all out because he is now writing into his regulations for all CT, combat training, centers a requirement that says, before you go you must conduct battalion external evaluations, for instance, and you must conduct brigade operations. That will get at some of the issues. But that sort of puts it in a box. It is up to the division commander, really, to get the focus rate and to invest in terms of the time and money in terms of getting them ready.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. But for the record, if you could expand on that, what do you think the ideal prep program would be.
General THOMPSON. I think the ideal prep program looks like a rotation at the training center. In other words, they come into an intermediate staging base, spend a couple of days, reorient themselvess, go through an orders process, and then go into a battlefield that looks as much like the battlefield you are going to go train on as is possible with all of the combat multipliers on it of a real enemy force, the observer controllers to give you feedback, the media, the civilians on the battlefield, the nongovernmental agencies and organizations that you would find on the battlefield. And so I think that is what we ought to be doing, and it ought to be probably 7 to 10 days in length in my opinion.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General WEBSTER. Mr. Chairman, if I may add to that. In the 1980's, the 18 division force before the Wall fell, many units like the ones that I served in, the 24th Division at Fort Stewart being the primary one, we used to spend 6 to 9 months preparing to go to the National Training Center; and it was the capstone training event for which you prepared.
That included, as it still does, life gunnery training through the platoon level so that those 5,000 soldiers who come out there in their units can train and fight safely with live fire with all of the conditions that we impose on them.
But when things changed and deployments for the Army went up over 300 percent and the number of units we had and soldiers went down 40 percent, units are not able to do that anymore.
I will give you an example. Last year, I was second in command of the 3d Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and we spent a month in a half in Egypt on a major exercise, as much as we used to do, but in addition alerted no notice in February, deployed to Kuwait for 5 months, and had to cancel one of our NTC rotations because we could notwe were deployed. We couldn't come there and train.
So units find themselves moving from deployment to deployment without sufficient soldiers and don't have that same amount of time to train.
I do believe that, as General Thompson said, that General Schwartz's program of passing through gates where you are evaluated at home station through specific gates that are written into our doctrine now but we have not been able to use for a while, fully fundedand I might add the $60.1 million that we were appropriated last year specifically for our training at the NTC and OPTEMPOallowed the FORSCOM commander to take money he had pulled from home station to give back to them to do that training. So I think we are on the way. But I will be glad to provide additional information, though.
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Mr. HUNTER. OK. So would it be your conclusion that, because of constraints that we didn't have before the Wall fell, so to speak, when we had a fullerwe had the 18 divisions, that the divisions today are less adequately trained than they were in those days?
General WEBSTER. Sir, I would modify that a bit and say that brigades and battalions are less well trained than they were at the time we went to Desert Storm. Division command posts are probably better trained because of simulations that we have gotten. I know that is a complicated answer.
Mr. HUNTER. I understand.
General WEBSTER. But it is a little different story. It is the battalions and the brigades that actually do the maneuvering and synchronization of all the combat power that are less well trained than they were about 6 or 7 years ago.
Mr. HUNTER. Anybody else?
Admiral BEARD. I will give you some specifics. Parts and the airplanes so that the pilots can fly the hours that are allocated to them during the training cycle. More weapons to drop. I just interviewed a skipper that came to the center last week. Out of 19 pilots, he has three that have dropped precision weapons in the past. Three of 19. And they have got to make up that time while they are out on our base. So I would add weapons to that.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would also ask for a constant flow of people, not just in time, but a constant flow so that we are always fully manned, and then you can sustain the constant turnover that we have to sustain because of our deployment cycles.
Mr. HUNTER. A couple questions on that. The weapons that you utilize, are those full-up, armed weapons, combat weapons?
Admiral BEARD. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Questionbecause we know these smart weapons cost us a fortune.
Admiral BEARD. They do, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Close to a million bucks for some species of these weapons and not much less for others. Is there a way to have a training series of those weapons that are less expensive?
Admiral BEARD. There is, sir, and we do have it. My point is for the lesser expensive laser guided weapons is what I am talking about for airplanes.
Mr. HUNTER. I understand.
Admiral BEARD. Each pilot, if he or she can drop one per year and then have three to four of the cheaper training rounds per month to drop, it was this skipper's assessment, and I have to agree with him, we could sustain the level of capability for that particular weapon that we need.
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Mr. HUNTER. OK. Parts. We get the call for parts. This chairman and the other chairmen plus you up, at least plus up the budget. But I am informed by staff that there is a long lead time or a long delay in getting these parts. You said Boeing is treating you well. These arethese are F18 C and D's that you are
Admiral BEARD. A's. That is all I have is A's.
Mr. HUNTER. And there is a real shortage of parts for the A's?
Admiral BEARD. There is.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. What does Boeing tell you about it?
Admiral BEARD. Boeing does the maintenance. The Navy supplies the parts. It is not part of Boeing's contract to supply the parts. So we have a 50/50 proposition. They work the aircraft. I supply the parts. And my organization is not supplying the parts.
Mr. HUNTER. Well, you get the parts, I mean, from they and the company that they have consumed, the original equipment manufacturer, right?
Admiral BEARD. Yes, sir. They produce based on what we spend to produce those parts.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. Yeah, but Boeing does supply the parts. They make them.
Admiral BEARD. Yes, sir, they do.
Mr. BATEMAN. But under a different contract.
Admiral BEARD. Certainly.
Mr. HUNTER. What do you hear the problem is with the parts? When you say, how come I haven't got these things, what is the answer; that we can't afford them, or it is going to take months to make them?
Admiral BEARD. We have inadequate resources to pay for the spares that we need, APM5 and APM6. It is bucks.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Any other comments?
General MOORHEAD. Yes, sir, if I may respond. Sir, I think Admiral Beard and I and all of the center commanders, you know, you made it very clear with Ms. Schuster also, that this training and readiness interface is a very complex thing to get your hands on. And I always put that in training as training opportunities. Training opportunities mean that you have a jet. It has got the right ordnance on it. You are in the right environment.
Our job is to create that environment, all of us. We have got to continue to fund and make sure that we can create those environments for us airmen. That is threats on the range. That is aggressor squadrons. You are going to talk to our OPFOR a little later. How we have that equipment and those priorities to create that environment to train.
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To address the question of entry level training, our issue in the United States Air Force is we have spin up, if you will, we call it spin up, prior to people coming to Red Flag or prior to coming to our weapons school, our Ph.D level training. Those people aren't at home to train. That is what happens. And the training backlog happens with retention being down, the level of experience is down.
So my evidence is, when we have a Red Flag, and we start it, we used to raise everybody's hands and say how many people have been to Red Flag. Five or 6 years ago, virtually everybody in the room would raise their hand. Today it is like 40 percent of every other Sunday when we ask that question, and that goes down and down. Which means that entry-level training hasn't been done at home, couldn't be done at home because those young men weren't there to train. They were either halfway to Bosnia or halfway to here or there.
Recent data, our last Red Flag here, Shaw Air Force Base canceled their participation in Red Flag because they did not have the trained people at the experience levels to come participate in Red Flag.
Langley Air Force Base cut their participation in half and particularly the level of complexity that they participated in, because we, just like all of the center commanders, adjust the wick of what the threat looks like, what the intensity is based on the people that come in there.
We all start there now at a lower entry level, I think, across the board than we have in the past, mainly because of all the issues, sir, that you pointed out last time and the rest of my colleagues have pointed out. The soldiers and airmen and the sailors have to have that equipment to train on. They have to have those training opportunities. Simple things. Flares and chaff, our self-defense systems.
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Tim and I have a problem putting those stuff on the jets all the time because they are not there, they are not funded. And over time, that training degrades as you make a radio call to say do it versus really doing it. Those kind of things is what is making this perceived and real entry-level.
We have great airmen. We have got sailors and soldiers and Marines that are as red, white, and blue as they were when you and I started this business; and they are actively ready to do anything we ask them to all the time, and right now they do that. But we are not daily giving them those training opportunities to do that and that linkage to readiness.
General STANLEY. Mr. Chairman, if I could address this for a few seconds.
Mr. BATEMAN. Certainly.
General STANLEY. Since I have been in the Marine Corps, our focus on expeditionary operations hasn't changed. That has been the way it was a few years ago. That is the way it is now.
So when units come to Combined Arms Exercises at Twenty-Nine Palms, we take what you have, because we are actually working around operational tempo and have been since when they called it the infantry exercises in the early 1970's, moved into now the 1980's when they changed it to Combined Armed Exercises, and negotiated maybe 6 months plus out exactly what your training expectations happen to be, your medals, mission-essential task lists, and things like that. Then the unit comes in and works to that.
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Every unit that leaves leaves better prepared. If someone made a snap judgment, yeah, he could probably say, if they came in at this level, we could have them at a graduate level. But the bottom line is that the things that we are training to we have actually been doing from day one since I have been wearing this uniform and we continue to do, and I think we do that very well.
There are some stresses, as I alluded to in my opening comments, but the bottom line is that we seem to be making that that we have right now work. And I wouldn't make a snap judgment to say that they are worse off, although the bottom line is that because of the PERSTEMPO, OPTEMPO, base operations, support issues, things like that, those are really heavy pressures on the units which affect readiness down the line because we can't keep them in. Although we all have the same kind of challenges, we have it to a different degree. That is all I have right now.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, sir. Mr. Gibbons.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And as I sit here and listen to each of you, I can only think how very fortunate America is to have you gentlemen on the front lines.
Our job is not necessarily to look back, you know, in terms of what history has shown us, what our experience has been from Desert Storm, but our job is to look forward and to see what threats are out there and how we are preparing and training for this threat that may be out there.
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America no longer finds acceptable Scott O'Gradys. I think it is something we all try to avoid, especially I know, Admiral Beard and General Moorhead. Here in Nevada, we are very fortunate to have your fine training organizations as well, and the evolution of threats that we see in our military from our enemies that are coming up and coming forward, the opportunity that our soldiers and sailors are now experiencing as they go out on some of these operations and face those threats. It is a very perplexing, it is a very concerning situation for everybody.
With regard to both Fallon and Nellis here and our training ranges, fourth generation surface to air missiles that we are now starting to see evolve in some of these countries pose a serious problem for us.
Have we been able to fund adequately, in your own perspective, and I do want your perspective on this, adequately fund the resources to be able to train our airmen and naval aviators adequately to face the new generation of threats? Are we just keeping themwhat I want to know is are we keeping them trained to old technology, or are we looking forward and playing out that role as we get into the more advanced technology?
General MOORHEAD. Sir, we certainly have challenges. The funding for the ranges are cut. It looks like any other of our budgetary challenges. However, I think we have long-range plans, and we have equipment that we are now acquiring that is building that environmentI call it my field of dreamsis building that environment that we can adequately train our airmen, and that is both Tim's and my airmen in the future.
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We are getting the fourth generation equipment the way it is being funded at the levels that we could build an integrated air defense system or enough adversary aircraft to train our aviators in the air superiority roles. We certainly could have a better, robust system. But we are advancing in preparing those systems out of, just yesterday, uprange looking at some of that capability where we are looking at fourth generation capability and exposing our airmen to that.
Mr. GIBBONS. Before I turn to Admiral Beard over here to give his perspective on the same question, follow on, which I would expect Admiral Beard to answer as well, knowing what you just said, General, knowing the threats that are out there, looking at Kosovo, the threats in that arena, do you feel that our airmen are prepared to meet that level of threat?
General MOORHEAD. Yes, sir. Our Air Force can meet that challenge, and our Navy I believe can meet that challenge. Are the opportunities to come here and train and to see that environment like they were? I think that is what we all have been discussing. No, sir. They come here and we expose them. It is like the wick I mentioned. We start very simple. We look at those environments. The Red Flag scenario, we look at three or four different environments during the 2 weeks of each deployment. And we move that wick around to look at Bosnia, if you will, a Kosovo like environment, a Southwest Asia like environment.
We have the number of systems available to train. The density is lacking. And the commanding control integration as weas you have seen in Desert Fox and Desert Storm how airmen attack that business now, airmen, all of us, that you have to have that robust system to train against to see how to adequately do that. We could help with density.
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Mr. GIBBONS. Admiral Beard.
Admiral BEARD. I agree. I appreciate what General Moorhead has had to say. I do not enjoy fourth generation systems in the field. I would call it three and a half.
In my statement, I made mention of funding for our ranges. The sticker shock, when the staff provided it to me, the dollar amount was changed to substantial. I am going to review that very carefully. But the fact of the matter is we need more, and we need more density to adequately replicate what we could conceivably face.
I do have to say, though, given what we do have, I think our crews are receiving the adversary, the ground, the surface-to-air adversary support, the best that we can give them, and it is adequate.
I would like to dovetail on one thing he said that has been front burner with the both of us is adversary aircraft. We have reduced force structure to the point as you well know. I have a reserve squadron of F5s. Second or at best third generation aircraft. I need capability at Fallon. And we in the Navy need a capability on the East Coast and West Coast to proceed with adequate adversary support. Our C&O is out front with us on this one. I would like to have the latest generation F16s to be able to have dissimilar engagements for our people to train. And I think General Moorhead would probably like to have some of our Hornets or F14s so that he has dissimilar capability for his people to work against.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GIBBONS. Admiral, that raisesI am very thankful you brought that up. It raises the next issue I want to talk about, and that is the integration of training between Nellis and Fallon, the ranges, the proximity of them, just get your perspective on that, the opportunities. I know we don't have similar systems, data systems that we share. Perhaps we can overcome that in the future. But maybe you just want to talk a little bit about that. But in doing so, what I want to have each of you address is that the future holds new aircraft, a new Hornet, the F22, joint strike fighter, jointly developed munitions, stand-off munitions. We need an environment that allows for us to train here with airplanes that have supersonic cruise speeds with stand-off munitions now to properly be able to do what we are already doing now with other precision strike munitions, which is have a range, have a complex that is adequate for that training. I know that we have got some threats to the training environment that we have here in this great State.
So if I could just get kind of a broad-brush approach from you about those resources, the integration of training between Navy and Air Force and the future of fighters that are going to be coming in.
General MOORHEAD. Sir, let me address the second question first, and that has to do with the future training with future weapons systems. And it is much like Congressman Hunter mentioned. A lot of those munitions cost a lot of money. So we know we won't be able to train like we would like all the time. And we are going to do one a year or expose a crew to one of those.
I think the challenge that Admiral Beard and I have in creating this environment for our ranges is the instrumentation, the data gathering capability, and the capability to provide that in realtime to the crews to debrief with after exit reviews. That kind of capability is the key to those future systems. They shoot longer. They see longer. They engage longer. And that is going to have to be done with instrumentation more than it has to do with shooting a JDAM across Nevada every time we have somebody out here.
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So I think that is our challenge. You mentioned our instrumentation systems. Mostly that is in the air-to-air air environment. If we need to adequately link and do our ground-to-air systems so that those things can be as robust and capable as engaging and debriefing. And our weapons, our new weapons with a lot of telemetry and stuff, we have to build that environment.
We are looking at that as an Air Force and a Navy about how to build those ranges, how to build that environment using technology, the breakthroughs and the technology that exists today to make sure that we can do that.
The second part of that question, sir, your first question, our interface and training. We have a very close linkage to the Nevada test site center, Glen's bunch. We provide the air for him when he does that, you know, at the National Training Center. And we have a close linkage to General Thompson and the JRTC down there.
It becomes an issue. We do link. We do link. We send airplanes. But a lot of time, it has to do withI also lost 15 percent of my F16 sorties last year due to spare parts, engine holes, the same thing that Admiral Beard mentioned.
So when you look at the training sorties, it is sorties become an opportunity and syllabuses and the rigor and discipline of training. So for Tim to fly an airplane all the way down here, which it looks like it is 150 miles, but by the time you run back and forth, that airplane flying twice a day can't be done. It flies once a day. So you lose an opportunity sometimes trying to integrate.
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Now, looking at each other to support each other, we do I think as good as we can do with that. Our airplanes are going up there. His airplanes are coming down here. I think there is more of that, and I can provide that data for the record. People perceive we don't do what we do.
The last Red Flag, we had a lot of Hornets and a lot of F14s down here being our adversaries and supporting our exercises. So could we do it better? Yes, sir. We surely could, particularly with once we solve this problem of making sure our systems talk to each other.
But we are linked now electronically. His weapons school and my weapons school talk to each other. We are exchanging people. So we do a good job. Yes, sir we could do better.
Admiral BEARD. I have just a couple of things to add, and we are in complete agreement on this. I wanted to point out something to people that think that it is easy to get between these two ranges, and Wally talked to it, but it is still 180 air miles. And as you know, that is one half hour, 45 minutes of flight time. And that is time that you can't train. So the proximity of our ranges to our home base is most important to us.
I am not sure that you are aware that our range utilization is now at 80 percent. We can't share each other's ranges because of the amount of utilization that each service is using.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We entertained an F16 squadron from Fresno about a month ago, got 2 weeks out of them. It was just absolutely phenomenal training. He is running an Air Warrior in May that we are coming down for to participate in. I think that between the two of us, given the restraints of parts, engines, airplanes, flight time, we are doing about as much as we possibly can.
But to provide adversaries for one another, that range between the two of us just, you get one engagement and you go home, and that is not training, as you very well know, Congressman.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Ms. Berkley.
Ms. BERKLEY. Thank you. Admiral, my dad was Navy in World War II, and he still speaks very fondly of his experience in the Navy.
I would probably suggest that, if we are looking for some support in educating your Congressmen, that perhaps the 40 freshmen could spend some time at Fallon, which I had an opportunity to do twice, and with General Moorhead and his staff, because they will come away with a superior understanding of the needs that we have. I have been very pleased that you have spent the amount of time that you have with me.
Here is my question, and I don't know who would answer it. But are we preparing for a different kind of war, one that I see with a very insidious enemy, a growing number of Third World countries that are dominated by terrorists and radicals that have access to nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons. Are we doing enough to prepare for that sort of warfare? And if not, what can we do to be preparing more?
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General THOMPSON. I think I can take a stab at that. I believe the answer to that is yes, at least on the light ground force side of that. We routinely do chemical kinds of things now. We are looking to the future. In fact, next month, we will include biological agents into the rotation so that we can start to come to grips with this very ugly enemy that is out there that has just some potential to just stop us in our tracks.
We continually assess the world that we think we are going into and try to adapt ourselves to that. But part and parcel of that is something that John was talking about a bit ago, and that is the OPFOR modernization. We have got an OPFOR structure and equipment now that is yesterday's, kind words, yesterday's generation. And so the OPFOR modernization is what leads us into the future. And so that is something that we just simply have got to go to, and we are just on the front end of that now. The resources aren't there to make that happen.
General WEBSTER. I would like to add to that and say that while General Thompson is able to train for that on a routine basis, the heavy force, because of its requirements for high intensity conflict, remains focused on this outdated OPFOR that Colonel Rosenberger is able to provide.
However, we are trying to shape our plans now to continue to provide the kind of enemy that is just around the corner, their ability to affect our information warfare and our digital systems, potential enemies' capability to bring weapons of mass destruction onto the battlefield. We are already training to that now. We are going to increase that level of training. The number of civilians on the battlefield, both friendly and neutral as well as potential terrorists operations, are increasing at the NTC. But that modernization, as General Thompson just talked about, is necessary.
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Ms. BERKLEY. So many of our potential enemies don't care anything about their own civilian populations. They are certainly not going to care about ours, and the potential for incredible devastation with weapons of mass destruction and in the hands of lunatic fringe radicals and terrorists frightens me tremendously.
General THOMPSON. It does us, too.
Colonel ROSENBERGER. I could add a couple facts behind the comments. About two-thirds of the battles that we fight at the National Training Center, we employ nonpersistent chemicals in both nerve and blood agents as well as persistent nerve agents on that battlefield against our forces. Those are the conditions at the NTC as well as at the JRTC.
Admiral BEARD. Mine are slightly different. In fact, they are considerably different for the ground forces. And I would say that our principal threats lie in Northeast Asia, Korea, Southwest Asia, Iraq, and Iran. And we try to script all of our exercises to ensure that the pilots, air crews are ready for those different environments, and we provide them different scenarios from each of those areas that would in fact prepare them.
Urban conflict is another that has, of late, become one that we have engaged in. But we don't have the resources as far as ranges. So we must simulate a lot of that. But I think that we are working as diligently as we can to anticipate and prepare them in the 3, 4 weeks that we have them on board at Fallon to meet any of those contingencies.
Ms. BERKLEY. Thanks.
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General MOORHEAD. Congresswoman Berkley, good to see you again. Welcome home.
Ms. BERKLEY. Thanks.
General MOORHEAD. Again, you probably think we have been talking to each other, but, you know, airmen are airmen no matter what suit I think they have on. And I think what you say is exactly true. When I mentioned how we move the wick around on Red Flag, and it goes back to the level of systems technology that we have, we work the same issues. We have our Korean scenario. We have a Bosnia scenario. And the challenges of those scenarios, it would seem, are easier the less threatthe less level of threat, and that is not always the truth. So it is unique opportunities that we have to present in those scenarios to our airmen to make sure that we are adequately training across that spectrum. I think we are doing an adequate job of that today. Again, it is the environment we create and what systems we have and what our ranges canall of our ranges can present, our presentation to the training forces.
General STANLEY. Congresswoman Berkley, we do the same thing with our systems in terms of anticipating scenarios through world threat. But the combat center for the Marine Corps now is only one small part of this overall equation of how we prepare and posture for the enemy of tomorrow.
In fact, the commandant, when he stood up the war fighting lab, when we look at the different exercises that we do, when we havein fact, we have meeting right now a force structure planning group which is literally studying, not only the future scenarios, but where we are going to be going in, you know, 2010 and 2015 and beyond fighting the next scenarios, shaping the Marine Corps to actually focus on those things, that is actually what we are doing.
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The standards required for every unit to operate deals with chem-bio. We stand out the CBIRF. The Chemical Biological Incident Response Force that you probably have heard about is generated or was generated for the same kind of scenarios after the Japanese sarin attack that took place.
So all these things, we are anticipating things that would happen. But what we work on where I am at the combat center is tactics, techniques, procedures, a small part, but very important part of fundamentals that would probably be anywhere within the spectrum of conflicts. That is what we focus on.
Ms. BERKLEY. Thank you.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you. Admiral, the Navy was always forward deployed and much of its assets are also at sea. But we followed a policy that there would only be so much time that the naval personnel would be on sea duty as opposed to having time off for shore duty.
Are we maintaining the Navy's historic policies in that regard?
Admiral BEARD. Congressman, it is my opinion that we lost sight of our sea/shore rotation with the downsizing. We elected to try to take out more of our shore infrastructure than the sea/shore rotation allowed. We are working to recover that right now. The constant press to outsource is, in my judgment, a good idea.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But the fact is we have to be very careful. And I don't think we were careful enough when we took out shore billets as part of the shore infrastructure. I don't think we have got that fixed yet. And I think the best answer I can give you is I think we are on the track to fixing that one. But I have to get back to you on that to give you a betterI just don't know the answer to that yet, sir.
Mr. BATEMAN. My sense of it is that, if you take a given ship, the ship maintains the historic practice. But the crew that is on the ship at sea may be a part of the crew that is back at the home port, but they aren't.
Admiral BEARD. It is particularly so in aviation. As you know, we don't count deployments of 59 days or less as deployments. That is a sore spot in my mind. Everything in chicken salad ain't chicken the way we are counting it right now.
I frankly think that we ought to give credit for all the time that our squadrons are away from home and aggregate it as opposed to taking the 6-month deployment, the 180 days portal to portal as a major deployment, anything over 2 months. That is Tim Beard's personal opinion sir.
Mr. BATEMAN. And a valued opinion. I think yesterday in a hearing in Washington, I heard of something called Defense Review Initiative Directive, [DRID] 20, I think is what it was called. And it is some DOD program that tasks each of the military departments to make a survey to determine how many positions, civil and military, could be outsourced, privatized, and commercialized. And the first survey was made, and I think it came up like something like 300 some thousand people would go away and be privatized and commercialized.
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General Stanley, you will be proud to know that your Marine 3-Star when I asked the question said, sir, the Marine Corps found that it couldn't commercialize a single Marine.
I liked that answer.
Now I think we are at the point where the schedule says we should break for lunch, but not without expressing the gratitude of the Members and the committee for your presence here today, for the quality of the testimony and the insights that you have given us. We are indeed grateful for it and to each of you for your service. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 12:48 p.m., the subcommittee was recessed, to reconvene at 2 p.m., this same day.]
Mr. BATEMAN. The subcommittee will come to order, and we look forward to hearing from our third panel. I am probably not going to do this in the requisite military protocol order. But each and every one of you at the table are important to us, and I will just proceed on the basis that they are listed in the paper before me.
We have the Lieutenant Colonel George T. Lockwood, Commander, 3rd Squadron, 7th U.S. Cavalry, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia. Command Sergeant Major Robert M. Hayden, from the same organization from Fort Stewart, Georgia. Staff Sergeant Christopher L. Rhoden, Mechanized Infantry Squad Leader, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Irwin, California. Lieutenant Jeffrey Scott Winter of Rear Admiral Beard's staff. Air Traffic Controller Chief William Charles Bailey of Rear Admiral Beard's staff. Major Steven D. Imonti, F16 Aggressor Pilot, 414th Combat Training Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. And Senior Master Sergeant Darren C. Bolles, Sortie Generation Flight Chief for the 354th Fighter Squadron, Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.
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Gentlemen, we welcome you and look forward to hearing from you. And I guess we might as well stay with that order and call on first Colonel Lockwood.
STATEMENT OF LT. COL. GEORGE T. LOCKWOOD, COMMANDER, 3RD SQUADRON 7TH CAVALARY, 3RD INFANTRY DIVISION (MECHANIZED), FORT STEWART, GEORGIA, U.S. ARMY
Colonel LOCKWOOD. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is a distinguished honor and privilege for me to speak before you today.
In my testimony and my statement, what we gave you was a good snapshot of our unit. We just had come from the National Training Center this past December. I tried to give you ajust like opening a roof of the house and you could look inside and see all we had to do for the last 10 months, from the time we were initially notified that we would go to the National Training Center, who we were going with, and then the last 30 days since we have been back at home station.
The unique challenges that we had with the, initially upon notification where the division was deployed in Kuwait and I hador we had 120 of our soldiers deployed in Kuwait, so we had to develop a training program to get them up to speed once they got back from Kuwait in July. So it was a very short 4-month training period for us to get ready to go to the National Training Center.
Other challenges that we faced was this happened to be the summer where 75 percent of our senior and noncommissioned officers in grades of E6 and above had to Permanent Change of Station [PCS]. So that was a significant concern of the Sergeant Major and I, and how we overcame that challenge.
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The rotation was unique in itself that we were not going with the unit from the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart. We were going with the unit from the brigade at the 101st Airborne, and all the associations and things that we had to do to get ready to go to the rotation and the training we had to do with them, exchanging liaison officers and the simulation systems that the Army provides us helped us get ready for training with the 101st. That brigade being our higher headquarters and then also the leading training programs that the National Training Center offers is also significant factor in us training up with the 101st.
And then upon, you know, our arrival at the National Training Center, you fall on a uniqueI will just say unique pieces of equipment there that are different from what we have at home station. They are older, and they are probably not in as good as shape because they have more miles on them than our equipment at home station. So those are significant challenges at a rotation. We found that out.
As I put in my statement, not only did we have the challenge of fighting a world class opposing force, but we also had our own challenges with the maintenance and keeping a high level of maintenance so we could have a very successful rotation.
Because we came out in December, I believe we haven't had near the personnel turbulence that you have in a unit that would come out of the National Training Center in the summer. However, I am starting to feel now, in the last 60 days, leaders, PCS orders, things like that.
There is also the training program that follows. You talked about the take-home package. One of the things that we try to do is ensure that we could train up after the National Training Center. That is difficult. But what we did, we took advantage of a division war fighter battle command training program exercise in the division. So I was able to continue the training of my staff from the National Training Center, continue that at our home station using the war fighter exercise.
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I would tell you that I am very, very proud of our all of soldiers and their performance. They continue to work very hard and I am very humble to be able to lead that group of soldiers. They also thank you for things that you do for them. And having the country's support makes a big difference in our soldiers' lives every day. I thank you.
[The prepared statement of Colonel Lockwood can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Colonel.
Sergeant Major Hayden.
STATEMENT OF COMMAND SGT. MAJ. ROBERT M. HAYDEN, COMMAND SERGEANT MAJOR, 3RD SQUADRON, 7TH U.S. CAVALRY, 3RD INFANTRY DIVISION (MECHANIZED), FORT STEWART, GEORGIA, U.S. ARMY
Sergeant Major HAYDEN. Chairman and members of the committee, I am Sergeant Major Hayden. I would like to go ahead and say what I do for the squadron. I am a squadron sergeant major of approximately 750 plus soldiers. I run the training, training to standard. I also take care of the administrative problems with soldiers and situations with families to make the unit perform or run better. You know, when you don't have family problems, you don't have soldier problems.
My statement that I have given to you for the record is what we did to complete mission at NTC, how it helped us with family members, and how it turned out to be, as far as I am concerned, a successful training mission.
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I would also like to say that this is my first time talking to a Congressman.
Mr. HUNTER. It is a great honor, believe me.
Sergeant Major HAYDEN. Very great honor.
Mr. SKEEN. We are glad that somebody listens once in a while.
Mr. HUNTER. It is our honor to listen to you.
Mr. BATEMAN. You really don't know how easy it is to do that.
Sergeant Major HAYDEN. And I also would like to say since I have been here today, and it is the first time for me, I think you all are sincere. I think what you are doing is a great thing for the soldiers of this great country, and I am subject to all your questions.
[The prepared statement of Sergeant Major Hayden can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Sergeant Major. I can assure you that all of us, or the three of us here, are more concerned about whether we can do enough, because of the way we feel about what you deserve and whether or not you are getting all of it.
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STATEMENT OF STAFF SGT. CHRISTOPHER LEE RHODEN, MECHANIZED INFANTRY SQUAD LEADER, 11TH ARMORED CAVALRY REGIMENT, FORT IRWIN, CALIFORNIA, U.S. ARMY
Sergeant RHODEN. Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee, it is a privilege and an honor to appear before you today. My name is Staff Sergeant Christopher Lee Rhoden. I am a squad leader and track commander at the National Training Center. I have been a part of the Opposing Forces for nearly 7 years. During this time, I have participated in 65 rotations and over 400 battles.
You have indicated that you want my observations on the rotational units' abilities to maneuver effectively against the OPFOR while at the NTC. It is not my intention to evaluate the combat readiness of these units. However, it is my duty to provide the most realistic, yet safe training possible in order to better prepare them for war.
I can only tell you what I see from an OPFOR perspective. I have never personally experienced what it is like to be a part of a rotational unit while stationed at the NTC.
Here are my observations: The rotational units today are having trouble conducting some of the most basic combat fundamental skills. Some of the areas they are having difficulties with are: Providing flank security, maintaining dispersion amongst vehicles when traveling in open and constricted terrain, utilizing the dismounted infantrymen effectively, bypassing or breaching obstacles rapidly, synchronizing their indirect artillery fires with the maneuver plan, and taking full advantage of their night fighting capabilities and finally maneuvering in a platoon or company level.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Let me interrupt you to say that you are saying that without looking at a note. And I am looking at the list in your prepared statement that I read on the plane, and you didn't miss a syllable.
Sergeant RHODEN. Well, sir, they told me to be prepared.
Mr. BATEMAN. All of our training is not going awry; I can tell that.
Sergeant RHODEN. Yes, sir. From myyes, sir.
Mr. SKEEN. Well done.
Sergeant RHODEN. Thank you, sir. If I may continue. From my perspective as an OPFOR soldier, I believe that the tactical deficiencies of rotational units stem from a lack of quality, well-planned, well-executed platoon and company training.
Many leaders and soldiers tell me that there are too many training distractions that inhibit execution of well-planned training. If we could minimize these distractions and allow junior leaders the ability to focus on platoon and company training, we would see a much tougher rotational unit capable of effectively employing their superior technology against the OPFOR.
Regardless, the OPFOR is here to train rotational units to the best of their abilities so that the U.S. Army can be successful against any enemy it may encounter in war. I believe that we are successful in this mission, and we will continue to be.
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Undoubtedly, the U.S. Army is the finest the world. If I may, sir, to quote General Wallace, a former commander of the National Training Center, ''We must embrace technology, but we must never forget that we must execute the basic combat, fundamentals, and battle drills.''
[The prepared statement of Sgt. Rhoden can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Sergeant Rhoden.
Sergeant RHODEN. Thank you, sir.
Mr. BATEMAN. Now, Lieutenant Winter, I am pleased to hear from you.
Mr. HUNTER. And we expect you, Lieutenant, not to look at your notes.
STATEMENT OF LT. JEFFREY SCOTT WINTER, NAVAL STRIKE AND AIR WARFARE CENTER
Lieutenant WINTER. I was going to warn you, sir, that this may be a letdown.
Mr. Chairman and committee members, I appreciate this opportunity to speak to you today. For some background on my perspective, I am an F18 pilot by trade. I have done several cruises out in WESTPAC and to the Persian Gulf. I am currently assigned to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, and I spent the last year as the training officer of Top Gun and Navy Fighter Weapons School, where we bring our best and brightest, hopefully, pilots for continued graduate level training.
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I will give you a brief summary of my statement. I will not go over it in full, and I will leave any specific questions to you, of course.
I address a few different areas there, one being pay. While I don't think money in and of itself is going to keep people in the military, and I doubt you think that it will either, I do think there are areas that we can help out, and one of those is specifically in the area of housing, which I thought has been something that we have lacked for quite some time. I have noticed that in my 10 years as a commissioned officer.
I also feel that, while we may sufficiently, with our 50 percent retirement plan, which I am currently under; that is a great thing, but we may have cut short a lot of people who have spent a lot of time in the service but maybe don't serve a full 20, maybe don't even serve a full 20 for the right reasons, and we give them nothing when they walk out of the door except for their experience and training, which in a lot of cases is great, but nothing else to show for it from a monetary standpoint.
I also address and put the two together, issues of morale and retention. When I say morale and retention, unhappy people get out of the service. They are linked. You can't do anything about that.
A couple of the main reasons I think we have that problem in the aviation community right now, the biggest issue I think with retention and morale is that guys are very, very stretched thin, and it is difficult for them to maintain the proficiency they want to do in order to take what is allegedly a combat ready squadron on cruise into a potentially hostile environment.
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And when you come back from a cruise, as an example, you pretty much lose all your parts and pieces. You are going to sit and do nothing in your squadron for a period of probably 3 to 6 months until you start your turnaround training plan again before you go on your next cruise. And that is very, very difficult because you are getting new pilots, pilots who need training. And I assure you that this is not like playing a video game. These are skills which erode very, very quickly, and you are almost starting from scratch in a lot of cases.
The final issue and potentially our most important today is the actual readiness of our air crew who come through the training which I was fortunate enough to oversee for the last 3 years. And while they are good, and I think you could make that comparison to any air force around the world, I will submit to you in an unclassified format that they are maybe not as good as you think they are and, in some cases, as good as they think they are; and that is what has troubled me in my tour as a training officer.
I will leave that open for discussion of specifics later to your liking, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Lieutenant Winter can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Lieutenant Winter. Chief Bailey.
STATEMENT OF (ATC) AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER (CHIEF) WILLIAM CHARLES BAILEY
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Chief BAILEY. Mr. Chairman, committee members, and distinguished members of this panel, the bottom line seems apparent: recruiting, retention, readiness, and I wish that I was bringing a more positive outlook on those issues on this panel.
American history appears predictable to me in that it repeats certain patterns over and over. In this century, as every major military confrontation has come to a close, economic priorities have shifted from guns to butter, social interest refocused on domestic versus international, and our Nation's will to sustain human integrity in a career military force rapidly begins to wane.
Two points from this perspective. First, the incentives to retain today's best enlisted Navy talent are eroding quickly. They are almost gone, while on the other hand, our Nation's need to project a visible and quick naval response is expanding.
Second, these two forces are diametrically opposed to each other and, in the terms of the Navy's working environment and quality of life, very destructive. Further, reducing Navy readiness is a growing disenchantment among its senior enlisted ranks.
Some of our disenchantment focuses on stagnation of advancement opportunities, hollow education benefits, manipulated sea/shore assignments, demoralizing zero fault tolerance in our organization, career limitations mandated by high year tenure, and unwarranted civil action when sailors are domiciled in States other than their home of record. And there are a variety of other issues that hopefully this panel will throw out and decide to discuss.
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Once again, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you and the committee for providing this opportunity for us to participate. I am open for your questions.
[The prepared statement of Chief Bailey can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Chief Bailey. I am sure we are going to have some questions for all of you.
But let me hasten to add that we want you to bring things to us. We didn't come out here to make speeches to you. So Major Imonti, we are anxious to hear from you, sir.
STATEMENT OF MAJOR STEVEN D. IMONTI, 414 COMBAT TRAINING SQUADRON, ADVERSARY TACTICS DIVISION, 57TH WING, HEADQUARTERS AIR WARFARE CENTER
Major IMONTI. I am Major Imonti with the Aggressors. I have flown in the last 35 flight periods that we have had here at Nellis, and I have noticed a steady degradation in the combat capability units coming out here. I stand ready to answer any questions that you have on those topics.
[The prepared statement of Major Imonti can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Sergeant Bolles.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF SENIOR MASTER SGT. DARREN C. BOLLES, MAINTENANCE SUPERINTENDENT, 354 FIGHTER SQUADRON, DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA AIR COMBAT COMMAND
Sergeant BOLLES. Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee, I am Senior Master Sergeant Darren Bolles. I am currently responsible for 180 enlisted personnel and all maintenance activities for a combat coded A10 Thunderbolt Squadron.
In the past 13 months, my unit has participated in three Air Warriors, 2 Red Flag exercises, as well as a rotation to Southwest Asia.
With those experiences in mind, I stand ready to answer any questions that you might have. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Sgt. Bolles can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you very much, Sergeant.
And I neglected to introduce earlier, but only because it wasn't on my list, Captain Todd Lyons, who is Battery Commanding Officer, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Division.
How much did I get right.
Captain LYONS. It is Lima Battery, and it is 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment. It is actually a global sourced unit. 3/12 is actually in Okinawa, but we are currently with 3/11 down in Twenty-Nine Palms.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Captain, we are glad to have you here, and I am sorry for the oversight. And I will introduce the Gunnery Sergeant after you have had a chance to tell us what is on your mind.
STATEMENT OF CAPTAIN TODD LYONS, COMMANDING OFFICER, 3RD BATTALION, 12TH MARINE REGIMENT
Captain LYONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. I want to give you a little bit of my background because it plays a big part in what I can probably offer up for you from my perspective. I have been in the Marine Corps about 91/2 years. I am currently a battery commander for Lima Battery. And we are about to go into a CAX evolution, Combined Armed Exercise, in May of this year. And the questions that you are asking are exactly what I am doing right now, which is how do I get my unit from where they are to where they need to be to be prepared to do the business.
My background is that I was a Coyote, one of the controllers for the tactical training and exercise control group with the CAX program for a year prior to coming to 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines. I did a CAX in October of this year as a battalion fighter action officer. The battalion fighter action officer is one of those that is at the linkage between the infantry and tank commander that needs the fire support and the guy that delivers it down range.
One of the issues that I will throw out is everybody has talked about personnel turnover. One of the things that we haven't really made that linkage with yet is our skills are becoming so incredibly technologically complex that it takes 6 months to a year to train a guy to operate the machine.
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We are getting gear that is, you know, 21st century stuff. We are getting advanced field artillery tactical [AFTIDs]. We are getting command and control systems the likes of which people can only dream about. The problem is the operator proficiency will never be there if we keep turning over people at the cyclic rate, which is what we are doing right now.
I have done a CAX evolution, as I said, as a battalion fighter action officer in 1991. I also participated as a fort observer with the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
We had done a significant train-up evolution to get ready to go to CAX. We started about 3 to 4 months out. We did several exercises to get ready to go. That is not the case anymore. The standard for units, that they will normally get together, if they are lucky, a month prior to the event, do a meet and greet with each other, and then come out and actually start working together consistently at the CAX event.
We start with wherever the units are, and that is exactly the case. The problem is the further back you have to start, the further it is to go. And we have some superb officers and staff and COs and our enlisted Marines that are unbelievable when it comes to mission accomplishment and what they can do.
The reason they are having to go so far now, and this is part of my problem right at this very minute, the past 2 months, we have not had the operations and maintenance money for me to take my battery to the field at all as an artillery battery.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, we have been inventive. We have done other training. We have done infantry training. That doesn't cost that much money. As referred to, light forces don't cost that much. So we have done some fire maneuver and honed those uniquely Marine skills, those infantry basic skills. So it hasn't been a waste of time, but we certainly have not progressed in the artillery field, and that concerns me. And I am about to go to the field on Tuesday, and I am going to have a significant train-up period over the 20-day field operation that we are about to go on.
The focus of the Combined Arms Exercise is that friction point, the linkage between the fire supporter and the guy that is going to deliver that down range, whether it is a Marine pilot from an F18 aircraft, whether it is a Cobra pilot in a rotary aircraft, whether it is myself as an artilleryman providing fire support.
And we are going to go to CAX in May. And in June, myself, and almost the entire senior leadership of my artillery battalion is going to move on. We are leaving. So we are going to go do this great training evolution that is probably the very top in the world, as far as I am concerned, and, yet, the unit is now going to be gutted of all those people that have gained that knowledge. That is a significant source of concern and friction.
I know that is true at the junior officer level where 2 years is now the standard. It is also true in many of the staff and CO ranks that have those D billets to go to and to do the other things for the Marine Corps.
So even though the Marine Corps may be doing all right in terms of recruiting people, we are turning them over in such a rate that we are not gaining the benefit a lot of times of that experience.
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I appreciate the opportunity to come and testify, and I await your questions.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Captain Lyons. It occurred to me with all the things that you are involved in that you probably didn't need the distraction of coming by here to talk to a bunch of Congressmen. We thank you.
Now we next hear from Master Gunner Dan Fitzpatrick from the 1st Tank Battalion.
STATEMENT OF MASTER GUNNER DAN FITZPATRICK, CHARLIE COMPANY, 1ST TANK BATTALION
Master Gunner FITZPATRICK. Good afternoon, gentlemen. Currently, I am platoon leader along with company master gunner with the Charlie Company, 1st Tank Battalion. And I do a lot ofI am involved with all the training that the unit is conducting.
There is a lot of areas that we could address, and I have heard a lot of it today. I think that, as a whole, we are all on the same sheet of music, all right. We all know there is a lot of problems. And, you know, the big thing for me is I just want to make sure that that young Marine that I am training is getting the best training that he possibly can. So, you know, I am giving him the best chance out there on the battlefield.
What I am finding is, it is getting very difficult resource-wise, ammunition-wise. And I know it all involves money. Personnel problems that we do have isI canI kind of narrow it down to the individual has worked very hard. All right. I have to work them hard. I have a mission to do. Currently, you know, we are very, very short on personnel. So that one Marine is doing the job of possibly four. And when I am speaking of armor, that is a lot of back-breaking work. And when his 4 years is up, he is ready to go. And, you know, I hate to say it, but I have got to get my mission done, and he knows he has got to get his mission done.
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I think what would help is just getting us some more people. And I think the retention will come, because then I, as a trainer, can sit down there with him and be more one on one and actually start training the trainers andwhere it starts actually affecting the unit. It is such a fast turnover, every time I do a gunnery evolution, I am starting from scratch from all positions, not just one, but a crew of four. By the next gunnery cycle is down to thatthat driver is now the TC, and I have to deal with that and I have to make sure that he just has the basics at that point, and then I try to hone that.
And I think the Marine Corps and from what I have seen on CAX, I have been out at Twenty-Nine Palms for 13 of my 16 years, a lot of time out there in the desert, a lot of operations that I have been on, and one thing that we are good at that I think that does help us is that we adapt, you know.
I know I only have got three men, but we are going to make it happen no matter what. We have no choice. I think that is what a lot of times the Congress or whoever comes and visits may not really understand where we are coming from. They are going to get it done no matter what. But the price was blood, sweat, and tears to get there.
So I am available to answer any questions that you have. But I think that we have got a long ways to go.
Mr. BATEMAN. Sergeant, thank you very much. I thank all of you.
I am going to ask Congressman Hunter if he has any questions, because I understand he has some flight connections to make. So I want to make sure he has a chance to ask questions before he has to go. Mr. Hunter.
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Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have got to get back to San Diego, so I want to take General Terry Paul out so he can see the Marine Corps in action at Camp Pendleton. He hadn't been there a long time, so I want to show him. Right, General?
You have all opened up an area that is an important area that we kind of opened up with the GAO; and that is that as we downsize, we get smaller and smaller in force structure; that causes the people to bethe personnel to be very turbulent. They are being pulled out for other missions. They are being deployed in these peacekeeping operations around the world. And they are not being able to, I guess the correct term would be, to focus on training.
That would appear to be consistent with Captain Lyons' testimony and with Sergeant Rhoden's testimony. When you have folks that don't know how to act and dismount with their armor, they are not able to coordinate with their artillery, they are not able to do a number of things that are kind of basic infantry crafts that you have to know to be able to project force on the ground.
And, Captain Lyons, with yourthe turbulence that you spoke of, and Sergeant Fitzpatrick, with respect to the complex machinery that we are now having to operate in this high-tech world, people really have to be able to focus on their tools and their equipment and the people that give them some insights into that. And we are not having time to do that.
I don't really know how we are going to solve that, because I think that is going tothat goes to force structure. And personally I think we may need a couple more Army divisions. You folks were cut back from 194,000 to 174,000 Marines, but you probably have the highest personnel tempo of any time since World War II.
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But do you see anywhen you first talk about the people that are going, that are leaving, meaning they are pulled out of your training operation, where are they going, generally speaking? Give me some examples.
Captain LYONS. Well, sir, most of them actually, the good news is they are going to good places. They are going to the drill field. Many of the lieutenants, that is, their next duty is to flesh out the training pipeline to make sure we are getting the Marines that we need to go to the RS stations. And those are critical billets, because if we don't get that right, then when they get to the operational forces, we are that much further behind. So you can't short that.
For the other officers such as myself, I am going to a school. Other of the senior leadership are going to fill billets in D.C., you know, the U.S. Military Observer Group, whether it is, you know, Headquarters, Marine Corps. And that is normal turnover to a certain degree except that the timing now is so much shorter than it used to be.
It used to be, when I was lieutenant, I had 3 years in the fleet in actual, some change, where I got to do a lot of different operations. I got to fill quite a few jobs. But I had most of my jobs where I was able to get proficient and then stay in that job for a little bit. And that justthat is not happening anymore.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Major Imonti, you said the capability of the forces coming in for training has gone down in your history as you have recalled it. Where are the shortfalls?
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Major IMONTI. Where is the breakdown?
Mr. HUNTER. Yeah.
Major IMONTI. For one, the units coming in don't have time to train. They come back from the desert
Mr. HUNTER. Don't have what.
Major IMONTI. They don't have time to train. They come back from the desert, and they want to train but the part shortagesthey just deployed to an F18 wing in the last 6 months where we have our jets sitting on the ramp waiting for them to go, but they are jumping the spares. They are ground aborting jets because they don't have the parts to keep those jets flying.
Mr. HUNTER. Do you think these are basically talented people, as talented as they have been in the past?
Major IMONTI. You bet. There is no doubt about that. The things that they lack once they get here is either the experience or the proficiency. The experience is because people are leaving the forces. We can't keep the experience on board right now. That has already been discussed.
The proficiency is how much they are flying back in the home unit. They can fly the sorties. They have the money to fly the sorties, gas money so to speak, but they don't havethe jets aren't available on a daily basis for maintenance and spare parts to fly those sorties. Units are turning back O&M money because they can't fly those sorties. That is mostly due to
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Mr. HUNTER. That is interesting. So what probably happens in Washington is we probably say, hey, we have got spare parts shortages out there. And the answer back probably from the Pentagon is you can't have, because we are getting O&M money turned back in. But it is being turned back in because the parts aren't there, and the planes aren't flying, so they don't need any gas. When your Chevy is not running, you don't have to buy gas.
Major IMONTI. That is exactly right. The problem is, in the late 1980's, when I first started flying fighters, I was flying 14 to 16 times a month. Now 6 to 8 times a month is pretty typical. And that young wingman who has just become combat ready is oftentimes flying as Red Air or OPFOR for other folks in his unit that are getting upgraded due to the high turnover.
So you just can't catch up at that point. You need to either supply those young pilots with more sorties so they can gain that experience quicker and become more proficient. And that way, when they come out here, they will perform better because the are more proficient. The other thing you can do is also keep experienced folks on board, experienced pilots on board to help train those guys up better. And it makes the learning curve a little steeper for them.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. I have got to take off for San Diego. Mr. Chairman, let me thank you for putting this thing together and for the work you have done in drawing out this testimony from the field in this series of hearings.
All we can pledge to you, gentlemen, is that we will go to work on this problem. We are going to do our darnedest to change priorities this year in terms of funding. It is going to be tough.
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Mr. Skeen here is a very, very powerful member of Defense Appropriations. You had the chairman here with us today, Jerry Lewis of Defense Appropriations. You have got Mr. Bateman, who is the Chairman of Readiness, doing a great job, and of course Jim Gibbons, one of the few folks with actual flying experience in the service on the Armed Services Committee who is very, very interested, and your newest Member I think from this district is really taken with the need to do something.
So as a result of your testimony, we are going to try to get something done here.
And, Mr. Chairman, thank you for letting me be part of your panel here, and I will see you back at the ranch.
Mr. BATEMAN. Very good. Thank you, Duncan, and happy landings in San Diego back to Washington, where I will see you on Monday.
I must say that there has been much that we have listened to today that has been somewhat alarming. We started off with our first witness, Ms. Schuster, from the General Accounting Office talking about shortfalls, deterioration, denigration, and training.
I had hoped that when I heard from you in uniform, who are a part of the training environment, that I would be hearing significant rebuttal to that. Unfortunately, I have not heard that. I have heard more of a confirmation. It is, indeed, something to be concerned about.
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Chief Bailey, you used a phrase in your written testimony that intrigues me, and I want to ask you to elaborate on it a bit. You used the phrase, value dissonance. That is a very interesting phrase. Tell me about value dissonance in the context we are discussing.
Chief BAILEY. In the context I was talking about in my written statement, the Navy core values are honor, commitment, and courage. In the senior enlisted ranks right now, there is a lot of disenchantment and disbelief that the organization as a whole, we talk the talk, but when it comes time to walk the walk, there is not a lot of faith, I am sorry to say, in a lot of senior enlisted; that, well, they are nice words, but they don't mean a lot.
In terms of what we are talking about today, I think as far as readiness, they mean an awful lot. Because as you can see from this panel here, these are the individuals that are going out and teaching and training the upcoming junior troops. And if you don't believe in the values, and each military probably has similar but slightly different core values that they go by; if they are not your own, it is very difficult to share those and to get your sailors or your soldiers to buy into it and to make their decisions off those core values.
In the Navy, as a senior enlisted, I see that as a major concern. It is perceptional maybe. In my opinion, those core values are parallel to mine, and it is very easy for me to buy into them and try and spread that. For other of my shipmates, I don't feel it is quite that way.
So the dissonance is the difference between what you want and what you really have. And I also think that is a major issue of what we have been talking about. The military that we all think we have or the military that we really have can be two different entities, and I think that is the problem that this committee is facing that you have to try to resolve. There is a big difference between what we want and what we actually have.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Very bothersome. We may be the victim of you have been too good for us, and we expect it of you all the time even when we don't give you the resources that you need.
I don't want to start getting philosophical, but we have a bit of a problem, I think, in this country, that you all are very much on the front lines of the impact of that problem. We have a military that has been downsized but tasked more often. But generally speaking, those new and often occurring tasks are not the grist of warriors and people who have a high intensity combat training. You end up doing humanitarian work. You do peacekeeping work. And, yet, we are expecting you to train and maintain your sharpness as war fighters.
What has got to give? Do we not need war fighters anymore? And do we need a reorientation of our people in the military because they are the best we have got to do these other things that somebody says has got to be done, and there is nobody left but you who can do it at all.
Do we need to change the focus of what our military trains to do? Or do we need an elite group of combat-trained people with the greatest skills in combat arms and some substrata, and I don't mean substrata in a negative kind of way, but a different strata of personnel with a different set of skills who go off and do these other things. Anybody have a reaction to any of that?
Captain LYONS. Mr. Chairman.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BATEMAN. Yes.
Captain LYONS. I think from the Marine perspective, and I am sure you have heard of the three block war being up there where we kind of impinge on that. But out in the trenches, we absolutely believe it. And I know from my own experience off the coast of Haiti, during that particular conflict, and in the Caribbean on other occasions, we have to be able to do both. We have got to be able to feed you in one sector. We have got to be able to patrol the other. And we have got to be able to deal with the armed force in another sector.
I don't think we have the luxury anymore of having a separate, well, I am going to fight a linear battlefield today and then worry about consolidation, reorganization later.
Or we have to make decisions. And I think the critical element is we only have 100 widgets. And how you want to use those widgets is the purview of the Congress and the Commander in Chief. And if you dedicate more of us to doing the peacekeeping operations, then of necessity, that means we are not going to be able to do some of those other things.
Perhaps the national military strategy, when we look at the major regional conflicts, if we are saying there are too many regional conflicts, does it also include two other humanitarian assistance operations in another piece of the world?
And perhaps that is what has been left out is not taking a peacetime operation such as Bosnia or Kosovo and saying that is a regional contingency that has an impact on our ability to stage two MRCs. And what capability do we want as the United States to be able to solve that.
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But I don't think we in the forces, particularly the Marine Corps, have that luxury of saying we will just deal with high-intensity conflict, and we are going to let the Red Cross do peacetime operations or humanitarian service in Rwanda and Burundi.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Very interesting observations. Anyone else have a comment they want to offer?
Sergeant RHODEN. Yes, sir. You spoke about an elite force. If the focus is going to be on quality as opposed to quantity, let me say this, NCOs and leaders enforce the standards that training is conducted at. Like Mr. Joe Skeen said, we have quality soldiers. We have good leaders. But we must provide them with effective training.
How are we going to implement this? OK. A lot of times, leaders are put in key positions with relatively little experience at all levels. Myself personally, when I go to Germany, I have been riding the same horse now for 7 years, which is an M551 Sheridan tank. When I go to Germany, I will be in my primary vehicle, which is a Bradley.
And even at platoon leader level, a platoon leader might sometimes get information from his superior. The information might become distorted in that process when he hands it down to his squad leaders and his team leaders and disseminate it to the lowest ranking soldier.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The lowest ranking soldier should not just be concerned with limited tasks, like, OK, your job is to maintain this vehicle. His job is also to find cover and concealment during the battle, to help identify possible enemy out there. They are always looking for greater responsibility.
So if we effectively train them and develop them to be better leaders and better soldiers, then they are going to have more priority in the Army. They are going to say, hey, I enjoy what I am doing. I feel confident in what I am doing. My NCOs are setting the example. This is what we need to focus on, sir.
Sergeant Major HAYDEN. May I add to that, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. BATEMAN. Certainly.
Sergeant Major HAYDEN. And I agree with everything he says. But there is one thing, you have got to maintain the knowledge. We are not maintaining the knowledge. They are all getting out. How are we going to do that?
There are some issues that I would like to bring up to maintain them. We have got E6s that are 39 years old living in the same billets with the privates because of the money, and that needs to be stopped. We have got people over in Kuwait who get their separate rations, and I believe all of you know what that is, $250, and they maintain that when they get deployed.
But if you have people deploying to California and to sea, it is taken away from that family. And that money is in that checkbook, and it is gone when they come back. And that creates a problem for the families.
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I heard some Congressman say something about that, if the wife wants him to go away, well he is going to go away, well, that is true. The hardships on the families is why the solders are not staying in the Army. We need to fix that.
Mr. BATEMAN. Well, these are the issues we need to hear from you. We know. We get the statistics that the services are increasingly confronted with retention problems. This is a fairly new phenomena. With all the downsizing we have gone through, who the heck needs to worry about retention. But we have been through that.
Now, to even maintain the authorized force levels of the services, it is push comes to shove just to maintain those force levels, which stretch you in terms of what you are assigned or committed to doing. So retention becomes vitally important, and we need to get as good a handle as possible on how to fix it.
The Senate of the United States has already acted yesterday or the day before upon, not just the administration's requested pay increase, but they have sort of upped the bidding. I don't know what we in the House of Representatives will do. But I can tell you this much, and I was very proud to hear this from a Three-Star Army General yesterday, last year our committee increased the pay for people in the military 3.6, 3.8 percent rather than the 3 percent the President's budget had requested in which the Joint Chiefs of Staff supported. But we increased it.
I was happy to hear a Three-Star General thank us for having done that, because last year they weren't even asking us to do it. They said 3 percent was enough.
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Well, in September of last year, they finally decided, gee, we have got a retention problem, we have got recruitment problems, we have got readiness problems. We have got to do something about pay and allowances. You have got to have pay increase. We have got to address pay table. And we have got to address the retirement system.
All of a sudden, I am darn glad that they are there. And if they will speak up loudly and clearly, that will help us get done some of the things that we have got to get done.
Gee, I didn't mean to say all of that, but the devil made me do it.
Mr. SKEEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And let me ask some questions. This topic has been raised two or three times during our meetings today with the various groups. And just a as a matter of information, with regard to spares, we added about $600 million for aviation spares in the 1998, 1999 budget bill. Did any of you folks see any of that money?
Major IMONTI. No, sir.
Mr. SKEEN. None?
Sergeant BOLLES. It doesn't appear evident in my unit that we received any of that money because our
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Mr. SKEEN. I know that you had a specific
Sergeant BOLLES. Mission capable rate has declined I would say 10 to 15 percent last year.
Mr. SKEEN. But you are still way in the hole on spares?
Sergeant BOLLES. Yes, sir.
Mr. BATEMAN. That slide has not stopped. It is still going down.
Mr. SKEEN. That is what is distressing for us in Congress. When we try to meet a request for parts and things of that kind, you put it in the line out item, and all of a sudden we don't see it anymore. We think, well, it has been parcelled out to the various entities that need the spares and spare money. Now we are finding that nobody has heard about the money. Nobody was told about the increase. And of course maybe this is a line situation.
Mr. BATEMAN. I hope it is a pipeline problem, and the pipeline is
Mr. SKEEN. I hope it is not one of obstruction. We want you to get the spares, and we are trying to get the money to you in those particular bills.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Major IMONTI. Mr. Chairman, it takes a while for those parts, that money to get to us as far as spare parts being built. When you stop that
Mr. SKEEN. I understand that, too.
Major IMONTI. I think that is what is going on there. I appreciate the fact that the budget has been added for the spare parts because it is critically needed.
Mr. SKEEN. The problem is we are not getting a response from the manufacturers or whatever for the kind of parts that you are asking for.
Major IMONTI. I think that is true.
Mr. SKEEN. So the money has not been disbursed.
Major IMONTI. We need those parts, and we need them now, and we needed them last year.
Mr. SKEEN. You needed them 2 years ago.
Major IMONTI. Exactly. If we are not projecting ahead that we need those parts 3 or 4 years ago, then we are going to be in the hole for a while. It is going to continue to go downhill for a while until those parts are able to make an impact for us next year or the following year. So I think we are stillwe haven't bottomed out yet.
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Mr. SKEEN. We don't want you to bottom out.
Major IMONTI. Exactly. We want to stop that. But we still are going to go downhill.
Mr. SKEEN. I think we have got enough of our bottom exposed already.
Major IMONTI. It is hanging way out.
Mr. SKEEN. I appreciate that response. Lunch time was veryfor some of the things we were talking about today, it was very evident with the small group of enlisted personnel at the table. And they were very open and very illuminating as far as I am concerned about what is their future in this situation.
They are in a dilemma when it comes to that time to make the decision, are you going to stay in the service or not, or are you going to go. Because they have acquired skills in medicine and tower control and aviation repairs, truck repairs, just all kinds of occupations that they can sell their skills to.
Yet there is this feeling that they don't quite understand how important it is that we keep retaining them. And they don't see anythere is not any good arguments for retention at thisor outstanding, depending on the age of the enlistee and so forth. That is a crushing job. And it is a job that you folks deal with, I think, every day, because I am sure you can't operate with these folks without having some discourse with them over what are you going to do. We want you to stay. We hope that you will stay. We will try to make the armed services as attractive as possible.
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But it is very debilitating to me to find out that these folks go through this dilemma, and it is a heart-wrenching decision to make. I know you are aware of it. I want you to know that we are aware of it. We would like to help you any way we can to get people to sign up again and make careers out of it, like you folks.
You can't find a finer group of people anywhere than right here in front of us today because of this dedicated service, and there is no amount of money we could ever give you, but then we could make your lives a little more pleasant, and quit deploying everybody all over the world every time somebody sneezes. I am not indicting anybody with that situation, but you know what it is, and you live with it every day.
I just want you to know that we appreciate you taking the time to explain to us just what our situation is. We are from the government. We are going to try to help you. If that doesn't worry you, nothing will bother you.
Major IMONTI. Sir, I think compensation is part of it.
Mr. SKEEN. Well, that is always the base to start from.
Major IMONTI. That is good. I think we need to help out especially our junior enlisted members to get them better compensation. But I also think that a bigger part of the issue is that we are burning people out. I think you heard that earlier.
Mr. SKEEN. You are not only burning them out, you are also pushing their nose up against the wall because they are not sure where they can go from that point.
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Major IMONTI. I think Sergeant Bolles and I were talking at lunch about just the workload, working 12-hour days in 120-degree heat, and not having the spare parts to fix the airplane, or having to go to another airplane and cannibalize [CANN] that part, bring it over, which creates double maintenance at that point to do that. You are driving the young guys pretty hard. After 3 years, like we heard earlier, at going at that pace people are about done.
Mr. SKEEN. Well, it extends clear on up into the ranks, because who wants to fly a plane that you are not sure it has got all the parts you need to fly the doggone thing. I have been in that position of being a super tough pilot. We were always looking for parts.
Major IMONTI. I think from a pilot perspective, though, if the pilots are flying, they are flying, instead of flying six to eight sorties a month, the are flying 14, 16 sorties a month, those guys, from a pilot perspective, they are pretty happy with that. They don't mind working the 12-hour days if they are getting the sorties, and they feel like they are preparing to be able to go and fly and be successful. If they are not preparing that way, that is quite a moralebrings down the morale quite a bit as far as not flying enough to prepare.
Mr. SKEEN. There is nothing but gloom and doom on that end of the equation. I can understand that, too.
Well, I want you to know that we really appreciate the input in here because we want to get down to the roots. It is fine to look at folks that came out of the big Pentagon group up there, and they are all very distinguished individuals as well. But I want to get down to the worker people, the people that have to make this thing actually work rather than being policy mongers. That is you folks. We want you to know how much we appreciate it. That is one of the best reasons for having this kind of dissertation with you, we can be honest with one another. If not, we wind up being the liars; and that is not a very comfortable position for politicians, but that happens.
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Major IMONTI. Sir, I think part of the solution is, right now, internally in our squadrons, they internalize and fight each other. And obviously one side of the fight has been to be the OPFOR side. And you heard earlier today Admiral Beard was talking about increasing the size of his OPFOR, getting them some spare parts, or on our side in the U.S. Air Force here at Nellis, our aggressor force has declined bywe used to have four squadrons in 1989, and now we have less than one squadron.
So now, that unit that is out there, that is six sorties or eight sorties that that young pilot is getting, that young lieutenant is getting. Half of those are as Red Air, which doesn't help them build any habit patterns. So at some point, I think we need to look at having more aggressor aircraft or plusing up the parts up at Navy Fallon or actually increasing the size of our aggressor force here.
We have 13 jets, but we are only funded for six. So that is an example ofI mean, it is already there, but that hasn't been made a priority.
Mr. SKEEN. Well, as you know, Holloman Air Force has got a German contingent that flies off that training soil, or whatever, and trying to get into targeting areas. It is just amazing to me, they are not having the problems with spare parts and this, that, and the other that our pilots do. And that is a little bitcauses a little bit of anguish over there to think that our former enemy can come in and do the exercises over there and keep their machines up and going and running over there, and we can't keep ours off the rack.
We need towe need to get a little push. Once again, that is the reason we are here. I hope we can do something with it. But I want you to know we appreciate your side of the equation, how well you have done it.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Skeen. Major Imonti, you just made reference to something I don't understand. As I understood it, you said we have 13 planes, but we are only funded for six. Can you explain that phenomena, why you would have more than twice what you are funded.
Major IMONTI. Originally, we had nine F16 C models, and those weresix of those were funded, and three of those are not funded and account for attrition reserve. So if we lose a jet somewhere, that jet would flee to that unit, and they would be able to stay at their capability.
So those jets will go unfunded. So, currently, in our unit, we have maintenance personnel for six aircraft, but they are maintaining 13. We picked up four more aircraft last year that are also attrition reserve aircraft and are unfunded. So we are essentially maintaining 13 airplanes. We only fly enough sortieswe are only funded for sorties as if we only had six airplanes. So we don't fly any additional sorties because of those airplanes, but we still have to maintain them. We still fly them on occasion. It spreads out maintenance.
Mr. BATEMAN. Well, these excess or, rather, unfunded planes, what are they really, sort of an inventory of spare parts that is on the scene that ultimately gets used up and they go off to the bone yard?
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Major IMONTI. They are not used forwe don't typically cannibalize those aircraft or CANN those aircraft and just take parts off of them. They try as best they can to keep those jets flying, because if they do that, then it helps the maintenance out. We fly our jets less so they last a little longer because we are spreading out the six aircraft worth of sorties over 13.
Mr. BATEMAN. I still have a disconnect, and I don't know whether I will ever get over it, that you are funded for six of something that you have 13 of and you are maintaining and flying.
Major IMONTI. It is just an anomaly in the system as far as we are funded for six. Usually each unit, each combat squadron out there, if you had, say, 18 airplanes in a squadron, you would have actually 20, two of which would be backup aircraft or attrition reserve aircraft that are unfunded.
Ours just is a larger number due to some, last year, some anomaly in the system; we ended up picking up four additional attrition reserve aircraft. Obviously from our perspective, we would like to fund those airplanes so our maintainers that we only have enough for six airplanes will have some help, and then we would actually be able to fly those airplanes and provide the training that is sorely needed to the combat air forces.
Mr. BATEMAN. A lot of data goes through my mind. As I recall, the testimony was that, for base operations support, we historically used to get 70 percent, recently been getting 50 percent. This year we are told we are going to get 80 percent of requirements. It is a little difficult to think that you have operated on 50 percent of requirements. Seventy percent is an improvement and a giant leap forward if you get 80 percent of requirements.
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We have talked about retention a little bit, and I would be happy to hear some more about how we solve retention problems. Do any of you at the table see enough of new recruits who have just come into the service, gone through their basic training or their first schools that you have an opportunity to work with or deal with? And is the quality of that personnel, the incoming personnel, as good as it used to be?
Chief BAILEY. I would like to try to address that, Mr. Chairman. I recently just left the Commander, Naval Air Force Landing Fleet, as an aviation maintenance management team member traveling the Atlantic fleet pretty much doing that, looking at the personnel. Are they able to fill the functions in the job that are needed to be done?
The feeling that I left that position with is that the people coming out of our training tracks are of a high caliber. But what happens is this tremendous OPTEMPO we have means that they don't get the time to really build on the training that they have got.
So this gap of 6 to 12 months goes by. It has two effects. First of all, their technical skills start falling away because it has been a while since they thought and looked at the technical information they are dealing with. And then they are shipped off somewhere, and this might be an internal Navy problem, to go down to the galleys for 6 months, and a young guy comes all excited, going, gosh, I learned about this stuff called radar. I can't wait to get out there and fix it. And the first thing I have to say to him is, well, I need to send you off somewhere else for 6 months. But when you come back, don't worry, I will take care of you.
Well, 6 months later, when I get this young individual back their attitude has now changed. They are not excited about being there anymore. They don't care about that radar system the way they did when I first got them. And I have lost that opportunity to really build on the training they got.
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And the biggest feedback I got from the fleet was some of these people are unrecoverable because they spend the next couple of years going I hate it, I hate it. Boy, when my enlistment is up, I am out of here. And for a lot of them, that is exactly what happens.
Mr. SKEEN. May I ask, does anybody have anything on what causes the change in that attitude?
Chief BAILEY. My personal opinion, life is hard in the Navy. A ship is a small city, and it has a lot of dirty jobs. Who gets those? The new people coming in are temporarily assigned to those jobs. So even though a person might be billeted in to become an avionics maintenance type, I have to send them somewhere else to supplement the force, to do some other job that is undesirable, unwanted. But they don't have the background and the knowledge at that point in their career to realize, hang in there. This is a 6-month. I hate this. And when you come back, everything will go on as normal. It changes their attitudes and their opinions and their thinking about, boy, I made a big mistake joining the Navy.
Mr. SKEEN. Any suggested remedy?
Sergeant Major HAYDEN. Stop the boredom. It is boring. They come out of basic training, hard-nosed, charged and ready to go to work, and they are stuck on Fort Stewart or wherever. And they don't see nothing but Fort Stewart. Some of them are deployed so much they never see home. Those guys ain't so bored. Those guys usually reenlist. The other guys get bored. I find my soldiers tell me they quit because they are bored. They just want to go to school now.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Is this figure correct that the best retention rates are among the forces that are deployed overseas, that someone who has been in Bosnia for a 6-month or longer tour is more likely to sign over than someone who has been here in the U.S.?
Sergeant Major HAYDEN. I don't know, sir, they probably reenlist to get out of there. I have no idea.
Mr. BATEMAN. OK.
Colonel LOCKWOOD. Mr. Chairman, I think you will find what I observed, and the Sergeant Major, over the last almost 2 years now in our unit, most of our soldiers, they want to go to the field. They want to work in their military occupational specialty that they come out of basic training. And we have great success when our tempo is high. But then that can only go on for so long. Then you have to break that up and start retraining again. They get promoted. New people come in. You have got to keep building a team.
So they want to be a part of a cohesive unit, and they identify with that, and those are things that motivate young soldiers.
You also have problems with low-density MOSs. A lot of the low-density MOS noncommissioned officers have been around a while, and they get utilized more than they need to. They are everywhere every place doing everything. So they tend to, you know, get out of the service. We have had that problem in our unit.
Page 133 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So then you have the low-density MOS young private coming out of the basic training, and that low-density MOS coming in like a mechanic, and he really doesn't have the supervisor to teach him all the things he needs to know, and that further confuses that young soldier that comes in.
Mr. BATEMAN. One of the recurring things that I have heard over the last 4 or 5 years is that we have mid-level NCOs who don't have the time to train the echelon just below them because they are the only ones left who have the skills to actually do the job. And so training of that echelon goes neglected or deferred or not pursued as it ought to be, because they are just so busy keeping the plane in the air because, if they don't, nobody else can. Is that a problem?
Master Gunner FITZPATRICK. Yes, sir. I see that throughout our unit. My NCO, as I havewithin my platoon, I have one who just went temporary assignment somewhere else within her PMO, military police. And that left me with none. So he was my only link. Between, you know, me being a platoon commander, I have my platoon sergeant, and now basically what we are having to do is step down again, and we are having to get in the trench where, as this point, we should be in the supervisory mode, making sure the things are done correct and safe. It can't happen anymore.
What is happening is now you knowwhich I don't mind doing. It is good. The troops see you actually getting in there, getting dirty. That is good. All right. But when it is happening out of necessity, there is another problem.
And I think, with these Marines that also have a retention problem, I think they see a lot of their friends getting in trouble. I mean, I noticed that, with us, I have seven people right now that within this last year have been put in the brig, in the UCMJ. So here again, yeah, he is a number. I do have him, but I don't have him. So you know I am working with less people.
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I would just like to see these young Marines start moving around a little bit and especially at their Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center [MCAGCC]. I have been there 13 years. Sometimes it does get monotonous and there is really nowhere for us to go. But that is more of kind of a Marine Corps thing with tanks. But I think it would be good getting them out there. And I think once they start seeing the world, that is what they signed up for. Let them enjoy it. And I think we may be able toI think, with units, if they can have the funds to actually deploy, you know, get funded, go somewhere, go see somewhere instead of my backyard all the time, I think that would be more enjoyable.
And I have worked with the British a few times; and being that they are such a close, close knit unit, I mean they reenlist right in within that unit, their retention is there. They have the Royal Marines that have been there for 16, 17 years right there in the same unit.
Mr. SKEEN. Old family.
Master Gunner FITZPATRICK. And I want to look at something of that nature.
Mr. SKEEN. An old family tradition.
Master Gunner FITZPATRICK. Right. Yes.
Sergeant BOLLES. Mr. Chairman, if I can add something to that.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Yes, Sergeant.
Sergeant BOLLES. I don't believe the quality of the people that are coming in has declined any from the past. The problem is they are not getting the training. Just as you said before, I don't have the people available to train them.
In the Air Force, the greatest amount of people that are getting out is the middle grades. And those are all the people that are used to train the new people coming in. Up 200 percent manned in three levels. Those are people just out of basic training and tech school.
And with the OPTEMPO we have and the shortage of spare parts and the number of maintenance actions we have to do, those guys just do not have time to take somebody by the hand and show them step by step things that need to be done. And I think that is the greatest problem we have as far as training.
Mr. BATEMAN. Well, a number of you have talked about people who, when they got to the National Training Center, as soon as they went through the rotation there, and they went back to their unit, they were deployed somewhere else. Is there a problem that the combat unit cohesion is being lost in the turbulence of so many deployments, that people who train to fight together don't end up staying together? Is that a problem?
Sergeant Major HAYDEN. I believe that was in one of my statements there. I think you are right. They come. We went. We fought. We won. We beat the OPFOR. OK. But when we got back, they all started leaving right there. All the new guys came in, and all the new guys were privates. They have no knowledge. They have basic training knowledge only.
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All my sergeants are disappearing right now. And I am starting to see the morale go down just a little bit. But we are cavalry soldiers, and we will build that back up, because we know how. We have been through it before.
Mr. BATEMAN. Are you running into higher incidents of disciplinary problems as a result of this less-trained and less-involved lower enlisted ranks?
Colonel LOCKWOOD. We don't see that in our own unit because, you know, you look for every opportunity to train. And that is our obligation as leaders to make sure that we are training our solders so that, if they are called upon, they can do what the Nation asks them to do. And so you know we all take that very seriously. I don't think the discipline problems are any different.
Mr. BATEMAN. I am happy to hear that. That is some of the better news of today.
Colonel LOCKWOOD. There is different challenges for us out there when it comes to values that soldiers have now, you know, based on what I had maybe 20 years ago. It is a lot different than when I grew up.
So we do spend a lot of time teaching about what it means to be part of a unit, identify with the unit and what unit cohesion means and what a fighting team is all about. Those are things they don't quite understand. That is one of our obligations as leaders, to teach young soldiers that, to build esprit de corps and discipline in the unit.
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One of the things we experienced in our unit when we went to the National Training Center was, the week before we had gone to the National Training Center, we had about 120 of our soldiers that we had trained with for about 4 months when Operation Desert Fox was called upon. Those had to stay at Fort Stewart. So we had to break up our unit cohesion to go to the National Training Center. That is a significant impact on the unit as a whole and a very significant impact on those soldiers we had to leave back at Fort Stewart. We are spending a lot of time right now, having come back from the National Training Center, to make sure that they feel that they are still integrated as part of the team.
Mr. BATEMAN. Well, I guess this is more of an Air Force problem than most services. But the no-fly zone, Southern Watch or whatever it is in Iraq and northern Iraq and the no-fly zones over Bosnia, which I am sure the Navy is also involved in. Those people don't get much in the way of training like you would get if they were out here participating in Red Flag or Top Gun.
Major IMONTI. I can tell when a unit has just came back from the desert rotation or a Bosnia rotation and done no-fly zone operations. You can tell when they come in. In fact, the commanders oftentimes ask us to throttle back a little bit, make it a little less of a demanding scenario than we have had in the past.
You can definitely tell when a unit's rotation brings them through here, you know, soon after they have been to the desert. You don't get much air-to-air training or ground training when you are sitting in the cabin at 24,000 feet trying to patrol the no-fly zone.
Page 138 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BATEMAN. Lieutenant, you have the same experience.
Lieutenant WINTER. I have, sir, two cruises over there and spent what seems like a lot of my life drilling around in south of the 32nd parallel and now the 33rd. And you just don't get anything done. And you would think that, hey, this is a forward-deployed unit. You may fly more often than you do in other parts of your training cycle. You certainly would. But you are not doing anything when you are in the air. You hit the tanker. You go up, you look for people who aren't there, and you come back, and you land on the ship, which is really the scariest part of the whole evolution.
Mr. BATEMAN. Among the many other military installations in my district is Langley Air Force Base. And going back to at least January 1996, there were complaints of forward-deployed units going to Saudi Arabia for months and then, while they were gone, all the work that went on on the base by the regular personnel at Langley Air Force Base still had to be done, but a lot of their people were somewhere else.
And the people left back at home, their morale was, I think, being more seriously impacted than the ones who went over there and were doing things. It also became a problem when these units that had been deployed from Langley came home. They needed to come out here to hone their combat skills, but they have been away from home so long, what do you do? You have to makeyou temporize with things, and you don't send them as early as you would like or want to, because you have got to give them some time with their family. And you almost get to a mode where you meet yourself coming back, especially when we get yanked in and out of the Gulf about every 6 months.
Page 139 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Major IMONTI. Mr. Chairman, there is a way to fix that, though. You go to those units and train them. Unlike the Army, where you have to go to a specific place to get that training because you need that large force. In the Air Force, we can go to that place, fly over one. There is a range there. We can provide the air-to-air training. We can't provide the surface-to-air training with the different sand threats and integrated air defense system we have here.
But the aggressors do go out on occasion, not very often anymore due to our downsizing. But when we go to those units, typically you would go to an F15 unit twice a year and an F16 unit once a year. We have gone once in the last year to Langley and once the year before to England and Tindall. It is fairly rare now. But you can fix that, at least in the Air Force side, the air-to-air side, by going to those units.
Mr. BATEMAN. Well, as a matter of fact, there was some discussion that someone told me of, though I wasn't actually present at the time, that there is some effort to obtain training facilities, airspace in Turkey for the people at Incirlik and the other air base there so that they can try and maintain combat skills at a much higher level than they can without any place to train. So hopefully things are being done that ought to improve that.
Chief BAILEY. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Yes.
Chief BAILEY. If I might add from a maintainer's perspective in there. For us, being deployed is the best time to train. We are doing real world stuff every day that plane flies. We are fixing it and taking care of it.
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The problem comes in for us when we come back and, now, the pilots need to go get training while the maintainers are worn out. They are tired. They are ready to spend time with their family. The first thing that has to happen is all the good parts that we robbed from Peter to pay Paul when we left, now you can't gothey have got to come off the airplanes and be sent somewhere else so it can happen again. Not that that is new but just reinforcing the whole problem that we are dealing with.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you for the insight. Anyone else have a comment or observation they would like to offer.
Lieutenant WINTER. Specific to this?
Mr. BATEMAN. Anything that is on your mind, Lieutenant. We are wide open.
Lieutenant WINTER. All right. You will regret saying that.
Something I think that has been a painful lesson for us, and I have learned and I think, by being one of the brave Americans who actually watches C-SPAN, is that we have, as a military service, in the past, neglected and have been basically unwilling to show pain. Hey, do all these things. And the military way of life, we are taught from day one is to get it done. Just do it, do it. Do it the best you can with whatever you have got. And we do that and say, yes, sir, and carry out the plan of the day.
Page 141 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Whereas, we may be getting the job done; but when we are doing so, all of our people leave the service. All of our experience is starting to leave. We are not as good as we think we are, maybe not even good enough to do the jobs we may be required to do 1 day, unfortunately. And now you have a problem.
And I hope that we have gotten to the point where the people understand that there is a lack of willingness in a lot of cases to show pain. And, hopefully, you will not have to dig very far in the future to do that.
But that is something as an awareness issue that I want you all to know and to be cautious of in the future, because that has been a big deal in my opinion. I have been a training officer in the squadron, and I have been the one sitting there right in the, hey, skipper, we are not very good at this. And my reports indicate that we are C3, C4, whatever the case may be, indicating a poor level. And when I would write that report and send it up in the chain of command, I really wasn't sure where it was going to come out on the back side. Was it still going to say C3, C4.
Mr. BATEMAN. Let me comment on that. My subcommittee sinceever since I have been on it, and certainly all the time since I have been chairman, have been trying to focus on accuracy in reporting status of readiness of military units. All of our experience and all of the hearings that we have held have indicated that there were significant increasing readiness problems.
And notwithstanding the fact that we have a senior leadership in the Pentagon who review every quarter status of readiness of all units of all services, and notwithstanding the fact that we have insisted that they furnish us a quarterly report of the status of readiness of all forces, until last September, the only answers we were getting from the senior leadership in the Pentagon is we are as ready as we have ever been. We have only a minimum number of units that are not at the requested level of readiness. We don't have any C3s or C4s.
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There is something wrong with the system that reports that when you people who are out here doing it and the operational units are reporting something that is to the contrary. I don't know, and I think you put your finger on it, Lieutenant, that there is a part of the culture, and I don't say this to denigrate, but in the way to praise, there is a part of the military culture to say that we can do. We are ready. We will go do it. Even though what we really need to be saying is, to do it with the degree of risk that is acceptable and with the degree of professionalism, we need this, that, and the other.
And I don't know how we getI don't want you to lose that incredible part of your culture that says we will do it, we will get it done. But I would sure like to have a little more accurate focus on the kind of help you should be expected to have in the ability to go and do that very thing.
Lieutenant WINTER. Sir, I think part of the problem with that in the past, and I don't offer you a solution today or know that you would in fact be a part of the solution but
Mr. BATEMAN. Think about it some more and come see me when you have got it.
Lieutenant WINTER. For me, as a training officer, as an O3, soon to be O4, I report the truth. It costs me nothing. I think there are a lot of people in the chain of command who felt like they were going to get their heads lopped off, if you are about to go on a cruise to the Persian Gulf, and you are going to tell your battle group commander and ultimately your Commander in Chief that we are not ready to do this, then it is my fault somehow. But in a lot of cases, it was not their fault. There were external assets, missing parts, tactical training systems missing. I think that is part of the reason. Again, I, unfortunately, offer you no solution.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Well
Chief BAILEY. Might I add something there?
Mr. BATEMAN. Sure, Chief.
Chief BAILEY. When I was traveling through the fleet, one of the things I got very good at the first day what getting through all the quagmire of what do you want to hear, Chief, and we have got that answer for you.
When I finally broke through, when I found you had people trying to do the best, to do the best job they could to meet readiness, to meet their command's mission, but what was happening there weren't the parts. They didn't have the skill to fix it. So they had one option; that was to fudge the reports, because there was no viable alternative for them to do anything else.
And that is a big issue, I think, in naval aviation, and that is what we found in Ireland, trying to break that down and give that feeling, that, OK, you don't have to be zero fault. If something is wrong, let it come out. But it is very hard in the militaryand, again, it is perceptions. Each level has a different perception of what that inability to meet your mission means.
Mr. BATEMAN. I hope it is an optimistic note for you all, but I think that mindset, that psyche is now changing. Because people have been confronted with very harsh realities of the type that you all are describing. And you cannot understand it or accept it for a while, but after a while, it becomes too transparent to be in denial any longer.
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I had a colleague last week that said that he had a dream, and he had the perfect solution to the problem in the Balkans. And he got up, and he wrote a note on the pad so that he would make sure he remembered it the next morning. And he got up the next morning, and he looked at his pad, and he had written ''write it down,'' but he had forgotten the solution. So if you all wake up and have a dream and a solution, write it down and come see us.
Anyone else have anything they would like to add?
Joe, do you have any further observations?
Mr. SKEEN. Just this one piece of advice, because we are not trying to subvert the Pentagon or anybody else, but we would like to put another step on this thing by getting closer to the people that have to do the jobs and are responsible for doing it and can speak openly and honestly about what their problems are and get them resolved rather than bury them or move them to one side or ignore them and so on. You folks are that category. We appreciate very much you spending your time with us and being as open and frank, because this helps us.
And I don't think that the powers that be that preside in Washington over the armed services are going to have any gripe to make because this was an open and honest session, and we certainly have come away with a new attitude about how to get things done better and better lines of communication and not to anybody's discredit.
Thank you very much. We appreciate it.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Well, if there are any powers to be in Washington who aren't proud of you, then it is their fault, not yours. We certainly are proud of you. We appreciate what you do and are very grateful to you for the way that you have given us information that makes it easier or hopefully will make it easier for us to do our job.
We know you have needs, and they are unmet, and we will do our best to try and attend to them. We promise you absolutely no immediate cures. We thought we had done a lot to secure the spare parts problem, but it appears that letter is still in the mail. But believe it or not, we have tried to address it, and I hope relief is soon going to be in sight and more to come.
We thank each and every one of you for being here and for sharing your information and experiences with us.
Mr. SKEEN. Well done.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you all.
[Whereupon, at 3:30 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
February 26, 1999
[This information is pending.]
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