SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10640]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2001H.R. ??
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMILITARY READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS
TITLE IIIOPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
FEBRUARY 29, 2000
MILITARY READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE
HERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia, Chairman
SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
BOB RILEY, Alabama
DUNCAN HUNTER, California
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
TILLIE K. FOWLER, Florida
JAMES TALENT, Missouri
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
DONALD SHERWOOD, Pennsylvania
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCNORMAN SISISKY, Virginia
JOHN M. SPRATT, Jr., South Carolina
OWEN PICKETT, Virginia
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH, Illinois
ADAM SMITH, Washington
JAMES H. MALONEY, Connecticut
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
Peter M. Steffes, Professional Staff Member
Joseph F. Boessen, Professional Staff Member
Mary Ellen Fraser, Counsel
Diane W. Bowman, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Tuesday, February 29, 2000, Fiscal Year 2001 National Defense Authorization ActAdequacy of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Request to Meet Readiness Needs
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Tuesday, February 29, 2000
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2000
FISCAL YEAR 2001 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTADEQUACY OF THE FISCAL YEAR 2001 BUDGET REQUEST TO MEET READINESS NEEDS
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Bateman, Hon. Herbert H., a Representative from Virginia, Chairman, Military Readiness Subcommittee
Ortiz, Hon. Solomon P., a Representative from Texas, Ranking Member, Military Readiness Subcommittee
Dake, Gen. Terrence R., Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, U.S. Marine Corps
Keane, Gen. John M., Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army
Lyles, Gen. Lester L., Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Pilling, Adm. Donald L., U.S. Navy, Vice Chief of Naval Operations
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Dake, Gen. Terrence R.
Keane, Gen. John M.
Lyles, Gen. Lester L.
Pilling, Adm. Donald L.
Rabkin, Norman J., Director, National Security Preparedness, National Security and International Affairs Division, U.S. General Accounting Office
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted for the Record.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers are pending.]
FISCAL YEAR 2001 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTADEQUACY OF THE FISCAL YEAR 2001 BUDGET REQUEST TO MEET READINESS NEEDS
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House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Military Readiness Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Tuesday, February 29, 2000.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:04 p.m., in room 2212, Rayburn House Office Building, 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. The subcommittee will come to order. This afternoon, the Subcommittee on Military Readiness is meeting to get a better understanding of current readiness of the military services, and to get an assessment of the current and next year's budget requests to adequately sustain acceptable levels of readiness.
We have asked the vice chiefs of staff from each of the four military services to give us their views on these issues. The vice chief of staff of each of the military departments is charged with overseeing the day-to-day operations of their respective services.
Over the past five years, the Subcommittee on Military Readiness has taken issue with the shortages in the Administration's budget proposal in several areas that the subcommittee believes are critical to maintaining readiness in the military services.
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These areas include base operations support, real property maintenance, depot maintenance, ship repairs and overhauls, operational tempo, quality of life improvements, and mobility enhancement funds. Between 1994 and 2000, this committee recommended over $10 billion in additional funding to the Administration's requests in just these areas.
However, this significant additional attention has not corrected the continual shortfalls in these accounts. One of the reasons for these shortfalls has been continued unscheduled and unbudgeted deployments which have caused severe strain on personnel and equipment. I am glad to see that, at last this year, funding for all of our current operations has been included.
However, I see on the horizon some contingencies that just may pop up and which aren't included and which again can have a very, very detrimental affect on your planning and execution of the budget that we authorized and for which funds are appropriate.
Another reason is the high cost to maintain equipment that is well past its designed usage with little relief in sight.
After an initial look at the budget proposal for fiscal year 2001, it would appear that for the first time in many years, there is growth in the readiness accounts. This is good news, but this growth is primarily a reflection of a significant increase in the price of fuel and for normal inflation.
Setting aside these growth factors, there is very little new money to arrest and turn around the declining readiness problems that are plaguing our military. In addition, the budget before us projects that readiness funding levels will decrease by nearly $2 billion in fiscal year 2002.
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As they have done in previous years, the chiefs of the military services provided the committee with their lists of unfunded priorities for fiscal year 2001 that total $15.5 billion and estimated that the unfunded shortfall in the next five years to be at $84.2 billion.
Even after this committee's addition to the budget request of $3.2 billion last year to reduce the readiness unfunded priorities of the military services, the list continues to grow.
Although the fiscal year 2001 budget request does contain increases in other important areas such as procurement and military personnel, the allusion that the level of funding for readiness meets all of the services requirements is overstated. It is beyond my understanding how improvements to military readiness can be met with only inflationary increases, decreases in funding in the coming years, and ever-increasing unfunded requirements that are many billions short in several critical areas.
Another area that has concerned me and many members of the subcommittee is what the services do with the funds Congress authorizes and appropriates. A recent General Accounting Office report notes that over a five-year period from 1994 to 1998, the Department of Defense changed funding in various O&M accounts by almost $43 billion compared with the amounts of money the Congress originally designated for those accounts.
Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution requires that Congress provide for the military. I and the members of the committee take this responsibility very seriously. I understand that operational needs of the military require the movement of funds during the year of execution, but movements of this magnitude outside of the normal legislative process are clearly not acceptable.
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Also unacceptable is the continual under-execution of funds provided by Congress. As an example, during this same five-year period, the Navy it is said under-executed its ship depot maintenance account by over $1.2 billion. The Air Force under-executed its primary combat forces account by $988 million.
And the Army, in only two years1997 and 1998under-executed its combat divisions account by $580 million. These three specific service accounts are considered by DOD to be the most directly related to readiness and have been designated by Congress as high priority readiness-related accounts. It is my intention to find out why these critical readiness accounts are consistently under-spent.
What we would like to hear from our witnesses today is what has been done with the significant amounts of additional funding provided by Congress to fix readiness, what are the reasons why we are not there yet, and what it will take to not only arrest the decline in readiness, but to provide a permanent, sustainable course of action to return readiness to acceptable levels.
We would also like to hear from our witnesses on their assessment of current readiness and the risks involved in maintaining readiness in the current and projected budget levels.
Because we owe it to the American taxpayer and our military men and women to ensure that there is sound stewardship over the resources that are entrusted to the Department of Defense, the hearing today is especially important. The issues we will discuss today have the potential of affecting military readiness now and in the future.
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Our witnesses today will beand we are very pleased and honored to have them with usGeneral John M. Keane, Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army; Admiral Donald L. Pilling, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy; General Lester L. Lyles, Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force; and General Terrence Dake, Assistant Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps.
Prior to hearing from our witnesses, I will now yield to the ranking Democratic member of the subcommittee, Mr. Ortiz, for any comments he may choose to make.
STATEMENT OF HON. SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM TEXAS, RANKING MEMBER, MILITARY READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I join you in welcoming our distinguished witnesses, the vice chiefs of staff and the assistant commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, to this hearing today. I thank them for their service to this great nation, and I look forward to their assessments of the readiness posture and funding issues.
As we start the second session of the 106th Congress, I also want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your dedicated and impartial leadership of the readiness subcommittee. I am certain that I state for my colleagues in saying how much we appreciate your sincere interest in improving the readiness, Mr. Chairman, of our military forces, and the impartial manner you have been leading the activities of the subcommittee.
It is very instructive for me to reflect back on my tenure on the readiness subcommittee; and I feel compelled, in this, our first readiness subcommittee hearing of the century, to take a little time to share some of my thoughts and concerns.
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First, I remain impressed with the outstanding performance of our uniformed personnel and dedicated civilian personnel. They have performed diligently under some very trying circumstances. Even under the stress of high OPTEMPO and the uncertainty of outsourcing and privatization initiatives, they have continued to perform more with less. They deserve all the accolades that we give them.
I am disappointed, though, that we must continue in this century to fight to improve the overall readiness posture of the force. Making real and sustainable progress in getting rid of the repair and the spare parts problem, or making a dent in the real property maintenance backlog, appears to be impossible.
Like you, Mr. Chairman, I am concerned about where did all of this money go. Does the department really consider the readiness account a slush fund? What is going to be the result of them doing all of the so-called DOD efficiency initiatives and the Congressional acts to the budget request? Notwithstanding all of the new and innovative maintenance concepts and the out-sourcing initiative, we are still struggling with the same issuesa prudently maintained infrastructure and a marginally acceptable level of force readiness.
To make matters worse, the marginally acceptable equipment readiness comes on the backs of already over-worked personnel. As we try to understand the adequacy of this budget submission, I hope each of you will address budget assumptions and considerations that continue to puzzle me, and that is how to incorporate savings from future outsourcing initiatives in the current budget, and what would be the impact of not achieving the savings as identified?
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I also think it would be helpful to share with the subcommittee your experience with achieving the savings that have been projected so far. I would like to know how the services budget for the conduct of the value self-sourcing studies? Have any of you conducted any studies on the impact of the outsourcing initiatives? On the retention and productivity of the civilian work force? Have the initiatives made a difference in attracting the quality and quantity of new workers needed to take care of our aging work force concerns?
Mr. Chairman, the answers to those questions are critical for our understanding of the Administration's budget request. I am not convinced that the Department has a thorough understanding of the cost or consequences that are associated with some of these reform initiatives. I ask these questions today because the hearing schedule does not permit a separate outsourcing hearing session before we mark up the bill. I do believe that any answers they provide us today would be very instructive.
Again, I welcome our distinguished witnesses here today, and I look forward to their testimony and responses to the questions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Ortiz, and now General Keane, and our other witnesses, we have your written statements. They will be made part of the record in their entirety; and General Keane, if you would like to proceed, followed by Admiral Pilling and by General Lyles and then General Dake, we will be happy to hear from you.
STATEMENT OF GEN. JOHN M. KEANE, VICE CHIEF OF STAFF, U.S. ARMY
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General KEANE. Mr. Chairman, thank you. Chairman Bateman, Congressman Ortiz, distinguished members of the readiness committee, I'm honored to be here today with my fellow vice-chiefs, and thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the President's 2001 budget request and its impact on Army readiness.
I also will submit this brief opening statement; and as we indicated, the much longer version for the record. I just want to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the committee for your support for Army readiness. During the past five years, you have contributed $741 million to Army readiness over the President's budget request.
What that has translated to us is improved readiness that has bolstered our depot maintenance, training in OPTEMPO, and also our ammunition management programs, which support the entire Army.
As Chairman Bateman indicated, over the last ten years, they have really been very busy years for us since the end of the cold war. It has simply been one of the busiest times in the last, 20th century; and throughout this period, our Army has focused on its primary missionthat is, to train and win its nation's wars. Our number one priority has been, and will continue to be, maintaining a trained and ready Army. By trained and ready in Army language, we mean C1, and traditionally we have been a C1 Army; but frankly, we are not a C1 Army today. That is not to say that we cannot accomplish all that the nation expects of us, but the farther we move away from the C1 standard, the greater the risk involved, and the greater the price we pay in the long term.
You began the reversal of our readiness decline last year. We thank you for that support, and we need your support to continue that momentum. The President's budget request provides the required resources to meet our most compelling readiness requirements. The budget allows us to fund our ground OPTEMPO accounts at 100 percent of validated requirements for the active component, the National Guard, and the Reserves, and our air OPTEMPO at nearly 100 percent as well.
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It is, however, a budget with little flexibility. We have had to make some tough choices with this budget, and there are some areas specifically in real property maintenance in depot maintenance accounts that we are not able to be as proactive as we would like. Real property maintenance (RPM) remains under-funded for all three of our components in 2001.
The budget formed 69 percent of the requirements for the active component, 63 percent for the National Guard, and 75 percent for the Army Reserve. These RPM shortfalls will likely increase the risk of higher future costs due to deferred maintenance and renovation of older facilities.
Depot maintenance support receives a slight boost in 2001, but overall depot operations are still only funded at 80 percent of the requirements for the active component and 77 percent for the Reserve component. The shortfall could force us to defer maintenance and upgrades for some of our major combat systems, thereby increasing the likelihood of reduced operational readiness rates and affecting, certainly, the availability of our equipment for training.
Let me say that last October, General Shinseki and Secretary Caldera announced the Army's vision for the future, a vision which involves no less than the complete transformation of our Army into a force that is more strategically responsive and dominant across the full spectrum of our operations.
That force will have stretch goals to deploy a combat brigade in 96 hours, a division in 120 hours, and five divisions within 30 days. This budget request allows us to begin the movement toward that transformation. We have embarked on a journey to make the most dramatic changes to our Army since World War II, to make the Army more responsive today and to shape our capabilities for tomorrow.
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With your help, we intend to do three primary things with this budget: to protect the readiness of the Army, number one; and number two, to provide a quality of life experience for our soldiers and their families; and number three, to begin the transformation of our Army.
To accomplish all of that, we have submitted our portion of the President's budget, and we have also identified $5.4 billion in unfunded requirements that would be tracked from those three goals.
We appreciate your continued support and your consideration. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the invitation to appear today. I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Keane can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, General Keane, and Admiral Pilling.
STATEMENT OF ADM. DONALD L. PILLING, U.S. NAVY, VICE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS
Admiral PILLING. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the Navy's operations and maintenance budget with you today.
Today's Navy is the most capable and the most ready in the world. Over 45 percent of the fleet is under way today, either deployed or engaged in training for deployment. The men and women of three carrier battle groups and three amphibious ready groups are en route to or on station in the Mediterranean Sea, in the Arabian Gulf. Another battle group and amphibious group are operating in the Western Pacific. These Naval forces are maintaining our forward presence and are ready for combat operations if the nation needs them. This is the core of what our O&M budget buys.
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With your permission, I would like to talk about three specific items: personnel, current readiness, and then recapitalization.
Our readiness depends on our ability to attract and retain high quality motivated and trained sailors, even as the nation's strong economy imposes significant challenges in recruiting and retention. Last year's focus on recruiting with the assistance of this committee resulted in the Navy meeting its fiscal year 1999 recruiting goal. It will take at least this much effort and money to sustain success in recruiting this year.
Retention of sailors once we recruit them continues to be a problem. Although we are seeing some improvement as a result of the recent pay and bonus improvements, retention rates in all categories remain below our steady state targets. Those gains that we have been able to make in recruiting and retention have improved readiness. The number of gapped at-sea billets has declined from a high of over 18,000 in 1998 to roughly 9,200 today.
Today the readiness of our deployed forces continues to be satisfactory. This is validated by the impressive performance of our fleet units in Operations ALLIED FORCE and SOUTHERN WATCH. Our non-deployed readiness has always by design been lower than that of our deployed forces, because the Navy operates on a cycle of readiness that peaks as a ship or a squadron departs for deployment.
The strain of high OPTEMPO, frequent deployments, and aging ships and aircraft is seen in the progressive decline of our forces' readiness in between their deployments. O&M funding shortfalls today, when they occur, have a greater and more rapid impact on non-deployed forces than in the past.
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In the area of aviation, we have repriced the Flying Owl program within operations and maintenance to better reflect the increase in costs associated with sustaining our aging aircraft.
Aircraft depot maintenance funding is sufficient to ensure that deployed squadrons have 100 percent of the necessary aircraft, while non-deployed have at least 90 percent. Also as a result of lessons learned in Kosovo, fiscal year 2001 includes $23 million in funding for spare parts and equipment necessary to establish one additional EA6B squadron.
In the area of ship operations, our operations and maintenance funds are adequate to achieve our ship OPTEMPO goals of 50.5 underway days per quarter for deployed ships, and 28 underway days per quarter for non-deployed ships. We are concerned with funding for ship depot maintenance as our fleet commanders are telling us that we have underestimated what it will take to properly support planned availabilities.
The reductions that we had to take in our O&M appropriation as a result of the fiscal year 2000 rescision of .52 percent were targeted at real property maintenance to protect the critical fleet flying hour and maintenance accounts. This $120 million reduction will have a serious impact on the readiness of our shore facilities.
Looking to the future, increasing our investment to support the recapitalization and modernization of our Navy is essential to maintaining operational readiness. Adequate readiness can only be sustained in the future with a modernization and recapitalization program that delivers sufficient numbers of technologically superior platforms and systems to the fleet.
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I remain concerned that we are falling behind in this effort. We need to invest now with a focused and expanded program to maintain superiority through the first half of the 21st century.
Balancing the fiscal and operational needs of today with the defense requirements of tomorrow is a challenging task. We cannot accomplish this alone. We need your continued support.
Mr. Chairman, again, I would like to thank you and this committee for all you have done for the Navy, and I look forward to working with you in the future; and I will be happy to answer any questions the committee might have.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Pilling can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you very much, Admiral Pilling, and now we are pleased to hear from General Lyles.
STATEMENT OF GEN. LESTER L. LYLES, VICE CHIEF OF STAFF, U.S. AIR FORCE
General LYLES. Mr. Chairman, good afternoon. I want to also thank you and Mr. Ortiz and the rest of the members of the committee for your very strong support to all of the services, and particularly to the U.S. Air Force.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to just make a few brief comments relative to the readiness posture for the U.S. Air Force and the many challenges that we face today and certainly into the future.
1999 was another banner year for the Air Force. Our forces were deployed throughout the world in various contingencies, starting at the beginning of the year in DESERT FOX over the skies of Iraq, to ALLIED FORCE, to the continued operations of Operations NORTHERN WATCH and SOUTHERN WATCH, and the humanitarian operations both here and abroad.
We showed in Kosovo, as an example, that your Air Force, our Air Force, was ready when the nation called, as it is today literally across the world. Today we have some 90,000 airmen who are stationed throughout the world and the United States. We have some 250 aircraft that are permanently stationed across the world in various contingencies, and we have been successful in all the different missions that the country has called upon for the U.S. Air Force.
Yet, in spite of those successes, we still have faced many, many challenges, and those challenges in some respects, Mr. Chairman, reflect the balanced budget that we tried to put together and reflect in the President's budget. The challenges are in the area of people, readiness, infrastructure, and modernization; and if you don't mind, I will just briefly make a comment about the first threepeople, readiness and infrastructure.
We have increased the funding for our readiness posture, particularly for spares support for all of our various programs and all of our supporting activities. We increased the funding in 1999, beginning in 1999 to address the shortfalls that we had over the past years. We continue that increase in funding in the year 2000, and the President's budget for 2001 reflects a continuation of that particular posture.
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I am optimistic that the sustained funding for readiness will allow us to turn around the readiness decline that we have experienced over the last several years, but we have not yet reached that particular goal. All the indicators, the leading indicators are very, very positive, but they have not yet reflected in what's happening out in the field, and what is happening in the troops that are deployed.
Overall readiness of our major operation units are down 26 percent since 1996, and 11 percent in the last year alone. Today only 68 percent of our combat units are reporting readiness in the top two categories, C1 and C2. That's far short of our goal of 92 percent. Overall for the U.S. Air Force, both combat forces and support forces, 82 percent of our forces are at the C1 and C2 level, but again, it doesn't reach the goal of 92 percent.
We are taking a number of steps, Mr. Chairman, to try to reverse this readiness decline. The first, as I indicated before, is to readily remedy the issue relative to parts shortage. We have funded spares at 100 percent in fiscal year 2000, and we reflect that again in the President's budget for 2001.
We have taken process initiatives and contract initiatives to reduce vendor lead time to make sure we can get the new components that we are procuring out to the field and out to our depots as rapidly as we possibly can. We are making upgrades and improvements in reliability to literally all of our platforms. We have some 279 initiatives totaling $2.8 billion across a fighterimpacting the F16 and F16 engines particularlythe C5 program, the C130 program, KC135 program, and many, many others.
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We are also taking steps to make sure we are addressing the concern for our people, and particularly the expeditionary nature that the Air Force finds itself involved in. Our expeditionary Air Force (EAF) concept that we initiated formally beginning this past fall is proceeding very, very well. We are in the initial steps of our EAF concept, but the CINCs are very, very supportive and so far very, very pleased with everything we are trying to do to support them while giving a better definition to the expeditionary nature of the U.S. Air Force.
We think, Mr. Chairman, that we have the right fixes, and that we are going to turn the mission capability rates around; but we have not reset yet, and our indicators though positive, have not shown the results out into the field, and we will continue the emphasis in this particular area.
In the area of people, because of the pace of our operations around the world, we are now, today, 40 percent fewer than we were ten years ago, but yet 400 percent increase in OPTEMPO for our people. Our airmen are working harder than ever before, and the strain is beginning to show.
Mr. Chairman, thanks to you, this particular committee, and the rest of the Congress, we are beginning to take the positive steps to help our people, and particularly those in the field. You have improved the pay and benefits for our airmen last year, and for their families; and we thank you graciously for all the things that you have done to help them in that particular area.
The compensation package will be a very, very strong benefit toward us being able to support our people with the quality of life that they deserve; and as I mentioned before, our expeditionary Air Force is providing both the predictability and the stability to our airmen that they need to accomplish their mission.
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Mr. Chairman, another factor in readiness, the very, very complex readiness equation, is the issue of recruiting and retaining good people, and retention and recruitment for the U.S. Air Force. We are facing the toughest environment that we have had in decades. Our robust civilian economy and the low propensity to enlist for all of our people around the United States have made this a major, major challenge for us, something we have never faced before in the U.S. Air Force.
In spite of an increase of 600 people last year above what we have normally recruited, we still missed our recruiting goals by about 1700 people last year, even with the higher goal that we established for ourselves. We're already this year, so far, some 1700 still short for the numbers we need in fiscal year 2000.
We are taking actions to try and remedy that particular situation, but enlistment and retention go hand in hand. Our enlistment and retention remains a major concern for us. We are missing our goals in all of our categories for first term enlistments, second term enlistments, and career enlistments.
We have taken a number of steps to encourage our young people to enlist, and to stay in the U.S. Air Force, and to make it a career. We have added re-enlistment bonuses; some 73 percent of the Air Force skills now receive a re-enlistment bonus. That's up from 34 percent in fiscal year 1997.
We have a full court press to improve our recruiting skills and recruiting manpower. We are the lowest service in terms of the numbers of recruiters out there in the field, and we're trying to change that for the U.S. Air Force for now and the future. We're going to be increasing the number of recruiters by some 850 by April of 2001 to bring our number of recruiters up to about 2,000. Today we are about 900 or so.
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We have also increased TV advertising for the first time for the U.S. Air Force. Our numbers in fiscal year 1999 were up to about $70 million; and for 2000 and 2001, we're going to be at about $65 million to begin advertising and telling the story for the U.S. Air Force, and again, enticing people to want to recruit and come into the U.S. Air Force.
And finally, we have expanded incentives so that initial enlisted bonuses are offered for now 100 skills in the U.S. Air Force. That's up from a low of only four skills just a couple of years ago.
Finally, in the area of infrastructure, we are making strides to try and stay balanced in terms of our infrastructure funding. We are nowhere near the numbers we need to keep the infrastructure where it should be, and to make improvements in that area that need to be addressed.
Infrastructure is sort of the Peter that ends up the one we rob to pay for Paul, and all the other different areas that we have in our affordability equation for the U.S. Air Force. As a result of this, our RPM backlog is growing to about the tune of $4.3 billion. We are at the level now where all we can do is maintain RPM at literally one percent. That's enough for preventive maintenance only, and it limits us to repairs only as we address our shortfalls.
MILCON levels are steady from where they were last year, but they are one-third of what our validated needs are; and in the area of miliary family housing, we're taking steps to address the military family housing plan that we presented to Congress last year. This plan was applauded by Congress, but we need to make sure we have the funds in the out-years to address all the different things we need to make that plan a reality.
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The bottom line, Mr. Chairman, is that readiness is very, very fragile for the U.S. Air Force. While, like the other services, we would never, ever stop short of accomplishing the mission, we will be doing it at higher risk if we can't address some of these issues that I just outlined to you; and we are trying to make sure in our balanced budget that we are trying to address each one of those areas.
Let me close, Mr. Chairman, by just making a comment. I know you just recently returned from a trip to Europe with some of the members of this committee and other Members of Congress, and you had an opportunity to address and see and talk to really the secret, if you will, for the success of the U.S. Air Force, indeed for the other services, and that's our troops out in the field.
They are dedicated. They are proud. They are doing everything they can to support the mission and to support this country. Their morale is very high in spite of the challenges that are ahead of us, and they fully appreciate everything that the Congress has been trying to do for them.
What we owe to them is literally the very best in quality of life, in equipment, and support and modernized weapon systems that is possible, given all of our budget constraints.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity to talk to you, and I look forward to answering any of your questions. Thank you.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of General Lyles can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, General Lyles.
STATEMENT OF GEN. TERRENCE R. DAKE, ASSISTANT COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS, U.S. MARINE CORPS
General DAKE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ortiz. Thank you for allowing me to come before this great committee and speak to you about your Marine Corps.
The help that this committee and the Congress gave the Marine Corps this past year was very much appreciated. It represented a turn in what had been a long decline in the funding for the Marine Corps in many ways. There is more to be done, and we look forward to working with this committee and Members of the Congress to take on that future load.
The Marine Corps is ready. We are a force in readiness, as you have directed us to be. We balance that readiness across four pillars, and it is a balancing act as we do that. The first pillar is our people, the Marines and their families. Today the Commanding General of the Marine Corps Recruiting Command told me that we would make our recruiting goals for the 56th month in row, and we did by the end of this day. This is a leap year, and I have to say we are glad we have an additional day in February in which to make those goals, because recruiting continues to be a very tough business, and one in which we are engaged heavily throughout the Corps, from top to bottom.
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We believe also that the things which this committee was instrumental in doing such as retirement, fixing the pay table reforms, the pay raises, and as I travel around the Corps, it means a great deal to Marines and their families; and if there is something remaining to be done in that area, they would tell you that Tricare or medical care is of a concern to them, and I'm sure you have heard those same things in your travels.
The second pillar of our readiness is our legacy of equipment. You spoke about it earlier, Mr. Ortiz, when you spoke about older equipment that is aging and taking longer to repair; and we do so and maintain the readiness on the backs of our Marines. It takes us longer, but it also costs us more to repair that same equipment. On many occasions, the parts that we need to repair it are no longer made by any contractor, and it takes them time to retool and then time for all of those parts to improve our readiness.
But having said that, our readiness has improved. We are 92 percent on the ground for Marine ground equipment readiness; and we have arrested the decline in the aviation side, particularly on our helicopter aviation, so we remain a force in readiness on those counts.
We look for ways in which we can find an economy of force, if you will, to take care of the legacy of equipment, such things as remanufacturing. We will remanufacture our Light Armored Vehicles (LAV's). We will remanufacture some of our trucks. We will buy new trucks as well as the second version of the HMMWVs. We are looking for ways in which we can make it easier to maintain and buy in a cost-effective way to bridge the gap to modernization in those accounts.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The third pillar is infrastructure. This, too, is where we have taken money and put it into our readiness accounts so that we can meet the mandate of the Congress to be a force in readiness. We have some good news. Each year we have put more than $50 million into our BOQs; and by 2004, there will be no Marine that will live in either a squad bay type of barracks, nor use a gang head. Those are good news items.
We have arrested the decline in backlog of managed real property which was headed to be a billion dollars by 2003. That is now arresting steadily. However, it still remains at $685 million of backlog in repair which we have insufficient funds to work off in that period.
We also look at our family housing. We will have all of the family housing that needs to be refurbished and repaired; it will be completed by 2010. That's one of the things that we are looking to increase as we work our infrastructure over the next year.
The one infrastructure item which we would like to take on with the Congress this year, and that is the funding for the procurement for the Blount Island command. Blount Island is a port off of the East Coast. It's in Florida and is in fact is used to refurbish and repair our equipment. It's on our maritime pre-positioning. This is the equipment that gives us the sustainability for real time as we put Marines, wherever they are around the world, into combat or operations, they will use the equipment aboard those ships.
In a longer context for the nation, Blount Island represents the busiest port during DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. It loaded more ships out than any other East Coast port. We believe it is not only a Marine Corps asset; but a national asset, and we enjoin you to work with us to take on the procurement of that particular command.
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Our final pillar is modernization. Modernization is really long-term readiness. It is really the final answer to the legacy systems and how you combat the readiness degradation that they represent.
We are looking at long-term readiness; our premier program on the ground sides is our Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV). On the air side is the MV22 and Joint Strike Fighter, and those continue. We are also looking to do things in the mandate, or the common knowledge is fix artillery. We are looking for the Lightweight 155 as a program which is our modernization of artillery and others as we have outlined in our plans.
In war fighting areas, the Commandant has brought back the Marine Expeditionary Brigade. In conversations and meetings with the CNO and the commandant sponsoring Navy/Marine Corps leadership, we have come away with the Marine Expeditionary Brigade. This is what I call the middleweight fighter. It bridges the gap between our Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Special Operations Command (SOC) which is about battalion level force, and our Operational Manuever from the Sea (OMFTS), which are a division level force.
The Marine Expeditionary Brigade comes with its own ground, its air, and its sustainability for 30 days. It is a potent force that the Commandant is bringing back.
We have many good things that we are working on this year, much to the credit of this committee and the Congress, that we have had funding beyond what we have seen in the past. However, there is more to go.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I look forward to working with the Congress on that, and I look forward to your questions. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of General Dake can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you very much, General Dake. Thank you all. The last Quarterly Readiness Report that the committee has received was the period ending September 30th of last year. We have now had another quarter ending December the 31st. Has that Quarterly Readiness Report been completed and in your hands?
General KEANE. Yes, sir, it has been completed, and I was told it was leaving the building either yesterday or today; and clearly we can do better at providing that report to you. We truly understand that.
Mr. BATEMAN. I have been anxiously awaiting it, and I don't understand why we would have to wait that long; and I am almost embarrassed to have to ask when are we going to receive it, so please expedite that.
General KEANE. Well, the Army, just to be up front with you, our portion of that, we have been late seven out of the last ten quarters, and we are going to fix it. After that conversation I had with you in your office, we intend to do something about it.
Mr. BATEMAN. All right, thank you, General. Your statements and the written versions that I reviewed last evening are all replete with shortfalls in many accounts, none perhaps as significant as your real property maintenance accounts. Did I hear for the Air Force that there's a $4 billion backlog of real property maintenance?
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General LYLES. When you look in the aggregate, Mr. Chairman, that's the true number. That reflects decline or lack of funding for real property maintenance or RPM over the last four or five years, and what we project for the future. The funding we had last year, the funding we have in the budget this year keeps us at, or gets us to a one percent real property maintenance level, if you will. It allows us to do emergency repairs to sustain things, but it doesn't allow us to make the kind of major changes you need to literally turn that situation around.
We will not allow people to sit in leaky buildings, as an example, but we won't be able to fix the roof completely, or to replace the roof, and those are the kinds of things that we're going to be facing with that kind of funding level.
Mr. BATEMAN. I have difficulty understanding why people aren't yelling and screaming and banging their fists on the table if you've got those kinds of problems; and they continue to be unfunded year after year after year. It appalls me to have senior military leaders leave my office with almost a tone of gee whiz, this is getting so much better, I'm going to get 69 percent of requirements in this budget.
I don't think 69 percent of identified requirements is acceptable, and I hope you are going to help the committee with the Administration and with the American people to understand that you have vital needs which are being unfunded; and we cannot do this for you unless you help us. The way you can help us is being very forthcoming and high profile in asserting that the need is there.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm going to suspend before I get more frustrated, and recognize Mr. Ortiz.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a couple of questions for General Keane. Maybe he can help me. Do you know for the Army to recapitalize its air and ground fleet, it would appear logical that the Army would also need to recapitalize its repair and maintenance depots for recapitalization work that they place.
What are the Army's plans to recapitalize the infrastructure, equipment and facilities at Corpus Christi Army Depot in order to recapitalize the Army aviation fleet? Maybe you can give me a little
General KEANE. Mr. Congressman, you know that we do have a recapitalization effort with development of our Long Bow Apache helicopter, and some improvements we'll be making to the CH47; and quite frankly, we are looking very hard at elimination of the AH1 Cobra and the UH1 because they are Vietnam era aircraft as well.
In reference to your question about depots, and specifically Corpus Christi, the depots are funded out of the Army working capital fund, and their RPM, if you will, or recapitalization effort, comes from the rates that they're charging in terms of the repair and maintenance that are conducted at those facilities.
And those are competitively established, as you know, so that is where the monies come from to do repair and maintenance in those facilities. Let me just be up front with you. We have absolutely no intention of letting that depot decay so that the infrastructure falls down around it; and then the Army says this is too tough, we've got to walk away from it. That's not our intent.
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Our intent is to make certain that that facility continues to function, and that the facility is adequate to meet the needs of those great people that work in that facility.
Mr. ORTIZ. You know, and I think if Iand correct me if I'm wrongit would take about $400 million to repair all those Apaches that have to be repaired. Is that cost now, is that going to be included in your supplemental to make up the cost that it took? I don't think that the money that was spent was in the budget.
General KEANE. That's correct, the money is not in the budget. The money is in the supplemental; and it is also identified as unfunded requirements, part of the $5.4 billion that we have as an unfunded requirement.
Mr. ORTIZ. I had some other questions, but let me also pass to some of the other members, and I will come back around for the next round.
Mr. BATEMAN. Mr. Hansen.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I hope you realize that General Lyles will be the commander of Air Materiel Command in a short time. It used to be the commanding officer of Ogden Air Logistics Center (ALC), and congratulations to General Lyles because I don't know a more capable fellow to do it, or officer.
You know, General Lyles, if I may ask you, or any of the other folks who are there, you know, some of the extreme environmental groups have filed a federal lawsuit that would prohibit any over-flights under 2,000 feet; and they have wisely done it in Washington, D.C. because there is a certain judge here that goes along with them about on everything, if I may say so.
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Tell me what effect, if they are granted that until a National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) statement is done, and the length of time of thoseand I'm sensitive to this as Chairman on the Committee on Public Landsit would take a long time and cost big, big buckswhat effect would that have on readiness if they were successful? What if the judge grants them that?
General LYLES. Well, Congressman Hansen, as you well know, one of the major elements to readiness is training, proper training for our people, particularly to prepare them to go in harm's way situations, as an example. We depend on the ranges that we have, all the rangestest ranges, development ranges, training rangesto be the element that allows us to train our forces to go to any sort of scenario they may have to face.
If we are faced with the situation where we can't provide adequate flying at the right kind of levels, elevations to do the proper training, that would tremendously, tremendously impact our ability to support readiness factors for our forces.
The ranges are getting fewer and fewer as it is, and the numbers and the encroachment sort of threats are becoming more and more of a viable concern to all of us, and we are trying to do everything we can to protect and make sure we keep them at least where they are today, if not the ability to expand them in the future.
Mr. HANSEN. Admiral, I guess you would have some of those same concerns with the Navy air?
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral PILLING. Yes, sir. I mean, we have requirements for our pilots to be able to do low level flights as part of the training syllabus.
Mr. HANSEN. I am sure the Marines are dragging your wheels through the grass all the time, aren't you? Isn't that part of your work?
General DAKE. That's an important part of what we do. We would be really hard-pressed for readiness if we could not do those types of training.
Mr. HANSEN. You will support us if this committee sees fit to do something to remedy that problem, I would hope.
General LYLES. That's correct, yes, sir.
Mr. HANSEN. General Lyles, let me ask you one more, if I could. As you know, Secretary Peters has issued a waiver for 50/50 legislation which may be necessary to support the transition of workloads from the closing of Kelly and Kelly Logistics Center (KLC). I will discuss this as according to ALC; however, after closer investigation, I'm somewhat concerned that some of the folks in the Air Force don't see it the same way the secretary sees it, and with any problem the Air Force may have complying with the 50/50 is not with the transition workload, but rather part of the much deeper problem.
In fact, in an Air Force Materiel Command letter signed only two weeks ago, it states, ''these bridge contracts may represent a sense of a much larger problem and should not be the only justification to support the air waiver with 50 percent limitation.''
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It goes on to say the problem is much larger and extends beyond fiscal year 2000. The letter identifies the much greater problem as ''the general trend to move logistic support to the private sector and increasing costs of contract and interim logistic support.''
Now, I know you are not the commander there yet, General, and this doesn't fall on your watch; but I am just kind of curious, can you kind of tell the committee whether the Air Force problem of complying with the 50/50 law is indeed much deeper and long term than is indicated by this recent waiver request?
General LYLES. Congressman Hansen, I think the answer and the comments that you have heard from Secretary Peters are really the corporate and right strategy for the U.S. Air Force. That is, we believe in 50/50. We are going to do everything we can to make sure we don't violate the law. I just became aware of that letter that you referred to just today, and we need to go back to make sure that all of our people understand that this is something that we are serious about, and we are going to already have initiated the sort of processes to make sure we look at any sort of activity that can potentially move workload and give us a situation where we knowingly, or even unknowingly, violate the law.
The bridge contracts were a situation, I think everybody understands, we were somewhat forced into that situation because of the readiness posture, in part. We literally underestimated what it would take to move the workload from Kelly and also from Sacramento. The bridge contracts allowed us to remedy that situation and help our readiness.
We cannot allow any systemic sort of processes out there to take the workload away from us and violate the 50/50, so we will be watching that very, very closely. I know who signed that letter, and I will be talking to that individual very soon.
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Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. May I ask another question?
Mr. BATEMAN. Certainly.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral, a great concern in my mindand I guess it is because of my visits to Puerto Rico as Chairman of the Public Lands and Parks Committeeis this problem in Vieques. Do you have another place, General, where you train with live fire in coordinated areas on the East Coast?
Admiral PILLING. Where we can do all of the combined training?
Mr. HANSEN. All of the combined training.
Admiral PILLING. No, sir, there is no place that we know of on the East Coast. We have a commission to study this by the Center for Naval Analysis to look at alternatives if we have to leave Vieques as a result of the referendum the states place next year.
Mr. HANSEN. Is it a true statement, then, that you are sending out people that really haven't passed the final test, so to speak, in your carrier battle groups and your Marine people? Would that be a correct statement?
Admiral PILLING. They arewe have three destroyers that have just deployed, the battle group that is on its way into the Mediterranean. They are on their way up to Cape Wrath in Scotland to try and finish up the naval surface fire support that they couldn't do at Vieques. They are up there now. They are at 15-foot seas, and it doesn't look like it's going to be a very easy task for them to get qualified up there, so we are not getting the training we need.
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Mr. HANSEN. No disrespect to the kind of agreement that you folks are working out with the folks in Puerto Rico, but there's 48 states that we do live firing in right now, and I would feel it would be a terrible precedent if we have to now take a vote on live firing on where you can and cannot do it as if it would follow along with the suggestion that has been put forth.
I was down there at one time as Chairman of Public Lands and Parks, and a large developer said I can't see a place in the Caribbean that would be greater than this to put in beautiful beaches and all that type of thing.
I hope those folks down there don't get the idea that they are headed that way. I personally feel that this is a grave mistake on the part of the Administration, and it should be put back just as it was prior to that time, and I further think the Justice Department is making a terrible mistake when you've got people that are trespassing in an area that they don't go out there and tell them they can't disobey the law. I mean, that would happen any other place.
General Lyles knows, just west of the Ogden Air Logistics Center, we have an area called the Utaques Training Range. It is huge. It's one of the biggest ones around, clear air space to 58,000 feet. Now recently some of the environmental people are saying well, we ought to go out there and camp there, they won't throw us off.
They did that, and they just about closed down Hill Air Force Base, because what could we do? I can't believe, Mr. Chairman, and I say it respectfully, that this Administration is not going down there and making people obey the law. I further can't believe that they are going to the point that they are going to say fine, you can vote on it, and if you vote to let us bomb you, we will give you $40 million.
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Well, my goodness, the island itself is probably 200 to $300 million, and frankly, I think this committee or the committee ought to do something that is more dynamic to put this situation back as it was prior to this political fiasco we have gotten into.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Is that clear enough? [Laughter.]
Mr. BATEMAN. I would take issue with the gentleman in one respect. You said you would respectfully disagree. I am not even into
Mr. HANSEN. Did I say respectfully? I apologize.
Mr. BATEMAN. I am not even respectful in my disagreement with the ridiculous position that this Administration has taken and the incredible mess that we've gotten ourselves into vis-a-vis Vieques. It is as bad as, I believe, we are giving them $40 million if they vote to let us bomb them, and then we will give them $50 million more. There is no other place that is under the sovereignty of the United States of America where our national security needs require a local referendum of voters before our national security interest can be pursued and protected.
I think it is outrageous, just as the gentleman from Utah did, but we will pass on now to Mr. Pickett.
Mr. PICKETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, welcome. Good to have you here today. The quality of life issue for our people is very important, because it has a lot to do with retention and recruiting. I know we talked a lot about several things, of housing and health care, and the resale system and things of that sort.
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One thing that hasn't gotten much attention in recent years I think is the DOD's school system for the military families that are stationed overseas, and how do you all believe that this is working, and what kind of feedback are you getting from the military people whose children are attending these schools overseas?
General KEANE. I'll lead off, if you would like. We have had feedback on the DOD school system. It runs a spectrum. Our soldiers and families in Korea feel the school system is adequate. Our soldiers and families in Europe have challenges with the school system. The staffing, they indicate, is not what it should be. They also indicate that some of the facilities that they are having to send their children in are decaying and are not the kind of adequate facilities that you would want to send American children to school in.
The CINC in the European command, I don't want to speak for him, but I will tell you that he came forward as far as the joint requirements oversight council and solicited support from the services for the DOD school system and identified to the services some of the problems that I just enumerated to you.
General LYLES. Mr. Pickett, let me speak from the Air Force's perspective. I think the schools and the quality of schools is a very, very important mission for quality life for our people overseas, and it is an area that our commanders over there are trying to address, and address in a very aggressive manner.
We are very, very pleased that our two commanders, primary commanders overseas, former General Johnny Jumper, used to be the commander of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and General Pat Gambol in the Pacific, both had taken strong initiatives to try to define a school improvement program. That's not the formal title, but that's essentially what it's all about.
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It contains essentially four dimensions. Making sure that we have the right kind of technologies in our schools so that they can be up to date and get the right kind of information and teaching quality to our students; to make sure that the teacher ratio, the teacher-to-student ratio, is appropriatewe want it to be no worse than 18 to 1, which is sort of a national standard; it has been a lot worse in the pastto make sure we have proper accountability for the teachers, that they are properly certified, and to make sure that we are watching this and watching literally on almost a daily basis. They have made great strides as a result of this sort of school improvement program, and we now are going to make sure that we continue to support it and start monitoring and maxing funds to support that every year as part of our program.
Admiral PILLING. As you know, the Navy presence overseas, permanent presence overseas, isn't very great; but in referring to the JR review that General Keane mentioned, the staff sort of used several methods to look at the schools, particularly in Europe, because that was where the CINC, the CINC over there, was complaining about.
On the matrix of scores on tests and costs per student, the DOD schools overseas were better than the average in the United States. They were not as good as Fairfax County, and so that was where the rub is. The CINC clearly would like them to be as good as we find as a relatively well-off part of this country.
Mr. PICKETT. Thank you very much. I don't know if you want to add anything.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General DAKE. I would only add that in Okinawa, where the preponderance of Marines are forward deployed, the DOD schools are very important to us. My children went to each of those, a boy and a girl, and they graduated from these schools, so it's important, and high quality at least in the Pacific. We don't have the experience with the European schools.
Mr. PICKETT. I know that there have been some comments about the backlog and the maintenance of real property, and there appears to be a continuation of a backlog in having available enough spare parts; and there is also, there appears to be a backlog in the depot maintenance in all of the services, but I would like to ask each of you, if you were able to get more funding for your respective services, where would be your first priority for funding in the year 2001?
And I say that in looking at this three-year comparison I see here, it looks like it has been pretty nearly a flat level funding over the past three years. I don't see how you are making it when you take into account the inflation, even though the inflation is perceived to be modest. I don't know how you all can make it from year to year on the same dollar amount.
But could you tell me what your first priority would be if you get more funding?
General KEANE. Yes, sir. Our first priority overall would be in the readiness account, to buy back one, to bring up Base Operations (BASOP's) up to 100 percent although it is funded higher than this year than it has been in the past, our RPM and also our depot maintenance account.
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We are losing in the RPM business, frankly. The industry standard I think, as everyone knows, is about three percent to recapitalize, and the Army is somewhere around one percent, and we can't keep up with it is frankly the issue. I know Congressman Bateman mentioned 69 percent. That's the Army number.
Believe me, we would like to make that number higher, but given the other things that we must do as well, and try to balance an Army budget with the programs that we have to fund is a tough choice.
So our only answer, to be quite frank about it, is you have to increase our top one hit. We can't get there within this budget.
Mr. PICKETT. Admiral Pilling.
Admiral PILLING. Probably our first priority would be increasing the sources for recruiting and retention; but of the three categories that you mentioned, I think spares in particular, aviation spares, would be at the top of the list. Second would be depot maintenance, and the third priority for us would be real property maintenance.
The first two are much more closely tied to deployed readiness because as you know, we put our emphasis on readiness.
General LYLES. Congressman Pickett, I guess our response would be very much in line with the under-funded priority list. The number one thing on that list is retention and recruiting initiatives, about $60 million that we are asking for in the Unfunded Priority List (UPL), mainly because that is such a major dimension of readiness that you don't usually think about.
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The other major items that are part of the UPL are base operating support, which is the day-to-day operations of our installations and facilities, and the RPM, which is another major dimension for, again, readiness, and third, the infrastructure guide log that you talked about earlier.
What's not reflected on the top ten for our unfunded priority list are spares; and the reason why is because with the help of Congress, we put about a billion dollars over the last year or so in getting our spares numbers back up, both in terms of Kosovo supplemental, additional money that the Air Force and Congress put its spares; and we are now waiting for the turn-around of the results of the spares increase that we funded over the last two years.
We put a premium, a higher premium on RPM, base operating support, and recruiting and retention because of that previous funding of the spares.
Mr. PICKETT. General.
General DAKE. We have an unfunded priority list of $1.4 billion in 2001. That's all those four areas that I spoke aboutpersonnel accounts, and in there I'm talking things from recruiting through those accounts; our infrastructure, which has been up there for our readiness, and in many cases, not so much on O&M that has been a problem, is we have taken it from accounts and moved it into our readiness accounts to keep our readiness high.
Modernization is our long-term readiness. We do believe in, of course, our legacy system, so the $1.4 billion is straight across those four pillars.
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Mr. PICKETT. Okay, thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Pickett. Mr. Riley.
Mr. RILEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, it is good to see you again. I have one question for General Keane. General Keane, we are about to make this transformation to a medium armed vehicle that you and I talked about in my office a few weeks ago. With the level of procurement the way it is today, and the shortfall that we have across the board that we have in all the services today, how do you plan on funding that, or do you essentially plan to take some some of the existing equipment that we have out there now, modify it, and make it into that medium category?
General KEANE. Yes, that was a tough question for us. We clearly, one, we recognize the need, we have to change and get a more responsive force so that we can move strategically. The issue is how do you fund it?
We had to take a look at our own equipment infrastructure and make some tough choices in our modernization program. We recommended to Congress to kill seven systems over the following years to give us some of the funding to start this program up, and also the restructuring of two programs, most notably the Crusader program and our Forward Scout combat system.
That was part of the strategy. The other part of the strategy was to obtain from Department of Defense and the Administration at least half the dollars to help get us started, and that contract was established. So that gets us going in the early years.
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And our challenge will still continue to be there; because while there was savings from those programs that we are recommending termination for, most of the savings in those programs does not come until the later years, where the acquisition of those pieces of equipment lie. Right now, a lot of those programs are still in R&D, so there is not as much money there.
In the later years, it starts to pay for itself with the termination of those systems. So we are in a struggle, to be quite frank about it, to transform this Army with the kind of budget numbers that we have; and we had to do some of that, obviously, out of our own hide to be able to do it, to be very frank about it. And they wereevery single one of those was a tough choice, because obviously we had a requirement for those programs or we never would have submitted that request to the Congress to begin with.
Mr. RILEY. Do we have equipment out there that is available today? And it seems like it just makes sense if you could take some of the equipment we have today and modify it, bring it back on line. You could do it not only cheaper, but you could also do it faster. I don't know that we have the time to make that deployment or that change in our
General KEANE. That's a good question. We clearly are looking to design an objective force for the future, and we are putting that objective force in research and development right now, and providing some monies to do that, and also with the help of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), we hope to get some technology answers in the 2003 time frame, and then produce the objective force in 2012.
What we are doing now is trying to acquire some of the characteristics of that force in the near term with off-the-shelf technology; but we made a decision ourselves, what we wanted was a fair and open competition, and we did not want to predispose ourselves to any of the technologies that exist out there to include some of those that we have been using ourselves, like 113 armed personnel carriers that have been in the Army ever since I have been a part of it.
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So the companies that have owned those legacy systems, if you will, are part of this competition that we intend to take place in May and June, and also others who have provided other types of capabilitiesfor example, real capability solutionsto achieve this overall capability that we are looking for.
We wanted fair and open competition in an attempt to get the best available that is out there. That was our thought process. By doing that, it has taken us a little longer to get to that major competition; but we think in the long run it will better serve our soldiers and the American people if we have that fair and open competition.
Mr. RILEY. One more question, Mr. Chairman, if I can, is that I hope you will look at as we open this up to open and fair competition, I hope that the depots will be included in that competition.
One of the things that I particularly hope you will do is look at the partnering arrangements we have like the AIM21 program in Aniston where you combine the best of both worlds, and I think it's very, very effective.
So I would encourage you as you go through this process, to tell everyone that is going to be participating in this competition to look at the options of partnering the way we did in Aniston on the AIM21. I think it's a wonderful program.
General KEANE. Sir, we agree with you, and something that has not received much notoriety with the transformation strategy because inside the Army to a large degree and maybe even outside, we are a platform-center organization; and at times we can't help ourselves. We just have a tendency to look at these platforms that we have, and in which new ones we're trying to acquire, but an important part of the transformation is a recapitalization of our legacy force, and principally I'm talking about increased locality for our life force, and recapitalization of our heavy armored force.
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We have made what we think is a critical decision, and that is to take the Abrams tank back to zero hours and zero miles. In other words, we would re-do that tank except for its hull, and obviously it will be digitized as well. We see that tank being around for the next 20 years, to be quite frank about it, as well as the supporting systems that are around in support of the Abrams tank.
So we intend to recapitalize a portion of our heavy armored force to make certain that we still continue to have that kind of overlap. If we have to go toe-to-toe with an adversary that has that kind of capability, we want to make certain that America has an Army that can defeat anybody else's Army with that kind of capability.
Mr. RILEY. Thank you, General.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Riley. Admiral Pilling, as recently as Sunday, I was on one of the P3Cs, land-based P3Cs, that you make reference to in your written statement. I want you to look into something for me.
Admiral PILLING. Sure.
Mr. BATEMAN. On at least that one, and I don't know whether it is characteristic of all of them, the toilet in the plane doesn't function, and there is some work-around substitute for it, and some of the most enormously skilled and talented people you have fly on that plane for up to 12-hour flights during their mission, and some of them are women, and this is a preposterous result, and even if it ends up with a scandal of an 800 dollar toilet seat, something needs to be fixed. Would you look into that for me?
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Admiral PILLING. Absolutely, sir.
Mr. BATEMAN. Mr. Ortiz.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you. I have a question that maybe Admiral Pilling and General Dake can assist me. I have been monitoring the tragic accident that occurred in Vieques; and as we look to what the proposal has been, you know, when you have a lemon, all you can do is make lemonade, and this is where we are at right now.
But what about the $40 million that has been, that is going to be used for Vieques now? Is that coming out of an Office of Personnel Management account? Your overall maintenance account? Or is that a supplemental? How are you going to work this $40 million?
Admiral PILLING. As I understand it, none of those dollars are in the defense budget. They are all in the budgets of the other agencies, such as Commerce and Transportation, and they are all focused entirely on infrastructure on the island of Vieques.
Mr. ORTIZ. I see.
That answered my question, Mr. Chairman. I don't have anything further.
Mr. BATEMAN. Mr. Hansen.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Okay, gentlemen, maybe you can help me on an issue. Yesterday I was out in the west and was talking to an officer of one of the Reserve units, and he got into this question of retention and recruitment, and he said ''I really can't understand this.'' He said ''they have lowered the tests of mental agility'' or whatever you call that, and he said ''on physical,'' he said, ''I have these guys and I am always filling out forms because they can't do''and then he listed it, and I can't remember what it waswhat they had to do in a six-month period, and they had two shots at it, and if they didn't make it, they were out the door.
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It was so many push-ups, had to run two miles and suchI can't remember all of themand so we talked about it for a while, and he said ''what if they had ten shots at it?'' He said ''I think some of them could have made it.'' But he said they just had those two, and he said so they can't do three more push-ups or sit-ups in that length of time, but why do we cut them out?
He said ''If I gave them more tries, they could probably make it.'' I was sitting there wondering. I mean, I'm sure there's got to be lines drawn somewhere, and you have got to make some things. I remember when I was in boot camp when I was 18 years old; they were pretty strong on some of those things. We all had to pass that, and it was fine. It was kind of enjoyable when you are at the peak of your capacity, but some of these guys don't do those things, especially in the Reserve units.
I'm just wondering why thoseyou are lowering one, but you keep another one high like that with some folks that can't quite make it.
I'm speaking out of the other side of my mouthI sound like a politician herebut I was also talking to an instructor pilot for helicopters for the Army, and he said he had been instructed to lower the grades that he would normally give so that he didn't flunk as many guys out.
Now, you've got to help me here. Am I wrong on both of those counts?
General KEANE. Well, Mr. Congressman, I don't know for sure, to tell you the truth. What I can tell you is certainly mental agility standards are not being lowered. Second, physical training standards are very important to an Army, as you can well imagine. We have to have certain levels of physical strength and stamina to meet the requisites of the battlefield, and we clearly administer to our standardsto our people on a periodic basis physical training tests to ensure they are meeting those standards; and if they fail it, we give them a reasonable period of time so that they can pass this test, and also we give them some counseling to ensure they understand what is at stake here.
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I will be more than happy to take a look at it, what's taking place with this organization; and maybe we could speak privately about who the organization is so I can focus in on it a little bit better.
Mr. HANSEN. Excuse me, General. He says he is losing five percent of his group every year, five percent because they can't do three more push-ups. You don't agree with that?
General KEANE. I can't speak to it. I have no specific knowledge. I will tell you this, and I'm not going to hide this from you, we have more challenges with American youth today than what we used to have in terms of their physical strength when they come to us. A lot of them are overweight, and a lot of them do not meet acceptable physical standards, and that's what basic training is all about; and then we have to maintain and sustain those standards over time.
For the most part, we are being very, very successful in doing that. I have to take a look at this thing and focus in on it to give you a much better answer than what I can here today, sir.
Mr. HANSEN. Are we lowering the standards at all on people who are flying aircraft or helicopters, these expensive airplanes we buy?
General KEANE. I have no knowledge of that. The only thing that we did, we did do this, in the last couple of years, we did cut back on the number of flight hours, flying hours that it was taking to graduate as a pilot in the Army. We are corrupting that, and we have discovered that what we wound up doing for ourselves is burdening the receiving unit, and they have to compensate by doing some additional individual pilot training that we reduced in flight school, initial entry flight school in the Army.
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That's the only standard that I'm aware of that we moved away from, and we are putting that back to where it was. In our judgment, it was a mistake.
The other I'm not familiar with at all. I am not suggesting it may not have happened, but I just don't know the facts of it.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you.
General LYLES. Congressman Hansen, we have not lowered any standards either from the Air Force, obviously, certainly for our pilots and the kind of training that they have to go through. But even though we are strapped for recruiting, we have also taken a stand that we are not going to reduce the standards for our enlisted folks coming into the U.S. Air Force.
We have been challenged as to why our rate of acceptance of graduates, GEDs, is lower than the other services, but we have made a conscious decision that we want 98 percent of our people coming in on enlisted force to have high school diplomas, not GEDsonly two percent GEDsand we have decided to stick to that even though it would give us some marginal increase to our recruiting numbers if we were to lower it down to 95 percent, as an example.
We think it's the right thing to do, given the technical complexity of all the things we are trying to do in the U.S. Air Force, and we are going to stick by that, at least for the time being.
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Mr. HANSEN. General Dake, would you like to respond?
General DAKE. Yes, sir, I would like to address a bit what we call the first term enlisted plan, so if people come in for a four year enlistment, we are concerned about the number of them which actually complete their full four years.
We have reduced those who hadwe had about 58 percent of the Marine Corps was in our first term. We are a very young force. At 8,000 a year, 8,000 peoplenot each year, but 8,000 in our first term failed to complete it for various reasons. It could be physical fitness, it could be humanitarian, there could be a lot of other reasons why people do not make it through that first term of enlistment.
We think that is very important that we increase that. We have actually reduced our attrition by 22 percent. We think that's a combination of things that we have strengthened rather than reduced standards, that we have strengthened things like the crucible in our recruit training, that we have looked to the commanders to be more involved so that if there is a problem of a Marine in their command, that they personally get involved to make sure that everything is in fact done, not just by regulation, but also by that which makes sense to the readiness of their command.
We believe that 22 percent reduction equates to 1800 Marines which in our recruiters is about two battalions worth of Marines that we keep now that over the past five years, we would have been losing by those same rates.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So it is an important thing to have this first term enlistment, that they complete that; and we believe if you work hard at it and give command attention, you can make a difference, and we have done that without lowering any standards.
Mr. HANSEN. Okay.
Admiral PILLING. Let me just comment on the Navy. The only thing we have changed on entry standards in the last couple of years was during the drawdown as we were getting smaller, we required 95 percent of our recruits to have high school degrees. When we finished the drawdown, we went back to the DOD standard which we had maintained all through the 1980s of 90 percent high school degree graduates.
And on PT, physical readiness standards, we are changing our program right now. You take your test every six months, and if you have three failures in four years, last year we would have thrown you out. That's three failures in four years, so it's a year-and-a-half process.
We are going to change that this year to three failures in four years means you can't reenlist, but you stay until the end of your enlistment.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, General. I appreciate that. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. General Keane, during the course of the weekend, I met with a warrant officer in the Army, and if my recollection of the facts is correct, he was in Kosovo detached from his unit during the course of a three-year tour in Germany, but six months of that tour he will spend in Kosovo.
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He expressed a concern and a negative factor in whether or not he would be willing to stay in the service, that he would expect to go to another short tour, i.e., probably Korea, because he had a long tour in Germany.
Now, I think if that is anything like accurate, the Army needs to be refining the way it is looking at its personnel for purposes of reassignments. If he does a three-year tour in Germany, six months of which is in the worst of circumstances in Kosovo, that is not exactly the kind of thing that you then want to send your guy off onto another hardship tour.
So I hope the Army would be looking at kind of a reassignment policy, and not perhaps just assuming everybody who got a tour in Germany is equal to everyone else that has a tour that was supposed to have been in Germany, but ended up with part of it being somewhere else.
General KEANE. Yes, sir. I thank you for that question, and by the way, just many thanks for the time you spent with our troops in Bosnia and I know that you probably don't want any personal acknowledgement of this, but we truly appreciate the fact that you were on a patrol of soldiers and that you truly found out what it is like for them day in and day out.
For our soldiers who were deployed to Germany for a routine three-year assignment, it is almost a certainty that they will do six months, at least, and possibly longer, in Bosnia or Kosovo. It is also probable that they will do another six months in that three-year assignment as well.
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What we are doing in our personnel management is to ensure that those soldiers, whether it is six months or two six-month tours, we have a safeguard in place to prevent them from going to short tour overseas assignments.
I'll be up front with you. About a year and a half ago, we had some of these problems, and I was the commander of some people that that was happening to, and we had to put these safeguards in place to ensure that the system would, that that would not happen.
So we think we have got that fixed, and it has been fixed for some time now. So that youngster can be assured he is not going to go on short term assignments, but he could possibly face another six month assignmentI don't know how long he has been in Germany as wellbecause that's the demands that are there.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, General. Let me advise you, the subcommittee and the panel, that I have to go and make a phone call, and so I'm going to ask Mr. Riley if he would preside, and I also want the panel to be aware that I will have some questions that I want to submit to you for the record, and that Ms. Fowler, who has had to go to a leadership meeting, if she doesn't get back, she has some questions which she will be submitting for the record.
Mr. Riley, if you would.
Mr. RILEY [presiding]. Gentlemen, I just have one question, and this may be an oversimplification. First let me say that I'm glad we don't have these mental agility and physical agility tests for Congressmen. If we did, I don't know how well we would survive.
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But when you look today at the reduced level of training like we have talked about in Vieques, our chiefs come in and tell us that we are $84 billion short over the next five years, our OPTEMPO levels are probably the highest they have ever been in peace time. We have an almost critical manpower shortage in just about all of the branches.
This is a readiness committee. On a scale of one to ten, where is our readiness level today?
General KEANE. Well, on a scale of one to ten for the Army, we are somewhere around a seven or eight, I would probably put it at. When you consider all of what we're talking about in terms of readiness, you know, we measure readiness in a readiness report; and we are essentially looking at the numbers of people we have, the equipment that's there, and the training.
But in the Army, we would like to argue more that readiness is clearly more than that. It is some of the other things that we have discussed here. It is our base ops capability, it's our RPM strategy, our depot maintenance strategy, as well as the amount of ammunition that we have. It's what we have in war reserves that deal with all of those issues.
And personnel readiness, not just the numbers of people, but the quality of the life experience for our people is a factor in human readiness that's important in all the services.
So to be quite frank about it, we are challenged in those other areas, and that's how I would categorize it for the Army.
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Admiral PILLING. For the same reason General Keane points out how difficult it is to put a single number on it, because the Navy deliberately under-resources non-deployed units so that all of our forward deployed units at the pointy end of the spear are C1, C2 units; on any given day we might have 40 to 50 percent of our ships and squadrons not ready to go.
So that would say we are somewhere around a five or six on a sale of ten. The easier way to describe it is in terms of risk, I think. The risk you have with the non-deployed force, the force that is in the integral and training cycle, if you have accepting contingency, that's a high risk contingency to get finished in the time lines that are laid out in the war plans.
General LYLES. I have to agree with Admiral Pilling. I think you need to look at this very, very complex equation in a lot of different ways. The number that we sort of attest to is about 6.5 to seven, and that reflects primarily our combat units and those that are at the C1 or C2 level.
But when you look at the definition of C1 and C2, it doesn't mean that we won't accomplish the mission, it means that the risk will be a little bit higher in accomplishing the mission, and we might make some trades and things like that to make sure that those units that are at the pointy end of the spear can get everything accomplished and do it very, very successfully.
But the best number we would have to say would be 6-1/2 to 7, and it reflects just those at C1 and C2.
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General DAKE. Sir, the Marine Corps as a force of readiness, we sacrifice a lot to try to keep that high, so that our deployed forces are well-trained and equipped when they go. We have chosen to take risks in the reserve equipments that they do not have at their home stations. That is where if you were to look at our ground equipments which the readiness is highover 92 percent of those that's in our possession in the active side.
If we were to go to the Reserve side, that which they have on their stations would be above 90 percent as well, and that which is in the depots and waiting for call is where we have chosen to take some risk, so that is where we would find, if there were more funding to bring readiness up, it would go to areas such as that.
But I would also say that we are balanced in the C1, C2 category and we are holding costs; and, in fact, you will see an improvement from the one quarterly report that is referenced I think at the end of September or the beginning of September, and the one in December. We have actually had some units that will in greater number go to C1 and C2, so I don't know how to quite put a number on it for you, sir, but that's our sacrifice to move toward readiness.
Mr. RILEY. Gentlemen, if you can't put a number on it, I don't know how we ever will up here, and I guess that's what I'm trying to do. The last two-and-a-half years, we have constantly talked about all the problems, but until we get to a point that we can realize on this committee where we are, because the next question is if we are at fives and sixes and sevens now, where will be five years from now without a major, major infusion of capital?
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General DAKE. Point well taken, sir, about my not putting a number on it so how can you. I think the answer that I would pose to that is that as we look at where we took the billpayers, that's where we would look for the funding in this case, in 2001 of $1.4 billion to restore us to that which we believe is what is needed.
Mr. RILEY. Well, and I think that's what the chairman was trying to get to a little earlier. If we are at a six or a seven now without a major infusion of money within the next four to five years, where would you say that the Army will be five years from now if we are at seven now?
General KEANE. We'll decline.
Mr. RILEY. How much?
General KEANE. Probably one or two, I would imagine.
Mr. RILEY. So we will be down to fives.
General KEANE. Right. And clearly that, that is in the context of the total readiness complexity that I was talking about. It goes beyond just a report, and that's what your struggle is. There is no readiness report that will satisfy that question which you have asked. This is much more complex than that report.
Mr. RILEY. It is, and I think it's the complexity that keeps us from doing our job on this committee. There are so many things out there that we need to simplify this to a term that we can go out and we can sell it, you can sell it. If we don't, I think we will continue to go around trying to arbitrate various provisions, and not look at what is really required for overall force.
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A few weeks ago we heard a report in the full committee about the train wreck that is coming, and I took the little book, the little pamphlet they gave us, took it home and read it. I will be honest with you. It was frightening, and I guess that's my point. If we were starting at a ten today, or a nine or a ten, four or five years from now maybe we would be down to a seven, but if you are telling me we are at fives and sixes now, and we have got this train wreck coming, especially with procurement, or the inability to have those procurement levels, it seems to me like unless we do something very drastic within the next year or two, you guys are going to have a problem that you can't, almost cannot control.
General KEANE. Congressman Riley, I think you're sensing a bit of frustration from all of us in some respects in how do we define this, and how do we define a good quantifiable number.
If you look as an example, I think all of the services are reflecting today; we're addressing people issues. We're trying to make sure we're addressing recruiting and retention. That helps readiness in the future. We are addressing things like modernization, which is future readiness. We are addressing readiness itself in terms of spares and things of that nature; and if we can keep that up, that will help us.
The one area that I think we all are suffering from, and that we're all concerned about, is infrastructure, and I'll be honest with you, I'm not quite sure if you're addressing three of the four, and not addressing the fourth, whether that means you will continue to go down, or you will level off, or slightly come up a little bit.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We're not quite sure of the exact science in this, and I can't give you a good quantifiable number, but I feel positive that at least three of the areas are being addressed positively.
Mr. RILEY. Let me give you one option. We all know the level of deployments we have all over the world with every one of your branches. At what time do we step up and say we can't continue to have all those deployments all over the world using up our men and our equipment? At what point do we go out and ask our allies to take a larger role?
If this Administration is not committed to adequately funding the troop strength that we have now, when do we, and how do we, talk to our allies about increasing their share of the burden?
General KEANE. Well, I'll take a stab at it, sir. First of all, in terms of the basic deployment that we're conducting in Bosnia and Kosovo, I think you are aware that our allies participated in both of those deployments as well; and certainly in Kosovo, for example, the latest deployment the Army is involved in with our 6,000 soldiers, clearly the sum of the allied involvement clearly exceeds the Army's participation.
I think our CINCs and the Chairman and our civilian leaders work towards that end, to get greater participation in these operations and deployment that we have around the world, and I think they have had some success with it. But I wouldn't hide from you that these deployments really take a toll on us.
I would say this, though. Our soldiers on these deployments that you visited, and Congressman Bateman and his colleagues have just returned from, our retention rates during those deployments go off the charts. The Army actually exceeded its retention objectives last year by 6,100 soldiers, and we're doing good this year.
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We attribute a portion of that to the satisfaction and generally sense of self-worth and self-esteem that comes from doing something that's important and makes a difference in other people's lives, so those deployments, while they take a toll on family readiness, there is also something special that is happening to the individual soldier that's participating.
What we have to do is make certain we are treating those deployments equitably for our soldiers, and we're not over-burdening them as well.
The other point I'll make to you is, I wouldn't hide this from you, I mean, we are looking at the Army in terms of its size. I mean, do we have the right size Army? Number one, we have to be able to recruit for the Army, and we do that. And we are being challenged by that. Last year we came up 6,300 short. This year we have made our recruiting objective in every single month to include this month, but we know we are going to be challenged in the next three months.
We believe we have to recruit for the size of the Army that we have. We're going to bring all of our war fighting divisions up to 100 percent strength by doing some things internal to the Army that we have been unwilling to do in the past.
Those will be tough calls for us, but we're going to take this readiness from a people perspective off the table and solve that problem for ourselves; and we do have a study ongoing in terms of what the size of this Army is based on the foreseeable future and the operational deployments that we're facing.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When we've got that answer, we will come back and present it to you as well as others, to the Administration. Thanks.
General LYLES. Congressman Riley, the Kosovo was a major lesson learned again for air power, and when I say air power, I'm not just talking about the U.S. Air Force, I'm talking about Navy air power, Marine Corps air power.
The United States did the bulk of the missions, obviously, from the air, and we have proved once again that our modernized capabilities across the board for the three services are very, very important for prosecuting successfully and efficiently that kind of contingency warfare.
We are starting, and have started for some time, to dialogue with our allies, to urge them to get precision guided munitions, to urge them to get more stand-off munitions, to urge them to get the intelligence surveillancy, have platforms, even to urge them to get more airlift capabilities so we don't have to depend just on the United States to provide those, in those kinds of contingencies like we saw during Kosovo.
It's an uphill situation for them, obviously, and major investments that they will have to commit to, but we want to make sure that we are opening this dialogue and urging them to be prepared to take on some of these missions in the future.
Mr. RILEY. So have you met with any success?
General LYLES. At least they are listening and they're talking and within their budgets, to date, obviously, nothing that I could pinpoint, but at least they're talking about it, and I think to some extent, some of our allies realize that they were in somewhat ofI won't call it an embarrassing situation; they wanted to contribute more, and did not have the sort of platforms, and those I talked to, particularly the senior airmen in some of those countries, they realize that they'rethey just need to stand up and be accounted for in some of these areas.
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Admiral PILLING. Sir, if I could go back to your issue on single number characterization of where we are going, I think the chiefs have told you that if the OPTEMPO remains the same with the current force structure, and the current environment for people as far as recruiting and retention, the number is going to be $84 billion.
Mr. RILEY. That's right.
Admiral PILLING. If you're going to try and balance near-term readiness and far-term readiness. It's $84 billion.
Mr. RILEY. And I guess that's my point. There doesn't seem to be a consensus to try to find that $84 billion. Without that $84 billion, where will we be four or five years from now? That's what I'm saying. When I read this report and looked at our OPTEMPO level, the way it is today, if we don't drastically reduce that, if we don't make some of these procurements, if we don't get at least part of that $84 billion, it seems to me like three or four years from now, our soldiers and our sailors and our airmen are going to be at extreme risk that I don't believe that we should put them in.
It is going to be up to you gentlemen to sell this, and that's what I'm saying. I think sometimes we make it so complicated and so complex in these hearings when we talk about each individual thing that is going on, that it's hard to understand how dramatic this change is going to be unless we do something relatively soon, and I see no sentiment in the Administration to make that happen.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And like I said, it is beginning to frighten me. When I talked to people on Airborne Warning and Control System Aircraft (AWACs) last year, who had done already back-to-back six month tours, and he said I'm getting out of this. He said I've got two kids at home and I will not do it. I joined the Air Force to fly, and I love it, but I will not be gone from my children a year and a half at a time.
We've got to make some very critical decisions. We either cut back our deployments, or we put these young men and women at an unacceptable level of risk, as far as I'm concerned.
General DAKE. Sir, could I mention
Mr. RILEY. Yes, sir.
General DAKE. Could I talk about deployments a bit? It is somewhat different on the part of the Marine Corps insomuch as we are forward-deployed. It is a cycling thing that we do. We base our DEPTEMPO on new Special Operations Crafts (SOCs) off of the East Coast, with 58 percent of the Marine Corps being in that first term.
They really joined to do something. They joined for some bit of adventure. We at least are seeing the stressors of constant deployments within our professional force, the ones who are beyond their first term, now they are called to go again and now their families are growing; that's where I think we must find balance.
There's two types of deployments, the types you do on a national basis, where you sail off and do the business of the nation, and the other that we generate ourselves to go to Twenty-Nine Palms, for example, to train up. Either way, that Marine is away from his or her family.
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We try very hard to try to control the training deployments. We don't believe that the operational deployments that we have been given, as long as they stay in an SOC that we are manned and equipped to do, we can handle that on a sustained basis.
We have got to control our own deployments for training and those types of things which are our own self-generating. Now, deployments outside of those scheduled ones are the ones that will become increasingly difficult to do.
Mr. RILEY. Gentlemen, you have a tremendous task ahead of you, you really do. The only thing that I would like to leave you with is just that each one of the branches, each one of you individually, are going to have to become strong advocates, strong proponents for additional funding or a reduction in deployments, because if not, I think that this country faces some perilous times ahead.
I want to thank you for your candid opinions. Thank you for the service you give to this country, and thank you for appearing before this committee.
Thank you very much.
[Whereupon, at 3:45 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
February 29, 2000
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC[The Appendix is pending.]