SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOC?????
[H.A.S.C. No. 10823]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005H.R. 4200
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
TITLE IIIOPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
DIVISION BMILITARY CONSTRUCTION AUTHORIZATIONS
MARCH 4, 2004
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado, Chairman
HOWARD P. ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico
KEN CALVERT, California
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJEFF MILLER, Florida
TOM COLE, Oklahoma
ROB BISHOP, Utah
CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan
MIKE ROGERS, Alabama
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
LANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM MARSHALL, Georgia
MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, Guam
Richard I. Stark, Jr.,Professional Staff Member
Mary Ellen Fraser,Professional Staff Member
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCB. Ryan Vaart, Professional Staff Member
Diane W. Bowman, Staff Assistant
Danleigh S. Halfast, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Thursday, February 26, 2004, Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization ActMilitary Construction Budget Request for Programs of the
Active and Reserve Components of the Departments of the Army and Navy
Thursday, March 4, 2004
THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 2004
FISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTMILITARY CONSTRUCTION BUDGET REQUEST FOR PROGRAMS OF THE ACTIVE AND RESERVE COMPONENTS OF THE DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND NAVY
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Hefley, Hon. Joel, a Representative from Colorado, Chairman, Readiness Subcommittee
Ortiz, Hon. Solomon P., a Representative from Texas, Ranking Member, Readiness Subcommittee
Johnson, Hon. H.T., Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Installations and Environment
Prosch, Hon. Geoffrey G., Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army, Installations and Environment; Maj. Gen. Larry J. Lust, Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, United States Army; Maj. Gen. Walter Pudlowski, Special Assistant to the Director, Army National Guard and Brig. Gen. Gary M. Profit, Deputy Chief, Army Reserve
Weaver, Rear Adm. Christopher, Commander, Navy Installations
Williams, Willie J., Assistant Deputy Commandant, Installations and Logistics (Facilities), United States Marine Corps
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPREPARED STATEMENTS:
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Johnson, Hon. H.T.
Prosch, Hon. Geoffrey G., joint with Maj. Gen. Larry J. Lust; Maj. Gen. Walter F. Pudlowski; Brig. Gen. Gary M. Profit
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Ms. Davis (Susan)
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTMILITARY CONSTRUCTION BUDGET REQUEST FOR PROGRAMS OF THE ACTIVE AND RESERVE COMPONENTS OF THE DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND NAVY
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Thursday, March 4, 2004.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:04 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Joel Hefley (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JOEL HEFLEY, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM COLORADO, CHAIRMAN, READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. HEFLEY. Again, I want to apologize to our witnesses: we seem to have hearings on Thursday afternoons and the House seems to finish its business just prior to us starting our hearings and members disappear back to their home districts very quickly.
So, I appreciate every one of our members who are here. If Mr. Abercrombie goes home, the committee is going with him, so, you better be here, Neil.
So, I apologize in advance to you for that. But that doesn't indicate the level of importance with which we regard your testimony and the military construction (MILCON) add-ons will be proportionate to how many of our members and what members attended our committee. That is just the way it works, I think, so you guys are in great shape.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman, you forgot to add one other thing: you are going to do it alphabetically, too, right?
Mr. HEFLEY. Hey, that is not a bad idea. Is that a motion?
Today, the Readiness Subcommittee meets to hear testimony from the Departments of Army and Navy on their fiscal year 2005 budget requests for military construction and family housing. And I do want to welcome our witnesses; we do appreciate you being here with us.
Last week, the subcommittee held a hearing on the overall state of the Department of Defense's (DOD) infrastructure and facilities, in which several members of this subcommittee expressed concern that the fiscal year 2005 budget projection for military construction and family housing for fiscal years 2006 through 2009 was $6 billion less than projected in the fiscal year 2004 budget. The fact that significant increases remain in outyears is no surprise, but the fact that the amounts of the increases have been slashed is very disappointing, particularly considering DOD's facilities problems and the upcoming round of base closures.
For our witnesses today, the fiscal year 2005 military construction and family housing budget request must also be disappointing. More than 80 percent of the Army's facilities classes have readiness ratings of C3 or below indicating serious deficiencies affecting their ability to complete their missions. Navy facilities are in a similar state of unreadiness: nearly two-thirds of its facilities are rated C3 or below.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Nevertheless, both Army and Navy military construction and family housing budget requests are far below what this committee thinks is acceptable levels.
The Army's military construction budget request may be slightly larger than last year's appropriated level, but it is more than $200 million less than the amount projected for fiscal year 2005 in the 2004 budget.
While the failure to meet projected levels is a concern, I am particularly worried about recent developments that may have a devastating impact on Army facilities requirements. How will plans to increase end strength affect Army requirements for family housing, schools, barracks, and support facilities? What will Army plans to purchase hundreds of new helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) instead of Comanches do to Army maintenance and depot facilities requirements? How will DOD's ongoing global posture review, which press reports indicate may return as many as two divisions to U.S. soil, affect facilities requirements at domestic bases?
While it may be too early to make refined estimates about the effects of these changes, I would ask our Army witnesses to address the effect of these changes on Army facilities requirements, as well as whether or not budgets and plans for these changes are provided for in the 2005 and future budgets. In addition, I understand that the Army may submit a budget amendment to reflect the Comanche cancellation that will include some funding for facilities construction to support additional helicopters and UAVs. While I applaud the Army for recognizing that additional facilities funds will be necessary, the amount being discussed, $30 million, is only a tiny fraction of anticipated Comanche program costs that will do little to mitigate the increased military construction requirements resulting from the program change.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In this case, it appears that the Army is shortchanging its facilities requirements from the start. I would ask our Army panel to explain why a larger portion of the Comanche dividend has not been dedicated to providing facilities for the helicopter and UAV fleet that will result from the program's cancellation. Given long lead times for construction, does the Army intend to purchase additional helicopters without providing the facilities necessary to house and support them?
Of further concern: the Army's base operations budgets have been funded at only 70 percent of the required level. Considering that 80 to 85 percent of the required level is necessary to fund ''must-pay'' bills, it appears that the Army will be forced to cut other important facilities budgets in order to pay the daily bills.
The Navy faces similar challenges. Although the Navy's military construction and family housing budget request for 2005 is slightly greater than the amount projected for 2005 in the 2004 budget, it is still $240 million less than amount ultimately provided by Congress in 2004. In addition, the Navy's military construction budget over the future years defense plan (FYDP) has been cut by approximately $2.2 billion from the levels projected just last year.
So, once again, why does DOD continue to underfund the services' facilities budgets? Is the Department counting on Congress to dig them out of their annual facilities funding hole? While Congress may have done exactly that over the past decade, I fear that our ability to significantly increase the military construction budget is coming to an end, and I would urge our witnesses to more appropriately budget for facilities needs in the future.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
On a final note, I hope that our witnesses will address the family housing privatization programs. It is my understanding that DOD will run into a statutory cap on the family housing privatization program in early 2005, seriously impeding, or even ending, the program. I hope that our witnesses will describe the effect that not raising the cap would have on their efforts to eliminate unsuitable family housing units.
At this time, I would like to recognize the Honorable Solomon Ortiz, my friend and colleague from Texas, and the ranking member of the committee, for any comments, Solomon, that you might have.
STATEMENT OF HON. SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM TEXAS, RANKING MEMBER, READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me say that I identified with your statement. I think that we realize that, on both sides of the aisle, that we do have a serious problem.
But let me, Mr. Chairman, join you in welcoming our distinguished witnesses today to this Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the fiscal year 2005 budget request for military construction and family housing.
Mr. HEFLEY. Very good, sir.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ORTIZ. As Chairman Hefley and I pointed out to our witnesses from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and Air Force last week, the MILCON and family housing budget request is disappointing. About two-thirds of our military facilities were either rated C3, which means there are serious deficiencies, or C4, which means that they do not support mission requirements. The need for military construction and family housing is obvious at virtually every base in this country, but the budget does not go far enough to address these serious problems.
The request for Army MILCON is $2.1 billion, which is up $100 million, 5 percent, from the 2004 level. But just a year ago, the 2005 column of the 2004 budget projected $2.3 billion for Army MILCON. So, the budget request this year is actually a $200 million, or 10 percent, cut from last year's projected levels.
According to the Army, only 38 percent of the service's family housing is currently considered adequate. The Army family housing request for 2005 is $1.6 billion, which is $140 million, or 9.6 percent, more than the 2004 level. However, the 2005 column of the 2004 budget set aside almost $1.8 billion for Army family housing, so the request is actually a decrease of $224 million, or 12.5 percent from what was programmed last year.
The story is sadly familiar for the Navy. The request for Navy MILCON is $1.1 billion, which is $240 million, or 17 percent less than the 2004 level. The Navy family housing request for 2005 is $844 million, which is $180 million, or 18 percent less than the 2004 level. The combined MILCON and family housing request for 2005 is $91 million below the 2005 column of the 2004 budget, a cut of 4.5 percent.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC According to DOD budget documents, overall funding for the Pentagon is up 7 percent from the 2004 level. Some parts of the Pentagon budget are enjoying increases that are even larger. For example, the 2005 request for the Missile Defense Agency is an increase of $1.5 billion, or 20 percent from the 2004 level. I am disappointed by the budget request for MILCON and family housing because the need is obvious, the resources could be available, but the Administration placed a higher priority in other areas of the defense budget.
I know our witnesses care about our infrastructure and the quality of housing for our military personnel and their families. They do the best they can with the dollars that they are given, but I think that MILCON and family housing would only get shortchanged by the Department and the ones who suffer the consequences are the men and women in uniform and their families.
Unfortunately, the picture could get worse shortly. As you know Mr. Chairman, the privatized family housing initiative, which was founded by this committee, is in great danger here on Capitol Hill. When we established the program we put an $850 million cap on it and we will exceed that cap early in fiscal year 2005. Just last year the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) changed the scoring of this program. If we include legislation in our bill to eliminate or raise the cap, our committee will get a large mandatory scoring of that position. In short, we need the Budget Committee to either overrule CBO's scoring or give us a mandatory allocation large enough to let the program continue.
The Budget Committee plans to mark up the budget resolution next Wednesday, less than a week away. The budget resolution is likely to come to the House floor the week after that. This is a very, very fast moving train. If the Budget Committee does not manage to either override CBO's scoring or give us a mandatory allocation, the housing privatization program could be derailed.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I would like it very much if the witnesses can explain to us how long it would take to eliminate inadequate family housing without the ability to use the privatized housing authorities. I would also like our witnesses to tell us who they talked to at the budget committees and the leadership of the House and Senate about the importance of this program to our men and women in uniform, and more importantly, the wives, husbands, and children.
Every committee on the Hill bombards the Budget Committee with requests. We need the weight and influence of the Department to get the assistance we need from the Budget Committee and we are running, my friends, out of time.
Mr. Chairman, thank you so much for your time. And again, I would like to welcome our witnesses today.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Ortiz.
We have two panels again today.
The first will be the Army panel: Mr. Geoffrey Prosch, the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations and Environment; Major General Larry Lust, Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management; Major General Walter Pudlowski, Special Assistant to the Director, Army National Guard; and Brigadier General Gary Profit, Deputy Chief of the Army Reserve.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Secretary, we will start with you.
STATEMENT OF HON. GEOFFREY G. PROSCH, ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, INSTALLATIONS AND ENVIRONMENT; MAJ. GEN. LARRY J. LUST, ASSISTANT CHIEF OF STAFF FOR INSTALLATION MANAGEMENT, UNITED STATES ARMY; MAJ. GEN. WALTER PUDLOWSKI, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR, ARMY NATIONAL GUARD AND BRIG. GEN. GARY M. PROFIT, DEPUTY CHIEF, ARMY RESERVE
Secretary PROSCH. Thank you very much, sir.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am very pleased to appear before you with my Army installation management partners: Major General Larry Lust, from the active Army, Major General Walt Pudlowski from the Army National Guard, and Brigadier General Gary Profit from the Army Reserves to discuss the Army's fiscal year 2005 military construction budget.
We have provided a detailed written statement for the record, but I would like to comment briefly on the highlights of our program.
We begin by expressing our deep appreciation for the tremendous support that the Congress has provided to our soldiers and their families who are serving our country around the world.
We are a Nation and an Army at war and our soldiers would not be able to perform their mission so well without your sustained support.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We have submitted a robust military construction budget of $3.7 billion, which is 13 percent over the fiscal year 2004 amended President's budget request that will fund our highest priority: active Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve facilities, along with our family housing requirements.
This budget request supports the Army vision encompassing current readiness, transformation and people.
As we are fighting the global war on terrorism, we are simultaneously transforming to be a more relevant and ready Army. We are on a path with the transformation of installation management that will allow us to achieve these objectives.
We currently have almost 250,000 soldiers mobilizing and demobilizing, deploying and redeploying: more troops are coming and going on our installations than in any era since World War II. Our soldiers and installations are on-point for the Nation.
The Army recently identified key focus areas to channel our efforts to win the global war on terrorism and to increase the relevance and readiness of the Army.
One of our focus areas is installations as flagships, which enhances the ability of our Army installations to project power and support families.
Our installations support an expeditionary force where soldiers train, mobilize, and deploy to fight and are sustained as they reach back for enhanced support.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Soldiers and their families who live on and off the installation deserve the same quality of life as is afforded the society they are pledged to defend. Installations are a key ingredient to combat readiness and well-being.
Our worldwide installations structure is critically linked to Army transformation and the successful fielding of the future force.
Military construction is a critical tool to ensure that our installations are made relevant and ready. Our fiscal year 2005 military construction budget will provide the resources and facilities necessary for continued support of our mission.
Let me summarize what this budget will provide for the U.S. Army: new barracks for 4,200 soldiers; adequate on-post housing for 14,200 Army families; increased MILCON funding for the Army National Guard and Army Reserve over last year's request; new readiness centers for over 3,000 Army National Guard soldiers; new reserve centers for over 2,800 Army Reserve soldiers; a $287 million military construction investment and training ranges; a battalion-sized basic combat training complex; and facilities support and improvements for four Stryker brigades.
With a sustained and balanced funding represented by this budget, our long term strategies will be supported.
With your help, we will continue to improve soldier and family quality of life, while remaining focused on the Army's transformation to the future force.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In closing, Mr. Chairman, we thank you for the opportunity to outline our program.
As I have personally visited Army installations, I have witnessed progress that has been made and we attribute much of this success directly to the longstanding support of this committee and your staff.
With your continued assistance the Army pledges we will use fiscal year 2005 MILCON funding to remain responsive to the Nation's needs.
We thank you for the opportunity to appear before your subcommittee and we would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
[The joint prepared statement of Secretary Prosch, General Lust, General Pudlowski and General Profit can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
General LUST. Sir, I have nothing to add to what Mr. Prosch has already talked about, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. General Pudlowski.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
General PUDLOWSKI. Sir, I have nothing further to add to Mr. Prosch's opening statement except to thank you ladies and gentlemen in advance, from all the Army National Guard's men and women across America, for your continued support.
Mr. HEFLEY. General Profit.
General PROFIT. Sir, I would also like to extend my appreciation to this subcommittee for all the support they have given to the soldiers of the Army Reserve and I look forward to answering your questions.
Mr. HEFLEY. Let me raise a question right quick before I open it up to our members for questions, it really is off the subject, I am sure you can't answer it, but you know who can and I would like for you toI am going to do the same thing with our Navy witnesses because I would like for someone to get back to me with some kind of an answer to this. We are struggling right now to put together a budget. And, as you know, we are running a tremendous budget deficit and we are at a time of war and it is struggle between those who say you can't cut defense at a time of war and there are others who say, ''Oh well, you can take a few billion out here and a few billion out there because there is that much waste in the Defense Department.'' And this committee is probably the best friend you have on the Hill, because we defend you and so forth. It has come to my attention that the government auditors have recently revealed that the Defense Department has $3 billion in unpaid taxes from more than 27,000 Department of Defense contractors. That is $3 billion.
And that the General Accounting Office (GAO) showed that there is a mechanism that the DOD could implement with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to withhold up to 15 percent of each contract to offset the tax debt, if they are not paying their debts.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But they haven't done this; the DOD has not done this. The IRS has not done this.
And so, as a consequence, we could have been collecting over the last year or so $100 million in just 2002, instead of the $687,000 that we have collected since last September.
Do you know anything about this at all? Is there any validity to this?
Secretary PROSCH. Sir, I personally don't know anything about it.
What I would like to do is pass this to my higher headquarters in the Secretary of Defense office and
Mr. HEFLEY. Well, it ought to be a question I ask the Secretary of Defense, but I just learned about it today and you are here.
Secretary PROSCH. I will take it for the record and I will ensure that my highers in OSD take it for the record and we get back with you.
Mr. HEFLEY. Get somebody, if you would, to get back to us, because we want to give you what you need. We don't want to waste any money and if this is true, then there is a slip somewhere.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So, if you would get back to us. I won't waste the time of the Navy witnesses. They are here. You heard what I had to say and so, Mr. Johnson, if you will also pursue this, I would appreciate it.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. All right.
Mr. ORTIZ. You know one of the things that comes to mind is the disparity that we see between the regular active duty soldiers and the national guard and reserves in that when you have a non-commissioned officer who might be stationed in Germany, he gets housing allowance or he gets on-base housing.
But when you activate a staff sergeant or you activate a sergeant, he already has his house and he doesn't get any housing allowance at all. And it seems to me that we are putting more emphasis now and more load on the national guard and reserves.
Is this causing a problem between the active duty and the national guard? I see this as a disparity between the active and the national guard.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Maybe some of you can enlighten me a little bit on that.
Secretary PROSCH. Well, this is, again, an OSD-type issue that would affect all the services. I would tell you that in the Army, the way we are going after our problems with inadequate housing are three ways.
First of all, we are increasing the basic allowance for housing, so that we don't have out-of-pocket expenses for the soldiers.
Second of all, we are continuing to use military construction where that makes sense.
And finally, we are using the Residential Communities Initiative (RCI) thanks to the leadership in this committee that has allowed us to privatize at selected installations and it has been a phenomenal quality of life initiative for our soldiers.
I would ask my national guard counterpart here if you would like to expound on that.
General PUDLOWSKI. Sir, there have been some situations that have occurred. The closer we work together in the Army, with the Army, we are resolving many of these differences; they are not all resolved.
We do have some pay discrepancies because of a different pay system that the Army National Guard uses as compared to that system that is being used by the Army and the Army Reserve.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We hope to rectify some of those differences to make sure that at least the pay problems are being solved at a much more rapid rate.
In regards to your question on differences in family allowances: sir, when the soldier is mobilized, he goes into a Title X status on active duty. He then becomes eligible for those benefits.
It takes a while for that pay system to come into effect; it is not immediate at that point and time. As I say, some of those pay issues are being worked very hard right now toward a new pay system that will solve that problem in the long term.
Mr. ORTIZ. The reason I asked this question is because we are really loading up on the national guard and reserves.
In fact, when I was in Iraq not too long ago most of the units coming in to replace some of the soldiers were either national guard or reserves. One of the things that weighs heavy on them is the uncertainty of time as to how long they were going to be there.
Now when an active duty soldier is already on base, he might be in Germany, but he has his family there; he has housing.
But this guy who is paying rent and he has a family back home someplace and then it takes a long time to catch up, the family has serious problems back home. I just hope there is some way we can come up with a solution.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Because the other problem that really concerns me is what kind of impact it will have on young men and women wanting to stay in the national guard or the reserves?
General PROFIT. Sir, if I could.
Clearly, one of the things that we have to look at, and I think there is a commitment in the Army to do so, is the entire question of compensation and benefits and the clearly different character of reserve service than when many of us joined the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard some years ago.
And I think the whole notion of basic allowance for housing that you are kind of hinting at is among other things, I think the secretary has committed to put it on the table and take a look.
So, much work, I believe, to be done, but a commitment to take a look at those kinds of things.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
Mr. FORBES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you, gentlemen, for being here today.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
One of the things that always amazes me is the logistics brilliance that I see conducted by the Army and, as you all know, the Army logistics provided the brunt of the boots on the ground logistics for all the services, but at times, we did have some concerns.
For example, the U.S. ground forces racing toward Baghdad during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM sometimes outran their supply chain.
And my question is, does the current budget provide the facilities necessary to continue modernizing Army logistics and quartermaster core training so that we can modernize our logistic systems as well as continue training and equipping our logistics troops?
Secretary PROSCH. Sir, I am fortunate to have as my battle buddy to my right, a quartermaster general and one of the great logisticians in the Army. And I would like to defer that to General Larry Lust.
We think he does a great job, Mr. Secretary.
General LUST. One of the few times I will hear you refer to great at anything.
The military construction budget we have put forward for the fiscal year 2005 period addresses the highest priorities to which the Army has.
And to get to the heart of your question, those projects which support, not only the in-country issue, but that we have back here in the continental United States that support the movement of supplies, et cetera, as they were prioritized in the overall prioritization of our MILCON budget. We did, in fact, compete well in those, sir.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. FORBES. One other question.
I know that the Army is reportedly studying logistic shortfalls in the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns and apparently put out a white paper on the subject.
And according to an article in the January 15 issue of Aviation Week's ''Net Defense,'' the white paper published in December aims to provide a clear guidance as to where we want to take Army logistics in the next two years.
Lieutenant General Claude Christianson apparently noted that it was recommended in the white paper that the Army logistics should move into a joint satellite-based, network-centric communications system which would improve timely, flexible delivery of supplies to warfighters and serve other possible solutions.
Can you tell us whether we are moving in that direction and does this budget address that?
General LUST. General Christianson has a task force, a long task force put together which he and the TRADOC, Training and Doctrine Command, folks at Fort Lee at the Combined Arms Support Command are working to put their hands around exactly what the needs are.
The one thing we know in the logistics world is that we have to figure out how to get satellite communications that are dedicated to us when we need them and not necessarily when they are available or when somebody has the time.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But that task force is not only addressing the communications part, but it is also how we want to track and have visibility through the entire system from the time we requisition it to when it gets shipped and where it is along the way.
And the third part of that is taking a very serious look at how we, the Defense Department, goes about putting together a joint logistics organization, as opposed to when we end up getting the one anyway, but it is always ad hoc in the process.
So, that is the third part of what the task force is looking at, sir.
Mr. FORBES. Good.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank all of you gentlemen for being here and I particularly want to thank all of you for your diligent work to solve what had been a challenge with the wetlands crossings down at Camp Shelby.
First, to reprogram some money for some permanent fixes and then to work with us on some portable mats, that since we are the renter of that property from the Forest Service, our landlords are happy with what the Army is trying to do and make great use of that facility.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Also, I would like to thank you for the work on the Army Reserve community control warehouses that will soon open down at the Navy construction battalion at Gulfport.
And, so now that I have said all the nice stuff, I have to do what I do to every single service secretary that appears before me and you are the closest thing to it, sir.
I keep hearing from the Secretary of Defense that we have 25 percent excess capacity. He doesn't say bases, he says 25 percent capacity and yet, I am having a little trouble getting any of our service secretaries to name a single installation that they would like to see closed.
So, I am going to give you that opportunity, speaking on behalf of the Army today. As I warned you I would yesterday.
Secretary PROSCH. Well, sir, I can't tell you any installation that is going to be closed. When the secretary announced
Mr. TAYLOR. You don't have to name one that will be closed; one that you think is excess. I hear a lot of nebulous talk that somewhere out there there is this 25 percent excess capacity, but when we get down to specifics, I find folks to be very short on specifics.
So, I would just like to know of one instance of an installation that you think merits to be closed.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Secretary PROSCH. Well, as you know, sir, the BRAC criteria was published on the 6th of January and it is going to be fair and square.
Every single installation in our 50 states and all our territories and possessions; any type of Army installation is going to be evaluated with that criteria. That criteria is based on military value.
And so, over the period, we are going to be having an analysis and the timing is very good for us to do this analysis, because it will allow us with the same metrics to determine if there is excess capacity and to do a more thorough analysis.
But I would like to publicly state there is no base realignment and closure (BRAC) list. There are some phony lists out there on the Internet. But until we do that analysis, I really can't state any installation, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. Well, I am not a lawyer, but I am told a good lawyer never asks a question for which he doesn't know the answer. I kind of presumed that would be the answer, sir.
Thank you very much, sir.
Secretary PROSCH. Yes, sir. And thank you for your support of the Army team.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you for all you do.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Abercrombie.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, you have the distinction of being Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations and Environment and I think that is a good thing to be joined together because, particularly in today's world, it is difficult to do one without the other, in terms of paying strict attention.
Among other things, there are legal consequences that can impact installations and infrastructure in a significant way and a time consuming way.
I say that by way of preface, because this is in reference now to the Stryker Brigade activities. Now, the Stryker Brigade is both conceptual and it is in motion, so to speak. It is not a fixed entity. It is evolving over time.
The concept and the necessity for it was well articulated and begun under General Shinseki's term and the idea all along was that this would be an evolving entity within Army doctrine and certainly amenable, hopefully, to being put together; amenable to changing conditions and circumstances.
Again, I preface my question to you with that because I want the context very clear.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
As we have gone now to the fifth and sixth Stryker, there have been significant changes by way of proposals for equipment and some of the doctrine associated with that equipment as to what would happen with the increased flexibility that is to be associated with the Stryker Brigade activities.
As a result of the advent of the Stryker Brigade, training facilities for the Stryker and the brigades associated with it require pretty significant changes. I can cite my own area out in Hawaii where one of the brigades is to be located.
Existing training facilities near Schofield, for example, are now obsolete, in terms of training and we have been anticipating the possibility of a Stryker Brigade coming with the preparations for new training facilities, both on the island of Oahu and on the big island of Hawaii at the Puako area.
In order to forestall in anticipation of a very intense inquiry regarding the environmental impacts the Army has responded to, and in conjunction with the congressional mandates, to do the most thorough possible environmental impact statements (EIS), assessments, inquiries in order to be able to say with authority, should any inquiry come, legal or otherwise, that we had anticipated as much as was humanly possible to do and certainly within every respect of what is required by law.
You now have the Comanche being terminated.
The Comanche was one of the elements, I think it is called organic air element or something of that nature; I forgot the exact phrase, that were going to be part of the evolving transition, even within the Stryker concepts.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Does this change the requirements, with regard to environmental impact statements and training facilities, does it change it in such a way that you are going to have to alter the budget for it?
The training facilities for necessary preparation to determine what the impact of those facilities are going to be; not just in Hawaii, but anyplace that the Stryker is going?
Does this budget take into account what will be necessary to ensure that the Stryker Brigades will meet any and all environmental requirements, including the changing context of the brigade itself?
Secretary PROSCH. Sir, first of all, I would like to thank you for your support of our environmental challenges.
It was you that allowed us to get maneuver clearance in the Makua Valley again for our company-size units, which was critical. You have been helping us lead the charge at the big island to get the proper maneuver space we will need for Stryker.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Yes. I was up there, as you know, just within the last month and my name was prominently featured on the evening news, except with the appropriate bleeps.
Secretary PROSCH. Well, we appreciate you helping share the pain with us, sir.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. First time in a long time, I took precedence over Senator Inouye.
I would like to ask General Lust to talk about the challenges of the Stryker Brigade and what we are doing in the installation management arena to make sure we are prepared for the fielding.
General LUST. Sir, the budget that we have put forward has some projects in it for the Stryker Brigade; one going to Alaska, another to Fort Polk, and one in Hawaii.
But to your question about the environmental, the decision to request to terminate the Comanche was made after this went in.
We will have to take a look at everything you asked and go back and look at that environmental assessment and say, ''Okay. Has what we are doing now significantly been altered that we have to go back and do something?''
And from that analysis, we will have to look at it and come back in, probably most likely, sir, in the fiscal year 2006 budget to address if there should be any.
Right now, as you said, we did a very, very thorough job at each one of these areas.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We talked about this a couple days ago: we are pretty sure that we have looked at it hard enough that we, just by not changing Apache and putting another aircraft like the Apache in there, we don't see anything in the near future.
But again, sir, we have to take and make sure now about the number of aircraft we are talking about. Will it be the same, but a different kind, and that kind of stuff?
And again, sir, I am pretty sure we will come back in probably the fiscal year 2006 budget to address if there should be any need for that.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. But for all intents and purposes then, for the chairman's consideration, for the committee's consideration, probably the way the budget is configured now, with respect to infrastructure and environment, you think that that is probably something that we can retain some confidence in?
General LUST. What we have put forward here, I believe will stay, because we do not know at this time enough of what effect the Comanche would have done on the environment.
Like I said, we did such a very thorough job on each of those sites, that right now I do not anticipate a problem by
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. So I just raise it as to have something in mind so in case we have to do some changing. After all, the Stryker, by definition, is supposed to provide flexibility
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
General LUST. Yes, sir.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE [continuing]. So we want to be able to have the same ability to respond over here if there is a necessity for some change in direction or budget authority.
Secretary PROSCH. Sir, and I appreciate that.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you.
Secretary PROSCH. Sir, I would just like to say that there are no Comanche facilities in the 2005 budget and I would like General Pudlowski to comment from the guard perspective, on your question.
General PUDLOWSKI. Sir, as you know, the 5th and the 6th Stryker Brigades were approved by the Secretary of Defense, as you said earlier.
And we identified it in the national guard along with the support of the Army and watching the experience of the other brigades as they developed. Requirements were identified and we looked at the funding of that through fiscal year 2009.
The point that you make on the environmental impact is very important because we have our environmental team now going to Pennsylvania next week because of some of these adjustments. Because that environmental assessment is about to begin and that program will take probably through mid-year of fiscal year 2006.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
When we designed the environmental impact assessment and started the plan for it, at that time, we didn't see that brigade having helicopters in it and then it came about to where it was and then they come out of the brigade.
So, nothing has been lost there.
However, just to ensure to you, that brigade, which is going to be stationed in Pennsylvania in the Pennsylvania National Guard has its primary training sites both in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
And a couple of the things that they have looked at is, if you can't get a certain range at Fort Pickett, Virginia or in Pennsylvania at Indiantown Gap; had not expanded that to Ravenna in Ohio, which is a national guard training site and at Fort Dix, New Jersey and also into Fort Drum, New York, to make sure they are included in that so we don't have to
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So, you agree then, the environmentaland I know you said assessment, but I am assuming you are just using that as a phrase of artwhat you really mean I hope is environmental impact statement (EIS).
Because the trouble we got in before is when the lawyers come in and say, ''I don't think we quite have to do everything that the law requires; we can shave the edges and get away with it and save a million dollars and something.''
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And then you end up in court losing.
Because my view on this is take the widest possible range of legal possibility that you have to confront and take it into account from the beginning, so that you can stand in front of a Federal judge and state with certainty that you have covered every possible angle that needs to be covered in order to come up with the proposal that is before the Congress.
General PUDLOWSKI. Sir, I used the wrong term, assessment. It was the EIS, the statement.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Thanks.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate it.
Mr. HEFLEY. Doctor Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I don't really have any questions.
I was just going to make the comment that I noticed there has been a lot of talk about helicopters and buying more helicopters and this so-called Comanche dividend, which I have never heard of before, but that is an interesting phrase.
But I noticed, General Pudlowski, that you have three aviation support facilities in your budget, one of which is in Arkansas. But they are expensive projects. I mean they are so critical, but they are not cheap.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But I think you all have got a tough road to hoe as we talk about how we are going to take care of these helicopters.
But I appreciate the work you do and we recognize the realities of some of these things because they are so expensive to do.
Thank you for your service.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Chairman, just by the way, I invoked Senator Inouye's name before and I just wanted to indicate for the record that today marks the 15,036th day of Senator Inouye's service to the Nation, both in the House and in the United States Senate, making him the fifth longest-serving senator in the history of the nation.
And I expect in November he will have the opportunity to extend that by some six years.
Mr. HEFLEY. That was a fact that I am certainly glad we didn't close this hearing without knowing.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I, too, do not have any questions, however, I would like to thank the witnesses for coming before us today and I do have a few comments for General Pudlowski, whom I had the opportunity to meet a couple of days ago.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I visited the headquarters here in Washington of the national guard and also participated in a pinning ceremony of one of our chief warrant officers.
And General, I appreciate your taking me through headquarters and briefing me and talking to me about your mission. And it is good to see you here today.
General PUDLOWSKI. Thank you, madam. I would like to compliment you also.
You certainly caused all of our people to pay attention when you were in the building.
And I will also tell you that there are some very great soldiers that come from your community and good guardsmen that are eager to serve the country and I thank you for that.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you very much, General.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Cole.
Mr. COLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you gentlemen for being here. I appreciate very much your service and frankly, your professionalism: it is always remarkable.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Just a couple of questions.
One, and I want to start with a compliment and then go from there with the questions, last year there were decisions made during the course of the year to reprogram MILCON construction, some out of Europe, back to the United States.
That was very well done; the fact that you could make adjustments like that and I suppose my view was colored partly by the fact that some of the installations I represent were beneficiaries of that decision.
So, can you tell me this year, do you have the flexibility as you think through to make changes, if you decide, for military reasons to redirect those funds that are spent on overseas bases back home?
Secretary PROSCH. As I submitted in my written statement we have $130 million in outside the continental United States (OCONUS) funding this year.
We have taken a very, very careful look at that, based on lessons learned from the past, and all of our combatant commanders have personally signed up for those OCONUS MILCON projects. They will be appearing before you here in early April.
And we believe that those projects are at enduring installations that are tied with the well-being of families and the importance of sustaining our combat readiness overseas.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General Lust, would you like to comment?
General LUST. Sir, I had just a couple points.
I appreciate your question as to why we, at this time, when there is a bit of uncertainty of what we will have overseas, why would we put MILCON dollars there, where we request to have projects put overseas, both in Germany, Italy and Korea.
In any scenario that the combatant command (COCOM) commander has looked at, both Grafenwoehr, Stuttgart, Livorno and Camp Humphries in Korea, all those locations are enduring installations and that is why, this year, that is the only place we put MILCON dollars in is in those places that we have been assured by the COCOM commander that in any scenario they have looked at, that has any possibility of seeing the light of day, that these locations will be there.
And the projects we have picked are the ones which go ahead and support follow-on things that have to happen, such as at Grafenwoehr, the efficient basing Germany will have collapsed 13 to 14 different facilities in on one location there, sir.
So, there was a lot of thought given as to why those particular locations were chosen. If you look at our request this year for overseas, it is about 62 percent lower than it was in the past.
For that particular reason, we said, wait a minute, if we are going to put any, it is going to be where we know we have been assured that these are keeper locations downrange, sir.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. COLE. Well, again, I appreciate the professionalism and admired what you were able to do last year; I was not suggesting frankly, that you necessarily need to do that again this year.
I just want to make sure you have the capability and also, frankly, I am sure as much or more from your point of view than from ours, it would be terrible to be building something and then a year later be shutting it down. It just always comes back to haunt us.
One further question, if I might, Mr. Chairman.
And I am not trying to pin you down or be cute, but obviously, we all wonder about this 25 percent capacity question and what that means.
And one of the questions I have asked to previous people on this is simply, can you give us some idea when we arrive at that figure, is that a global figure or are we talking about all American military facilities all over the world, or is that a domestic figure?
Is that a figure that is basically focused on the continental United States and the territories?
Secretary PROSCH. I think that the Secretary of Defense was addressing an aggregate figure in 1998 when he said that approximately, his estimate is 25 percent capacity.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Again, I believe that this BRAC analysis that is ongoing, the timing is absolutely perfect for us to send out the data calls. Each installation is going to be doing a thorough analysis of that.
We are going to be analyzing it for military value and one of the great things about this BRAC is that we have joint, cross-service groups. We have seven joint, cross-service groups for the first time.
And we will have a flag rank official from every service on the joint, cross-service group and they will be in areas such as training and education, supply, medical, technical and they will be able to take a real hard look and to see if there can be some realignment, some synchronization, some cost savings, some benefits to the taxpayers.
And so, I am encouraged that we will be able to do that this time.
Mr. COLE. Well, just if you can, as you go through that process, and if you ever reach the point you can tell us, that, ''Okay, maybe it is 35 percent overseas and 15'' or vice versa, God forbid; that is an important piece of information to know.
But again, I thank you gentlemen for your service and frankly, your professional stewardship of the dollars you have. I think you do a marvelous job.
Secretary PROSCH. Thank you, sir.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Marshall.
Mr. MARSHALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In your opening statement, Mr. Secretary, you made reference to installations as flagships and I thought that concept, that term, that analogy coming from an Army guy was pretty open-minded.
I think I have heard the chiefs say the same thing and it really suggests that we have come a long way. Back in my Army days I don't think I would have referred to anything with a Navy term, in a complimentary way, anyway.
And I would sure like to know a little bit more about that concept. I think maybe all of us would like to know a little bit more about that concept.
Secretary PROSCH. One of the 17 focus areas that we have is installations as flagship. And this is going to enhance the ability of the Army installations to both project power and also support families.
Installations support our expeditionary forces. If you look at what is going on in the world today, you are going to see more of that where our soldiers are training, mobilizing, demobilizing and deploying to fight our Nation's wars.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They are sustained more from these installations now, so we need to have a robust, reach-back capability in our installations, so they will be flagships, they will be command and control, to a certain extent, from our CONUS installations.
Our soldiers and our families, this is where they live, either on or off the installation, but that is where the family support groups are, on the installation.
And so, we just believe that our soldiers deserve the same quality of life as the society that they are pledged to defend. And so, we have a great chief of staff in General Schoomaker; we have a great secretary in Secretary Brownlee, who also is an Army veteran, as you are, sir. They understand the key part that the installations play in taking care of the family and winning the war on terrorism. And all of our installations are linked to transformation and they will be key in the fielding of the future force. So, this is a vision that the chief has given us, the challenge, and it is going to help us develop metrics to better quantify to you all the funding we need in the future.
General LUST. Sir, if you don't mind, I will tack on the end of that.
There is basically, in the short term, there are four tasks we have to accomplish to make that happen.
The first one is posture installations, the power projection platforms with a robust, reach-back capability and by that I mean to make sure we have communications infrastructure put in and so forth. So we don't have to deploy as many folks down the range. We have the communications infrastructure; they can come back and keep those folks back here so our deployment process can be quicker and doesn't eat up as many resources.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The second part is to adjust our installation support to meet the needs both in the Army and in transforming. By that I mean that we have put in place actions.
Like when the 4th Division was deployed, the folks out of the 3rd Armed Cavalry Regiment out of Fort Carson deployed and all the rest of those places, we went through the places where those soldiers worked and lived and put an immense amount of effort and resource into making sure the barracks, when they came back they said, ''Somebody took care of us.''
There were maintenance facilities we had that did have inside hoists to lift the engine and transmission out of the vehicles; those had been installed. So, we had taken care of that part there.
The third part is, again, supporting the well-being of the families and their soldiers. As we learned a lot in the first major push in OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM and the objectives as they go out deploying in what was left behind and kind of, send the support those families needed.
And so, we put resources in those places there to take care of that one, plus we could do the second part here. Such things as making sure we have the resources that can pay for childcare, to have volunteers to do certain things.
We have some means of being able to allow a spouse to have a respite period just to have a couple hours away from the kids they dearly love, but just two hours of quiet goes a long way.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So, those are the three basic major things we have going in the short term to address this issue, sir.
Mr. MARSHALL. Thank you, gentlemen.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Reyes.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and I apologize, gentlemen, but I was at another hearing and got here late.
I have a couple of observations. In the summer of 2001; I was part of a congressional delegation that made a tour of military facilities to look at the infrastructure needs. I know my colleague, Solomon Ortiz, was on that delegation trip as well.
And we were appalled at some of the conditions of the infrastructure and a lot of that infrastructure is the part that you don't readily see: the sewer systems, the water supply systems, the other delivery-type systems.
My question this afternoon deals with what kind of plan is there to address the infrastructure of our military bases? And is it in play right now or is it momentarily suspended until we get through the distasteful next BRAC round as it appears we are going to have?
Secretary PROSCH. That is a good question, sir.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We talked about the initiative we have with privatizing our homes. Another key initiative that we have been working on is privatizing the utility systems.
If you look at the utility systems: the water, the wastewater, the natural gas, the electric systems on your Army installations, they are in dreadful condition and it is tough to get the adequate MILCON which we quantify at about $6 billion to address the eroded infrastructure.
So, we have been working steadily to try to privatize this, which is really a non-core function of the Army. And since we have been onboard here for the last couple of years, we have gone from 7 to 87 privatized systems on our installations.
And General West and his people have done a very good job trying to work that piece. And we are going to continue to focus on that.
Our goal in 2004 is to issue 58 requests for proposals for additional systems and to complete the privatization negotiations on 71 more systems.
So, we have been tackling these poor sewer systems that you saw on your trip and hope to turn those over to the private sector.
Mr. REYES. Secretary, does that mean when you ask for anexcuse me General
General LUST. Well, what I was going to add to is the 88 systems we have done, we have already accomplished for privatization accounts for 63 percent of my overall utility infrastructure process. I have 352 systems overall and 63 percent of the whole mass has now been taken care of in the first 88.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So, we went after the big pieces first and now, again, my target is to close to 71 additional ones this year.
Mr. REYES. When you put out a request for proposal (RFP), does that include the actual going in and replacing the sewer lines, the water pipes, the water delivery system, fire hydrants and all of that?
Or does that just include the delivery of that?
Secretary PROSCH. It includes the whole system, which is the good news about this where it would be tough for us to get the MILCON dollars to actually replace a natural gas system, for example, or a wastewater plant.
When the private developer becomes our partner, they take over ownership for 30 years for the entire system and they bring it up to code, sometimes have to replace it, and then continue doing the operations and maintenance functions for that system.
Mr. REYES. Does that also apply to the road system? Because, particularly out West, I know that my colleague Mr. Gibbons has a road that he has planned to replace for the longest time through MILCON dollars.
I have one between Fort Bliss and White Sands that is really a deathtrap in terms of its condition. Would that also apply to roads, or is that separate?
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary PROSCH. Sir, that is separate, it is not applied. The privatization does not fall under the road system.
I am pretty sure I know the road you are talking about, it is one that I have asked the Southwest region to figure out how we move the process along to get it fixed.
I was out there about three weeks ago and that is a road I would not want to travel high speed at night.
Mr. REYES. Right. That is known as War Road and it makes war on anybody that dares to go on it.
Well, thank you gentlemen. I appreciate it.
Thank you very much.
Secretary PROSCH. Thank you, sir.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Bishop.
Mr. BISHOP. Thank you.
Mr. Secretary, I have an unwritten rule that I shouldn't be able to ask a question in any meeting where I haven't at least sat for a half hour.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I haven't quite fit that quality yet, so instead of a question, let me just give you something that is better than a softball.
I want you to know how much I have appreciated your particular staff. Their professionalism in answering questions, in fact, I had one this morning and you answered it this morning at the same time, and how well you have worked with my office. I want you to know how much I appreciate the members of your staff who have been able to do that.
I recognize that the money situation will always be difficult, specifically out in my district, Michael's Airstrip at the Dugway Proving Ground is something that is extremely important to me and the commitment that you have made to put that back one year, but the commitment to actually have the main airstrip done and in a timely manner, is something with which I am grateful and I am appreciative and I want you to know that. And I want you to know how much I appreciate your staff working with us and those types of reassurances.
And now I am also grateful for how well you were able to work with us in getting the emergency strip and taking the money from the state of Utah to finish that and now it becomes even more significant out at Dugway.
So, instead of asking a question, I wanted to just give you some congratulations and my thanks and especially to your staff for how beneficial and helpful you have been to me and to my staff.
Secretary PROSCH. Thank you, sir.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Bishop, you are ruining our committee's reputation with that kind of talk. You understand that, don't you?
Mr. BISHOP. Mr. Chairman, I will try and be more relevant in the future.
Mr. HEFLEY. Don't let the record show that someone on this committee was nice.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and since I wasn't able to be here for the other part of the hearing, I might just ask whether you have already covered the family housing issues. Has anybody asked about that?
I happen to be from San Diego, where we are certainly concerned about the quality of life issues for the Navy and Marines.
Unfortunately, we don't have an Army base in the district, but I know that family housing issues continue to be very important to all of us as they impact the men and women serving in the Army as well.
And I am just wondering whether the Army will be able to proceed with the family housing improvements that you have been talking about and working on, if Congress does not eliminate or raise the cap. How is that going?
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Secretary PROSCH. Well, first of all, we did talk about this at length a little bit earlier and thanks to the leadership of this committee, Congressman Hefley, we were able to get the legislation to initiate the residential community initiative, which in my opinion, is the best quality of life initiative we have had in the Army since I have been around the Army and that is since 1965, because it goes to a fundamental need of the soldier, especially the junior enlisted.
When you can give them adequate housing and make sure they are not taking money out of pocket, it enhances their well-being, it enhances the unit support system, it allows us, when we deploy our soldiers overseas, when they know that their family is being cared for, it is going to allow that soldier to keep his head in the game while the family is being cared for back in the states.
We do have a challenge coming up where we are going to need your support and that is, very quickly, to convince the budget committees that we need to lift the $850 million cap on the equity investments that we put into all the services' privatization deals.
To date, we have invested in all of our RCI programs approximately $330 million in equity investment, but that has gained for us over $7 billion in private developer funding for our programs.
So, it is a great program and with your assistance and leadership, we need to figure out how to grapple with and lift that cap.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General LUST. If you don't mind, I would like to add to that, Mr. Prosch.
One, on our reference to cap, just to put it in very broad terms: if the cap is not lifted it is going to take us about $2.2 billion to get that adequate housing and it, quite honestly, can take somewhere between 20 and 30 years. But if the cap is lifted it will cost us about $255 million and I can get a bill out in 5 to 10 years.
In reference to what this budget does for us this year in the way of family housing: it is going to allow us to privatize, give us some funding to privatize almost 12,000 houses and we will be able to replace 1,313 homes, I am going to upgrade 785 more and build 100 new homes up in Fairbanks, Alaska to support the Stryker Brigades being located up there.
And also it keeps us on course to be able to have a programmatic and budgeting place to eliminate inadequate housing by fiscal year 2007.
So, like you, housing is very important to us. And this budget that we have put forward keeps us on track to meet that goal, Madam.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Okay. Thank you very much.
And I guess it always is helpful if you know which projects would be eliminated, if you can identify those and communicate with those individuals that represent those communities; makes them greater champions.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary PROSCH. I can give those to you now if you would like them, Madam.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Okay. All right.
Secretary PROSCH. About Fort Drum, New York; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania; Picatinney in New Jersey; Fort Monmouth, New Jersey; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Rucker, Alabama; Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Fort Gordon, Georgia; and Red Stone Arsenal, Alabama: those are programs, RCI programs that we would have to stop.
General LUST. Not only would we have to stop those, but there are 11 others that we are looking at to go ahead and extend this program.
So, it really does put a tremendous dent in the program.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Great. Thank you. Appreciate it.
Mr. HEFLEY. Let me just ask: you are going through this global posture review and I know you don't have the answers to that now and what it is going to mean, but almost surely, there are going to be some troops brought back to the continental United States.
In fact, the estimation is there may be as many as two Army divisions brought back to U.S. soil, but again, I am sure you don't know and we don't know.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But, when you are thinking about that and making those estimates of two divisions or whatever, are you thinking about us having the excess capacity from a military construction facilities standpoint to put those troops into existing facilities without additional MILCON?
Are you thinking that we will have to provide considerable additional MILCON for any troops that come back? And if so, are you thinking in terms of the long preparation line it takes to get those things funded and built?
The quicker we know what we are shooting at there, the more we can be of help to you to facilitate this. Do we have the excess capacity out there? Or are we going to have a lot of MILCON to deal with that?
Secretary PROSCH. Well, that is a good question, sir.
As I said, the timing is perfect for us to be doing our analysis, based on the criteria of military value. And as we do the BRAC at each one of our installations, it is going to reveal a much better, more accurate picture of where our capacity is.
And given that information, based on the Secretary of Defense's decision for the integrated global presence spacing strategy, which is forthcoming in the next 90 days, we have time to do this and factor this into our analysis.
And I would ask General Lust to comment because he and I have been talking about this very subject and how do we work MILCON into this picture.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
General LUST. As Mr. Prosch has said, the global posture and basing study and its release in the next 90 to 100 days falls in very nicely with the BRAC study we are going through and making analysis of what assets we have, et cetera.
We have, in my office, have had folks take a look at various posts, camps and stations doing their ''what-if'' drill, doing a kind of, inventory of what the assets there are? And if we did this, what does that mean and looking at that kind of stuff there.
At this point here, I can't tell you if we are going to need more MILCON, however I would be surprised if we did not require some.
Now, to get to your concern which we share is the time we make a decision, when I can, in fact, have something built. As you know, if I want to have something in the fourth quarter, fiscal year 2008, I have to make a decision this April to get it in this process, but to fill that gap, working at various ways of temporary facilities, et cetera.
You know we are going to grow some brigades from 33 to 43 for sure and then fiscal year 2006 make a decision where we go and get the last part of them.
There is going to be a fundamental shift in the way in which we do this.
There is going to be brigades formed that will not necessarily be on the post of where their division headquarters is, which has been different than we have done in the past, for the most part.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So, we are looking at how we are going to base the brigades. We are also going to have to use some temporary facilities in the meantime to fill that gap for MILCON.
Mr. HEFLEY. It is not an easy logistical situation, I am sure and Mr. Secretary, didn't you tell me in our meeting that you hoped to have some idea about this in the next couple of months?
Secretary PROSCH. Sir, as soon as we get a decision out of the Secretary of Defense as to which units are coming back from overseas, we will consult with you.
I do believe that we will be told which units are coming back; the location and the when is going to be based on the analysis that we are doing right now with the BRAC.
It would be good to move people in the summer, so we take care of families and we can coordinate with school districts.
These are the type of things we want to do to ensure we continue the good quality of life for our troops.
Mr. HEFLEY. Well, gentlemen, thank you very, very much. We appreciate you being here and it is very helpful.
Mr. Taylor has an additional question.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Secretary, again, I want to thank you for the good you and all of your folks have done on helping Camp Shelby live by the environmental laws without changing them.
As you know, one of the things that they are doing involves the composite maps, since I got quite an education from you folks on the use of operation and maintenance funds and what you could and could not use it on.
I was just curious, if you classified what account that would fall under, would those mats fall under operation and maintenance funds if that is how Camp Shelby chooses to solve its problem, but have you all given that much thought yet?
Secretary PROSCH. Sir, I am going to have to take that one for the record and do some research so I can make sure that we give you the best bang for the buck.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay. I will settle for that. Thank you very much.
Secretary PROSCH. Thank you, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much. I am sure we will be seeing a lot of each other in the next months. Thank you.
Secretary PROSCH. Thank you, sir.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Now I would like to welcome our second panel representing the Department of the Navy.
We have the Honorable H. T. Johnson, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Environment; Rear Admiral Christopher Weaver, Commander, Navy Installations; Brigadier General Willie J. Williams, Assistant Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics.
So, as soon as we get settled, we will get started here.
Well, Secretary Johnson, Admiral and General, we are very happy to have you here today and I guess we will start, Mr. Secretary, with you.
STATEMENT OF HON. H.T. JOHNSON, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, INSTALLATIONS AND ENVIRONMENT
Secretary JOHNSON. Thank you, Sir; we are very pleased to be here.
As you mentioned, I am accompanied by Rear Admiral Chris Weaver; he is the Commander of Naval Installations. It is a new command and he is going to talk a little bit about it.
He is a graduate of the Naval Academy, 32 years of service, extensive experience in facilities for the last 5.5 years.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
He served as the Commandant of the Naval District of Washington. He has also consolidated all the funding for installations; that is a great step forward and he will talk a little bit about that. He also brings an operational background from the surface Navy.
On my left is Brigadier General Willie Williams. He is the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics.
He has 30 years of active service, four tours in Japannot quite sure how he got to stay there so longhe has been the commanding general of the Marine Corps base at Camp Butler, commanding general of the 3rd Forces Service Group.
He had previous operational commands and also served in the Department of Defense, Inspector General's Office.
He has extensive experience in supply and also logistics and is now responsible for all of the installations in the Marine Corps.
I would like to address a few highlights, and we prepared an overall statement for the record.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Johnson, I think I neglected to say that all the statements will be put into the record without objection.
Without objection, so ordered.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Secretary JOHNSON. Thank you, Sir.
The 2005 Department of Navy budget is a strong statement of support for the Navy and Marine Corps bases around the world.
In most cases, our budget request is lower because of initiatives that gave us equal or better results at lower cost. We have better housing for our single sailors and Marines, as well as those who have families. Families have been a very high priority and we have done quite well.
This budget culminates a four-year effort to eliminate the average out-of-pocket expenses for family housing.
The increase in the basic allowance for housing also means that our sailors and Marines can find good, affordable housing in the community without additional out-of-pocket expenses.
Our public/private ventures are truly changing the face of our housing program in the Department of the Navy. Last year, I reported that our public/private venture (PPV) awards were for a total of 8,300 homes and we have now awarded 11 more projects for a total of 16,000 homes.
During 2004 and 2005, we plan to award 26,000 homes at 10 Navy and Marine Corps bases that will give us a total of 41,000 public/private venture homes in the Department of the Navy.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Perhaps the greatest benefit of these PPV projects is that they are capitalized from the start. They have sufficient funds to maintain and revitalize the homes through their entire expected life. This is something that, frankly, we have not done before.
Mr. Chairman, you made a request earlier with the Army, ''What would happen if we don't get any increase in the ceiling?'' We would lose 10,500 of those 26,000 homes if we don't get that. I don't know how many years it would take, but it would be $3 billion more if we did it under MILCON.
We are pressing hard to improve the housing for our bachelors. I personally believe we have done very well by our families but, our bachelors, we have not provided proper housing for them.
We have 17,500 sailors in the worst quality of life in the Department of Defense. They have no place to live except on board the ships. We want to give them a place ashore to call homeport ashore so that they can have a dormitory room when they are in port.
Our Shipboard Sailors Ashore Initiative has given us 4,900 places for sailors ashore. This year we plan to add spaces for another 800 sailors. We still plan to solve this homeport ashore challenge by 2008. With this budget, the Marine Corps will eliminate their permanent party barracks with gang heads in 2005; the Navy will do so in 2007.
We continue to fit the very best aspects of the public/private ventures to our barracks' challenge. There are unique considerations we must resolve. Some of these are extended deployments. We plan to pursue three housing locations. The first one that looks very, very promising is in San Diego. The challenge is to be able to fill the barracks if all the sailors and Marines go off to war.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We have a very robust MILCON program of $1.1 billion along with sustainment, restoration and modernization funds of $1.9 billion in operations and maintenance (O&M) funds.
The refinements in the DOD sustainment model couple with our efforts to demolish old facilities, allow the Navy to budget for less and still increase the sustainment to 95 percent compared to 93 percent last year. The Marine Corps sustainment rate is at 95 percent also.
About two-thirds of the MILCON request is for restoration and modernization projects. Both the Navy and the Marine Corps achieve Department of Defense's 67-year recapitalization rate by 2008. The Marine Corps improves this year from 88 years to 78. The Navy increases a little bit by going from 140 to 148 years.
As all of you know, and as you directed, we will close Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico the last day of this month. We are taking every precaution to help the civilian employees find other jobs and to sensibly relocate the people who are working at Roosevelt Roads. The Department of Defense School will stay open until the end of the school year.
We are working very closely with the local redevelopment authority that was appointed by the commonwealth to a common goal of a quick turnover of this property.
Looking forward at BRAC as, I think, Mr. Taylor mentioned a few minutes ago, the 2005 BRAC is of great interest to you and to everybody in America. The Department of Defense will meticulously follow the law; there will be no closures or realignments list in anybody's desk, drawer, filing cabinet or elsewhere. There will be no list until certified data is gathered, we have carefully analyzed the capacity, compare it against the force structure needs, rigorously assessed each activity using military value and met all requirements of the law.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
While eliminating excess capacity, which will generate savings, which is an important driver, the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant and I view BRAC 2005 as a unique opportunity to transform our infrastructure in a manner similar to and with compatibility with our force structure.
We support the joint approach where it takes an operational and financial sense. There are seven cross-service groups, as Mr. Prosch mentioned. These groups arguably are the most fundamental difference in this year's BRAC.
We are making great progress to complete environmental cleanup on property and dispose of the property from the four prior BRAC rounds. We are finding that selling property is a win-win-win for everyone. The taxpayer gets return on investment, the community gets rapid re-use, and the property goes on the tax rolls if it is being developed for commercial use, the Department of the Navy gets cash to accelerate the cleanup at the remaining BRAC bases.
Prior BRAC property sales, last year, generated $204 million, which is now being used to accelerate work previously planned for 2005 and 2006. Our entire 2005 budget of $115 million is financed using these sales receipts.
We have used very conservative estimates for land sale revenues. Just like last year, any additional revenue we receive will be used to further accelerate the cleanup at the remaining prior BRAC locations.
Speaking of cleanup, we spent $2.3 billion on cleanup for BRAC properties so far. After 2005, we will have about $.5 billion left to go.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
With respect to prior BRAC property disposal, we started with 161,000 acres to dispose of from all prior rounds. We expect, at the end of this year, to just have 11,000 acres, that is 7 percent, remaining on the rolls. Week after next, I will go up to Alaska and we will sign over 71,000 acres at Adak, which will make a great improvement to our process of getting rid of the BRAC land.
I want to thank the members of this committee for supporting the DOD Readiness Range Preservation Initiative last year.
Changes in the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act along with changes that were made the year before in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act have gone a long way to balance military readiness with environmental stewardship.
We are implementing all these changes in a manner befitting the very special trust and confidence you have given us. We will continue our excellent work as environmental stewards.
We ask that these important improvements not be disturbed as we continue to develop in a way that we defend our Nation and environment with the character that you expect of us.
Our 2005 environmental program totals $1 billion; about the same as last year. These are sufficient funds to pay for all known environmental compliance cleanup agreements along with the implementation of plans by the Navy and Marine Corps in the integrated natural resource plans.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Cleanup of our active bases is proceeding well; 69 percent of our sites have remedies in place or cleanup complete. And we are making steady progress on the others. With your permission, I would like to ask Rear Admiral Weaver for some comments.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Johnson can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Admiral Weaver.
STATEMENT OF REAR ADM. CHRISTOPHER WEAVER, COMMANDER, NAVY INSTALLATIONS
Admiral WEAVER. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the committee. It is a pleasure to be before your committee today to discuss the Navy's fiscal year 2005 shore infrastructure budget request.
Indeed, I am the Commander, Navy Installations Command and, in this capacity, I am responsible for the development of the Navy's shore infrastructure programs and for determining ashore capabilities necessary to maintain our Navy in a high state of readiness.
I would like to take just a few additional moments and amplify some of the areas mentioned by Mr. Johnson in his opening statement.
Coupled with mission accomplishment, again, our people are our most important priority. Truly, both mission accomplishment and people are inextricably linked.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
As you are well aware, we have roughly 18,000 sailors living onboard ships while in homeport and these sailors, like all sailors in the Navy, endure a very austere lifestyle aboard ship when it is underway on deployment. While their ships are in homeport, we need to offer them a better place to call home, similar to their married shipmates and others in the community.
This is a major quality of service issue for us, all of us, in uniform, and we are programmed in executing projects that will resolve this challenge. We are also looking at innovative ways, such as bachelor housing privatization to further expedite housing those shipboard sailors as well as all of their eligible sailors ashore.
Our goal is to have all sailors who are living on a ship while in homeport to be ashore in their living spaces by 2008. This initiative will help lessen the divide with regards to housing for single sailors.
We are achieving excellent results, as Secretary Johnson said, with family housing privatization. The public/private ventures that the Navy is operating continue to eliminate inadequate family housing and construct new homes to satisfy deficits to meet or exceed DOD goals.
We developed a business strategy that limits our liability, which manages our risk, and results in the appropriate level of Department of Navy participation while maintaining safeguards and protections. Our business strategy and acquisition approach have been accepted and applauded by others in government and by the private sector.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC PPV enables us to provide higher quality, affordable housing to sailors and their families faster and at a lower initial and life cycle cost to the Navy. PPV is of benefit to the community, refreshing aged housing while stimulating local business.
Last, Sir, I would like to speak just a few words about Commander, Navy Installations Command, or what we call CNI.
As you are aware from testimony given last year, this past October the Navy stood up CNI in order to align all shore-based support facilities and processes under one entity.
Our objective is to enhance the Navy's combat power for the same or fewer expended resources. As we centralize, shore support processes will become more coherent and focused, and our product delivery will become more efficient and reliable.
If the forward operating forces do not have to constantly look over their shoulder to check for support, they can focus more on their deckplate jobs and will become more effective in their area of operations.
One of the key aspects of CNI and the new business model is to measure outputs of every function in the Navy's support structure and work backward to create the most efficient system to provide those outputs.
We need to move past the culture of deficiency in which we measure success only by the inputs provided and go forward toward a culture of sufficiency in which we focus on measuring our success by the outputs necessary to maintain a high level of readiness.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The end result will be a Navy that has measurable goals to help determine how best to use limited resources in the most effective ways possible.
I sincerely thank you for the continued support of this committee and of your staff, Mr. Chairman, for our Navy and for what we are doing in ashore infrastructure and I certainly look forward to working with you now and into the future.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. WILLIE WILLIAMS, ASSISTANT DEPUTY COMMANDANT, INSTALLATIONS AND LOGISTICS (FACILITIES), UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
General WILLIAMS. Yes, Sir. Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Readiness Subcommittee, as Secretary Johnson indicated, I am Brigadier General Willie Williams.
I am the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics at Headquarters Marine Corps. It is certainly a pleasure to appear before you here today with Secretary Johnson and Rear Admiral Weaver.
First, I would like to thank you for your continued support for the Marine Corps and Marine Corps construction. Installations, as our fifth element of the Marine Air Command Task Force, really are a key and critical component of our readiness to fight and win our Nation's battles.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Our fiscal year 2005 budget request provides $505 million for active and reserve military construction and family housing. This, along with $463 million for facilities sustainment and $67 million as proposed for restoration and modernization devotes over $1 billion to maintenance, sustainment and construction at Marine Corps installations.
The combined active and reserve military construction program will provide $236 million toward urgently needed readiness, compliance and quality of life construction projects.
In 2005, we are proposing two vehicle maintenance facilities in support of our reserves based in Virginia and Florida.
Our long-term capital improvement plan for waste water treatment at Camp Pendleton continues with its second increment of funding.
Our proposed investment of $75 million for barracks projects at Camp Pendleton, New River, Yuma and Quantico will meet our goal to eliminate gang head barracks for our permanent party Marines.
The family housing request of $269 million will keep the Marine Corps on track to have contracts in place to eliminate inadequate family housing by the end of year 2007, and public/private ventures are critical to keeping us on track to meet that goal.
On September 30, 2003, the largest PPV to date, within the Department of the Navy, was awarded that will provide over $500 million in construction as well as long-term management, maintenance and recapitalization of our Marine Corps family housing communities in Virginia and California.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization program proposal maintains funding for the sustainment of our facilities at 95 percent of the OSD established requirement.
The Marine Corps has also committed to spending $67 million in restoration and modernization of existing facilities.
And these investments, while smaller than fiscal year 2004, continue to ensure that our facilities will be in better condition at the end of fiscal year 2005 than at the beginning.
Mr. Chairman and members, I would just like to close by stating that the Marines and their families make great sacrifices in serving their country.
The Marine Corps prides itself on its legacy of rewarding that sacrifice by taking care of our Marines and their families. And I think this budget is designed to help us do just that.
And the Marine Corps would certainly like to thank the committee for a strong continued support of the Marine Corps infrastructure program and the benefits this support provides in improved readiness and quality of life. Mr. Chairman, this concludes our statements and we are happy to answer your questions.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much, all three of you.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Secretary, I can't imagine that the Navy has a lot of facilities that will be caught in the BRAC this time. Considering the hits you have taken in the past and considering the Marine Corps didn't have a lot of facilities anyway, do you anticipate anywhere near that 25 percent where the Navy is concerned?
I know that is just an arbitrary figure anyway, but do you anticipate any big hits because you have really, in the last four rounds, you have taken some big hits.
Secretary JOHNSON. As I mentioned in my statement, we have not looked at what we might close or what might be on any list. We are collecting data, we will compare it, and I am sure the Navy and Marine Corps will participate with the Department of Defense. I am not sure any service will be allocated a fixed percent or anything like that.
I think in the joint manner we are doing it; we will look at it in the whole as opposed to each individual service.
Mr. HEFLEY. I am sure you will and I hope you will fight to see the Navy doesn't give up anymore port space. It seems to me we gave up more port space than we needed to be giving up anyway and you don't replace that.
And the Navy kind of needs port space; you may have noticed that since you have been secretary.
Secretary JOHNSON. Certainly the Navy has to have water for our ships and that will continue to be a priority.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. HEFLEY. You know, none of us like BRAC very well anyway. But, particularly where the Navy's concerned and I, again, this is not my area of expertise, I have Air Force and Army where I come from but it is something I am
Secretary JOHNSON. You have an awful lot of Navy people in Colorado also.
Mr. HEFLEY. We do have quite a few. That is right.
And I don't know why we can't go ahead and dredge the Arkansas River to make a port there in Colorado, but you won't go along with that, but I do worry about the Navy in terms of the hits you took before, and I hope this will not be a big BRAC for you but I know we don't know, at this time.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is nice to see our good friends today, Secretary Johnson. And I think that if anybody knows anything about base closure, it is Secretary Johnson. He was one of the very valuable members of the base closure commission that we had several years back.
You know, one of the things that we need to do, and I don't know how to do it, I know some of our members have been talking to the Budget Committee to see if they can overrule the CBO scoring because this is going to be very, very important.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I hope that we can find a way to work around that, otherwise, the housing initiative will be devastated.
Secretary JOHNSON. Sir, I couldn't, nor could my partners, say more about the need for that. When we do this, our people are treated just like living on the economy. And they have houses that are comparable.
Someone was telling me, I guess this morning we were working or something, that a wife was telling her commander that her husband wasn't about to get out of the Marine Corps.
She had the best house she had ever had and she was going to keep him in there. And these really make a big difference to our families and we have to do the same thing for our bachelors.
Mr. ORTIZ. And if I am not mistaken, I don't think that it was long ago that General Williams was getting that star. You remember that when you testified before our Committee? Congratulations on the promotion, general.
General WILLIAMS. Thank you, sir.
Mr. ORTIZ. I think that they have listened to most of the questions, Mr. Chairman that we asked of the other panel that just left. And I think that the issues and the concerns are about the same so I give back the balance of my time. Thank you.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Ortiz.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, gentlemen, for being here and General Williams, I also want to congratulate you on your promotion.
General WILLIAMS. Thank you, Sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. Secretary Johnson, a couple of things.
Number one, you have an extremely impressive resume and you strike me as a very smart businessman.
So, as a businessman, I want you to tell this skeptic why privatization of particularly houses that we already own, why we are going to shut down houses that we already own on land that we have already paid for and go out and rent houses.
Now, I see short-term we are able to upgrade some people's quality of living but the long-term, as far as the taxpayer and, by the way, the DODsince this comes out of the DOD budgetlong-term I see a bigger and bigger chunk of the DOD budget not going toward building ships or buying munitions or paying people, but going to basic allowance for quarters.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, I am going to give you the opportunity to convince me that I am wrong.
Second thing is I am looking at page 11 of your testimony after just reading about the 33,000 acres of land that we are acquiring as a Nation in North Carolina.
You are talking about BRAC and you say, we will base all recommendations on the 20-year force structure plan, infrastructure inventory, and published selection criteria. In no event will we make any decisions concerning reduction of infrastructure until all data has been collected, certified and carefully analyzed.
I think the fact that we shut down Cecil Field with 4 working runways, 3 of them 8,000 feet long and one of them 10,000 feet long just to go buy 33,000 acres in North Carolina at 2004 dollars. I think that tells me we did not analyze all the options over a 20-year plan, that no one was looking out there for the F18 E and Fs coming along, and I don't think anyone is looking out there for the Joint Strike Fighter coming along.
So again, I am going to give you an opportunity to tell this non-believer and, by the way, since you are, and your resume shows it, a heck of a businessman, I would like you to explain to me the beauty of selling property last year for $204 million that we paid $2.3 billion to clean up.
Now again, I was just an old corrugated box salesman and you ran a big corporation, and I am sure there is a reason why each of us had the jobs we did. But that doesn't sound like a bargain to the taxpayers to me, sir.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But I am going to give you an opportunity to tell me why these three bargains are going on right now.
Because, again, I was one of the few guys who three years ago, about right now, heard the commander in chief say he could cut taxes, increase spending, pay off the trust funds and said, ''It ain't gonna work.''
And, we are $1.3 trillion deeper in debt than we were 33 months ago and owing $2 trillion of that debt to various trust funds, including these gentlemen's retirement fund.
So, sir, if I am getting a little skeptical, there might be a reason for it.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, Sir. I will try to answer the three questions you asked, in reverse order perhaps.
The comparison on the environmental cleanup is for the 161,000 acres and the $204 million was for 237 acres.
Certainly, as a businessperson you wouldn't want to spend that kind of money cleaning up the property. The Nation requires us to clean up the property
Mr. TAYLOR. I understand that.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Secretary JOHNSON [continuing]. For desires of the community as opposed to how they plan to use it. And we clean property far beyond what a commercial organization would do.
On the outlying landing field, there were, no doubt, some bad decisions made in previous BRACs. I have defended the field you talked about unsuccessfully and many people would like to have it very much.
That is a long way from where we need the outlying landing field. That is why we are trying to acquire some land in North Carolina, Washington County, for the outlying landing field.
Mr. TAYLOR. If I may, at what cost per acre? I am wondering, if you were acquiring that land in Mississippi, you would be paying, at the minimum, $4,000 an acre.
So, do you have any idea what you are going to be paying per acre for that 33,000 acres?
Secretary JOHNSON. I know what it is appraised at, Sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. And that is?
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary JOHNSON. Less than $2,000.
Mr. TAYLOR. Less than $2,000; okay.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, Sir.
On the public/private venture, we, in the Navy, and I think all the Department of Defense, I believe the first place we want our sailors and Marines to live is in a private community.
And, in essence, when we do the proper in its best form, public/private venture, they are living on the economy and, in essence, the public/private venture is building the houses that the economy doesn't have.
If we were to privatize all of our housing, the government would be out of the housing business and we, in the Department of the Navy, would like that.
We find, in our process, it is always difficult to keep the houses: number one, properly repaired
Mr. TAYLOR. If I may, Mr. Secretary?
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. If we are doing our job, someone is going to pay to maintain these buildings; either us or the private sector. And that is what troubles me, is just this admission, apparently, on the part of this Administration and to a certain extent, the previous Administration, that we just can't do it as good as the private sector.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I don't buy that.
Secretary JOHNSON. Well, we can give you 100 examples of how it works at public/private venture versus MILCON.
First of all, we are a partner in the public/private venture; cannot be over 45 percent or so but we are 30 to 40 percent partner in all of those. And, when a house is empty, it is filled within three days, in the MILCON, a month or two we get it filled.
When there is a problem it is fixed by the partnership very, very quickly because that is the way the private sector does it. Is it a strike against us?
These two gentlemen on my left and right: yes. But, the motivation isn't there in the public/private venture; they don't get paid unless the house is filled.
And it is amazing the motivation that goes with that. And our people get better housing, it is sustained, it becomes a self-sustaining entitlement.
It will continue as opposed to every so often we have to come to you and say, ''Give us money to build more housing.''
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, if I may?
Mr. Secretary, I have been made aware by the citizens of Jackson County, Mississippi, where homeport Pascagoula is. And they have, like every community that has a base, they have some very real concerns that they may end up in the crosshairs just like every community is afraid of ending up in the crosshairs. Their concerns are heightened by some language that went to the creation of the homeport in the first place.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
That plot of land was donated by the state of Mississippi as was the causeway to connect that plot, that island, to the mainland. The services were donated by Jackson County, the water, sewer and the electrical hookups.
So they have substantial investment.
The language that was agreed upon in the 1986 timeframe or so said that if that facility was closed, that the only way the state of Mississippi could get its property back is if they reimbursed the government for the total expenditures on that island by the government.
I realize I wasn't here; probably made sense at the time, but it kind of strikes me, having seen so many properties reverted to so many places for free as in Vieques, and what could well be getting ready to happen at Roosevelt Roads, I think that is unfairly singling out a community.
And, I am going to ask you, on behalf of the people of south Mississippi, to take a look at that.
Our first choice is, I hope you know and I will scream it at the top of the mountain tops, we want the Navy to stay.
Should the Navy decide to leave us, then I think in fairness we would like the same sort of deal that my Puerto Rican colleagues got and folks all around the country got, including the New Yorkers who got a $.5 billion piece of property at Governor's Island for $1.00.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We would just like the same deal they had. And I would ask you to look into that.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, Sir. First of all, I know the people of Pascagoula are: one, are defending keeping the base
Mr. TAYLOR. And that is our highest priority. That is our wish.
Secretary JOHNSON. If it were to be considered, we obviously would look at those arrangements, made a few years ago.
I am not sure why they were made but I have been made aware as you pointed out, but I am sure we would look at those.
But I don't mean to be argumentative.
Mr. TAYLOR. I am not asking you to be argumentative.
Secretary JOHNSON. I am not talking about Pascagoula now but we, in the last couple of years, have been very, very successful in selling property, and the community is better off when we do that.
I am not talking about Pascagoula but Roosevelt Roads; every intent of selling that. Vieques; we gave that, as directed by the Congress, to the Department of Interior.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We did not give it to the people
Mr. TAYLOR. If I am not mistaken, on the western side some properties have been given at no cost
Secretary JOHNSON. Sir, I said in recent years.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay. Well, that is still fairly recent, sir.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, Sir. During my tenure.
Mr. TAYLOR. If you or someone from your staff could get back to me on that, I would greatly appreciate it.
Secretary JOHNSON. On which one, Pascagoula?
Mr. TAYLOR. On Pascagoula in particular, sir.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, Sir. We can do that but it is really not an issue unless Pascagoula has some reason
Mr. TAYLOR. To that point, Sir
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, Sir.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. TAYLOR. There is, in my district, unfortunately the Nation's most modern ammunition plant.
It was shut down in 1989, weeks after it was brought up to full production, and it has never really gotten back up to its full and best use. We would sure hate to see the same sort of thing happen at homeport Pascagoula.
I think everyone's worst scenario is a padlock on the island after the state of Mississippi paid $24 million to build that causeway and it just sits there.
Secretary JOHNSON. It is my understanding you own the
Mr. TAYLOR. That is what we are trying to prevent from ever happening.
Secretary JOHNSON. It is my understanding that the state owns the island and we are really only talking about the buildings and improvements.
Mr. TAYLOR. Which, for the state of Mississippi in this year's budget situation, $40 million is a heck of a lot of money to come up with, so
Secretary JOHNSON. Sir, my point is you have the keys to the island, so
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. TAYLOR. We would like to keep it that way.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, Sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. HEFLEY. Ms. Bordallo.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen, for testifying before our committee this afternoon.
Secretary Johnson, I want to thank you for your testimony.
I represent the territory of Guam, and I would like to say how much we appreciate the activity at Commander Naval Forces Marianas.
I am proud that we will have three submarines in Guam, and the community is ready to welcome home the crew of the USS Houston and their families.
The projects in the 2005 authorization will ensure that we have safe drinking water from the Fena Reservoir and that the wharfs in Apra Harbor meet the Navy's needs.
I think that Guam is truly showing its potential for the Navy and I want to do all that I can to encourage continued development to fully utilize our capacity.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I remember last year, we had a conversation about cleaning up after Typhoon Pongsona and cleaning up the Fena Reservoir and this looks like it is going on at this point.
In 1968, Mr. Secretary, Guam had 15,000 military personnel on the island and everyone felt very welcome. So, today we stand ready to welcome an increased military presence and I was wondering if you have any information, ball park figures, that you can give me as to what will be the numbers with the increased Navy activity, in the next couple of years?
Secretary JOHNSON. I can tell you for the record, the increase with the subs' homeport and that sort of thing.
I cannot tell you about anything that has not been decided yet, of course. But we can provide the numbers projected on the already approved programs. Yes, Madam.
Ms. BORDALLO. But we are on the radar and we are not going to be closed, are we?
Secretary JOHNSON. You are on the radar, certainly.
Ms. BORDALLO. Well, we had a couple of base closures a few years ago, and I don't think it was the right decision at the time because I feel Guam is strategically very important.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, I hope that
Secretary JOHNSON. You also had the one that was reversed.
Ms. BORDALLO. That is correct, that is correct. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, and I do have a letter I would want to share with you, some concerns of some of my constituents, after this hearing.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. McKean.
Mr. MCKEON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to thank you, gentlemen, for the job you are doing for our country and I wanted to mention; General Williams, I see on your resume that you spent some time at the Mountain Warfare Training Center.
General WILLIAMS. That is correct, Sir.
Mr. MCKEON. It is in my district now and I was up there and saw some of those Marines being trained in the snow. It was an interesting experience. How long were you there?
General WILLIAMS. I was there for 2 years, Sir, from 1983 to 1985. And it certainly was a highlight tour for me. The community and the involvement that we had in the community was just great for us.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And we also got started with a lot of the construction projects up there. During that time, I was certainly in on some of the planning for those, and I understand a lot of those came through to fruition as well as some of the housing for families, and with moving the families closer to the base.
So, I am looking forward to getting back for a visit. We are excited about what is going on up there, Sir.
Mr. MCKEON. First time I drove past and saw that housing, I couldn't figure what it was doing there, just kind of out in the middle of nowhere; you see this housing and then the base is back up behind it in the mountains there.
And I wanted to just mention a little bit about it because I think probably most members of the committee don't even know that this base exists.
It is a Mountain Warfare Training Center up in the high Sierras near Bridgeport, California. It is really out in nowhere but it is a very important facility that we have had since the Korean War.
And the commander was telling me that we lost a lot of people in Korea because of inadequate training facilities and equipment. They froze to death and they weren't use to fighting in those kinds of conditions.
And so they went and found this facility at that time and have been using it ever since; it has very high elevations, lots of snow. But they use it year-round; they can use it in the summer too and it is a unique facility because we don't own the land. It is owned by the Forest Service.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We use it in coexistence with them so they have people during the summer there fishing while they are doing their training.
And the commander said it was great because, like in Iraq now, we have to go in and work with the good guys and the bad guys.
So, they have to work around civilians, in addition too, while they are doing their training. And commander, it was really, really something. Tomorrow, we are going to take a walk to that peak.
They had a squad of young Marines that they had justthe sergeanthad dug a cave in the snow, and I climbed down in there and they had a young Marine from Texas.
He was lying on this shelf, a shelf built off the ground and put a candle in there to keep warm. I said, ''Ever seen snow before, Marine?'' He said, ''No, sir.'' I said, ''Is it cold?'' He said, ''Very, sir.''
But these Marines, when they finish that couple of weeks of training up in there, he said, ''They will be much better able to survive when they get to Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever they go because they will have the confidence.
They take them up there and they are there for 10 days.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They think that it is going to be less time than that and when they think they are going home then they put them out by themselves for three; give them a live rabbit and that is it. And they teach them how to catch their food, how to fish and whatever else.
And so I asked the sergeant, I said, ''What would you do?'' I said, ''How long you been here?'' And he said, ''Two years.''
And I said, ''What would you do?'' He says, ''First thing, I would get off the mountain out of the snow.'' But it will give them that opportunity.
But the thing is, they build confidence, they build people that are going to be able to survive when it really counts and that is an important base. If we ever get a chance, that is a place that we ought to go out and visit. It is well off the beaten track, but a very important part of our training.
And they have done a great job there with the housing and the facilities.
And they have a full time officer there working on the environment to make sure that they don't do anything to harm the environment. They just do an outstanding job, and I just wanted to mention a little bit about that base.
And again, thank you for all you do.
General WILLIAMS. Thank you, sir.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Reyes.
Mr. REYES. Well, thank you gentlemen and the only thing that I have to say is that I am going to get a hold of the Naval Inspector General for doubly torturing a poor Texan, first going to California, second, putting him in that extreme environment.
And I really don't have any questions. Thank you very much, gentlemen.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mrs. Davis.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you, thank you very much to all of you for being here.
Well, one thing I know is that we really didn't torture you when you were in San Diego.
General WILLIAMS. No, Madam, it did not.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you all very much for your service and I appreciate the fact that we have talked about the need to make sure that we have barracks for our single sailors. That is very important and we are very well aware of that in San Diego.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You mentioned San Diego, but I wanted to just clarify, in terms of the status.
We have three aircraft carriers, as you know in San Diego, and I know there are plans to build barracks for the single sailors on the carriers, but I just wanted to double check about whether or not, when the Department is planning to build these barracks because it is my understanding that those initiatives are not included in this budget.
I could be wrong. Could you clarify that?
Secretary JOHNSON. We have the capability, we have the authority and it was given to us through the public/private ventures.
One barracks is in the budget, as I recall, but the public/private venture is not there, but we have authority to do up to $150 million and that is our contribution in the Department of Defense.
We also have the authority to pay partial BAH, basic allowance for housing.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. What would it take then to get that in the budget? I mean if you have the authority for the $150 million?
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, we have the authority to do that. It has taken us longer than I would like and I will let Admiral Weaver tell you how he is going to get it done in six months.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Admiral WEAVER. Thanks to him, we are authorized and our goal right now is to bring San Diego forward as the first of three authorized sights, that the Congress has authorized us as pilots this coming year.
And we expect to have that initiative over here through the appropriate staffing relatively soon. But San Diego will be the first of the PPVs.
Secretary JOHNSON. We have authority to do it but anytime we do a PPV we have to bring the project to you, and we have not done that yet, obviously.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Okay. Great, thank you. We have been so pleased in San Diego with the PPVs actually.
I know my colleague is gone now, but I have been quite amazed. Because you said that it takes three days to bring a new family in
Secretary JOHNSON. And that is because we paint it and clean and everything else.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Yes, if you have to paint it but I have seen them from morning until evening. We switch around and so that really is why we can do it.
That is why the cost is kept down and that is why the private sector is so interested in coming in. They have had a very good experience with it and we have really been pleased.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
It has made a tremendous difference in San Diego.
May I ask one other rather parochial question?
And it has to do with the total estimated cost for P759, Third Street gate on Coronado and whether or not it is in the FYDP and for which year. I don't expect that you have that at your fingertips but
Secretary JOHNSON. He has it, sure.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. You have it? Oh, Okay.
Admiral WEAVER. Madam, I am sorry I will have to bring that back to you.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Okay, great, because there was a question last time in terms of the estimated costs and we wanted to double check that.
Secretary JOHNSON. I know it is in there but I don't know about the cost. I know there has been a lot of discussion about how we route traffic and so forth.
I think we are on track but we will get back to you.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Okay, great, thank you. And, again, thank you very much for all that you have done.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Jones?
Mr. JONES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I noticed in the title for Secretary Johnson that the staff left off the words ''Marine Corps.''
It is my hope that this year when Secretary Johnson comes back, that we will have printed on the names of those on the panel the ''Assistant Secretary of the Navy and Marine Corps.''
Secretary JOHNSON. I have a badge that says I am a Marine civilian but I didn't bring it today, I am sorry.
Mr. JONES. Well, I am very hopeful that this year the House and the Senate will come together and see fit to bring the Marine Corps as part of the team.
Because every time, for 10 years, I have ever heard anybody at a panel like this one say, ''We are the fighting team. We are a team, we are a team.''
And I think the coach of the team, the secretary of the Navy or the assistant secretary of the Navy should carry the name of the complete team, the fighting team known as the Navy and Marine Corps fighting team.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So you would be the ''Assistant Secretary of the Navy and Marine Corps.''
So, that is my goal and I hope that my colleagues on this committee on both sides, as you have done before, you will support me again in that effort.
Secretary JOHNSON. I am a proud Marine father, Sir. So, does that count?
Mr. JONES. Well, the Lord has shown me what is right and wrong and I know that it is the right thing to do.
I would like to ask a question dealing with the depot at Cherry Point. I would ask the admiral first and then the general, Marine general second.
Are you pleased and satisfied with the relationship that has been forthcoming between the private sector and the public sector to do work at the Cherry Point Depot? Do you feel like things are going pretty well?
Could it be better?
Do you see any problems, anything you could share with us in this three or four minutes that I have?
Admiral WEAVER. Sir, I have to confess that at the outset, the depot work is a customer of mine.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In other words, the Naval Air Systems Command does that as my customer. I can't really talk about their output side but I know of no specific difficulties.
And I can get comments from Vice Admiral Massenburg for you and get back to you shortly.
Secretary JOHNSON. Okay.
General WILLIAMS. Sir, I recently took a visit down to Cherry Point, as I did all of the Marine Corps installations, starting from about October is when we got down there.
In speaking to the commanding general down there, General Flanagan, I would say that he could not be more pleased with the effort that is going on. We really saw no issues, no problems with the relationship.
The community appears to have a very nice relation; they are working very well together. They are aware of all the problems associated with having the installation there.
They work together on whether it be this or any other sort of issues, so I would say, in speaking with and basically relaying what I heard from him while I was visiting there, I would say the relationship is very good.
Mr. JONES. General Williams, thank you. Admiral, thank you as well.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
You know I was pleased to hear Chairman Hefley and, of course, my friend Mr. Taylor, who left just a few minutes ago, we are the ones that this House Armed Services Committee each and every year seems to be the true patriots when it comes to what we need as it relates to facilities.
And we always, as a committee, come together and say that there should be no round of BRAC anytime soon as long as we have war fighters over in Afghanistan and Iraq and possible threats in other parts of the world.
So, I was pleased to hear Chairman Hefley say that he felt that the Navy has taken enough hits and we will see what the future holds this coming year.
But, Mr. Chairman, on behalf of this congressman and Mr. Taylor, I was pleased to hear that. I just want to thank you for your observation. Just a couple of other points and I don't want to hold you.
But, Mr. Secretary of the Navy and Marine Corps Johnson, I would like to bring up, just very briefly, because you and I have had so many phone calls regarding the outlying landing field in eastern North Carolina.
I saw recently that Secretary Manson, who is the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Interior, came out with a public statement saying that he felt that the questions involving environmental concerns as the possiblein and around Lake Mattamuskeetthat he felt that the Navy had done an adequate job of trying to evaluate what type of problems would come for the pilots as well as the snow geese.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I would like to ask you, based on the environmental study that has been done, do you feel that the problems involving the F18 Super Hornets as well as all the planes that might be in that area as it relates to bird strikes that it will be at a minimum or do you feel that this could be a bigger problem than maybe has been discussed?
Secretary JOHNSON. We have looked at that very carefully and are certain that Secretary Manson supports what we are doing in the letter he sent.
He and I had talked about it a long time ago and he has been supportive all along. We are quite confident that we have no more bird threat there than elsewhere.
Interestingly, last Saturday we had a demonstration.
And we had three or four sites; we had members from Norfolk at three of them. One was in the bird sanctuary and an aircraft flew over, everybody heard the aircraft, the birds never changed what they were doing at all. There was no impact on the birds.
We will have to be careful when birds migrate and so forth, that we take the normal avoidance activities to keep from hitting birds, but we don't think it is a big issue, Sir.
Mr. JONES. Secretary, I might, in April if it could be worked out, would like to myself be on the ground with two or three of my constituents from Beaufort County.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Obviously the land that is being purchased is in Washington County that is Congressman Frank Ballance's district, and Beaufort County is in my district.
And I might like to ask for that same opportunity with a few people that I select that I think need to understand, I hope, that the noise will not be the problem that they anticipate.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, Sir. We will try to arrange one.
It is not as easy as you think because your planes come from California. We use the new airplanes as opposed to the current ones because those are the ones we will be using and they have a little higher level of noise.
But we will try to work that out and we are scheduled to visit with you on the 9th. I have been neglectful of Mr. Ballance and I ask that I visit with him also, Sir.
Mr. JONES. Thank you.
One other question, Mr. Chairman, then I will be finished.
I want to say to each and every one of you, as other members have said, that in this time of war over in Iraq and Afghanistan, we greatly appreciate the gift that so many families have given to protect freedom for the American people first, and then the Iraqi people second to the American people.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I don't think I have ever had an experience like I did back in April of 2003.
I attended the funeral of Michael Bitts, who was a Marine killed at Nazariah, and to be at the funeral with the wife who had three children; twins that were born after Michael was deployed.
And then since that time I have had a chance to hold Michael's twins as I visited the wife this past August, that I hope that we, as a Congress, and we as the American people fully appreciate our active duty national guard and our reserves.
And that this year, in the budget process, that we do what is necessary to make sure that the war fighters on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq know that this government does support them.
So, with that, Mr. Chairman, I will yield back my time.
Secretary JOHNSON. And if I may say, we certainly appreciate your concerns and all of the Congress supporting our men and women in harm's way.
Mr. JONES. Thank you, Sir. Thank you.
Mr. HEFLEY. I appreciate you saying that, Mr. Jones. I think all of us feel that way very, very strongly.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
General Williams, when we started this effort back nine years ago to upgrade the military housing and we found we were in a deplorable situation; we were housing some of our people in third world conditions and we decided part of the whole privatization thing was the decision that we wouldn't get from here to there with MILCON.
But we asked each of the services to estimate how far behind they were in modernization, and I have forgotten all the numbers.
It comes to me that maybe the Navy wasI don't know, Secretary Johnson10 years behind or something? It seemed like the Army was more like 20.
The Marine Corps was the worst in terms of where they were; I want to say 40 years to bring them up to standards.
In these nine years, have you caught up with the other services? I know all your needs have not been met; any of the services have been met yet.
But have you kind of caught up with the rest of the services or would you still be behind the rest of the services in terms of the modernization for housing?
General WILLIAMS. Of course my estimation is maybe biased because I don't have the numbers of all the other services, but I think that we have caught up and probably surpassed even some of the other services in our particular housing, using PPV.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman, you are certainly correct.
When we started this, we had an inordinate amount of inadequate housing we were putting our families into and, of course, the goal has been set to eliminate the inadequate housing.
The Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) goal was for us to have eliminated it by fiscal year 2007, to actually eliminate those.
With our program we, in fact, will eliminate our inadequate housing in 2007 if we stay on track.
Again, the PPV cap that we have been talking about is certainly key and critical to us being able to stay on track to that goal. But right now we are, in fact, on track.
At the end of 2005, if the budget stays the way it is, we will have about approximately 3,900 inadequate homes at that time. And that is a decrease; we were at about over 9,000 just a couple of years ago.
So, again, we had this very significant PPV project that I talked about earlier.
In our 2005 program we have PPV projects for about 5,500 homes and that is what gets us down again to meeting that goal in 2007.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And, again, if we don't get some relief from that, then we are looking at probably 2013 before we are able to get out of the inadequate housing.
So, I think we have done quite well.
Secretary JOHNSON. The Marine Corps has taken advantage of the public/private venture more than anyone else. At the end of the future 2005 year plan, if you will, 95 percent of their houses will be PPV.
And we are honored today, to have the person that is behind that, she made it all happen: Karen Ayers, stand up. She is a lady who went out and took care of Marine housing and really has used the PPV.
Mr. HEFLEY. Karen, we are proud of you for doing that because it was apparent back then, when we started this, that the Marine Corps had other priorities; you do have other priorities: you are training people to go fight places and so forth.
And you didn't have the same priorities as some of the others but all of them were behind and all of it was bad and I am very, very pleased that you finally got some adult supervision in the Marine Corps here who could bring you along.
Secretary JOHNSON. Be careful. Her father went to the National War College with me so she is like my daughter, age wise.
Mr. HEFLEY. Oh, I see. Well, we are delighted that that has improved and I would assume that also, for the non-married; the barracks and so forth, you are moving along on those standards as well, in the same sense.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
General WILLIAMS. Yes, Sir. That is exactly right.
We will be out of the old gang head barracks in 2005, which will be the last time we will be occupying those and we will be out of the inadequate barracks at that time.
We are moving and we have approximately $75 million that is devoted to bachelor enlisted quarters in 2005 and we will begin to work on the deficits as well as the inadequate ones we have.
I think we are making tremendous progress.
Mr. HEFLEY. Well, that is very encouraging and I am glad to hear that report. And I am also very glad to hear from the Navy that you are getting these kids off the boats.
Because, and I have told you privately, this is one of the things they complain to me about when I go see them.
They will use their boats for their homes when they are deployed and they understand that and that is perfectly alright.
But when they are home, they don't want to stay on those boats and when you look at the facilities, you don't blame them.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You wouldn't, Admiral Weaver, I wouldn't, so I am glad you are moving in that direction.
This was kind of a crusade that some of us on this committee had, is to get these people who dedicate their lives to us in uniform, better places to live and work.
Places where they can feel comfortable, when we do deploy them, that their families are being properly taken care of as well. And you have done a good job and you have moved along.
We have got to do everything we can, with your help, to raise that cap so that we don't slow this thing up. That would be terrible if we slowed it up at this point, I think.
Well, thank you.
Any further questions?
Well, thank you very, very much. We appreciate it and it is very helpful.
Committee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:21 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]