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[H.A.S.C. No. 109–55]








MARCH 8, 2006

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JIM SAXTON, New Jersey, Chairman
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania

MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
ADAM SMITH, Washington
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
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RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM COOPER, Tennessee

Tom Hawley,Professional Staff Member
Brian Anderson, Staff Assistant



    Wednesday, March 8, 2006, Special Operations Command: Transforming for the Long War

    Wednesday, March 8, 2006



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    Meehan, Hon. Martin T., a Representative from Massachusetts, Ranking Member, Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee

    Saxton, Hon. Jim, a Representative from New Jersey, Chairman, Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee


    Brown, Gen. Bryan D., UCommander, U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Army

    O'Connell, Hon. Thomas, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict



O'Connell, Hon. Thomas

[The Documents submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Posture Statement 2006, United States Special Operations Command

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[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]


House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, March 8, 2006.

    The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 3:01 p.m., in room 2212, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Jim Saxton (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.


    Mr. SAXTON. Okay, we are going to get started. At the outset, thank you all for being here.

    And, as I am sure all the members know, and I know that the witnesses know, there are going to be a series of votes—there actually six votes that start somewhere between 10 after and 20 after. So, unfortunately, we will have to take a break for that.

    The subcommittee meets this afternoon to consider the fiscal year 2007 budget request for the U.S. Special Operations Command. We all fully understand that the annual SOCOM oversight hearing is one of the most important sessions we conduct each year.
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    Not only in the U.S. Special Operations Command the lead command in the ongoing and, in all likelihood, perpetual war against terror, the command is slated to begin a period of significant growth this year, based upon conclusions of the QDR, Quadrennial Defense Review.

    The QDR released in conjunction with the President's fiscal year 2007 budget request places considerable emphasis upon special operating forces, generally finding—and I am very pleased to oversimplify here that the United States military has adequate capability to defeat any adversary on a conventional battlefield but lacks the resources necessary to effectively conduct a panoply of special operations missions necessary around the globe.

    This is truly a long war, maybe even a perpetual war, as I stated earlier. SOCOM has concentrated and performed magnificently in Iraq and Afghanistan, but has had to neglect to some degree other critical areas of the world to execute its urgent combat missions.

    To remedy that shortfall, the QDR and the fiscal year 2007 budget begins to fund several key initiatives. The most dramatic would increase the size of SOCOM by over 13,000 personnel, or 25 percent, by fiscal year 2011; 2,600 of that number are part of the newest element of SOCOM, the Marine Corps Special Operations Command. The growth is projected in Army Green Beret and Navy SEAL units, as well.

    Additionally, the SOCOM budget is projected to increase almost 20 percent over the fiscal year 2006 appropriation to cover to over $8 billion. When one considers that, just 4 years ago, SOCOM's budget was $5 billion, the command has received significant new funding, a 60 percent increase since fiscal year 2003, if inflation is ignored.
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    We all realize that great challenges come with an expanding budget, an expanding mission, and most importantly, conducting a tough war on multiple fronts against a clever, vicious, persistent enemy.

    To my mind, the intrepid warriors and great leaders of the command are up to the task. I believe, as one member, that the money we have spent and proposed to spend on SOCOM is money well-spent.

    In fact, I cannot think of a higher priority for funding anywhere in the Federal Government than the SOCOM budget. It represents a direct investment in keeping America and Americans safe here at home.

    I have traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan a number of times over the last 3 years and am always impressed by the quiet, professional resolve and courage of our special forces. They are truly remarkable men and women, anonymously protecting us from the scourge of terrorism. And I am proud to be associated with them in some small way.

    Although the focus of the hearing will be on the QDR and associated resource questions, we will consider other matters, as well.

    I would like to get our witnesses' views on the record of the sustainability of SOCOM's elite manpower, in light of the fierce competition for the skills of experienced operators and projected growth of the force.

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    Additionally, I am also interested in exploring the interagency piece of the equation. The global war requires a unified U.S. Government effort across all departments, and this goes outside, incidentally, of the Department of Defense.

    I would like to hear the witnesses' views on how well that effort is going, both here in Washington and in the field operations, and what we may need to do to help.

    Secretary O'Connell, General Brown, we truly are here to help you and the warriors under your command, and we look forward to your testimony.

    With that, I would like to yield to my friend and colleague, the ranking member, Mr. Meehan, from the great state of Massachusetts.


    Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    And let me join you in welcoming our witnesses, Secretary O'Connell and General Brown.

    Mr. Chairman, as you mentioned in your statement, today's hearing is critically important. The Quadrennial Defense Review reaffirmed the critical role that this nation's special operations forces are playing in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and around the world.
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    Special Operations Command, as you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, is poised to receive yet another boost in its funding, resources and capability. The budget request before us includes a nearly 20 percent increase over the current year, with proposed increases for additional equipment and personnel.

    Most important, this budget request includes a plan to reorient the command from its current focus on Iraq and Afghanistan to include other areas around the globe, in essence putting the global back into the global war on terror.

    While I conceptually support the move to improve the command's ability to fight the long war against terrorism, I remain concerned about the nature and extent of the proposed additions and the backdrop against what these initiatives will be considered.

    Our forces, especially our special operations forces, have been stretched and strained, as the uniform rank and file find itself spending ever-increasing amounts of time away from home, for training, and mission assignments. At present, recruitment and retention efforts are challenges.

    Even more so, I think it is important that individual standards not be sacrificed. Equipment is experiencing unanticipated rates of wear and tear, given the fact that we have had so much of this equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan for longer periods of times than had been anticipated or planned for.

    The command is under investigation by the DOD's Office of Inspector General due to allegations of improper acquisition practices. The rumors abound about the elimination of the command, civilian, policymaking, and immediate oversight for the Office of Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict.
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    In my mind, any robust increase in capability must be balanced against the challenges facing the command. Furthermore, given the present challenges, I think any move to reduce civilian oversight at this time would be a mistake.

    As we continue to consider novel approaches in the fight against terrorist networks, the need for and importance of quality policymaking expertise will only grow.

    In addition to that, I am concerned and would like to hear specifics relative to our efforts to coordinate our intelligence gathering with the various agencies, specifically the CIA and the expansion of the DOD's capabilities.

    If we learned anything from 9/11, it is that we have to make sure that we analyze our intelligence and coordinate it in a way that has various agencies working with one another. And I don't think that passing a piece of legislation necessarily changes the culture of organizations or institutions within the Federal Government, so I am interested in how that effort is going.

    Again, Mr. Chairman, I am pleased that we are holding today's hearing. I look forward to hearing distinguished witnesses. I thank them for their service to the country and to the Congress.

    Thank you.

    Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Marty.
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    We have two great leaders here as witnesses today. And before I introduce them, I have a quick unanimous consent request.

    After consultation with the minority, I now ask unanimous consent that Mr. Simmons of Connecticut, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, be allowed to participate in today's terrorism subcommittee hearing and be authorized to question the witnesses. Mr. Simmons will be recognized at the conclusion of questioning by members of the terrorism subcommittee.

    Hearing no objection, it is so ordered.

    We have, as I mentioned a minute ago, one panel, consisting of two great leaders: one, General Bryan D. Doug Brown, commander of the United States Special Operations Command; and, second, the honorable Thomas W. O'Connell, assistant secretary of defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict.

    Gentlemen, welcome. Thank you for taking time to be here with us today. And you may proceed as you see fit.


    Secretary O'CONNELL. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify about our nation's special operations status and aspects of our current special operations forces, or SOF, posture that allow the United States Special Operations Command to play a leading role in our nation's current campaigns.
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    Sir, as you know, Title 10, Section 138 requires my position to provide civilian oversight of special operations activities of the Department of Defense. I attempt to ensure that our SOF are appropriately tasked and employed and that senior policymakers, to include our interagency partners, understand their capabilities, as well as their limitations.

    Not only am I an advocate of the U.S. Special Operations Command and our special operations forces, I am also dedicated to ensuring our elements continue to be the best-trained, best-equipped, most flexible and effective fighting force available to our country.

    I consult closely with my friend, General Brown, on a wide range of policy issues and participate in his board of directors meetings, which is the command's executive body to develop resource and programs.

    This effort produces a SOF program and budget that stresses force readiness and sustainability, provides sufficient force structure to meet the demands of not only the geographic combatant commanders, but General Brown, as his role as a supported commander in the global war on terror.

    And I would like to recognize the superb efforts of General Brown's deputy commander, Vice Admiral Eric Olsen, for his SOCOM's team work on the Quadrennial Defense Review. SOCOM was well-prepared by General Brown to present an objective blueprint for SOF growth and posture.

    They put a combatant commander's fingerprints on their effort, rather than assistant secretaries. And I believe they were highly successful in negotiating the challenges of the Pentagon QDR process.
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    A key component of that strategy has been the unwavering support of members of this committee, the full House and Senate, in delivering the necessary support, congressional oversight, and critical review for SOF programs and initiatives.

    We have had successes and, yes, some setbacks with our program, but I believe we have taken a prudent course in building capacity.

    Let me address what that capability might look like as we move forward with this international struggle. We are faced by a network, sometimes structured, of radical extremists who inflict terror with no concern for their innocent victims. These networks will migrate to places where they can survive, operate and grow.

    Our challenge then is to develop counternetworks to monitor, isolate, disrupt and destroy hostile elements. SOCOM has started this process. Through an ingenious series of liaison elements, interagency intelligence, and operation centers, and superb collection, analysis and direct-action nodes operating with partner nations, our SOF elements have performed successfully against high-value targets in the central command area of responsibility.

    Just as important, all our special forces, Army special forces, Army Rangers, Navy SEALS, and special boat units, Army Civil Affairs, Army Psychological Operations, Air Force special operations crews and staff, Air Force combat controllers and weather teams have served SOCOM requirements very well, from their counterinsurgency and foreign internal defense roles in Afghanistan and Iraq to their work in the Horn of Africa.

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    Most importantly, SOCOM forces operate in the only environment that can lead to success, which is a joint interagency combined coalition.

    My position in the Pentagon gives me a unique perspective on a number activities that are slowly but surely moving together to match national and military strategies.

    On the stability operations front, we have seen advances in authorities that will allow greater efforts in train and equip missions, peacekeeping initiatives and capacity building, while partnering with the Department of State.

    Section 1206 of the 2006 defense appropriations act permits the Department to work through the Joint Staff and combatant commanders closely to develop initiatives that can be implemented this year. Our counternarcotics portfolio provides very robust authorities that permit maximum flexibility for combatant commanders, as they develop tactics, techniques and procedures to combat smuggles, pirates, narcoterrorists, money launderers, et cetera.

    Our foreign counternarcotics training efforts are proving a valuable adjunct to our counterterrorism efforts. Our close partners from the British special operations forces now assist a key Afghan counternarcotics element that has been highly successful in seizures over the last year.

    Our resources and technology directorate has played a key role in assisting with the development of Major Force Program 11 budgets and continues superb supervision over the technical support working group managed through our combating terrorism technical support office.
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    Synergies have been developed that permitted real advancement in IED detection and defeat, as well as improving tagging, tracking and locating capabilities.

    Further, the Section 1208 authorities granted by Congress last year are being used effectively by the command to build indigenous capabilities essential to developing counternetworks. And we are going to get better and smarter at using them.

    Coupling these elements together with increasing SOF capability and a flexible basing and rotation strategy, we will meet the demands of the secretary, the President, as well as the Nation, as the unknown unfolds.

    As the command undergoes stressful periods of change during a shooting war, there will remain one constant: the importance of the special operator. In terms of missions performed and in the qualities of the individuals who undertake those missions, the special operator is truly unique and requires a different type of mindset on our end, in terms of planning and support.

    Our starting point has always been and must continue to be what we call the SOF truths. And I won't go over those, because I know General Brown will. These truths have been reaffirmed by the awe-inspiring performance of our special operations forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia, the Philippines and many other countries around the world.

    I hope that one day we may be able to fully tell their story. They cannot meet their mission requirements without the superb support of the secretary, the Department staff, the Joint Staff, and military departments. It is also with the support of Congress that SOCOM has moved so far and will continue to do so.
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    Sir, at this point, I would just like to skip over the citations on the President's budget, because they have already been mentioned by the chairman and ranking member.

    The 2007 increase is essential to support the department's QDR decision to increase SOF capability and capacity to conduct low-visibility, persistent-presence missions in a global, unconventional warfare campaign.

    I would like to thank this committee and the Congress for your support of our nation's special operations forces. Your continued interest and support of this budget will be essential to maintain the critical funding for SOCOM.

    I would like to conclude by highlighting the implications the posture programming and policy for SOF in the war on terrorism have for all aspects of our nation's defenses.

    Our special operators have often been the innovators for the larger military. And the SOF mindset has been the incubator of innovation; that is especially true today.

    With a shift from SOF being postured for reactive, regional contingencies to being a global, proactive and preemptive force, we are witnessing a key evolution in how we must conduct our security affairs in the future and address those ungoverned spaces and build capacity to deal with those who would harm our country.

    Most of all, we must realize that we are not in a battle of ideas; we are in a test of wills.
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    Finally, on a personal note repeated from last year, whenever possible, sir, I attend funerals of SOF personnel at Arlington National Cemetery. It is indeed a high honor to represent the Department of Defense.

    When I look into the eyes of the widows, children, parents and other relatives of our fallen heroes, I understand that there is no quit in their demeanor. We must honor their sacrifice and service; they are an important inspiration to all that witness their courage and spirit.

    Your support is critical to the success of our special operations forces. I thank you for your careful scrutiny of our program and budget. Together, we can continue to move our special operations forces into a position of prominence that will continue to press the fight against America's enemies.

    Thank you very much.

    [The prepared statement of Secretary O'Connell can be viewed in the hard copy.]

    Mr. SAXTON. Secretary O'Connell, thank you very much for very a good statement.

    General Brown, unfortunately, you have heard those buzzers. And we are going to have to break at this point. And that is probably better than interrupting your testimony in the middle, so thank you for your patience.
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    General BROWN. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. SAXTON. We are going to have six votes in this series. And so we will make sure you have whatever you need.

    Secretary O'CONNELL. Okay.

    General BROWN. Thank you, sir.


    Mr. SAXTON. Well, we will get started.

    General Brown, if you would like to——

    General BROWN. Sure.

    Mr. SAXTON [continuing]. Go ahead. And we are ready for your testimony.


    General BROWN. Yes, sir.
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    Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee, it is an honor to appear before this committee today to report on the posture of the nation's special operations forces.

    With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to make some remarks and submit a written posture for the record, which I have already done.

    I am privileged to be here with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, the Honorable Tom O'Connell, a great supporter of our special operations forces and someone who I have known and respected for many, many years.

    This is the most dynamic and successful time in the history of our special operations forces across the spectrum of our missions. The nature of the enemy has changed significantly and so has the United States Special Operations Command.

    The bottom line is that special operations forces today are far more capable than ever in history, but not as capable as they will be as we continue to grow and focus on the global war on terror.

    Today, we continue our increasingly important role of training, organizing and equipping our forces, as directed by the Congress in the Nunn-Cohen amendment, and we continue to do it very well. But in addition, we are also effectively accomplishing our global warfighting role.

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    In 2004 unified command plans signed in March of 2005, the President directed the United States Special Operations Command to be the Department of Defense lead combatant commander for planning, synchronizing, and, as directed, executing global operations against terrorist networks. These dual roles make SOCOM unique in the Department of Defense.

    Simultaneously, we are managing the biggest deployment of special operations forces in history, over 7,000 forces deployed today. For the United States Special Operations Command, that is big.

    The people of SOCOM are doing it all, and they are doing it very well. The proof is the great successes we have had around the world.

    Since 2001, the United States Special Operations Command has been the focus of at least five major studies, most recently the Downing Report, and mentioned in many, many more. The bottom line is they all say that SOCOM is on the right tracking, supporting our troops and our future, and we have made impressive gains since 2001.

    We have built the right processes, written the plans, and we are synchronizing the Department of Defense global war on terror.

    But let me highlight: No combatant commander is waiting on a plan. They are fighting al Qaeda and terrorist networks around the world every day and having success. Our planning efforts will just make it better.

    The 21st-century world has changed the battlefields on which we operate; even the word battlefield doesn't necessarily apply.
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    To meet the demands of the global war on terror, SOCOM, prior to the Quadrennial Defense Review, identified key areas for future growth in personnel and capabilities.

    Subsequently, the Quadrennial Defense Review validated our growth strategy, directing SOCOM to grow by nearly 13,000 people in all the right areas. This includes five special forces battalions, the key to our unconventional warfare capability.

    As highlighted in the Downing Report, our unconventional warfare capabilities have improved dramatically, and we have had a renewed emphasis on developing unconventional warfare skills for what we believe in the long war.

    The QDR increases also include growing our Army Rangers, support for Navy Special Warfare Command, significantly increasing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, including signals intelligence, and adding a new Predator squadron to our Air Force Special Operations Command, growth in the theater Special Operations Command, and dramatic growth in our civil affairs and psychological operations units, two forces that we see as critical enablers in the most important area of our strategy to win the global war on terror, as they provide unique capabilities in disseminating truthful information and eliminating underlying conditions that lead to terrorism.

    And 2 weeks ago, we activated SOCOM's newest component, the Marine Corps Special Operations Command, which eventually will add 2,600 Marines in key capabilities to SOCOM for the long-term global fight.

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    To ensure we continue to grow well-qualified forces, keep the special operations standard, and get special operators to the battlefield rapidly, we have dramatically enhanced our training institutions. For example, prior to 9/11, the JFK Special Warfare Center had an average production of 250 active-duty enlisted students per year.

    To meet the critical need for special operations forces in the global war on terror, Army Special Operations Command completely restructured the course in 2004, added resources, increased the language requirement for graduation, and set a goal of graduating 750 students in 2006, an ambitious goal and one that we surpassed in 2005, graduating 791 enlisted Green Berets, all at a higher standard of excellence than any previous graduates.

    This growth is vital. For the near future, aggressors would be foolish to take on our world-class Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Therefore, they will use asymmetric warfare. And special operations forces are your asymmetric capability to fight back; SOF's unique skills will be critical for the long-term fight.

    Today, United States Special Operations Command is partnering with the unified combatant commanders, our allies, in our interagency to build a foundation for a world that will be inhospitable to terrorism.

    Our Title 10 responsibility is to train, organize and equip special operations forces, when combined with our authority to lead the global war on terror, makes SOCOM uniquely agile and adaptable force best able to rapidly adjust to the emerging terrorist threats.

    I want to thank you and the members of the House Armed Services Committee for your continued support of our soldiers, sailor, airmen and now Marines, and our great DOD civilians in the SOCOM families. The support of this committee, including your field visits and those of your staffers, and the support of the secretary of Defense help ensure United States Special Operations Command remains the world's most capable special operations force.
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    Before ending, I would like to introduce the new senior enlisted adviser for all special operations forces, Command Sergeant Major Tom Smith.


    Tom is a Green Beret coming from Pacific Command, Special Operations Command, Pacific. And we are glad to have him.

    I would be glad to answer your questions.

    Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, General Brown and Secretary O'Connell. We appreciate your being here again.

    Let me lead off with a question that we have talked about in the past and continues to be unsettled in my mind. Both the QDR and the National Military Strategic Plan for the war on terrorism place SOCOM squarely in the leading role in fighting this war.

    Not long ago, I wrote a letter to Secretary Rumsfeld asking for a definition of the term ''synchronizing,'' which appears in that language. In other words, you have the responsibility and play the role of synchronizing the efforts of the military, but as the lead agency in theater.

    Now, that means that General Abizaid plays a role, as the combatant commander, General Casey plays a role, as the lead in country, and I am curious about what your role is.
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    And further, could you tell us what we need to know about synchronizing the efforts of SOCOM and other combatant commanders, plus other players in the Federal Government, like the Department of State and Department of Justice?

    General BROWN. It is a great question. Thank you very much, sir.

    The exact definition for synchronize by the Joint Chiefs of Staff Publication (JCS Pub) is the authority to synchronize the campaign means that we are responsible for arranging actions of combatant commanders and combat-support agencies in time, space and purpose to achieve unity of effort and the best effect.

    In fact, as the secretary of defense has designated the commander of U.S. SOCOM and given me the authority to direct these actions of all DOD participants, all planning activities, priorities of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability, designating the countries or the areas where forces will work, not only special operations forces but identifying those priority areas where we think we need to put forces to take on the global war on terror, a force selection of what kind forces they will use to do that, mission activities.

    Traditionally, the GCCs or the global combatant commanders run those operations in their Areas of Responsibility (AORs). But I think it is more than a nuance.

    If years ago you were to come down to SOCOM, we would have showed you a map and we would have said we deployed forces in 135 countries that year. In those days, the combatant commanders would send a request through the JCS to SOCOM, and we would try and fill those.
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    It is different today. Today, the combatant commanders send in a request through the Joint Staff to SOCOM, but we pick where they go. And so we are going to much fewer countries, working in much fewer areas, but they are where we have designated as those key areas that special operations forces and Department of Defense forces should be operating for the global war on terror.

    We also validate force requirements. And we recommend global reallocation where necessary, where we have to move forces from one AOR to another.

    We do all this through a planning system that incorporates all of the defense agencies and the combatant commanders. We run a collaborative planning environment with all of them that we have designed and is working.

    We just completed our global synchronization conference last week. We also have managed to pull in the allies through a bunch of our efforts that included our global special operations conference in Tampa last year. We also did a global Defense Acquisition Technology (DAT) conference in Tampa last year.

    And so we are pulling all of these pieces together. Today I have over 100 representatives in my headquarters from other agencies, not all from the interagency, some from the DOD agencies, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). And we have got National Security Agency (NSA) representatives in there. We have the National Guard Association (NGA). Of course, we have NDI reps, CIA representatives.

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    We have got a real good team down there of over 100 other agencies that are represented that help us do this global synchronization, and go back out to all of those agencies to do all of those things I mentioned on how we prioritize it.

    We do it all through a set of plans. And those plans are nested under the plans that are developed up here on the Joint Staff. And they are complementary.

    And all the GCCs then write plans based on the task that we give them in plan. We direct that that GCC will perform this task. They then come back to us with a plan for how they do that task. We will allocate them forces, and they will go do that task.

    But additionally in the UCP, it gave us the authority to work globally, if necessary, as the supported commander. So I think the entire set-up right now—and we are doing very, very well on the planning aspect of it—I think it is a very efficient set-up. And SOCOM is, in fact, in charge of the global war on terror.

    Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.

    Let me just follow up with one other question. Are there instances where the Department of State has to approve certain activities that you might be engaged in or that the Army generally might be engaged in?

    General BROWN. There are processes that we will have to go into, such as—a good example is deploying our military liaison elements.

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    We never, ever deploy any forces into a country without the approval of the embassy. We never have and never will. We deploy them only after coordination through the process of country clearance with an embassy. So that is an example of where we would interface with the State Department to request country clearance for our forces to move in or out of a country.

    Mr. SAXTON. In other words, if our forces in Afghanistan happen to have an opportunity to accomplish a mission across the border in Pakistan, prior to that taking place, discussions and procedures would be discussed with the American ambassador in Pakistan in order to permit us to do that?

    General BROWN. I would say yes. That is a better question for General Abizaid, but I would certainly say that the U.S. embassy in Pakistan would be informed and be in the discussion.

    Mr. SAXTON. Last month, the new Marine Corps Special Operations Command was activated. And I was proud to be there.

    General BROWN. Thank you for being there, sir.

    Mr. SAXTON. What sorts of missions will Marines perform? And when will the new MARSOC, which is the acronym for Marine Special Operations Command, units become operationally capable?

    General BROWN. The first units are operationally capable, and those are the foreign military training units. And the first ones of those we will start deploying in April. And by the end of the year, we will also deploy our first Marine Corps special operations companies, and those will sail on the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEUs), thereby making a Marine Expeditionary Unit Special Operations Command (MEUSOC).
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    So the kind of functions that they will perform and the four military training units are have a language capability, operate in small teams, and will be very valuable to us to go into areas and train host-nation forces to better defend their borders and to better eliminate terrorist activities in the traditional foreign internal defense mission that we routinely do today.

    We are not doing much of that around the world or as much as we would like around the world, simply because of our commitment to the Central Command (CENTCOM) AOR. This will give us additional capability.

    These are not to the level of a special forces A-team yet. But they do have language capability, and they will go in and do the lower-level training.

    They will not be in a foreign country training the national counterterrorism force; you might find a special forces unit do that sometime. These will train the rank and file and help them establish a military capability in the country.

    That is a foreign military training unit. That is one piece of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command.

    There will be part of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command that are made up of enablers. They will bring us additional signal intelligence (SIGINT), which the Marine Corps is traditionally very, very good at. So we are anxious to get those guys up and running.

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    And all these will be phased in over the next couple of years, until we have the entire MARSOC up and running. But they will bring SIGINT. They will bring additional logistics support. They will bring some communications support. They will bring a small Human Intelligence (HUMINT) piece with them.

    They will bring some other functions, all of the enablers that will support the Marine Corps component, but will also be available for all the special operations to fill some of those areas where we don't have sufficient capability today.

    And the last one is what was formerly called the Maritime Special Purpose Force that sailed on a Marine expeditionary unit. And these are about 100-man companies that will be selected, assessed, organized, trained and equipped, and they will be equipped with SOF unique equipment, SOF tactics, techniques and procedures.

    They will then board the MEU and sail with the MEU, so that we now have an additional force that is forward in the AORs that will give special operations capability presence in a lot of areas that we don't have it today.

    I should note that all of these Marines, as we get them up and running—and we are already doing the selection and assessment process right now—will have the option to stay in Special Operations Command for their careers, just like our special operations forces do today.

    Now, some of them, much like our Army Rangers, will rotate back into the active force, because part of their charter is to do that—to share tactics, techniques and procedures with a conventional force and make sure we have got a good interflow of information.
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    So that will also take place. But for the most part, those Marines, when they come into Special Operations Command, will be just like the rest of the SOF forces. And they will be able to stay for the rest of their careers.

    Mr. SAXTON. And just one short curiosity, a quick question to satisfy my curiosity. You mentioned the selection process a minute or two ago. Could you just kind of describe the selection process?

    General BROWN. Yes, sir. What I did is I had the new Marine Corps component commander, General Denny Hejlik, who had previously worked at Special Operations Command, so he was familiar with it.

    But I had him go down to Fort Bragg and then go out to our basic underwater demolition school out at Coronado, California, and to look at both of those selection processes, and to model his selection process after the special operations process that selects Green Berets or SEALs.

    So it is much the same. It is slightly different for some Marine Corps issues, but it is slightly different. And it will continue to improve, just like everything else does.

    But those Marines will be selected. They will go through some sort of an assessment period. They will go before a board, and then those—they will have a chance to go through some specialized training that we will—SOF unique training. They will be trained with SOF unique equipment and then go into the force.
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    Mr. SAXTON. And I assume, like the other services, these will be people in the Marine Corps who volunteer and want to become members of the Special Operations Command?

    General BROWN. Yes, sir. And the truth is that today we are getting plenty of volunteers. This has been a very popular decision. And the phones are ringing off the hook for Marines that want to get into Special Operations Command.

    Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.

    Mr. Meehan?

    Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    General, the incident that is outlined in today's New York Times, in Paraguay, so that was an instance where probably people should have checked in with the ambassador before he—and I am not clear. It is just a matter of they should have checked in, presumably?

    General BROWN. Sir, I would probably need to go back and reveal all the details of that. It is been some time since that happened. As a matter of fact, we had some folks go down, and visit the embassy, and make sure that everybody was doing exactly what they are supposed to do.

    I don't know for a fact that they hadn't checked in with the embassy. And I think if I went back and checked the facts, I would find that they did. Because, as a matter of course for all of our forces and through my entire history in Special Operations Command, we have never deployed to a country without getting a country clearance, which would have been required for them.
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    I guess the answer is I just don't know.

    Mr. MEEHAN. The Marine Liaison Element (MLE) concept, how does it fit into the overall intelligence community construct, headed by Ambassador Negroponte over at National Intelligence?

    General BROWN. The MLE concept, sir, was developed at Special Operations Command several years ago with the intent of providing a situational awareness out in key areas around the world.

    They work for the geographic combatant commanders through his theater Special Operations Command. We train them. We organize, equip them. And we prepare them before they go out.

    They work in the embassies. And their job is making sure that they have situational awareness of everything going on in that country or that region, depending upon where they are.

    Every one of them has different responsibilities and requirements. They work very closely with the chief of station, and they understand the duties and the responsibilities of the chief of mission. And for the most part, where we have them operating today, they have been very, very successful.

    Mr. MEEHAN. And the coordination with the CIA and other intelligence organizations, if you could just——
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    General BROWN. Good point. I failed to mention that. Prior to us ever deploying the first MLEs, we briefed it to the Director of Central Intelligence at that time. And we got his great support.

    I still talk to Mr. Goss routinely about the MLE, and he is very, very supportive of that concept. Additionally at that time, the State Department sent out a cable to all its stations saying this is a great idea, we should support this concept.

    And while there is, just like everything else, there is occasion where there is a bump in the road here and there. For the most part, it is very good coordination between us and the chief of mission and the chief of station.

    Mr. MEEHAN. You have developed a 600-page strategy that I, at least according to the Times, that Secretary Rumsfeld is looking at and is suspected to approve. What steps will you take, in addition to meetings with the director, to sort of tell the other agency on what that strategy is and how it will be coordinated with the CIA and other organizations?

    General BROWN. We have got a global war on terror strategy that we have been working on for some time now. And as I said in my opening comments, nobody is waiting on that plan to—none of the GCCs or combatant commanders are waiting on that plan to go out and start doing the global war on terror missions in their AORs or their areas of responsibility, if they are not a geographic combatant commander.

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    So we continue to work with the secretary to get this plan signed. It is a good plan. We have spent a lot of time working with all of the interagency partners, which I mentioned I have 100 in my headquarters that help us write this plan and work on those kind of things.

    I also have Liaison Offices (LNOs) in Washington in the interagency that help us make sure that that communication—you can't have LNOs just go one way until we have got them both ways.

    And we just finished our synchronization conference in Tampa, where all the interagency was in, all the leadership was in, flag officer review. So there is a set process for getting these plans approved; part of that includes interagency coordination and general flag officer level coordination at the highest levels.

    We are continuing to do those things. This is a plan that, quite frankly, gives great credit and credence to the requirement for interagency cooperation. And so we will continue to work very hard to make sure that happens properly.

    Mr. MEEHAN. And I am curious, the counterterrorism that you have, could you briefly provide your view on success, the key to success, in terms of the war on terrorism?

    And I am particularly interested in the balancing of sort of direct action, and those efforts to sort of try to win the hearts and minds of people. And how you balance that—you know, obviously, it depends on the situation in the country and the rest of it——
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    General BROWN. Yes, sir.

    Mr. MEEHAN. But I was wondering, just from your own strategic perspective, how do they balance and how do they work, those two concepts?

    General BROWN. Well, sir, the number-one requirement is to defend the homeland. And so sometimes that requires that you find and capture or kill terrorist targets around the world that are trying to do harm to this nation. So that is a key piece of the strategy.

    But maybe more importantly—and I would say more importantly—is our foreign partners that are willing but incapable nations that want help in building their own capability to defend their borders and eliminate terrorism in their countries or in their regions.

    So that is a key part of the plan, getting out and helping out partners be able to do that piece of it. And then there is the elimination of underlying conditions. And that is a U.S. Government effort; it is not a SOCOM or Department of Defense effort. It all the interagency to be involved in all pieces of this, but DOD some more than others.

    And the reduction or elimination of underlying conditions is a key in this plan. I think that is more important than the direct action piece, but the direct action piece is very necessary immediately to defend the homeland. And so our plan encompasses all of those pieces.

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    That is why, sir, our civil affairs and psychological operations forces are so critical in this, because they do have those skills that allow them to go out, and build infrastructure, and get the truthful information out on the streets, and the elimination of underlying conditions.

    Mr. MEEHAN. And, finally, my last question, the coordination of these underlying conditions, do you feel that SOCOM has enough of a role or is the effort coordinated? Now one of the challenges is to coordinate these efforts, because often they are intergovernmental agencies.

    General BROWN. That is the key. And we need to continue to work very, very hard on this interagency coordination piece in every one of those areas, but specifically the one you are talking about, sir. We need to continue to work very hard on that.

    We will, for the first time, have a representative and an LNO from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) down in Tampa at my headquarters soon to help us work through kind of issues, because we see them as extremely important.

    The interagency coordination piece of that is not as good as it could be. And we all understand that, and we are working it very hard.

    Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, General.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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    Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.

    We will go now to Mr. Hayes.

    Mr. HAYES. General Brown, Secretary O'Connell, thank you for being here. You mentioned the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Special Warfare School. Where is that?

    General BROWN. At Fort Bragg, North Carolina, sir.

    Mr. HAYES. I just wanted to make sure that my friends knew about that.

    Recently, General Wagner and others from Fort Bragg and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) came up and talked about the training of the Iraqi counterterrorism forces, which I think is a significant success story that we fail to mention when we talk about the ongoing and continued success of training up the Iraqis.

    Would you comment on that? And you might want to include the successful rescue by the Iraqi forces in the last day or two that have been trained by the U.S. forces.

    Secretary O'CONNELL. Let me just take a moment. I happened to be in Iraq when General Brown's forces were going through the first days of selection and training of that very force that you are talking about, sir. And to see where they have come now is truly amazing.

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    One of the things that Army special forces do particularly well is to train. And to go back to Representative Meehan's question, some of the ability to provide capacity in ungoverned areas will come from the unique ability that in particular Army special forces have to provide to foreign internal defense and unconventional warfare mission.

    General BROWN. Sir, I have been over and visited many times. I have had the commander of the Iraqi counterterrorism force to Tampa for our SOF conference, where he talked through how well it was going.

    I just recently went over and visited him again, and I would agree with Mr. O'Connell. They are making unbelievable progress. And today they are an extremely viable and very capable force on the battlefield.

    They have been trained by U.S. Army special operations forces and now a combined team with some U.S. Navy SEALs, as part of a combined training team with the Iraqi counterterrorism force. And they have performed many missions and done them very, very well.

    The latest you highlight, sir, was just reported in the press this morning, was the rescue of the Iraqi general, which they did and did very, very well.

    Mr. HAYES. And, again, significant to that, I think needs to be stressed, simply because I remember some time ago, if you go back to Afghanistan, the special forces A-teams who initially were featured on that ''60 Minutes'' program, from the inside out, working with the local, indigenous forces, were able to penetrate at a level and in a way that conventional out-front forces could not.
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    So I think that is a very positive aspect that we need to focus on. And also, the comments you made about the graduation of almost 700—well, not almost, 791 folks there at Fort Bragg. So we sure want to make sure that Secretary O'Connell and the Pentagon doesn't fail to ask for the proper supporting equipment, facilities and all that, so we can keep those folks properly equipped and trained.

    SOF Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) program, how is that going——

    General BROWN. Sir, the SCAR are going very, very well. We are about to make a decision on a low-rate production. We have had it out, tested it, shot a lot of rounds through it.

    As you know, there is a 556 version of it. There is a 762 version of it. There is a sniper rifle version of it. And additionally, there is a CQB or a close-quarters combat version of the SCAR program.

    So, while we haven't made any decisions yet, it is still in testing. We are still letting it get out in the hands of the users and let them make a decision, because it is a very, very important decision when you hand a SEAL or a Green Beret the rifle he is going to use going through the door.

    So we continue to test it. And so far, it is doing very far.

    Mr. HAYES. Use that scenario to comment in general on your rapid acquisition authority. And is that working well? And are we supporting you at the level that you need to be, whether it be combat assault rifle or whatever the case may be?
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    General BROWN. Sir, we are supported very well. And one of the things that is really helpful is the money that we have for what we call our combat mission needs.

    As part of our rapid acquisition process down in Tampa, we have a process, that if a combat mission need comes off the battlefield, we have 72 hours to make a decision what we are going to do about it.

    And so sometimes that requires reprogramming funds. And with the abilities that Congress has given us to do that, we can move very fast to provide troops on the battlefield the type of stuff that they need immediately.

    Mr. HAYES. Are we updating our aviation equipment, gun ships, that type of platform, rapidly enough? Does the C–130J lend itself to a gun ship application or are we better off with the older, shorter model?

    General BROWN. Sir, I think our helicopter programs are in good shape. It is not moving as fast as we would like, but I am not sure it can move much faster than as we have to make sure that we still have these SOF-capable aircraft on the battlefield and, at the same time, modernize our helicopter fleet.

    And the Army has been very, very gracious in giving us additional helicopters to put into the mod line, so we would not have to pull off of the battlefield immediately.

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    So our helicopter force and the rebuild of the 12 helicopters that we have lost so far in this war, that is going very well. I am very comfortable with the helicopter piece.

    The CV–22, I just went out and we had the first operational CV–22—not the test aircraft, the first operational aircraft—roll off the assembly line. I went out and was there for the reception of that new aircraft. We are excited about it; we are anxious to get it into the fight.

    This one will go into our training base, and we will start training our crews, although we already have them training down at Camp Lejeune and have for some time with the Marines.

    So I am happy with both of those pieces. I think that is going well. We would like to have the CV–22s much more rapidly than we are getting them, because we see CV–22 as an important tool in our kitbag here in the future.

    C–134s we need to take a hard look at. The AC–130U gun ships, which is our state-of-the-art gun ship, we have four new ones that we will field before 2007. That will help us.

    But we are dual-fleeted. We have H models and U models. It would be much easier management and much more capable, because pilots can't fly the other one's aircraft, and it requires retraining, and parts issues. And so the sooner we can get the U models in some sort of a pure-fleet configuration, that would be a good thing for us.

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    On our Combat Talons and our tankers, in all of our C–130's, we are flying them at a rate much, much greater than we were ever planned to fly them or were envisioned when we bought them.

    And so we are coming to a point, with all of these factors coming kind of to a crescendo here, where we are going to have to make some decisions on our Talon fleet and our tanker fleet.

    And the J model may be one of those, may be a good option as we drive those center wing box replacements, which we have to do—and I don't have the exact detail—but we have to do center wing box about a fourth of the time that a regular C–130 has to, because we fly them in much different environments.

    And so it may be time to take a look at the J model.

    Mr. HAYES. I appreciate it.

    I apologize to my colleagues for running over time.

    Thank you for the service and the information.

    General BROWN. Thank you, sir.

    Mr. SAXTON. We are going to go to Mr. Wilson next, but while we are on one—Mr. Hayes mentioned one subject that I think is really important, many subjects that are important. One in particular drew my interest, and that is the acquisition of the CV–22.
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    I understand that the Air Force, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), will ultimately have the capability of having 50.

    General BROWN. Yes, sir.

    Mr. SAXTON. How long will it take for AFSOC to have all 50?

    General BROWN. I am not sure when we have full FOC. I believe it is 2017.

    Is it 2014?

    The Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) tells me it is 2014. We can check that, and we will——

    Mr. SAXTON. The Marine Corps is going to acquire something like 350 or 360, and the Air Force, or AFSOC, will acquire 50.

    General BROWN. Yes, sir.

    Mr. SAXTON. The 50 being finally realized 11 years from now.

    General BROWN. Yes, sir.

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    Mr. SAXTON. I think that is a problem. And I would like to—and I will pursue whatever means that we can use to bring that date closer. I think that is very important.

    Mr. Wilson?

    Mr. WILSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    And, Mr. Secretary, General Brown, thank you very much for being here today.

    One of the highlights of my serving on the Armed Services Committee was a trip and tour of SOCOM facilities throughout the East Coast that Chairman Saxton put together. It really impressed me to see the young people serving, to see the high level of confidence.

    I served 31 years in the Army National Guard. I have never been prouder of the young people I saw serving. It was particularly impressive to me—and should be reassuring to the American people—to find out how multilingual many of these troops are. I mean, this is so impressive and, indeed, is providing for security for the American people.

    Additionally, I was very pleased to see that the Marine Corps will have a Special Operations Command. I am very grateful that, in the district that represent in South Carolina, Parris Island is located there.

    We are very proud that that—in fact, the nephew of our chairman is a graduate of Parris Island training, and in the tradition of my colleague to the right here, Congressman John Kline, who is one of the real champions as a Marine here in Congress. And I just can't think of a better fit than the Marine Corps and special operations.
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    It is been touched on, General Brown, by Congressman Hayes a moment ago in regard to the special operations combat assault rifle. In November 2004, U.S. SOCOM awarded a contract to FN HERSTAL after a full and open competition, where there were nine entries that competed.

    General BROWN. Yes, sir.

    Mr. WILSON. The SCAR and its modular grenade launcher were intended to correct deficiencies in current small arms that have emerged in the combat operations throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, the Middle East.

    The SCAR would replace five existing weapons that the special operations forces currently use, with an open-architecture platform for future enhancements in ammunition and further modularity.

    I understand there is a great deal of enthusiasm for the SCAR among both SOCOM's operational and acquisition personnel. What is SOCOM's funding and acquisition plan for SCAR?

    And can you tell us, in particular—and you alluded to a few minutes ago—can you tell me whether SOCOM supports the low-rate initial production for SCAR, or at least the procurement of a sufficient number of prototypes for operational field testing?

    General BROWN. Yes, sir. We can give you all of the funding and all of our plans. And we will be glad to do that. I would like to submit that for the record, if I could.
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    But all of acquisition decisions of those magnitudes are made by our board of directors. And so we have gone through a lot of testing. We are going through the program right now. Our board of directors will meet here in the next of couple of weeks, which Mr. O'Connell sits on, and we will go through soup to nuts on the SCAR, where it is, and if we want to start low-rate initial production.

    I think one of the keys in the SCAR, if I could mention it, is that I have been very, very hard on this program to ensure that the people that are testing it are real operators off of the teams and we are putting in their hands to take it to the range to shoot.

    And so that we don't have a test unit, we have the real operator that is going to eventually carry that weapon through the door, because it is a very, very emotional program.

    We can't make a mistake on this program; it is too important to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and now our Marines on the battlefield that we get them the right piece of equipment.

    Mr. WILSON. And I appreciate what you were saying, because it is so important for our troops. And another perspective I have as a Member of Congress, a veteran. I am also a parent. Three of my sons are currently in the military. One son served for a year in Iraq.

    And I particularly like your green uniform. And I have a fourth son who is applying for an Army ROTC scholarship this year. So hopefully by August we will have four serving. And I give all credit to my wife. [Laughter.]
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    And I now yield back to the chairman.

    General BROWN. Thank you very much, sir.

    And when he finishes ROTC, the Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg is looking for good folks to come down to be Green Berets.

    Mr. WILSON. Well, he would be a very talented young person to do that. Thank you.

    General BROWN. We will look for him, sir.

    Mr. SAXTON. We will go ahead and switch over to Colonel Kline at this point.

    Mr. KLINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I don't know where to go with all this, Joe.

    But thank you, gentlemen, for being here today. I want to do just a couple of comments, and then I want to get down to a personnel question.

    One, General Brown, I know from my own experience that the Marine Corps thinks they have been sending out MUSOCs for over 15 years. And so I would be—I am curious to watch—and this is not a question—but I will be watching to see what the difference is now that there is a MARSOC.
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    I would like to echo the comments of Mr. Hayes about the quality of the Iraqi counterterrorism force and the absolutely terrific job that the Green Berets, and Navy SEALs, and others involved in that training have done with that force. I think it is just a terrific force and, I hope, a model for how we are going to continue to work in Iraq and, perhaps, elsewhere.

    I was going to press a question about the wearing out of equipment. I won't do that, because I think, again, that Mr. Hayes sort of hit on that point. But I am very concerned about the pace which we are wearing out all equipment, not just rotary-wing and other aircraft, but equipment across the board.

    So I hope that, as you look at your needs to reset your force, a special operations forces, that you will tell us as quickly as you can the extent of that requirement, whether it is radios that have been eating too much sand, whatever it is, that we need to reset that force.

    I am very much afraid that we are going to get a couple of years down the road and be looking at a lot of junk. I know you don't want that, and none of the chiefs do. I have talked to all of them, and I am talking to everyone of the combatant commanders about that.

    Please, look at that, what it takes to makes sure that we are adequately replacing that equipment that is beyond question being worn out.

    And then, finally, to get to the question, in discussions that I have had, again, with some special operations folks and certainly the chiefs and others, we are concerned about senior staff non-commisioned officers (NCOs) leaving. And that is particularly important to the Special Operations Command, because of the nature of your personnel—the Green Berets don't even start, just as PFCs, and lance corporals, and so forth.
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    And so the question is: Are you seeing an undue departure of these senior staff NCOs who are perhaps going to do essentially the same job that they were doing in that uniform?

    By the way, my son wears that uniform, so I have got to be a little bit careful about how this whole Marine thing goes.

    Are you seeing an extraordinary departure of those senior staff NCOs? And what would that impact be? And is there anything else? I know we have provided bonuses and so forth. Is there anything you see that we need to be taking action on today to help that situation?

    General BROWN. Sir, first of all, let me thank you for the question, because—and thanks for all of the help that we have got up here on paying the bonuses. The bonuses have been successful. Not everyone has taken them; about 62 percent of those eligible are successful.

    To date, we have got over 600 special operators that will now stay with us until their 25th year of service. And the bonus was one of the key issues to help that happen.

    And then also we have assignment incentive pay past 25 years. And we have a good number who have taken that. And so, while it hasn't totally stopped the number of special operators that are going off to work for contractors and doing other things, it has helped quite a bit in keeping those folks around.

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    I am concerned about it. But today I am optimistic. It seems to be working pretty well.

    We are working, sir, another initiative with the services. And we don't need the help of the Congress. But there is a re-enlistment bonus gap. It is called Zone D.

    And I don't think anybody is aware of it, but it is where you don't get a bonus after about the 14th year of service, depending upon the service, until 19. And then at 19, if you are a special operator, you get the bonus that you were alluding to.

    So we are working to see if we can't cover that 14 to 19 year group in the Zone D for our operators. That would be a very positive step.

    Mr. KLINE. Thank you very much, sir.

    And, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

    General BROWN. Thank you, sir.

    Mr. SAXTON. We will go to Mr. Akin now.

    Mr. AKIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Just a quick question. I don't know if you covered this earlier, but, having a son in the Marines right now, I had some curiosity. I understand that, for a while, the Marines didn't really want to get into special operations or something like that.
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    And then they thought about it, and they are now being given a part of that. Could you give me the logic of what was going on? And how are they going to fit in, because I just didn't get that whole story?

    General BROWN. Yes, sir. I will be glad to.

    Originally, in special operations, once you come into the special operations force, you pretty much stay your whole career. We will take an NCO, and train him in a specific language, and orient him toward a specific area, and he will stay forever.

    That was a little different than the way the—and, plus, we liked more of more mature force, more NCOs. And so, in the beginning, I think it just didn't fit in as well for the Marines to come into special operations.

    Now the Marine Corps——

    Mr. AKIN. I don't see the logic of that necessarily. I wouldn't see why there wouldn't be some Marines who would say, ''Hey, I can make career of that.'' Why would they not, as opposed—it is because they are organized differently or what?

    General BROWN. I think, when they first didn't come over, they have a much younger workforce than we have.

    Mr. AKIN. Okay.
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    General BROWN. I think now we have come up, working with General Hagee, force recon is now one of those places that they can keep that occupational specialty throughout their career.

    And so I think the timing is right. We want to grow special operations capability; they have some capabilities.

    I think one of the things, when we did this Marine Corps SOCOM detachment of about 130 people that I talked about in my testimony last year and the year before last, where we did a test. And we brought these folks together. And then they worked under one of our special operations task forces, and it worked very, very well.

    And so what we did is we came back. And it was reported that we had gotten rid of the SOCOM Marine Corps detachment; the truth was it was intended to be a test.

    We let them go back in the Marines. We then took the after-action report and we designed what we thought would be a capable Marine force to help Special Operations Command. And I think we have got it.

    I think the foreign military training units that will help us do our foreign internal defense mission, which is one of our core tasks in the Nunn-Cohen Amendment. And they will have language capability.

    The first ones will deploy next month. That is how quick we are up on step doing this. I think those are great.
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    I think our Marine Corps special operations that are assessed, and selected, and sail on the MUs, that will give us a forward-based SOF force in areas where we currently may not have forces.

    They are very capable of doing Joint Systems Emergency Team (JSET)-type exercises, training foreign forces. But additionally, they will have a very high-end and direct-action capability with a special operations techniques procedures and specialized equipment.

    And then this——

    Mr. AKIN. Now, my understanding is, as I took a look at the special operators, you had the Air Force guys. Their specialty was primarily getting people in and out of tough places. You had the SEALs that had particularly a lot of the underwater specialties, but their mission was kind of more get in and get out fast.

    The Army was a little longer standing, with more language abilities. At least that was my sense as to how the—what is the spot of the Marines in that overall sort of mix?

    General BROWN. I think where the Marines are going to be very valuable, one, is a forward presence. They are going to give us special operations forces out sailing around on the MUs that is going to be reporting to the theater Special Operations Command, and they will be immediately available.
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    So that will give us some density we have never had before. And then the foreign military training——

    Mr. AKIN. I thought your special operators, you could get them from anywhere to anywhere in nothing flat, just about. That is not entirely true?

    General BROWN. Well, it is not exactly nothing flat, but we can move pretty quick.

    I think you characterized the forces correctly, though. The special forces, the Green Berets, they are a little more mature, and have language capability, and can go in and do the sustained operations of training with foreign forces.

    So I think the design of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command is exactly what we wanted. We got a high-end force with a direct-action capability with a Marine Corps special operations company.

    We don't have enough forces right now—they will do that. And then we have got all the enablers, which are signal logistics, HUMINT, SIGINT, which the Marines have always had a very good capability in.

    Mr. AKIN. I don't understand how they are different than the other three. Are they more like Army then, in the sense there is going to be more language ability or——
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    General BROWN. Sir, I think they bring different skills in every area. I think that they are not as capable as an S.F. Green Beret for foreign military training.

    So they will do normal—they will train more conventional-type forces, where the Green Berets may go in a country and train the counterterrorist force, much like the Iraqi counterterrorist force was trained by Army Green Berets.

    So they will do a little lower end of the spectrum, more conventional force training in foreign countries. So I think they bring their own skills to the battlefield.

    Mr. AKIN. Thank you very much.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    General BROWN. Thank you, sir.

    Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.

    The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. LoBiondo?

    Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    My questions were actually answered, but I just have one comment on something Mr. Kline said, General, on the retention. And you mentioned that gap between the 14 and 19.
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    My last trip in the theater I had some special operators mention that to me, that they were disappointed that they were left out and felt that that would be a critical component that could help with retention. So I am really pleased to hear you are attempting to work on that.

    General BROWN. We are. And that is not available to anybody. It is not just that SOF has been left out, sir. It is that it is just not in the service plans for re-enlistment. So we are working with each service independently to say, ''Could we do that for the special operations folks?''

    If we could do that, we would then get them to the 19 year, where they would get the bonus, and then stay in.

    Mr. LOBIONDO. No, I don't know enough to say whether it is ever been done and not across the board, but it seems to me, with the commitment that these extraordinary individuals have made, along with the critical importance they are to our mission, that, if we can't get it across the board, we ought to find a way to do it for them.

    General BROWN. I agree with you, sir. And we are working at it. Thank you.

    Mr. SAXTON. Okay.

    The other gentleman from Fort Bragg, Mr. McIntyre?
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    Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    And welcome, General Brown. And thank you for your excellent leadership and great example you set.

    I want to ask you about something I am thrilled about the Marine SOF component and have enjoyed hearing some of the comments already made that I was going to ask about.

    But recently, I have read that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is proposed or is considering eliminating the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. And there has been some concerns raised about that and taking those responsibilities and spreading them across other Pentagon offices.

    To your knowledge, is this true? And if so, are you supporting this proposal?

    General BROWN. Sir, Mr. O'Connell would be better to answer that question about what is going on up here in Washington; I would tell you that the assistant secretary of defense for special operations/low intensity conflict, as you know, was an office that was stood up by an act of Congress in the Nunn-Cohen Amendment.

    They provide the oversight for Special Operations Command, like a service secretary does in the services. With our service-like responsibilities and all of our POM and budget deliberations. They are my oversight, and that is why Mr. O'Connell sits on the board of directors.
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    And so the relationship between us and the assistant secretary of defense from special operations is a good one. And we both know our lanes in the road. And he does provide me oversight and policy guidance.

    Mr. MCINTYRE. Would you like to respond——

    Secretary O'CONNELL. There is just a couple comments I would like to make quickly.

    First, Mr. Chairman, an answer that General Brown gave at my prodding for these CV–22 totals, the 50 aircraft at current plans in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) will be reached at 2017. So, as usual, he had total command of the facts.

    General BROWN. Sir, if I could correct you, because that could be publicized. It is in AFSOC, not USASOC. It is in our Air Force component.

    Secretary O'CONNELL. Sir, getting back to your question, I believe the chairman of the committee wrote to the secretary with that concern. And I believe the secretary's response—I don't want to quote directly—said: We are looking at a wide range of options for reorganization of the policy office.

    And I report to the undersecretary of policy, the third-ranking individual in the Pentagon. And I believe the secretary's comments reflected that there were no known plans that he had seen to disband my office. And that is the latest information I have on that.
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    Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. If there are, would you please advise us——

    Secretary O'CONNELL. I will make the request to the legislative affairs office to make the proper notifications. I am sure that rumors get out pretty quickly. It wouldn't take long for——

    Mr. MCINTYRE. And we want to make sure you have got the assistance you need to take care of your concerns——

    Secretary O'CONNELL. Thank you, sir.

    Mr. MCINTYRE [continuing]. And beware of any event that may occur.

    I want to ask, with time remaining, about something else. Do you feel like that you have the authority to be able to make decisions quickly enough, or do you think there are bureaucratic impediments you face, General Brown, when you need to make decisions, in terms of decisions that can't wait or be gotten around to for two or three more weeks?

    Do you feel like there are built-in bureaucratic blocks? Or do you know—able to carry out the essence of your duties, without unnecessary bureaucratic impediments?

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    General BROWN. I think any organization of the size of the Department of Defense has bureaucracy in it, and some of those are impediments.

    But I would tell you that, if there is a decision that is important enough that I need to make it instantly, that I just can pick up the phone and call the secretary of defense any time I want to.

    So as we work through the process, there are impediments. And we continue to work through those and try and streamline the processes. But I always have the option to call directly to the secretary of defense.

    Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. We want to make sure you are comfortable and able to do that to support you and——

    General BROWN. And I do. And I do call.

    Mr. MCINTYRE. And could you tell me any other additional comments on the Marine SOF component and the additional capabilities that that brings now to your overall mission?

    General BROWN. Sir, I would just say that—I think that we spent a lot of time designing it. And, quite frankly, I am very happy with the design of it and the answer that we came out with, how we can better enable SOCOM by adding a Marine Corps component.

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    I think we have got it right; only time will tell. But I think it is going to give us some added capability and some depth as we go into the long war. And so, quite frankly, right now, I am very, very optimistic about it.

    Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. Thank you.

    General BROWN. Thank you, sir.

    Mr. SAXTON. Mr. McIntyre, as the secretary mentioned, I wrote to Secretary Rumsfeld in February. And on March 3rd, I got this reply. And I won't read it all, but I will just the pertinent part.

    ''The department has recently initiated a review of its policy office. This effort is still in an early phase and no decisions have been made. As an important component of the Office of the Undersecretary for Policy, the Special Operations and Low Intensity Office will naturally be part of this review.''

    ''However, to my knowledge, there are no plans to eliminate this office or the important function it performs.''

    Mr. MCINTYRE. Great. Thank you.

    Thank you.

    Mr. SAXTON. The gentleman from New London and Groton, who represents the submarine community better than anybody I know, Mr. Simmons?
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    Mr. SIMMONS. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for extending to me the courtesy to ask a couple of questions on your subcommittee.

    And thank you, General Brown, for your courtesy when I came down to SOCOM.

    General BROWN. It was good having you down there, sir.

    Mr. SIMMONS. It is been a year or go or so.

    General BROWN. Yes, sir.

    Mr. SIMMONS. I have still got your coin. As long as we don't meet in a bar somewhere, I don't have to buy you a drink. I guess that is the way the challenge coin works.

    General BROWN. Yes, sir.

    Mr. SIMMONS. Thank you, as well, for all you do for our special operations troops. I had the experience many years serving as a paramilitary officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. We had some association with the special-ops military, and those associations were very productive and useful ones.

    And I also commend you on incorporating open-source intelligence into your joint intelligence center. I would say that your command at this point is probably the most progressive when it comes to incorporating that capability. And that is due, in no small part, to your leadership and interest in that capability. So I commend you on that.
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    General BROWN. Thank you, sir. It is an important business.

    Mr. SIMMONS. Yes.

    That being said, I would like to ask a couple of questions about the Advanced SEAL Delivery System, which, as you know, is a program in trouble. I think our own staff has described the program as a community priority for a long period of time, but a priority that has had and continues to have a troubled acquisition history.

    My records show that the Congress first started authorizing and appropriating money for the ASDS back in 1994.

    General BROWN. Yes, sir.

    Mr. SIMMONS. We are now between 600 and 700 percent over-budget, and we still don't have a lead boat that we can use with confidence.

    I have no doubt that your command needs this capability——

    General BROWN. Yes, sir.

    Mr. SIMMONS [continuing]. That the need for this capability has increased as the threat environment has favored more and more special operations forces and special operations, especially operations in the littorals.
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    But in spite of the fact that there are some very excellent and talented people involved in this program, this program is in trouble, which is why this committee a year ago, in the fiscal year 2006 National Defense Authorization Act, requested certification that it continues to be a validated requirement and requested a report on the program, with a time line, I believe, of March 1, 2006, which was about a week ago.

    I have not seen that report; perhaps committee staff has. But I would ask you: Has that report been prepared and submitted?

    General BROWN. I don't know, sir. I would have to check.

    Mr. SIMMONS. Because when dollars are scarce and when requirements are urgent, we need a program that delivers.

    And let me ask you a second question. I will also ask Mr. O'Connell.

    In 2004, the Electric Boat Corporation, which is the nation's premiere submarine design and construction firm, provided DOD with an unsolicited proposal for an ASDS.

    Their plan was to deliver six vessels to SOCOM using funds already in the POM and deliver those within three years, which means that, by this point in time, you would have at least one or two of those six vessels. Did you personally or did Mr. O'Connell see that proposal?

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    General BROWN. I did see the proposal. And I talked it over with the—it was a subject of conversation in one of the meetings that I attended with a Navy program office that runs this program for us.

    Mr. SIMMONS. That proposal was rejected on technical grounds. Could you explain what those technical grounds were?

    General BROWN. I don't know offhand what the technical grounds were, but I will be glad to look into it and submit it for the record.

    Mr. SIMMONS. There has been discussion of re-competing the project. It seems to me that, when you have a mini-sub, essentially a mini-submarine, that is designed to deliver your folks safely and securely in a hostile environment, that when delivery of that mini-sub is either on the back of or in other ways associated with other submarines, which rely on stealth for their success and which often have to traverse large bodies of water, it would seem to me that a submarine designer and builder would be an appropriate entity to engage in that project, and that, if company bidding was having trouble after four, or five, or 6 years, that you would re-bid.

    But we are dealing with a program that was first funded for R&D in 1994; it is now 2006. It is a 65-ton mini-sub. At $578 million, you could build it out of 14-carat gold, at current gold prices.

    And we have in this country a company, Electric Boat, the premiere designer and builder of submarines, that is today laying off designers, 190 pink slips about a week ago, that in the course of this year will lay off 900 submarine designers, highly skilled, highly capable people who don't have enough work to do from the Navy.
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    That will lay off another 2,000 shipyard workers whose specialty and skill is designing and building the best submarines in the world. And for the life of me, I don't understand why all this capability is going out the door.

    Your command continues to stick with a program that, again, the staff describes as troubled, that you have requested an additional $50 million in the upcoming budget that the report on the progress of the sub apparently is not available.

    And we just don't seem to be getting it done. And I think of you as a gung-ho kind of guy that likes to get it done. And I don't understand why we are not re-bidding this project.

    General BROWN. Sir, let me talk about ASDS here for just a second. You are exactly right that the requirement was 1992. The first money was in, the POM, in 1994.

    The submarine has had problems. The program was not in good shape. It was supposed to make a Milestone C decision in December of 2005.

    When I took command of Special Operations Command, I came to the Congress and said that I will take December of 2005—and, as a matter of fact, we had asked at that time to push the Milestone C out.

    And I said I will draw a line at December of 2005, and we will put a line in the sand. And if we can't—if you will let us extend it to then, then we will make some hard decisions if it doesn't make it.
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    As you know, it got down to a—one of the things I did immediately was I started regular meetings with CEO of the company that was running it. I explained to him how serious this program was, what our requirement was.

    I had the Navy program office and the submarine commanders of all the submarine leadership in the Navy come to those meetings. And we started very high-level meetings, where we had the program executive officers and the program managers stand up in front of all of us, and track every problem, and what was done about it, and who was paying for it.

    And we went through it in excruciating detail to hold people accountable for this program, because it had been in the POM and we had been working on it since 1994. And I took command in 2003.

    So we started that. We had high hopes. It looked like it was going to get to the Milestone C, and then it failed.

    We stood up a reliability panel and said, you know, as you mentioned, SEAL safety and the guys riding in this submarine are the most important factor to us in mission accomplishment, but we have got to make sure that we have got a safe submarine out there for the SEALs.

    We stood up the reliability action panel, and they took a look at soup to nuts a very good study of problems with the ASDS and how to fix those problems. And, quite frankly, when it failed the Milestone C, we asked to restructure the program.
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    We are not going to go on and buy other boats until we get this one right. Our plan right now is to fix what is wrong with boat number one, and try and incorporate some of the technologies in boat number two and three.

    But more importantly, I think, to you, sir, is that we are also going to go back and look at the concept of operations. And we are going to do a soup-to-nuts look at how we use this piece of equipment. The technology has moved incredibly in the last 10 years, and we are still working on a submarine that was started in 1994.

    So as we move forward, we are doing all of those kind of things. And then we pushed any further purchase of boats two, three—and our requirement is still six—or boats three out until all this is completed and we decided where we want to go.

    Mr. SAXTON. If the gentleman from Connecticut would maybe ask a final question, and then——

    Mr. SIMMONS. Absolutely. I realize we have gone over. But I would simply suggest to you that, after 12 years, you need to re-bid this project, because the technology has moved forward.

    And the people that are skilled in this country, the most skilled in the world at designing and building, submitted an unsolicited bid to respond to your need in 3 years within available funds. And that bid was rejected.

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    And you would have had at least two of those mini-subs by now, because this is what they do. This is what they live and breathe. And just as you know that there are men and women who live and breathe special ops—and they are a special breed of cat, and nobody else can really do what they do, because it is their heart and soul—I have got people up my way whose heart and soul is subsurface, and they are the best in the world.

    And they are walking out the gate with a pink slip wondering why they can't have a shot at this program to safely deliver your special-ops people, in an environment that they know by heart. And they don't understand why the U.S. Government is wasting $700 million on a project that should have been completed years ago. And they don't see any change.

    So, I mean, I just leave that message with you. I believe the time has come for this project to be re-bid and to give the professionals a chance to do it right.

    Secretary O'CONNELL. Just a couple quick points, because I came in about the same time as General Brown, and this was one of the first things that he had to look at in a very serious way. And he put together, I think, within the Navy program management field and within a Navy submarine field, those people that were the experts, and bearing in mind that this program originated, I think, in 1992 and was started funding in 1994.

    I don't think there is any doubt that mistakes were made. Decisions that were taken back then, we weren't here. So we do the best we can.

    And given the advice from the Navy experts and the program managers, the decisions that were taken by the Special Operations Command, I think, at the time, given the sunk costs, operational requirements, were the correct ones.
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    There were two and possibly three failures that were, in our view, unanticipated. They were low technology failures, which we really didn't expect, and more importantly were not easy to detect, not easy to diagnose, and not necessarily easy to fix.

    We are at a critical point where I am confident that General Brown will gather the best minds in the department, look at the legal aspects, look at the security aspects, look at the safety aspects, and come to the right decision.

    But in his defense, he has worked this problem long, hard and in a very honest way. And I think he has done his best to make up to the taxpayers or try to, ''save'' those costs that have been sunk.

    But I agree with your comments. I have sympathy for the very talented workers in Connecticut. I am very familiar with that area and where they work. You would have lots of connections in Rhode Island, my home state. And your comments are correct, and they are taken seriously by the department, and I know by General Brown.

    General BROWN. Sir, thanks for your comments.

    I promised the Congress when I took over we would take it seriously and not let it just continue to lope along and not make it to the Milestone C. I think we have met that promise to the Congress.

    We have made a hard decision here recently on restructuring and on how we restructured the program. And my promise to you is we will keep after it.
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    Mr. SIMMONS. I thank the chairman very much for the courtesy.

    Thank you, gentlemen.

    General BROWN. Thank you, sir.

    Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.

    Mr. Secretary, as we all know, good intelligence is key to effective use of the surgical capabilities that are provided by SOCOM. How do you work with the undersecretary of defense for intelligence to provide timely, actionable intelligence to the special forces? And how are DOD and SOCOM interacting with the director of national intelligence in the National Counterterrorism Center?

    Secretary O'CONNELL. Sir, thank you for the question. I will try not to get out of my lane, having been a former intel officer. And I try often not to step across the lane.

    In terms of how we work with Dr. Cambone's office—as you know, they are relatively new. Some of their authority is between Title 10 and Title 50. We still continue to work out.

    Dr. Cambone has a very talented special forces officer, Lieutenant General Boykin, as his deputy undersecretary for intelligence and warfighting, and some other very skilled professionals on his staff that allow us to work things such as the SOCOM intel budget, intel requirements, new intel equipment, new intel tactics, techniques and procedures, and intelligence policy.
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    Additionally, we work very closely with Dr. Cambone's office, and he works very closely with the undersecretary for policy, Ambassador Edelman, on a whole series of issues.

    And those operational issues are normally taken care of in a deployment order process, where either collectively or individually people are given a chance to chop on those actions.

    The last thing I would like to say is, in tribute to the personnel in the field that are conducting some of the most dangerous missions that probably have ever been undertaken by our Armed Forces, much of that intelligence is generated by the actions on the battlefield, the people they capture and successfully interrogate, the exploitation that they can do on a number of technical means, the ability to take that information and pass it throughout a SOCOM and U.S. Government network, often into other countries, develop target sets for that particular country or liaison element, have a successful hit, and have that information come back, the exploitation of the first hit come back into Iraq or Afghanistan for subsequent exploitation.

    So it is like a rolling capability. But again, the intelligence, much of it, is created by the superb special operators that are out there doing it.

    Also on the intelligence side, any of the special operations forces, Rangers and others that are doing foreign internal defense and unconventional warfare missions, their job is to use such elements of PSYOPS, civil affairs, their own liaison with foreign elements, and develop those sources in methods that are so valuable to fighting the type of conflict that we are fighting both in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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    Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.

    General Brown, the command has recommended that SOCOM have an organic, unmanned aerial vehicle squadron. Can you tell us what the capacity of Predator squadrons are necessary for you to carry out your mission effectively?

    General BROWN. Sir, today, I think we are prepared to start off with one Predator squadron from the United States Air Force. We are working right now to stand up that squadron. The QDR thought it was a good idea, and so they agree with our initiative to get our own Predator squadron.

    It will be in an Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Florida. And it will give us the capability that, when we have to move fast, to have Predator where we need it, when we need it, without having to move a Predator that belongs to somebody else. And so we are excited about it.

    Today, we think the Predator requirement is one squadron. But as the global war on terror emerges, if we see an additional requirement for it, we will not be afraid to ask for additional squadrons.

    Mr. SAXTON. One squadron is how many aircraft?

    General BROWN. It is broke down in orbits. It is six total orbits. And so it will be 24 air frames, and then all the associated equipment that goes with it and the backbone to run it.
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    Mr. SAXTON. You will be pleased to know that, since we talked about this earlier today, I have had a chance to talk to the Appropriations Committee chairman, who tells me that they have increased the amount that was requested in order to give the Air Force the ability to provide the assets that you need.

    General BROWN. Sir, that is great news. Our number-one requirement right now is persistent ISR. We are continuing to work all kind of innovative solutions to a persistent ISR. We have been very successful with it. And so having our Predator squadron will make us even more capable in that area.

    Mr. SAXTON. I have a couple of budget questions for you. I noted in my comments earlier that we have significantly increased budget in the past, and we have projected increases in the budget—the administration has requested increases in your budget.

    Will you still have unmet requirements, in spite of the increase?

    General BROWN. Sir, we have provided a unfunded request (UFR) list. And the first issue on our UFR list has to do with our persistent ISR. And so that list of unfinanced requirements has been provided. And we do have some, sir.

    Mr. SAXTON. And the second budget question is, most people in this room know that we have largely funded the ongoing cost of the war on terror with supplemental appropriations bills.

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    And, again, a good deal of the supplemental that was recently submitted to Congress will be for activities carried out by SOCOM.

    General BROWN. Yes, sir.

    Mr. SAXTON. But I understand there is a gap in the supplemental, as well. And would you talk a little bit about that?

    General BROWN. Sir, we requested $1.7 billion as part of the supplemental. As we go back and look at the current OPTEMPO of some of our forces and some things that we are doing, we think we are about somewhere in the neighborhood of $56 million short. We probably should have put in our supplemental request.

    Mr. SAXTON. I have no further questions at this time. And unless there is something that we have passed over that you would like to add, either you, Mr. Secretary, or General.

    We will thank you at this point for coming. And thank you and the people in your command for what you do for our country. And I look forward to working with you this year, as we put the resources in place for you to do your job.

    And, on behalf of this subcommittee, the Armed Services Committee, and all the Members of Congress, thank you very much for being here. And thank you for what you do.

    General BROWN. Thank you very much for your great support and support of the committee. Thank you, sir.
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    Secretary O'CONNELL. We appreciate that, sir. And it doesn't go unnoticed that many of your members have served, have children serving, and that means a lot. And your words in your opening statement and your constant interest in not only the special forces members but all our serving military members does not go unnoticed. And it is greatly appreciated, sir.

    Thank you.

    Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.

    [Whereupon, at 5:45 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]