SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10824]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005H.R. 4200
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS
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TITLE IIRESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, TEST, AND EVALUATION
TITLE IIIOPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
MARCH 4, 11, 25, 31, AND APRIL 1, 2004
TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey, Chairman
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota
JEFF MILLER, Florida
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
Thomas Hawley, Professional Staff Member
Jean Reed, Professional Staff Member
Uyen Dinh, Professional Staff Member
William Natter, Professional Staff Member
Curtis Flood, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
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Thursday, March 4, 2004, Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization ActSpecial Operations Command Oversight
Thursday, March 11, 2004
THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2004
FISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTSPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND OVERSIGHT
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
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
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O'Connell, Hon. Thomas W., Assistant Secretary of Defense, Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict; Gen. Bryan D. Doug Brown, Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command; Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger, Commander, Air Special Operations Command; Lt. Gen. Paul Hester, Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command; Rear Adm. Albert Calland, Commander, Navy Special Warfare Command; and Command Chief Master Sgt. Robert V. Martens, Jr., Senior Enlisted Advisor, U.S. Special Operations Command
Brown, Gen. Bryan D. Doug
O'Connell, Hon. Thomas W.
Saxton, Hon. Jim
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Questions submitted.]
FISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTSPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND OVERSIGHT
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House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Thursday, March 11, 2004.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 1:24 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Jim Saxton (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW JERSEY, CHAIRMAN, TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. SAXTON. The subcommittee meets this afternoon to consider the fiscal year 2005 budget request for the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and to review the overall status of the Special Operations Command.
My belief has been reinforced by my extensive travels during the last year visiting Special Forces (SF) troops in the field, that the Special Operations Command is the most vital and critical player in the ongoing war against terrorism.
Since the formation of this committee last year, we have worked closely with the command and followed with great interest its many successes; some widely publicized but not credited to the Special Forces, and others not widely known at all.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC More than any organization I have seen, Special Forces are content to accomplish the mission and let someone else take credit for it. You truly are the quiet professionals and we appreciate that.
Special Forces not only lead on the battlefield but also in their method of prosecuting war. Since the command was created in 1987, SOCOM has become the model in not just joint interoperability but true joint integration and interdependence of fighting forces.
Indeed, SOCOM and its subordinate commands are a model the Department of Defense can turn to as an example of how future forces from all services will fight and succeed on the battlefield.
SOCOM is a true transformational template: cultural change is embraced, technology is tested, then employed or discarded as appropriate; and new methods of operation are routinely attempted with command support.
Many forces and nations throughout history failed to prepare for the future that they could not predict. We must develop a strategy that provides security and peaceful stability not only in this great nation but also for much of the rest of the world. SOCOM has and will continue to be an essential element in providing that security. The men and women of SOCOM literally thrive on those ambiguous environments.
They have proven time and again their resourcefulness, flexibility and adaptability that are the signature of the special operations community.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is certainly fitting that the special operations symbol is the ancient spearhead, because members of this command are leading the global war on terror and are literally at the tip of the spear for this nation.
No one questions the great achievements of the U.S. Special Forces in our recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. And few question the wisdom of increasing the capability of the command to enable it to pursue a sustained campaign against the terrorist threat around the world.
I certainly support SOCOM's central role in the war on terrorism. I am concerned, though, on one point: are we truly committed as a nation to using these elite forces in all appropriate scenarios? I have asked whether we have both the statutory authorities and internal administration processes established that will allow quick deployment of Special Forces units when appropriate. In other words, is the administrative approval process as agile and free from turf battles and red tape as the forces that are headed into the fight?
Secretary O'Connell and General Brown, we truly are here to help you and the warriors under your command. We look forward to your testimony.
Let me now turn to my friend, Marty Meehan of Massachusetts, for any remarks he would like to make.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Saxton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. MARTIN T. MEEHAN, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MASSACHUSETTS, RANKING MEMBER, TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE
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Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and I, too, want to join you in welcoming all of the panelists today. It is certainly a pleasure to have the leaders of the special operations community with us today.
This is the perfect forum for showcasing Special Operations forces (SOF) talents. These silent professionals deserve their time in the limelight, if only to better educate this nation about their capabilities and sacrifice.
General Brown, I have had the opportunity to visit SOCOM personnel both in the states and abroad in Iraq and I am equally impressed with their commitment and professionalism, as Chairman Saxton.
The long periods away from home and the high level coordination and precision required to carry out their duties certainly proves that the call to be a special operator is one of selfless service. We are here today in an effort to improve our nation's Special Forces capability.
I note that in today's testimony several recommendations: these include recommendations from lessons learned in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. A proposal for small personnel increases throughout the community, at least in specialty areas.
I also see an excellent articulation about the command's new role as supported, rather than a supporting command, at least with regard to tracking and planning of operations against terrorists.
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I applaud all of these recommendations and hope to explore them further during the Q&A period. But I am most interested in the area of intelligence. I recognize that the command has created several new offices and added battle management capability to increase situational awareness. These initiatives are certainly necessary if we are to succeed in the global war against terrorism.
General Brown, as you yourself state in your testimony, the counterterrorism problem set is, at its very core, an intelligence-based problem. It relies upon actionable and accurate intelligence, predicated by expert intelligence analysis and I couldn't agree more; to be sure, the highest strategic level as we have seen the pitfalls of incompetence and possibly, misused intelligence.
It is clear that a greater emphasis on strategic intelligence would likely have led to better policies over the last year and a half. That said I am most certain and interested in the tactical-level intelligence.
Intelligence support to the combatant commander in a timely and actionable form is necessary to fulfill the objectives as set by the National Command Authority.
General Brown, it is for this reason, that I am intrigued by the mention of your collaborative effort with Undersecretary of Defense Cambone, in the area to develop a new ISR strategy for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
I look forward to hearing more about this effort during your discussions. And again, Mr. Chairman, I thank you for setting up this hearing.
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Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Meehan.
We have one panel of witnesses for our proceedings this afternoon and I want to welcome our witnesses: the Honorable Thomas W. O'Connell, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations, Low-Intensity Conflict; General Bryan D. Doug Brown, Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command; Lieutenant General Philip Kensinger, Commander, U.S. Army Special Operations Command; Lieutenant General Paul Hester, Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command; Rear Admiral Albert Calland, Commander, Navy Special Warfare Command; and Command Chief Master Sergeant Robert V. Martens, Jr., Senior Enlisted Advisor, U.S. Special Operations Command.
We are indeed, honored, to have all of you here today and I understand that Secretary O'Connell and General Brown have statements. And then we will go directly into the question and answer.
Mr. Secretary, the floor is yours.
STATEMENTS OF HON. THOMAS W. O'CONNELL, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR SPECIAL OPERATIONS, LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT; GEN. BRYAN D. DOUG BROWN, COMMANDER, U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND; LT. GEN. PHILIP KENSINGER, COMMANDER, U.S. ARMY SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND; LT. GEN. PAUL HESTER, COMMANDER, AIR FORCE SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND; REAR ADM. ALBERT CALLAND, COMMANDER, NAVY SPECIAL WARFARE COMMAND; AND COMMAND CHIEF MASTER SGT. ROBERT V. MARTENS, JR., SENIOR ENLISTED ADVISOR, U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary O'CONNELL. Short statements, sir. Is the microphone on, sir? You can hear me?
Mr. Chairman, Congressman Meehan, distinguished members of the committee, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you about special operations and the war on terrorism.
I will keep my opening remarks brief, but would like to submit a longer written statement for the record, sir, with your permission.
I believe today's challenges to our special operations forces, our entire military and our nation parallel those we faced during World War II. As in that time, these challenges will be met by forces remarkable in their quality, self-sacrifice, courage, integrity and dedication.
At the tip of the spear are the remarkable men and women of the United States Special Operations Command. These special operations warriors and their service to the Nation inspire my team within the defense department in the special operations low-intensity conflict area to work diligently everyday to support and assist in our mandated oversight role.
And I can assure you, sir, that the relationship between my organization and the Pentagon and the United States Special Operations Command has never been better. In particular I have a close working relationship, partnership, and indeed, long friendship with General Doug Brown. Together we work to ensure that SOFs continued to be equipped, trained and deployed to meet the most critical needs of our nation.
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I had the privilege of visiting many of our special operations personnel in Iraq during Christmas week. Those personnel that I met inspire me to continue to support the quiet professionals. It is clear to me that the capabilities so evident in Afghanistan and Iraq were the direct results of critical decisions made over a decade earlier to expand and improve our special operations forces. And much of that work came from this committee. Well done. And thank you for your support.
During the entire time that U.S. Special Operations Command has been in existence and SOLIC has been in existence, we have received outstanding support from members and staff in Congress. 1We will need your continued support as we ask for resources to further enhance our forces.
I would just like to close by saying it is indeed a high honor to be seated here today with General Brown, Lieutenant General Hester, Lieutenant General Kensinger, Rear Admiral, soon to be Vice Admiral, Calland, and Command Chief Master Sergeant Martens. They have all devoted their lives to the defense of the Nation in the most demanding occupations and during the most demanding times. They represent an extraordinary group of men and women.
Thank you for your interest in and continued support of the entire special operations community and I welcome your questions, sir.
[The prepared statement of Secretary O'Connell can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
General BROWN. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Meehan, distinguished Members of Congress; it is an honor to appear before this committee today to report on the posture of our special operations forces.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a few remarks and submit a longer written statement for record.
With me is the commander of the United States Army Special Operations Command Lieutenant General Phil Kensinger, the Commander of United States Air Force Special Operations Command, Lieutenant General Paul Hester, and the Commander of Navy Special Warfare Command, Rear Admiral Bert Calland.
They command the special operations service components that make up United States Special Operations Command and the tried and ready special operations forces to the geographic combatant commanders.
Also with me today is Command Chief Master Sergeant Bob Martens, the United States Special Operations Command Senior Enlisted Advisor. He is my senior advisor representing all enlisted special operations forces worldwide, he focuses on the needs and issues affecting both the enlisted special operator, their servicemembers and their families.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, I would like to highlight that today is Rear Admiral Calland's last day as the commander of Navy Special Warfare Command. His change of command ceremony is tomorrow in Coronado, California. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Admiral Calland for his exceptional performance during two years of continuous combat operations, Special Operations Command and especially our Navy Sea, Air and Land, our SEAL component, its well-trained and extremely capable force because of his leadership.
As the commander of United States Special Operations Command, I have clearly defined our priorities as the global war on terrorism, readiness of our force, and transformation. Progress in these areas will ensure our command is decisive on the battlefield today and postured for success in the future.
The men and women of Special Operations Command are deployed around the world under the operational control of geographic combatant commanders: this is a force unlike any other. For the most part, they work in small numbers in remote locations. They often work with indigenous forces and in many areas, they are constantly ready to operate day or night in response to perishable intelligence.
Their selection process, high levels of training and maturity are the keys to their success. They maintain America's security and help create stability and opportunity in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq and quite frankly, I believe they are doing an incredible job.
Mr. Chairman, special operations forces are in high demand; are being deployed in greater numbers than any time in our history. Our operations tempo is manageable. However, in certain areas, such as civil affairs and psychological operations, where most of our force is either Reserve component or National Guard, we are stressed.
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Today, all requests for United States Special Operations Forces are closely reviewed at my headquarters and require my personal approval prior to deployment. We cannot win the global win on terrorism without maintaining our superior warfighting excellence through a commitment to excellence.
Over the years we have built the most capable active Reserve and National Guard force the world has seen. To maintain this force and prepare for the new battlefield, we are reviewing all our requirements, our capabilities and our programs with our global war on strategy in mind.
Mr. Chairman, we are transforming our force. We are removing legacy systems to field new capabilities from looking across the Department of Defense and industry to identify new flagships.
We anxiously await a safe, reliable and maintainable CV22 Osprey. As with readiness, our transformation efforts will be focused on the cornerstone of our special operations capability: our people. The budgetary authority provided by Congress makes this possible.
In conclusion, I want to thank you and the members of the House Armed Services Committee for your continued support of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and our great DOD civilians. The support of this committee and the support of the secretary of defense help make this success possible. Special operations forces are more capable and lethal because of your efforts. I look forward to answering your questions.
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[The prepared statement of General Brown can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. General, thank you very much.
Let me, at this point, take a minute to congratulate Admiral Calland as well and to thank him for his great service and his great cooperation with me and with this committee. We will miss you in the command, but we know you are going to be real close, so we are happy about that as well, in your new role here in this city.
Mr. Meehan, would you like to lead off with the questions?
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary O'Connell and General Brown, as I stated in my opening statement, I am particularly interested in improving the intelligence support to the combatant commands and I am very interested in your collaborative effort with Undersecretary Cambone to improve this process.
What can you tell us about the obstacles to this effort? And what are the greatest challenges to providing the combatant and field commanders with the necessary intelligence?
Secretary O'CONNELL. Thank you, sir, for the questions. It is indeed an important one. You asked first about the hurdles. There are hurdles and we try to work very carefully through those. I meet often with Undersecretary Cambone. I meet more often with Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin, who is his deputy undersecretary for warfighting. I have an extensive intelligence background; General Boykin has an extensive special operations background. And I think although we are in different disciplines, we work very closely through those issues that often arise.
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When we have a procedural issue, I often deal with the J2 of the Joint Staff, Major General Ron Burgess. He, himself, has served in many special operations jobs. There aren't many issues that we can't work out.
There are some complex ones. A recent one that seemed sort of mundane was working out how do we deal with the documents that were captured in Iraq. There are some things that we would like for the Special Forces side, some we would like for WMD search. And we worked those out very carefully with Dr. Cambone.
I would like to point out that in the war on terrorism, many of our issues that affect SOF do not really come from work with the national intelligence community, or use of national technical systems; certainly they are important. But it has been my experience that the amazing personnel from the special operations forces on the ground, have in many cases, created their own intelligence. They react quickly; they know what they are looking for; and when they find it they are able to, in many cases with coalition partners, go right into the next act and it is really an amazing thing to watch.
So, I would say, sir, that the obstacles that we do have we work through. There are some things that we are looking at in the future that we have discussed with Secretary Rumsfeld, in terms of new procedures. And I would let General Brown discuss the rest of those, sir.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General BROWN. Sir, I think you hit the nail on the head in your opening comments. This is an intelligence battle that we are out fighting and it is more akin to a police in downtown New York than the traditional military operations. It is developing that intelligence out on the tactical level on the battlefield, like you mentioned, at the tactical level, and immediately turning that intelligence over because it is extremely perishable and it is taking maximum effectiveness of that intelligence when you get it.
I would say I applaud the efforts of Mr. Cambone and his initiatives with intelligence. We have a great working relationship with him, as we do his deputy, Jerry Boykin. We have routine visits from him. We have a lot of discussion with him. We think things are good.
As far as an obstacle, it would be hard for me to identify one. As issues come up, we go and work them one-on-one and quite frankly, the spirit of cooperation is very good.
At SOCOM, I can tell you what we are doing. We have stood up an interagency collaboration center that is manned, that allows us to use intelligence from the databases throughout DOD. It is at Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida. Additionally, I have interagency folks throughout my headquarters. Today we have about 105 folks from other organizations that have Liason Offices (LNOs) at SOCOM headquarters to help us work through all kinds of coordination problems, specifically intelligence problems.
Out on the ground, we have established cross-functional teams with DOD intelligence experts that are out on the ground in the tactical area that are helping us to tap back into those databases that are available in the theater, or either farther back. And once again, use that fleeting intelligence as rapidly as we can to continue to develop targets.
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Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, General.
General Hester, it is great to see you again and thank you for hosting our visit to AFSOC. It is great to see you again. General, what can you tell us in this forum about the strengths and weaknesses of the AC130 gunship and would you shed some light on the need for a next-generation gunship?
General HESTER. Well, thank you Congressman. It is always great to have you down at AFSOC at Hurlburt Field and we would welcome another visit any time you can get away from your duties here in Washington to come back down there to the Emerald Coast.
Congressman Jeff Miller would gladly welcome to have you back down in the 1st District of Florida; disappointed that he has had to miss today and we will hope for the health of his wife as she gets through this period.
Sir, as you know, the 130 gunship has provided remarkable firepower on the battlefield since Vietnam, through a host of platforms. We are currently in two different versions of the 130 now called the H model and the U model that provides that firepower to our people. It is easy to put a C130 during the period of darkness and low illumination over the head. And in fact, if you talk to any of our young people on the ground they get a comfort in a nonlinear battlefield, a comfort when they don't know where the enemy is, of hearing the drone of those four engines overhead.
It also provides a threat, if you will, by the drone of those four engines to our enemy, who also know what the firepower means and what that droning sound of those four engines mean overhead. As the threat rises on the battlefield, as you know, thus the ability for that AC130 to stay overhead in a persistent category, it starts to diminish, and of course, it reaches a point where you get to the high threat arena, then it can only make essentially one pass, shooting as it makes one pass over the target.
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So consequently, our needs for the future in a next-generation gunship are a modernization of the current gunship, as to provide them the ability through technology to be more persistent on the battlefield, overhead of those young folks, as well as open up the aperture of when they can stay there, meaning either in high illumination at night or possibly through full high illumination during the daylight hours. The Air Force and SOCOM have been for the past two years in a joint working relationship to look at the next-generation gunship, trying to identify what that means to us. Is it going to be a new platform, is it going to be weapons on the current platform, or is it going to be a combination of both?
General Jumper is our chief of staff in the Air Force and General Holland and now General Brown, are working that very closely and collaboratively to find the right solutions to that. We are working for an analysis of alternatives and we will be looking to increase R&D efforts over the next few years through our budget submissions over the next few years.
As you are well aware, we have some programs down in R&D now. We ask for your continued support as you have given it to us in the past on those efforts that we currently are working on in the weaponeering-side of the house. And until we can solve the ability to open up that aperture, and when we do solve that with our friends in industry, then we will be coming forward with platforms to ask for your support in the future.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, General.
General Brown, what can you tell us about personnel manning levels? Is the special operations force community fully manned? And if not, why?
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General BROWN. We are not fully manned, but it depends specifically on what specific military occupational specialty that we are talking about, as far as Special Operations Command. We are about 49,000 strong with about 15,000 of those in the Reserve component. So, when you talk about specific levels of fill on some of our forces, some are tougher to fill than others.
The component commanders could probably discuss the specific shortages in their components, but I would lead off by saying the first MOS, military occupational specialty, where we have a shortage is in our standard Green Berets.
That is kind of the core of Army Special Operations Command and I will ask General Kensinger to address that at the end of my remarks, if that would be okay. And General Hester can talk, or the Chief Martens can discuss the shortage in our combat controllers, which is another area that we are stressed in. General Kensinger, you want to talk about the Green Berets?
General KENSINGER. Yes, Sir. On the Green Beret side, as you know, from your visit, it takes anywhere from 18 months to 24 months to put a soldier through the schoolhouse to have him at the basic level of Special Forces.
On the front side of that, our recruiting is going very well. We have instituted under General Brown's initial command, our 18 X-Ray Program, where we are taking recruits right off the street, signing them up for five years, putting them through our assessment and selection program and putting them through our schoolhouse. Thus far, we have had over 120 soldiers go through the schoolhouse. We have about 38 of those soldiers that are actually out in the field now with those elements.
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The other challenge on the recruiting side is on the active duty Army. Where in the main Army, two-thirds of the Army was forward deployed, it is tough to keep that recruiting side up. Although we are working very hard with the Army to do that and they have been very, very supportive of that program. That is a challenge to get active duty soldiers into the schoolhouse.
In the schoolhouse itself, since before 911, the schoolhouse was pushing through about 9,000 students a year, we are up to 17,000. General Brown and the SOCOM staff is working very hard with us so that we can increase of the schoolhouse. We have gone from 450 graduates a year in the Green Berets to this year, we should have over 550. Tied in that is retention. Our retention has been very good because we get soldiers that come into this business because they are warriors. They enjoy the business and they are doing very well.
The challenge that I have is the 20-year mark. We have all that experience retirement-eligible and our challenge is to work those different issues and programs to keep soldiers in past the 20-year mark, where they have the best experience level and capacity that we can possibly give them. So, General Brown and his staff is looking at some incentives of how to increase the desire of those soldiers to stay past the 20-year mark.
Mr. MEEHAN. Chief Martens.
Command Chief Master Sergeant MARTENS. Sir, we appreciate the efforts and we are filling the forces that we have as quickly as we can. And as we ramp-up the schoolhouses, there appears to be enough volunteers to start that process off.
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General Kensinger is talking about retaining our senior force. I can tell you as we train our young, combat controllers and power rescue men and our other special operations force soldiers and sailors out there, at the 24-month mark in their training they are very enthusiastic and very well trained. At the 20-year mark they are very well matured and very experienced and we are trying to carry those forces past that 20-year mark. So, just as when I was a young airman and a young non-commissioned officer out in the field, and I had 24, 26, 28 years of experience in the non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) corps mentoring me through my junior years, we are working to maintain those same standards.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Chief. One last, if I might
Mr. SAXTON. Could I just break in for just a moment? I am aware that there are some specialties in the Special Operations Command, that where the average incoming operator has maybe been in the service for seven years. And that, on top of the seven, now we are going to do some special training to get that person up to whatever the required ability level is in those specialties.
So, they are nine years in the Army before they are an operator. Now, if they retire at year 20, we get 11 years of service out of that person who does very special kinds of things. And it would seem to me, and we have had this discussion before, but for everybody else to hear it, can you elaborate on what kinds of incentives might be helpful in keeping men or women in for, let's say 25 years instead of getting to that 20-year retirement?
General BROWN. Sir, let me talk about that in just a second and then I will pass it over to these guys if they would like to get in on it.
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One of the things that is happening to us today is that these guys that have these special skills and the training program and the training pipeline for a Green Beret, which we are talking about right now. But it also applies to some of our special operations aircrews and our combat controllers and our SEALs, but if you put into perspective that a guy that just made up his mind to join special operations after September 11th, he is just now starting to get into the force, if he joined up right away and he has gone through the entire training process and we are just starting to get to use this guy at this time.
The environment after September 11th for special operations forces is different with the competition that now exists out in industry for these special skills that these guys bring when it gets to their retirement date. There is a great competition out there among security firms.
You have a guy here who is an expert in security, he is a very mature individual, he has traveled around the world, they all will speak a foreign language, and by their 20th year in service, they will speak that language very, very well, because they will have done repeated tours back into the same area of responsibility (AOR) that we have targeted them to. And that is another reason that we need to keep these guys around, because they come out of our school; every Green Beret graduates with a language capability. And he gets out and starts using that and by the time he has 20 years in special ops, this guy can speak the language very, very well and that is when we need to keep him most and that is when the competition is the keenest for civilian industry to hire him for his skills to operate in Homeland Defense or some other security firm around the world.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, that is a new impact on special operations forces over the last couple years. In the first week of December of 2003, I asked my senior enlisted advisor to put together a team of about the E7, E8 NCO level and bring them down to Tampa about 20, 25 folks and to bring their wives with them. And so we brought them down there for a week and quite frankly, we just had week-long open discussion with them about retention problems; what can we do to help you stay in service.
The number one thing that keeps a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine in service is job satisfaction. And right now, these guys have great job satisfaction out on the battlefield because they are doing, as General Kensinger said, they are doing exactly what they signed up to do and that is to get out into the arena and contribute.
After that, there are family issues and monetary issues and things that we need to take a look at, and education incentives, that we need to take a look at to see if there aren't some initiatives that we can get started. I would tell you that Tiger Team, so to speak that we put together down there is about to report out. They have been working some of the issues; they will give all of our component commanders here a back brief here in two weeks in Washington D.C. when we have a Commander's Conference. And at that time, I believe that we will have some initiatives on the table that we can take on to try and see if there is something that we can get going to try and retain these people before the 20-year point, but specifically after the 20-year point.
Mr. SAXTON. General Kensinger, you have anything else? Anybody have anything else they want to add?
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Command Chief Master Sergeant MARTENS. Sir, I have to tell you that at the 20-year mark in service for our special operators, the American taxpayer has invested a little bit over $2 million in training and pays in those personnel. And the money is not important on my side of the house. The experience that those troops possess is the important part so we can pass that on to our youngsters.
We are looking at things such as educational benefits, we are looking at things of retirement benefits and special pays; we can never compete with the outside and civilian agencies when it comes to monetary funds, not dollar-for-dollar. But our goal is to make the families and the servicemen as comfortable as possible.
Nobody expects to get rich in this business, but we do have, at my age, we have children in college, we are looking to make a final house payment perhaps, we are looking to not have to jump off into another career and start working full time immediately. And at the 20-year mark is when our folks are probably the most employable.
Our personnel we are leaving, so they could get out at the 20-year mark, pursue four years of college so they would be more employable and then move on to a second career, they are now jumping right into that second career and making anywhere from $100,000 upwards to $200,000 a year and they are doing that in a six month time period in some cases. We can never compete with that, but we can compete with job satisfaction and we can make their families as comfortable as possible.
Mr. SAXTON. I would just say for the benefit of my colleagues, and tell me if I am right, the senior NCO that we are talking about, who possesses these skills in the special operations courses is probably making a little under $50,000 a year.
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Command Chief Master Sergeant MARTENS. Sir, they are probably right about at the $50,000 a year at the 22-, 24-year mark, talking E7s and E8s.
Mr. SAXTON. And so, they can, in some cases, quadruple their salary, if they decide to do something else.
Command Chief Master Sergeant MARTENS. Yes, sir. An E9 in the armed forces today retiring at 20 years of service gets about $23,000 in retirement pay.
Mr. SAXTON. Well, Chief, General Brown and everybody, when you get your recommendations out, if there is some action that is needed by this subcommittee, we will get right after it. Because I think this is an extremely important issue.
Secretary O'CONNELL. Mr. Chairman, if I could, just add one item to General Brown's testimony. He indicated that there was a tremendous amount of competition from the civilian sector. That is true.
But our colleagues in the CIA and other government agencies are not reluctant at all to come in at 20 years, or even sometimes before someone retires and offer a much better pay package, much better benefits and of course, they have someone that has had a security clearance, is superbly trained, gets credit for their years of government service. And that in my view is starting to become a significant problem. It doesn't mean that the CIA doesn't need them, but it is another issue that I think General Brown and his team are going to have address.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Just very briefly, gentlemen, I want to thank you for being with us today and we very much appreciate your service to our nation and the excellent leadership that you are providing. As was mentioned earlier, I was very pleased to accompany Chairman Saxton on the special operations bases tour just a short while ago to meet with many of you. And I have to tell you, I was very impressed with the level of pride and the unbelievable dedication.
It was sort of revealed when I had some very personal moments with men who had served with Dave Tapper, a Navy SEAL, who was killed in Afghanistan and for Tom Walkup, Special Ops for the Air Force, and listened to the stories of the men who had worked with these two great Americans. So, it is just sort of an up scaled appreciation for what you all do and what your men and women do.
So, very briefly, Secretary O'Connell, I have a question about DOD's plans for funding and that is, for SOCOM, do you see it being kept at current levels or is there significant increase in the horizon over the next few years? How do you see this coming down?
Secretary O'CONNELL. Sir, in my discussions with General Brown my budget people sat with his budget people and look as best we can into the future. As you may imagine, Sir, some of the things that will happen to the Special Operations Command are not solely under General Brown's control.
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I will give you an example of the CV22 development. Those costs are tied to what happens in the Marine Corps, what happens in unforeseen R&D costs; a whole chain of events that are actually not under our control. To the extent that we can, we look very carefully at what we think the requirements might be.
General Brown has unique acquisition authority among the combatant commanders, and he can make, certainly, some purchases that take advantage of economy of scale. If there is a new technology that might offer his special operators an advantage, he has the ability and the flexibility and the support, normally, of the defense leadership, to make that move in acquisition and take advantage of that. I see a steady funding stream barring any significant event such as something happening to the CV22 and perhaps General Brown would want to address any other issues.
If I could, I would just like to add one addendum to Congressman Meehan's question on intelligence. I meant to inform him that, in terms of intelligence support, I do in my office, Sir, have a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer, an officer from National Security Agency (NSA), an officer from Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); and they attend all my meetings. And I thought that point was important to mention. I am sorry, Sir.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Just as a quick follow-up: I know currently there is a very high operations tempo and expanded areas of responsibility.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, you see the funds sufficient to meet these challenges in the short term and feel confident that, barring something huge, that long-term we are on the right track here with the funding for special operations?
Secretary O'CONNELL. I do, Sir. And I am very confident in the command's ability. We have several very experienced aviators here; General Brown being one of the more distinguished that has ever worn the aviation wings.
But, they are able to take a look at this most significant part of the U.S. Special Operations Command's operating budgets of the future; look at their fleet of aircraft; the special requirements placed on those aircraft, and make, I think, some very good judgments in terms of which aircraft they can upgrade and which ones need new purchase; what types of new capabilities are needed. And since the aviation element is such a major portion of the budget, I would prefer passing that to General Brown, if you don't mind, Sir.
General BROWN. I believe Mr. O'Connell hit the nail on the head. Our 2005 budget request is for about $6.5 billion. We would hope that that would continue into the future.
I think we have great plans for where we want to go. You are looking at the board of directors. We have a strategic planning process that designs our budget requests saying where we will go in the future that, quite frankly, includes all these guys at the front table and is vetted through the services in cooperation with the services.
And we work very close looking at programs much like the CV22, and we iterate with General Jumper and the Air Force, and Mike Hagee and the Marine Corps on a regular basis on that type of a program. I think that barring any unforeseen circumstances like a problem with the CV22, I think we are good in 2004. I think our budget request is exactly what we want for 2005 and to help us continue on with the programs we have going on right now.
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Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you, General, very much. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Colonel Kline.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, thank you, gentlemen, for being here. I am going to ask an obligatory question about the Marine Corp here in just a minute.
But first, the discussion so far today about intelligence has focused on your need to have it and the organizations that are in place and the cooperation, the imbedded liaison officers and, so forth. But you are also information and intelligence gatherers; perhaps more than the other elements of the armed forces. And yet, those other elements are working in the same neighborhoods that the special operations forces are, as well; literally in the same neighborhoods and need that kind of intelligence.
Would one of you be willing to address what might be in place to get intelligence from your forces to the regular forces?
Secretary O'CONNELL. Yes, Sir. I can give you several examples and some involve strategic intelligence; some involve tactical intelligence. And I go back to, not only the experience of my own career when we worked very closely with special operations forces, and even if you were a conventional unit like the 82nd Airborne Division, there were often special operations liaison elements that shared that information.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If you looked at what is taking place in Haiti today, I am very confident that, under General Tom Hill, the combatant commander in Southern Command, that he has a seamless operation where the special operations forces that are on the ground there have regular meetings and share the same information in terms of the situation on the ground, with the conventional forces, in this case, primarily Marines.
You mention the fact that special operators are often intelligence gatherers. My limited experience in Baghdad was a superb sharing amongst those conventional units responsible for certain sectors with our special operations forces and those task forces configured for specific objectives such as high value targets.
Let me just close, Sir, by mentioning; we oftentimes don't understand the tremendous benefit that accrues from the travel of our special operations forces. Many of whom have done unbelievably technical-in-detail surveys that are catalogued that offer wonderful repository for future operations. And that is an important component of intelligence that sometimes we overlook.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you and, general, you can add to this if you like, but when some members of this subcommittee were in Iraq last October, we had the opportunity to talk to special operations forces. It is very clear that you are working very hard in gathering information, either from cooperating Iraqis or your own eyeballs.
And I just was looking to know that there is some institutional way that you are passing that information on to the conventional forces, and your example of Haiti is a very good one.
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Let me ask the obligatory question about the Marine Corps. We now have some Marines that are special operations forces, a small group of them, and yet we are seeing the Marines, as the secretary said, engaged in Haiti, and an Marine Expeditionary Battalion (MEB) going back to Iraq, and Marines in the Horn of Africa, and at least two Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs) floating. The point is they are pretty heavily committed.
Two questions: How do you see how they are doing right now; the small group of Marines that you belong to you, General? And, what do you see for the long term?
General BROWN. First of all, Sir, we just finished the Marine Corps SOCOM war fighter last week up at Camp Lejeune with all the guys that you see here at the table and a whole collection of general officers and other experts in every area.
It is about a week-long exercise where we take a bunch of action officers up there and put them up there ahead of General Hagee and I. They wring out every issue that we can all dream up and make sure that there is a way ahead in every specific issue; for example, acquisition.
The Marines have total visibility of every one of our acquisition programs. We have visibility of theirs. We are working very closely together on making sure that we both get a vehicle that will work; that is compatible with the CV22 and their MV22.
So those kinds of issues, two include war-fighting doctrine issues, we worked those out in this war fighter that we just participated in, last week, and it was very, very successful and General Hagee hosted this up at Lejeune and then we will host another one, prior to Christmas, probably down at Tampa where they will come down. This will be our third in a series of war fighters where we just get at the issues that you are talking about.
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Currently, we have about 100 Marines in this Marine Corps SOCOM detachment that will deploy here real soon. There are about a hundred of them; they have enablers with them, ANGECO kind of stuff, radio reconnaissance kind of stuff. These folks are handpicked; many of them have worked with us before in special operations, many of them are Special Forces qualified, Ranger qualified. It is an incredible group of folks that we are excited about having work with us. This is a proof of concept.
We are going to deploy them with our Naval Special Warfare Task Unit 1 and they will work with them for six months and during that time we will look at opportunities for how we can better interface specifically with this unit but U.S. Marine Corps at large based on the working relationship and how the missions break out and training opportunities and they will continue to work tactics, technique and procedure problems.
And quite frankly, I have talked to both of the commanders of those units and they are very excited about it and I would tell you, I think this is going to be a very successful deployment for this 100-man Marine Corps detachment. I believe that after these guys get back or 90 days into this thing, after we have seen this, we will have a clearer picture, a more clear picture, of where we think this wants to go in the future and what path this is going take.
And General Hagee and I have a great relationship and we both are looking at this interoperability problem and, quite frankly, we are very, very close to the U.S. Marine Corps right now.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KLINE. Terrific. Thank you very much, and I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Hayes.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you, gentlemen, for being here. Have you ever heard of Fort Bragg?
General BROWN. I have heard of that.
Mr. HAYES. We refer to it as the epicenter of the universe. General Kensinger and General Brown, we talked over the years about the need for additional PSYOPS and civil affairs folks, I noticed in your statement, we have four Reserve and two active duty Physchological Operations (PSYOPS) that we are adding, and two Reserve, two active duty civil affairs. Is this going to be sufficient to take care of the need immediately?
General KENSINGER. Good afternoon, Congressman. It is good to see you again. And it is the center of the universe for Army special operations, you are correct.
Sir, those are the initial figures that we got in last year's Total Army Analysis Program. We have two additional PSYOP companies that have been validated and we are working those requirements this year to have those positions and slots given back to us.
I am also prepared to brief the BOD that you see in front of us in two weeks on the building of a Civil Affairs (CA) brigade, if you will, there at Bragg that will be regionally oriented in each one of the battalions like we have with our current PSYOP.
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With the amount of work that we have and the amount of folks that we are now bringing into these two organizations, I am confident we have the right mix for our Active Component (AC) and Reserve Component (RC) for future operations.
General BROWN. Additionally, there is another piece to that, I think. And that is to ensure that we are very aggressive, which General Kensinger has been, and Army Special Operations Command has been for some time, to ensure that all of our civil affairs forces are train to Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) standard. They are fully qualified. We can gain some efficiency by being a little more aggressive in our school and getting more of those people through it, trained at a faster rate. That would, thereby, give us more force structure in the field.
One of the things I failed to mention earlier when we were discussing the number of people that we have in all of our units is that our first priority, as we do our budget and our Program Objective Memorandum (POM), is down at Special Operations Command in Tampa is our schoolhouses. We have put them up at the top to ensure that they get the funding they need and the people they need and the equipment they need to ensure that we can get a good, solid throughput of all these people that want to be in special operations. That will ultimately, as the second and third order effect is that that will help us fill us some of our civil affairs slots.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, sir. Just to make sure you don't fail to ask us for what you need, we appreciate what all of you are doing and the men and women that serve you.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me add my congratulations to Admiral Calland. We had a great trip up to Virginia; that was a nice cold day. General Hester, thank you very much for your help in putting our special operations aircraft inventory together. That is still out there. How are we doing? Make a plug for more, newer.
General HESTER. Well, thanks Congressman, always nice
Mr. HAYES. Had my nightstalker patch out last night; that is what got me.
General HESTER. Always great to give an advertisement for what we need in aviation and of course, my friend, Phil Kensinger, down at the other end of the table has as much interest in aviation with the 160th, as certainly we do in Air Force Special Ops Command.
As you know, we are continuing spiral development: it is an interesting way to and an exciting way for us to build new technology and legacy platforms like the AC130, which we have seven versions of in Air Force Special Ops Command, and of course, one of the premier programs, as General Brown has already alluded to, is the CV22. Once it passes its operational test and evaluation, we are excited about the retirement of our Pave Low helicopters in the end of this decade. And bringing on for initial operation capability, that CV22 both, first at Hurlburt and then across the other commands where we are going to station in the Pacific and in Europe.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, there is an exciting time ahead, albeit it was one we will need to continue to stay close with you as members of the committee because these platforms are not inexpensive. But, they in fact, as you know, based on the legacy systems we will retire, we keep them around for a good 40 years. So, we are excited to get them, the safe, reliable platforms that will take these young Americans to the battlefield and bring them back safely.
Mr. HAYES. We have one of your Pave Low operators up here. I don't want to mention him by name and embarrass him, but it may cost you another $10 million to remediate after he has been in Washington.
General Kensinger talk to me about the new XM8 rifle. That is a new one on me. Is that going to be, by the time we get through all the process, is that going to be useable for you all or are we going to have to modify it to make it work? I was unfamiliar with that.
General KENSINGER. We have a program where we want to ensure that our SOF operators out on the ground have the absolute best weapon in their hands that they need. As part of that program, we are looking at just exactly what our future requirements are for future carbine. And in doing that, one of the contenders is the XM8, which is the Army's weapon of the future that we are taking a real hard look at to see if it will also meet our requirements.
Mr. HAYES. Again, my time is up. Thank you all for your incredible service to country and thank you, Mr. Chairman, all our committee members for their tremendous interest and support for these folks.
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Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Hayes.
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank all of you for your service. One of the highlights of my service in Congress in two years has been to visit the special operations forces and I want to thank Chairman Saxton for his leadership in putting that trip together.
I was certainly familiar with the equipment that all of you have, but it was certainly the dedication of the personnel that we saw that meant so much. And we are just reminded everyday, to me, that in the war on terrorism, that the most effective defense is to go after the terrorists overseas, not wait for them to arrive here. And again, a chilling reminder of that was the attack in Madrid this morning. But thank you so much how you are leading the effort to protect the American people.
In the testimony of General Brown, it was indicated that there were several lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom. One that has always been of interest to me as a former Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer is fratricide. And I appreciate so much the success that has been made in reducing fratricide, but I understand that we want it to be zero. And so, I would like to know from each of you, General Brown, General Kensinger, General Hester, Admiral Calland, if you would identify what the status is on and progress in regard to reducing fratricide.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General BROWN. Bert, do you want to start, if that is okay with you?
Admiral CALLAND. Sir, thank you for the question. I think that obviously, we have had instances of that early on in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) when we first went into Afghanistan, unfortunately. However, I think the lessons that we have learned are to be able to employ, in many cases, better technology.
The Blue Force tracking systems that we currently have right now, that we fully employed in Iraq went a long way and really cut down dramatically on the threat or on the possibility of fratricide. I think it is the situational awareness that we can spread across the battlefield so that all the players that are engaged can understand exactly where the friendly forces are and where the enemy's forces are.
I think procedures on call for fire are standardized and across all those forces that do call for fire have a standard procedure that they can use and so there are not any discrepancies based on the methodology by which somebody calls in for an airstrike. And I think those are two areas that we learned and that have significantly reduced the instance of fratricide.
General KENSINGER. I agree with what Bert said. One of the, I think, two other lessons learned that we came out is one, that our doctrine has been sound. How we put our special operations liaison element in the AOCs, in the Air Operations Center, to help control fires, has proved its worth in these last two conflicts.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The second is kind of unique in Operation Iraqi Freedom was that SOF in itself controlled two-thirds of the country. We had our own joint special operations areas where we controlled all fires in that area, all movements in there and that is again, was a doctrinal piece that we have had for a number of years that we were allowed to execute. That, plus the technological pieces in the clearing of fires, I think, have been major successes for us. I think what we have to do is continue to capitalize on that.
In the Army side, we are working with the combined training centers to ensure that the conventional force, as well as its special operations forces understand where those seams exist on the battlefield and we continue to close those seams to, again, prevent fratricide of our soldiers, sailors and airmen.
General HESTER. Congressman, thanks for that question. Let me just jump on the backs of my two compatriots down the way. It is the standardization of training, as well as the technology, that we need on the battlefield.
Chief Master Sergeant Bob Martens is a combat controller sitting next to me, now serving as the senior enlisted advisor, but he has been one of those who has been trained at the highest standards, to in fact, be able to know the procedures of the pilots in those various platform cockpits overhead; to be able to direct them, to be able to plot the commensurate coordinates, and to be able to direct them with rules of engagement calls on the battlefield. And it has been that level of standard of training that has, in fact, been able to help us reduce, in principle, the number of blue-on-blue incidents we have had on the battlefield.
It is the reason that General Brown has asked General Kensinger and me to head a task force to, in fact, look at increasing the number of personnel that we have on the battlefield who can in fact, call for fires and who have been trained at that standard. It is also an objective that both the joint businesses work from the Air Force to the Army to the Marine Corps through Joint Close Air Support (JCAS) operations in the Pentagon. So, there is an excitement about this, of training people to the right level all across the military and we are aggressively pursuing that inside of SOCOM.
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General BROWN. Sir, just to end that discussion, I agree with everybody that has already talked today. It is a procedures thing, it is a technology thing, it is a training thing, we have to get at all those pieces.
I applaud the Air Force's effort on the battlefield air ops kit that they are fielding. It has some technology in it that will certainly help. Blue Force Tracker is one piece of the answer; it is not the only piece of the answer. I do think it is a priority. We have suffered some casualties, including on a personal note, my son-in-law, who is a Green Beret, was hurt very badly with a fratricide incident during the early days of Afghanistan.
But for all of our forces, be whatever service they are in, and specifically in SOF, it is a problem; we are working it hard. And we think it is important.
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. And I appreciate the efforts of all of you. It really is reassuring as a parent of children in the military, one in Iraq, I am just grateful for the progress that you have made.
And one final point, I certainly want to thank everybody that has been so helpful to us, but General Hester, you and Congressman Jeff Miller couldn't have been more gracious in your efforts to show us the capabilities of the C130's. And I had had the opportunity to see it at Karshi-Kanabad in Uzbekistan and then to have the opportunity at Hurlburt and again, it is just reassuring to know what is being done to protect the American people through Special Forces.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. There is one thing that you should all know about Mr. Wilson and his family.
He has a large family and when the little ones get about four or five years old and they start to talk, the first question they have to answer is, ''Which service will you join?''
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. We will get some recruiting packets in the mail, sir.
Mr. TURNER OF TEXAS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Brown I have had an interest for some time in trying to advocate and to see the Special Forces capability increased by trying to have joint Special Forces with other countries that may be willing to cooperate. In the war on terror, I think that is going to be essential.
It is also true however, that many of those countries that are in the Arab world are reluctant for various reasons to participate jointly with us. Even though we may have some tacit support from certain of those countries, actual joint, visible operations may not be acceptable.
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And so, I have had a strong interest in being sure that the Special Forces have the authority to do what I understand, CIA can do under law, and that is, when in a country, like Afghanistan, they can employ Afghans to assist them. I would like to see the Special Forces have a similar authority under law.
I realize there are many issues that have to be considered here, but I would like to know what you think about this idea. I have been told that there is an interest in this and that there, in fact, may be some draft language circulating at the Pentagon that would give you this authority that I have a strong interest in being sure it gets into this year's authorization bill. So, discuss that issue with us. Talk about the need for it and the right way to go about it.
Secretary O'CONNELL. Sir, I think you are exactly right and I appreciate your question. What we think we need the authority to do is when we get on the ground, such as an Afghan scenario, where our S.F. teams went in there early, is to allow the special forces team, at the lowest level, operating with local Afghan, in this instance, local Afghan forces, like the Northern Alliance that we trained and worked with, is to have a mechanism by which, and the authority, by which they can equip these people and give them that. It is train and equip. We need some money for training them and we need the authority to spend that money to train and equip them.
When we got into Afghanistan and started training some of these forces, we did not have a mechanism in place that would allow us to take a group of Northern Alliance soldiers and provide, let's say, uniforms or boots or something along that line in a timely manner. Of course we do that as the war matured, as the battlefield matured, then they other systems kicked in that allowed us to do that.
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But we would like to investigate an opportunity to do that much more quickly, so that an S.F. team on the ground can train and equip an indigenous force. Mr. Secretary, is that consistent with what your thinking is on this issue?
Mr. TURNER OF TEXAS. Yes, sir, absolutely. And I go all the way back to days in Vietnam when I wish we had some of this authority.
General Brown has sent a very thoughtful proposal forward that I think asked for certain authorities. We have put it in to the type of language that, as you know sir, is required over at Office of Management & Budget (OMB). As it goes through that sounding board process, where other elements are allowed to look at it, as you might suspect, there may be some push back from either state; from CIA or elsewhere and we are awaiting those comments.
I am very gratified that Dr. Cambone fully supported it; some felt that that is getting into the intel equities. The secretary has indicated his support for it and we are anxious to get that back from OMB and push that forward.
Secretary O'CONNELL. And I, sir, and I know General Brown, men and women of the U.S. Special Operations Command would be greatly appreciative if that could be advanced forward.
Mr. TURNER OF TEXAS. Mr. Secretary, it would be helpful to us, and I know the chairman would probably join me, if we could see that language that has been proposed so that we could look at it.
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I personally, feel strongly enough about it that I want to be an advocate for including that in this year's authorization bill and I would hope other members on this particular committee would feel equally as strong. Thank you, sir.
Secretary O'CONNELL. Thank you, sir. We appreciate the support.
Mr. TURNER OF TEXAS. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Langevin.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, I want to thank you very much for your testimony today.
I just had one brief area that I wanted to touch upon, just wanted to follow up on some of the questions my good friend, Congressman Hayes had raised with respect to civil affairs training. And it is primarily for General Brown and General Kensinger.
I have had the opportunity to meet with several members of Army Special Forces. And they have noted that there was certainly a growing need which you already touched upon for civil affairs training. I wanted to know if you could, just a little bit more in depth for the committee, could you describe some of the work that civil affairs forces do?
Additionally, I understand that many of the soldiers in the civil affairs training are in the Reserve component and with the Army in the midst of force restructuring, what is SOCOM doing to ensure appropriate acts of its civil affairs experts without excessive reliance on the Reserve component?
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General KENSINGER. Well, sir, I will answer that question, sir, to start it off. And again, it is a great question and it is one that comes up almost on a daily basis. Civil affairs is doing a tremendous job in theater. I would characterize their missions, kind of, in three major functions.
One: they help the commander plan. As the conventional force moves into an area, they help him understand how to handle the population, how to handle the refugees, how to help with the reconstruction pieces at a tactical and an operational level for that commander.
Next they do coordination. They coordinate with the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs) in the local area, the local contractors that are available, the local workforce that is available to help put in place those effects that that combatant commander wants to have in his battle space or in that area.
The third thing that they do is really help with the assessments. Being able to look to see what those cities, towns, population needs so that that ground force commander can help prioritize those resources to make those effects on the battlefield and help him accomplish his mission in the future.
As I said, 90 percent of the forces in the Reserves, we get tremendous support from the Office of the Chief Army Reserve (OCAR), in their support of our soldiers. We have one of the highest MOS queue, MOS qualifications for our soldiers in the Reserve. We are about at an 85 percent qualification. That is based on our schoolhouse, as General Brown talked about and the increases that we get from SOCOM to make those courses available for our Reserve soldiers, as well as the Army being able to provide us those soldiers.
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Each one of those units is about 115 percent or more manned. People come into civil affairs because there is a great balance in what they do in the civilian sector, great similarity, to what we are asking them to do in the Reserve. Our civil affairs is only about 10 percent in the active duty. We have one battalion, and as I pointed to Congressman Hayes, we are increasing by two active companies and I have a proposal for General Brown and the Basis of Design (BOD) here in two weeks to show where we can grow that to a brigade level.
Fully supported by the Army and be able to provide those long-term capabilities for immediate set-up of civil affairs without having to immediately call for our Reserve forces. We take that kind of mission that the Army is looking at is being able to stand up for 30 days before we bring our Reserves on. We have taken that on and I have the proposal to give General Brown and the committee as how we should accomplish that in the future.
Mr. LANGEVIN. General Brown, do you have anything to add?
General BROWN. I think that pretty well covered it, unless you have other parts of the question. I would just add that I don't think you can overstate their contribution out on the battlefield.
As they continue to build the infrastructure and allow for stability both in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world where we deploy them, they are just absolutely critical to the success of any mission that we take on. And quite frankly, these are great people, operate in very small teams, often out there by themselves, build tremendous relationship with the locals and then can prioritize and bring those necessary facilities, whether it be a medical fresh water, all kinds of power generation, all kinds of facilities to a little village far away that has never had that. So, their impact, they are small groups, but their impact is very large.
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Mr. LANGEVIN. Very good. Well thank you. I just wanted to say that we realize that you were asked to carry out some of the most difficult missions that are at the tip of the spear. And this Congress is very grateful for your service, all of you. Thank you.
General BROWN. Thank you, sir.
Mr. SAXTON. Let me just follow up on Mr. Langevin's question, perhaps from a little bit different perspective.
The Operations Tempo (OPTEMPO) over the last period of time has been certainly different than it was before 9/11 and yet, our Special Forces organization, in terms of numbers of people and capabilities, is about the same as it was before 9/11. Does this create a strain and how long will we be able to continue this OPTEMPO given the new demands because of your successes; new demands because of your successes that have brought a new understanding of what Special Forces are about, how you can be successful? How long can we sustain this level of operation?
General BROWN. Sir, I think it is dependent upon what specific capability we are talking about. Based on the fact that our civil affairs forces are 90 percent in the Reserve, that brings one problem set, as does our psychological operation forces.
Our special forces, our Green Berets, right now that is manageable. Our deployments overall, are actually down at this point as the average number deployed, about 13 percent from last year at this time when we were engaged in our heaviest activities. So, we are very, very careful about prioritizing our deployments to make sure that they have a major impact of where we need to support the geographic combatant commanders in the global war on terrorism around the world.
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Specifically, how long we can sustain, I think all of the programs that we have going on, increasing in the schoolhouse, increase of force structure, trying to get at those specific instances where we do have some shortcomings, I think those will help us sustain this fight for quite some time. Let me see if these guys got any
Admiral CALLAND. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to say that naval special warfare has historically, at least, from the time of 9/11 deployed, like the Navy does: regular six month deployments on rotation, so we are a deploying force, so to speak. And we average at about 25 percent of our operators deployed at any one time.
We have experienced a recent surge to where we have pushed additional forces forward and increased our deployments. And today we are at about 34 percent of our deployable force currently deployed overseas. Obviously that puts us from one in four, essentially six months deployed; 18 months back rotation, to a one in three rotation.
It does create some degree of strain, it is manageable over time, but I would say that without significant impacts on retention and those kinds of things, we can sustain that for several years, I believe without seeing significant reductions in retention. I can say that our retention over a three year average is about 78 percent. It is a little skewed this year; we are at about 90 percent retention. But that is a combination of our officers and our enlisted together.
So, I think, as General Brown indicated, our deployments, we are busy, there is no question about that, we have increased the number of forces that we have deployed forward, in particular in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I think it is manageable up to this point.
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Command Chief Master Sergeant MARTENS. Mr. Chairman, our troops are doing well out on the battlefield. They are doing what they train to do; they thrive when they are able to accomplish special operations missions out on the battlefield. And that is what most folks have waited an entire career to do and they are doing that over and over.
A big thing that we are taking a look at these days are validating each and every mission as troops go out the door and make sure that they are indeed, special operations forces' missions and that we are not spending time taking care of conventional missions out on the battlefield. When we are back here in the continental United States, or at forward operating bases overseas, we are engaged in training our troops and readying them for combat. And as they are engaged in those forward areas, we are making sure they are doing special operations work and that you are getting your money's worth out of them.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Secretary, Chief brings up a good point when he says we want to make sure that the missions are actually special operations missions. Have you looked to see if there are any missions, the special operators are doing that maybe somebody else could do?
Secretary O'CONNELL. We have, sir. And, in fact, General Brown I think would agree. The Secretary of Defense pushes us a lot. He goes through, without giving away anything
Mr. SAXTON. Pushes everybody and that is a good thing.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary O'CONNELL [continuing]. But the joint staff and the combatant commanders, the staff of Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) go through a very detailed procedure as was mentioned here by several of the gentlemen before a deployment. All the specifics of a deployment are very carefully looked at personally by the secretary.
There are senior representatives from the joint staff, often the chairman and the J3 are sitting there along with various undersecretaries and occasionally assistant secretary level. Each deployment is looked at in rather excruciating detail to include on the Reserve side or National Guard side, the very specific questions of, ''When was the last time that unit was called up? And what were they called up for? And what actually took place?''
So, the secretary has very clear visibility down to, indeed, very small units as to what the status is. So, he is able to watch that OPTEMPO very carefully. He also, in terms of the mission, will ask very clearly, ''Is this the right mission for this particular unit?'' be it a special operations unit to include civil affairs and PSYOPS. He has in several cases, I believe, Georgia being the most recent example, where special operations forces were doing certain training that he felt could be done by other forces and in fact, that was turned over to conventional forces.
But, yes, we do look. One of the problems with the OPTEMPO is that the more successful these people are, the more in demand they are.
Mr. SAXTON. That is true. And that is what has happened, obviously.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary O'CONNELL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SAXTON. General Brown, any missions that you feel like maybe could be done by others?
General BROWN. Sir, it is kind of like Mr. O'Connell said, we look at everyone very carefully. And any mission that I take up to the department or the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and say, ''Hey, we think a conventional could better do this mission or should do it'' we get great support.
So, we really have an opportunity to pass those missions to the conventional forces. It is a fine line. We want to ensure Georgia's trained and equipped, which Mr. O'Connell brought up, and has been widely reported. That is an interesting one because we went in and started that and so, thereby given our special forces guys that would routinely operate in that AOR, the opportunity to go in and use their language skills, build the relationships, start the training, build the ranges, do what S.F. guys traditionally do and then we brought the Marines in to take the long haul.
And quite frankly, we got the value of doing those things that we want to do: our cultural awareness, our language skills, our working with foreign forces and then the Marines came in and completed that mission and did very well. So, that is kind of an example that we look at a lot of our different missions with to see if it is possible that we can still get value out of them and pass them to the conventional force.
Mr. SAXTON. Let me ask a question of either you, General Brown, or anybody that wants to answer it. The war on terrorism has created a need for a different culture and you all represent that culture. When you are deployed, as part of your daily routine, somebody has to make decisions about ongoing operations.
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During the last couple of years I have made it my business to talk to as many as operators as I can, and sometimes I get the feeling that the timeliness of decisions inhibits certain operations. Do you know what I am saying? And so I am wondering if you have the authorities to make the decisions that you need to make. And also, on down the chain of operational command, how it is decided as to when an operator is capable or able or authorized to make a decision on operational stuff?
General BROWN. Great question, sir. As you know, all of the forces that we have deployed around the world today are in support of one of the geographic combatant commanders.
The best way to use special operations forces are great NCOs and Army, Navy and Air Force folks that are on the ground is to put the decision making at the lowest possible level. They are very, very capable.
Part of our training we emphasize decision making, we emphasis out-of-the-box thinking. All of exercises and all of our training programs are built so that we force them into situations where they have to make decisions every single day.
And so the correct way to do a special operation is to get the decision at the lowest possible level and usually, that quite frankly, gets down to the senior NCO at a team or that team leader down at a Special Forces Operational Detachment-A (SF ''A'' team) or at a SEAL team.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are different mechanisms and different AORs and every situation is different as to what their authorities are once they are out there operating. Obviously in a mature theater such as Afghanistan and Iraq, those are pretty well in concrete now as to who can make what decisions; in other areas it is not as clearLY based on the chain of command at that time. Let me see if any of these other gentlemen want to
Admiral CALLAND. Sir, I would just like to make a comment that my experience in Afghanistan in the early days when we stood up was that in order to be successful in operations like we are being called to do, which are essentially finding individuals and hunting down small groups, it is all about speed. And in order to be able to have that speed, you could follow business models of how they have flattened organizational relationships in order to be able to get their product to the marketplace quicker. So, just as General Brown indicated, to be able to push the authority down, flatten the organizational structure out, to allow those commanders, and giving them the authority to make the decisions and make the calls on their own, is what works.
It worked in Afghanistan. I had two subordinate commands initially and then combined them into one. And then, we switched over and they worked for the Joint Task Force (JTF) 180 commander. But, I think that they had the authorities and the opportunity to make decisions quickly and to be able to act on them and I think that was the key to the success of those operations.
General KENSINGER. Mr. Chairman, if I could just add to General Brown and Admiral Calland's comments and really, it is to Secretary O'Connell's too, is it is a matter of doctrine, it is a matter the training that is going on and then it is the great confidence and success that these teams and individuals are having on the battlefield. And as every day goes by, we watch the authorities that are given to these operators at the lowest level and the increased responsibilities that they get.
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So, I am confident that it is working. Those team members are making that integration with a conventional force on a daily basis and bringing us our great successes.
Mr. SAXTON. I was in a briefing earlier today with somebody from the Joint Forces Command world and they were showing me some charts about how the services used to exist primarily independently and then how they started another chart showing how they cooperated with each other and finally they got to a chart which had the four services smack dab together with SOCOM right in the middle of them.
And I kind of smiled when I saw it, but then I looked at it and I said, ''They are trying to get to the point where we make decisions at lower levels, too.'' With the brigade combat team concept and all that. So, you have been a laboratory in a way, as well. And you should be commended for that.
The gentlelady from Admiral Calland's neighborhood has joined us. Ms. Davis you have some questions?
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you to all of you for your service and certainly for being here today.
I wanted to thank you particularly, Admiral Calland, for your service with the Naval Special Warfare Command in San Diego. We will miss you there, but we certainly wish you the best as you move on to your new assignment and certainly to your selection as vice admiral.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Perhaps, Mr. Chairman, this isn't in line and you may have already addressed this issue, but I was wondering as that integration takes place with particularly the Navy and Marines special operations, what has been the biggest surprise? What did you not expect to happen that did? And is there anything that gets in the way of greater success than you have already achieved? And I think we acknowledge that there has been great success in that regard.
Admiral CALLAND. Well, madam, I would say that when you put two organizations like the Marine RECON and SEALs together, sometimes it doesn't always work out. The surprise for me was how well it worked, that the integration between those two organizations came together quickly. They worked together closely; they have integrated their battle staffs to work as one team. They are interoperable between their operators.
The Marine platoon, for instance and a SEAL platoon are interoperable. We don't integrate the shooters with each other, but they are fully interoperable. About three weeks ago we ran a full field training exercise that tested their capabilities to be able to work together as a deploying naval special warfare squadron and it was an outstanding exercise.
They would go out and for instance, conduct a mission, gain intelligence off that mission that would be turned right into another mission and have time-sensitive targeting that repeated over a three or four day period of time. I think it has added to the capability of the squadron tremendously and I am sure, as General Brown indicated earlier that they will be extraordinarily successful once they get overseas working together.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you. I don't know if there is anything else anybody wanted to add in terms of some surprises that you have experienced as well.
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Secretary O'Connell, at the last subcommittee that we had, we touched on TSWG and technical support working group. Could you give us your sense of how that is supporting the work of special operations?
I know that in the community that I have worked in in San Diego, there have been some frustrations and it was difficult to transmit that information to TSWG. What do you see that group doing and how is that actually proceeding in a way that is very supportive of your work?
Secretary O'CONNELL. Yes, madam. First, thank you for the question and thank you for your interest in that entire process. As you certainly know, and as other members of the committee may know, the Department of Defense (DOD) is the co-chair of that, state is the other chair. I think we have 82 different government agencies that are represented there.
In fact, yesterday I briefed Karen Tandy, administrator of Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and invited her into that entire process; she already has people in there. But, she is very interested in many of the technologies that have counternarcotics applications.
First of all, we run several seminars during the year when all members of industry are given very clear opportunities to come in and say, ''These are our technologies that we believe have an application.'' I have to leave it up to the experts: those in law enforcement, those in the military that have special responsibilities to say, ''Yes, this technology is immediately useable; we have the funding to proceed.'' And we do our best on that. We are certainly not perfect.
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Anything that has an application into the counterterrorism missions, special operations or direct action missions to the U.S. Special Operations Command, they have full visibility into that process. I would offer you, madam, the full briefing, if you would like, over in Crystal City. It would take about an hour and a half.
I think you would be very impressed at how the process works. And if someone has a problem, don't hesitate to give me a call, because we certainly are interested in giving everyone a full and fair hearing.
We are very proud of some of the technologies that have moved into actual application. And if I could add one thing, in conjunction with the question from Representative Wilson, and sir, thank you for your son's service, we are most interested in doing anything we possibly can within the TSWG to defeat the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) problem in Iraq.
I recently met with several members that just returned from Iraq. General Schoomaker has created an IED task force.
Colonel Votel, who recently came back on that, has met with my senior Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel and I am the senior EOD adviser to the Secretary. We are looking at a whole range of immediate options in that particular arena, to include perhaps more of a joint EOD force.
And the members of the technical support working group have been tremendously helpful in that. The FBI has been great. Some of the forensic work has been absolutely superb. And I would be happy to make sure you get full visibility into what has been done. I think you would be very excited, very pleased and a good news story for your constituents.
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Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would just mention I know earlier you had a discussion about individuals moving into the civilian sector into the private sector from the military and from the wonderful training that they received and I know that that is a big issue, certainly in the San Diego community. And so, we want to be certain that we have the incentives for people to stay and provide the great service and the expertise, the intellectual capital that they have been performing in San Diego.
We welcome them in the private sector, but we also know that we need them to stay and we to make sure that those incentives are there. Thank you.
General BROWN. Could I answer that also?
I think one of the things that SOCOM does very well is go out and find merging technologies and get involved with it very quickly. And I would pass along to those folks that are frustrated that they can't get that stuff to us to look at that we probably haven't failed to tell industry this well enough, that would mean.
But quite frankly, we have a website. They can go into the SOCOM unclassified website. There is a portion of it that says, ''How to show SOCOM your product that you want us to look at.'' We have an individual called the technical integration liaison officer that does nothing but ensure that industry members that want to demonstrate a product can do that. First through him, and then makes sure it gets to the right technical experts that ought to look at it. So, we are very aggressive about that. And I would pass on to those folks that get up on our website and take a look at that. And it will tell you how to show stuff to SOCOM.
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Additionally, the IED thing is a big piece; we are working that very hard. We appreciate the work of the TSWG in the IEDs. That is one of the things that keeps me awake at night is how we are going to defeat these things. We are working technology solutions. Additionally, we are working TTPs: Tactics, Techniques and Procedures on how to defeat them. We have been out with some of our allies that have a little more experience than we do.
We have trained about 18 people in special operations and have sent them into the AOR to go out and talk to every special operations unit there to tell them the lessons learned from other countries, who have also had these kinds of problems. And additionally, we are linked very closely with the Army's tremendous initiative to take on the IED problem.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mrs. Davis. Mr. Secretary, let me ask you this and it is related to the last question I asked, but what is the relationship between SOCOM Command and the CIA?
General Brown, I believe it was a little while ago noted how closely CIA and SOCOM special operations forces work together. And I guess the right way to ask this is, ''What is the relationship? How does it work?'' Are there any problems from an operational point of view?
Secretary O'CONNELL. The relationship between CIA and SOCOM exist at many levels. As General Brown mentioned in his testimony, sir, he has a number, I think almost a hundred interagency personnel, some from the Department of Defense, from various elements that support him directly.
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CIA, as you may imagine, is not always very happy about identifying exactly where they have liaison officers or what they do, but let me assure you that at many levels of the Special Operations Command, that relationship exists on a formal basis. It exists in other ways that are perhaps, less evident.
I was one of the original members of the Office of Military Affairs at CIA. That was an effort spurred by the Congress to make a closer working relationship between the CIA and the military. Soon to be Vice Admiral Calland will occupy a key position at CIA shortly, while he is a special operations officer, he will be a Navy, or more of a joint staff rep in there. But you see the tremendous experience he brings on the special operations side.
At the lower level, I would defer to the operators on the ground, General Kensinger and others that have worked hand in hand with the paramilitary elements of the CIA and also those case officers.
We also work very closely on a whole range of technical issues that could certainly be discussed in a closed hearing. There hasn't been a time when I had a question, either policy or intelligence, that I haven't been able to get answered through my CIA member. And just let me finish by saying I work very closely with the CIA's counternarcotics center, with their counterterrorism center and with several other areas that have direct application to my portfolio within DOD.
That is the Special Operations, Low-Intensity Conflict (SOLIC) side and you may want to go more to the SOCOM side with General Brown.
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General BROWN. I would just agree with everything that Mr. O'Connell said. We have great cooperation with the CIA at every level, out on the ground with our operators, where they run into each other. They both have an appreciation for what everybody is trying to do out there. And the relationship is very good as we operate on the battlefield.
Additionally, as we already mentioned, I have liaison officers from CIA at my headquarters. And additionally, I have tremendous access to Mr. Tenet and the leadership at the CIA. And every time that we have requested a piece of information or any issues, they have been very receptive.
Mr. SAXTON. Are there any command and control issues?
General BROWN. I don't believe there are any command and control issues. We don't command their forces or we don't put them under any of our JTFs or DSTOs.
Admiral CALLAND. Sir, if I may, Mr. Chairman. My experience on the ground in working for about a month with representatives from the CIA was that it was very clear in Afghanistan that we working together, but the senior CIA member on the ground never did anything without first consulting me.
I think he considered me, even though not in his chain of command, to be his commander. The relationship couldn't have been any better. We were both working very closely together and had the common goals to get the job done.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Great. Good news. I have two hardware questions. Does the MH53 helicopter continue to be a viable system? Are you confident, General Hester, that the CV22 will be an adequate and timely replacement, especially in light of the plans to cease further modernization of the MH53?
General HESTER. Yes, sir. Our plans are right on track for replacing the 53 as it retires at the end of the decade.
There are options for us if we choose to do so or if there is a necessity to do so to add some lengthening maintenance to the MH53s and we will carry them out into the next decade. We don't foresee that as a necessity clearly at the moment. And we believe that the program, the CV22s both developmental tests and operational tests will provide it initial operational capability somewhere out in fiscal year 2009.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Let me ask a follow-up question on the XM8 rifle. I was I guess a little bit surprised when I found out the M4 had some weakness, a couple of weaknesses. Maybe I shouldn't have been, because nothing is perfect, but I admit that I was surprised.
I understand that from a special operator's point of view, maybe the XM8 isn't so perfect, either. Can you discuss those issues?
General BROWN. First of all, I had just traveled through the Pacific, where I met with all of our special operators out there, our Green Berets on the ground and our SEASs and I will tell you that everyone one of them, to a man, loves the M4 Carbine that he has in his hand today, has great confidence in it and at the same time is looking forward to what the next replacement is as these wear out and we go on to our next weapon, whatever that is going to be, as we go through this selection.
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The M4 has served us very well. We are very happy with the M4. There is time-to-time a problem with it, as you are well familiar. But quite frankly, across the board, the M4 is doing very well for us and we are very happy with it.
I am not an expert on the M8 and do not know very much about it. I don't know if anybody here has a had a chance to shoot it or take a look at it.
Mr. SAXTON. Okay. Well, my reason for asking the question is that if there were a need to procure a Special Forces weapon, you would have some sympathetic ears around here.
So, anyway? Further questions? Mr. Wilson? Mrs. Davis?
Thank you for all being here. We appreciate it. This has been a good hearing. A very informational and thank you for being straightforward with us, as you always are. And we appreciated having you here today and we want you to know that you can count on us to do what we can here to be as supportive as possible.
We appreciate, more than we can express with words what you and the people that work with you and for you are doing for our country. And we will again, try to be as supportive as we can. And I think this is the age of Special Forces, at least from our point of view. So thank you and we look forward to working with you as we work through these issues.
General BROWN. Sir, thanks very much and on the 23rd of March I will have a bunch of our special operations operators up here to do a reception where the committee members, we would invite them to come out and shake hands and talk to these folks firsthand and get their opinions of how they see all these issues. We appreciate it, sir.
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Mr. SAXTON. That is great and that is a reception we won't miss.
General BROWN. Thank you, sir.
[Whereupon, at 3:08 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]