SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10641]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2001H.R. 4205
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
MILITARY PERSONNEL SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS
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TITLE IVPERSONNEL AUTHORIZATIONS
TITLE VMILITARY PERSONNEL POLICY
TITLE VICOMPENSATION AND OTHER PERSONNEL BENEFITS
TITLE VIIHEALTH CARE PROVISIONS
MARCH 17, 2000
MILITARY PERSONNEL SUBCOMMITTEE
STEVE BUYER, Indiana, Chairman
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMARY BONO, California
JOSEPH PITTS, Pennsylvania
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
STEVEN KUYKENDALL, California
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
MIKE THOMPSON, California
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
John D. Chapla, Professional Staff Member
Thomas E. Hawley, Professional Staff Member
Michael R. Higgins, Professional Staff Member
Edward P. Wyatt, Professional Staff Member
Debra S. Wada, Professional Staff Member
Nancy M. Warner, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
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Friday, March 17, 2000, Fiscal Year 2001 National Defense Authorization ActSustaining the All Volunteer Force
Friday, March 17, 2000
FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2000
FISCAL YEAR 2001 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTSUSTAINING THE ALL VOLUNTEER FORCE
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Abercrombie, Hon. Neil, a Representative from Hawaii, Ranking Member, Military Personnel Subcommittee
Buyer, Hon. Steve, a Representative from Indiana, Chairman, Military Personnel Subcommittee
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de Leon, Hon. Rudy, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Department of Defense
Klimp, Lt. Gen. Jack W., U.S. Marine Corps, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Reserve Affairs
Ohle, Lt. Gen. David H., U.S. Army, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel
Peterson, Lt. Gen. Donald L., U.S. Air Force, Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel
Ryan, Vice Adm. Norbert R. Jr., U.S. Navy, Chief of Naval Personnel and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, (Manpower & Personnel)
[The Prepared Statements submitted for the Record can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Abercrombie, Hon. Neil
Buyer, Hon. Steve
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Klimp, Lt. Gen. Jack W.
Ohle, Lt. Gen. David H.
Peterson, Lt. Gen. Donald L.
Ryan, Vice Adm. Norbert R., Jr.
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents Submitted for the Record can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Letter from Hon. Steve Buyer to Secretary Louis Caldera
Memorandum from Thomas J. Plewes, Waiver Request to Compete in the January 2000 General Officer Assignment Advisory board (GOAAB)
CHARTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. Buyer
FISCAL YEAR 2001 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTSUSTAINING THE ALL VOLUNTEER FORCE
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Military Personnel Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Friday, March 17, 2000.
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 8:40 a.m. in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Steve Buyer (Chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. STEVE BUYER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM INDIANA, CHAIRMAN, MILITARY PERSONNEL SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. BUYER. The Subcommittee on Military Personnel hearing of the House Armed Services Committee will come to order. Mr. Secretary, before we get started with the hearing, I would like to discuss a couple of issues of concern to me, and I will clean these up and then we are going to move directly into the recruiting and retention issues, and I would like for you to have a copy.
One, this is a cleanup from a discussion with Secretary Cohen when he testified before Chairman Spence. A report was due to Congress last summer on the release of an FBI file of a Department of Defense (DOD), employee, and we have been awaiting that and I am familiarI know you know exactly what I'm referring to, and I would like to clean up the loose ends from this one. I spent six months in that impeachment process and I know a lot of things from the inside, but it has concerned me greatly when I look back at Watergate and when individuals in Watergate released personnel files to the damage of someone else, individuals went to prison for it, and I want to ensure that there is faith by the civilian employees that individuals will not release their files to personally damage their credibility for personal gain, and maybe I am helping prep you for your Tuesday hearing, because I am sure that is going to come up in the Senate. So you may as well let me know either if you are going to release it or you are not going to release it. If you aren't going to release it, why aren't you going to release it, and I know you probably can't answer that today, but please don't let this one fester, okay?
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The other issue I have, I am going to give you a letter that I have sent to the Secretary of the Army and I also have attached to this, it is a memorandumI am going to give you a copy of this. Hold on just a moment. On February 10th of 2000 I wrote the Secretary of the Army to ask him about the procedure being used to determine the eligibility of the Army Reserve General Officer Assignment Advisory Board scheduled to be convened in January of 2000. As you know, this is an important board because it establishes the slate of eligibilities from which the Army selects officers to fill general officer vacancies in the Army Reserve. I became concerned that the board process was being perceived by some of the individuals or applicants that it was improperly influenced by command authorities. Specifically, I observed that a number of officers had been asked to submit waivers of their mandatory retirement in order to become eligible for the board. In other words, someone within the Office of the Army Reserve contacted Colonels (06s), who had a mandatory retirement date in 2000 and asked them to apply to the general officers board that was convening in January, all right.
Subsequently, individuals of whom worked hard to put their packets together were then notified by the Chief of the Army Reserve that all waivers had been denied, and I am going to give you a copy of the memorandum that was sent to one of the individuals.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
The integrity of the board process became suspect when the Army disapproved virtually all the requests that had been solicited.
I had asked the Secretary of the Army two questions in my letter: Why was it necessary to increase the population of board eligibles; and what mandatory retirement waivers were approved and why? I feel these questions need to be answered to protect the integrity of the board and the faith, full faith that goes into the military place in the selection process. I have not received an answer to my letter, which to me creates even greater suspicion. You can't wait me out. You can't send me a letter that says nothing and wait me out.
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I have received new information that appears to confirm my fear, that the board possibly has been manipulated by senior Army officials for the purpose of promoting a selected individual or perhaps another, individuals of whom had a mandatory retirement date in 2000. This suggests that once a member could be made eligible for the board, it was no problem getting this individual promoted.
So, Mr. Secretary, you see why I am concerned. I believe that the credibility of the Reserve promotion boards will be at risk if this is not thoroughly investigated and that investigation be expedited. The issue is improper command influence and favoritism that may have compromised the integrity of the general officers selection process for the Army Reserve.
Mr. Secretary, I need your help to do several things immediately. I ask that the Department of Defense Inspector General (IG) be appointed to investigate this matter immediately. Because it rises to the level of perhaps the Office of the Secretary the investigation should be conducted by the DOD IG. I ask that the processing for the promotion list be stopped immediately for the general officer board. If this list has been transmitted to the Department of Defense or to the White House, I would hope that it would be requested to be returned to the Department of Defense. I cannot imagine that the Department would ever want to send such a controversial general officer promotion list to the Senate. I would predict that such a tainted list would get a very strong reaction from the Senate.
As of this day, I will send a correspondence to the Senate itemizing my list of concerns with regard to this promotion list. I ask that the results of the IG investigation be thoroughly briefed to Congress before processing the list is continued, and certainly before the release is contemplated because, in my view, perhaps you may have to reconstitute a board to establish a reassurance of the faith that soldiers place in the officers selection process, because if a general officer promotion board is subject to command influence and favoritism, then we have tainted the whole process. So how does that Sergeant/Petty Officer (E5), think and feel about the process if it can be done to general officer selection process?
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So I am bothered a whole bunch, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary DE LEON. We will take the letter and the list of issues for action.
Mr. BUYER. I am going to have staff give that to you. We are very fortunate to be able to resume, I believe, our dialogue with Secretary de Leon and the personnel chiefs, because we do have unfinished business from the hearing of March 8th, and I very much appreciate each of you who could be here today. It was unfortunate when I looked back to that day that not only had we worked hard to prepare for that day, so did all of you, and it was one of those days whereby votes are a way of life here on the Hill, and they do interrupt hearings, but to have then go to manage a bill on the floor, and then some individual demanded a roll call vote for something that could have gone by voice vote unanimously, and it was a unanimous vote in the first place, just delayed it, I also would convey this.
That whenand this is my error, and I assume responsibility. I did not want you, Mr. Secretary, to have to wait around. So on the floor I said let Secretary de Leon go. My assumption was that the personnel chiefs would be staying. That was my assumption. I did not convey that. In my mind when I said let the Secretary go, if I wanted the personnel chiefs to go I would have said let the Secretary and all the personnel chiefs go. I did not say that though, gentlemen, so it was assumed to release the entire panel. So when I walked back in the room, obviously my assumption, I thought, in fact, all of you would have been there. As it turns out, you had left. So I wanted to extend my apologies to each of you. You were released and it was my error, not yours. The good thing is let us put it behind us, you are here today, and I appreciate that.
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I will yield to Mr. Abercrombie for any opening remarks he may have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Buyer can be found in the Appendix.]
STATEMENT OF HON. NEIL ABERCROMBIE, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM HAWAII, RANKING MEMBER, MILITARY PERSONNEL SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I realize this hearing today is a bit unusual in the time, so I do have a statement that I would like to submit for the record with your permission.
Mr. BUYER. So ordered.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. If I could just highlight one or two points, because I apologize to you, because of the time constraints I have to get on a plane to Hawaii shortly, so that I can get ready to come back on Sunday, and so I would just like to highlight, and with your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to submit some questions in writing.
Mr. BUYER. So ordered.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. The highlightsI shouldn't say ''highlights'' exactly, but in the course of events, I hope that you can comment on the utilization of such innovations as Internet recruiting. I understand the Navy has had some success in that area. I do think we can address the question of quality recruiting without denigrating that quality at all by going into some of the General Education Diploma (GED) areas. I know the Army is concerned, and I think perhaps other services as well, the Youth Challenge Program of the National Guard and the Army, I think, has been very fruitful. Some examination perhaps of whether or not those recruits are succeeding would be in order. It would be very helpful to us I think.
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Again, I will just touch on a couple more points very quickly. I am concernedsome of you have had the chance to speak with personally, and I have spoken to the Chairman about it, at least in passing, if not a little more in depth, I am a little concerned the way we are dealing with the education benefits. I don't want it to become an incentive to leave the service, and I realize the logistics of all that and how you handle it, and especially with deployment problems and all the rest of it. It doesn't make it easy to work all that out, but I would hope that we could at least look at ways of dealing with the education benefit in terms of retention, finding ways to make it advantageous to improve one's educational foundation while contemplating staying in the military as opposed to looking at the military merely as a vehicle to an education that will be embarked upon as quickly as one can get out of the service.
And the last thing, at least at this juncture, Mr. Chairman, is something that I think that you were instrumental in bringing about and which I think can prove in the end, particularly where families are concerned, that is to say, the retention of individuals in all the services who acquire families in the process is the implementation of a thrift savings plan, and that right now, at least in the way we wrote the legislation, is dependent upon the goodwill, if you will, Mr. Chairman, and intentions of the Department in getting that underway, and I really think that we need to have a response as to how the Department of Defense intends to handle the implementation of the thrift savings plan. With that, I will conclude and try and catch up on everything else, and I appreciate you giving me the time, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BUYER. Thank you, Mr. Abercrombie. I have written down your points and I will assure you that not only will your questions be submitted for the record for response by DOD, but you have touched on some highlights here, and I will make sure that if you don't mind, with your permission, that we also go into depth on each of these issues. Is that all right with you?
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Abercrombie can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. BUYER. All right. Thank you.
Mr. BUYER. Secretary de Leon.
STATEMENT OF THE HON. RUDY DE LEON, UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR PERSONNEL AND READINESS, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Secretary DE LEON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to just speak for a few minutes.
Mr. BUYER. Can you pull the microphone a little closer please.
Secretary DE LEON. Is this better?
Mr. BUYER. Yes.
Secretary DE LEON. I would just like to speak for a few minutes and then yield to the military personnel chiefs who are here. We did pass out a chart, youth population, in our effort to understand the recruiting market to the best of our abilities. Admiral (Patricia) Tracy (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Military Personnel Policy) and myself made a visit to the Bureau of the Census to try to understand the demographics. We have closely tracked Alan Greenspan's comments of the Federal Reserve Board in terms of just the labor market, and it led us about a year and a half ago to try to understand the demographics of where the next generation of young people were coming. We are in a competition with the economy. We are in a competition with the opportunities to go to college, which have never been greater, but it is an interesting chart.
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[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
What it shows is that we are in a bit of a generational shift. The demographers call it the shift from X to Y or Generation Echo. Its lowest point, the smallest group, was 1997. It is starting to build back up, but doing an interpolation of the chart, we really don't get back to the 1985 levels in terms of the number of 18- to 23-year-olds until mid-decade. But what it shows is the challenging environment, that generally there are about 2- to 3 million fewer young people in today's age bracket.
And so I think this led us to a very substantial effort to look at how we can reinvent recruiting for the 21st Century, to understand our market, to understand all of the dynamics. I think that when the drawdown was over, which was really 1996, 1997, there was a common assumption, with the exception of the Marine Corps, and that was if we went and did everything that we did in the mid-eighties during the Reagan buildup, then we would be able to turn the recruiting pipeline back on, and that we would be able to meet our numbers.
What we found in this search for discovery is a number of changes, both the generational changes, the changes with the economy going to an information-based skill being one of the dominant skills, the fact that the economy and the armed services are looking for the same type of young person, someone who has completed high school, someone that is drug-free, someone that has characteristics of discipline or is willing to take on the responsibility of developing the intangibles of life that are so critical for success. So we found ourselves competing against the economy, against college, against demographics.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, in an effort to further understand how to move in this market, in June of 1998 Admiral Tracy's predecessor General (Normand G.) Lezy and myself went to New York to meet with the advertisers. I expected, in going to Madison Avenue, that we were going to receive the ultimate briefing, this was the ultimate in marketing and knowledge on how you reach out to a particular community, and we asked each of the service recruiters, their advertising teams, to come, as well as the joint advertising program. It was another milestone in our effort to discover and understand the marketplace.
What we found was that when the J. Walter Thompson Agency came and briefed essentially on their approaches that they had jointly developed with the Marine Corps, it was a fascinating discussion. They understood the marketplace. I think General Klimp, General (Charles) Krulak, (former Commandant), and General (J.L.) Jones, (Commandant), have a knowledge of sort of the demographic shift that is going on and how to reach these kids and why they are searching for the intangibles, why they want to be part of something successful, why they want to serve the country, that the Marine Corps really understood this, and that this was fully embodied in the presentation that was offered by J. Walter Thompson. Their brief was called ''A Tradition of Teamwork.'' I think we have provided copies to the staff, but they have a fascinating discussion on market segmentation.
Two months later, Secretary Cohen went with me, actually I went with him, back up and we repeated this effort, but while we were very impressed with the knowledge of the Marine Corps and their process, we felt that elsewhere in the briefings that there were questions that the briefers could not answer in terms of the marketplace.
Mr. BUYER. Such as?
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Secretary DE LEON. Such as the demographics. They were relating on data that was not current. That was one issue. Second, Secretary Cohen himself had a number of questions in terms of just business practices, how he actually manages the contracts, how they were awarded, how we oversaw the dollars that were going.
So we started with, did we have the right message; second, did we have the right business practices; and then, third, how were we going to essentially come to better understand the marketplace? I think those three issues were key.
Thereafter, we wanted to find some people that were very knowledgeable on the business side of advertising as well as how you shape the right message, how you make sure that you deal with these issues that the Secretary's picking up from recruiters, that the young people are really interested in the intangibles, and that this was the one message that the recruiters were unanimous in that was really working for them. And our recruiters have a very hard job. They are very inventive.
We are doing our best in improving our financial support to them, but I think that there is some content that we could provide to themjust in terms of the kind of market research or market intelligence that we would provide to a commander who was operationally preparing to deal with Saddam Hussein, that we could provide our recruiters with the same kind of situational awareness.
So from this, the Secretary had us put together sort of a bipartisan effort. We took knowledgeable people in Washington from both sides of the political spectrum. This was a one-shot kind of thing. They were going to come in and sort of give us a fresh look. They weren't going to be interested in long-term contracts, and they were generous with their time, and this led us to the Murphy Eskew report.
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The Secretary was particularly concerneddid we have the right business practices, and Eskew Murphy said no, that the Department really does not have the expertise to manage these contracts, and that in many casesagain, with the exception of the Marinesthat we are really not getting the maximum value back.
Second, in terms of do we have the right apparatus for understanding our marketplace, Eskew Murphy came back and said no, that there needs to be more of a research effort, that if we were a business, we would spend a lot of time at the front end understanding what the marketplace was interested in in terms of attracting young people in. The Marines and General Klimp and General Krulak were instrumental, in my education here, because of the depth of their knowledge of the marketplace and what was on young people's minds.
So the Murphy Eskew report gave us a number of issues: better market research; better media planning; better business practices; how better business practices could give us better placement in our ad campaigns; where we could reach out and use e-mail more effectively. The fact that we needed to have some kind of effort directed toward parents or teachers or ministers or coaches, an influence or campaign, and that we needed to have better integration of all of our messages on the DOD side in terms of how we reached out and touched our community.
So from that, there was a series of meetings. Secretary Cohen chaired some, I chaired others. Admiral Tracy put together an implementation checklist of all of the things that we would be asking the services to do. And in many cases, the services will be able to report a substantial effort to refocus and to use advertising to really assist our recruiters.
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When we would do our sessions in the field, the recruiters would indicate that they sometimes felt disconnected from the advertising, that they really were interested in the intangibles, in the message of service, of commitment, of sacrifice, that indeed these were intangibles that in the current environment resonated more than some of our previous very successful efforts to focus on the college benefits.
Now I don't want to say that the college benefits aren't important, because for many young people in America, college benefits that service in our military offer are very, very important, but what it told us is that young people were thinking about other things as well, where they fit into society, how they might serve, would they be doing something important. So all of these issues were in the mix, and I think each of the services can report that following the work of Murphy Eskew, that one of the most dramatic things in the Pentagon is change in the way we think, the way we approach.
So I think the Secretary came away from these visits, these efforts with three key things: one, improve the business practices. I think each of the services are doing that; second, make sure we are focusing on the right issues, the intangibles, because in many respects that is what young people were looking for.
There is one issue that I would like to sort of go on a tangent right now in this theme, and that is the ''Be All That You Can Be.'' I had the unique opportunity in the 1980s and early 1990s to know and receive advice from General Max Thurman (former Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army). There are probably two people in the country who reallywhen the all-volunteer force was at its most critical point, there are probably two people that had an enormous impact. One was General Thurman for the intellectual part that he put into recruiting and thinking of how a country could have an all-volunteer force. The other one was (former Representative) Sonny Montgomery (former Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee), who probably helped give us some of the tools that turned out to make the all-volunteer force very attractive.
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But from that effort of General Thurman came this phrase that seemed to capsulize less a series of benefits but a state of mind, ''Be All That You Can Be,'' sort of a commitment to excellence. I live near the Arlington Cemetery and I walk on Sundays there with my children, and there is an area where the four-star generals are buried. When you walk by Max Thurman's grave, what is there on his headstone is ''Be All That You Can Be.''
I think it epitomizes the man and a way of thinking, and I think General Ohle will be able to elaborate, but that is a key symbol of what the Army stands for, not just simply as a military institution, but as a significant institution in American society, and so he will be able to elaborate on that.
But coming from Secretary Cohen's effort from the Murphy Eskew study I think has come ''how do we think about the marketplace differently,'' and I think each of the services will be able to elaborate on that.
In addition to looking at these business and marketing issues, we are also workingand we may be in touch with your staff, because we may need some help on one thing, in terms of the youth attitude tracking surveys that we do on the propensity to serve.
We can give you great data on what kids have thought about for the last five years and why some served and why others haven't. What we are lacking on is the ability to do research that would help us understand what kids are thinking about today in terms of when they think about military service, what do they think about.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the things we know is that they think in the context of, ''If I join the armed forces, whether I stay for four years or whether I stay for 20 years, at the end of the process I am going to be more valuable than I am today.'' I may not have skills in information technologies today, but they are smart enough to know that if they do a tour in the Navy, that after four yearswe may hope that they may go on and serve 20 years, but there are going to be some that serve four or sixand they know at the end of that four or six-year period they are going to have a marketable skill that will take them into the economy, and they know it will not be an entry-level position, but it will be a very, very significant position because they will be disciplined, they will have a sense of teamwork, of service to the community, that they will be a very well-rounded person.
So incorporating all of these things I think is critical, particularly because as the youth demographics improve, as we look at that Census chart, there are going to be more eligible young people that will be in the pool, and so we are going to want to make sure that in a time when they have multiple options, we will be able to talk with them.
Additionally, critical to Secretary Cohen, there is an elementand we thank (author) Tom Wolfe for giving us a phrase that describes our pilots and astronauts, The Right Stuff. We thank (author) Tom Brokaw for giving us a phrase which really describes the World War II generation as sort of the ''Greatest Generation.'' And I think Secretary Cohen is also very committed in our communications strategies to make sure that young people, that our influencers know about the tremendous sacrifice for the country, the heroic display that young people of this ''Greatest Generation'' offered on behalf of the country, and he very much thinks that that has to be part of our communications strategy in terms of reaching out, this critical notion of service.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So as the Department puts together its efforts in this area, these are some of the critical elements that have been at play as we really try to reinvent an understanding of how to be competitive in this new environment.
Finally, in addition to that, while recruiting is important, we are in a very challenging time from a recruiting point of view, and we have put just as much emphasis on retention, and we are in debt to you and Mr. Abercrombie for your support with the pay, the benefits package that was adopted last year. It was bipartisan. There was good exchange between the Executive and Legislative branch on that. We had a good package coming out. It was probably even stronger, but it was the epitome of how I think the legislative process should work. That has helped us very much on the retention side. It is helping us very much on the retention side. Army retention is very strong. Marine Corps retention is very strong. The Navy retention is moving in the right direction, and I know the Air Force is vigorously spending time to focus on how it uses all of these new tools that Congress gave the armed forces last year to maximize retention and to improve recruiting.
So, Mr. Chairman, I apologize for speaking much too long, but there is a substantial effort underway, and we want to thank you for the opportunity to be here today.
Mr. BUYER. Thank you. Before we go to the services, when you use the word ''influencers,'' globally speaking, define that.
Secretary DE LEON. Parents, teachers, ministers, coaches, people that youngthe people in the community that young people would listen to and have an impact. So we need to make sure that as we recruit, we are connecting with that 18- to 22-year-old, but it will help us when that 18- to 22-year-old goes home or to his school or wherever he goes to get advice, that the influencer says, ''Yes, you could do something valuable for your country and valuable for yourself if you serve in the armed forces, either as a career or simply through an enlistment tour.''
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Mr. BUYER. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Secretary de Leon can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. BUYER. General Ohle.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. DAVID H. OHLE, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR PERSONNEL, U.S. ARMY
General OHLE. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to come back. When you presented your statement last week, I listened intently and took notes. I responded briefly in my opening statement last week. I reviewed it in detail, and I commend you and your staff on that statement. Just like the Secretary said, it was very good. We will make a few corrections for the record, but it was right on.
In summary, the Army in all three components will make end strength this year. We haven't made it all to the exact point last year, but within the Congressional limits, we were there. Recruiting is improved. It is improving in the active force. We are on schedule this year to make our recruiting. The next three months will tell the tale. March, April, May are the hardest months in recruiting. The Reserve components are behind, but they are much better this year than they were last year. Projections are for the close of the year. They will be between 3,700 and 4,700 short, drastically down from the year before when it was about 10,000. We are moving in the right direction, and in the questions and answers, I will respond, as you asked me, as to the reasons why and what we are doing to fix that. I don't think we will get a fix this year but we will get it fixed in the future.
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Mr. BUYER. Give me the highlights.
General OHLE. Sir, the highlights are we are doing the study. We will present the study as you requested in the authorization bill last year, but we are doing four basic things. Number one, we are filling the recruiters out there in the field to the authorized limit. We had reduced recruiters and you can't recruit a Reserve force without the right number of recruiters there.
Number two, we are working on the stationing. We have got to put the recruiters in the right place to recruit Reserve forces, but it is not just the Reserve recruiters that do the recruiting, it is the whole team concept, the whole station concept.
Mr. BUYER. Give me the resources and tools to do what they need.
General OHLE. Yes, sir. That is my fourth point. Third point, we have got unit involvement from the Reserve component. Until last year when Major General
Krulak saw this deficiency in the units, they were not involved. They looked to the active force to do the recruiting for them. They are now involved. In fact, there are even missions out there to unit commanders in the Reserve to help. We have got to balance the recruiting between the unit and the recruiting station, and we are moving in that direction, and I will explain in detail later.
And finally, resources. You have got to be able to put the resources against it to be able to recruit, and we are doing that in the Reserves and in the Guard.
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Mr. BUYER. How would you grade yourself on number four?
General OHLE. How would I grade myself, sir? I would grade myself as probably a B.
Mr. BUYER. Minus?
General OHLE. Right now we have 22.
Mr. BUYER. Go ahead.
General OHLE. We have an unfinanced requirement in the United States Army Reserve for $22.4 million for support for recruiting this year, and until we get that and apply it and integrate it in with the U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC), I would not say we would go to an A.
Mr. BUYER. I am this close and the language is even closer to removing it from the active, making a separate component.
General OHLE. Yes, sir, and you and I had discussed that.
Mr. BUYER. I want you to know you are going to have to work really hard to convince me right now as to why that isn't necessarily a good idea.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General OHLE. Yes, sir, and I would ask you to hold on that decision until you get the study. I believe that the balance between unit recruiting and USAREC active force recruiting to help the Reserves is a solution. You cannot, from the active force, recruit the Reserve force without Reserve involvement. We have got to do it in the circumference of Reserve units. You don't want on the north side of Indianapolis to recruit somebody for a Reserve unit that happens to have a Reserve unit down in Columbus, Indiana. It would be just too far for that young soldier to travel.
Mr. BUYER. You know, I went down to Ft. Knox and received a brief 18 months ago or 2 years ago. It was all about the active. They didn't brief me on the Reserve. Would you find that peculiar if you were in my shoes?
General OHLE. Yes, sir, I would, because it is absolutely part of the mission of USAREC, no difference, active and Guard, all one.
Mr. BUYER. Matter of fact, it is even that much more difficult to recruit into the Reserve because you are competing with the Guard, who has a lot more to offer on a state-by-state basis. I am not speaking just for the Army Reserve here. I mean for all of your Reserve components that are out there, but I don't mean to be picking on you, but this is one you have got to incredibly refocus that effort. I am sorry.
General OHLE. Yes, sir, and we will. We will continue to discuss that, but recruiting across the board, the Guard is on track to make their mission. The recruiting across the board for the Army has improved. It is initiatives all the way from the Secretary of Defense down through the Secretary of the Army to the chief, who claims he has the number one recruiter in the Army and has established as his number one metal task, that of recruiting.
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As the Secretary indicated, our reenlistment, our retention for the forces is on track. The active is still above target. Last year it finished at 109 percent. This year we are currently at 103 percent. The Reserve forces, the Reserves and the National Guard are on track with their reenlistment and their attrition reduction. The one area of attrition that bothers us, we brought down the enlisted attrition across the force to include basic training, Inactive Duty Training (IDT), and first term assignment in units, but captain attrition, as you talked about in your opening statement last week, is a concern to the Army. It is not.
Mr. BUYER. Why?
General OHLE. Because we cannot havecaptain attrition has been going up a percent a year for the last 3 years. This year it leveled at 10.84 percent. If it goes any higher we will have a hard time manning an officer base for the officer corps of the United States Army. So we have got to push that attrition back down to about 8.5 to 9 percent of the captains. It is a problem in the Army because of two things: number one, the leadership climate that the lieutenant colonels and colonels are creating for captains in the units; and number two, it is a problem not because of the captains, but because of the beliefs that the lieutenants gain early on, and what we found in our research is that if an officer makes his or her mind up early on and then they wait till their termination of their service obligation, they, in fact, will operationalize that belief or feeling in terms of leaving the service.
So what you have to do is you have to put your arms around and counsel and ask those junior leaders, the lieutenants, to stay, and I think that will help out. So we are attacking it from both ends. Both the Chief of Staff and the Vice Chief of Staff and the Secretary have been involved in this officer attrition.
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Mr. BUYER. You care about the attrition rates of basic training?
General OHLE. I am sorry, sir?
Mr. BUYER. What do you think about the attrition rates of basic training?
General OHLE. I think the attrition rates have been reduced from a high of 18.9 percent down to less than 15 percent. We have created a band of excellence between 12 and 15 percent. The closer you get to 12 percent I think the more danger you have in the force of retaining young recruits that perhaps aren't of the quality that we want and we would push the problem off into the units. I would rather solve the problem in basic training, but as long as we stay within this band of excellence, I think we are going to be okay.
Mr. BUYER. I ask that question of you only by curiosity not because I care.
General OHLE. Sir, we care.
Mr. BUYER. I don't, I am serious.
General OHLE. Yes, sir.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BUYER. I don't. You know, in going around all the basic training facilities and listening to each of the services at basic training, whether I was at Great Lakes, Air Force or the Army and all this concern about attritionof course, this was a few years ago when I saw things with the Navy that were very bothersome to me, going soft, and I did that for the Marine Corps. Marine Corps didn't brief me on attrition. They have the particular standards for the corps. The recruit, if you define what you want your service to look like and you recruit to it and then you challenge them in that basic training for particular reasons, you wouldn't be as so concerned about attrition rates.
General OHLE. I totally agree with you. We had a problem after we came out after Aberdeen, as you know, defining what the recruit standard for the Army was and how to implement it and operationalize it. I think we found the Army standard, and I am convinced the IDT units of the Army are training to standard now, and we have got that attrition in the band of excellence. We couldn't afford to run an Army that was attritioning at 18.9 percent out of basic training. We weren't doing what was right. We fixed that.
Sir, in conclusion, we thank you for the initiatives that you have given us. As the Secretary said, the pay table adjustment and the retirement changes have really helped. But more importantly, the establishment of the bonus increase, the linkage of the EB, the enlisted bonus, with the Army college fund has really helped. It is our hottest selling item now for recruiting. The proposal for the thrift savings plan and the tuition assistance to 100 percent have really helped. Sir, we appreciate that and I look forward to answering your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Ohle can be found in the Appendix.]
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BUYER. Admiral Ryan.
STATEMENT OF VICE ADM. NORBERT R. RYAN, Jr., CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL, U.S. NAVY
Admiral RYAN. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Abercrombie. I would just like to make a brief statement. I have been in this billet for about four months now. I have visited with about 500 commanding officers and command master chiefs to find out what we need to do to assist them in the retention efforts. It is very clear that the number one thing involves leadership within the Department, and we are taking on the retention challenge in the Department. As you know, last year we had our lowest retention first term in the last 20 years, about 28 percent.
We are attacking it through the major dissatisfiers, number one, the interdeployment training cycle. Our people are used to going to sea for six months, but when they come home they want to have some meaningful time with their families and meaningful training. Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) initiators are taking hold there. The Secretary's smart work initiatives to make sure that our people are doing the types of jobs they envision doing when they come in is taking hold. We are increasing our advancements opportunity, and we think that will have a major impact.
And finally, we are trying to do education while members are in the service. We started a Navy college program that allows folks to get credit for everything that they do in the service for their training, and then we have affiliated with a large number of junior colleges and colleges to try and encourage members to get their degrees while they are in the service.
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In addition to that, I would ask for support on two things in the retention area. One is career sea pay authorization. We would like to have the flexibility of having this come under the Secretary of the Navy so that we could adjust career sea pay. That is the toughest thing that we do, and we think that we have allowed the career sea pay to erode considerably since 1988 when it was last raised.
The other thing we would like to continue is the progress we have made with your cooperation in getting our petty officers off ship when they come home from six month deployments. Right now we still have our E4s, over four, that stay on the ships. There is about 14,000 of them. That is their number two dissastisfier, not having a place to go once they come from deployment. They still live in the same bunk with the same limited storage space. So those are two things where we would simply like to get authorization this year.
As the Secretary said, our retention is moving in the right direction. We are encouraged. We have a ways to go but we are working very hard at it.
In the recruiting area, we believe we will make our end strength, and we believe we will make our accessions. February, March, April and May will continue to be a challenge for us, but we have made considerable effort in that area to improve, like the Marine Corps; basically we are following their model to put our very best people into recruiting and then to give them the best training. We are spending approximately $5 million right now in mid-year to completely revamp our training program to give our recruiters a better approach and more self-confidence in selling the Navy, and we think that is going to have a big impact.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our biggest challenge will be upping our delayed entry program. We always start off the year at about 28 percent when we start the new fiscal year. We need to be up around 40 to 43 percent. That is going to take us two or three more years to get to that position.
We underestimated the number of recruits that we would need in 2001. We need to stay at 5,000. We are basically going to take those out of sea duty. We are not going to allow ourselves to go down. So it is impacting, it will impact a little bit on our readiness to have those 500 folks to come out of sea duty. Even though we budgeted incorrectly, we intend to stay at 5,000. The number one thing in the CNO's unfunded list is to try and restore that funding. We made an error and we are going to have to live with it unless we can get some support from the Congress on that.
I would say the bottom line trend is simply that we are optimistic. We have made recruiting now 17 months in a row. We intend to make it for the rest of this year. We are way behind the Marine Corps, a number of months, but we intend to continue to make the progress we have here.
Your support has been absolutely pivotal and more than anything just simply sending the message that our young men and women's service is truly valued. That more than anything else has helped us turn things around. Your continued support will also be pivotal if we are going to continue to make progress. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Ryan can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. BUYER. General Peterson.
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STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. DONALD L. PETERSON, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, U.S. AIR FORCE
General PETERSON. Yes, sir. It is a great honor to appear before this Committee again representing the men and women of our Air Force, sir. We appreciate the effort you, the Committee, your staff have put in to support, in the last year in particular, our folks. It means a great deal to them. That signal is received by them.
We think sustaining the all-voluntary force is a national challenge, not just a military challenge and we say that because of the significant changes over the last 10 years. If we think back to the time of the fall of the wall in Berlin back in 1989, our force is much different. Obviously it has grown down in budget by about 40 percent, people by about 35 percent. But also our basing structure is much smaller: 25 percent less here in the Continental United States (CONUS), 65 percent overseas less, and yet our TEMPO remains high with the contingencies we have around the world today. We ended the Cold War with approximately 3,500 people in a much larger force deployed on an average day and last year we had 20,000 people in the average deployed in the Air Force. So that forces a challenge on our folks.
In addition, the factors of pull are certainly a long sustained economic growth period, the longest in the history of our Nation with low unemployment around 4.1 percent, which is a record unemployment rate. We think this is good. It is great for our Nation. In fact, we think our men and women, the services have contributed greatly to the opportunity to have that kind of an economy by their efforts to create more free countries, democracies, and opportunity for economic growth around the world as well as in our country. And so we do want them to be able to share in that a little bit as well. It is one of our nemeses, but it is also something we are very proud of.
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Finally, as we said earlier, a third factor that is a challenge is the fact that we have less influencers out there, as Secretary de Leon discussed earlier. We have got some data that says if you took the World War II veterans out of our society, if you didn't count them, there are only about 6 percent of the folks in our society under the age of 65 who have ever served in the U.S. military. And so that footprint around there coupled with the fact that we have smaller services today means that we have less exposure with those influences to our young people. We think that is a very powerful and important part of recruiting.
Our retention is not meeting the high goals that we have. We are about five percent short but we are encouraged, in the last couple of months, both our cumulative retention and first term and second term in particular have increased as well as our month-to-month compared to last year, and so we believe thatwe don't believe we are out of the woods, but we do believe we are at least leveling off and possibly beginning to move forward now, which is encouraging to us because we think the real challenge we have here is a retention problem, not a recruiting problem.
Recruiting is difficult but our retention has driven our recruiting goals up. In 1997 we recruited about 30,000 people. This year our goal is 34,000 and so trying to make up for that retention increases that challenge in recruiting as we stabilize our force.
We have a force that is very marketable on the outside. Our enlisted force across the board has very remarkable skills. That pull is very strong. The same for our line officers across the skills such as computer, air traffic controllers. Almost everyone, I think, with the skills they have attained in our service are very remarkable on the outside, especially considering the employment rate we have today and the demand for people like that.
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A friend of mine was recently riding on an airplane sitting next to an executive from a computer company and he realized my friend was in the Air Force and he said without any hesitation, ''I will take every person you will let me have.'' My friend said, ''Why is that?'' He says, ''Well, because they come to work early, they stay late, they are loyal, they are disciplined. I give them a job to do in 6 weeks, they do it in 6 days. They work as a team. They have high ethics and values.''
So we have a dilemma but we like that dilemma. But it is a dilemma, a challenge for us, because we have a very marketable force and we intend to make that force even more marketable every year.
We are working hard on our pilots. Of course pilots are a significant concern for us. We were 1,200 plus short last year, but I want to thank the Committee and the Congress for the great support you gave us in giving us the authority with the aviation continuation pay changes. They have been very helpful to us. In fact, we are encouraged. We see the possibility of actually beginning to restore some of those pilot shortfalls. In the next 2 to 3 years we think we can cut that in half, and so this authority has given us a lot of flexibility to retain those folks who are in the mid-level between 14 and 20 years. In particular, it has given us a lot of options which are attractive to our people.
We are encouraged by that, but we also realize there is a tremendous pull from the airline industry and we do see this now as a national problem, not just a military pilot problem because we are smaller. We cannot produce enough to meet the demand. The major carriers have hired over 5,000 airline pilots in the last year. If every single one of our military pilots in all the services who are eligible to get out got out, we could only meet about half of that requirement. In fact, if you go to the commuters and the other cargo carriers, there is a demand of about 12,000 last year.
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The last three or four years have been the strongest demand for pilots in our Nation's history, primarily driven by the commercial economy. We don't think that demand is going to go away in the near term because there is a large group of our Vietnam air pilots coming upon retirement age. We meet regularly with the airlines. They see this as being sustained full force. So we are trying to work around that. We have taken a number of initiatives in retention, as have all the services here. This is a very dynamic market we operate in.
We are reorganizing to an expeditionary aerospace force, and I know you are familiar with that, to match our force against the mission that we actually see is going to be with us for a number of years. This hopefully will add stability and predictability to our members and their families, which is important, and we are also plussing-up in our support areas to ensure that we have adequate strength both at home and for those deployed forces.
The use of selected reenlistment bonuses has changed substantially. In 1995 we offered about five. We offered 146 this year. We are spending over $121 million that is targeted against our force but we have got about 70 percent of our force on selected reenlistment bonuses which meanswe have approximately 70 percent of our enlisted skills here on selected reenlistment bonuses now, so you can see this asthere is a compensation issue across the board there. We hope the initiatives in this last year will be helpful and we will be able to keep on that path, not closing the gap. We don't expect to ever close the gap but we do expect to not make it a penalty for serving the Nation for our families.
There are a number of other areas that we are working in, quality of life, of course. We extended some of our experienced people with high year of tenure waivers when they met the quality of standards and the commanders' approval. That has helped us retain some of that important experience.
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Mr. BUYER. High year tenure waivers?
General PETERSON. We have mandatory separation years of service.
Mr. BUYER. Just years in service?
General PETERSON. Yes, sir. Normally you have to separate right away and you can't extend beyond that but we have the authority. We have been able to extend our folks one to two years based on those skills.
Mr. BUYER. But they have to meet all the other criteria.
General PETERSON. Yes, they have to meet all the standards. The commander is the one who makes the final determination on that based on quality and skill and need in this area. We were able to retain about 1,400 folks last year which offers excellence, experience and talent, and that is a plus, a win/win for both the member and the service.
Mr. BUYER. I asked the question not because I had suspicion. Let me extend a compliment. Please share it with General (Michael) Ryan (Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force) that as difficult as it has been for you because you are notyou are in a new world.
General PETERSON. Yes, sir.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BUYER. You haven't had to do what some of the other services have had to do. And I know I was pretty tough on General Ryan when he came up and testified but I didn't like him breaking the law on end strength. What I should have done was also added the comment that as tough as I am going to be on the Air Force, I also recognize, as does the Secretary, that you have not reduced quality.
General PETERSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. BUYER. Please extend the compliment.
General PETERSON. Yes, sir. We find that what we have here is the strongest pull situation and the strongest push situation that our Air Force has experienced in its history. Certainly that is true for the other services, this dynamic economy and the challenging missions that our forces carry day in and day out. So that gives us a challenge. As a result, we have been short on our end strength, as you mentioned.
We did program below our end strength this year. We don't want to be below end strength. Certainly we don't because we know that challenges every unit out there. We are working as hard as possible to close that gap in industry. We would like to use those dollars to put toward recruiting and retention as we did last year to support our effort to close that gap.
In the area of recruiting, we are at war in recruiting as we are in retention. The Air Force has made this our number one priority as well because we have to sustain our force. As I said before, our goals have increased significantly. We are restoring our force to full manning, which is only 1209 line recruiters out there. We have a very effective recruiting force but the footprint is too small for this challenge today. We will meet that by April. We are adding another 300. We are actually building to 2,000 recruiters in order to increase that footprint of our recruiting force.
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We have seen improvements in our delayed enlistment program. We are beginning to restore that bank if you will. We are making progress in our recruiting. We think it is going to be a real challenge to hit our 34,000 goal this year, but we are not giving up on that and we intend to do everything possible to meet our recruiting goal of 34,000 this year.
Some of the areas that we have used there, we have established a recruiting task force as well as a retention task force, chaired by our Under Secretary of the Air Force and our Vice Chief, that developed between 100 and 120 initiatives which we are implementing at this very time. Those are ideas not only from our staffs but more importantly from the field, our men and women of all grades have supported us in that.
Our enlistment bonuses are up substantially again. We offered very few of those in 1995. Today we have about a hundred of those out there spending about $83 million on enlistment bonuses. They are effective. We have been offering 6-year enlistments to certain skills and those that have been offered those 6-year options have taken them at a 68 percent rate. That is very encouraging to us because we found that if we keep a member for four to six years, their potential for reenlisting is very high.
So we are encouraged about that. Of course we are trying to bring back prior service people with experience. We have a lot of folks who leave our Air Force, make more money but they miss the service and miss the Air Force. Last year we set a goal for 600 and exceeded that. We are going to try to increase beyond that. We sent letters out to 37,000 former service members. That brings us that important mid-level experience and supervision as well as skills back to our service and they are also very positive influences because they have seen both sides, the outside and inside of service.
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TV advertising, for the first time, as you know, we started in 1999. It was plussed-up that year late in the year by $17 million and $37 million in the following years. There is a spike in our budget but that is because we prepaid for advertising at the end of 1999 so we do have a normal curve for build on that. I will cover that with your staff, sir. That came as an issue earlier.
We do believe that the help that we have gotten from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), in particular with Murphy Eskew, was very helpful for us. It has shown us many of our shortfalls. We are recompeting our advertising contract this year. In particular, we have a marketing office with an outside marketer to help us be smarter about our recruiting and retention efforts in particular. We expanded our junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), programs which are a very positive influence and we plan to fully fund that through the year 2005. We have a demand for junior ROTCs out there. We have about 130 schools who are asking now for junior ROTCs to join the 610 or so we have today. We think that is very good.
Mr. BUYER. What would that cost to fund that then?
General PETERSON. It is costing uswe fully fundedI will have to get the numbers for you, sir. It costs us about $120,000 a school to crank up. It is a great return.
Mr. BUYER. If you wanted to bring more schools on line for junior ROTC, what is that going to cost?
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General PETERSON. The total bill? It is about $120,000 a school per year to operate. I will get you the bill, sir. I want to say it is $3 to $5 million.
Secretary DE LEON. The interesting thing on the junior ROTC is to watch how the schoolsschools that were once very skeptical of this are now dramatically embracing it, and it is one thing to see this as a very successful effort in South Carolina, with great success, but to see it in Chicago, in Philadelphia, or in major urban areas, it is obviously producing some recruits for us, but it is in the process building good citizens too. I think we all started a little skeptical, but we have become convinced as we have visited more schools not only what it does for the young people but what it does for the community as well to see not every young student can be on the football team but a young student who will work hard with discipline and motivation can be in the general ROTC drill and the parents that see them there are quite proud of what their children have accomplished.
Mr. BUYER. Your observations, I would agree with you. In Indiana we love our basketball so I went down and watched the women's final in basketball. Women today in basketball, they beat my high school team I played on. They are extraordinarily talented. Before the start of the game, a junior ROTC color guard came out and it was interesting to watch the students all of a sudden. Many of them had never seen someone of their own age do that and it was an interesting observation to see.
General PETERSON. Sir, that number is about $48.5 million over the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP), which we programmed into our budget. That will get us up to 945 schools. I might add to Secretary de Leon's comment, a couple of years ago I visited one of our junior ROTCs in a small town south of Dallas in Cedar Hill and it was interesting to see just what the Secretary said. First of all the superintendent was there. The school fully embraced the program. We have got some great Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and officers during the drawdown who wanted to do something for their country still and there are really good folks out there in those programs. While I was visiting with him, one of the teachers came up to me and said, ''We love this program.'' I said ''Why is that?'' She told me about this student Johnny, I guess, that was in her math class and he was about to flunk out. She, in fact, told him, ''If you don't pass this final exam, you are going to be out of math.'' And during that six or eight-week period from the time she had given him that announcement, he began to change and she didn't know why, and what had happened is he had joined the junior ROTC and he began to gain his own self-respect and had some confidence that he could do something and he actually changed his performance. She became instead of a detractor a very strong proponent for the ROTC program because she saw what changes it had made in the kids and the whole faculty was that way. But it is that footprint issue I think of being able to get out there and touch more places. It is just like recruiting. If we can get our people onto an Air Force base, or I am sure, the other services installations, that is probably the best way we can recruit our folks.
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We are also trying to help our recruiters, giving them tools to do the jobs like laptops, cell phones, and web based advertising which is very popular with our youth today and quicker, faster feedback on the leads that we get from that so we can let the recruiters spend that important one-on-one, face-to-face time with the potential recruit.
In closing, sir, I want to say once again we greatly appreciate the support this Committee and the Congress in particular has given us over the years. It has sent a very clear and important signal. In the last 4 months I have traveled to six different countries and over 20 bases, talked to thousands of our young men and women out in the force there. They have been waiting for a signal from our Nation that their work is worthwhile and important, and I think they have gotten it this last year. They appreciate that and I think it sends a very powerful signal to our folks.
We are going to ask you to help us with an opportunity to offer bonuses to our line officers too where we have challenges there. I want to say the other challenge I would ask is, and we talked about this a little bit in the Committee the other day, that we think this is a national problem. I think one of the ways that you and the Members of our Congress as well as our Administration and our Government in general can help us is by speaking about the importance of national service, in particular military service, because I think we have to bring that back to our American public. It is not that they don't want to. It is not that they don't like our Air Force, our services. It is just not on the radar scope and their influencers are people like the Secretary mentioned before as well as our leadership across this Nation. Until we make that important to our Nation, it won't be important to our youth.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Committee. I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Peterson can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. BUYER. Thank you. General Klimp.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. JACK W. KLIMP, U.S. MARINE CORPS, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS
General KLIMP. Good morning, Mr. Chairman. As always, I will try to keep this as short as I can. I guess I would start by saying no apology is required from either you or Congressman Abercrombie, and I say that because this is important stuff. We are dealing with the defense of our Nation and we can have the greatest strategy in the world, the greatest doctrine in the world. We can have the greatest equipment in the world but all of that rests on a foundation of shifting sand if we can't recruit and retain the right numbers of people and the right kinds of people to man that equipment, to execute the doctrine, and to accomplish the strategies. So this is important stuff.
It is also important because we are dealing with the very lives of a very special segment of our youth population and as those who decide freely to participate in the defense of this Nation of ours. In that regard, I would tell you that things are going well in the Marine Corps and Secretary de Leon has pointed that out to begin with. Our Recruiting Command continues to accomplish its recruiting missions, and that is in terms of both the numbers of people that they have to recruit and in the qualities of people that they have to recruit.
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At the beginning of this year, they started the year with a 50 percent start pool, delayed entry pool. I tasked them to build that to 55 percent by fiscal year 2002. They are already at 53.6 percent. So recruiting continues to go very, very well and we project that that will continue throughout the year and we will make our recruiting missions.
Secretary de Leon also said that retention is going very well for the Marine Corps and it is. Our pull attrition, those kids who are in the delayed entry pool and leave the pool for one reason or another is down from an average between 1997 and 1996 of 24.2 percent to 17.9 percent.
Our Marine Corps recruit depot attrition is down to 12.4 percent from a historic average over the years that I have been involved in recruiting and recruit training from somewhere between 13 and 15 percent. Is that important? Yes, sir, it is. It is important for a couple of reasons. One, because these youngsters are heavily screened and highly selected by our recruiters. When they commit to us, we commit to them that we will make them into United States Marines. If they don't make it and we don't make it, they failed and we have failed. As a former recruiter, it is important because for every one of those kids we lose in the pool and every one of those kids we lose from recruit training, that is about two and a half more that the recruiter has to go back out and find to replace that Marine that we eventually need at the end of the training cycle.
Our first term non-End of Active Service (EAS), attrition, that is the attrition that occurs between the time the young Marine completes recruit training and he or she completes their first term of enlistment, is down by about 22 percent, about 385 fewer attrits thus far this year than we anticipated in the plan. Also good for the recruiter and good for the Marine Corps, the units are manned. The recruiters don't have to go out and find now about three people to replace that individual when it gets down range.
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Our EAS, End of Active Service, our intermediate attrition and our career attrition, as Secretary de Leon said, are about at historic norms. They are up a little bit, a couple of percentage points in each case. That is of concern to us. We are behind our first term realignment plan, our first term enlistment plan, reenlistment plan by about 10 percent of where we would like to be. I think some of that had to do with overconfidence. We haven't had problems in the past. I think some of it has to do with the challenges the economy is presenting us with.
We haveI took that issue to an executive offsite with the Commandant. The senior leadership of the Marine Corps, I think, reinforced in the minds of the senior commanders out there, the sense of urgency, what this means to the Marine Corps. From my own organization we have put together manpower or I guess mobile retention teams that I am sending to every major command in the Marine Corps. On a visit about 2 weeks ago to the West Coast, they enlisted and they have the authority to do this, reenlisted 176 Marines out of two commands, or two bases I should say, Twentynine Palms and Camp Pendleton, in less than a week. Before the next two weeks are over, they will have visited Cherry Point, Quantico, Lejeune, and Beaufort Air Station as well and so far they are experiencing the same kinds of success there.
The Commandant has directed a 48-hour retention standdown to be completed within the next 30 days. During thatand in some commands it has already begun. During that 48 hours, every Marine in the Corps from private to general will focus on retention, the importance of retention to the Marine Corps and the importance of retention and continuing in the Marine Corps and the benefits of doing that to the young Marine. So I am cautiously confident now that we have everybody's attention again that we will in fact accomplish our reenlistment goals before the end of the year.
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I think in your statement when we started this a few days ago, you mentioned that the Marine recruiter is under more stress than any other recruiter that is out there and that is absolutely right, sir. It is a hard job. It has been a hard job. It was a hard job when I did it as a station commander in 1981 to 1984. We are doing some things to help relieve that stress, and I think the key one amongst all of the others is the fact that the recruiting command structure, authorized structure, is about 2650 recruiters on the streets. Last year we staffed, manpower, staffed the recruiting command at 107 percent. That is about 2,800 recruiters, I think. I have directed that in fiscal year 2000 and fiscal year 2001, we will staff the recruiting command at 110 percent. The purpose for that is to provide the recruiting command with the ability to keep 2650 active recruiters on the streets out fighting the battle that Don Peterson just talked about every day, while others can take their leave, can take their time to go to school, can be home with their families. I think that is going to be one of the major ways we attack this stress level out there, amongst others.
Sir, I would summarize by saying the Marine Corps is very confident we will make our recruiting objectives. We are cautiously comfortable that we will accomplish our retention goals, and I will tell you we will be at end strength at the end of the year and I look forward to your questions, sir.
[The prepared statement of General Klimp can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. BUYER. Thank you, General Klimp. General Ohle, Secretary de Leon said you would inform me about ''Be All You Can Be.'' You didn't do it in your opening so I am going to give you an opportunity right now.
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General OHLE. The Army has made no decision to do away with ''Be All You Can Be.'' As you know, it is the number two advertising slogan of this century. We have got to hold on to it.
Mr. BUYER. I am a lawyer. I pay very close attention to words. When you say you have made no decision, is that on someone's table to make judgment?
General OHLE. No, sir, it is not. I will explain. It is not even being studied for a decision to do away with it. I personally believe that the Secretary of the Army was misquoted. He never said he was going to do away with it. What we are doing is studying it. If you go back and I would like to tag on to what the Secretary said about General Thurman. He was the father of the all volunteer force and he really developed ''Be All You Can Be.'' When he developed the all-volunteer force and later took the Army through into the 1990s, he realized that there were different phases of the all-volunteer force. I personally believe now we are transitioning into the sixth phase. Each phase of the volunteer force when you go from one to another is marked with failure and that is why we transition from one to another and I believe that this is an indication of why we failed in the fifth and we have to do things different in the sixth phase of the all volunteer force.
The one constant that we have in the Army is this patriotism, this ''Be All You Can Be,'' Thurman's message. In each phase of the volunteer force, we do it a little bit different. I think what we have to do now and what our studies show is that we have to determine how we are going to market and research and advertise for the United States Army. We have got to center it around patriotism. We have gone too far in the benefits mode. We will anchor this and ''Be All You Can Be.'' That doesn't mean that it will be the whole jingle every time but it will always be as it has been over time. ''Be All You Can Be'' will be on every Army advertisement.
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Mr. BUYER. Thank you. I know, gentlemen, you have heard this from me 10,000 times. I am going to continue to say it until I guess I see and feel real change. It was very bothersome to me and it will always be bothersome to me when during the Gulf War, on the desert floor when I would hear people bellyache and whine that ''I didn't sign up for this. I signed up to do this to get my college education.'' Everyone that would say that I would confront them and was very strong in my own opinions with them. So we were overemphasizing too much on the educational benefit side and I am glad the pendulum has come back.
Probably one of the things that caught my attention last summer, Mr. Secretary, was when I hadwas with the Navy and when I learned that the Navy had hired Mr. Spike Lee to do ads. At first I thought I was going to have to get somebody to call 911 because I choked on my breakfast muffin. That someone who had made so many anti-military comments in his rhetoric, and anti-Government, that we would actually extend a contract to was stunning to me. Then I let my initial thoughts gel a little bit and I don't mind going outside the box and permitting ideas to flow. I didn't particularly care for some of the product.
The first ad with Navy SEALs, probably the biggest disappointment out there was the Marine Corps because they said that is such a great ad, I wish we would have thought of it first. It was a great ad. Those other ads, I respect the CNO for taking personal attention to the issue. I respect you, Admiral Ryan, and appreciate your counsel as we work through that. But what that did was permit me to get involved in it also. I concur with your comments about the Murphy Eskew review. And if I am in any error here, Ms. (Kelly) Craven, (Chief of Staff for Mr. Buyer) you can correct meI will agree with you that the relationship that the Marines had with their recruiter and were they doing things smartly, yes. We felt very comfortable with that. We did not feel at all comfortable with the Navy. Very disappointed from our review and then I think it was also backed up. So if there is some attentions and, Admiral Ryan, you know about these. I was concerned about the Army in that yourthe ads for which you had in your working with your advertiserwas it Rubicon? Young & Rubiconwe thought the ads were great. Personally, as you know I thought the ads were pretty good and then that is when I was sort of shocked when I thought these ads are good and then I hear these rumblings about well, maybe it is the message, maybe we are not touching the right people. I had gotten concerned. I do have a curiosity, Mr. Secretary. What is your sense that the services are embracing the Murphy Eskew recommendations?
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Sometimes the services, we do these studies and analyses and we get outside independent judgments and then we bring it in and they circle the wagons pretty tight and go, ''Oh, yeah, we appreciate that. We will take it under consideration,'' and it doesn't go anywhere.
Secretary DE LEON. It is a good question because at the heart of what Secretary Cohen was trying to accomplish is how we think about this problem as much as what is the next ad going to look like. And in having the Murphy Eskew study, he was really trying to look at this systematically and comprehensively. SomeI guess I haveI would let the Navy comment on what ads and who they went to last summer and in one sense it showed they were thinking about it but in another sense I could say this was sort of an immediate reaction. We will get somebody new to do something and we have solved the problem. Everything else stays the same.
I do believe that each service is trying to find some way to develop expertise to manage these contracts better. We are notthere are some things we do quite well and there are other things that we don't do quite well. If you buy your advertising late in the cycle, you are going to pay penalties and you are going to get whatever placement is left. If you buy it upfront as sort of a futures type of commodity, you are going to get to pick your time and it is going to be moreyou are going to get to run three commercials whereas if you wait longer, you are only going to get to run one.
Second, when there is advertising during a football game, you and I might see it and we might feel great, hey, here we are, we have got our ad there. We will have paid top market share and the 18 to 22-year-olds, we may have been able to find another way to reach them four times instead of the one time on that football game by doing some e-mail things that are available to schools, things like that. So it was thinking through all of these pieces, but I believe we have in place a checklist where the services come back and report regularly. This is also one where Secretary Cohen asks the services regularly because he thought fundamentally that the business practices were wrong and the product was not what we needed.
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Mr. BUYER. I will concur with you, General Peterson. I never put it into your words and I will use them and if I can, I will give you the credit. National challenge. I agree with that. I think what concerned me the most when I first looked at the Spike Lee ads was it was very telling to me that when you give someone a particular mission to go out and touch a particular sector, well, they can do that very well. That is their job to do that. But the ads are more than just that. The ads are also meant to inspire the influencers. Those influencers I would submit, Mr. Secretary, go beyond just those of whom may touch the youth in their daily life. You mentioned parents, teachers, and coaches. You are right. Those are the ones that probably touch 90 percent of the youths today, but there are other influencers for which they may not necessarily touch on that particular day but they do look up to. And you are right, we have a declining population out of the veterans, so much so that in a community they will know who that veteran is, who that Vietnam veteran or that Korean War or the World War II veteran is because there aren't as many of them.
I think in that veterans population, there are recruiters too. It is not just them. You know who also watches those ads is the force. The force also has to be inspired by those ads. It is all inclusive. So when I looked at those original ads, oh, they werethe mission was very targeted to go tobut does it inspire everyone else? Does it relate to everyone else? Not necessarily. Why would the Navy ever shun away from showing ships? I don't understand.
One thing I alsoand I am no expert in this but having worked with these advertising companies every election cycle, I am moving into my fifth, they arethey are so good. They are these intellectual greyhounds. They can run and they are smart. They are sharp and matter of fact. If you disagree with them, they will make you feel dumb. You know what I mean? They are so good. They are so persuasive in what they want to do that at first they suck you in. They do. They will suck you in and then you go, oh, wait, wait, wait, let me try to look at this, examine this. And I can see how that can happen sometimes. I just wanted to share that with you.
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Let me do this. Let me throw this out as an idea and something perhaps we ought to do. This past week when I spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) group that was in town, I am going to do this when I speak at the national conventions throughout this year. And if there is something out there, please help me. One thing that I have also recognized from the town here is that when we make a decision and a directive to do something, it will move across the country. It will move across the force. It is that pebble you throw in the pond and the waves for which you see. You don't see the ones in finitum. National challenge. When you have a disgruntled workforce, how do you change an attitude?
The key in what I am asking of the veterans service community is that if a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine comes back from a deployment and they are back home and they are a little grumpy, put your arm around them. Don't enjoin in the grumpiness. Put your arm around them and thank them for their service to the country and what they are doing and lift their spirits.
All of us as leaders ought to be doing that. You all speak at many different organizations. What I would suggestlet me lay this outis that we meet with the 14 veterans services organizations (VSO), and if it isI would throw this out to you, Mr. Secretary, that I can contact the 14 veterans services organizations, invite their national commanders, we come in and we sit down and we have a conversation with them to enjoin them in the recruiting process. They are recruiters. Challenge the veterans services organizations to help us recruit and to also tell the good story because they are such powerful influencers in all of our communities across the country and their influence is very powerful.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have almost gotten ourselves into thisI am going to say ''we'' because I belong to some of the veterans services organizations, 10,000 organizations and associations in this town and they all lobby for something. So if you want to lobby for something, give them the horror story to build the necessity or if it is not there, I will build a straw man that I get to knock down. When you do that over a long period of time, after a while you don't realize that you are hurting your own organizations. It is not healthy having millions of veterans out there then be seen by the population as a whole as ''Oh, they are just bellyaching.'' I throw it out as an idea to you. If you would like, I would join and make it happen.
Secretary DE LEON. They are an extremely important group in America. They are a very good group to sit down and talk with. I think we would welcome the chance to sit there with you with them. Getting the 14 VSOs together was instrumental in solving another challenge you gave us last year which was the honors for our veterans and our retirees, and I think we have a good program there but we couldn't have gotten to that point without the help of our veterans services organizations. They are capable of great things. We would embrace your challenge and join you.
Mr. BUYER. Let's do it. You know what would be very good about this also, we can also tie in and by that point in time I will have introduced a health care package and we will enjoin them. In other words, telling the veterans that we are on this path. The perception of declining benefits, declining benefits, you know, if you actually ask them, say, ''Okay, itemize them for me,'' it gets tougher for them, doesn't it? It gets tougher for them to itemize it but the perceptions are becoming the reality. You cannot permit perception to become a reality.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So if we enjoin with the VSOs on this issue and begin to touch others, we can have a huge influence out there on an attitude because you mentioned national challenge. I have got a difficulty in getting budgets to increaseyou know, you are talking about $50, $60 billion in shortfalls. We got that exercise the other day between executable and fully funded. I want to get you to fully funded. We have people around here that would rather give a tax cut than take care of defense. We are living in a very strange time so let's do that.
I do have to ask before I get off the Murphy Eskew, Mr. Secretary, is theyou made a commentI like this. If we were a business and then I had to think about the year end, year out inconsistent funding. One of the services meets a particular goal and what do they do? They cut back funding on advertising. They keep chasing their tail. Can you comment onthe Murphy Eskew also brought that out. That was thealso concurred with our analysis.
Secretary DE LEON. There is a tension in the budget process because we are spending the Government's money, the taxpayers' dollars, that if Ford spends $300 million on advertising and their sales go up and they meet all their sales goals, they are going to turn around the next year and they are going to spend $600 million on advertising.
Mr. BUYER. They are going for market share.
Secretary DE LEON. If we spend $300 million on advertising and we hit our goal, we are going to reduce
thatwe are not getting to put it in the next year. It is in the cycle of budgeting. It is counterintuitive. Some of the blame is in the building. Some of the blame is in the Office of Management & Budget (OMB). Some of the blame is occasionally here. But it is just simply the cycles we get into instead of focusing on how you have a sustained recruiting effort.
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In the past there were recruiting challenges but not to the degree that there are today. The demographics is a critical piece but the fact is that our country has changed in so many ways. So we are going to have to work harder and so on the budget side, we are trying to get to greater stability in terms of the recruiting budget, the advertising budget.
General Klimp, in fairness to General Klimp, he comes forward with a budget that meets his mission requirements. He sees the other services going to the Committees and getting plus-ups in this area and he says, ''You know, I could use a plus-up too. Don't hold me back simply because other people haven't put the dollars up front.'' So this is an issue. Admiral Tracy and I went to the Defense Resources Board. We made our case. I think we got additional dollars.
Mr. BUYER. Mr. Secretary, your last comment, is that whereI think that I am being helpful by plussing up advertising because it is short and in reality I create the expectation that it will always be there, therefore, the building doesn't have to put it in.
Secretary DE LEON. I think the services play thatwe made great strides in Guard equipment and it is a similar proposition.
Mr. BUYER. Then if I am not able toI am thinking aloud. If I am not able to increase my outlays in this budget but I am able to perhaps front-load some fast spendouts in 2000 dollars that give me some headroom in the 2001 but not reallyand I don't get the allocation to personnel that I really need so dollars have to go then to the health care package and each of the services don't get what they asked for. Now what?
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Secretary DE LEON. Then I probably will be up here along with Bill Lynn (Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense [Comptroller]), with the fourth quarter reprogramming putting dollars into the advertising budgets.
Mr. BUYER. And have I successfully gotten the attention of the building that if they are not going to put it in, we better get it in in 2002?
Secretary DE LEON. I am confident that in my organization that we are doing things in the budget process internal to the Department that is having a significant impact and I give Admiral Tracy great credit for the strength of an organization that she has built. She produces for me every month the military personnel update. This is actually a document we could share with you but it is all of our indicators. I would love at some point in the future to have a successor be able to give you the same thing every month on medical in terms of how many patients we are seeing, how many are in the network, how many are in the Military Treatment Facilities (MTF), but this really gives us a snapshot every month of how we are doing and we are able to use this now with the Chiefs, with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. The Secretary of Defense is the chief consumer and he reads this and he essentially instructs the budget side of the House to do the plus-ups.
So I think we have a very dynamic process in personnel and readiness that I think is going to continue and it is backed up by, I think, a substantial analytic effort.
Mr. BUYER. That is a great answer that said nothing. I would like to see Admiral Tracywould you get someone to me? I would like to see it. What I went right at is if I don't fund this, then you are going to have to come back here for reprogramming? Is that what you are telling me?
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Secretary DE LEON. Right. But I will come up with the offsets. For every dollar that I ask in the reprogramming, it has to be budget neutral so we will find other places that will.
Mr. BUYER. Obviously I give great pain to the appropriators because they will be very eager then to help you out in your advertising, right? You think they are going to take away from health care?
Secretary DE LEON. There is a bit of juxtaposition. Sometimes we use as the offset some of the items that the appropriators have a unique way of putting into their
Mr. BUYER. They have a unique way to do a lot of things.
Secretary DE LEON. that aren't necessarily our priorities.
Mr. BUYER. I understand. You touched on this, Mr. Secretary, in part of your opening. Bear with me. I am going to read this question because it goes back and it is sort of a reminder of my opening statement a few days ago but I need to lay out this predicate and I want you to respond because when you look at the trend line that we are in and we recognize we have our concerns in retention and in recruiting, this is one that concerns me. I think we can all agree that recruiting will continue to be very difficult through fiscal year 2001 and beyond.
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Notwithstanding the challenge of recruiting each of you, your budgets in fiscal year 2001 reflects a reduction in the major recruiting account over the amount that you expect to execute during fiscal year 2000, a year in which some of you have failed. For example, the Army, you cut $33 million in your enlistment bonuses, the Navy, 288 were cut in recruiters and $17 million cut in recruiting operations. In the Air Force you cut $5 million in advertising, the Marine Corps cut $4 million in enlistment bonuses. In addition to these reductions, the unfunded requirement list for active duty recruiting alone is $156 million. For the Navy $108.5 million, the Air Force $31.4 million, the Marine Corps $16.1 million. The Army you have nothing for recruiting and yet your model projects a 5,000 recruiting shortfall.
Secretary de Leon, I think it is obvious you see the concern and why does the budget process allow inefficient sawtooth funding and huge unfunded requirements in recruiting? Under the personnel chiefs why does the budget process go so badly for recruiting each year? I throw that out to all of you.
Secretary DE LEON. I made notes from the other hearing. On the budget side I don't profess to deliver 100 percent but I think I have done a good job with some help from Secretary Cohen that the bulk$40 billion of the $112 billion five-year plus-up went to personnel accounts. In addition to that in this budget cycle, we have added $3 billion into the FYDP for housing. We have added another billion for medical. We have justso we are clearly making sure that personnel is well represented at the table and I take pride in reversing some of the earlier trends where my colleagues on the acquisition side of the world might have been more robust.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In terms of the puts and takes of service budgets, I think there is an element of gaming the system and that is if they cut a recruiting dollar, the first line of appeal is to go to the Congress to get that dollar restored and the second line is they know that at the end of the day, we will do a reprogramming if they are short because we will put the dollars in. The previous years we have had recruiting reprogrammings.
So I think we are improving but we are not yet where we should be with respect to this. As the budget process was ongoing, Admiral Tracy and I submitted what we thought the appropriate level of funding was for both advertising as well as the implementation of Murphy Eskew. We got the bulk of the dollars that we requested. The services do puts and takes on each of their budgets at the end, but I think it is a very vigorous process.
Secretary DE LEON. But I can assure you while I don't win 100 percent of the battle, the budget battle in my current position, that in my current position we are vigorous advocates of spending in the personnel area. My futureassuming confirmation by the other body, I will have a further impact on the system in the future.
Mr. BUYER. I understand the gaming. What we need to see, though, is if, in fact, you are short in the retention and just in your management we have to see from the services that they actually have the commitment on the problem. That is what we will see out of the Corps. But when we get to analyze the budgets, then what we see is a lack of commitment, lack of commitment. How else am I supposed to analyze it? And that is very strong. But I just want you to know how else are we supposed to take it? Yeah, we can do the games, we can do those kind of things.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let us think about this a little differently, Mr. Secretary. If the services gave the commitment to recruiting and retention, the shortfalls that are coming in other places, I can justify if the shortfalls are in the war fighter, with the war fighter. Oh, we can't do that though. See what I am saying? I am just trying to approach it from another thought. You want to make a comment? You can punt.
I have to ask a question about regular appointments for new officers' accessions. It was eliminated 1981 for accessions after September of 1996. This issue remains an emotional issue, particularly for graduates of the service academies. Secretary de Leon, I would like to know what your perspective is on the issue. This would be also to each of the Reserve chiefs. Should we return to regular appointments for service academy graduates? And I will open it up to you, Mr. Secretary, and comments from each of you.
Secretary DE LEON. I understand the sentiment of the question. I would request if I could give you something for the record, because I would like to think a little bit about that.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. BUYER. All right. General Ohle.
General OHLE. Sir, it initially was a very big concern, more of a concern by the retired folks than the officers in the Army. When the officers sat down and analyzed the pros and cons, they didn't see much of a difference. Right now we fully integrate the officers into the regular Army at the rank of major. We are currently analyzing whether that is the right time to do it within the Army. You have given us the flexibility to do it any time after one year. We are looking at doing it at 1st lieutenant. Right now our study is ongoing and I would request that we would be able to come back and talk to you. But there is very little angst on the part of any officer in the Army today.
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Mr. BUYER. Yeah, but didn't being a regular used to mean something?
General OHLE. Yes, sir. It has the same effect that we talked about in advertising. It is part of the culture. It is part of this patriotism. It meant something. As we made the changes over time, it doesn't mean anything in terms of benefits because everybody is integrated now. I think the good that it does for the Army is it puts everybody on the level playing field, and then they compete and as they are promoted to whatever the rank, currently major, they are fully integrated, everybody. You don't have to apply for regular Army as you used to.
Mr. BUYER. Admiral Ryan.
Admiral RYAN. I have a personal approach to this because I was our head of distribution when they were downsizing. And I saw people who had come into the Navy and, had performed really well, but had a Reserve commission, have to leave while I had people that had regular commissions that didn't perform as well that we had to keep rather than the person that had performed well. I am an academy graduate. I don't think we need to have that to track young men and women. They should want to compete if they want to go academy or ROTC unit or come in from Officer Candidate School (OCS).
So my personal point of view, I would prefer to have everybody come in on an equal footing. However, I understand that the Defense Science Board has made a recommendation, or may be considering a recommendation that all men and women who volunteer to come into the service as officers should be given a regular commission. Why do we assume if they are all volunteers they shouldn't be regulars to start with?
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So I would, if I went back to regular, I would prefer it for all our men and women that volunteer to come into the Navy as officers. We do not get any big hue and cry from our young men and women who come to the academies. It is primarily the older grads that are concerned about it. But our prospects--.
Mr. BUYER. Isn't it really more about retention, not recruiting?
Admiral RYAN. I think it is. It is a mindset. People come in and they feel like they are on an equal footing. I think it is a positive thing in the Navy that the way it is now, everyone comes in on an equal footing. Some may have been blessed with a little bit more time to think about their military careers than others, but the others have always performed magnificently in coming up to speed and doing a good job.
So I would rather we remain a meritocracy, and I think we do that when we allow competition. It doesn't start too early. It starts when the officer has had a tour or two before they, you know, have to worry about becoming a regular. But I really think that there is some merit to getting rid of this old ''think of the draft'' and some officers were different than others. We are in an all-volunteer force. Why shouldn't we assume that all our men and women come in with the same approach? So that is my personal perspective.
Mr. BUYER. My guess, my personal perspective would be you first get your officers out of the academies. If you need more officers you can get them out of the six military colleges. If you need more officers, then you can get them out of OCS. If you need more officers you can get them out of the ROTCs. And I would put it in that order. And I would put it in that order of an esteem. So I will jealously guard the institution of the academies.
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Admiral RYAN. Absolutely.
Mr. BUYER. I think the Nation holds them in high esteem, because we turn and we scrutinize and we take the Nation's brightest and most ambitious and we make a tremendous investment in them.
You gave the comment about you know the pressure out there of trying to recruit and pull your Air Force officers and NCOs away. Those academy grads are getting letters from companies out there and in their second and third year. They can't wait for them to hit their five-year mark. They are pulling them out there, take a couple of vacation days, we will bring you out to Texas Instruments. He has got his own little mini academy out there at Texas Instrument.
I guess also when I said ''jealously guard,'' the only reason I am revisiting this issue is you are right, at some point in time someone that goes to university ROTC does equally compete against that service academy. I mean, I do agree with that. But at also some point in time, is there something out there that we can tangibly invest in to let that service academy graduate know that, yeah, you are pretty important to the country. We didn't just give you this $275,000 benefit in education so you can then go out and do other things, be entrepreneurs.
We get a benefit from a society as having the Chief Executive Officer (CEO's), of America, academy grads because they are instilled with some core virtues and values. But they should be admirals and generals. It is just my personal perspective. That is why I asked the question Admiral Ryan. General Peterson.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General PETERSON. Yes, sir. I would tend to agree with Admiral Ryan. I think that we should pay attention to our academies. They are important and they are committed to that. But I think that augmentation into regular should be based on performance. And I think that we all have an opportunity to compete for that by our augmentation. That is major. That is not one that I would use as a tool. I think I would use something else.
Mr. BUYER. General Klimp.
General KLIMP. Yes, sir. Excuse me. I am a Naval Academy graduate. I loved the Academy. I want to protect that institution as well. But I think it is probably too early. Last year was the first year that naval academy graduates and Navy ROTC graduates, Platoon Leader Course (PLC), graudates, Officer Candidate Course (OCC), graduates, all competed against one another for a commission. So we only had that one year of experience. Like I said, I love the institution. I love the Academy. I think if the institutions do what they are supposed to do, and that is produce the nuclear core of a professional officer core, then their graduates will compete well within the Marine Corps, within the Air Force, within the Navy. If the institutions don't create graduates who compete well, then the institution needs to change. We need to improve the institution, protect the institution that way.
For us right now, all officers compete for augmentation to a regular commission as captains. In fact, that board is in session right now, consideration of all of the captains in the Marine Corps for augmentation into the regulars. I think that as an academy graduate, it would mean more to know that I earned my commission as a regular officer in the United States Marine Corps in competition with fellow Marines than it would to say I got it because I completed a course of instruction at a particular institution.
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Mr. BUYER. Would you please, Mr. Secretary, ask each of the services to provide to the committeeI would like to know theand I am sure that the academies themselves monitor these numbers or somebody perhaps or maybe each of you do, I want to know these academy gradsare they staying, are they leaving, what is the rate? And give me some 5- or 10-year trend here. I want to be able to see what is happening. I would also like to know of the classes of general officer rank at the flag rank. How many of them are academy graduates? I want to know if they are staying. I just want to know what is happening with America's investments in the academies. I don't know. I think it would be very helpful to me.
Something else. Who mentioned that, who mentioned the word ''something else?'' General Peterson. See, I agree with you. I don't know what that is. I don't know what that is that ''something else.'' Well, I will work with you.
Let me bring up thrift savings. I understand DOD in trying to solve the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), issue you were reluctant. The issue was the reluctance of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to include Reserve component numbers in the military TSP. The board has steadfastly maintained that they would have to charge much higher administration rates for Reservists due to smaller accounts. If including Reservists is a major problem and we are cost shifting, should we eliminate them from the TSP and get on with the active duty program? Mr. Secretary.
Secretary DE LEON. I know the actuaries have an issue with the Reservists, but I don't think that is the significant issue. I think the significant issue is that the way that the provision is constructed and the way that the Balanced Budget Act is constructed, we have to reduce mandatory spending by approximately $500 million. It is, from my perspective, the decision that I participated in, had to do with what would the offset be consistent with the Balanced Budget Act and the various scoring?
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And the only mandatory account that we have is military retirement. So having with the help of the Committee, just fixed the Military Retirement Reform Act of 1986 (Redux) issue, we were reluctant to dip into the actuarial accounts and subtract $500 million. We are happy to work with the Committee to find some way to reconcile our commitment to the program with the pay-go provisions of the Balanced Budget Act.
The second issue, the Reservists, I think we would try to work together to find a way to make this satisfactory to the actuarial board, but we have a total force and we would not want to discriminate in an important new benefit.
Mr. BUYER. That was the argument that was made at the table in conference last year to include the Reserve components. I mean, obviously, as chair of the National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus, we work very hard for that seamless integration and all those issues. But if the sense here is that not as many Reservists are going to participate and there is going to be a cost shift, then you know there are certain times you go, okay, fine, we understand the themes, but it doesn't make sense. And that is what my gut is telling me. My instincts are telling me we may be doing something that is being done for the purpose of glossy, but when it comes down to the business judgment, is perhaps not the good judgment. So I am considering whether to place it in the legislation or to take that out. That is why I ask it for your.
Secretary DE LEON. I would not sit here and recommend that. The concern I have again is how to reconcile thrift savings with the Balanced Budget Act and the pay-as-you-go provisions of the Balanced Budget Act and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), scoring.
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Mr. BUYER. All right. Well, that is the bigger problem I know.
Secretary DE LEON. I think if we can solve that we can make the other issues work.
Mr. BUYER. Secretary, although we included language in the fiscal year 2000 bill to encourage local education agencies to cooperate with recruiters, it is clear that all of the services continue to experience difficulty with access to high schools and student information. Do you have anydo we need to take additional legislative action or any of the thoughts from personnel chiefs, anything we need to do from our perspective here on the Hill in the bill?
Secretary DE LEON. We are working through that issue with our counterparts in the Department of Education in terms of high schools, we are looking at what the financial footprint is into high schools. It is not quite the same as what has worked on the ROTC side in the access of recruiters to colleges where colleges and universities receive Federal research grants, et cetera.
We have talked within a number of states with those who are, I think, inappropriately keeping our recruiters out of high schools. I think we are shocked to find that if ever there was a Navy town, it was San Diego, and I think we are all shocked to find that the San Diego public schools have taken a position of excluding recruiters from those. At the same time as teachers and educators who were once skeptical of the military have come to see the significant impact that the junior ROTC is having in how many communities are embracing this, we think that there are a number of ways that we can work the local side of this.
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What I would like to do is to provide you some additional thoughts for the record, because I think this is an important problem that we have in terms of fairness to our military recruiters. And they should have the same opportunity as corporate recruiters or college recruiters to at least talk to students, if only to talk about ROTC programs and where a military career can lead to, things like that. So this is one I would like to give you more of abut it is clearly an issue.
Mr. BUYER. General Klimp, let me extend some compliments to your predecessor, General (Carol) Mutter. She is out there in Indiana and she is reaching out to work cooperatively with the superintendents with public instruction and to gain access. And that is an example of touching into the veterans.
General KLIMP. Yes, sir. Absolutely. I guess I would echo what Secretary de Leon said, it is wrong that in this democracy that the people who wear these uniforms out there are worn to protect or defend, that our recruiters are denied access to some 600 schools that we all agree on across the country. It is also wrong that the young students within those schools are denied the opportunity to hear about the opportunities that we have to offer them.
I would say, though, that any legislation that the Congress may have in mind to help that effort out there has to be crafted very, very carefully. And I say that in all sincerity because we have a number of bills or a number of laws that have been passed at the state level that were designed to provide us that access and they had a tendency to backfire. Pennsylvania is a good example. A bill was passed that requires the schools to give us a list. But it also provides the parents and the students the opportunity to review the list and delete their names if they don't want to hear from us. So we often get blank pieces of paper or we get papers that are blackened out, or we get just lists with no addresses attached to them at all.
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The Marine Corps practices a style of warfare called maneuver warfare where you don't attack the target head on, you try to take it by surprise. That is the way we recruit out there as well. I would prefer that rather than hammering the schools with legislation we do things like General Mutter is out there doing. We have an organization designed to do that it is called the PWST, the Peacetime Wartime Support Teams, that are formed among our Reserves, who in cooperation with the recruiting commands, are establishing, and have established already Marine Corps coordinating councils in our major cities across the country. Those are expanding and we are growing those. The purpose of those councils is do exactly what General Mutter is doing. We need to help ourselves as well. I picked up this morningI got a magazine from the ninth district. The ninth recruiting district out in Kansas City went out and bought an inflatable obstacle course. I will give you a picture of it if you would like to see it. It is an inflatable obstacle course. They can walk into a gymnasium in the high school, pump this thing up, go to the gym teachers and say how would you like to accomplish your gym class by running this Marine Corps obstacle course that is perfectly safe. The Marines are along the side of it. They are the spots. They yell encouragement. The article says as an example when we came to ourand I think it was their spring jobs fair, the school did not charge the Marine Corps for their booth at the jobs fair because the Marines brought so much to the table and they had helped them before. That is the way we get access via maneuver and not via a direct attack sir.
Mr. BUYER. All right. General Peterson.
General PETERSON. Well, I would follow that analogy with a phased attack. But I think it should be, I think we should try to influence the influencers, we should go out and make direct contact first so that we don't put our recruiters in an adversarial position with the schools they are in. As the last resort then we use the hammer there if necessary. I think there are a couple of options, but we need to be aggressive about it in implementing them right now. I think we will provide those lists so that the Congressional Members as well can help in their districts. And I think we ought to take that approach initially. Because I do believe there is an education process out there unfortunately but it is a fact of life. And that is the lack of understanding of what the U.S. military is all about.
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[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. BUYER. Admiral Ryan.
Admiral RYAN. I agree. I think it is infuriating to think that some young men and women are denied the opportunity to get the life skills that we can provide them. So I think a little daylight on this issue will help. It is a national challenge. I think all of us are responsible for putting some daylight on this issue and making members of the community realize what their school boards have done to their children.
General OHLE. Sir, I think the goal was to have access to every high school in the United States. We applaud all efforts to do that. We support DOD in working it out with the Department of Education to see what the benefits are. What we don't want to do is cut our nose off to spite our face. We have to make sure that we don't lose ground by forcing these 600 or so schools to open.
Mr. BUYER. Let me join the Marine Corps's thought here for a second. All right. I like this non-frontal assault thing. Does the Department of Defense have the abilityif you wanted to communicate to the general officer corps, doesn't have to be the general officer corps let's say 06 and above who are retired and say your E8's, E9's retired, do you have the ability to tap into the retirement list to communicate with them? You do. Do you everis that done?
General PETERSON. We have retiree newsletters, notes that we send to our retired senior officers, enlisted. So we could pass this message to them.
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Mr. BUYER. Then why don't we, on an issue as important as this? And let me talk from a political perspective, all right? I have got 20 counties across Indiana. I know who my retired general officers are. I know who my retired sergeant majors are. Okay. Not all of them but predominantly because I get to see them at some point in time. But their communities know who they are too. There isand for some particular reason, now I am not going to judge America by the heartland, but I will bet it is probably kind of true, the general officers and the sergeant majors aren't running for political office. Okay. They are not doing that. Others run for political offices and do that kind of thing. But the general officer corps and the sergeant majors aren't running for political offices. Okay. But they are influencers. They are. They know who the school board member is. They are held in high esteem within our communities. So when General Mutter goes around and she meets, and she gets the attention, that retired sergeant major gets the attention, when they walk into the room, that master chief walks in, you can't help but know they walked into the room by their instinct they still want to take control of the room. Right?
General KLIMP. Yes, sir.
Mr. BUYER. Let's communicate to them. You think?
General KLIMP. I would just add to what was said, we do that, we have got the newsletters and all that. In addition to that, there is a volume that the Marine Corps publishes every year. It is a listing and I think it isI won't quote the number, but it is a book that lists all of the Marine Corps-affiliated organizations across the country, the various branches of the First Marine Division Association, the Second Marine Division Association, Fifth Marine Division Association, Marine Corps League, all of those programs out there. And we communicate with them as well.
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And those are the primary links within the community, the PWST and the Marine Corps Community Service (MCCS), work to do exactly what you are saying. And I would justI don't want to let you off the hook either, sir, because this institution, the Congress, can be very, very powerful that way. Powerful in a way other than the direct attack, legislation, powerful in that you and the Members of this Congress, too, can go home, talk to the State legislators, the State governors, the State mayors and invariably, we find they are surprised that their schools are not granting us access.
Mr. BUYER. When you reach out to these individuals we just identified and said, ''We have identified a problem, I need your help in particular, I need your leadership, I need your help.'' They are waiting, they can't wait for you to say, ''I need you.'' You know how long it has been since you reached out and touched that sergeant major that says, ''I need you.'' They are ready to respond. You tell them, you know, here's the problem, here's the concern, I need your leadership, here's my directive to you, will you reach out and meet with those recruiters, and that in that particular state and then let me know, give them an e-mail address and fire it back or give them some place to respond. And I will bet we can have a tremendous impact, you know, in the school corporations all across this country. What do we got, 500,000, something like that, is that about right?
All right. Let me turn to Women, Infants and Children (WIC), for a second. Mr. Secretary, what is causing the delay in the implementation of the Womens Infants and Children program for overseas personnel? I decided last year enough was enough, and I authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 to do this. What is the delay?
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary DE LEON. There are some financial issues still to be worked out in the Department, but I'm hopeful that they will be resolved soon.
Mr. BUYER. Great answer. Time line?
Secretary DE LEON. Soon.
Mr. BUYER. Soon. Quantitate it.
Secretary DE LEON. Four to six weeks. How is that?
Mr. BUYER. Four to six weeks. All right. I also, rather than take this question to the personnel chiefs, let me address it to you, Mr. Secretary. We spoke about this the other day. And this deals with a few years back when I was getting wind that we had problems with the dental corps, not being able to recruit dentists. They would come out of dental school with $100,000 in debt and then we weren't being able to recruit them when you had all these open slots. So, sure, I had a brother on active duty as a dentist, so I picked up the phone and called him and said, ''John, tell me what the problem is.'' And he said, ''Steve, a starting dentist in the Army when he walks in, him or her, the dental hygienists makes more money than the dentist.'' Okay. I begin to understand this one. So we work hard, we put together pro-pay packages and all the services, and you are familiar with those, and we have gone, we have had a great impact in the dental corps.
Now all of a sudden, I get the same problem with JAG, the Judge Advocate General Corps. So we implement last year the Judge Advocate Continuation Pay, authorized it in last year's bill. It was the Army that first brought it to my attention and I put it in the bill. But then the Army didn't get to respond to it, the Air Force picked it up. So Mr. Secretary, I would like to know where it stands today, please.
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Secretary DE LEON. You and I have had an earlier conversation on this. I asked Admiral Tracy to meet with each of the services. Progress is being made. I will put this in the same four- to six-week time frame. I am hopeful that a positive decision can be made shortly. There is one issue that we will report to you on, and that is apparently one issue that has surfaced is that there may be not a robust enough program to assist young military lawyers, young judge advocates with repayment of law school tuition loans. So we may come back to you with some information on that.
Mr. BUYER. If you have a recommendation on a legislative fix, get it to me as soon as you can.
Secretary DE LEON. But that is.
Mr. BUYER. Okay.
Secretary DE LEON. But she is vigorously working on this with each of the services and we are hopeful in coming forward to that four- to six-week period.
Mr. BUYER. Here's what I will do. If you have that recommended fix, I can take care of that in the mark, but I will also work with Mr. (Jerry) Lewis (Chairman, Subcommittee on Defense, Committee on Appropriations), to make sure that it gets funded. Fair enough?
Secretary DE LEON. Fair enough.
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Mr. BUYER. Sometimes I create such a big list. Something one of you mentioned, it wasAdmiral Ryan, you brought up something. Admiral Ryan, you brought up requesting career sea pay authorization to the Secretary?
Admiral RYAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. BUYER. Secretary de Leon, will OMB clear that individual issue? Have there been any discussions with OMB? Or is thatI have to ask that. He puts that as a priority but.
Secretary DE LEON. It was an internal Navy decision initially not to make it a priority. Since that time, I told Admiral Ryan it was all right for him to discuss this issue with OMB. He has had some preliminary discussions. I have pledged to him that I will go over with him to OMB as well.
Admiral RYAN. We have a meeting scheduled this week with Mr. Morrison and company to discuss it.
Mr. BUYER. Are you sending anything our way on this then or we don't know? Just keep me informed.
Admiral RYAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. BUYER. Secretary, how is the Reserve Officers Personnel Management Act (ROPMA), working out? I have noted long delays in obtaining White House and OSD approval for the Reserve promotion lists. Has the problem been fixed and how quickly can we expect promotion lists to be processed in the future?
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Secretary DE LEON. I think we have improved in terms of Reserve officer promotion lists. The principal issue is within the services. As soon as they come to OSD, they are, I think, moved fairly promptly-that is normally within two to three weeks. Many of these lists are very long. When they get to the White House, they generally move fairly quickly there. The issue is how quickly can they move through the services? And I think the services have improved, particularly the Army has improved.
Mr. BUYER. Now let me ask you a question about Tailhook. I would like to know whether the long shadows of Tailhook are in our past, are in those promotion processes internally in the Navydo we have some remnants that some individuals in the building (Pentagon) are unwilling to let go? Is Tailhook behind us or is it still lingering with regard to the promotions? Admiral Ryan.
Admiral RYAN. From my perspective it is behind us Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BUYER. Are there prejudices in the process by some in the building?
Admiral RYAN. None that I have noted at all. In fact, I think DOD and OSD have been supportive of us getting Tailhook behind us. We have a procedure that we do on every promotion to make sure that there is nothing untoward in a person's record. But the only folks that have not come up, there are some Reserves that have not come up for promotion that were involved in Tailhook because they don't come up until they are 06s that that might happen. But it is basically behind us as far as we are concerned. We do the routine checks and forward it if there is anything untowards in the record. But almost every officer involved with Tailhook has already passed that wicket at least once. So I don't feel that there are any remnants left over. I think that we have definitely expedited our processing of promotion lists both officer and Reserve.
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Mr. BUYER. Thank you. General Ohle, the Army is about to separate a number of Reserve captains who failed promotion to major without the benefit of separation pay. The reason that those Reservists were offered selective continuation by the promotion board and the Army determined that they weredeclined to accept continuation. They became voluntarily separatesthere were voluntarily separations, excuse me. At the same time, regular officers who were offered the same continuation option could decline to stay and still receive separation pay. General Ohle, aside from the obvious inequity in the treatment of the two groups, wouldn't you agree that after ten years of service, an individual who fails promotion has earned the right to start his or her life over with separation pay? I personally thought there was a legal way to restore this equity last year. And I would like to know why the Army did not work alternative options harder. And I am curious about your opinion.
General OHLE. Yes, sir. We did offer selective continuation. We did it because of the problem with the attrition of captains. We needed more captains in the force. We conducted the board and our selection rate was very high. The captains that we asked to stay on were of a very high quality. So they were not second class citizens, they were full-fledged captains that could continue to serve.
So just as you have stated, the question then becomes of those that leave, what do we provide? We did not take expedient action this year. We have action that will be sent to you, through DOD to you, that will solve the problem for next year. We cannot go on another year. We realized it too late, could not react this time. We had convened the boardadjourned the board and could not make the fix. So we will fix it for next year. It isthe recommendation is coming forward.
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Mr. BUYER. What about thisI hate this. There is something that is not right about saying I will make a fix into the future, but the individuals of whom have been harmed and were the predicate for the fix we say.
General OHLE. We would like to go back and correct that. But we have gone to our JAG and our General Counsel and they said we can't go back and do that. We will present all that to you what we have done in the past. We would like to provide that for the current group that left, but we were told legally we could not do it.
Mr. BUYER. So, I have to retroactively take care of those individuals because of the inequity, so I now have to draft something to say that we are going to compensate them and we do it.
General OHLE. Sir, we are coming forward to you with the proposed legislation through DOD that will fix it forever.
Mr. BUYER. Oh, I don't mind that. I wanthow about those that just got messed over?
General OHLE. Right. We would have to provide that in the legislation to make it retroactive.
Mr. BUYER. That is coming?
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General OHLE. So the legislation is coming, yes, sir.
Mr. BUYER. So what's coming to me is not only the fix into the future, but your recommendations on how I can take care of this class?
General OHLE. Sir, I will ensure that that is in there. I do not know that it is there.
Mr. BUYER. Will you please?
General OHLE. Yes, sir, I will do that.
Mr. BUYER. Whatever your recommendations, let's try to do it all at once. I mean, this is one of these issues of you want to talk about bad influencers out there on the community, you turn these individuals back, you don't think they are not going to squawk? They are going to talk about the horrible 10 years experience that they just had as they got smacked on the way out as opposed to not being treated and similarly situated.
General OHLE. True.
Mr. BUYER. All right. I am almost done. There have been some meetings going on around the Hill about the Selective Service. Let me bring that to your attention. The Selective Service is actively engaged in expanding its role to include the recruit processing mission carried out by the Military Entrance Processing Command (MEPCOM). Mr. Secretary, does DOD support this consolidation and if so, would you still support the proposal if the Selective Service would remain an independent agency?
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Secretary DE LEON. With respect to the merger of Selective Service and the recruit processing centers, this is a proposal that has been made in the last three or four months, and we are studying it, but we currently do not have a proposal to merge the two together. And we will do the study first.
Mr. BUYER. All right. We will do the study first.
Secretary DE LEON. Figure out what the right answer should be.
Mr. BUYER. That is where I am.
Secretary DE LEON. Selective.
Mr. BUYER. I am trying to figure out what the right answer should be, but I only have a couple more weeks to do so. Am I going to find myself in a position whereby I make a decision on the Selective Service, and let's say that weI mean, obviously, do we keep it as independent agency or if I bring it in under the umbrella of DOD, I want to make sure that we are together in what we do. Because I sure don't want for me to go to conference carrying something as big and powerful as this to have you as DOD lobby against what I am doing.
Secretary DE LEON. Each year the Department has engaged with the Appropriations Committee to express its commitment as to the necessity of doing the registration of our 18-year-olds. The Secretary of Defense has consistently urged the appropriators to do this. They have generally done this in conference. But it has been a contentious issue each year. I would say that the Secretary of Defense is ready. Certainly the Under Secretary is ready to engage with the appropriators again to argue that the Selective Service System be funded as an independent agency, that it is a small sacrifice to ask 18-year-old young men to register their name with their country in the event of some unforeseen national emergency.
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That is where we are at right now, to take another step may be useful in the long term, but we do not yet understand all of the implications of doing this. And until we do, we are not going to be up here as advocates of the consolidation of these two enterprises.
Mr. BUYER. If your advice and counsel over the next few weeks is for a go-slow approach, talk to me, let us know. All right?
Secretary DE LEON. Okay.
Mr. BUYER. And I will be a good listener to you. I not only share with you, Mr. Secretary, but to each of the chiefs that are here, if you were dumbfounded by the vote by the Hill to eliminate Selective Service, a major influencer in Members' judgments to do that was in response to the homosexual material that the Selective Service had placed on their Web sites. So the immediate question was what was that doing on a Selective Service Web site? That has been eliminated. It is no longer there. But I just let you know, on the inside, what influences someone's judgments and decisions and that was athat was huge. So I just want to let you know on the inside.
Let me go through this real quick. Mr. Secretary, and to the personnel chiefs, the 1999 DOD survey of active duty members, approximately 10 percent of both the officer and enlisted force stated that leadership of the most important factor that was causing members to leave the military. Secretary de Leon, we are now in an awkward position. Military people appear to have problems with their leaders and we have no way to assess what it means, because DOD insisted on removing the questions asked by the General Accounting Office (GAO). I found it interesting that General (John) Keane, the Vice Chief of the Staff of the Army, was reported in the March 13th Defense Week to have written a memo that confirms the credibility gap between junior and senior officers.
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The article suggests that he encourages senior leaders to communicate with junior officers to correct perceptions about ''zero defects mentality and culture of micro management.''
Mr. Secretary, do you believe that the leadership question is a real problem and concern? If not, why not? If it is a real problem, don't you think we need to understand it better? The personnel chiefs, do you think that the leadership issue is a retention problem, yes or no? And explain. Particularly, if not, why do you believe the results of the DOD study then are flawed? If it is a real problem, don't you think it should be explored a little further so that we can better understand what the soldiers mean when they say it is a leadership problem? When the force out there, they don't like quotas at all. It is the best. When certain individuals get placed into certain positions, the force feels it. If it is based on a buddy system, a good 'ole boy system, the force knows it. I don't know what it is. Place something tangible in your perspective on what they are saying.
I will start with you, Mr. Secretary, and then each of the chiefs. The reason I am asking this question is I am the one that wanted the question asked by GAO. So I wasn't fairly pleased that you didn't go further.
Secretary DE LEON. Well, the person you are displeased with then is me. I think there are great leaders that are serving, and I think that there are average leaders that are serving. And when troops are serving under a great leader, they know it. I think in terms of the zero defect, each service, certainly, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, have taken the step away from that. We never want to be a one-mistake organization. And I think on the micro management, same is true there.
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I spent six months personally writing the executive summary of the survey on racial attitudes. So how the questions are asked, you can think you have got a great question, and then you will come up with results that are contradicting. The survey has that, the GAO survey that they briefed last week has some of those same elements. What is the chief reason for staying? Pay and benefits. What is the chief reason for leaving? Pay and benefits.
So until you understand the question itself, and then what you are trying to get, if it is to weed out the average leaders, a survey of the force is not going to accomplish that. If it is to determine whether there is differences of opinion between leaders and the people that they lead, that will become more complicated. A popular leader is not necessarily going to be a successful leader or a great leader. So in terms of asking questions on this topic, I start from a position that simply we need to know precisely what is the issue that we are trying to measure and then will the questions that we ask truly measure those issues.
Otherwise, ultimately when the bureaucracy can't respond to the product and you want a quality product, it will get bucked to me and I will sit down and write an executive summary, and it says exactly what the survey produces, which is contradicting data. And we will do the best of our abilities to do that. So I think that there is some front-end engineering that is required so that we are measuring the right things, and when we get the data we can take effective action.
Mr. BUYER. There are, I believe, some of whom would answer the question, and it is a cop out, that is just my own personal opinion, it is easy. Oh, it is leadership. It is leadership. We always like to blame other things or other individuals rather than ourselves. You know. It is much easier. It is somebody else's problem. No, look in the mirror. What have you done? As you look in the mirror you look at yourself, okay what have I done?
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So saying that, Mr. Secretary, as a predicate, there is something there. There is. There is something there. All you got to do is go out and listen and talk to the force. Right? So when that sergeant came up to me and said if the Army gets any more sensitive, it is going to cry, why would he come up and tell me that? There is something there that I am willing to explore. Or if you are telling me it is not there, stay away from it, I don't know.
Secretary DE LEON. I don't think that is what I said.
Mr. BUYER. All right. But you are saying I am the one to blame. So what you did was you had this tailored, and so tight that now I am left with not having the ability to know. In any question, the ability to move toward a solution can only best be done when you have a thorough understanding. And I have been denied the thorough understanding. How do we move to the thorough understanding then?
Secretary DE LEON. Well, as I indicated in my answer, there is, I think, Research and Development (R&D), in terms of these surveys that there is an R&D cycle that is required, so that the issue is understood and the issue that you are surveying is understood, and that the questions are then designed to produce the kind of clear data that will help illuminate and then respond to whatever policy changes are necessary. But absent that front engineering, you have surveys that produce conflicting answers.
Mr. BUYER. Let meI am going to touch issues that some people are scared to touch. And I will do it by example. Diversity. The pursuit of diversity, there is something wrong with that. Let me lay this out. Affirmative action and the military. All right. What some people will go, they will say, all right. Here I am, a Republican conservative. What does affirmative action mean? I will support affirmative action. I don't like quotas. Affirmative action means that I will take affirmative action to make sure that men, women, regardless of their race, national origin, fairly compete, that is what affirmative action is. Martin Luther King had it right. It is not the color of their skin or the gender; judge their soul. That is kind of what the military is supposed to be, judge their character and their soul and their actions, not their gender, not the color of their skin.
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So when there is a pursuit of diversity and you have these implied rules and quotas, and different people begin to take command and do certain things based upon pursuits of diversity, it does cause problems in the force. And there are individuals that may perhaps be unwilling to discuss it. But they do in private. And they are scared to touch it. I don't think it is healthy for an organization that is based on the predicate of best qualified. That is a sensitive issue. But it is one as dealing with personnel issues that you have to touch.
So I was curious and I don't get to know now, but my curiosity is were the policies of the pursuit of the diversities all speed ahead, did it have an affect on the force when they were trying to judge on best qualified by looking at the character of the individual? You see, it went so far as I had African American NCOs ask me to direct that a promotion boardthat they do not use the pictures to get rid of the picture at promotion boards. Judge me on what I have done. Don't even put my picture on there. I don't get to know that stuff, that now.
I do recognize this, Mr. Secretary, I have got some Republican colleagues that say let's just get rid of affirmative action. I sat on the Judiciary Committee, when I stopped that, I got four of my colleagues to table it, because I know we have not come as far as we think we have in race relations in this country.
Mr. BUYER. And I think our own surveys in the military also found that out, but it is an issue we better talk about.
Now I am going to ask you, do you think that the pursuits inlet me give you one more predicate. I received a phone call that said it hasso far this is how they almost said itknotting is no longer sacred because diversity found its way into the housing list. That on a particular installation of a particular service, the housing list was pulled because it didn't look right. I didn't think that diversityso now let me ask the question, was the pursuit of the diversity so strong that it has caused a perception in the force for them to say leadership? Mr. Secretary.
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Secretary DE LEON. First, you have raised a number of issues so I feel obligated to discuss many of them. I think each of the personnel chiefs, but also each of the joint chiefs would say the armed forces is a merit-based system and that you have to earn the promotions that individuals receive. Our obligation is to make sure that Americans that are serving from every walk of life, from every educational background have a fair chance to receive the tools that are necessary to compete. It might mean a graduate degree; it might mean a senior service school. It might mean the chance to compete for a command but that everybody has a chance to gain the tools that would allow a person to compete.
My tutor on this was General Thurman because we had these discussions in the late 1980s; these are recurring issues. But at the end of the day, one of our most technically proficient people in the armed forces is General (Lester L.) Lyles (Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force). He managed the missile defense system. If ever there is a complicated undertaking it is that, and he would be the first person to want to be judged on his technical merits and not the fact that he happened to be an African American, and this is pervasive.
So the first issue is, I think, each service has upheld the principle that we have a merit-based system. Second, I don't have the data on housing lists, things like that. These are all very tailored, precise questions. And if those are the kinds of questions that we are asking about in the survey, then again let us sit down and engineer the survey to ask those questions. I think the way that the issue was briefed to me, these were general questions on leadership; and I have learned enough in the last three years that if these questions are not precisely focused, you are going to get back answers that will in the long run not be useful.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So from that perspective, if these are issues with the force, then let us do the engineering up front so that we are precisely gauging what the issues are that we are asking the force to respond to.
Mr. BUYER. General Klimp, I am going to ask each of you for your opinions on this one because I have listened to the soldiers, too, the Marines.
General KLIMP. Sir, I guess I would echo what Secretary de Leon has said. I think when you start asking questions about leadership you have to word those questions very, very carefully. You have to know what you are after and make sure the question gets to the issue. The last time we elected our officers in the U.S. military was the beginning of the Civil War and it was a disaster. I think how you ask the question, when you ask the question is important.
As a lieutenant colonel, I had an opportunity, a great opportunity to command an infantry battalion. We participated in Operation Team Spirit, or Exercise Team Spirit, in Korea. During one night of that exercise, we made a 16-mile force march across a couple, two or three mountain ranges in subzero, subfreezing temperatures, and the battalion performed magnificently. But I will tell you as I stood on that windy hilltop in Korea at the company release points and as the companies marched by, I was not a very popular fellow in that battalion; and it probably wasn't until about a month later after the Marines had pulled some liberty in town that the T-shirt with the outline of our march route and the title ''Death March'' on it began to appear in the battalion, and they realized what they had accomplished. So I thinkmy point is you have to be careful about how you ask the questions, when you ask them, and what you ask.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Getting to the diversity issue, I think that we experienced that in the Marine Corps. When I had the recruiting command, we looked upon, when I initially got there, when we looked upon the officer, selection officers as hiring agents, business world and all that, and my mission to them was here is your mission, go out and hire these folks for the Marine Corps, and we did. We gave them a mission of so many ground officers, so many air officers, so many females, so many African Americans.
We quickly began to realize that that was being perceived across the Marine Corps as a quota system and that that was bad for the Marine Corps, so we changed the way we do business. Today, those Operation Support Office (OSOs), are given a submission requirement. They are told to go out and submit a certain number of applicants of various kinds to a board that is convened at Washington, D.C. The membership of that board is not strictly the recruiting command. It is officers, male, female, African American, from across the entire Marine Corps. They review all of those submissions and then select the very best to go to officer candidate school, where those individuals know they have to compete for the right and the privilege to be a commissioned officer. So probably guilty in creating a perception, but not guilty in waiting to correct it.
Mr. BUYER. Is what you just said also with regard to selection of command? In other words, the pervasiveness of what you just mentioned, was it also in how they decided who would be in command billets? In other words, was there a quota system for selection of command billets also?
General KLIMP. No, sir. There is no quota system that I am aware of for selection to command billets. You talked about the photo, there is a requirement for all Marine boards for promotion for command selection, that sort of thing, to submit a photo. What we are interested in in the Marine Corps is the height-weight ratio, is this individual overweight, how does he or she look? I wish we could get 100 percent of those in. For that purpose, we get about 20 percent in. So the boards go on without the photos, but I have sat on a lot of boards. As the Deputy Chief of Staff of Manpower, I have outbriefed a lot of those boards, reviewed the results of a lot of those boards, and I see no indication that color plays any role whatsoever in selection of command or gender, yes, sir.
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Mr. BUYER. The bad thing about when you start doing that is if I were a woman on active duty and I learned or had the perception that there is a quota, to me that says that there are only so many, which means you are capping it.
General KLIMP. There has been a lot of discussion in the Marine Corps. We didn't have a command screen process until after Desert Shield/Desert Storm; it was the first time that we screened individuals for command. I got my battalion, as an example, because I was assigned to the First Marine Division. When I arrived there, all three regimental commanders, the division CG, commanding general, and the chief of staff were all generals and colonels that I had worked with at some time throughout my career. They knew my reputation, they knew me, I got the battalion.
We didn't think that system was serving us particularly well based on some experiences we had in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, so we went to a command screening process. Over the years since the initiation of that process, there has been a great deal of debate as to whether it is good, bad for the Marine Corps, are we selecting the right kinds of people, sending the right kinds of people to command.
When General Jones became the Commandant, we reviewed it again. We went out to all of the officers in the Marine Corps and said, ''What do you think about command screening? Is it a good system? Is it doing what we wanted?'' Some of us anticipated they were going to come back because of the articles that had been written in the Gazette and the talk around the club and that sort of thing and say we need to do away with this. They overwhelmingly came back and said this is a fair system, don't mess with the system other than keeping the generals out of it; and so we have redesigned again the system based on what our young officers out there have told us to ensure that it is fair, it is equitable, it is color and gender blind, and it does, in fact, select the best officers we can to put in command of our Marines, sir.
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Mr. BUYER. The last thing we ever want is a system whereby white males are making the decisions based upon how many women or how many men, instead of best qualified. It shouldn't matter.
General KLIMP. Absolutely, sir.
Mr. BUYER. General Peterson.
General PETERSON. I would agree on the comments about survey design. They are often frustrating the way they are administered or the way they are designed and frustrating in that we don't often get objective results, and I know it is a difficult task in building those surveys. I think all the services are clearly meritocracy based. I think that is one of the strengths of our services. I think we see that when you show up at basic military training. It doesn't make any difference who your parents were, what influence you have, what kind of jacket you have. You are all stripped down to the same and that is the point at which we really become a meritocracy because it is your performance that counts. Our military training instructors are not impressed with anything besides that. And so I think that carries out through our services.
We do want to be representative not just in gender or in race but in skills and representative of different commands whenever we have promotion boards. We have no quotas. We do not have quotas and do not support quotas. I think that one of the challenges we often find in surveys about leadership are the fact that our folks are very busy.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have recently had a survey, our commanders, our chiefs survey that goes out to all of our people, and leadership was ready to hide about 85 percent. We are not worried about the 85 percent. We are worried about the 15 percent, but again part of that 15 percent may be just what Jack's talking about. I have been unpopular at times when I told our folks we were going to practice one more time in our Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) gear, but they thought it was a pretty good idea when Desert Storm came up.
I think what we do need to do is concentrate on helping our leaders because they are operating at a very high tempo, our NCOs and our officers, so that they have more time to mentor with the men and women they lead. That is something I think that our troops look forward to, and so we are working at that. We think it is an important part. That is oftentimes reflected in the disappointment in the leadership because it is like a teacher or anyone else: they don't pay attention to you. Whether they get after you or support you, you like to be talked to every once in a while. So our folks are trying to do a better job of doing that in a pretty demanding mission today.
Mr. BUYER. Admiral Ryan.
Admiral RYAN. I can't add much on this survey thing. I think surveys are always very thought provoking and tend to get us to be introspective and to try and figure out a way to raise our bar on the issues that are important to us. The one feedback that I got from all the force and fleet master chiefs that I went out and talked to, about 15 different groups is, hey, the general sense that we are being surveyed to death. So I want to be cautious about that internal to the Navy because we tend to want to know everything. So we are on the alert about that issue and certainly going to watch what we do.
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Mr. BUYER. Those master chiefs hold back, too, don't they?
Admiral RYAN. They don't hold back and that is the wonderful thing about them. I would say to answer you directly on the leadership issue, that, yes, leadership we think is a problem in the Navy as far as retention; but we have gotten the message, and I would say it is a problem in three ways, and to give you a little perspective of why I think it is a problem, I go back to some passed down notes that I read when I took over the job four months ago left by Admiral (Michael) Borda who had my job 10 years ago.
He was talking about a Navy where he was fighting to get 5,000 more people in the Navy to get our levels up to 600,000, and here I am 10 years later, 225,000 people later. All these crises that we have gone through, with 225,000 less people, what have we done? We have had to go to a zero-defect mentality to figure out who to get rid of. That is why the Secretary of the Navy has it in the precept now that he doesn't want the most perfect record. He wants the best officer. So we have gotten that message, and it is very well received throughout the Navy.
Number two, we have micromanaged. The CNO got that message loud and clear. That is the basic reason behind our efforts in the interdeployment training cycle to get control of that unit, that squadron, that ship, that station back under the command of the Commanding Officer (CO) and the master chief, get rid of all the bureaucratic inspections, let that CO decide when he wants to give the ship a day off to be with their families and loved ones. That is working and that is being well received.
We have acknowledged we have had those two problems because of this drawdown mentality. The other thing that has really impacted on us that has kind of snuck up on us is that as we have lost 225,000 people, we have tended to devalue those individuals. We have had what I want to call a throwaway mentality, that there are people coming behind them and if they are not perfect, we don't have to work with them; we don't have to mentor them because there will be somebody else and we don't need them all.
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Well, now we are in a steady state, and we have had 10 years of petty officers and lieutenant commanders and lieutenants that are now in charge of units, that are in charge of divisions, and they really are the ones that send the signal every day that the people working for them are valued, and that is the part that we are still struggling with and fighting to get back to the basics of mentoring and coaching the sailorization of all of us that we all need and we have all benefited from.
So we are really focused on that. We all understand it is job one; the Secretary, the CNO have made that very clear to us, but are we there yet? No, sir, we are not; but we know the message and we are working very vigorously at it.
Mr. BUYER. So the Navy does or does not have quotas?
Admiral RYAN. I was going to just get to that. Absolutely not. I am like General Klimp, I have watched this. I was the one that had to when Admiral Borda directed us that our fitness and evaluation system was not good because everything counted on the enlisted person on their test. Because everybody's grade was inflated, we had to go back and redo that thing to get it back in balance so that performance really mattered again in boards and in advancements; and when we did that survey of all our folks, everyone in the Navy believed and still believes that our board system is the best of all the services because we base it on performance; we base it on the jobs that they have had and how they have done in those jobs. They get feedback from those boards. They know what it takes to get advanced and promoted. So there is a great deal of support for our board system within our enlisted and our officer ranks because we draw from them. They sit on the boards. They see how they are conducted. I get to see and have the privilege of seeing them debriefed, and I know that they are done based on opportunity. We don't have quotas.
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The pictures, we put the pictures in there basically for the same reason the Marine Corps does. We are really worried about the health and well-being of each individual, and if they are overweight, it is going to count against them because we are trying to go to a standard of fitness and health; but I can say without any equivocation that we do not have quotas, and I think that if you polled our men and women both in the enlisted corps and the officer corps, they would say that we have a fair promotion system.
Mr. BUYER. General Ohle.
General OHLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Leadership is an issue in the United States Army. It is an issue in every ground force. I just returned Wednesday night with General (Eric) Shinseki (Chief of Staff) from a three day seminar on leadership of all the NATO ground force chiefs of staff. Every one of them commented on the leadership and the leader development within their service. Leadership is a core competency of the United States Army. Leader development is one of the six imperatives, and we have got to work it every day. That is the message.
In my opening statement, when you asked me the question, I admitted right up front that leadership is a problem, and it is a problem because we don't feel the leaders are properly counseling and guiding and developing their subordinates. That is why captains are leaving.
Mr. BUYER. Do they have the time today? That is what I hear out there. You have got them so busy on the ships in rotation or the Air Force or Marine Corps, they say two things. They say, ''You are right, I am not counseling perhaps as much as I should be counseling.'' We have stressedI mean the utilization rate has created that problem, and they also go, ''Well, based on what you are bringing in. I can polish a stone, but that one is too rough.''
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General OHLE. Right, I understand. And as we did this study on the captain attrition and we realized that the captain attrition problem isn't a captain problemit is a leadership problem at the lieutenant colonel and colonel level and a lieutenant problemwe went to the vice chief of staff and that is the reason that General Keane, the Vice Chief, sent the message out. We have got to get these leaders in tune with what is going on because the OPTEMPO has increased 300 percent, the PERSTEMPO is up, the turbulence is up. They are moving faster than ever. We are sending people on details into peacekeeping missions, and they are gone from their regular units, on and on and on; and they perceive that they don't have enough time.
I believe we have developed a new culture of leader. The leaders that are commanding today at the lieutenant colonel level have been company commanders during the drawdown, during this phase of the Army as we came down, and at that time it was just appropriate to let somebody go, don't take the extra time and effort to develop them. Spend the time doing this increased operations, getting ready for peacekeeping. Now, the time has changed. We have got to develop, and we have got to counsel and lead our subordinates.
So we have got to put our arms around them. The leaders, the colonels and the majors, have to set the right example for these junior leaders; and they do that through counseling, guiding, developing. Now they just don't get that automatically. We have to help them. We think and we have got programs instituted in the United States Army that treat leader development like an After Action Review (AAR). Feedback is the key. If a leader is not doing it right, somebody has got to tell that leader that they are not doing it right. So we have got AARs being implemented to develop our leaders so that the leaders can lead their subordinates correctly.
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As to diversity, we have no quotas. We truly believe in promoting and developing the best quality, best qualified. Opportunity is the key. Four years ago we had a colonels board that had a very low percentage selection rate for African Americans. We looked at it and the cause of the problem was that these black soldiers didn't get the opportunity to command a line company. They were always put in that year group into the headquarters companies.
So what we have got to do is we have got to make sure the best qualified officer gets in the right company, and you don't just put somebody in there because of their skin or their race or their creed. So we are working hard to do that, and our promotion statistics are right in linethey are below. We are doing much better, but I believe leadership is the key to solving the problem.
Mr. BUYER. Thank you. In conclusion, gentlemen, my advice and counsel to the next Administration is going to be that in the national military strategy is to strike the language ofto transition from a posture of global engagement. My counsel will be to strike that out of the military strategy. I just want you to know that. I will work hard to be an influencer on that because I realize that I can do several things. It is going to impact the utilization rate of the force, and I will seek greater demands and burdens on our allies. This is a different approach in our foreign policy and relations and utilization of the force. But I just want to let you know that I will work to relieve some stress through policy also.
Admiral Ryan, since you attended the All Flag Officer (AFO) conference of the Navy where I had an opportunity to address all of you, you understand my feelings also about the zero-defect mentality, and I concur with you; but I share with the other forces perhaps the zero-defect mentality is something you end up having to use as you use it to scrutinize or discriminate or in a drawdown, but enough is enough. I think that is the message, enough is enough.
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Perhaps I look at this asand I will use myself as the examplewe are human, we are born as humans and there is that human frailty. I have my strength, I have my faults, I have my weaknesses, I have my failures, I have defects; but I also have aspirations to high standards. So as I aspire to achieve high standards, if I in fact fail at something in the process of my aspiration, am I a total failure? No.
The compliment is the aspiration to the high standard and, at the same time, the encouragement to our NCO and our junior officers and in fact our senior officers, that it is okay to exercise some latitude in judgment because you want that when you need it most on the battlefield. You don't want someone that always will exercise their judgments inside the box because they are so afraid that if they exercise judgments outside the box that they will be harmed by the judgment if they fail. So I think it is time to get away from that and the zero-defect mentality, and I would be remiss if I didn't conclude with two comments.
Secretary de Leon, I wish you the very best in your Senate confirmation. You have achieved the level in your efforts and service to the country to in fact rise to that level of leadership in the Pentagon, and I have great respect for you; and I do believe that the Senate will welcome and confirm you.
Also, gentlemen, let me thank you for coming over here today. We have covered a lot of topics; but you came back and your willingness to come back so we can do this is very good because we have got a lot of meaningful things that we need to tackle together, and please also convey to the force our appreciation in the sacrifices that men and women are giving on active duty and Reserve components today.
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Thank you very much. This concludes the hearing.
[Whereupon, at 12:00 noon, the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
March 17, 2000
[This information is pending.]