SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 1086]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2004H.R. 1588
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS
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TITLE IVMILITARY PERSONNEL AUTHORIZATIONS
TITLE VMILITARY PERSONNEL POLICY
TITLE VICOMPENSATION AND OTHER PERSONNEL BENEFITS
TITLE VIIHEALTH CARE PROVISIONS
MARCH 19, 2003
TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York, Chairman
TOM COLE, Oklahoma
CANDICE MILLER, Michigan
PHIL GINGREY, Georgia
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JIM RYUN, Kansas
EDWARD SCHROCK, Virginia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
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VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
MADELEINE BORDALLO, Guam
John D. Chapla, Professional Staff Member
Michael R. Higgins, Professional Staff Member
Lynn W. Henselman, Professional Staff Member
Debra S. Wada, Professional Staff Member
Dudley L. Tademy, Professional Staff Member
Mary Petrella, Research Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Wednesday, March 19, 2003, Fiscal Year 2004 National Defense Authorization ActDomestic Violence, Joint Officer Management and Education Reform, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Reserve Pay and Benefits and Department of Defense Active and Reserve Component Force Mix Study
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Wednesday, March 19, 2003
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2003
FISCAL YEAR 2004 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTDOMESTIC VIOLENCE, JOINT OFFICER MANAGEMENT AND EDUCATION REFORM, EMPLOYER SUPPORT OF THE GUARD AND RESERVE, RESERVE PAY AND BENEFITS AND DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ACTIVE AND RESERVE COMPONENT FORCE MIX STUDY
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
McHugh, Hon. John M., a Representative from New York, Chairman, Total Force Subcommittee
Meehan, Hon. Marty, a Representative from Massachusetts
Abell, Hon. Charles, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
Buck, Hon. Jennifer C., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs (Resources)
Cartwright, Lt. Gen. James E., Director, Force Structure Resources and Assessment (J8), The Joint Staff
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Herbert, Paul H., PhD, Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton
Molino, John M., Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy
Parks, Lt. Gen. Garry L., Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, USMC, Co-Chair, Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence
Stewart, Derek B., Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, General Accounting Office
Tucker, Deborah D., Executive Director, National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Co-Chair, Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence
Wilson, Stuart E., Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton
[Due to time constraints created by a series of votes on the House floor, the witnesses on the fourth panel did not have an opportunity to present their oral testimony. However, pursuant to Chairman McHugh's direction at the start of the hearing, the written testimony of Jennifer Buck, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs (Resources), was submitted for the record and can be found in the Appendix on page ???. Lieutenant General James E. Cartright, Director, Force Structure Resources and Assessment (J8) Joint Staff did not submit written testimony.]
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[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Abell, Hon. Charles
Buck, Hon. Jennifer
Herbert, Dr. Paul
Parks, Lt. Gen. Garry L.
Sanchez, Hon. Loretta
Stewart, Derek B., A Strategic Approach Is Needed to Improve Joint Officer Development
Stewart, Derek B., Preliminary Observations Related to Income, Benefits, and Employer Support for Reservists During Mobilizations
The Air Force Sergeants Association, presented by CMSGT (Ret.) James E. Lokovic
The Naval Reserve Association
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
FISCAL YEAR 2004 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTDOMESTIC VIOLENCE, JOINT OFFICER MANAGEMENT AND EDUCATION REFORM, EMPLOYER SUPPORT OF THE GUARD AND RESERVE, RESERVE PAY AND BENEFITS AND DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ACTIVE AND RESERVE COMPONENT FORCE MIX STUDY
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Total Force Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, March 19, 2003.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:05 p.m., in room 2212, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John M. McHugh (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN M. MCHUGH, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW YORK, CHAIRMAN, TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. MCHUGH. The committee will come to order. Welcome, all, I appreciate your being here. Today's hearing represents the subcommittee with the opportunity to hear the results of several studies and investigative outcomes that are relevant to issues we are likely to address as part of our consideration of the fiscal year 2004 National Defense Authorization Act.
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Specifically, we will hear testimony on the final report of the congressional mandated defense task force on domestic violence, and DOD's response to it, studies by the General Account Office (GAO) and Booz Allen Hamilton regarding joint officer management and joint professional military education. The GA report on employer's support of the national guard and reserves and an interim GAO report on reserve component pay, benefits and retirement. And, lastly, not leastly, the Department of Defense's study of active and reserve component force mix.
In my view, the information on each of these topics is important to our decision process and on legislation in the near term. More importantly, these studies help to set a context for which our longer-term actions will rest.
We have four panels today and in the interest of moving directly to the testimony, I would now recognize the gentlelady from California, Ms. Sanchez, for any opening remarks she may wish to make.
STATEMENT OF HON. LORETTA SANCHEZ, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, thank youwell, first of all, I do understand that Dr. Snyder is now in the area, but still a little under the weather and recuperating from surgery. So, I am hoping he gets back soon so I can back to my regular duties and he will have the honor of spending more time with the chairman.
I am pleased to be here today. And the issues that we are going to raise at today's hearing touch on a number of important issues, including domestic violence in the military, joint officer management, support for the guard and reserve and reserve compensation. And I am pleased to see that the co-chairs of the Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence are here with us today, Deborah Tucker, the Executive Director of the National Training Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, and Lieutenant General Garry Parks, Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
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I have had the pleasure of being with these two people on the task force and seeing some of the work that the task force has done. So, I am anxious to get this information out into this hearing and to continue to keep an eye on what is going on with respect to domestic violence. And the reason is pretty straightforward.
I mean, we have only to look at the murders and suicides that happened last year at Fort Bragg, North Carolina to understand that domestic violence is still within our military forces. And it is a problem. It directly impacts the military readiness of our troops and our families.
And, I would also like to thank the other two gentlemen who are with us today, Charles Abell, the Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; and John Molino, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy. And, I have a lot of other written remarks, Mr. Chairman, but in the interest of time, because it is busy, if I could submit them for the record, we can move on to our panelists.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Sanchez can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentlelady. And, without objection, so ordered. And, let me just state for the record, that, of course, all of us are heartened by the fact that Vic Snyder, Dr. Snyder, has rejoined us and he is working toward a full schedule and we look forward to working with him.
Although, I will tell you, it is always a genuine pleasure to work with Ms. Sanchez, who has a very longwell, not all that long, because I do not want to date anybody here, but has had a record of great involvement in these issues and I appreciate her continuing concern and her continuing diligent efforts.
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Let me, although Ms. Sanchez certainly mentioned them for the record, again, introduce the member of our fist panel, the Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence and their final report, as was said, we are honored to be joined today by the Lieutenant General Garry L. Parks, who is Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs to the United States' Marine Corps; and Deborah D. Tucker, Executive Director, National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence.
The other two members of the panel, equally important, is the Honorable Charles Abell, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, who is accompanied by Mr. John M. Molino, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy.
And, let me just say at the outset, Ms. Tucker, you have provided invaluable assistance to the subcommittee during our visit to Fort Bragg last year, of which I personally want to thank you before this august body and this interested audience. But, beyond that, the fact of the matter is you have devoted nearly three years of your life to this task force.
And, from all that I have heard, all that I have observed and all that I have learned, your commitment and your sound judgment, experience and common sense, something we probably could use a little bit more of in this town, have been absolutely essential to the task force's effectiveness and I want toI want you to know that your place as co-chair has placed significant beyond demands upon you, which we recognize and certainly go beyond most of what we ask of other people. You have excelled and I just wanted to commend you for that effort and tell you how much we appreciate it.
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And, General Parks, I also want to thank you for your contribution, sir. I heard your testimony last week in your role as Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs and I welcome you back as the co-chair of that task force.
Secretary Abell, welcome. Today, as far as I am concerned, you, on behalf of the Department of Defense, will in Army parlance, conduct a passage of lines of with the task force. Hereafter the Department of Defense, as you well know, sir, has the responsibility for carrying out the recommendations developed by the task force. And, again, as I know you know, there is great interest on this subcommittee, not only how the department will carry out that mission, but also how aggressively.
I hope you all understand, although all of the topics that we are going to address today are of great interest to the task force, there's no question that none has captured our attention more than the issue of domestic violence. We are, apparently poised, on the verge of military conflict.
But, it is equally important to recognize and remember that those serve at home, the families are part of this important effort as well. And, as we tragically saw in Fort Bragg we have instances where lives are lost here domestically through what we hope are circumstances that we can better control and provide more assistance for. And that's our collective judgment. I do not question that for a moment.
So, we are looking forward to your testimony. And, as a last formality, let me just say that all the witnesses' testimony has been received in its entirety. I have reviewed it all. And, without objection, each of your written statements will be entered in its entirety for the record. I would also note we have received statements for the hearing from the Naval Reserve Association and from the Air Force Sergeants' Association, and without objection, those statements too will entered in their entirety for the record.
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[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
So, let us get right to this very important panel and the first business of the subcommittee.
And, so, Ms. Tucker, and Generalpardon me? I am sorry, Mr. Hayes, did you want toand thank you, John, I should not preclude any of the members of the subcommittee from making some statements should they choose. And I would not that Mr. Hayes, who shares representative jurisdiction with Mr. McIntyre, both of whom joined us for a visit last year at Fort Bragg, has been leader in this issue and certainly any words he might have to say would be very appropriate and welcomed by the subcommittee.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was thinking about waiting until questions, but I did not want to point to the fact that through your proactive leadership we were able to travel to Fort Bragg. And, you, Mr. McIntyre, Ellen Tauscher, Jeff Miller, and I, received quite an education, thanks to Debbie Tucker and others who are working very, very hard, both to prevent and to help provide the kind of security and cooperation between all the different interested groups. So, thank you for that. And thanks to our panel for being here today, Debbie, particularly for your hard work. I look forward to your report today.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, I thank the gentleman. I particularly thank him for his leadership and thanks to that effort, we are able to pass the first step of what we hope and know will be the first step in trying to resolve some of the legislative hurdles and barriers toward the effectiveness of the services separately and collectively to address this very serious problem.
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So, with that, General Parks, Ms. Tucker, we will defer to you as to which of the two of you would like to present first. But, whichever choice you make, it is a good one. So, our attention is directed your way.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. GARRY L. PARKS, DEPUTY COMMANDANT FOR MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS, USMC, CO-CHAIR, DEFENSE TASK FORCE ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; MS. DEBORAH D. TUCKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CENTER ON DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE, CO-CHAIR, DEFENSE TASK FORCE ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; HON. CHARLES ABELL, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR PERSONNEL AND READINESS, ACCOMPANIED BY JOHN M. MOLINO, DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR MILITARY COMMUNITY AND FAMILY POLICY
General PARKS. Thank you, Chairman McHugh, Congresswoman Sanchez, distinguished members of the subcommittee. Ms. Tucker and I are honored to be before you today as the co-chairs in the Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence to provide an overview of the findings developed during our past three years.
The overall goal of the task force was to provide the Secretary of Defense with recommendations to enhance existing programs for preventing and responding to domestic violence, and where appropriate, to suggest new approaches to addressing the issue. In fulfilling the congressional mandate, the task force looked at the entire spectrum of domestic violence issues across the Department of Defense, including the roles and responsibilities of command, law enforcement, advocates, legal, medical, chaplains, counselors, and social workers. The task force believes that domestic violence is best dealt with by having a consistent and coordinating community response.
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This approach clearly communicates to potential offenders, as well as those who have already offended, that domestic violence is simply unacceptable, will not be tolerated and that there are consequences for such behavior. This consistent, coordinated approach seems to fit perfectly with the military community.
In order to be most effective, however, every element of the response system, from law enforcement to medical to the individual command, must have the same perspective. To this end, it is important for all to know what domestic violence is, its dynamics and risk factors, effects on families, children and victims who witness domestic violence and consequences for offenders.
Over three years the task force visited military installations throughout the world and met with numerous victims, offenders, commanders, first responders and service providers. Their cooperation and willingness to share experiences, critical thinking, and ideas for improvement were foundational to informing our research and recommendations.
A specific requirement in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2000 that directed this task force was to develop a strategic plan, ''by which the Department of Defense may address matters relating to domestic violence within the military more effectively.'' Per this direction, we presented a proposed strategic plan in our third year report.
In total, the task force's three annual reports have included nearly 200 specific recommendations. While all of these recommendations are valid and each will result in improvement of the Department of Defense's prevention of, and/or response to domestic violence, there are nine points that we believe are key to the proposed DOD strategic plan for addressing domestic violence.
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While these points are all equally important, the Department of Defense must first and foremost demand a culture shift that does not tolerate domestic violence, that moves from victims holding offenders accountable to the system holding offenders accountable, and that punishes criminal behavior. The remaining eight recommendations support such a culture shift.
They are, establish a victim advocate program with provisions for confidentiality. This enhances victims' safety and provides a well-defined, distinct program where victims can receive the advocacy, support, information, options and resources necessary to address the violence in their lives without the requirement for mandatory reporting.
Next, implement our proposed domestic violence intervention process model, which has separate protocols for victim advocates, commanding officers, law enforcement, and offender intervention. The intervention process model and the amplifying protocols provide both a graphic and narrative description of the recommended intervention process.
Separate abuse substantiation decisions from clinical decisions. This enhances victim safety and supports the commanding officer in ensuring offender accountability and intervention.
Next, enhance system and command accountability, and include a fatality review process. This develops, one, ongoing mechanisms for amplifying policy and system deficiencies with the goal of increasing accountabilities throughout the system, reducing domestic violence and preventing future fatalities.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Implement DOD-wide training and prevention programs that encompass, not only general awareness training, but also includes specific training for commanding officers and senior non-commissioned officers, law enforcement personnel, health care professionals and chaplains.
Hold offenders accountable in keeping with the November 2001 Deputy Secretary of Defense memorandum that highlighted non-tolerance of domestic violence and challenged the military departments to intensify their efforts to prevent domestic violence.
Strengthen local military and civilian community collaboration in preventing and responding to domestic violence. And, finally evaluate the results of domestic violence prevention and intervention efforts.
If implemented by the Department of Defense, these key points have the most lasting, significant and positive effect on the prevention of and response to domestic violence in the military.
During the course of our three-year project, the task force has been extremely fortunate as this distinguished subcommittee has already noted, to have its co-chair, Ms. Deborah Tucker, Executive Director of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence. She is an expert in her field. She is dedicated to ending domestic violence against women and has extensive experience working this issue at the national level.
Ms. Tucker will now review additional aspects of our findings that we believe are important.
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Ms. TUCKER. Thank you, Garry.
Mr. Chairman, members, in addition to the key points that we included in our strategic plan, there are other elements that are important for us to highlight. We provided what we call the core principles of intervention because we recognize that our work is over and the Department of Defense will pick up from here and go forward. With these core principles we were providing philosophic guideline, if you will, what are the questions that need to be asked in designing responses to individual situations or in designing programs.
So, let me highlight those points for you. The most important core principal, respond to the needs of victims and provide for their safety. Over and over we understood that the stated needs of victims needed to be addressed, safe housing, safety planning, and free confidential advocacy services are cornerstones for that. But, there are many other aspects of listening to victims that we are recommending as part of our report.
Second, hold offenders accountable. Ask yourselves the question, what are we doing in responding to this situation that is letting the offender know that the use of violence is criminal behavior and must be addressed in that manner? There must be punishment, deterrence and, when possible, rehabilitation.
Third, consider the multi-cultural and cross-cultural factors that may influence, not only the individuals that we are working with, but our own staff and our own information as we approach people who are dealing with the complex issue of domestic violence. There may be economic, cultural, religious, immigrant kinds of status issues for victims influencing how comfortable people feel when they interact around this difficult problem.
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Next, it is important to consider the context of the violence and to provide a measured response. What we mean by that, is look at the power and control wheel that we provide to you on Page 111 of our report. What is the level of fear that the individual victim is experiencing? What kind of steps do we need to take in response to the violence to increase that victim's safety and to determine an intensity and a direction around the offender accountability that really responds to what we have seen?
What are we doing to coordinate military and civilian responses? Are we letting cases of domestic violence fall through the cracks when we do not communicate outside the boundaries of the post or the camp or the base or the station? What is happening with 70 percent of our families who do live off base and civilian authorities need to be responding to offer assistance? Cooperation is essential.
Next we want to encourage that the department always involve victims in monitoring the domestic violence services. Ask victims what it is that they need and how well we are doing in responding to those needs. That will help inform us as to further changes that are needed in our systems.
Finally, we ask that we look at early intervention and we provide a whole section on prevention and early intervention, noticing the kinds of things that lead us to recognize that violence is a potential.
So, those are our core principles of intervention to help guide folks from here. There are two other recommendations that we made that General Parks and I decided we wanted to highlight. One has to do with resources.
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We realize many, many times in our discussions that the kinds of recommendations that we were making had resource implication. We want, for example, tremendous effort in education and training to create that cultural shift, to help command understand their roles and responsibilities and to understand domestic violence better, that is just but one example.
Consequently, given that we cannot say to you please appropriate today all the necessary money with the many demands that are before us right now as a nation, what we instead recommend is that we first look at what are we doing with the money that we are currently spending to intervene in domestic violence? Analyze the resources that are already out there in the four services and determine in what manner could those resources be reallocated to reinforce the recommendations that we have made.
Another decision that we made has to do with system accountability. It had been suggested that our task force continue beyond the three-year period that we had initially been appointed. While in some respects that was appealing, we quickly concluded that the more appropriate thing for us to do was to finish our work, hand it to the department and give them a period of time to work seriously with all the things that we had brought to them.
If, after a period of two years, you asked for the formation of a new body, perhaps bringing some of us back who experienced the work of the original task force and bringing some new people to the table with fresh perspective to examine what have we accomplished, to evaluate how effectively the programs are working and to help the department, if you will, tweak what they have learned in the next two years, that that would be much, much better solution than continuing our existing task force.
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With the 200 recommendations, with the key points that we have highlighted, the core principles of intervention and all the different elements of those things that make up our strategic plan, we think they should be ready to move forward without us for awhile.
I want to also highlight a few particular issues that we mentioned in our executive summary in the report that are related to violence against women occurring in the home. And we had many discussions about these complex matters, but did not choose to make recommendations to the department that were truly outside the mandate of our appointment.
Those issues include the aspects of multi-culturalism and cross-culturalism that are similar to sexism. They include the issue of children and domestic violence. And we do make some particular comments around the need to coordinate the response when both child abuse and wife abuse are occurring in the same family so that the interventions are simultaneously and supportive to that family, as opposed to occurring at two very different times and uninformed by the other experience.
We talk about sexual violence and the relationship of sexual violence to domestic violence. And we also, in our visits, encountered concerns around trafficking of women. And these are all issues that this committee must think about, along with the department to address that were not part of our mission, but certainly were things that we could not help but notice.
As we conclude our work as a defense task force, I particularly want to tell you on behalf of the civilian members that while this was an incredible challenge, it was a also a tremendous opportunity. And, for us, we made lifelong friends with people that we initially thought we would never understand.
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We also felt that it was an opportunity for us, as private citizens, to serve our country and to make a contribution to the armed services and the family members. We are in awe of the roles and responsibilities of the men and women who serve in the armed forces. And, perhaps today, more than any other day in these three years, we recognize what we ask of them as a country.
That makes me believe that what we ask of ourselves is so important and we must make sure that any issue that is effecting the quality of their lives and the manner in which they can live as citizens of our country and of people who provide special service to all of us, then we must take those measures.
We must make sure that no one is experiencing the kind of violence in their home that we hope eventually to bring us peace to the entire world.
[The joint prepared statement of General Parks and Ms. Tucker can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, Ms. Tucker.
And, General Parks and Ms. Tucker, thank you again for your service in the past three years and beyond.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary, welcome. We look forward to your remarks, sir.
Secretary ABELL. Thank you and good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. I want to begin today by acknowledging the dedication and hard work for Ms. Deborah Tucker, of Lieutenant General Jack Clemp and Lieutenant General Garry Parks for their work as co-chairs of the Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence. These leaders and their team have done a superb job with a very tough subject.
Their work will have a positive effect on DOD's domestic violence policy for years to come. The purpose of this hearing, as you framed in your opening statement, Mr. Chairman, is to focus on the recommendations of the task force and then the Department of Defense implementation of those recommendations.
I am happy to discuss the many areas in which we agree and our plans to implement a series of policies to help prevent domestic abuse, protect the victims and hold the perpetrators accountable. There will be many occasions in the months ahead in which this committee and the department will work together to craft a model program on domestic violence.
The Department of Defense has a great track record in addressing similar societal programs. We have developed programs to address racial integration, drug abuse and to de-emphasize the use of alcohol. None of these were easy, but we changed the culture, we modified behavior and now these DOD programs are recognized as world class. We can change the culture and modify behavior to reduce incidents of domestic abuse with the military services as well.
Mr. John Molino, the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy joined me on the panel today. In January of this year, he and his team were charged with developing the policies to implement the task force's recommendations. As General Parks just testified, the task force has made close to 200 recommendations in their three reports.
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The first two reports included about 155 recommendations and we are in solid agreement on about 140 of those. The remaining 15 are not disagreements as to what should be done, but differences in how to accomplish the goals. We will work through those differences.
The third and final report was delivered a week ago on March 10. We are just beginning to review the recommendations in that report, but I do not expect that we will argue over those recommendations either.
Mr. Chairman, some advocates will want to see immediate results. So, do we. However, as you know, good policy does not come easily. We are working at a deliberate pace and we welcome your oversight as we proceed. You have assembled an impressive panel here today and, together; I trust we will be able to answer the committee's questions. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Abell can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Obviously, I know my colleagues have a lot of questions and we want to get to them as well. Let me start by making an observation during, based on our visit to Fort Bragg. Let me state for the record, for the third for the record today, this is not an Army problem, although Fort Bragg is an Army installation. It is indeed not something that is exclusive to the United States military.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Obviously, domestic violence, I hope is an area of concern to all of us society-wide. But, as you good folks know more than anyone, our responsibility as the United States Congress have to be focused upon the United States military. And, during our visit very soon after those tragic loss of lives incidents, it was clear to me, from the commanding staff, down to the enlisted staff and the enlisted personnel, they felt this was a loss to their family and were desperate and I assume remain desperate to try to do a better job and to enact whatever is necessary to try to implement policies and programs that can help avoid this in the future.
And, again, I know this is our collective objection. But, I think one of the things that most impressed me is that in terms of Fort Bragg, and I suspect across the spectrum of the military services from base to base in this country and overseas, it was far too much of an ad hoc effort.
And that is each base, while operating under general guidelines certainly no one within the command structure of the military services, no one within the Department of Defense accepts this kind of behavior, no one wants to see it continue. The direction was lacking. And I think that is why this is important.
We have used the word a few times through our presenter's testimony, culture. And that means simply we need to direct from the top down a means and cohesive, coherent policy by which the people who are effected can find ways to circumvent this kind of tragic outcome.
One of the things, in a very emotional, nearly three-hour session that we had with the spouses of victims, or I should say spouses who were victims of domestic violence was that they were concerned and in talking to others who had experienced domestic violence who probably were not on report somewhere, that the belief is that a report of domestic violence by the abused spouse somehow ends up on the military member's record. And that, obviously, that has very significant implications for the future in the military of that individual.
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From the discussions we had as a follow-up to that, most of the command staff felt that that was not exactly the case. That there were safeguards in place that allowed complaints and reports of incidents of domestic violence to occur without necessarily, by the mere fact of the reporting, a hindrance to the military member's career.
And, I am just curious, and I would start with Ms. Tucker and General Parks, because it was not anything that I saw particularly highlighted in your report, not in your oral testimony today. Is that something you heard that no matter what kind of system we may put in place for counseling or for means by which they can go for help, there was still that concern and ultimately the result of incidences that may have gone unreported because they just did not want to jeopardize their husband or their wife's military career. Is that something you encountered?
Ms. TUCKER. He will probably add on based on my past experience. We work really well together. Victims had been led to believe in many, many cases by the scuttlebutt of the culture and particularly by the offender that any report of domestic violence would result in them immediately, perhaps, losing their career altogether or being damaged so that their career would never ever progress from that point.
We did not find that to be the case. What we found is that the opposite problem. That in too many cases, very serious acts of domestic violence, even that became known to the authorities did not result in any kind of particular consequence to the offender.
So, we struggled with this a lot because on the one hand we want to say domestic violence is unacceptable. It is a criminal behavior. It will not be tolerated. It needs to be stopped. It is very serious and we are not going to play around with it anymore. And we also did not want to create a circumstance where victims were afraid to come forward.
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So, we tried several things. One is the confidential victim advocate program. If victims have somebody to go and talk to, to lay out what they are experiencing who can assist them in working with the system, who can dispel some of the myths that, you know, your husband will be court marshaled tomorrow, that they can begin to understand that there is a possibility of an effective intervention that stops the violence, then that is what most victims want.
In the civilian community people come to our programs across the nation every day saying can you help me stop the violence. I do not want him to go to jail. We struggle with this same philosophic issue. What we do is help victims develop a plan for their own safety, develop a direction that they want for themselves and their children. And we give them enough information to understand what is likely to happen if they approach the authorities.
When a system works well, the authority intervenes, helps the offender understand that they cannot persist in that behavior and that there are consequences for what they have done, but does not necessarily immediately incarcerate that individual or cause them to lose their employment, be they a civilian or a military member. So, it is a complicated issue. You have touched on something that is kind of in the middle of 50 different concerns that we had.
And I hope that what I have said is helpful to sort of describing how we are going at it in several directions. We do want to be firmer, that is serious and must be stopped. And we want to create a system that actually does that. We also want victims to come forward and to feel that their entire family's future is not necessarily at risk if they ask for help.
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Mr. MCHUGH. General Parks?
General PARKS. Mr. Chairman, I think the only thing that I would add is to reinforce the early portion of your comments. And that, from the standpoint of your sensing when you went on your visit and met with the families, that we are a family. We view ourselves as a family. On this very day I consider I have brothers and sisters about to go into harm's way. I think our military members have that. We talked about culture, that is part of our culture.
At the same time, we are, as I testified a week ago, an all-volunteer force with wonderful young men and women, some not so young, who are a part of that organization, and, yet, we are a reflection of society. Domestic violence is prevalent in American society. It is not surprising that we have it in our military organization.
And that what we have tried to design in our comprehensive reports and our three years of efforts in all the various recommendations that have already been addressed, is are ways to deal with precisely the issue that you raised, and as Ms. Tucker just testified, in a way that addresses the concern and yet preserves the safety of the individual who has that concern and bring them together in order to appropriately deal with them at the level that is required.
Ms. TUCKER. Can I add on to that also?
Mr. MCHUGH. Certainly.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. TUCKER. Another thing that really influenced us in our thinking is that so far in the last 20 years in this country that we have been doing ascender intervention kind of work, where we have been taking people who have been identified as batterers and attempting to change them. We do not have a lot of success.
That those that do change are very much influenced by just a few people. And one of those is the judge. The judge who sits on their case when they go through a criminal court proceeding who takes their case very seriously and individually follows them.
For example, making the batterer come back once a month to the courtroom and report on his behavior towards his family and report on his completion of probationary requirements. Those offenders tend to do better.
So, we thought that one of the strengths of trying to do offender intervention while somebody is still in the military is they have a motivation to belong to this tribe, whether it is the Marine tribe or the Army tribe or whatever, they want to belong. And if that person who is their commander has the power of both judge and employer at the same time, will they, in fact, be much more effective at getting that individual's attention and bringing them to a place of change?
If not, we say, if there is a failure, if we do intervention and we work really hard with somebody and they do not change their behavior, then, yes, they need to be out of the service. But, if we can say to them we want you to be a successful person and that includes being a successful husband and a trustworthy father, then we will do what we can to help you to learn that.
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Does that make sense?
Mr. MCHUGH. It does. It does. It does not make the challenge any easier
Ms. TUCKER. No.
Mr. MCHUGH [continuing]. But it makes sense.
Secretary Abell, any comments in that regard?
Secretary ABELL. Sir, as you know, the military commanders face a lot of challenges every day. And, as a culture military folks, both commanders and senior non-commissioned officers like things in tidy packages with sharp corners. And this is an area that is not tidy and has no square corners, which makes it even more difficult for them to deal with.
But, we are prepared to take the committee's recommendations with regard to a confidentiality policy and put it out there to allow a confidentiality with a few limitations, victim voluntary disclosure, the advocate belief that the victim is in imminent danger or court directed disclosure.
But, if that abuse is a criminal activity and comes to the attention of the commander, then that military commander, as you know, will take action, which may jeopardize the career of the spouse and ultimately, the benefits. No commander wants to lose a good soldier, sailor, airmen or Marine.
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And, so, we will help commanders understand, just as Ms. Tucker said, that balance between trying to work with and use the practices that have been successful in theoutside the military. But, the commander will also, as you know, frame this incident, the incident that comes to him or her in the context of that soldier, sailor, airmen or Marine's total record and if it is lacking in other areas, this may just be the straw that broke the camel's back so to say, and I would expect them to take action.
The committee, the task force urges us to hold offenders accountable. Our commanders will do it. So, it is an awful pendulous tight rope that we ask them to walk. And we are going to try and Mr. Molino's going to try it in his group to craft some policies to give them the guidance to sponsor the educational programs, to help them understand. And we will try to be an example for the rest of society. But, it is a tough, tough issue.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, it is. And I certainly do not pretend to know the answer other than all of this is directed at those either who have been abused or who may be abused. And, as I mentioned, to a person that we met with they spoke of other spouses in the military who did not report for that reason.
And, Ms. Tucker framed it very well. It is a tough objective to reach. But, I think theone of the primary objectives of this has to be to construct the process and recreate the culture to an extent that we will find the best possible, I do not know if, unfortunately, there is a perfect solution, but the best possible system that says to victims you can get help without necessarily destroying your spouse's career, but recognizing, as well, as Ms. Tucker again said, we want the message to be equally strong that if you partake in this kind of aberrant and aberrant behavior, there is going to be swift and very appropriate justice.
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So, I have any number of other questions, but my colleagues have been very patient. Let me yield to Ms. Sanchez.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Obviously, this is a very complicated issue. One that I think stems even beyond just domestic violence. As someone who has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace and as someone who came from a home where there was domestic violence, I am very, very interested in this issue. And I am glad that Ms. Tucker, whose beenhas shed so much light on this subject for so many of us.
I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days with the task force as they were completing their second year's report. But, it was interesting that you went to Page 111 and asked us to take a look at it because in this little circle at the very center of it, of course, is power and control. And, quite frankly, that is what I think any of these types of issues really center around, power and control.
And, in particular, when we continue to see it, it manifests itself in so many different ways, murder suicide at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the sexual harassment issues that we are seeing in the Air Force Academy, for example. You know, we train our soldiers and seamen and airmen and others to be powerful and to be fighting machines as we see that we need them now in this time of need.
But, on the other hand, the military is even more of a family then most of us ever get to experience. And, so it does, anything that happens in the home flows into the workplace in one way or another. It affects our military.
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So, when I take a look at this I am really interested in a few things. First of all, how weI know that when I was with the task force about a year ago or so, a little bit over a year ago now, that you discussed the whole issue of whether to keep the commander in participation in the process in or out.
And I see from the report, the third report that you chose to keep that commander in. And I know that there is a need to train and to educate and to really do a good job of giving the tools to a commander to be able to handle these types of situations. And that goes to the whole issue of resources and how we do that.
But, my question is how do we hold them accountable? I mean what are we going to implement? I know the recommendations. But, here is the question, how are we going to have a commander take this issue seriously? Is it going to affect him in his ability to be promoted to a higher rank as a commanding officer?
I mean what will we do as the Department of Defense to ensure that if we spend the resources to give the training and the tools that these commanders need to work on these family issues, even though it is not the biggest piece of their job description, how is it going to affect them?
How are we going to hold them accountable for that? And I guess thatI would like that answered by General Parks to the extent that you are a high commander in the military and you have probably had this type of experience in having to deal with soldiers andor Marines I guess and I would also ask our honorable undersecretary for his comments on that.
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General PARKS. Ma'am that issue was, as you know, and as followed many, many of our discussions, fundamental to one of the considerations that we looked at and evaluated. And as you appropriately commented, power is at the center of it. I believe that the crux of your question involves the aspect of the commander and the commander's direct involvement in dealing with it.
I believe that that starts with the overarching education that we have recommended, the training and education to have military members at large understand the basics of domestic violence.
I will say that I had not experienced domestic violence in my career. And so this was a phenomenal education for me to work with the task force with the 12 civilian experts that we had who provided that education, balancing that and interweaving that with our military culture that we have talked about.
And, in the course of that, we had many discussions passionately and enthusiastically in explaining the understandings of what domestic violence involves with the organization that we have and how do we meld the two together?
We believe that we have established a procedure that will allow that to be done and to make that important to the commanders, starting with the Deputy Secretary of Defense's memorandum to get the ball rolling, if you will, on the importance of this. Followed by the statements from each of the service chiefs in the department level to emphasize that this is important, and as Mr. Abell testified earlier, just as we have worked out ways through the implementation of policies that dealt with diversity, that dealt with sexual harassment, that dealt with drugs, that dealt with other overarching societal problems that we are simply a microcosm of, that we have worked our way through.
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How do we weave that into this organization and make it important to me starts with education to understand how that goes and it understands from there that some of these are going to have to be probably brought up to the senior level.
And it is one of the things that we have included in our report for consideration is perhaps the younger commanders just are not as tuned into understanding this and we need to bring it, because of its importance, up to the next level of command so that they have the right degree of maturity, as well as perspective to be able to deal with issues of that nature. It is another one of the implementation challenges that we are going to have.
Secretary ABELL. Yes, ma'am, I agree with General Parks. And from the departmental perspective, we will provide our commanders the education, the training, the toolbox of policies and programs that they need. We will clearly articulate our expectations of what a commander, what his or her responsibilities are, and how we will hold them accountable. We have done it before, as I mentioned, and as General Parks mentioned, we will do it on this issue as well.
Not easy. We may have to, as General Parks says, find the level of professional maturity that has the resources, both staff and professional maturity to be able to deal with an issue this complex. But, we will find it. We will give them our expectations. We will give them the tools. And then we will ultimately hold them accountable for the climate of their command.
Ms. SANCHEZ. So, would we anticipate then at some point that we would see these accountability standards in writing from our Department of Defense?
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Secretary ABELL. We will certainly have a number of policies, whether there are specific accountabilities or not, I mean in some of these other programs among the ways that accountability was monitored was that we asked our Inspector General (IG) on every one of their visits to look at this specific program to see how it was being handled in that unit. We asked that every efficiency report mention the commander's activities and programs to do with racial diversity or drug abuse, the de-emphasization of alcohol and so forth.
Those are all ways that are tried and true in the past. We will look at all of them and we will find the most effective way or ways, combination of ways, to do it here.
Ms. SANCHEZ. I am just concerned that sometimes we make policies and even if they come from the top, which is where I believe both policy and example have to be sent, in particular in the military, that as it makes it way that if we do not have accountability in writing towards these things that one of the things that happens is that it becomes a very minor piece of the job. And the fact of the matter is, some may think it is a minor piece, but when you are the family in trouble it is a major piece of your life going on.
So, I would be very interested to see how that accountability piece is actually put into place.
General PARKS. There is a sign in a lot of most, perhaps, military conference rooms that says the troops do well what the boss checks. And I happen to believe that. So, whether or not we write it down, I think the important part is that we have ways in place to check on how they are doing in meeting our expectations and fulfilling their responsibilities.
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Ms. SANCHEZ. If I may, one more question, the advocates and maybe I would like I guess the secretary and maybe Ms. Tucker.
First of all, Ms. Tucker, I just want to say I learned an incredible amount from our task force. The type of individuals that sit on that task force and the backgrounds that they have, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, people who run women's shelters.
And I have to say that I was bit naive because the first time I came into the task force, after a while I asked well what about the guys who get battered and, you know, all the guys who around the table who are on that task force said, no, it is not guys, Loretta, it is women who get battered. And, I was wondering, you know, what about, you know, five percent or the one percent of guys.
And by the end of the day they had me figuring out that it is, you know, because it does tend to be physical in a lot of aspects that it is a physical thing against women.
But, this whole issue of the advocates, I know that the Marines do a great job of having advocates and yet a department like the Air Force has none. Ms. Tucker, can you give us, walk us through a little bit of what you saw and the difference between those two departments and the way they handled that? And then maybe I will ask the General how are we going to solve that or have you looked at that in your plan of implementation?
And, the second question I have for Ms. Tucker is did you see any differences, significant difference between how our families react with respect to battering of spouses overseas when they are stationed overseas versus what happens stateside?
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Ms. TUCKER. Two good ones. On the first part, regarding the advocacy program, the Marines, years ago, were very, very connected to what was going on in the civilian community. And there was a lot of communication and cross-training happening. And that is where the victim advocate program gets established. Now, within the whole military though, victim advocates have not enjoyed the same privileges, such as the confidentiality.
So, while the Marines have a victim advocate at each of the 19 installations, they do not necessarily have the freedom to interact with victims and provide information and support, give them some time to think about what they want before the system sort of takes over. And, it feels like to victims that everybody on base becomes aware that domestic violence is occurring in their home.
So, there is improvement in the victim advocacy program that the Marines have recommended through our shifts in non-disclosure. But, I think they provide an excellent model for the other services to consider. There are victim advocates in a few places in the other services.
I went up to Fort Hood not too long ago close to me in Austin and found one victim advocate, you know, on that post who had an office that was terrifying. I mean it was just covered in stacks and stacks of cases that she was trying to figure out how to respond to and work with as one person on that huge, huge post.
So, there is some effort already in place, but nowhere near what is needed. So, the other services are going to need to look at what the Marines have done and talk about the role that the victim advocate should play according to the victim advocate protocol that we have put in here, which really describes a thorough responsibility that helps make the whole system that we envision work a lot more effectively for everybody, including the command and other personnel that play a role.
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The victim advocate will be a partner to the victim, but they will also be a partner to everybody else in the intervention system.
Ms. SANCHEZ. And, the question about the overseas?
Ms. TUCKER. The overseas, very complicated. At least we found sometimes for victims living within the United States that they could approach civilian battered women's programs or reach out to some kind of assistance off post if they were not receiving good services on post or they were afraid to use those services.
When you are overseas there are many other barriers. There is the language barriers some places. There is the fact that most of the force agreements that we have with other nations do not necessarily permit those local authorities to hold our citizens accountable for crimes that they commit over there.
And, as you know better than I, this is something that is changing with the case in Japan of the sexual assaults. We are beginning to struggle with to what extent are we going to give U.S. citizens over to those local countries.
But when it has to do with crimes committed against other citizens who are family members, you know, then it comes back in house and there isn't anyplace else necessarily for victims to turn.
So, the programs that the military services put into place outside the country have to be exemplary. And, one of the specific concerns that we had around victims' services in the Continental United States (CONUS), I learned that word, was that in the shelter that the military operates in Hawaii, you could not go there without a military ID right?
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Well, I figure it is pretty obvious that if you go to the shelter you are in a bad state, you probably have a military ID but you do not want to show it right away. You want to figure out if what is going to be offered to you there is going to be helpful. You do not necessarily want the offender to know where you are and have somebody call him and tell him that that is where you are.
So, we are asking that the shelter in Hawaii and the shelter in Okinawa and any other military shelter that is established sort of get a grip, let people come if they sound like U.S. citizens from Alabama, let them in. you know? And, worry about who they are and whether they are entitled to those services another day after you have established some trust and given them some safety.
Secretary ABELL. Yes, ma'am, there is no doubt that advocacy programs are an area that need, deserve and will receive our attention. We have programs in bases throughout the military services, but they are not what theto the standards that the report recommendations would have us go. And we are not in disagreement with the protocols that Ms. Tucker has described. There are issues of resources here, which, we will
Ms. SANCHEZ. Have you been able to estimate what type of resources if there that you would need in order to implement most of the recommendations, I would hope that the task force has worked three years on?
Secretary ABELL. You know, I know someI knew someone was going to ask me that question, and the answer is no, we have not put a dollar figure on all of the areas here that would require resources. And we will have to work for those resources within the department's programming and budgeting system. And, frankly, they are not all going to come in the one year.
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But, this is an area where we will have to go get those resources added in at the top, I believe, because it is a very competitive process, as you are aware, to come up through the bottom. I expect great support from the services, but my anticipation is that we will have to put those in at the top and we are not afraid to do that. But, it is just work that we need to do and we will do it.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
Mr. SCHROCK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you all for coming here today. Ms. Tucker, I want to ask you three or four different questions. I come from the era of General Parks and during my two and a half decades in the Navy, I do not recall a lot of spousal abuse. Now, it may have been there, but I was just not aware of it. The only time I remember it was when I went to the survival school before going to Vietnam and the people who did the training picking on us, went home and did the same thing to their wives and their kids. That is the only time I remember that.
Is this situation increased or decreased over the decade? What is the number one cause? It is all physical or is it psychological as well? And, I want to follow up on what Ms. Sanchez said, I would like to knowI am sure it is men, but I would be kind of curious to know how much of it is female as well. And those on the base, I should know the answer to this, if it happens on the base and they get arrested, are they tried in civilian court or on base? I should know that, but I do not.
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Ms. TUCKER. All right. Well, help me make sure I get all four.
Mr. SCHROCK. All right.
Ms. TUCKER. First of all, there is a lot of debate about whether or not domestic violence has increased. But, right now, what we believe is that domestic violence has always been an aspect of our society and most every society within the world, that our awareness and recognition of domestic violence has grown. And that victims are coming forward now in ways that they did not come forward 25 years ago. The existence has not changed, so much as the numbers and the awareness has changed.
It could be that it is increasing and we may learn that over the next few years now that we are actually paying attention to be able to measure is it going up. Now, all violent crimes reduced in this nation over the last couple of years with the exception of sexual assault, which rose. Could that be because we are paying more attention and we are more sensitive to the fact that sexual violence does occur and we are giving room for victims to report it. So, those questions are hard for many of us and are complex issues that, in another ten years, we will probably know a bit more about.
The number one cause, I would again refer you to Page 111, the power and control wheel. What offenders tell us themselves is that what they are hoping when they use violence is to get their wife to do something or stop doing something. And that they believe that using violence is legitimate if other forms of control over her are not working.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, what is confusing about that, many times, is all the other things that might coexist when we look at a family or an individual. For example, for years and years and years when somebody asked me how much is alcohol abuse a problem with domestic violence, I would say 63 percent of the cases that we see at our shelter involve the use of alcohol and drugs as an issue.
And, I thought very sincerely that if we treated offenders who had alcohol problems and got them sober that that would stop the violence. Imagine my disappointment when I learned that you can be cold sober and still beat people up, that it was not that. Many people have struggled with other kinds of reasons that violence might occur, miscommunication, self-esteem issues, impulse control
Mr. SCHROCK. Money.
Ms. TUCKER [continuing]. Financial conflicts. Reader's Digest sets the number one reason we fight according to Reader's Digest in our homes. However, in a healthy home when you fight about the new pair of shoes or the golf club, those things do not escalate to the point of verbal or physical harm to the other party.
There may, in fact, be more cold silence than anything else than what you see in a dysfunctional violent home. In a violent home you would not risk buying a new pair of shoes, that would be too dangerous if you did not have permission. And if you study the model of what offenders tell us, what victims tell us, it is the same for years and years and years.
He wants to control everything that goes on in the household. And if he does not have that control, then he believes he is legitimate in using different kinds of aggression.
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So, I hope that answers the second one.
Mr. SCHROCK. So, most of it is physical?
Ms. TUCKER. No, it is physical goes along with sexual violence, isolation, emotional abuse. In fact, victims say that the hardest part to overcome is not the beatings because you heal from them many times. You may have lasting medical problems from serious injuries. But, what is hardest to heal is the inside and being told that you are stupid or worthless or whatever is said. That damage that is part of the whole way in which we define domestic violence can be harder on the victim than anything else.
So, one of the things that we began to do in our task force to distinguished cases of domestic violence versus cases where people were behaving in a violent manner, but it was not domestic violence, was our shorthand became the remote control.
Meaning, that there were young people recently married, both in the service sometimes, both very well trained physically and there was only one remote control, and they would have an argument about it. And the Military Police (MP's) would come.
And what we learned is that sometimes both parties would be arrested because there was an altercation of some sort over this remote control. Well, neither party was afraid of the other, neither party altered their behavior in order to avoid abusive action.
So, what we could conclude is this is a remote control case. This is two young, not very bright people who we can work with quickly. The Navy has a program, I love the name of FINS, Family in Need of Services.
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This is a FINS case. This is a couple that needs to learn some other skills. That they are not engaged in domestic violence. Domestic violence has to have physical violence and all the other aspects of the definition.
Mr. SCHROCK. When you say remote control, you are talking the TV?
Ms. TUCKER. I am talking the TV.
Mr. SCHROCK. I thought that was a guy thing.
Ms. TUCKER. When they have a fightwell, no, I think that some female service members are interested in the remote control. I know I like to have it every once in a while.
Ms. SANCHEZ. I steal the clicker from my husband all the time.
Mr. SCHROCK. The two TV's would solve that.
Ms. TUCKER. Yes, exactly. And in a FINS program that would be something you could recommend. If these two people are often in conflict they got to the PX and let us buy another TV, problem solved. And that case we can take care of like that, right? It is not a domestic violence case.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCHROCK. What percentage are men and what percentage women? Obviously
Ms. TUCKER. In an agency police department is the best way that I can answer that, that is well-trained, that knows how to distinguish on scene who was acting in aggressive manner and who was acting in self-defense.
You will find less than eight percent will be a female offender.
Mr. SCHROCK. Eight percent?
Ms. TUCKER. Less than eight percent will be a female offender. In the military and in many civilian jurisdictions when you see the 20, 30, 40 percent of the time that the female is being arrested, usually as well as the male. What that is is bad police training and they do not know how to distinguish injuries that are as a result of self-defense actions versus aggressive behavior.
In New Orleans for example last year the city changed their policy that you could not arrest the female on a domestic violence case unless you had a supervisor approval. It went from 45 percent to five percent in one year because they realized they had been arresting females erroneously.
So, what that means is yes, sometimes females are aggressors. As director of a local batter women's shelter in Austin, Texas over five years we had 15 men who came who exhibited the exact same challenges in their homes as women that we were seeing every day and hundreds and hundreds. However, of those 15 men, a few of them were being battered by other men. So, they were not necessarily the victim of a female partner, but they were in a relationship with another man who was violent.
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So, you have to kind of work through all of that to say to Ms. Sanchez, yes there are occasionally men who are abused and yes we need to treat this with the exact same seriousness as we do treat the violence against women. And we try to bring that up several different places that programs and services have to account for the needs of some of the men who will be victims also.
Mr. SCHROCK. And I gather the on base violence cases are handled in the civilian community?
Ms. TUCKER. The last oneright. The last one is two answers I guess. If the person who commits the offense on base is a service member then they will be adjudicated, if you will, by the military.
Mr. SCHROCK. Right.
Ms. TUCKER. If the person who commits the offense on base is a civilian then we still have a problem because we have not figured out how to handle and just like Congressman Hayes' legislation that addressed the lack of protective order enforcement on military lands issues by civilian courts, we have not figured out how to hold accountable civilians who commit crimes on base. As I understand it, the only options that we have in many places if its exclusive federal jurisdiction is to bar them from returning to the base.
But we could in some circumstances where there isthe land is held jointly, what is it called? I do not know, there are three kinds of lands I learned and I have forgotten the vocabulary words now. But, when we share the land with the local authority and they own the land and we are renting it then they can arrest them.
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So, it kind of is
Mr. SCHROCK. I am assuming what you said is a civilian is other than the military dependents? It is other than the military dependent obviously at times?
Ms. TUCKER. Right.
Mr. SCHROCK. Like two civilians fighting in an office somewhere.
Ms. TUCKER. That could happen or you could have a female service member living on post with a civilian husband who beats her up.
Mr. SCHROCK. Right. I see.
Ms. TUCKER. And the military police arrive and they do not have authority over him because he is not in the military, you see?
Mr. SCHROCK. Yes.
Ms. TUCKER. So, everything that you can imagine we ran into and found very complicated.
Mr. SCHROCK. Who does that, did you invite the civilian authorities on base to arrest him and haul him out of there?
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Ms. TUCKER. You can. As I understand it, if the land is originally held by the civilian authority and we are like renting it for a dollar a year. But, if it is only our land, I think that there is some confusion about how we hold them accountable. I remember asking at one meeting if a civilian murdered somebody on base we cannot prosecute them? And the lawyers all, you know, struggled with how to answer that.
Mr. SCHROCK. All right. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, sir.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I can tell you how to solve the TV thing but I want to leave you hanging on that one. A couple things, as those of you in the room have heard today this is a very complex matter. I thought I knew a little bit about it when Chairman McHugh led our group down to Fort Bragg. And if there are any Baptist in the group, you can understand my explanation. If you not, I may have to say some more. But, instead of getting a sprinkling in terms of it was total emerging. We got dunked into this thing. And we heard from advocates. We heard from victims. We heard from the military. We heard from the legal folks, police, sheriffs, it was an incredible experience.
And I think it is important to point out that one of the things we found out was that it is not a military thing. It is a bad thing that happens to the military and civilian, where the violence occurred and you know this is not my evaluation of what was said.
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This was from law enforcement and the people, the experts on the case, the warrior training, the military aspect of who the people were was not the overwhelming compelling issue here. But, I say that just for education, say that the military's working hard to overcome it, but it is not just the military.
And, Debbie, you have done a fantastic job of helping to educate us on these things. As a matter of fact, we were down that way last week and your task force is working on programs, idea, suggestions and action plans that will be available to 12 military installations, which touch 70 percent of the military population almost immediately. So, that is a great thing and we thank you for that.
For the record, tell us about the value of the program and the need to bring it to more installations across the board. And, excuse me, gentlemen, for talking to Debbie, she just knows more than you all do.
Ms. TUCKER. We did have an excellent opportunity to pilot test at Fort Bragg the training we would like to do all around the country. We brought in advocates, law enforcement and prosecutors or JAGS from Fort Bragg, Camp Legume and Pope Air Force Base, as well as from the surrounding counties around those installations, the local people living there who are actually responding to many domestic violence calls involving military families.
We spent four and a half days discussing the new approach to responding to violence against women in the home, a lot of interesting and intense discussion, argument about how can we do that differently. We have always done it this way. It was very exciting. We had a couple of people who learned in that week that focusing on the victim did not get you much if you wanted to stop violence, that you really had to focus on the offender to change their behavior.
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There were many people in there, not many, there were about four or five who believed that the only way to stop violence against women was to teach women to walk on eggshells better and to behave better. And it was really great to allow that group process to work where the rest of the group was able to help them see that they were holding on to some really old beliefs. And that these are bad guys that they want to arrest. And by the end of the week I was thinking, you know, I hope somebody is on duty Saturday night out of this group five because they are going to make some arrests this time.
It was a lot of fun. Congressman Hayes and General Smith walked in and everybody stopped talking. They became sort of like deer in the headlights. They were nervous that you all were there. After you left I admonished them for passing up the opportunity to tell the General and to tell you things that they need, because you are an ally and you want to help them. And the leadership wants to help them. So, I think that that was important for me to understand. And when we get, hopefully, the opportunity to conduct these classes in other parts of the country, we need to have the leadership and the Congress folks from that area come in the very first day and say that themselves. Say we are glad you are here. We are glad that you are doing this, taking the time to work out new approaches. We are your allies and we will help you problem solve.
So, that that tone is set by the leadership from the very beginning. Colonel Davis was wonderful, the installation commander, who many of you, I am sure know from being in the spotlight of the Fort Bragg homicides. And one of the reasons I have become very fond of him is right from the beginning he said, you know, I do not know ever much about this domestic violence stuff and I need to learn everything.
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And since that time, every book I have told him to read, every person I have suggested he talk to, anything and everything he has done as an effort to improve his ability to do his job as an installation commander and to lead the people at Fort Bragg differently around domestic violence.
In addition, he supported the work of the task force by bringing us down and letting us test the training on his people. So, it was wonderful. And I want to point out that Mike Hauskins is here also sitting behind Mr. Molino. Mike is our, informally we call him our implementation man. He is going to help us coordinate and organize our efforts to get out there with new approaches. So, you all will become more familiar with him.
Mr. HAYES. Obviously, a lot of progress made for which the gentlemen on both sides of you are certainly helping with tremendously. There has been some stove piping kind of situations in the past where lack of connections. How are we doing in eliminating some of these stovepipes?
General PARKS. I guess I am not specifically sure what you are referring to, sir. But, I think it comes back to the fundamental piece, again, of education and awareness and understanding the training education piece I talked about in my opening comments. Because, regardless of the service, regardless of the family advocacy program manager, they are all trying to do what is right, their hearts in the right place. They want to solve the problem.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But, the reason you have the disparities and the reason you have the different handling and the reason the left and the right do not match up and now in the world of jointness, the programs do notit is just simply because we do not have the standardized system that we are advocating be put in place and that the Department of Defense is going to implement using the reference that Debbie just made. All of that will help to mitigate the potential stovepipes that have existed in the past. I am confident that that is going to work.
Mr. HAYES. A much better answer than question. I think, again, realizing through the various groups that problems exist and there are ways to deal with them has been very, very from an education standpoint and also a result standpoint.
How can we proactively work to strengthen our military families and we are certainly doing that, and what do we do to erase the stigma of attending or going and using, accessing services like this? And part of the answer is what you all are doing here and throughout the military. Is there anything we need to be doing from our perspective?
Debbie, or General Parks, anybody that would like to
Secretary ABELL. I will pick up the front one, because, as you said, sir, she knows a lot more and I will let her fill in the rest of it. The front part of it is that again the education for the military member, the training for the military member, the awareness for the military member, but concurrently the training and the awareness for those who may be effected through all the various family programs.
And, fundamentally, what we are going to see is the impact of confidentiality, and the impact that it is going to have that we influence those who might otherwise not have reported something that will report or certainly will seek support, seek assistance because they now know they can openly get this and that it be dealt with on balance as they move forward.
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Ms. TUCKER. And I would add to that that one of the populations that can be very important for offenders is the chaplain. And it seems to be socially acceptable within the military to go talk to a chaplain where it may feel uncomfortable to people to go to somebody who is identified as a mental health worker. People seem to resist that. And, you know, that is going to take time in our whole society to change, but it is certainly true within the military.
So, one of the audiences that we have already done some training with and hope to do more work with in the next couple years is the chaplains. So, that they are more conversant and understanding of domestic violence and offenders do occasionally come forward and realize that what they are doing is wrong. And they need help, particularly when they walk in their home and everybody freezes and they see a child, perhaps, looking at them the same way that they looked at their own father when he came home from work, paralyzed with fear, waiting to see what kind of mood you are in.
And when they have those kinds of experiences sometimes they want help. They do not want to wait until they are arrested or some other intervener finds out. So, we need to create an avenue. And if the chaplains are well trained and you know, if you are a Baptist there are lots of different kinds of Baptists.
Mr. HAYES. I am not a Baptist.
Ms. TUCKER. Okay. But, some, you know, think that you can get rid of problems by praying over it. And I think you can pray over things, but you also need education and skills to do things differently.
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Mr. HAYES. In the confidentiality of the chaplain issue, that came up in our discussions. I want to go to the chaplain but there was some question about whether the chaplain had to report that to the commanding officer. And I think we have pretty well squared away.
Again, thank you all, and just as a closing comment, Chairman McHugh made it abundantly clear from our perspective, zero tolerance to the military brass for domestic violence, military civilians, very clear. And, again, that's not that something had to be said in the military. But, it is top priority where it happens we would not accept that in any way shape or form. Focus was on the offender. And, I did not tell you this earlier today, but when I left you the other day, Barbara was on post with me and we met with wives about other issues, but our presence on base in a proper kind of way helping to reinforce this and any other issue I think is a good piece. Let folks know we are interested and care about this and other issues. So, thank you very much.
Ms. TUCKER. Thank you.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you. I thank the gentleman.
We have been blessed by a number of members, Ms. Sanchez, Ms. Tauscher, who have been extraordinarily involved in this, as all of you know. And, certainly Mr. Hayes takes a backseat to no one in that regard. But, I will tell you, Debbie, there are times, too, that we do not talk in front of him either. So, don't feel badly about that.
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I would be honored to yield to the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Cooper.
Mr. COOPER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am a new member of the committee and the subcommittee, so I am not as familiar as others with these issues. But, on the question of offender accountability, if an MP were called to the housing over report of a domestic abuse incident would that be entered on the personnel record of the alleged offender? That part of the permanent record of the offender?
General PARKS. No, sir. Not merely coming to the quarters is not an entry on the personnel record.
Mr. COOPER. How about if they are hauled to the brig or something like that, taken out of the home. Does that become significant enough to be entered on the personnel record?
General PARKS. We start to get into case-by-case evaluations here. But at the point at which there are some sort of charges
Mr. COOPER. Charges filed.
General PARKS [continuing]. Filed or if the command, if the incident is referred to the commander and then he intends to take some charges then that is where the personnel record entries would begin to accrue. So, the MP's themselves do not make entries in the personnel records.
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Mr. COOPER. I was wondering about a situation in which a battered spouse might have to call the MP's repeatedly and that not end up on the personnel record of the offender if those charges are later withdrawn or there is some sort of temporary reconciliation. Would that be the case?
General PARKS. Again, sir, the MP's reports do not end up the personnel records. They are referred to the individual's commander. He or she, depending on what action they take would decide what goes into the record and then what is later either retained in the record or expunged. They do, of course, maintain the innocent until proven guilty adage of the Constitution.
Mr. COOPER. Even in the case of repeated calls or tell me what would happen in the case that allegations were made part of the record, how would that affect the promotion or the retention of that individual in the service?
Secretary ABELL. Well, nothing is easy. There are record entries that promotion boards would see. There are record entries that promotion boards would not see. And, again, the commander has great latitude in deciding what sort of entry to make.
Mr. COOPER. You can be a wife beater and not have that come before the promotion board at the discretion of the commanding officer (CO)?
Secretary ABELL. If the commander chose to keep that information restricted then the promotion board would not see it.
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Mr. COOPER. Are there any guidelines to encourage the CO to disclose wife-beating propensities to promotion boards?
Secretary ABELL. I would answer that the commanders haveare trained and have guidelines and they seek the counsel of their judge advocates on what to do in all of the cases. It would be unfair to say that there was a guidance on wife beaters, if you will, or domestic violence.
We are developing those now as a result of the task force recommendations. We will train the commanders. We will train the law enforcement people. We will train the victims' advocates and we will resource getting more victim advocates out there to help everybody to be able to understand what to do in these issues.
Mr. COOPER. How about on the base commander's efficiency report. Are allegations of substantial domestic violence on base part of the commanding officer's evaluation?
Like at one base is a road base and there happens to be a number of allegations or a number of problems and those go uncorrected for a period of time, does that become part of the personnel record of the base commander as he seeks promotion?
Secretary ABELL. It could be. Again, if the commander to whom he reports makes it a matter of entry. It is not a mandatory entry on any record at this point.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COOPER. But, all this could still be swept under the rug under today's regulations because there aren't any regulations on it.
Secretary ABELL. I am not willing to accept that. Our commanders know what is right and wrong. They know how to deal with people. What we have to help them to understand is the complexity and the nuances of handling domestic violence. They certainly know how to enforce good order and discipline in their units and on their bases. And they are held accountable by our system if they do not.
Mr. COOPER. How about service men who have had the privilege of attending a military academy, are they held to a higher standard or any different standard then anyone else in the military?
Secretary ABELL. No, sir.
Mr. COOPER. So, there is no additional training that would come from a West Point or an Air Force Academy or an Annapolis to encourage them to behave like an officer and a gentlemen?
Secretary ABELL. No, sir, there is no higher standard.
Mr. COOPER. How about on the question of dishonorable discharge. Is wife beating grounds for dishonorable discharge from the military?
Secretary ABELL. The correct term would be other than honorable, congressman, and yes, that is an option for a commander to pursue.
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Mr. COOPER. What are the statistics on people discharged other than honorably for domestic violence reasons?
Secretary ABELL. I do not have those with me, sir. We can try and get them for you for the record if you would like.
Mr. COOPER. Does anyone on the panel know if that is frequent or an infrequent grounds for dismissal from service?
Ms. TUCKER. I am going to let Mr. Abell double check, but as I recall it was less than two percent of dishonorable discharge was due to domestic violence. And one of the strengths of the military is they have this transitional compensation program for victims.
So, that if their spouse who supports them and the family losses their job as a result of domestic violence and is booted out of the service, then there is this program that will provide them a period of assistance. But the papers that the person gets booted out with has to say domestic violence for them to be eligible. So, that is another area where a lot more education has to be done for commanders that they are really doing the victim a favor if they write down domestic violence on those papers instead of hiding it.
Mr. COOPER. But, if your figure is correct that only two percent of other than honorable discharges are as a result of domestic violence, there seems to be a gap between the number of repeat offenders and those who are dismissed on those grounds.
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Ms. TUCKER. Exactly.
Mr. COOPER. How big a gap is that?
Because those would be victims' families not receiving this compensation that you are describing. Those would also be individuals that, perhaps, should leave the service
Ms. TUCKER. Right.
Mr. COOPER [continuing]. But have not been encouraged to leave because of the understanding that this discretionary information that might not surely even come up in a promotion situation in which these people are being advanced in their careers for good behavior. It is curious to me that these are not part of guidelines that that promotion board would not to take comprehensive look at the individual's record in the service so they could make a balanced judgment on how the individual is performing in all aspects of their military career.
General PARKS. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. COOPER. I would be delighted to yield.
General PARKS. As a matter of interest to the line of questioning you are pursuing, Debbie and I are working on a case similar, but different from the very good question that you are asking.
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We have a victim, a spouse, whose less than honorably discharged because of domestic violence and that was part of the unfortunate escape mechanism that she had to use. My point is, we are looking at your question as are others through the front door and through the backdoor.
Mr. COOPER. I appreciate the gentleman's point and I appreciate your vast knowledge on these issues because I am new to this, as I say. Tell me about at the general officer level is there any extra scrutiny applied to general officers as they get promoted for these matters? Are the leaders of our military held to any higher standard than the average enlisted man?
Secretary ABELL. Congressman, I would tell you that just the fact is that our general and flag officers are held to a higher standard in almost every regard. The standards on the books are the same; the expectations are that they are, that we do hold them to a higher standard.
Mr. COOPER. But, if what you told me earlier is correct, that information could be withheld about repeated MP calls to their residence or whatever. It would be at the discretion of the CO.
Secretary ABELL. It is possible. I am concerned that I am trying to answer your questions directly and we are sort of getting the bit of misinformation here and I would hate to leave it like that. I go back to what General Parks said earlier, our commanders try to do the very best job.
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They understand how to discipline their force, how to keep their charges in the path of righteousness and there is no, at least to my knowledge and experience, effort to sweep domestic violence under the carpet.
Mr. COOPER. But, Ms. Tucker said earlier that the base commander at Fort Bragg admitted he knew nothing about it. And she congratulated him for having the openness to acknowledge that. There are probably many other base commanders around the country, around the world who are in a similar position, because Fort Bragg is a major base. It is a great place. That is a very distinguished command. And if he knew nothing about it, I would suggests they are probably as widespread lack of knowledge.
Secretary ABELL. I think we are all getting smarter about the nuances of domestic violence and what it entails and the fact that it is more complex then we think it is. I will let Ms. Tucker explain to the colonel down at Fort Bragg, but what I understood her comments to be that he did not understand about domestic violence.
That is not to say that he did not understand what to do when there was a lapse in good order and discipline or a violation of the uniform code of military justice or a violation of policy on his base.
The other thing, and I mentioned it earlier is that when a commander gets information on one of his service members, he or she evaluates that in the total context.
So, if we have a service member who is a substandard performer who has not been selected for promotion along with his or her peers and the commander and the non-commissioned officers have been working with that soldier, sailor, airman or marine to make them a better service member and then there is an incident, reportable incident of domestic violence that is determined to be criminal behavior, the commander may well say that is it, this one is not salvageable and discharge that individual through an administrative process, get an other than honorable discharge. And the other than honorable discharge might well not be characterized as a result of domestic violence because it was a commander's evaluation of the whole person.
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Now, perhaps, part of our education to commanders is to say if domestic violence played a part in your decision, in order to assist the victims, you should identify that as part of the discharge package. That is different from leaving on the table the implications that the commander was not dealing with the domestic violence or that somehow the statistics reveal that commanders are not dealing with domestic violence as brought to their attention. I do not believe that is the case.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Would the gentleman yield for a minute?
Mr. COOPER. I would be delighted.
Ms. SANCHEZ. This just comes back toand you were not in the room at the time, Mr. Cooper, but to the whole issue of the new implementation or the recommendations that we have got and the implementation of how do we hold our commanders accountable?
And I asked the question, will this be in writing somewhere? Will there be a checklist? Is there a little list that you go down that says how good his physical training (PT) is and how good this and how good that is and you know, where is the slot for how did he handle family problems of the soldiers that he oversees? And I think the answer I got from the Under Secretary was well, it is not really going to be in writing and so it really is something that I think this committee might discuss about how do we holdyou know, is this piece of work important enough to us to hold, you know, to make people understand that maybe their promotions will be on the line if they do not do a good job.
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I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. COOPER. I thank the gentlelady. I apologize for straining the patience of the chair. It does seem to me to be an area in which it is difficult to generalize because, as General Parks said earlier, there is not jointness yet in services and some inconsistency is prevalent between the services and between the bases. Would any of the panelists care to characterize the service that has done the best job so far of focusing on these problems?
Ms. TUCKER. No, but I would like to say that on Page 61 of our report we have a number of elements ofand this is included in what is referred to as the command protocol. And the command protocol lays out our recommendations for how command interact in these cases.
Under system accountability we bring up several issues. One is the Defense Incident Base Response System (DIBRS), the recording system for incident base recording of every crime that occurs in the military, that that system be required of the command that they put in what they did about that case. So, if the MP's go out, they identify somebody is aggressor. They put it in the blotter. The commander reads that blotter and takes no actions; there should be this glaring hole in the DIBRS program that shows that the commander responsible took no action on that case. So, that is one thing.
Quarterly, we want commanding officers with the authority to conduct court marshals to review every single open case, especially with regard to offender intervention and to know all the service members within their command where there is any pending domestic violence issue. We also recommend that installation commanders and let me say that I did not mean to imply that Colonel Davis knew nothing and I want you to know that
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Mr. COOPER. I was not being critical of him, it is just the
Ms. TUCKER. No, no, what I meant was that you have to congratulate people who take the risk of saying, you know, I am in a situation where I am in over my head and help me, as opposed to trying to deflect or to pretend like they have it all under control when they do not have a clue.
So, I respected him for saying I need to learn a lot more. This is much more complicated and difficult then I ever knew. That is what I should have said than he didn't know anything.
But, in addition, we say installation commanders should meet quarterly with the victim advocates and all the commanding officers to find out what is going on in the system, where cases are at, what needs to be done and so forth. So, they would take a much more stronger leadership role. There are several other things and one of the toughest compromises that we came to in our deliberations was around this whole area of command role and responsibility.
And what we finally decided is that includes, because of the urgent need for command officer action to safeguard victims, victim advocates and victims must be encouraged to exercise the military chain of command in cases where the commanding officer's response to instances of domestic violence is inconsistent with established guidelines. And we go on to basically say if somebody is not doing what needs to be done to intervene with this problem, raise hell with their boss. And we want that to be the policy.
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Mr. COOPER. I thank the gentlelady.
I thank the chair.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman and to our panelists, I would say the gentleman has refocused on an issue we talked about somewhat tangentially earlier. And I can only speak for myself. I happen to think that the ability to demonstrated record to respond to this particular issue ought damn well be part of your evaluation as a commanding officer, whether or not you should receive promotion. And I do not singularly have the power to require that, but I would certainly encourage you, Mr. Secretary, to consider that as part of the chairman's recommendation as you go forward with this work.
We have obviously heard the bells here. We are delighted that the ranking member, Dr. Snyder, is back with us for the first time since his medical experience, living, breathing, looks well. We are happy with that. Vic, I do not know if you would like to interject anything at this point.
Dr. SNYDER. May I ask one question?
Mr. MCHUGH. Certainly. You are the ranking member.
Dr. SNYDER. And I appreciate your kind words. I have been subject to transformation, but not cancellation. And I apologize for not being able to be here. Just one quick question there is so much flux and change and moving around within the military. How did you all address the issue of if you have an alleged perpetrator or just some index of suspicion and yet the person may just be assigned there for six weeks or two months and then moves somewhere else? Is thatI would think that would be a particular challenge for the military. If you would address that and just tell me and I will talk with someone later.
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General PARKS. We did not address that yet this afternoon, sir. But, we did recognize that, talked about it. It came up, not necessarily in the context of the question you asked, but the fact that, as I alluded a few minutes ago, an era of jointness where people are assigned working with other services and other bases and our programs are not consistent as it stands right now. And, so we recognize the need to standardize all those to ensure that the, as Ms. Tucker just mentioned, the defense incident base response system (DIBRS) is up and operational so that when an entry is made, such as you referenced and the individual transfers, that could be tapped into to ensure that we have that to anotherat another command.
Similarly, if an individual receives treatment and care and he is into it for three weeks at this particular base but transfers then the remaining portion of it is a same system at another base and he simply picks it up from week three on to the conclusion of the program.
Ms. TUCKER. Or we said if he was being considered for transfer to a place where no offender intervention program existed, like we were going to send him, you know, to some teeny tiny little spot someplace, that that be postponed until the intervention program was completed. So, again, those are recommendations that we made.
Sometimes I wish that we could say all of these things are facts and are going to be this way from this point forward, especially for the many people who spoke to us over the three years with problems that they had experienced that did not get addressed in a manner that felt supportive to them. But, I think we have a lot of good ideas here that will close loopholes that have allowed offenders to not be clearly seen from command to command as they transferred.
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Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, Mr. Snyder.
Obviously, we have a situation on votes that in fact as we look will cause us with four votes and because of the parliamentary requirements it is going to be a better part, if not an hour, before we are able to come back. We are discussing and it has not been finalized and Mr. Chapla is going to confer with the remaining three panels.
I suspect that we are going to bear or their understanding upon at least two of the other panels and perhaps ask them to come back at some other time. This has been a very enlightening, very important panel, obviously, with two hours if we didn't and an intervening hour on votes, we would be here until midnight. It does not bother me, but I do not expect any of you good folks to put up with me for that long. So, we will discuss that. I expect we will at a minimum get to the next panel however.
But, let me just say to this first panel, thank you so much. And there are many other questions we could pursue. I reiterate my deepest appreciation to all of you, and particularly, General Parks and Ms. Tucker for their devotion on this. And I would say to Secretary Abell, we have a lot of questions with respect to where the rubber hits the road, that is on money and I understand, in fact, the task force itself said that it is impossible really to define this.
But, we are going to want to know very quickly in the 2004 budget recommendations how you intend to expend the resources in the military to implement these. These are very, very important issues. We feel very passionately about. And this will be an ongoing oversight activity. So, we look forward to working with you.
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I have said it several times. I understand we all serve the same objective here. But, it is got to start at the top. There has to be a cultural change. There has to be a system in place that reaches that delicate balance between the need to encourage victims to come forward with the understanding it does not necessarily destroy the spouses' career. But, by the same token, it has to be a measure that lets these potential abusers know we are not going to tolerate it. And that is a heck of a lot easier said than done. But, it is a very, very important objective and we need to work together. And I promise you we are going to do that.
So, thank you all. I would put the subcommittee at a recess. And if the other two committeethree panels can get together with Mr. Chapla and talk about the schedule.
We stand in recess.
Mr. MCHUGH. Let's reconvene the hearing, and I appreciate all of your patience. And I suspect most if all not of you have far more clarity on exactly how we are going to approach this than I may demonstrate here in the next few moments, so let me try to explain it as I understand it.
Unfortunately, we failed at what I would say adequately accommodate the extensive interest, not that we did not understand that, but the subcommittee participation on the first panel, and that has dramatically changed the expectations we had in so far as being able to accommodate in fact three other panels. And I appreciate all of your forbearance in this.
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And let me say to the second and Mr. Stewart, who, in essence, is the third panel, we recognize the importance of all of these initiatives. We understand as well the demands upon your time, and we are trying to reach a balance here that meets the needs of the subcommittee and does not unduly impose requests and demands upon you beyond those that have already been imposed.
But it is our intention, and Mr. Cooper, the gentleman from Tennessee, is going to stand in as ranking member, so that we can accommodate panel two on joint officer management and joint professional military education. And Mr. Stewart has been gracious enough to agree to remain and offer his testimony in so far as the questions on reserve compensation and benefits portion of panel number three. And we will try to make a determination as to the previously scheduled panel number four, which had to do with the Department of Defense study of active and reserve components force mix, all of which are important but we have to be realistic as to time available.
So with that, and an added word of appreciation to our distinguished members of panel two, let me just introduce them for the record. Derek B. Stewart, who is director of Defense Capabilities and Management for the General Accounting Office. Welcome, sir. Dr. Paul Herbert and Mr. Stuart Wilson, associates of Booz Allen Hamilton.
Gentlemen, to all three of you, thank you so much. And why don't we get right to the testimony and we will call upon those in the order in which I just stated them.
So, Mr. Stewart, our attention is yours.
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STATEMENT OF MR. DEREK B. STEWART, DEFENSE CAPABILITIES AND MANAGEMENT, GAO; MR. STUART E. WILSON, ASSOCIATE, BOOZ ALLEN, HAMILTON AND MR. PAUL H. HERBERT, ASSOCIATE, BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON
Mr. STEWART. Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
Mr. STEWART. We are pleased to be here today, and as far as my part goes, Mr. Chairman, I did not mind the wait at all. Thank you very much.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you. You are very gracious.
Mr. STEWART. We are here to talk about DOD's efforts to develop joint officers in accordance with the Goldwater-Nichols Act. We reviewed DOD's efforts and concluded in a recent report to you, Mr. Chairman, that DOD lacks an overarching vision or strategy for joint officer development. We recommended that DOD develop such a plan and that they link joint officer development to DOD's overall mission and goals.
My statement then today will address three things: The need for DOD to develop this strategic plan, the success and limitations that DOD has experienced officers with joint experience and the challenges DOD has experienced in educating officers in joint matter regarding the need for a strategic plan.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We believe that a significant impediment affecting DOD's ability to fully realize the cultural change envisioned by the act is that DOD has not adopted a strategic approach to develop officers in joint matters. In other words, DOD just does not have clear goals in terms of where it wants to go when it comes to joint officer development.
For example, DOD has not determined how many joint officers it needs to staff over 9,000 joint positions. DOD also not determined how many JSOs, or joint specialty officers, it needs. In fact, the number of JSOs has decreased from over 12,000 in 1990 to fewer than 5,000 in 2001. The act requires to DOD to fill about 800 critical joint duty positions with JSOs. In 2001, DOD filled only 330, or 41 percent, of the 800 positions with JSOs.
Further, DOD has not yet within a total force concept fully addressed how it will provide joint officer development to Reserve officers serving in joint positions. Just, incidentally, Mr. Chairman, DOD has identified nearly 3,000 joint positions to be filled by reservists when it operates under mobilized conditions. We may be close to that.
Turning now to promotions. In 2001, DOD promoted more officers with joint experience to a general and flag officer level than it did in 1995, but it still relied on waivers to do so. The act requires that officers promoted to the general and flag officer level complete a full tour of duty in a joint duty assignment or receive a waiver.
We found that in 1995 only about 50 percent of officers promoted to this level had the required joint experience, compared to about 75 percent in 2001. So there was some improvement.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Regarding promotions of mid-grade officers, that is 04s to 06s, we found that between 1995 and 2001, DOD met more than 90 percent of its promotion goals for officers who served on a joint staff, almost 75 percent of its goals for joint specialty officers and just over 70 percent of its promotion goals for all other served in joint positions.
Last, Mr. Chairman, the act requires DOD to develop officers through education in joint matters. Accordingly, DOD has developed a two-phased joint education program. The first phase has been incorporated into the curricula at the service's intermediate and senior level schools. And the second phase is provided at the Joint Forces Staff College. DOD also provides a combined program that includes both phases at the National Defense University.
DOD has experienced difficulties providing the second phase of the program. For example, the number of empty seats at the Joint Forces Staff College has risen significantly in recent years from a low of 12 empty seats in 1998 to more than 150 empty seats in 2001. So in other words, the school operated at a little above 80 percent of its 900-seat capacity in 2001. According to DOD data, only one-third of all officers serving in joint positions in 2001 had received both phases of the joint education program.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my oral statement. I would be happy to respond to questions. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Stewart can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Although we are very privileged to have both Dr. Herbert and Mr. Wilson, I understand, Dr. Herbert, you will be presenting the testimony on behalf of both of you.
Dr. HERBERT. Yes, sir, that is correct.
Mr. MCHUGH. Please, sir.
Dr. HERBERT. Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the subcommittee, my colleague, Mr. Wilson, and I thank you for this opportunity to update you on our recently completed independent study of joint officer management and joint professional military education.
The Congress called for the study in Public Law 107-107, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2002. Booz Allen Hamilton was awarded the contract by the Department of Defense in September 2002. We submitted our report to the department on March 17, and we will submit the full report to the House and Senate Armed Services Committee on March 27. Our written statement today includes the report's executive summary, which has been provided separately, about which we would like to make a few short points.
First, joint officer management-joint professional military education is established by Chapter 38, Title 10 of the United States Code and is a key pillar of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. The purpose of Chapter 38 is to promote the joint war fighting effectiveness of the armed forces by ensuring that the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps provide to joint commanders and joint organizations a fair share of their best officers, many of whom have been trained and are experienced in joint matters.
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The focus of our study was the effectiveness of this system of joint officer management and joint professional military education in view of proposed operational concepts.
Second, our study concludes that joint officer management-joint professional military education has been effective since 1986 but requires updates in practice, in policy and in law. Due to Goldwater-Nichols and initiatives within the Department of Defense and the services, today's armed forces are far more capable of planning and conducting joint operations than was the case in 1986.
Also, joint organizations are staffed today with high quality, trained and experienced officers. Further, there is a significantly different culture today in the armed forces and the officer corps that embraces joint warfare and the Goldwater-Nichols provisions. The issue is not over whether to advance joint war fighting but over how to do so.
Third, update in practice, policy and law is necessary, because an increasingly joint style of warfare places a premium on joint awareness and proficiency by more officers. It requires that military professionalism within each service include a strong component of joint acculturation and proficiency. Also effective are other people in the Department of Defense besides the field grade and senior officers at whom Chapter 38 is directed. These include junior officers, Reserve and Guard officers, senior non-commissioned officers and civilians.
Fourth, change in the armed forces is due, in part, to the joint professional military education of officers required by the Goldwater-Nichols Act and given powerful stimulus by the 1989 review panel of the House Armed Services Committee, chaired by the Honorable Mr. Skelton.
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Generally, joint professional military education works well. We make two recommendations in our report with regard to it. First, to convert the Joint Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia from a 90-day school to a full one-year joint staff college and, second, to authorize the professional education of future joint specialists at service colleges as well as at joint colleges. This investment is necessary because joint warfare requires enhanced professional joint education of officers.
Fifth, joint officer management can be better attuned to new joint requirements, especially with regard to the development and utilization of joint specialty officers established by Chapter 38. There are many positions in joint organizations that require previous relevant joint experience and education. The law presents difficulties for the services and the Department of Defense and can be streamlined to better align with today's requirements. Our report makes several recommendations in that regard.
Sixth, whatever changes to law may be made, control of joint officer assignments should not revert to the four individual services. Chapter 38 removed control over officer assignments to joint organizations from the four services and gave that control to the secretary of defense and the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). Such external control remains necessary to balance the interests of joint organizations with those of the services and service organization. Nearly every former Joint Chiefs of Staff we interviewed stressed this point.
Therefore, we recommended that the Department of Defense take a more strategic approach to joint officer management and joint professional military education. The department should cast recommended changes to law clearly in the context of developing the officer corps for joint, multinational and interagency operations.
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Equally important, DOD should specifically address how the secretary and chairman JCS would retain control over joint officer assignments to continue to ensure that a fair share of high quality, educated, experienced officers serve in joint organizations. This strategic approach should have the personal imprimatur of the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Thank you for your attention, sir, and we are pleased to answer your questions.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Herbert and Mr. Wilson can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, Dr. Herbert, and to all of you gentlemen and to the organizations you represent. We deeply appreciate it.
The subcommittee will announce in the relatively near future the membership of a task force we are creating to further pursue this issue. We think it is of sufficient complexity and know it is of vital importance to make sure we have a number of members who are particularly concerned, including Mr. Skelton, who has been mentioned by you before, who has a long-standing involvement in this and others, to try to evolve it further for our full subcommittee recommendation, ultimately, of course, the full committee consideration. And I want to assure you, both of your reports will be very, very instrumental in that task force's work.
But let me start, I think there is some common ground here between the two reports. Particularly, it is the calling for the development of a strategic plan by the department to more effectively implement the requirements of this program and to do it in a way that perhaps would obviate some of the numbers that you, Mr. Stewart, spoke about in terms of empty seats and assignments of individual officers who technically should be qualified under both phases of the study program but, as you noted, are not yet.
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We have not yet seen the legislative package that DOD is going to send over. We know one is coming, we have some indications in broad terms what they may encompass. But we do understand, at least on the informal level, particularly to the GAO report, that DOD is suggesting that the major impediment for their implementing a strategic plan are those impediments found in the current law, that what they really need is the legislative package.
I would be interestedand I am sure it is a little bit of both, but DOD'sand it is not fair for me to characterize it, but I am getting the clear impression DOD's position is the vast majority of impediments as to developing a strategic plan is not their unwillingness to do a strategic plan but they cannot until they get the legislation changed.
To what extent do you accept that, if at all? And any ideas or any suggestions on what kind of specific legislative changes should be done first? And I would go to Mr. Stewart first on that.
Mr. STEWART. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We do not accept that position from the DOD. I do not know whether Dr. Chu's letter made it to the committee but in January, a month after we issued this report, Dr. Chu sent GAO a letter, actually it was a letter to the hill, saying that they did subsequently agree that a strategic approach was necessary.
Mr. Chairman, one caution that I would urge about legislative changes, I would ask the DOD to demonstrate how the legislation is an impediment. The legislation has built into it a number of waivers for almost everythinghow you designate joint specialty officers, waivers for promotions to the general flag officer level.
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I mean the law has a number of waivers, and we just do not understand how the legislation has been an impediment to the DOD. And I would just ask them to demonstrate that before we decide to make any changes to the legislation. There have been, as you know, a number of changes to the legislation already, a number of amendments, that I think, quite frankly, free the DOD to have a little more flexibility.
But what we are talking about is really basic, fundamental things like how many joint officers do you need? You say you have 9,000 joint positions, that has been certified by the secretary. How many joint officers do you need to fill those positions. The law requires DOD to create 800 critical joint duty positions.
How many JSOs do you need to fill those positions? How many JSOs are you producing on an annual basis? How do you know that that is a sufficient number? How do you know that your education program is structured so you produce the right number of joint officers each year, JSOs? So I mean these are fundamental questions that DOD has not been able to provide us a response to.
Take reservists. We went to about 12 different joint commands, Tactical Army Command (TACOM), Unified Command (UCOM). We found reservists working in every one of those joint organizationsevery one. But when you ask DOD how many reservists do you have working in joint positions, they tell you zero, because they do not count them, because they do not educate them, they do not have an education program for them, they do not meet the requirements.
But then we discovered that DOD has identified nearly 3,000 positions that it plans to fill with reservists, joint positions, if ever they are under mobilized conditions.
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So these are just fundamental questions, basic questions that the department should be able to answer. And our position is if they adopted a more strategic approach, they would be able to answer these questions. And until they can, I would be leery of any request to make changes to the legislation.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you for that very clear observation.
Dr. Herbert and Mr. Wilson.
Mr. WILSON. If I could
Mr. MCHUGH. Absolutely. Mr. Wilson.
Mr. WILSON [continuing]. Make a comment on that. One of the thingsas we went through the study, there were several questions that we put to ourselves and several observations as we developed our report. And the first observation is that the nature of war, the art of war is changing.
It is becoming increasingly joint. With that in mind, taking a strategic approach to developing the joint work force, as we call it, because it is more thanas we found, there were more than just officers who were impacting on joint positions.
We found that there were situations where the officer assigned against a position is deployed and sent someplace else. And the non-commissioned officer (NCO), senior NCO working in that office has to answer the phone, work the issues, because the problems and the issues associated with that headquarters has not gone away. However, that individual is not trained and educated for conducting the responsibilities of that position.
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There is sufficient flexibility in the law at present to structure the system, the positions that are there that require the particular joint skills and joint competencies that the Department of Defense could establish the requirements and then come back and say based on the legislative requirements that currently exist, there are things that are really impediments to what we do. There is waiver authority but if waiver authority becomes the norm, then some change is needed there.
Reference was made to critical positions, for example. Forty percent of the critical positions are filled with individuals who are not JSOs. And each of those positions, each of those filled is done on a case by case waiver basis. That is fairly extensive use of waiver. That suggests a different approach needed. I think that if taking a strategic view, saying what do we need to dowhat sort of skills and competencies are required to do this position, clearly identify those and then identify the individuals who fill those positions. Because one of the questions we would ask, for example, are critical positions valid positions? We were told critical positions really do not help. So we asked the question are there positions on this headquarters where it is particularly important that the occupant of that seat, the incumbent, have previous experience in a joint job as well as education? And folks could identify those positions. I think the strategic approach would allow you to identify what those positions are and then go forward from there.
There is sufficient flexibility to establish that system, come back and say to Congress, ''The legislative requirements for a floor of 800 positions,'' because that is the minimum requirement, ''is either too much or too little but here are the positions that we need.'' At present, that does not exist within the Department of Defense.
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Mr. MCHUGH. Well, let me just pursue that a bit more. I could not agree with you more. If you have a piece of legislation, be it applied against this issue or any other, where the waiver becomes the norm, you need to change something. And your comments on that are very well taken.
But I wonder using the figure of 40 percent, I believe you said, where all of those 40 percent are under waiver, while we certainly need to look at the legislative foundation upon which that occurred, might not that also suggest, however, that a plan by which to fill those 40 percent in another way if it is not consistent, I mean it seems they are just relying on the waiver because they are not meeting the requirements through the training and education program that should lead up to candidates being available who have that training go into that 40 percent. Or am I missing something?
Mr. WILSON. You are not. To identify thoseI will tell you, the people who are filling those 40 percent of those slots are not slouches; they are 0-6s, they are 0-5s, they are proficient, confident individuals. They just do not meet the requirements of the law that says that they should be joint specialty officers.
There needs to be a process that identifies what the actual requirement is. At the time when the law was established, initially the requirement was for 1,000 and that was an estimate, that was a best estimate. There was a subsequent study that said maybe 1,000 was too much, and the number was lowered to 800. But that is still an estimate.
Nobody has gone out and actually counted what are the positions that I need to have somebody that needs to have previous relevant experience to get that job done. That has to be done. And I think that there is sufficient flexibility to do that.
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However, the dilemma that the Department of Defense finds itself in is that there is a requirement to fill 800 positions with JSOs, and they fell obligated to meet that requirement, or if not meet it, then to use a waiver to get an individual who is capable of doing that job in that position.
Mr. MCHUGH. Understood.
Mr. STEWART. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Sir?
Mr. STEWART. If I may
Mr. MCHUGH. Please do.
Mr. STEWART [continuing]. Weigh in here? That is another reason why we are pushing the strategic approach. Because if DOD finds that 800 is not the right number, if the did this strategically, they could tell Congress what the right number is. I do not know what period of time Booz Allen looked at, but when we looked at these 800 critical joint duty positions, of the 800 positions, only 330 were filled with JSOs. There were also another 300 positions that were just totally vacant, not filled at all.
So if it is more positions then the department feels it needs, then with data and with looking at this whole thing strategically, they would have the information to come back to Congress and say, ''Here is the right number, and here is the right number of JSOs, and here is the right number of joint positions, and here's how many people we should be educating each year in order to produce the right number of JSOs.'' But they do not have that information because they have not adopted a strategic approach.
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Mr. MCHUGH. Mr. Wilson?
Mr. WILSON. Yes. In our report, for example, on that subject, we suggest a methodology, a way of going forward. There are 9,102 positions, field grade 0-4 and above, in the joint staff unified combative command defense agencies that are on the joint duty assignment list.
Of those 9,000 positions, at present, 50 percent should be filled with joint specialty officers or joint specialty officer nominees. A strategic approach to the actual requirements of how many people I need to fill those positions could go forward in defining those positions where it is critical that I have previous experience in those positions.
There are some positions where it would be required that the incumbent have either education or previous experience in that position, and there would be some positions where it is good training for somebody at a future stage to be involved integration of air, land and sea forces in a campaign to be associated with joint matters. However, no such criteria exists for identifying those positions.
And what that does is it drives the system to produce individuals based on an estimate of how many joint specialty officers and joint specialty officer nominees are needed, that number being 50 percent, that, in turn, drives production requirements at Joint Forces Staff College in producing joint professional military education level two qualified individuals and all of those sorts of things, rather than on what do I actually need to get this job done.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCHUGH. Yes. Dr. Herbert?
Dr. HERBERT. Mr. Chairman, I concur with everything that has been said by my two colleagues here. What I would like to add to that discussion, your question of whether or not the law is an obstacle to the strategic plan, no it is not. We made the point in our opening remarks that the law could be streamlined, but that streamlining ought not to take place in the absence of this more comprehensive approach.
And my observation would be that when you look at the implementing policy within the Department of Defense for this particular part of the law, it is almost a word for word reflection of the law. It is not an elaboration, it is not a further discussion, it is not an implementation.
And so the management of this whole program is very, very much focused on the annual reporting requirements of the Secretary of Defense to Congress. And by most of those measures, DOD does a pretty good job. And because those things force certain kinds of assignment patterns to happen, positive changes happen. This is not all like it is a great disaster.
But one of the things we say in our report is that the law gives a fairly good center of gravity for strategic approach because it defines the term, ''joint matters,'' and it says these are matters relating to the integrated employment of land, sea and air forces and the associated strategy planning and command and control and combat operations of those forces.
That is a real good center of gravity on which to base thinking about in this era of a changing style, a profoundly changing style of warfare, of thinking about these requirements and how the law might be updated to meet them.
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You will read this in our report but our critique is that much of what actually takes place is focused far more on meeting the numbers than it is that understanding of what joint matters are and why we have these systems in place in the first place.
Mr. MCHUGH. Yes. And I think that is a critical point. And I do not really think there is a wide chasm between the approach here between your companies, that any legislative initiative should be predicated upon the clear intent of implementing a strategic policy, rather that just making some subversive changes to it that would apparently just further that which you just observed most recently that this is almost a mathematics challenge for the services and DOD to meet the numbers rather than to embody the principles of the program. Fair?
Dr. HERBERT. Yes, sir. I think that is fair. I think that is fair.
Mr. MCHUGH. I do not want to put any words in your mouth.
Dr. HERBERT. In all of these issues there is a glass half empty and glass half full quality to it, and I think you have read our bios. Mr. Wilson and I are both retired military officers. I would give the department a lot of credit for it being a very different set of armed forces that are before you today. And the general officers who come in here to talk to you about this issue are people who have served the last 20 years under Goldwater-Nichols. It really is a different generation of officers. And I think that is all to the good.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But a better job can be done of focusing these processes on joint war fighting requirements more clearly, more specifically in order to derive those legislative changes that may be necessary.
Mr. WILSON. Sir, if I could add
Mr. MCHUGH. Mr. Wilson.
Mr. WILSON [continuing]. A point here. If I think of this from a strategic perspective, I think a strategic review would probably identify for the Department of Defense that there are probably positions right now that the law does not accommodate as positions that would allow them to give an individual credit for joint duty.
I will use, for example, there are positions within the services. If I am a Navy officer serving in an Air Force organization that is involved in integrating the air power of the Air Force, the Army, the Marines and the Navy, that Navy officer serving on that Air Force staff is involved in integrating the capabilities of more than one service. That individual does not get credit for the three years that they spend in that job. That is an extra levy on that individual's career path.
I think a process that goes through identifying those kinds of positions and provides a sound trail that takes you from A to Z in how that individual and what that individual does would allow the services to utilize that individual. They would see that payback for that individual's time away from the service. They would not then see that as an additional levy.
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And I think one of the things that needs to happen with a strategic approach is how do I take the requirements of the joint world and integrate them with the requirements of my service career path so that when I send an individual to a joint job it is not something that is extra or additive? I do not pay a penalty for sending my best and brightest to a joint organization. I see return because there is a better mesh between the two.
I think that is something that is very difficult to legislate. It is something that has to happen as a sort of integrative, collaborative process between the Department of Defense, the Joint Staff and the services.
Mr. MCHUGH. Point is well taken. Let me yield to Ms. Sanchez if she has any questions.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, gentlemen, for being here. I know Booz Allen does good work, because I used to work for that firm. [Laughter.]
But I actually have a question back to what you were just talking about, somebody getting assigned into a joint service situation and then coming back and maybe their superior not finding a value, in essence, of that.
I guess I would say is that the case? Is it typically viewed as something that you go and do for a few years but there is really nothow does it affect an individual soldier in their career path? Is it a good thing, is it bad, do we not place a heavy enough emphasis on that, in their promotional abilities?
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Mr. WILSON. I would say that a joint job is a plus. There are individuals who see benefits in joint assignments. One of the critiques of the current system is that because a joint job is a prerequisite to be promoted to general.
If I have not done a joint job by the time I am selected for general, then my first job after selection has to be in joint duty. That requirement introduces a ''careerist'' aspect to it. If I need to go get a joint job because a joint job helps me get promoted, it may not make me a general but it helps, it is a good ticket to have.
So on one level, a joint job is a good thing to have. If I do it once, fine, but there are individuals in response to our survey who said that if I do it more than once, I see it as a detriment, because it is keeping me away from my career path that will allow me to be promoted and selected for command.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Within a certain service.
Mr. WILSON. That is correct.
Dr. HERBERT. Right.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Did you find the same thing, Mr. Stewart?
Mr. STEWART. Yes. A joint job is a plus as long as it does not take you away from your service for too long.
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Ms. SANCHEZ. Because the service itself, or the commanding officers of that service, view it as outside
Mr. WILSON. Not necessarily. There may be certain jobs that in order to command men and women in battle, you need to have
Ms. SANCHEZ. You need a certain set of skill sets and
Mr. WILSON. You need certain skill sets and you need a certain degree of credibility leading men and women with those positions. But one of the things that we noticed that there is a difference across various career fields. There are some career fields that are joint intense.
For example, in the intelligence community or in the communications community where there are more opportunities for repeat assignments because that is where the jobs are, that is where the significant integration ofand especially with the developing technology the things that make jointinformation operations, communications, space, those sort of thingsvery often they allow for careers at responsible levels, at 0-6, for example, for more than one tour.
Dr. HERBERT. If I could
Ms. SANCHEZ. Yes, Doctor.
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Dr. HERBERT. Could I respond to that? On this question of whether or not a joint assignment is a good thing, it certainly is for the reasons that my colleagues just mentioned.
Ms. SANCHEZ. For the individual.
Dr. HERBERT. Yes.
Ms. SANCHEZ. But how is it viewed by the service? Maybe is that a cultural problem?
Dr. HERBERT. Yes.
Ms. SANCHEZ. You send somebody off too many times to be integrated with other services or what have you and they are notthe worse is not
Dr. HERBERT. Yes. I would like to talk to that. The first point that I would make is that the law did that. The law said in 1986, thou shalt not make general or flag officer unless you have been through a joint duty assignment. And, oh, by the way, the Secretary of Defense will decide what assignments count as joint duty assignments. That will not be under the control of the individual services.
That is a very good thing that the law did, and we can critique the system, the way the system is managed and applied and everything else, there is good news, bad news, and we talk about it in our report, but the fact that almost all of your flag officers today have had at least one of these joint duty assignments is a good thing. And if for no other reason than the career promotion value, I think it is widely accepted in the officer corps that to have one of these assignments is a good thing.
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Now, there is a second thing that is very much alive in the officer corps, and this is a profound cultural difference from the 1980s and earlier, and that is that officers understand that we have to fight joint. Certainly, General Franks and the officers who are about to command our men and women in the Persian Gulf and Iraq understand the imperatives of joint war fighting as well as any panel of folks like us that is going to come in and talk to you.
Officers will go to relevant joint war fighting assignments, learn a great deal, and that makes them better, and they take professional satisfaction out of it, and it is not by any stretch of the imagination merely careerist ambition that sends them out to a joint assignment. But the other thing that is at work here, and we talk about this in our report, is that the age in which we live is putting tremendous stress on how we define the military profession within each service in general. And this is a matter of interest, not just for the department but certainly for the Congress and the American people. It is a historical phenomenon.
What services are interested in doing is producing the very best general, officer, commander they can of their service, and they have very demanding career tracks that bring a person from lieutenant or ensign to general or admiral. And it is in their nature not to want to deviate from those career paths very much. And in order to keep a great deal of people interested in pursuing that career, you have to make it apparent that most of us can get through here. What the law does is says you have to make room in those career paths for a certain amount of this joint experience. It is important for these other joint headquarters that are very, very important to joint war fighting. And all of this to and fro over the last 16 years between the Department and the Congress is, in part, a debate about how you reconcile these two competing tensions with the services naturally wanting to keep their people, keep control of their people and keep their people in career paths to the maximum extent possible and the law, on the other hand, saying, no, you cannot have it that way 100 percent. And that is still the issue that is on the table.
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I probably gave you more of a answer than you wanted, but I hope that in that answer we reflect as we tried to in the report the tremendous complexity of these issues and of the law. And I guess our concern would be that as the law is updated as it needs to be, one needs to look very, very carefully at the second and third order consequences. The issue being control of getting good officers into joint headquarters needs to be outside the four individual services.
Ms. SANCHEZ. I also had a question for you, Dr. Herbert. You mentioned that the curriculum should change from a 90-day to a full year.
Dr. HERBERT. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Could you elaborate on that as to why and what additionalwhy such a change? Why would you recommend such a change?
Dr. HERBERT. Yes. I think the first one has to understand is the purpose that the Joint Forces Staff College currently performs. It delivers the second tier of joint education, that part of joint education that qualifies an officer to be a joint specialist, a JSO is the term that we have used.
The first tier is delivered by the officer's service staff college or service war college. For an Army officer at Fort Leavenworth, the Command and General Staff College, or for a naval officer, it would be at Newport. And then if the service decides we want this officer to become a joint specialist, they will send them to Norfolk for a second tier, which the law says must not be more than 90 daysI am sorry, not less than 90 days, and it is exactly 90 days. And that is the school down at Norfolk. So it does that second phase.
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There are a great many difficulties with that. The school does a good job with the mission it is given in the law and with the mission it is given by the chairman and the president of the National Defense University, and the officers who go there get a pretty good second level of joint operational education. But here is the difficulty. They go on temporary duty for those 90 days. And what that means is the officer is actually supposed to be in another assignment, having graduated from his or her service school but is delayed to attend this school.
The second consequence is, because the capacity of the school is only 300 students, many officers go onto that assignment and then have to come back to the school. The practical effect of that is that having this school creates 90-day absences in all of our joint commands of officers coming back to attend this 90-day school.
We went out to all of the unified commands, and the unified commanders or their representatives unanimously complained about this problem. They said, ''When we get an officer here, we want the officer to be here for the full two years.''
Ms. SANCHEZ. Right. So he basically gets here and the first thing we do is get him room in the college and off he goes.
Dr. HERBERT. Exactly. And with increasing operating tempo (OPTEMPO) and other turbulence that is in the force, a lot of times officers never come back to the school. They have an increasing empty seat problem and not utilized, and there are other difficulties with the actual integration of the school into the system of professional military schools.
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If you made it a one-year school and made it to graduate with everybody else, there are ways that we talk about in the report that you could still do your two tiers of education, but you would eliminate this problem of absenteeism. You would eliminate it for the joint commands. Now, the services still have to find officers to fill those seats and that is never easy in our current environment.
But our report will talk about another reason why we think this is necessary. Joint warfare is a profoundly important historical phenomena. When the law was passed in the 1980s, we thought of joint warfare as happening at unified command levels. It now happens at what we call operational tactics, the very low levels like Operation Enduring Freedom where
Ms. SANCHEZ. On the battlefield.
Dr. HERBERT [continuing]. Sergeants and lieutenants and captains are involved in this thing. And I think that if you move the Joint Forces Staff College from what it is today, sort of focusing on meeting the numbers of this 90-day school to train officers involved and fill these positions in joint headquarters and focus them on the theory and practice of joint warfare and the future of joint warfare, I think they would provide an even richer educational role, professional military educational role than that perform today. And that is why.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Stewart
Mr. STEWART. Yes.
Ms. SANCHEZ [continuing]. Would you care to comment on that recommendation or did you find the same?
Mr. STEWART. Well, we have not had a chance to really evaluate their recommendations. But on the surface, I think we have had some difficulty with that. I am not clear how extending the Joint Forces Staff College from 90 days to a year is going to fix the problem that they identify. I mean instead of the person being gone for 90 days, they are going to be gone for a year. I do not know that that is going to make a unified commander happy either. But we have not looked at it, so I do not know all the particulars of their recommendation.
I will just note that before Joint Forces Staff College was 90 days, it was six months, and people complained that that was too long. And so then it went to 90 days. I would also add that there is a year-long program at the National Defense University that combines both phases. Now, if we are talking a year at Joint Forces Staff College that combines both phases, then what we have done is we have replicated the National Defense University, and that may be okay.
But, again, I do not know that the department is in a position to say that they need 900 seats at the Joint Forces Staff College plus 300 seats at the National Defense University, 1,200 seats for a year-long program. I do not know if they are in the position to justify 1,200 graduates on a year-long basis for joint JSOs. I do not know. So we would have to look at their proposal in more detail to be more definitive than I have been at this point.
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Ms. SANCHEZ. Well, I would say that we are all looking forward to seeing that report, and thank you, gentlemen, for being here today.
Mr. MCHUGH. Mr. Cooper.
Mr. COOPER. I have no questions.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
Gentlemen, obviously, we have said that we have a task force that is going to be looking at this, and the very provocative findings in your report are going to be very helpful there. Let me just make one final inquiry. Certain things, obviously, you cannot quantify, you cannot study. It has long been my suspicion that part of the challenge here, vis-a-vis the DOD perspective, is that perhaps there is a feeling that they do not have ownership of this initiative, that in point of fact, this is something that was imposed upon them legislatively.
And I do not want to say they are questioning it, and certainly in this current administration they are not questioning the necessity of jointness at all, but I am just saying the way in which we have structured it perhaps has not been totally bought into by them because it did not come from them. And I think that is human nature.
That is a guess on my part. We couldn't study that, but we can look at the numbers, and we know, for example, that the Air Force, statistically, has met the requirements to a far greater extent than the Army, Navy, the Marine Corps.
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Were you able to assess that at all? Are there any kinds of findings or deductions we can make as to why perhaps it is working better in the Air Force than perhaps the other services?
Mr. STEWART. Mr. Chairman, in doing our work, we made the same observation. The Air Force almost in every category was ahead of the other services in terms of the numbers of officers that they sent to the Joint Forces Staff College, the number of officers that they sent to joint positions. They led the way in almost every category.
We did not evaluate why that is the case, and I do not know that you ever could. My speculation is that it is just a matter of emphasis. Some services emphasize jointness and joint assignments, joint education more than others. And the Air Force seems to be the one that is right at the top, given the data, if you look at the data.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, as I said, that is basically all we have.
Mr. Wilson, Dr. Herbert, anything to add to that?
Mr. WILSON. It is hard to say that one service is morelet me put it this way: We talked to all of the services and we asked them how joint they were, and they all were joint. [Laughter.]
Mr. MCHUGH. As in we are all great members of Congress too.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WILSON. And they all had plausible reasons on how they approached jointness. The way we fight requires each of the services to play with the other service, and therefore they all have varying degrees of jointness.
If you look at statistics, the numbers that we talk about, for a while, looking at the promotion numbers, the Air Force over the past few years they were doing fairly well. However, I think the operational tempo requirements over the past few years have made some impact on how the Air Force approaches assigning individuals, as they put it, outside the Air Force.
And there have been several articles where the Air Force says, ''We need to look at where we assign Air Force outside the Air Force.'' And I would say that some of the promotion staff the past few boards they have not performed as well as they did a few years ago.
I would tell you that whereas the Navy may be behind in terms of their promotion numbers, they are doing twice as well as they were doing seven years ago. So they are more joint than they used to be. Are they where they would like to be or where we want them to be? Probably not, but the trend line is in the right direction.
The Army and the Marines, the numbers also indicate that if you were to use promotion rates as a measure, for example, of getting jointness or being more joint, the services are more so than they used to be. And I would argue that one of the reasons that contributes to that is the sort of leadership and attention that is paid to that aspect.
And the GAO report, I think, points out this fact, that promotion rates since 1995 for all the services in the joint arena they meet the objectives more often than they did prior to 1995. And I think that the actions of several chairmen, Chairman Powell, Chairman Shalikashvili, paying attention to promotion rates, holding the services to task, saying, ''What is happening here? There are requirements in law. You are not meeting it. You need to pay attention to it.''
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Over several years that changed the focus, and the services have been doing better at promotion rates and using those as a measure of something that you can track, because it is very difficult at present.
One of the questions when asked of the field what is jointness, how joint are you? People will tell you, ''We are more joint than we used to be,'' but they cannot give you a metric. They cannot give you a number that says on a scale of one to ten, because of this, this, this, we are more joint. Folks point to the effectiveness in terms of how Desert Shield, Desert Storm was fought, how we did Operation Anaconda.
The services have different assignment policies. They are different communities and it is very hard to use a metric against one and say, ''You are not joint,'' and go to another service that uses their people a little bit differently and say they are more joint than the other. It is a dilemma that they are in.
And I think that is one of the things that has made it very difficult for the Department of Defense to sit down and say, ''okay, let's get our strategic heads around it.'' But it is something that has to be done if they are to come back and say, ''Here is the reason why I need to do this.''
If you look at the history of, for example, of initiatives to make certain positions in services joint, they have not been successful, but I think that an argument could be made for certain positions to be. But that has to be done looking at the big picture.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCHUGH. Yes. You used the phrase, I believe it was, operations tempo (OPSTEMPO)OPSTEMPO or personnel tempo (PERSTEMPO), which leads me to another thought. When I was in the state legislature in Albany, in my committee room we had a little signI do not even know who stuck it up there nor how long it was there, but it was a little saying that read, ''When you are up to your butt in alligators it is sometimes hard to remember your original intent was to drain the swamp.''
To what extent, if at all, does the current PERS and OPSTEMO really inhibit the ability of each of the services to focus on the requirements? Because they are up to their butts in alligators, in Bosnia, in Kosovo, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Korea, the Philippines, Colombia, all throughout the Middle East, homeland defense. Does that put any pressure on them? You want to have your general officers and your aspiring general officers out there doing the job of defending the country, wherever that job may be posed.
Mr. STEWART. Mr. Chairman
Mr. MCHUGH. Mr. Stewart.
Mr. STEWART [continuing]. I would like to respond to that. We have thought this about this a lot, and obviously the current operations and the increased number of military operations over the years has definitely put increased demands on all the services. But if you look at the total active duty force, 1.3 million and 1.4 million men and women, and then you look at how many do we have in Kosovo, how many are in Bosnia, how many are in Southwest Asia. I mean when you look at the numbers it is not 1.4 million.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When you look at joint positions, we took the 9,000 joint positions and we broke it down by grade, 04s, 05s, 06s, your flag officers comprise maybe three percent of those positions. So where are these other generals? They are not in joint positions.
So I just wanted to offer that as a balance to say there is a lot going on right now and there a lot of demands on the services and there are a lot of demands for jointness, but not everybody is in a joint position, and we just need to be aware of that to keep the balance.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, you make a good point. There is another perspective to that. Let's take 37,000 in Korea. Well, you have a three-for-one rotation. I mean that is not just 37,000. That is 37,000 coming out of that rotation that obviously have things to do
Mr. STEWART. That is right.
Mr. MCHUGH [continuing]. Thirty seven thousand on the ground, and 37,000 who are training to go into that operation on the rotation. So you are talking over 100,000 and that is obviouslyyou are right, the numbers, and I have been there in the not too distant past, and Kosovo and Bosnia have dramatically come down. In fact, most of Bosnia or Kosovo is all being done by guard and reserves. So you are right.
I do not know if either of you gentlemen
Mr. WILSON. I would say what OPSTEMPO demands is a simpler system. The joint officer management system is a concoction of different rules that are in sometimes opposition to one another. Jointness is going to happen whether or not we are as busy as we are now or ten times as busy. The technology, there are things that are happening out there that are forcing the services to have to integrate their operations, and none of them can do it on their own.
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What they need is a simpler, more streamlined system. If you look at some of the rules about how you manage critical occupational skilled officers and whether or not an individual gets joint credit for moving from one area of one building to another area of the building, which is in a different command from the one he is coming from because he is in a dual-hatted situation, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM), for example, those rules make it very difficult for the personnel managers to manage the system.
There is a requirement to have people in positions where they are expert at integrating the service capabilities that we wield today in the finest military in the world. That requires experience, that requires training. What they are saying is there has to be a simpler way of doing it.
At the same time, there has to be a way that forces the services to really get outside of themselves. The services will tell you, and the service chiefs will tell you, that when they get up in the morning they have 100,000 person organizations that if Goldwater-Nichols did not exist, those organizations would consume their entire day. They all say we need to keep Goldwater-Nichols. It forces us to do things jointly, it forces us to get outside of our service bubble.
So, yes, OPSTEMPO does play a part in, one, getting people to jobs, getting people to schools, but the unified combatant commands, the tempo at some of the commands are such that they cannot afford to let people go or if you have to be in the cycle when nothing is going on, then you can go to school.
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Mr. MCHUGH. I do not know when that will be or when it has been. Well, again, as all three of you gentlemen for the past hour plus, you make some good points there. Because I guess the real conundrum is I menued a good number of places where very important and very dangerous work is ongoing. The challenge is while it may in some ways inhibit your opportunity time-wise to go to get that joint experience, in those theaters you better damn well know how to operate jointly because that is how we are fighting.
Mr. WILSON. One of the things we need to do is give them credit for the joint experience they are getting in those areas right now. And right now there is difficulty in doing that.
Dr. HERBERT. Yes. That is the point I would make. I agree with both my colleagues that OPSTEMPO affects this, particularly when it comes to school. And I will tell you, OPSTEMPO can drive you to penny-wise, pound-foolish solutions in that regard as you try to get the most efficiency out of a system and maybe don't set yourself for the long term. But I think this is why the strategic approach is necessary, this very last point.
Of all these different headquarters we talk about, I believe, and I cannot say this on the basis of research we did for the study because we could only research so many things, but from those things we did look at, there are officers out in some of these places that you refer to who are participating directly in the integrated employment of land, sea and air forces, and they are doing it from a perspective other than their own current service, which is exactly the kind of development experience we want them to have, both to become a flag officer or to be a joint specialist. And yet we are not giving themthe current law does not allow them to be given credit. I cannot say that DOD has not made an effort to change that, but one of the things I would look for in the strategic approach from DOD is to articulate this change and to identify that kind of phenomena as the basis for why some parts of the law need to be changed.
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Now, what we say very heroically in our report, and I hope that we are right about this, it is that basing an initiative to update the legislation on that kind of approach might have a certain amount of appeal with the Congress as opposed to taking the approach that this particular metric is difficult to manage and so it ought to go away.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
Well, gentlemen, as I mentioned before, we have spent a little over an hour on this, and, as I mentioned prior to that, I want to provide Mr. Stewart, who has graciously agreed to stay, the opportunity to present his testimony with respect to support of the guard and reserve for pay and benefits.
So with our thanks, Mr. Wilson, Dr. Herbert, appreciate your effort, and for the third time I will mention, obviously, your work along with the GAO study will be very helpful to us as we approach this, and I hope we are positioned well enough to heed your advice and look forward to perhaps getting back to you at a point when we run into some sticky wickets for further advice. Appreciate it, both you gentlemen.
And, Mr. Stewart, as your colleagues on the previous panel are going home to a warm meal, I hope
Mr. MCHUGH [continuing]. We will give you time to get out your comments.
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And as I understand you and John Chapla discussed, you are going to confine your comments to the pay and benefit portion rather than the employer support portion.
Mr. STEWART. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. I am going to condense this considerably and just hit some highlights.
Mr. MCHUGH. Terrific.
Mr. STEWART. Again, we are pleased to be here to discuss reserve personnel issues. Citing the increased use of reserves to support military operations, Congress directed GAO via mandate to review compensation benefit programs for reservists. Our review is ongoing, so what I am about to tell you is preliminary. We expect that we will have a final report later this year. So these are preliminary findings.
But I would like to address three areas, and they are all related to when a reservist is called up. These areas are income loss, family support services and health care access. Concerning income loss, our preliminary results indicate that reservists in the past have experienced varying degrees of income loss or income gain after being mobilized or deployed.
While income data for current operations Mobile Eagle and Enduring Freedom were not available, DOD's data for past military operations show that 41 percent of reservists reported income loss, 30 percent reported no change in their income, 29 percent reported an increase in their income. So in other words, almost 60 percent of reservists reported that their income either stayed the same or got better during their last deployment.
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Income loss was much greater for some groups than others. For example, reservists who were self-employed reported an average loss of $6,500. Also, physicians in private practice reported an average loss of over $25,000. Income loss also varied by Reserve component and rank.
For example, average losses range from $600 for members of the Air National Guard up to $3,800 for Marine Corps reservists. Senior officers reported an average loss of $5,000 compared to $700 for junior enlisted members. About half of all reservists ranked income loss among their most serious problems when they are deployed.
Mr. Chairman, turning now to family support. More than half of all reservists are married and about half have children. According to DOD data, two of the most serious problems reservists said they experienced while activated were the burdens placed on their spouses and the problems created for their children.
When reservists are called up they are generally eligible for the same family support services as active duty members. However, reservists and their families face challenges in understanding and accessing these services.
DOD data further indicates that more than half of all reservists believed that family support services were not available to them. DOD has taken steps that could help to improve awareness and outreach to reservists and their families. We will continue to assess DOD's efforts in this area as we complete our study.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On the issue of health care, despite the availability of DOD health care benefits, many reservists in the past elected to maintain their civilian health care coverage while activated. Nearly 80 percent of reservists reported having civilian health care coverage when they were not on active duty. Of these, about 90 percent maintained it during their past mobilization, primarily to ensure continuity of health benefits and care for their dependents.
Some reservists who dropped their civilian coverage and enrolled in DOD's health care program reported that their dependents experienced a number of problems, including understanding benefits and finding providers of care. DOD, in response to our recommendations, has taken steps to improve health care information and assistance to reservists. We will continue to assess DOD's efforts in this area as we complete our study as well.
Mr. Chairman, that is a truncated version of my statement. That concludes my statement, and I am prepared to take your questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Stewart can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, thank you very much. This is an area as well, and it is true for all the four panels we have scheduled, but I was honored to lead a congressional delegation a number of weeks ago throughout several bases in Europe, talking exclusivelywell, talking primarily to guard and reserve folks to try to get a handle on these issues.
And you look at the rates of utilization, the average duty days that have befallen the guard and reserves certainly since Gulf War I, one million average duty days a year back then, now it is almost 13 million average duty days, and there is not a relief in site.
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These, it seems to me, are the kinds of questions we are going go to have to begin to focus on very seriously if we are going to expect to maintain a guard and reserve initiative in this so-called new age seamless military where if you go to these bases, you cannot findor any kind of activity being done without the very important participation of the guard and reserve. We would better do everything we can to ensure the viability of the program itself.
And the second part of what you were originally prepared to testify on, employer support, is a critical part of that as well. How far do we go before we break that with the OPSTEMPOs and the repeated call-ups, et cetera? And I am not going to ask you to go into a lot of depth here, because it is a work in progress. We wanted very much to getwell, it was two things.
One, you were going to be here anyway, so we saw a great opportunity to begin to put into our thought process and for really the benefit of the subcommittee members and ultimately the full committee the fact that we do need to focus on these, and your study in its finality, particularly, will be very, very helpful, very important in focusing our initiative and helping us to focus in those areas that the guard and reservists particularly identify. And if I had to guess and pick three or four issues that I would have bet that you have probably heard most often, they are indeednot that it makes me particularly astute, but these are clearly the areas, as your surveys have found, that we heard the most concern about. And I am hopeful we can take your report and help us become perhaps more creative in addressing those issues.
You mentioned health care, for example. As I am sure you know, there was a program initiated in a very short term for incomeI said health carefor income protection that just did not work. It was very broadly based, and I suspect there are any number of reasons for that, but even if members, perhaps, could have benefited from it, they did not then. So maybe using your findings, that 40 percent critical mass number, will help us to take a new look at our approach that maybe just focuses on those or at least those likely categories. How do we structure a program that is perhaps less broadly based because it is not as broadly needed as we would have assumed? And hopefully in that effort make it somehow more attractive to those.
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Mr. STEWART. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. So that would be helpful.
And similarly, on health care. I am not sure why it is absolutely necessary to not require but make the single path for health care coverage you have to go under TRICARE Prime. You mentioned continuity. Stay with the devil you are with. Every year when I sign up for my federal health insurance, I pick last year's choice just because I know what the heck it is. I think I know what the heck it is. I may find out differently.
And I am sure that is the way these families, particularly with some of the short-term, short-notice call-ups. Why go through that? Well, maybe there are some things we can do in those areas where it would be useful to help them, rather than going to TRICARE help them stay where they are, given their new income limit.
So that is just kind of put on the record for our future deliberations. I do not know if Mr. Cooper may have some specific questions.
Mr. STEWART. Mr. Chairman, may I just
Mr. MCHUGH. Oh, absolutely. Please.
Mr. STEWART [continuing]. Very quickly, I think you are right on with the income protection. The large mobilization insurance program that was instituted back after the Gulf War, it did not work because it was too broad and the people most at risk were the ones who signed up. But we do have the data which suggests that there are certain groups who suffer more than others.
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The Army, for example, after doing a number of studies, identified medical practitioners as a real problem. They are losing their thoracic surgeons and medical people that they just really need. So the Army is exploring an option of some special pay for medical types. Not all medical people but certain specialties within the medical field.
I think some targeted approach may be more the answer than some global let's just pay everybody more money because there is income loss. As I noted in my statement, 60 percent of reservists, at least for data that pre-dates the current operations, indicated that they either stayed the same or got better. It is the 41 percent that we have to be concerned about, and then we have to dissect that to see what makes up that 41 percent and maybe target some approach to help those people. But I just wanted to say that I agree with your comment on it, on maybe a more targeted approach.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, good. Well, I appreciate that. I need all the agreeing and validity I can get, trust me. We will certainly look with great anticipation toward the completion of your ongoing analysis.
Mr. STEWART. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. Mr. Cooper, I will go back to you, sir.
Mr. COOPER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Did I not see somewhere in the GAO report at least a reference to an earlier RAND study that indicated that income changes had not been a factor in having 99 percent readiness or 99 percent
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Mr. STEWART. Yes, sir. I think we mentioned that there was a 1998 RAND study that showed that forand this addressed, I think, just the enlisted members, that while income loss was experienced, I believe it was, for the Gulf War, it did not affect retention. But we should watch closely the retention rates based on what is going on now.
I think, as the chairman noted when he was out talking to the guard and the reserves, people are beginningespecially certain specialties, I mean your security people, your intel civil affairs, psychological operations, there are certain units, certain specialties that are being deployed over and over and over and over, and we need to watch the retention rates in those specialties for sure, because I think we may start seeing a decline in the retention rates there. But that is right, the RAND study said that there was no noticeable difference based on income loss. That was for enlisted members.
Mr. COOPER. I hate to borrow trouble but this might be one of those problems that is not a problem today but could be a problem and we need to be very alert to the warning signs. Tell me about the student component of this. About how many reservists are students and what obstacles do they face?
Mr. STEWART. There is a federal statute, as you know, that protects civilian reservists and guarantees their right to return to employment and the pick-up to health insurance and et cetera. There is no analogous federal statute for students, and we have actually talked to some of these people. If a student is in medical school or in a college or university and he is mid-semester and he is paid his tuition and fees and room and board, yes, sir, and he gets called up, he loses all of that.
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Now, at the time we did our study, there were only three states with statutes that protected students' rights in some way. I am pleased to report that today there are 15there are 12 additional states that have statutes. But there is a problem there. We have determined that between 25 and 30 percent of all reservists are students. And so they do make up a fairly large part of the total reservist population, and there be someit seems that there should be some attention paid to their situation.
We actually recommended in our report, that we issued I believe it was June of last year, that the National Committee for the Employer Support for the guard and reserve, commonly referred to as ESGR, that they, in addition to working with employers, that they also try to work with colleges and universities to help students that have experienced problems when they were called up.
Mr. COOPER. Mr. Chairman, why don't we pass a federal law? This affects one-quarter of our guard and reserve.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, one of the reasons we wanted this looked at is for the very points that, Mr. Cooper, you have suggested. However, as happens in Washington, were it you and I we would have no difficulty. We have a jurisdictional problem of legislative authority over this issue with the Education and Workforce Committee that we hopefully can work through with them.
Without getting critical of my dear friend, Mr. Boehner, the chairman, that is their prerogative. I can tell you my guess is they are going to be doing something this year. They have both a majority and a minority proposal, and we are optimistic, and hopefully this study, to the extent it can be instructive for them and motivate the further, will indeed be made available to them in that regard. That is not to say we do not have some jurisdiction, we indeed do, but it becomes somewhat problematic. Just in case you thought it was going to be easy. [Laughter.]
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Mr. MCHUGH.Because it does, I mean it makes a lot of sense. Really, it is very unfair, particularly with the cost of tuition these days.
Mr. COOPER. Help me understand another situation. Assuming that you had, through your private employer or otherwise, life insurance, is that void in war circumstances?
Mr. STEWART. I think the answer is no. I think there is the Sailor-Soldiers Relief Act has a number of requirements in it that your debt can be reduced to six percent on your loans, that that not exceed six percent. I think another element of that law is that your life insurance cannot be canceled. I think that is right. I will double check that, but I think that is right.
Mr. MCHUGH. If the gentleman yield. Were you speaking of cancellation or coverage?
Mr. COOPER. Coverage.
Mr. STEWART. Oh.
Mr. MCHUGH. No. It does not cover it. But that, in theory, and you can certainly discuss the benefit levels of one versus the other, that is my understanding. I used to be in insurance and I guarantee you every policy I ever soldand there may be an escape provision, the gentleman raised a good point; we ought to take a look at Soldiers-Sailors Relief Act for thatwould make death as act of war null and void. But the cancellation protection is there.
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Mr. COOPER. It would be a shame if you paid your premiums your whole life, you get called up as a reservist or guardsmen and then your insurance does not work through no fault of your own.
How about disability coverage, private disability coverage? All too few Americans have that. So would that be voided in war?
Mr. STEWART. I would have to take your question and research that. We have not looked at that, but that is a good issue, disability coverage. We will add that to our study.
Mr. COOPER. I have no more questions, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. The gentleman raised some good points, and I am not sure we can compel private companies to provide coverage in a war theater but it certainly merits looking at as to if we are going to talk about income protection, that is the area of private insurance coverages, be it disability or life. Although you would not lose your policy when you got back, life insurance is a gamble, and if you are going to get killed, I guess you would hate to have your family miss out on the benefits that you paid over time, although you are provided, of course, with military coverage, which generally would not come up to the level of benefits of a private policy.
Mr. COOPER. Mr. Chairman, so many casualties occur not necessarily in battle but in shipments overseas, accidents
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Mr. MCHUGH. True.
Mr. COOPER [continuing]. Even in an administrative situation.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, I saw Mr. Stewart writing it down, so unless he is a member of Congress he means to follow up. We do that a lot. [Laughter.]
It does not mean anything, but I trust he will, and we will certainly look at that further. And I appreciate the gentleman.
Mr. Stewart, we are going to let you back to work. You have a few hours before it is midnight, so you are still on the clock with your company, the GAO. But, sincerely, I have had great experiences with GAO and other chairs I have held in the Postal Service and such, and it is certainly no exception the assistance that you personally have provided and the General Accounting Office itself on this initiative but on so many others. You do great work and we deeply appreciate it. Your input, I hope, certainly should make our output a lot better and that is why we call upon you so often.
Mr. STEWART. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman; it is our pleasure. And I would just like to take a quick second and give credit to
Mr. MCHUGH. Please do.
Mr. STEWART. this great team sitting behind me.
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Mr. MCHUGH. Please do. They are the only ones still here. [Laughter.]
Mr. STEWART. It is a great team. And we are all working hard to do this right, because we think this is very, very important. So thank you.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, I tell you, the GAO reports we receive come with the imprimatur of accuracy, and that is a pretty hard reputation to gain in this town and particularly to maintain, so I know you all work collectively together and do a terrific job. So thank you so much.
Mr. STEWART. Thank you, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. And just because we are on camera here, I will say the hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 6:40 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]