SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 1084]
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
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TITLE IIIOPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
DIVISION BMILITARY CONSTRUCTION AUTHORIZATIONS
MARCH 20, 2003
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado, Chairman
HOWARD P. ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico
KEN CALVERT, California
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
JEFF MILLER, Florida
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTOM COLE, Oklahoma
ROB BISHOP, Utah
CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan
MIKE ROGERS, Alabama
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
LANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM MARSHALL, Georgia
MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, Guam
Richard Stark, Professional Staff
Diane Bowman, Staff Assistant
Danleigh Halfast, Staff Assistant
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C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Thursday, March 20, 2003, Fiscal Year 2004 National Defense Authorization ActMilitary Construction Budget Request for Programs of the Active and Reserve Components of the Department of the Navy and the Department of the Air Force
Thursday, March 20, 2003
THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 2003
FISCAL YEAR 2004 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTMILITARY CONSTRUCTION BUDGET REQUEST FOR PROGRAMS OF THE ACTIVE AND RESERVE COMPONENTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY AND THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Hefley, Hon. Joel, a Representative from Colorado, Chairman, Readiness Subcommittee
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ortiz, Hon. Solomon P., a Representative from Texas, Ranking Member, Readiness Subcommittee
Brubaker, Brig. Gen. David A., Deputy Director, Air National Guard
Cole, Rear Adm. Christopher, Office of Chief of Naval Operations, Ashore Readiness Division
Coleman, Brig. Gen. Ronald S., Assistant Deputy Commandant, Installations and Logistics (Facilities), U.S. Marine Corps
Gibbs, Hon. Nelson F., Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Installations, Environment and Logistics
Johnson, Hon. H.T., Acting Secretary of the Navy and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Environment
McDonald, Rear Adm. (Sel) Craig, Deputy Director of Naval Reserve
Rajczak, Brig. Gen. William A., Deputy to the Chief of Air Force Reserve
Robbins, Maj. Gen. Earnest O., II, The Air Force Civil Engineer
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[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Gibbs, Hon. Nelson F., Maj. Gen. Earnest O. Robbins II, Brig. Gen. William A. Rajczak, Brig. Gen. David A. Brubaker
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
FISCAL YEAR 2004 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTMILITARY CONSTRUCTION BUDGET REQUEST FOR PROGRAMS OF THE ACTIVE AND RESERVE COMPONENTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY AND THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHouse of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Thursday, March 20, 2003.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 3:00 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Joel Hefley (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JOEL HEFLEY, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM COLORADO, CHAIRMAN, READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. HEFLEY. The subcommittee will come to order. Today the Readiness Subcommittee meets to hear testimony from the Department of the Navy and the Department of the Air Force regarding the fiscal year 2004 budget request for military construction (MILCON) and family housing. I want to welcome our witnesses. We certainly look forward to your testimony.
Two years ago, Department of Defense (DOD) officials testified before this subcommittee that the Department of Defense was undertaking an aggressive program to renew the Department's infrastructure. Perhaps the witnesses believed that statement at the time. Sadly, the truth is that it has not unfolded in this manner at all.
And, of course, we know there have been some intervening circumstances that could affect this. This year the subcommittee has received a military construction and family housing budget request that continues the under-funding of real property maintenance and new construction, a hallmark of the Department's stewardship of these programs for many years. While I have no doubt that today's witnesses would like to testify that all military construction and family housing requirements are met with this budget, in reality, those requirements will again be unmet this year. While I am aware that a variety of national security priorities must be balanced, the trend is disappointing and once again requires congressional attention. I would point out that this year's DOD military construction and family housing budget request is 14 percent smaller than last year's authorized level of nearly $10.5 billion.
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Once again, the Department is requesting merely $9 billion for these important programs. This lack of adequate funding would result in no significant improvement in DOD's recapitalization rate over the last year, and in some of the services, the rate deteriorates even further.
Clearly, the Department is holding military construction investment in abeyance pending the next round of base realignment and closure (BRAC) in 2005. Across the DOD, the military construction funding projection charts show that only in the 2006 to 2009 time period, after the next BRAC round, do real increases in infrastructure investment begin. I think that the budget projections in those years underestimate the likely costs we will face in meeting requirements for new construction, modernization and environmental remediation associated with any BRAC related activities.
I do want to applaud the improvements in the adequacy of bachelor and family housing that resulted from the services' prudent investment and privatization efforts. Having personally visited with service men and women around the country, I know that these quality of life improvements are definitely benefiting morale.
However, by the Department's own admission, as much as 68 percent of the services' facilities are rated C3 and some, C4, which is an appalling state of readiness that detrimentally affects morale, efficiency and the prudent management of critical infrastructure. The delay in investment in these infrastructures simply makes the problem more expensive in the out-years.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am committed to very close scrutiny of the military construction and family housing budget request that has been submitted by the Department of Defense. Our brave service men and women deserve safe, habitable, efficient, well sustained facilities in which to live and work. And we owe it to them to be diligent and prudent in this endeavor.
I do not doubt the good intentions of those who appear before us to testify today. I do, however, want to impress upon you that I expect you to work with us in improving upon the budget request we have received.
At this time, I would like to recognize my good friend from Texas, the ranking member, Solomon Ortiz. Solomon?
STATEMENT OF HON. SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM TEXAS, RANKING MEMBER, READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I join you in welcoming all of our distinguished witnesses.
Mr. Secretary Johnson, good to see you.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. ORTIZ. Of course, we will hear from the Navy and the Air Force today for this Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the fiscal year 2004 budget request for military construction and family housing. With all that is going on regarding Iraq, I appreciate our witnesses taking the time to be with us this afternoon. And again, welcome.
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Mr. Chairman, as you have said, and as I told the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and Army witnesses we had before us two days ago, I believe the President's budget request for military construction and family housing is inadequate. Last year for the fiscal year we are now in, 2003, the Department requested just under $9 billion. Congress on a bipartisan basis considered the request inadequate and provided about $10.5 billion for military construction and family housing. This year the President's request is again $9 billion. That represents a cut of about $1.5 billion or more than 20 percent.
It is true that last year we provided about $700 million for one time only force protection projects in direct response to the September 11th terrorist attacks. But even if these funds are excluded from the comparison, the President's budget represents a cut of almost 8 percent from the 2003 level. We should be increasing, not cutting funding for military construction and family housing.
The Navy and Marine Corps MILCON request this year is a little less than $1.2 billion, which is 15 percent below last year's level. Family housing construction funding for the Navy and Marine Corps is $184 million, a 51 percent reduction from last year. Even considering the fact that the Navy is pursuing increased privatized housing options, this does not mask the fact that this is a large, large cut. Likewise, the Air Force military construction request is $887 million, 34 percent below last year's level.
There is one item of good news today. Family housing construction funding is $696 million, which is 3 percent less than last year's level. In my opinion, it is a direction all of the military construction and family housing accounts should be headed. The need for military construction and family housing is obvious at virtually every base in this country.
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About two-thirds of our military facilities are either rated C3, like the chairman just stated, which means they have serious deficiencies or C4, which means that they do not support mission requirements. We cannot solve this problem simply by providing more sustainment funding. Sustainment funding is critical to supporting our defense infrastructure. But it cannot be allowed to become a substitute to replacing obsolete facilities.
I know that our witnesses are not to blame for this problem. They care about our infrastructure and the quality of housing for our military personnel and their families. They do the best they can with the dollars that they are given. But, I do not think the Department as a whole should keep underfunding these very important accounts until after the 2005 BRAC round. It is not good for readiness, and it is not fair to our men and women in uniform and their families.
The Department's long-term budget plan, the future year defense plan (FYDP), does not contain funding increases for the year 2005. But as I told OSD and the Army witnesses, the out-years always seem to be in the future. We need to start increasing our MILCON and family housing funding now and not wait for the out-years that exist only on paper.
Mr. Chairman, I am also interested in hearing what the witnesses have to say about the housing privatization ventures, how they are progressing and the work the Department and the services are currently doing to get ready for the 2005 BRAC round. So, Mr. Chairman, thank you for the time.
And again, welcome.
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Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Ortiz.
I would encourage the witnesses to try to keep their statements to five minutes, if you would, because of the availability of the room and time constraints. I think we will have plenty of time for everybody to get in whatever you need to say. If you would keep your initial statement to five minutes, I would appreciate it.
The hearing today will consist of two panels. The first panel will be made up of the Honorable H.T. Johnson, Acting Secretary of the Navy and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Environment, Brigadier General Ronald S. Coleman, Assistant Deputy Commandant, Installations and Logistics for the Marine Corps, Rear Admiral Christopher Cole, Office of Chief of Naval Operations, Ashore Readiness Division, and Rear Admiral Craig McDonald, Deputy Director of Naval Reserve.
Secretary Johnson, when I go to the circus, one of my favorite deals is to watch the jugglers. They absolutely amaze me at the skill that they have. But you amaze me even more when you talk about juggling. Here you have a guy who is the Acting Secretary of the Navy, he is the Undersecretary of the Navy, and he is the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Environment. I do not know how you keep all those balls in the air, Mr. Secretary. But we are glad you are there, and we are glad you are doing it. And welcome today.
Secretary JOHNSON. You always have a lot of alibis. You are working the other problems.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HEFLEY. That is probably true. Let me go to you first, Mr. Secretary.
STATEMENT OF HON. H.T. JOHNSON, ACTING SECRETARY OF THE NAVY AND ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY FOR INSTALLATIONS AND ENVIRONMENT
Secretary JOHNSON. I am honored to represent the Army and Navy team. And as you mentioned, we have our experts with us. Rear Admiral Cole is the Ashore Readiness Head. He has 32 years of service. He was a helicopter pilot, was navigator on the Theodore Roosevelt and would rather be out in the Gulf today than here. He also has had a lot of experience in bases. He was in Korea, the mid Atlantic region and knows this business very well.
On my right is Brigadier General Ron Coleman. He covers Installations and Logistics for the Marine Corps, 32 years service. He has served as an enlisted member of the Marine Corps. He knows the challenges. He is a logistician and has had many jobs. He also was a J4 during task force Shining Hope in the Balkans so he knows how to make things happen.
On the far left is Rear Admiral Select Craig McDonald. He is the Deputy Director of Naval Reserves. He is a graduate of the Naval Academy, was a flight officer. And he has also been the executive officer and the commanding officer of Naval Air Station, which is also a joint reserve training center, Carswell at Fort Worth, Texas.
I will outline a few highlights and then have them give a very short summary of their activities.
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As you mentioned, we are in a period of fiscal shortfall, getting more so every day. We tried to place proper emphasis on our facilities. And you can rest assured that the people sitting at this table had all the things that you talked about in mind, but we recognize the balance that has to be made between facilities and other activities. And we obviously support the budget that we bring forward. But we do support the facilities end.
Housing is a priority. We have our men and women forward deployed. They are not concerned about themselves. They are concerned about their families back home. Family housing we have done fairly well in. I will talk about that a little bit more. But this year we tried to place more emphasis on the bachelors. We have $269 million for bachelor quarters. We have a lot of sailors who do not have a place to live ashore, and we have a program for home port ashore. Two of the big areas we are working are San Diego and Norfolk.
We are building the rooms to meet the DOD standard for everybody except the Marine Corps, which has one plus one, two single rooms and a bath. But, initially with the home port ashore, we are putting two in each room. That is far superior to not having a place ashore. But over time, we will get down to one plus one. As you know, the Marine Corps likes two plus zero, two people in a room and a bath because it builds teamwork. We support that program very much.
We are also looking at the great success we have had in public/private partnerships (PPV) in housing to transition that program into the bachelor housing. There are a few more challenges on the bachelor side, but we believe it can be done.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This year we are proposing prototypes, pilots, if you will, at Norfolk, San Diego and Camp Pendleton. Our family housing is on track to eliminate inadequate homes by 2007. The Marine Corps, by the end of this FYDP will have 95 percent of their housing in the PPV. That works very well because it becomes a self fulfilling entitlement that public/private partnership upgrades the housing and replaces them at regular intervals. The Navy is also making good progress there.
Just last month, we awarded a PPV contract for the Beaufort-Parris Island area for 1,700 homes. This is the second largest we have ever done. We did a larger one at San Diego. We have planned over 17,000 homes in the PPV process at 10 Navy and Marine Corps locations.
We have a very robust MILCON program, $1.2 billion, as I think you or Mr. Ortiz mentioned. But $473 million of that is new footprint. I recognize what you are saying and properly so, this does not restore facilities, it builds new ones. Now some of these funds are for Blount Island. For a long time we have wanted to buy the property at Blount Island which is a very, very important part of the Marine Corps maritime prepositioned ships.
If I can tell a side story here, there are a total of 15 of these ships. Eleven of those offloaded in Kuwait in 16 days. When they offloaded their 2 squadrons, the first one, 98.5 percent of the vehicles were fully capable, did not need anything. The second squadron, there were 99.1 percent. That is a wonderful program, and Blount Island plays a big role there. We also are looking for outlying fields for our FA18 on the east coast and also for joint strike fighter test facilities.
Sustainment and restoration are the programs that you addressed directly. In sustainment, we have done pretty well. The Navy has gone from 84 percent to 93. The Marine Corps has held at about 97, which is probably as high as you really want to go. Trying to do 100 percent would be probably very, very difficult to execute.
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We have not done as well on restoration, as you correctly pointed out. The Marine Corps has done pretty well. The Navy is backed up a little bit. They are at 140 years when the goal is 67. So that is an area we need a lot of work in.
We certainly have fully funded our BRAC, prior BRAC account. Anything that needs to be done to clean up the bases that we have closed, we have been able to fund those. We are very fortunate to have sold some very good property in California. Those funds go into the BRAC clean up account. We are using those funds to accelerate, do things that will help us finally close out some of these bases.
We certainly have looked at efforts to reduce costs, and we continue to try to find cost savings. Effective 1 October, we plan to have a command for Naval installations that will allow funds to flow directly from the Department of the Navy down to individual bases.
I know you had a hearing last week on readiness and range preservation. We always like to talk about a need and applaud your strong support. But on the other hand, we believe our sailors and Marines and our airmen also are some of the best, most committed people to environmental preservation. So we do a good job in preserving our areas for endangered species and so forth.
I would like to stop now and turn to Admiral Cole, with your permission, sir?
[The prepared statement of Secretary Johnson can be viewed in the hard copy.]
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Mr. HEFLEY. Certainly. Admiral.
STATEMENT OF REAR ADM. CHRISTOPHER COLE, OFFICE OF CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS, ASHORE READINESS DIVISION
Admiral COLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the committee. It is a pleasure to be here. I am, as the secretary said, Admiral Chris Cole. I am the Director for the Ashore Readiness Division on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. In this capacity, I am responsible for the development of the Navy ashore installation management programs. I would like to make a few additional comments and amplify some of the areas that Secretary Johnson made in his opening statement.
Coupled with mission accomplishment, certainly people are our most important priority. Mission accomplishment and people are inextricably linked, as we are watching today. As you are well aware, and as the secretary mentioned, we have more than 18,000 sailors living on board ships while in home port. These sailors, like all sailors in the Navy, endure a very austere lifestyle aboard a ship while it is on deployment or under way.
And while in home port, we need to offer them a better place to call home, similar to their married shipmates that they work with throughout the deployment and every day. This is a major quality of service issue for each of us, and we are programming and executing projects that will resolve this challenge.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are also looking at innovative ways such as bachelor housing privatization, as the secretary mentioned, to further expedite getting these sailors ashore and home port ashore. Our goal is to have all sailors who are living on a ship while in home port, to have shore side living spaces by 2008. This initiative will help lessen the divide with regards to housing single sailors compared with their married shipmates.
We are also achieving excellent results in family housing privatization, again as the secretary mentioned. Navy PPV continues to eliminate inadequate family housing and construct some new homes to satisfy deficits, meet or exceed even our DOD goals. We developed a business strategy that limits our liability, manages our risk, and results in the appropriate level of Department of the Navy taxpayer participation as well as providing safeguards and protections.
Our business strategy and acquisition approach over the years has been accepted and applauded by others in government and in the private sector. PPV enables us to provide higher quality, affordable housing to sailors and their families faster and at a lower initial and life cycle cost to the Navy and the taxpayer. PPV is a benefit to the community, refreshing aged housing stock and stimulating local businesses.
Quality facilities and infrastructure are an integral component of readiness. Our installations serve as launch platforms from which our sailors deploy to execute their missions while their families remain behind. They are the places where our sailors and families live, work, train and relax. We remain committed to vesting resources into ashore readiness.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As you pointed out, Mr. Chairman, there are no quick fixes to correct our infrastructure deficiencies. We must look at better ways to do our business and continue to balance our available funding across all facility accounts to sustain our facilities, correct deficiencies and achieve an acceptable recapitalization rate. Continued support by both the Congress and the Administration over the long term is vital to improving the condition of our facilities in order to support fleet readiness both now and in the future.
I sincerely thank you for your continued support that this committee provides to the Navy. I will be more than happy to answer your questions. Thank you.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Admiral.
Who would like to go next? General Coleman.
STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. RONALD COLEMAN, ASSISTANT DEPUTY COMMANDANT, INSTALLATIONS AND LOGISTICS (FACILITIES), U.S. MARINE CORPS
General COLEMAN. Yes, sir, I would. And thank you for the time here, Mr. Chairman and committee members. I want to especially welcome Admiral McDonald because this is the first committee that I have appeared before that I was not a junior member. So, I am glad you are here.
Mr. HEFLEY. General, I would like to say to you, I am swilling down my Dr. Pepper up here in a United States Marines cup. I do not want your colleagues there to think I am prejudiced toward the Marine Corps, but it just happened to be that way.
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General COLEMAN. Sir, we do not mind the prejudice, sir. They tell me that is the only one you have. Thank you, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. The Navy's too cheap to give me one.
General COLEMAN. We can probably get you another one, sir.
Sir, first I would like to thank you for your ongoing support for Marine Corps military construction. Our facilities are a critical component of our readiness to fight and win the nation's battles. Our fiscal year 2004 military construction family housing and reserve budget provides over $550 million.
Our military construction program this year concentrates in three areas: readiness, compliance and quality of life. This year about half of our 2004 construction proposal is devoted to the acquisition of Blount Island in Jacksonville, Florida and the first phase of an initiative that will ultimately replace and consolidate our sewage treatment systems in Camp Pendleton, California.
The Blount Island acquisition investment we are proposing in 2004 is the second phase of this purchase. The first phase funded in 2000 purchased about 311 acres for $40 million. The second phase proposed this year will purchase an additional 1,100 acres and maintenance infrastructures for $115 million.
Ultimately, this property will provide a permanent industrial complex for our maritime prepositioned ships and Norway preposition programs. These programs and the support provided by the Blount Island complex are critical national strategic assets for the logistical support of our Marines overseas.
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Readiness related construction also includes new operational and training facilities to support aircraft maintenance for our training missions in Yuma, Arizona and support for explosive ordinance operations in 29 Palms. With respect to compliance at Camp Pendleton, we are proposing the first stage of a long-term capital improvement program for waste water treatment. This initial project is proposed for funding in fiscal years 2004 and 2005 and is a first step in a series of projects that will ultimately improve waste water quality standards.
The quality of life portion of our program continues to meet the Marine Corps goal of providing at least $50 million for new barracks construction in each fiscal year. We are on track to meet our goal of eliminating our gang head bachelor quarters by 2005. Through a combined construction and privatization approach, we will meet the defense plan and guidance direction to eliminate inadequate family housing inventory by 2007.
In many respects, the status of our physical plants is improving. Our plant replacement rate has improved from 97 years in 2003 to 88 years in 2004. And we intend to ultimately meet the plant replacement rate goal of 67 years by 2007.
Our facility sustainment is fully resourced. This means that for the second time in as many years our plant conditions will not become worse. In 2003, installation readiness report will state 63 percent of our ratings are C3 or C4. Fully resource and sustainment will stabilize these ratings, and our investment in restoration and modernization in the future will improve the readiness posture of our facilities.
We must continue to strive for additional funding and pursue additional innovative avenues to support our Marines and their families. They deserve our support. Family housing, bachelor housing and operation facilities construction supported by this committee has a visible, long-term effect on the Corps. The Marine Corps thanks you for your continued support. Thank you, sir.
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Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF REAR ADM. (SEL) CRAIG MCDONALD, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF NAVAL RESERVE
Admiral MCDONALD. Thank you, sir. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for giving me the opportunity today to represent another portion of the Navy, Marine Corps team. That would be your 88,000 Naval Reservists across the country.
First, let me thank you for the funding support you have provided over the previous years. The resources you have provided have upgraded and built new facilities in support of our reserve sailors and Marines. On behalf of all of them, I thank you.
Our budget request for fiscal year 2004 totals about $28 million, of which $16 million is a Naval Reserve project for a C40 hangar at Naval Air Station North Island, California. This project supports the Naval Reserve's top priority to transition from an aging C9 aircraft to the C40 aircraft.
Again, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here today, and thank you for the fine support you have provided to the active Reserve Navy, Marine Corps team. Thank you, sir.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Admiral McDonald can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
Very quickly and then we will turn to questions of the members.
Admiral Cole, I am very happy to see you put an emphasis on getting those guys off the ships. And we want those 18,000 off those ships. When they come home, they ought to come home.
Admiral COLE. Yes, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. They all understand the conditions you have to live in onboard ship. But, doggone it, when they are in port, they should not. Many of you have heard me tell this story before. But I was at Mayport, and I met with a group of enlisted people and asked how many of you are going to make a career of it. And out of about 20, one raised his hand. And he had been in 19 years.
The rest of them are not going to make a career. And they gave me five reasons why not. One of the big reasons was they did not want to live on the ship when they were home. And so you are putting an emphasis on that, and I hope you will move that along just as quickly as you can. I think that is very, very important.
General Coleman, when Mr. Ortiz and I headed up the MILCON Subcommittee several years ago, the Marine Corps was the farthest behind in terms ofor ahead in substandard housing, I guess you would say. You had more than anyone else. You were projecting more years out to get standard than anyone else. And it did not seem to be a very high priority at that time to the Marine Corps. I have lost track of it in these years since I am no longer doing that. Where do you feel you are in comparison with the rest of the Navy?
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General COLEMAN. Sir, I would humbly say we are well ahead of, not only the Navy, but all the services. We will have no inadequate housing by 2005, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. Well, that is indeed very good news. And I commend you on that. Why do you not take on the one plus one standard that the rest of the services are doing? Why do you do the two plus one?
General COLEMAN. Two by zero, sir, which means
Mr. HEFLEY. Two by zero.
General COLEMAN. two Marines to a room. Sir, we feel, we the Marine Corps feel that builds a unit cohesion, teamwork, esprit de corps and an overly large concern of having our young Marines in a room by themselves. The protection is much stronger if you have a roommate. Most of our junior troops are below the age of 20, and we are extremely concerned about their well being, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. Well, you know a lot more about it than I do. I would question thatI would wonder if everybody does not need some time, particularly in the kind of group dynamics that you have in the Marine Corps, if everybody does not have some time that they can get away and have their own space and be by themselves and kind of retreat from the rigors of the day. But obviously you do not feel that is an important value.
General COLEMAN. I think it is important, sir. I think that they certainly can have that, but we still feel confident that we have their best interests in mind by having two youngsters to room together, sir. Now once they become an E4, E5, they can have a single room, sir. But not at this time, sir.
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Mr. HEFLEY. Well, I guess I should not get on you about that because I remember my daughters in the sorority house at college. And they lived worse than your Marines do. So they must have felt the same way. But it looked to me like it would be a good idea to have some space of your own.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, I know that the Navy's pursuing privatized housing. And I am a great supporter of these public/private ventures. In fact, this idea was born in Kingsville, Corpus Christi. However, the privatized housing at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station has experienced some real, real problems with very poor, shoddy workmanship. I hear from families down there that there is a also a real problem with mold.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. ORTIZ. And I do not know if you heard about this or not. I know that the commanding officer (CO) down there is doing the best she can to correct this problem. But I think that the CO is going to need some help from the Navy headquarters. We have no idea how much this is going to cost, but I think that maybe the contractor who built this housing should be responsible. My question would be, we are just wonderingand this is one of the first units that went upwhat went wrong with privatized housing in Corpus Christi? And if you are aware at this point, what is the Navy doing to fix it? What can we do when we have a contract with a contractor otherwise to make sure that the problems at Corpus Christi are not repeated in the Navy's other public/private housing that we can learn from this experience? Maybe you can enlighten me on this, Mr. Secretary.
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Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir. I will talk in general and then let the admiral talk specifics. With public/private ventures, the partnerwe as one of the partners, have to fix it at no cost to the government. So fixing it is our responsibility of the partnership. Now why we let it happen, I was not personally aware of that.
I think Admiral Cole found out a few minutes ago about it. In every other public/private venture we have gotten exactly the opposite. I do not know about the mold there, but that will be fixed. That is a partnership problem, not a government problem.
Mr. ORTIZ. And before we go to the admiral, now when we do have a contract such as this, do we have somebody to oversee the construction to be sure that they do not put, you know, second, third hand material in the construction of the facility?
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir. And it is not them. It is us. We are a partner. Depending upon the partnership, 35, 40 percent is the Department of Defense, in this case, the Department of the Navy. And we are a partner, and we certainly oversee our other partners in this partnership. I do not know the uniqueness of Corpus Christi. It is the first time I have heard of it.
Admiral COLE. Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. Congressman. I was down in beautiful Corpus Christi last month and met with Admiral Boyington. We discussed this very issue along with many other things. He had suspended the partnership. The developer has suspended construction of the houses that were on base. Admiral Boyington indicated he was very happy with the contractor who was handling the off base construction.
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But it really was the on base, his neighbors very near where he is. And as soon as they saw a problem, they suspended construction and did the kind of things that you need to do when a contractor is not performing as specified. So, the system worked. We are just very sad for the families that could have lived in that housing that the contractor was not performing up to specifications from the get go.
Secretary JOHNSON. The great advantage of the public/private partnershipswe have had others that have not worked very well. But we are the recipient. If the other partner goes bankrupt, it comes to us because we are a financial partner and a full partner. And we have control.
Admiral COLE. And if I could add?
Mr. ORTIZ. Yes, sir. Go ahead.
Admiral COLE. The morning I left the contractorsand I honestly do not know if it was a different contractor. But they were back at work and starting in on the houses again. So I think we have a solution. And I will certainly get back with Admiral Boyington in any case.
Mr. ORTIZ. Well, very good. I am happy you are going to stay on top of it. And General Coleman, I am glad to see you wearing that star. If I remember correctly, last hearing you were still waiting to get it. Congratulations on your promotion.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral COLE. Thank you very much, sir.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. I have no questions, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen, for being here.
Secretary JOHNSON. Thank you, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Snyder, that was the most eloquent speech I have ever heard you make. Thank you.
Mr. EVANS. Pass.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ortiz, members who have come here today to testify. I have a couple of questions pertaining to the territory of Guam, the Pacific area. Maybe you, Admiral or the secretary can answer this. How important is it to the readiness of the Navy in the Asia Pacific region that the installations and the facilities damaged by super typhoon Pongsona be repaired? Is this a priority?
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Secretary JOHNSON. It is certainly a priority. And we have found the funds to make all the repairs.
Ms. BORDALLO. The reason I am asking is that my office was called just a couple of hours ago by Pacific Command. They do not know if the emergency funds that they need are included in the war on Iraq supplement which is to be submitted to Congress either Friday or possibly next Monday. So you are saying it is out, it is not in the supplemental budget?
Secretary JOHNSON. We have to be careful. We are talking two different things. One is to repair and get the operations back working. That has been funded.
Ms. BORDALLO. That is funded or not?
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes.
Ms. BORDALLO. That is funded? So,
Secretary JOHNSON. The repair work.
Ms. BORDALLO. That is right. There were two requests made by both the Navy and the Air Force. The one included both the repair work and further enhancement of the bases.
Secretary JOHNSON. The enhancement is a different story. In our case, there was a requirement or desire to fund $146 million to improve hardened utilities and so forth. That is to take care of the next storm.
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Ms. BORDALLO. That is right.
Secretary JOHNSON. But Guam is operating, has been repaired. And the status of the next one we are not confident of. We cannot talk about what is in the supplemental and what is not. When the President submits a supplemental, we would be pleased to talk about what finally comes over. But that is the only part that is questionable. And it is preparing for the next storm as opposed to repairing from the last storm.
Ms. BORDALLO. So the request for repair of the last storm is taken care of?
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes.
Ms. BORDALLO. All right.
Secretary JOHNSON. We have no choice in that. We have to get the bases operating again.
Ms. BORDALLO. But did they receive the funding?
Secretary JOHNSON. That comes from within. In other words, it is a must pay bill that we have. And we obviously have paid that one. And any time we have to recover from a storm or any other catastrophe, that is the highest priority. Now moving forward and increasing the hardness, if you will, that is a different story.
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Ms. BORDALLO. Yes, I understand. Yes, there is the two requests, the one to repair what they already have. But I remember when they first put in their request, it was the two together. Then they separated them.
Secretary JOHNSON. Well, they is us.
Ms. BORDALLO. That is right.
Secretary JOHNSON. And the two requests should always be separated. One is a new MILCON which we have to bring to you. The other one is one that we have to find the funds to fund.
Ms. BORDALLO. Yes.
Secretary JOHNSON. So
Ms. BORDALLO. So
Secretary JOHNSON. They should never have put the two together if they did.
Ms. BORDALLO. They did in the beginning.
Secretary JOHNSON. And
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Ms. BORDALLO. They did. And then it was separated.
Secretary JOHNSON. Only at Guam. They did not in the Department of the Navy. In other words, locally they tried to put the two together I assume. But once it gets up into the funding mechanism, they are quite separate and quite different.
Ms. BORDALLO. What does the future hold for the hardening of the facilities and that type of thing on the bases?
Secretary JOHNSON. That is still a requirement, a desire. Whether it will be in the supplemental or not I cannot address. No one can address anything in the supplemental until it is submitted. I do not know where Guam gets their information.
Ms. BORDALLO. Well, it was Pacific Command that called us today to wonder if it was included.
Secretary JOHNSON. I would be glad to talk to them.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary JOHNSON. Thanks.
Mr. HEFLEY. Candice Miller.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. MILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a quick question to Mr. Secretary. I appreciate all of the witnesses coming today. I am a new member and just understanding some of your nomenclature here, I think you are referring to it as PPV, all this privatizing of base housing which I am very supportive of. I think that is a great idea, wonderful thing. And as you were articulating, some of the different percentages of the base housing that you have, were you saying that at stateside? Are you doing the same thing overseas as well?
Secretary JOHNSON. It is stateside. We have similar programs. But overseas, it is a different program. In other words, we might have an international partner. It is public/private venture. The Marine Corps has a similar one. I think the Air Force does, too. But they call it something different.
Ours is PPV, public/private venture. And we go out, find a partner and invest together. They will normally go to the marketplace and borrow funds. We either bring in dollars, property, land and so forth. And that is how we determine the percent partnership.
Ms. MILLER. I see. Thank you.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Calvert?
Mr. CALVERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This question is for the Marines. I noticed that you had some sewage treatment facilities being built over at Pendleton. I know that that is necessary. I noticed that in the line item that that is going to a tertiary plant. Obviously, we have water problems throughout California.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I was just curious what are you going to do with the excess? Are you going to repump that excess water back into the ground table for future use or use it for plant irrigation or just dump it into the ocean? Since that is a valuable resource, I am just pointing that out to you, General.
General COLEMAN. Yes, sir. So, is that a question, sir? Or,
Mr. CALVERT. I was just curious at what they intended to do with the excess water that comes out of that plant.
General COLEMAN. Sir, I would have toI am not technically competent enough to answer that, sir.
Secretary JOHNSON. In general, we try to use it in a reuse way, irrigation and so forth. But we will get an exact answer for Pendleton.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. CALVERT. Great. Thank you, General, I appreciate that. Thank you.
Mr. HEFLEY. Ms. Davis.
Ms. DAVIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you all for being here. I especially want to applaud your efforts, Secretary Johnson, for help with the public/private ventures. They have been very important, as you know, to San Diego and to the former Navy training center. I have had an opportunity to meet with a number of families there, and they are delighted. It is making a huge difference in the way they feel about their service. And I appreciate your efforts.
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I mentioned, yesterday at a hearing, the unintended consequences of dollars being basically carried over to service members in their checks when they have their dollars for their public/private housing. We have run into a real difficulty with the eligibility of children for free and reduced lunch.
That problem was solved, but we continue to have a problem with families who are receiving Social Security benefits for children who have special needs because it appears as if, you know, they are earning more than they actually are. I just wanted to bring that to your attention as well and see if you have any ideas whether this is being dealt with.
Secretary JOHNSON. We work very hard to make sure that our people are not disadvantaged. As you correctly point out, the Department of Agriculture has said that basic allowance for housing does not count when you look for reduced priced meals or free milk, child nutrition program, school breakfast programs, special milk and so forth. There might be some other areas that we can work. We think that is a small problem. But any problem is not small to the people that are affected.
Ms. DAVIS. Right. Well, the school lunch program was certainly a big problem for schools who have large military populations.
Secretary JOHNSON. But they are excused now. In other words, that does not count towards qualifying for the school lunch.
Ms. DAVIS. Yes, that is correct.
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Secretary JOHNSON. Some of the others
Ms. DAVIS. And we were really happy to help fix that. But I think on the Social Security issue, that remains a concern of those families.
Secretary JOHNSON. I am not familiar with that one. If you would have your staff let us know, we will try to work atanytime you have these unintended consequences, we obviously build these houses, and they are treated as if they are on the private economy. And people pay rent. And if you pay rent, you get basic allowance for housing.
Depending upon where it is located in agreement with a local agency, we may or may not pay taxes on the property. Fortunately most of it is still government property out leased. But unintended consequences, I think the chairman mentioned, every good deal brings up some bad side affects.
Ms. DAVIS. That is right. Yes. We know for these families who are impacted with the Social Security issue it is a big problem.
I might mention, Mr. Chairman, that we actually just had a call in the office because there is some misunderstanding out in the communities about the impact that combat pay has when it comes to receiving Social Security benefits where there is a disabled child. We do not think that this should be a problem, but in fact, people are getting misinformation. And we are working hard to correct some of that as well. But if you
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary JOHNSON. We are quite fortunate to have a very strong family support system. And we try to work these questions through them. And any time you hear some, we will try to work them. Again, unintended consequences. It helps the family. But sometimes it might put them over a threshold, and they lose something else. That is not the intent of course.
Ms. DAVIS. Yes. Right. We understand. Thank you. I appreciate that. I also wanted to just acknowledge and thank you again for working with us on the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery issue and expansion of that into Miramar. As you know, another unintended consequence in trying to define the land and whether or not that land was being used for mitigation or not is an issue that has come up as well. I look forward to you working with that.
Secretary JOHNSON. Mr. Chairman, if I could say something on this? We worked very carefully with Veterans' Affairs to provide cemetery land in a proper place. One of the most beautiful places is Fort Rosencrans in San Diego. There is no more space. So we had some land at Miramar that we did not want structures on.
And certainly veterans do not mind an airplane flying over at the memorial service. It really worked Veterans' Affairs, the members of your community and our problems very well. We have done that at Pensacola, I think, another place that we had done it on the final approach into an airfield. We did not want anything there, but a cemetery worked very well. And it helped everybody.
Ms. DAVIS. Thank you. And if I may, Mr. Chairman, quickly, I just wanted to thank Admiral Cole for your work in housing single sailors. I think if we can work on that as quickly as possible, that obviously will make a difference in the quality of life and will be very important to them.
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And to Admiral McDonald, thank you very much for continuing to advocate strongly for the aircraft hangar project. I am a big supporter, and I appreciate the fact that you are continuing to work hard on that. Thank you.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Taylor?
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank all of you gentlemen for being here.
Secretary Johnson, you know I cannot miss the chance to find out how much it is going to cost to build the new base for the F18 E and F, you know the one that we could not have used Cecil Field for.
Secretary JOHNSON. Well sir, first of all, we are not building a new base for the F17 E and F.
Mr. TAYLOR. Well, you have got $28 million budgeted. What are you going to do with the $28 million?
Secretary JOHNSON. That is for an outlying field.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir. Now we have an environmental impact statement (EIS) at the current time deciding where to bed down the ones on the east coast. The west coast has been taken care of. And the EIS, the ones we are focusing on are Oceana at Norfolk and at Cherry Point in North Carolina. We need a new outlying field regardless. And it needs to be between Cherry Point and Oceana. Cecil Field would not work. It is too far away for an outlying field.
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Mr. TAYLOR. So is $28 million going to be the total cost for this outlying field?
Secretary JOHNSON. I cannot address that. Can you?
Admiral COLE. I believe it is incremental. But I would like to take that for the record, and we will get back to you with the correct information.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. TAYLOR. You know, we are having a hard time trying to put together a budget. No one is going to give us an estimate of how many troops we are going to have in Iraq for the next 10 years. I would think this would be a little bit easier to budget. I would very much appreciate what you think the cost of that is going to be. And also keeping in mind that in the very near future, the joint strike fighter (JSF) comes on line. I presume you are going to need an additional field for it. Is that accurate? Is that
Admiral COLE. Well, both of those decisions have yet to be made. The reason I cannot at this moment give you an exact figure for the outlying field is because it has not been selected yet. It will make some difference as to where it goes as to what the price will be. And of course, the JSF will also come under the environmental impact statement decision making process.
Mr. TAYLOR. When you say an outlying field, what all will you construct there? Obviously a runway.
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Admiral COLE. Sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. Hangars?
Admiral COLE. Probably not. It would just be a runway. There would be some instrumentation for the pilots to do their carrier landing practice. But that is what it is, a practice field for the carrier landing. So it is really quite small, similar to White House near Cecil Field.
Mr. TAYLOR. So a field like that is going to be 8,000, 10,000 foot long?
Admiral COLE. I am not sure. It is a big runway because of the high performance aircraft, yes, sir.
Secretary JOHNSON. But that sounds the right size, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. How many acres of land would that entail purchasing?
Secretary JOHNSON. We will have to give you that for the record, sir. And second, we do not know because the environmental impact has not been done. And we have not selected a location. But we can give you a ball park.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. Secretary, the reason I find that a little hard to believe is since encroachment is such a big problem on all of our installations, I would certainly hope that you would have a pretty good idea of how big a tract of land you are going to need so as to preclude future encroachment problems and start setting up glide path restrictions on those areas even outside of what you own.
Secretary JOHNSON. Absolutely. We can give you a ball park. But until we select the exact field, we will not know the exact acreage. We can give you the size that we are looking for. But if we select x, it will be one thing, y, another. One that we are looking at is in a wetlands area. And by being in a wetland area, you do not have so much trouble with encroachment. Another one, there might be a nearby town. So,
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. TAYLOR. With all due respect, Mr. Secretary, when you say the wetlands area you do not have to worry about encroachment, it is the EPA and Fish and Wildlife you are going to have to worry about.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir. That is why we
Mr. TAYLOR. You gave up three, no, four nice, dry runways at Cecil Field. You did not have to worry about wetlands.
Secretary JOHNSON. I am not prepared to readdress Cecil Field, sir. That was a decision made several years ago.
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Mr. TAYLOR. In a previous round of BRAC
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR [continuing]. When they failed to look past their own noses as to future defense needs.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. I do not have a lot of confidence based on those three rounds that we are going to do better in the future. I was just curious how you would feel about a delay in the BRAC process given the uncertainties of the world today?
Secretary JOHNSON. Sir, the BRAC process that you have crafted makes sure that we make those
Mr. TAYLOR. Congress crafted, sir. I did not have a hand in it.
Secretary JOHNSON. I am sorry. The Congress. It makes us look forward and makes us make those tough decisions. In the past we did not have to do a 20 year force structure. This year, in 2005 we do. And it is a very good process. I am sure many of us were concerned about it when it was passed. But when you look at it for execution, it is a good process.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, one last question if I may. I am curious if you can name one Naval or Marine Corps installation that you think needs to be closed.
Secretary JOHNSON. Sir, no one associated with the Department of the Navy will even think about a base that needs to be closed. What we are supposed to do is look at the force structure, decide what functions are needed to support that force structure, and do an inventory. And then we can look at bases. We are trying desperately not to focus on bases until we know the functions that we need and have an inventory of availability. Then, the bases can be selected. If we try to preselect or take bases off the list, we would not be serving you or the nation very well.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Taylor, would you support that outlying field being in Colorado Springs since we do not have Cecil Field? I agree with you about Cecil Field.
Mr. FORBES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do not have any questions. I just want to thank you gentlemen for being here. Mr. Secretary, I had the privilege of having in my district, one of the finest naval shipyards in the world, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. And I just appreciate all that you have done to keep that strong. We certainly realize in a conflict like this just how important it is to keep those shipyards strong and viable. They are very proud of the work that they do. And I just want to let all of you know that those individuals I represent are very proud of the work that all of you do for the American people. We just thank you for that.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Rodriguez?
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Secretary Johnson, let me ask you. Resident Commissioner Acevedo Vila has talked to me a little bit about Vieques. He has informed me that, at least that he thinks, you are in direct contact with the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Basically, he is concerned about the clean up at Vieques.
Both the community in Puerto Rico and in Vieques have a need in terms of wanting to get some kind of commitments from the Navy to clean up the area there, not only in response to the concerns of the constituency of Vieques and Puerto Rico, but also in terms of the environment there. I was wondering if you would make some comments in reference to that.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir. The law is very specific that we pass the propertyit is on east Vieques, the current part that we are usingto the Department of the Interior. They have agreed to accept that. We are supposed to leave by 1 May. I think we are going to transfer on 28th of April.
And then the Department of the Interior will determine the future use of the land. And we will determine the clean up to meet their future use. That seems to be working along well. We are working with Interior. Then, Interior brought in EPA and the commonwealth. We did not directly go to the commonwealth.
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Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Can I interrupt?
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Are you going to continue to hold responsibility for contamination? Or is the Department of the Interior?
Secretary JOHNSON. The Department of Defense can never relinquish responsibility for any contamination that may have been caused by
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Okay. You are still being held responsible for any form of contamination there?
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes. By law, that is something that can never go away.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Yes. Are you talking to membersyou know, I have only been here seven years, but my predecessor had been here five years. I worked 8 to 10 years on a project where one base property went to the Department, in this case, for national parks and where I had 16 residents who by imminent domain had been told 8 years before, because they built the park, that they needed to leave those homes.
Yet, they could not sell because the Department of the Interior did not want to take responsibility for the contamination. The Department ofin this casethe Air Force did not want to take the full responsibility for it. And these residentsI mean, I had them in my backyard. This is not Vieques. This is back home.
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We had them for 8 years before we gotand so, I am surprised that the Department of the Interior would be willing to take it over because from one department to the other, they could not agree. So that is the case? You are saying they took it over?
Secretary JOHNSON. They will receive the property from the Department of Defense
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Yes.
Secretary JOHNSON [continuing]. On the 28th of April or thereabouts. They will control the property. We will be responsible for any environmental clean up.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Have they started the assessments on the clean up?
Secretary JOHNSON. They have not yet decided exactly how they are going to use the property.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Okay.
Secretary JOHNSON. Then, the clean up will be determined from that. EPA is looking at whether we should use a circular. Those are two different approaches in clean up. They have not made final determination. No, sir.
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Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Okay. So I guess the determination of the usage will determine the type of clean up?
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Okay. Thank you very much.
Secretary JOHNSON. Thank you, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Cole?
Mr. COLE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I regret my duties in another subcommittee delayed my arrival here. So I probably missed some things that I wanted to hear and some questions I wanted to ask that probably have already been covered. But if I may just direct one or two questions to the panel in general.
As I look through the material, I am simply concerned that the level of military construction is awfully low and obviously down from last year considerably. And I understand concerns about BRAC. But I have the sinking feeling sometimes that we are in the difficult situation of postponing the important to deal with the immediate. And I understand that.
I mean, you have to make those kinds of tough decisions on a regular basis. So, I would ask you to look a little forward for me in the future past this budget year and give me some idea of how you see military construction going in your respective areas of responsibilities over the next four to five years.
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Secretary JOHNSON. I do not have insight. Perhaps you do. But we are required to look for the five years at such things as restoration. And we do meet the requirements at the end of the defense program. As far as MILCON in specific, I cannot address that. We could address any one that you wanted to address if you have a request.
Mr. COLE. Just generally speaking, do you think the expenditure levels have been adequate, are they appropriate, too low? Could you use more?
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir. As we mentioned earlier, the people sitting at this table, and I am sure the Air Force, too, our job is to submit things for the budget. We understand when the balances are made, and we support those. Of course, we would like some more MILCON. But when we look at the balance, we think we have the right balance in the Department of Defense and in our case, the Department of the Navy.
Mr. COLE. Okay. No further questions. If I may, Mr. Chairman, thank you, gentlemen, very much for your service to your country. I appreciate it very much. You have a difficult job.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Cole. Mr. Secretary, in your response to Mr. Taylor about the base closure process, you talk about first looking at the force structure and then looking at the inventory of what have so that we can see how the force structure fits into our inventory and then doing the closure process to have everything on the list.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I do not understand why after you look at the force structureI agree with that, you look at the inventoryat that point, then the next step, it seems to me is you could take off the table those bases that you know you are not going to close. I guarantee you you are not going to close Annapolis. And you are not going to close Mayport. We would be crazy. And you are not going to close Blount Island. We would be crazy. We are not going to close Norfolk. You would be crazy to do that. So why do they need to be on the table?
I know that the Defense Department does not want to bite the bullet and say this, but who is better qualified after you have done this survey? Some committee that was appointed is better qualified to determine what you absolutely have to have?
It seems to me you should make the decision about what you absolutely have to have. And then those that you might or might not, they ought to go on the list. But every community in the country does not get all riled up about closing. I do not want the people in Norfolk, for instance, to hire lobbyists up here and raise lots of money through your chamber of commerce and your military affairs committee in order to make sure you are not going to be on the closing list. Because you are not going to be on the closing list. And yet they feel they have to do that. And that happens all over the country.
Secretary JOHNSON. Sir, the process makes those decisions fairly quickly once you have done the three things I have described. This time we are taking an additional item into consideration at the Department of Defense. Before we do the force structure we are trying to look at it in a joint fashion.
The Navy might have some facilities at Bolling Air Force Base here and vice versa. We are trying very, very hard to use the process to look at jointness, to use our facilities the best way possible. I trust that when we come up with a final answer, if you are not affected, you will think it was done properly. If a community is affected, they can never think it is done properly. But we want to do it in a fashion that is fair for everyone, and we are working very, very hard under the rules as they are laid out.
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Mr. HEFLEY. I am not going to argue this with you any more. But what this presupposes is that we cannot trust you at the Pentagon to make those decisions about what you absolutely have to have. And boy, if we cannot trust you, the guys that are the experts at it, then I do not know who we could trust.
I know I am fighting an uphill battle on this because none of you want to do this. But I intend to continue to pursue this effort. And I wish you would at least take a look at the idea and see if there is some viable way to do this. I am not at all sure you are going to get a base closing round in 2005 unless we do tweak this system a little bit. And I know you want one.
I know it is in the law now. But we could pass a law this year, next year that says no, we are not going to do it. There is a movement here to do that. So, you might want to look at ways to tweak this to make it work better.
Secretary JOHNSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. But, you know, in saying that, let me say I appreciate very much you gentlemen being here. Your testimony is very, very helpful to us. We will be coming back to you as we go through this process. We will have some more specific questions, I am sure. Help us to help you because we want to get you what you really need to have.
Secretary JOHNSON. I would like to make a statement in closing, if I may, sir. Your men and womenand I can only speak for the Department of the Navy, the Marines and the Navy. And I am sure it is true in the other services. We have never had better retention. We have never had better recruiting. And we have never had better support from our Reservists. We have disrupted many lives by calling Reservists back. And they are proud to serve our nation around the world. I hope that you get that same feeling from your communities. We are proud to serve you, sir.
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Mr. HEFLEY. Well, we do indeed. We are proud of you. And we are proud of all the young men and women who are serving for us. Thank you very much.
Secretary JOHNSON. Thank you, sir.
General COLEMAN. Thank you, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. All right. The committee will come back to order. The second panel will talk about programs for the Department of the Air Force. And this panel is made up of the Honorable Nelson Gibbs, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics, Major General Earnest O. Robbins II, the Air Force Civil Engineer, Brigadier General David Brubaker, Deputy Director of the Air National Guard and Brigadier General William A. Rajczak. I know I am not doing that right, so I will let
General RAJCZAK. Rajczak, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. Okay. Good, good. Thank you. Deputy to the Chief of the Air Force Reserve. I would like to say that General Robbins, I understand that you are going to be retiring this spring.
General ROBBINS. Yes, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. We want to recognize that and just say thank you so much for your contributions to the Air Force, but not only to the Air Force, to your country over a very distinguished career.
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General ROBBINS. Thank you, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. We appreciate what you have done.
General ROBBINS. Thank you.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Secretary, are you going to start it off?
Secretary GIBBS. Yes, I will.
Mr. HEFLEY. All right.
STATEMENT OF HON. NELSON F. GIBBS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, INSTALLATIONS, ENVIRONMENT AND LOGISTICS
Secretary GIBBS. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ortiz, other members of the committee, thank you very much for the opportunity for the four of us to come and talk with you about the Air Force overall military construction program. I will keep my remarks very brief. General Robbins and my two associates from the reserves and the guard will speak more specifically about their particular programs.
But in total, the Air Force in fiscal year 2004 is requesting a five percent increase in its overall budget for military construction. In fiscal year 2003, the President's budget request was approximately $4.2 billion. In the current fiscal year, the request is approximately $4.4 billion. This includes military construction, military family housing, including the privatization projects. It also includes the sustainment, restoration and modernization of our facilities.
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The Air Force very carefully weighed the decisions that it had to make in the request that it sent forward. And it is pleased with the results that we have been able to achieve in this President's budget request. I look forward to responding to any questions that you may have. General Robbins now will talk more specifically about the Air Force Active program.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Gibbs can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. EARNEST O. ROBBINS II, THE AIR FORCE CIVIL ENGINEER
General ROBBINS. Yes, sir. Thank you. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, good afternoon. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the Air Force's fiscal year 2004 military construction program. Air Force missions and Air Force people around the world depend upon this committee's understanding of and support for our infrastructure programs. That support has never wavered. And for that, we are most grateful.
Our total force military construction and military family housing programs are essential to Air Force operational needs, work place productivity, and quality of life. While the Air Force has always acknowledged the importance of robust funding for facility sustainment and recapitalization, in the past, as you noted, sir, we have found that higher priority requirements have not permitted us to address all the problems we face with our aging infrastructure.
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We turned a corner with our fiscal year 2002 and 2003 military construction and family housing program requests, each in excess of $2 billion. You supported those requests and increased them to nearly $3 billion, making these last two years' infrastructure investment programs the largest in more than a decade. And we sincerely appreciate your support.
We are continuing in this positive trend in fiscal year 2004. We are requesting more than $2.4 billion for total force military construction and military family housing, a $160 million increase over last year's budget request.
In addition, we have maintained our focus on operations and maintenance (O&M) in the sustainment, restoration and modernization funding. The fiscal year 2004 budget request includes nearly $2 billion in critical infrastructure maintenance and repair through our O&M program to begin buying down our backlog of much needed repairs to our real property inventory.
When one considers the entire infrastructure spectrum of military construction, family housing, and O&M sustainment, restoration and modernization, we plan to invest more than $4.4 billion in fiscal year 2004.
I will now quickly summarize our military construction budget request for the fiscal year. New weapons systems will provide the rapid, precise, global capability that enables our combat commanders to respond quickly to conflicts in support of national security objectives. Our fiscal year 2004 total force new mission military construction program consists of 43 projects totaling more than $273 million.
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The Air Force is committed to taking care of our people and their families. Quality of life projects acknowledge the increasing sacrifices our airmen make in support of the nation and are pivotal to recruiting and retaining our nation's best.
The Air Force is committed to meet the Department of Defense goal of providing safe, affordable and adequate housing for our members. Our fiscal year 2003 budget request reflected an increase of more than $140 million over the previous year. We have built on that increase with our fiscal year 2004 request.
For 2004, it is $700 million we have requested for housing investment and nearly 2,100 units at 18 bases and provides more than 1,500 units at 8 bases and supports privatization of approximately 7,000 units at 7 bases. Our fiscal year 2004 housing operations and maintenance program totals nearly $835 million.
Just as we are committed to providing adequate housing for families, we have an ambitious program to house our unaccompanied junior enlisted personnel. It will cost approximately $1 billion to execute the Air Force dormitory master plan and to achieve OSD's fiscal year 2007 goal to provide our airmen with adequate dormitory rooms. This fiscal year 2004 budget request has us on track to meet that goal.
The fiscal year 2004 dormitory program consists of 12 dormitory projects at 11 bases for a total of $203 million. On behalf of all the airmen affected by this important quality of life initiative, I want to thank this committee. We could have never made it this far without your tremendous support.
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The quality of our installations overseas continues to be a priority for us. Even though the majority of our Air Force personnel are assigned in the United States, 16 percent of our forces are permanently assigned overseas, including 29,000 Air Force families. The Air Force overseas base structure has stabilized after years of closures and force structure realignments. At this decreased stabilized level, our overseas infrastructure still represents 11 percent of our Air Force physical plant.
Our fiscal year 2004 military construction request for European and Pacific installations is $171 million for 22 projects in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Azores, Italy, Turkey, Korea, and Wake Island. We ask for your support of these important operational and quality of life projects.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I thank the committee for its strong support of Air Force military construction and family housing projects. As you know, sir, this is my fourth and final year that I have had the honor and privilege of bringing our program before this committee.
On 1 June this year I will retire from our Air Force after 34 years. So next year there will be a new messenger. I know he will find the same warm reception I have enjoyed with your members and with your staff. I thank you for your encouragement and support. And I look forward to answering your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Robbins can be viewed in the hard copy.]
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Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much. Who is next up on the docket?
STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. DAVID A. BRUBAKER, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, AIR NATIONAL GUARD
General BRUBAKER. Okay. I am Dave Brubaker, Deputy Director of the Air National Guard. My boss, General Danny James sends his regards to Mr. Ortiz.
It is a pleasure to be here. I am representing 107,000 members of the Air National Guard fully employed on our country's defense all over the world. For fiscal year 2004, the President's budget request is $60 million for the Air National Guard MILCON. This includes 3 projects totaling almost $20 million to support new mission requirements at Sioux City, Gateway Airport, Iowa, Camp Shelby, Mississippi and a force realignment project at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado.
The program also includes one current mission project totaling $19 million at Quonset State, Rhode Island. The remaining $22 million is for planning and design and unspecified minor construction. These funds are needed to complete design of the fiscal year 2005 construction program and to start design of our fiscal year 2006 program.
The unspecified minor construction program is our primary means of funding small, unforeseen projects that cannot wait for normal MILCON. This year, that funding was critical and helped us respond to anti-terrorism force protection requirements.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As a former unit commander, I am aware of the importance of facilities that are functional and attractive. I am here today to ask for this committee's support to help fight against new threats, both at home and abroad. But, as new mission bed downs become increasingly critical to our nation's defense, we must not forget about our existing infrastructure.
In closing, I would like to thank you again, members of this committee, for your continued and unwavering support. We are confident that the men and women of the Air National Guard will always meet the challenges set before them. And with your help, will remain an important part of the American military character as an air expeditionary force, domestic guardian and caring neighbor protecting the United States of America at home and abroad. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of General Brubaker can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, General. I would also like to second the chairman's recognition, General Robbins. We wish you the best. We appreciate your loyalty and your commitment to our country. They say there is more money on the outside. So we wish you the best.
General ROBBINS. Thank you, sir. I appreciate that sentiment.
Mr. ORTIZ. General Rajczak.
STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. WILLIAM A RAJCZAK, DEPUTY TO THE CHIEF OF AIR FORCE RESERVE
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General RAJCZAK. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear today to discuss the Air Force fiscal year 2004 military construction budget request. On behalf of over 75,000 Air Force Reserve members at home and abroad, thank you for your continued interest in support of our military construction program and facilities and infrastructure modernization.
As you know, Air Force Reserve military construction priorities are considered together with those of the active Air Force and the Air National Guard to produce an integrated MILCON program. This integrated program reflects a diligent effort on the part of the Air Force to present the best possible budget request. Our challenge is to balance readiness, transformation, recapitalization and infrastructure. The program we are presenting today represents our continuing commitment to the total force policy.
In fiscal year 2004, we will continue the bed down plan for the KC135R tankers at Portland International Airport that began this fiscal year. This mission changed from our currently assigned HC130 aircraft and HH60 helicopters as driven by the need for additional active duty combat search and rescues assets worldwide.
Our fiscal year 2004 MILCON request includes three projects totaling $10.2 million to support the new mission. Related projects include modernization of existing maintenance facilities, construction of a fire station and completion of a ground refueling system.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC At Andrews Air Force Base, KC135R tankers will replace retiring C141 aircraft. Once again, mission change is driving related MILCON project requirements totaling $9 million. These projects include altering the existing maintenance shops, upgrading pavements and adding a hydro-refueling system so that refueling can be accomplished more efficiently without the need for fuel trucks.
The budget request also includes an aircraft fuel cell maintenance hangar for our C130Js at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. This is the only current mission requirement project.
Our Air Force Reserve mission and people deserve the very best facilities we can provide. I sincerely thank you for your interest, for your continued support, and your assistance as we both seek the goal of facilities excellence. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of General Rajczak can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much.
Mr. ORTIZ. Mr. Chairman, for some reason, we would like to go back to base closures. You know, Mr. Secretary, we hear so many rumors. And the worst thing about rumors is that sometimes they become true.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary GIBBS. True.
Mr. ORTIZ. I understand that the rumor mill has it that we might be pulling out of Korea, maybe not now, but in the next few years. And the same thing about maybe pulling out of Germany. There have been some reports about maybe going to Bulgaria, Romania or someplace else. So, I think that the base closure for the year 2005, in my opinion, is a little premature.
We need to know exactly what is going to happen after we finish this war because when we doI know in some areas, we might have excess capacity. But, if this was to happen, we are going to have to get those troops back from either Korea or Germany or Italy or anyplace else, where do we put them? And maybe you can help me a little bit as to
Secretary GIBBS. That is a very broad question. Let me go back to the first part, the rumor mill. You must be tuned into one that I am tuned into also because I hear some of the very same rumors.
What I do know and I believe to be fact because I listened to Mr. Dubois testify to it a day or two ago when we were before another panel together, is that there is a review being accomplished by the combatant commanders in each of the areas as to what they believe should be their force structure in each of their particular areas.
Based on that, there is a review that is currently underway of the facilities and projects that were requested both in 2003, that have already been authorized and appropriated, and those that are in the request in 2004. He responded to a question in a Senate hearing that he expected that the DOD would present any recommendations in those areas before the 2004 MILCON bill is marked. So, I think you should expect those within four to six weeks, no longer than that.
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In terms of the comment about bringing the troops home, and where we would put them, I could not answer that question today. But, I will promise you that as we go through the process for the BRAC 2005 round, that that will be fully considered. I personally believe that the resolution of the overseas basing will be accomplished sometime during this calendar year in sufficient time and in advance of going into the detailed domestic BRAC round and that we will have very reasonable information for which to base the 2005 BRAC round.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. And thank you so much for all of you being with us today.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Snyder?
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I cannot remember if it was General Robbins or you, Mr. Secretary. But one of you made a comment in your written statement about fitness centers. Was that you, General Robbins?
General ROBBINS. Yes, sir.
Dr. SNYDER. Do you have anyI did not see it in your statementcomment about the overall need in the system for child care centers?
General ROBBINS. Yes, sir. There is a shortage of space for dependent children across the Air Force. Our Air Force services organization who manages that program, the last number they had was about 8,800 spaces short. As you know, there was a Child Development Center (CDC) plan that was developed, submitted, I believe, maybe two years ago to the Hill, one or two years ago.
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In 2004, we have one project in the program. It is at Mildenhall. We are putting the money against them in a priority order, if you will, where the need is the greatest, the requirements for children spaces is the highest. Across the future years defense plan (FYDP), I do not have the exact number. We have a plan that goes out over the next six, seven years, five years, six years that will address down that priority list and address the 8,800 shortage.
Dr. SNYDER. Mr. Secretary, I want to ask one question about BRAC which I have supported in the past. The chairman and several of us have had discussion now for several years about the advisability of having some kind of list of bases that are not going to be closed. But I have wondered as time has gone on if that complicates the realignment portion, the R portion of it.
How would that work?
If you were to come out with a list that said Norfolkwe have heard mention that Norfolk is never going to close. I have never been to Norfolk so I do not know what is there. And yet, would this process potentially say oh, there is a mission at Norfolk which would be better at an Air Force base because we think it would be closer to the transport planes. It may save us a couple, three hours. I mean, would we set communities up for problems in the realignment portion of it, even those that we may think would never close? Or am I off base there?
Secretary GIBBS. No, I would not say that you are off base. That is one of the considerations that leads the Air Force and the Department of Defense to be hesitant about identifying specificmaking a preconceived determination as to what should happen at a specific place. The law, you know, is very specific in the process that has to be followed by the Department of Defense and in the sequence of the events that have to occur.
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The principal activity that is occurring this year is the development of the force structure plan going out 20 years, a very difficult task. It is dependent upon the strategy and the expectation of where the world is going to be 20 years from now. That is the first part of the process that is occurring. That is being done principally by the uniformed service people in the planning aspects and at the highest levels of the military.
At the same time, in a combination between some of the civilian leadership and the military leadership, we are developing the criteria which will be used to make the determinations to do both closures and realignments. And again, there is a specific listing of how, the sequence of what should be considered in making those determinations.
The first and foremost is military necessity. And then the waterfall goes on down, it eventually gets to economics and other things, economics of the community, economics to the Federal Government. We will be, again by law, publishing in December of this year, the criteria that will be used, it will be published in the federal record in the standard process for comment period, the 60-day comment period. It will be delivered to both Houses of the Congress. The President, with his budget message for 2005, is required to present to the Congress, the force structure along with the certification from the Secretary of Defense that he still considers a BRAC round to be necessary with positive economic results.
There will be plenty of time, and I certainly expect I will be talking with you during that comment period and before for the criteria, which is to become final by mid March. It is really at that point in time we will have the force structure, we will have the criteria, and then we will really begin the process of making the determination of, first off, how do we cite the force structure. And then the secondary determination, what would need to be realigned, or what will need to be closed.
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Mr. HEFLEY. Ms. Bordallo.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ortiz, Mr. Secretary and generals. I am going to request some information about our major bases in the territory of Guam. I asked this question earlier of the Navy. And the secretary said that all repairs of the damage sustained by a recent super typhoon called Pongsona have been completed.
However, in further investigation, I understand that the repairs for the bases are ongoing but not completed. The bases currently, Mr. Secretary or the generals, whichever would like to answer are using funds from other accounts. And they are wondering if they are going to be reimbursed.
I am just wondering if there is any information that the Air Force has received from their own big base on Guam, Anderson Air Force Base, whether these funds are going to be reimbursed. Because certainly the bases will need the funds from other accounts for operational expenses. With the increased activity on Guam, you know, with the war in Iraq now, I was wondering just exactly where this money is going to come from.
Secretary GIBBS. In response to your first question about the repairs relative to the typhoon that hit, you are correct. The repairs are ongoing. But, they have proceeded to the point that Anderson Air Force Base is fully functional and can accomplish the missions that have been historically assigned to it and the additional missions that have been sent there recently.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In terms of the more specific questions, I will let General Robbins comment.
General ROBBINS. Yes, ma'am. Reflecting on what Mr. Johnson said earlier, the Air Force has divided the requirement for the storm damage repair into two components. One was
Ms. BORDALLO. The storm itself?
General ROBBINS [continuing]. What I will refer to kind of as big ticket items. And you are familiar with the hangars there?
Ms. BORDALLO. Yes.
General ROBBINS. There is only one of the three hangars that is still fully functional. The other two are partially used, but certainly nowhere near what they were. So we have about $54 million that we have identified that we need. It will be in the form of military construction to reconstruct the hangars at Anderson. The one is okay. But the other two, we need to do something about either replacing them with one bigger hangar or replace both. So it will cost about $54 million.
The second part is about $64 million. That is for all different kinds of requirements ranging from communications equipment to generators. That would be equipment money. Real property, maintenance and repair, again, that is about $62 million. We are approaching those two independently, if you will.
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We are working with OSD to source the $53.7, the $54 million for the military construction portion and hope to resolve that rather quickly. The base is doing exactly as you said and as Mr. Gibbs referred to, what we refer to as cash flowing the work arounds for the maintenance and the repairs so that they can operate. But we still recognize that there is about a $62 million requirement in O&M funds that we need to find to address all those other things. Some of it was family housing. And again, it was generators. It was siding off of buildings, some utility systems and those kinds of things.
Ms. BORDALLO. Yes.
General ROBBINS. So, the immediate requirement, about $53, $54 million. We are working very hard to source that very quickly. The remaining $61, $62 million in O&M funds, we will work within the administration to resolve that.
Ms. BORDALLO. Is the second amount included in future, for example, the hardening the utilities and that type of thing?
General ROBBINS. Yes.
Ms. BORDALLO. Is included in the $62 million?
General ROBBINS. That would be part of that. That is correct.
Ms. BORDALLO. So it is divided into two?
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General ROBBINS. That is correct.
Ms. BORDALLO. And at this time, General, have the funds been requested? Are they
General ROBBINS. We have requested the first part, the roughly $54 million that would repair the hangar in particular.
Ms. BORDALLO. Yes.
General ROBBINS. And the second part, we have identified the requirement to OSD. But as you noted earlier, there are a lot of competing requirements going on right now for O&M dollars. And the Air Force is, as I said earlier, cash flowing many different programs
Ms. BORDALLO. Yes.
General ROBBINS [continuing]. So that we can fight the war. I have no doubt that we will fix Anderson. As you know, Anderson is very important to us. It has a lot of potential.
Ms. BORDALLO. Anderson Air Force Base is a very beautiful base. It is probably one of the most attractive bases in the Pacific area. And right now, with the increased military activity there, it is very busy. And so, they are very concerned. We are concerned on Guam about these funds. I thank you very much, General, for making it much clearer to me exactly where we are.
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General ROBBINS. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Calvert.
Mr. CALVERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Robbins, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your service. We have had the opportunity to travel together overseas and most specifically, the Mid East. The work that you and your colleagues did at United Arab Emirates and Qatar is remarkable and should be commended. And I know you are very proud of that. I certainly wish you well in the future.
General ROBBINS. Thank you very much.
Mr. CALVERT. General Rajczak, I hope I am pronouncing your name correctly. Obviously you are very familiar with March Air Force Base.
General RAJCZAK. Sure.
Mr. CALVERT. Thank you, the Air Force, for recognizing the great job that the Air Reserve is doing and the National Guard. We could not provide the mission and do the job that we are doing without the Reserve and the Guard. And by allowing them to have the new aircraft, the C17s to replace the 141s, I think, is the right thing to do.
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We want to make sure that it is done properly. And certainly at March, we are bedding down eight C17s here in the next few years. We want to make sure that it is done properly especially since these up tempo rates are high, a lot of things are going on. Are you comfortable with the fact that the money is being expended soon enough to make sure that these are done properly? And also, if there is any additional buys to go to the say, 12 C17s at March Air Force Base in the future?
General RAJCZAK. Yes, sir. The majority of the funding for the facility upgrades that will be required at March in support of the C17s are in the fiscal year 2003 current year funding. And that will allow them to come on board in about the 2005 time frame which will coincide with the C17s coming on board at the last quarter of 2005 and the first quarter of 2006. And should there be additional aircraft, the capability exists for those additional aircraft to be supported.
We are also looking for the availability or the additional funding required to put in place an automated training system also known as a simulator so that we have that capability available at March Air Base.
Mr. CALVERT. That was the
General RAJCZAK. Your support of that.
Mr. CALVERT. Absolutely. That is important. As you know, a lot of folks have to fly. You know, more pilots are in southern California than anywhere else. And it makes it much better for them if they can stay in southern California rather than have to fly elsewhere to do that training.
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General RAJCZAK. Yes, sir.
Mr. CALVERT. So, that is great. One other issue that I wanted to bring up. And maybe the secretary, General Robbins, others can answer this question. There is $200 million in the budget to support base closure and realignment activities for the Air Force in 2004. I would hope that you could use part of that money to look at published predictions of previous BRAC actions and what actually did occur.
If my memory serves me correct, when March Air Force Base was realigned, the number that was used in the cost of base realignment action (Cobra) model to expand Travis Air Force Base to accept the additional aircraft, I believe that number was $100 million. You know, and certainly I wish Travis well, but I am wondering what that number actually ended up being. And how that would have plugged into the COBRA model or into these predictions and how we go about base closure and base realignment in the future. As a matter of the record, do we know how much money we spent at Travis in the last number of years to reconstruct Travis to accept additional aircraft?
Secretary GIBBS. Well, I do not know the number.
General ROBBINS. No, sir.
Secretary GIBBS. How about for the record?
General ROBBINS. I will take that for the record.
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[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. CALVERT. Do you think it was more than $100 million?
Secretary GIBBS. I really have no idea.
Mr. CALVERT. This is just taking a look at that one example, but I suspect that some of these predictions that were made about savings were not there. I hope we can take a better look at these numbers as we move down this process. We in the Congress need accurate numbers along with the BRAC commissioners.
Secretary GIBBS. There are actuallyI am aware of two activities that are currently being done. We in the Air Force are doing one that talks about lessons learned and going back through and reevaluating what was or was not accomplished in each of the four previous rounds of BRAC.
Also, the Department of Defense under the integrated process team that is looking at cross and joint service usage is also doing evaluation both of how things were done in the previous BRACs, but also the model to ensure that it does the best job that it can. So we are trying to do those kinds of things.
Mr. CALVERT. I appreciate it. As an old business guy, obviously we would like to get payback on these if we are going to go through this painful process, it should make sense. And I suspectand I think the chairman may agree with me, in many cases it did not make sense. So hopefully if it is done
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Secretary GIBBS. Unfortunately we will not be pressured and get everything exactly right, nor did they in the past. I think if you look at the aggregate of the previous BRAC rounds, the summation of them has had a positive effect, both on the military and on the economy.
Mr. CALVERT. Thank, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Gibbs, I noticed with great interestand again, I want to thank all of you gentlemen for your service to our country. Thank you for being here.
I noticed with great interest your deficit of 11,400 rooms, dormitory rooms, another 3,700 inadequate rooms. I saw where you had budgeted, I believe, a little over $200 million towards that end. Is it your expectation to do the same thing next year? Because I am not so sure that gets you to your billion dollar budget by fiscal year 2007 at that rate.
Secretary GIBBS. The billion dollar dormitory plan expands beyond just the elimination of the shortage of dorm rooms and the inadequate. There is a billion dollar plan. We intend to get back into a process whereby we are replacing dormitories as they are necessary. We just refer to it within the Air Force to show that that is the kind of commitment that we are making into dormitories. And that it is a long-term plan. It is not something we are going to turn on and off year by year.
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So what we have included in the FYDP, in the five year look ahead, is a billion dollars for dormitories. So it will be approximately $200 million a year give or take some depending upon individual projects.
Mr. TAYLOR. I am just curious. I think it is only fair that I ask you the same question that the undersecretary of the Navy received. I keep hearing about this excess capacity. Yet, the guys who in one paragraph tell me there is excess capacity, when given the opportunity to name that installation or installations, they fail to name one of them. Can you name one base that you consider to be excess in the United States Air Force?
Secretary GIBBS. No.
Mr. TAYLOR. Well, why is it the Administration keeps telling us they have excess capacity, sir.
Secretary GIBBS. Because I am not so sure that if I attempted to name a base I would not be violating a BRAC law. Because it tells me that I must identify the force structure through 2020. I must have a documented set of criteria about how that will be applied. And then I must apply military necessity before that. And at this point, I cannot do any of the three.
Mr. TAYLOR. I am mostly hearing about the savings. And I have to admit that I am a disbeliever on the claims of the savings. So I will give you an opportunity. Can you name one weapons system that has been purchased with BRAC savings?
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Secretary GIBBS. I cannot do that mainly because coming from a financial background, I look at cash as being fungible and that there is not a direct relationship between cash in and cash out. And I am not aware of any from a budgetary perspective that were specifically identified to be used for that purpose. So I cannot.
But I do believe that the studies that have been done both by the Administration and also by the General Accounting Office (GAO) that in fact there has been, either depending upon how you would want to divide it, either in net savings or a cost avoidance that has occurred because of the previous rounds of BRAC.
Mr. TAYLOR. Is it your planas in previous BRACs, one of the surprises to the local communities was to the military retiree community. The studies I have done indicate that about half of our nation's military retirees choose to retire in the immediate vicinity of a military installation. They were less than pleased to find out that when the installation closed so did the hospital, so did the commissary, which was in many instances the major reason they chose to retire there. Is it your intention to close the hospital and the commissaries if the bases close again this time? Or will that be done differently this time?
Secretary GIBBS. I would have to split that into two different pieces. In terms of the hospitals, the determination has beenat least the preliminary determination has been made that medical facilities will be looked at from a joint process. So in fact, all of the medical facilities for all of the services will be looked at in combination in terms of again, identifying the military necessity and the location for them.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am certainly not familiar with whether any specific decisions have been made to the level that you are talking about in terms of specific items. I would sincerely doubt that anything has been done since that process really just got started about three or four weeks ago.
In terms of the commissary and post exchange (PX), if a facility is closed, I do not think that there would be under the military necessity definitionI am hypothecating now, but I currently could not see how we would keep a commissary or a PX open.
Mr. TAYLOR. Well, may I give you the opportunity to correct me? Do you know of a single instance when a base was closed and the hospital remained open? Because I am not aware of any. I will give you an opportunity to correct me if I am wrong.
Secretary GIBBS. I am not. No, I am not aware of any at this point.
Mr. TAYLOR. Anyone else on the panel? Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Rodriguez?
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Thank you very much. Secretary Gibbs, let me first of all thank you for once again meeting with the San Antonio delegation when they came up. I want to thank you because I know you are busy, and you took the time to meet with them. Thank you for being forthcoming. I think it has already made a big difference. And I want to thank you for that.
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I kind of hate to follow Gene Taylor because he is talking about excess capacity. But I want to ask you about Kelly Air Force Base which we did close down. And I need to clarify how this sounds because it soundswe have some Air Force organizations that are still at Kelly. And this sounds kind of bad, but I wonder when they are going to be leaving since we did close the base.
Although, as you well know, you tell me. We are still looking for missions for Lackland and Randolph and Brooks, okay? But at Kelly, we do have someand we want to see when they are going to be moving to Lackland since the base was closed some time ago.
Secretary GIBBS. I do not have the details on the plan for the move over. I know there is a plan. I will take that for the record and get back to you and tell you what the anticipated movement is for those activities over onto the Lackland side.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. I want you to take that with you because I am ready to take any other mission at any of the three bases. Okay? And I think Congressman Taylor was asking if there was any hospital that remained open. I think ours remained open there in San Antonio after the closure at Kelly. Thank you.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Cole.
Mr. COLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before I get to my questions, let me make a quick point of personal privilege because I know you share my passion for University of Oklahoma athletics. We are ahead 35 to 16 right now according to my blackberry. So I will keep you posted as we report
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Mr. HEFLEY. Can we have a moment of silence in recognition of that?
Mr. COLE. Well, I just wanted you to be aware of that. I knew you would have an interest.
Gentlemen, if I may, I want to ask a couple of questions again, relating to the BRAC process. Mr. Secretary, I understand your difficulty and challenge when you are asked to name specific installations. That is a tough spot to be in. Can you speculate a little bit even though we are very early in the process as to categories of facilities and bases, types of bases, if you will, where you anticipate there might be the need for reductions and realignments?
Secretary GIBBS. No. Really, as I said earlier, we are not far enough along in the process to begin to even be thinking about those kinds of things. It really is very important that the military necessity piece and the force structure be done first.
The facility should not be driving how the military is forced to determine what its force posture is. The force posture must be converse. So we are working, we are really working very hard to make sure that those kinds of things are not talked about until the other part is
Mr. COLE. I understand, and I accept that, I certainly do. And that is the appropriate order of procedures you should address these things. But as you can understand, I think as the chairman mentioned in his remarks to an earlier panel, there is always a great deal of anxiety about this.
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There is a great deal of upheaval in communities that frankly and very logically are unlikely to face a difficult time. So, as quickly as you can get that information out there in whatever form or fashion, you know, it would be extraordinarily helpful, I think, to many of us.
Let me ask you this. There are clearly a lot of environmental costs or have been in previous rounds of BRAC. Can you tell me whether or not the costs associated with that have eaten into your military construction budget at all over the years?
Secretary GIBBS. I could not cite specifics, but I can give you a general evaluation of the overall observation. The Air Force is spending close to a billion dollars a year on its active installations for things related to the environmentgeneral terms and definition. In terms of the BRAC aspect, we are spending in this coming year, the current request is about $170 million. So relatively, the active program is much larger than the BRAC basis. So intuitively I would not say that it has had a direct affect on that.
Mr. COLE. Obviously you are in a BRAC situation now, has that impacted the request that you are making this year and in subsequent? In other words, are you delaying things in anticipation of that process?
Secretary GIBBS. No. Again there, the way the Air Force does its prioritization of military construction, it is a ground up determination. The projects are identified at local bases. They come up through the structure, through the major commands. They then come into the civil engineering group. There is a panel of people, both civil engineers and others, both civilian and military that go through and do the prioritization. And believe me, none of these people are thinking about BRAC at all.
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Mr. COLE. So literally, the fact that you would anticipate that we might close some installations plays no role in the requests that come forward for additional construction?
Secretary GIBBS. None.
Mr. COLE. Do you have any concern that if we do close a facility it will be after we have constructed something fairly substantial at it?
Secretary GIBBS. That is quite possible. But in the waterfall of the criteria that we will go through in making the determination, we have to certify in the end that it has a positive economic affect. So again, in the aggregate, it will be positive, or it will not be put forward economically.
And it is quite possibleI would say even more than thatit is probable that we will have built some facilities that are relatively in very good shape that may not be useful to us as we go forward even in the process of a realignment, even if a base is not closed. But you cannot stop. You cannot stop for two or three years. So it is the continuation. We are in a continuum. And it is the process of coming into it at some point in time. And that is how it was inefficient.
Mr. COLE. Well, that is certainly one of my concerns in terms of moving through the process. Let me make a quick observation and then I will yield back the balance of my time, Mr. Chairman.
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First of all, thank you, gentlemen, very much for what you do each and every day. You do a superb job. In fact, sometimes I think you are almost too good at what you do and I think you probably stretch dollars a lot further than is generally recognized. And as I look at your requests, and I think probably most members in this committee would share this opinion, we think you are underfunding yourself and you have for a number of years.
That is a tribute to your skill and your ability. We would just ask you not to stretch the rubber band too far because the further we get behind if we are indeed behind on these sort of things, the more difficult it is at a particular moment to catch up in time. So, you know, please look at these things pretty carefully. And, you know, again I recognize you work through an organizational chain. But I would hope, too, you are always free with this committee in terms of some of the decisions to be made because the authorizing authority is Congress. And it is helpful to have the options in front of you and not to have a sort of predesigned package that it is very difficult to ask tough questions on. And I do not suggest that any of you gentlemen would do that. But I would just ask you to guard against that danger.
Secretary GIBBS. We certainly will.
Mr. COLE. Thank you. And thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you. You are still planning to close Tinker Air Force Base, aren't you, in Oklahoma City?
Mr. COLE. I was artfully trying to get at the depot question, actually, through my category question.
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Mr. HEFLEY. I thought you were.
Mr. COLE. But I figured they would see me coming.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Abercrombie?
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, you simply cannot escape this issue of the BRAC. Now we can be dismissed. Every member in this committee from the chairman on down can be dismissed if you want for sayingand you would not be the first, I do not mean you personally, but one would not be the firstwell, they have all got parochial views. They are all trying to defend themselves from their constituencies and so on. And the answer to that would be of course they are. And of course we are. Perfectly legitimately.
The presumption is that regardless of whatever regional or parochial designations might have been made for bases over historic periods of time, nonetheless, whether one site was chosen over another for political reasons, those sites all have activities taking place that are associated with the defense of this nation in meeting its strategic interests.
Presumably, at some point historically, someone could have made a logical case, a detached case, that a base should have been 400 miles this way or 600 miles that way or all those kinds of things, that the geography could have changed around.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But regardless of that and its accuracy or inaccuracy or the merits or demerits of the political arguments, nonetheless what takes place at those bases, I am sure you would all agree, is vital to the interests of the service involved and that the people conducting the business there on those bases and sites are doing so to the best of their professional ability and will continue to do so regardless of where they are.
So if we can have, Mr. Chairman, as a premise that the activities at these bases are needed, whether they are needed there or whether they may be put in some other context is a separate question. So I think it is legitimate at this stage for this committee to be asking questions like what bases are not going to beoh, I am not going to say allowed. But surely recommendations come from everybody. What bases are not going to be shut down? What bases have the highest recommendation for not being shut down?
No, I am not going to ask that because I know you are not going to give me an answer. Not because you are trying to be churlish or obstreperous about it, but because you are not allowed. Here is the difficulty. And Mr. Chairman, I want this on the record. We are being asked nonetheless to approve a whole series of recommendations here for expenditures for military construction. Most of which we expect to get underway within the next year because that is pretty muchI know Mr. Hefley pretty well. He is not going to put down or recommend for appropriations based on authorizations those things which he does not think are going to get underway again for reasons having to do with constituencies among other things. There is a political element to this for sure. You want people working in your district. You want jobs to come out of it. You do not want to put something down in the abstract.
Therefore, having that in mind, I have a serious question then to ask you. If you look at the BRAC time lineokay? And I hope I have established the premise that I am not going to argue with you about whether we are supposed to have it or not have it.
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But I am going to argue to you that we are expected to make decisions on MILCON based on your recommendations here, MILCON recommendations, which at least the way the House is working now, Mr. Chairman, the Appropriations Committee tries to work with us on it. The BRAC time line I have here shows that by April of 2004, approximately a year from now that the GAO reports on analysis of the Secretary's force structure plans, infrastructure inventories, analysis of the two products and certification of the need for BRAC.
Then according to my paper here, Mr. Chairman, we wait until March 15th the following year for the President to submit names of the commissioners to the Senate. Would you be in favor, based on what you have testified here today as well as in previous time, of moving up this date? I do not even see why we have to go to 2004 April.
But let's just stick with that. Why can't the President name the commissioners in April of 2004 when the certification of the need for BRAC takes place? And then over the next five months, because this will not be done in a vacuum, we get the recommendation to come in here. What if we change the date to October of 2004?
Secretary GIBBS. What it would require would be a compression of the time for the completion of the gathering of the data to be analyzed against the criteria that is set. The criteria will not be set until mid March of 2004.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Time out. Excuse me. I understand. This is not our first time around.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary GIBBS. No.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. It is not as if we are in virgin territory here. This is what? The third, fourth?
Secretary GIBBS. Fifth.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And presumably we have gone through these other rounds. It is very difficult for me to see. Now, if the political reasonI have just cited that I understand what my political reasons are. If the political reason here is to take it past the election in November, 2004, I can understand that. But I do not think it is fair for us to be seen as parochial and having political reasons when that clearly to me is political to avoid having to take the responsibility for the recommendations.
I think if it is realand this is my bottom line point, Mr. Chairman. If you really believeagain, not you personally. But if the Department really believes that this is something that is in the national interest and something that should be done and is in all the services' interest, it seems to me nothing less thanI will not say cynical. But it certainly is politically convenient to push it past the 2004 election.
If you believe it, and you believe in this process, then put it out there before the election, and we will all have to stand or fall or whatever is involved. That is my suggestion. If the Secretary wants credibility with at least this member of this committee, come back and let's get this process done before the election in 2004, and we will all take our political chances. Aren't you happy to have these suggestions that make your life easier?
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Secretary GIBBS. Obviously if the Congress were to change the time line, we would change to comply with it. I mean, it was the Congress that set the time line.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Fair enough. Do you suppose you could relay to the Secretary my thoughts on this and that perhaps he might get back to the chairman about the efficacy of picking October of 2004 to make the decision? And then we can put legislation forward to try and see that that day comes about?
Secretary GIBBS. Quite honestly, I do not think the Secretary would take my call.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Abercrombie. Thank you, gentlemen. We appreciate your testimony.
General Robbins, again we are going to miss you. We have enjoyed having you over these last few years to make the case. And you have done a very good job of it.
The committee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 5:05 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]