SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 1065]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2000H.R. 1401
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
MILITARY READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS
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TITLE IIIOPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
MARCH 22, 1999
MILITARY READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE
HERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia, Chairman
SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
BOB RILEY, Alabama
DUNCAN HUNTER, California
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
TILLIE K. FOWLER, Florida
JAMES TALENT, Missouri
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
DONALD SHERWOOD, Pennsylvania
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
NORMAN SISISKY, Virginia
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN M. SPRATT, Jr., South Carolina
OWEN PICKETT, Virginia
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH, Illinois
ADAM SMITH, Washington
JAMES H. MALONEY, Connecticut
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
Peter M. Steffes, Professional Staff Member
Joseph F. Boessen, Professional Staff Member
Diane W. Bowman, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
Monday, March 22, 1999, H.R. 1401, Fiscal Year 2000 National Defense Authorization ActMilitary Readiness Issues
Monday, March 22, 1999
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MONDAY, MARCH 22, 1999
H.R. 1401, FISCAL YEAR 2000 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTMILITARY READINESS ISSUES
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Bateman, Hon. Herbert H., a Representative from Virginia, Chairman, Military Readiness Subcommittee
Sisisky, Hon. Norman, a Representative from Virginia
Foerstel, Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Dean, Brigade Command Sgt. Maj., 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized)
Gehman, Adm. Harold W., Jr., USN, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic
Hawley, Gen. Richard E., Commander, Air Combat Command, USAF
Johns, Col. Raymond E., Jr., Commander, 62d Airlift Wing, McChord Air Force Base, Washington, Air Mobility Command, USAF
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Klingseis, Capt. F. Joseph, USN, Commanding Officer, USS Anzio (CG68)
Neller, Col. Robert B., Commander, Sixth Marine Regiment
Pace, Lt. Gen. Peter, Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Atlantic
Reason, Adm. J. Paul, USN, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet
Robbins, OSCM (SW) William B., USN, Command Master Chief, USS Anzio (CG68)
Robertson, Gen. Charleston T., Jr., USAF, Commander in Chief, U.S. Transportation Command
Rutledge, Senior Master Sgt. Gary E., 68th Fighter Squadron, 347th Wing, Moody AFB, Georgia, Air Combat Command, USAF
Schoomaker, Gen. Peter J., Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command
Schwartz, Gen. Thomas A., Commander, U.S. Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Georgia
Thornton, Sgt. Maj. Richard I., Sgt. Maj., Eighth Marine Regiment
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Williams, Col. Robert M., Commander, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized)
Foerstel, Command Sgt. Maj. Edward
Gehman, Adm. Harold W., Jr.
Hawley, Gen. Richard E.
Johns, Col. Raymond E., Jr.
Klingseis, Capt. F. Joseph
Neller, Col. Robert B.
Pace, Lt. Gen. Peter
Reason, Adm. J. Paul
Robbins, OSCM (SW) William B.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCRobertson, Gen. Charles T., Jr.
Rutledge, Senior Master Sgt. Gary E.
Schoomaker, Gen. Peter J.
Schwartz, Gen. Thomas A.
Thornton, Sgt. Maj. Richard I.
Williams, Col. Robert M.
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[This information is pending.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[This information is pending.]
MILITARY READINESS ISSUES
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Military Readiness Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Monday, March 22, 1999.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:25 a.m. in Ely Hall, Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia, Hon. Herbert H. Bateman (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
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OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. HERBERT H. BATEMAN, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM VIRGINIA, CHAIRMAN, MILITARY READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. BATEMAN. I would like to welcome everyone here today to this field hearing of the Military Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. This is the third in a series of readiness field hearings that this subcommittee has held this year. We have been conducting field hearings for the past several years at various military installations across the United States and overseas, and I am more and more convinced that they are a valuable tool in understanding the realities of readiness of our military forces. The only way to fully understand the efforts required by our military personnel to maintain all the equipment, conduct meaningful training, and maintain a high state of readiness in the current high operations tempo environment is to get out of Washington and go to where the men and women of our military live and work.
It is equally important that all levels of our military have an opportunity to review the process by which the Congress and the House Armed Services Committee exercises its oversight responsibilities which are mandated by our Constitution. We are here today not so much to ask questions but rather to listen to our witnesses give their personal perspectives on current readiness in their units and commands.
There are several reasons why it is important for members of the committee to travel to the field to hear about readiness. As many of you will remember, over four years ago while the Pentagon continued to maintain that readiness was as high as ever, it was this committee which began to get a quite different story about what it saw as the early stages of a long-term systemic readiness problem. Although refreshing, it was not until September of last year that Pentagon leadership and this administration acknowledged that thewhat the committee had been asserting for these past four years, namely, that military readiness was at an unacceptable level and needed to be fixed and fixed now.
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At our field hearing on the state of readiness and our military combat training centers, we heard the personnel and units arriving at the combat training centers are not as well trained as they once were. I believe that this is a major indicator that the problems in recruiting and retention, the personnel turbulence, lack of spare parts, constant constraints on funding, shortages of people and personnel, and operational tempo created by too few people trying to do too much work has caused a down spiral in readiness that will take all of our efforts to reverse.
I am convinced Congress is working hard to do its part. However, we must have candid appraisals of the true state of readiness and the problems that exist. We cannot act solely on the basis of anecdotal evidence. For the past four years, Congress has been adding money to the defense budget only to read in the press that it is for pork and the military does not want it. I submit to you if we had not added over $6 billion to the military readiness budget during the past few years, the state of readiness and the lack of resources available to train and maintain our forces would be much worse. We are very fortunate to have three panels of witnesses representing the four military services at all levels of command and supervision.
The first two panels are composed of senior commanders from major operational commands to give us insight into the challenges they face and their views on the overall readiness of the force. We look forward to learning more about the demands of the major commands to provide the joint forces necessary to meet alliance commitments and contingency operations that seem to continue to grow.
I am especially pleased to have as our third panel a selection of commanders and senior non-commissioned officers. They represent the men and women who make up the level of the military that must maintain the readiness of their units and meet operational commitments while maintaining an atmosphere in their units that encourages reenlistment. I feel strongly that the views of these commanders and non-commissioned officers here today are essential to getting an accurate assessment of readiness at the working level. I look forward to their testimony from their unique perspective on these important issues, and I especially look forward to having a dialogue with them on how Congress can help to make their lives better.
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Before we begin hearing from our panels, I would now like to yield to my good friend and neighbor, the gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Sisisky, who is filling in for the Ranking Member of the subcommittee, Mr. Solomon Ortiz, who is not with us, unfortunately, due to a virus. Mr. Sisisky, we would be pleased to hear from you this morning.
STATEMENT OF HON. NORMAN SISISKY, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM VIRGINIA
Mr. SISISKY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I join Chairman Bateman in expressing my personal appreciation to the command for hosting this readiness field hearing today. I too want to welcome all of our distinguished witnesses to this hearing. Because of your presence here today, we have the opportunity to gain insights from you regarding the readiness of your units and those factors that impact on that readiness. And I look forward to your candid testimony and response to questions.
Mr. Chairman, I know that we are pressed for time and that we want to hear from our witnesses, and for those reasons I will not take up much time with opening remarks. I would like to take a few moments to tell our witnesses here today who are representing a much larger part of our military that their sacrifices and contributions are appreciated. I always enjoy going to the field. Hearing about how you are being required to do more with less, the shortage of personnel, the high OPTEMPO, the frequent family operations, the shortage of repair parts, and the crumbling of infrastructure is one thing, but seeing the impact of the shortages and stresses as described by you down where the rubber meets the road makes a different impression. You should know that we recognize and appreciate your professionalism, dedication, and willingness to serve often under less than desirable conditions. Thank you for sharing with us your views on the readiness of your units, and I look forward to hearing from you. Mr. Chairman, with those brief comments I yield back my time.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Sisisky, and before I present the first panel, let me just apologize for the fact that we are a few minutes late getting started. I have to tell you that it is not our doing. It was the belated departure of certain members of the executive branch of government that prevented us from being here on time. Our first panel consists of Admiral Harold W. Gehman, Jr., Commander in Chief, Atlantic Command, Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic of the United States Navy; General Peter J. Schoomaker, Commander of the United States Special Operations Command; General Charles Tony Robertson, Commander in Chief, United States Transportation Command.
Gentlemen, we are most pleased to have you. And Admiral Gehman, you may proceed as you wish. For purposes of this panel and all the witnesses, your written statements will be made a part of the record; and you can proceed as you may see fit this morning, Admiral Gehman.
STATEMENT OF ADM. HAROLD W. GEHMAN, JR., COMMANDER IN CHIEF, U.S. ATLANTIC COMMAND AND NATO'S SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER ATLANTIC, U.S. NAVY
Admiral GEHMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and all members of the committee. I thank you for this opportunity to appear before you and testify on readiness on behalf of the 1.2 million active duty and Reserve component men and women under the command of the U.S. Atlantic Command. I do indeed want to make a very short opening statement, and I thank you for allowing my formal statement to be entered into the record.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, since the U.S. Atlantic Command comprises the vast majority of our Nation's general-purpose combat forces, maintaining high readiness to execute the military tasks assigned to us by the National Command Authority is our first and most important priority here. As I testified before the full House National Security Committee last year, I was concerned at that time that our troops could feel a readiness problem coming, but we leaders relying on, as we do, on statistics and measurements did not have the same perception.
Fortunately, this dangerous situation I described no longer exists. That is, there is now both a broad consensus that we do indeed have a readiness problem and a healthy debate about how to fix it. In my mind, acknowledging a problem is the first and most important step in its solution.
Given that it took us several years to get to the point where we could measure the degradation of our readiness, it will also take several years of improved resourcing before we can measure improvements. Similarly, just as our people told us of the declining readiness before our metrics did, they will also sense the impact of improved resourcing before our statistics can detect it.
To help understand the complexities of this readiness problem, I like to use this illustration to try and depict this admittedly complex issue. And I invite your attention to this chart I use over here on the right. By showing that readiness has more than one aspect, I think it gives us a more complete model with which to examine this issue. This chart shows our all-volunteer force being pulled by arrows in three different directions representing, at least my model, of the demandingof the different demands placed on resources and capabilities. The first arrow represents the pull of routine operations, contingencies and engagement around the world. In other words, our day-to-day operations both emergency and routine. The second arrow represents the cost of recapitalizing and modernizing our force, including experimentation to transform our force for the future. In other words, acquisition and procurement. Finally, the third arrow represents the maintenance, training, and quality of life needed to sustain our equipment infrastructure and people. In other words, paying our day-to-day bills, including taking care of our people.
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To me these categories represent distinct but interrelated parts of the readiness equation, each of which must be recognized and resourced appropriately. If any one area suffers, readiness suffers. The readiness discussion needs to go on until we find ways to appropriately fund and prioritize a mix of these priorities. That is what makes this problem so complicated. Important improvements like pay raises and changing the retirement system get at only one part of the equation. Our troops get just as frustrated when they constantly nurse equipment that has long outlived its usefulness, missed out on needed training opportunities, can't get spare parts, or endure more and more deployments. This creates the perception that they are in a second-rate organization that doesn't care about them, and they vote with their feet.
Mr. Chairman, I have tried to highlight for you, this morning, this complexity of this readiness business, but I would like to close by saying that the story is not all bad news. The demands of many small-scale contingencies that we face every day have forced us to become more efficient in many of our roles. We also realize, Mr. Chairman, that there are many things that we, in uniform, need to do to address some of these concerns. We need to continue to work on the substantial parts of readiness which we control and which don't require money. I am very proud of the achievements of all 1.2 million men under my command. It is through their efforts, their skill, and their superhuman determination that our readiness has not hollowed more dramatically than it already has. Also thanks is due to you and to this committee for your efforts. We are starting to receive some of the support, and the troops are beginning to feel that they are receiving the support they need to properly maintain themselves and their equipment as the world's preeminent fighting force.
Now our task is to continuously reprioritize and prioritize the right mix of our forces so we can transform this military into a fighting force able to master the challenges of the future. On behalf of the men and women of the U.S. Atlantic Command, let me extend to you our thanks for the efforts you and your committee are taking on our behalf and especially for visiting in the field out here in Norfolk. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the time. I am prepared to answer any questions that you and the committee may have.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you very much, Admiral Gehman.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Gehman can be found in the appendix.]
STATEMENT OF GEN. PETER J. SCHOOMAKER, COMMANDER IN CHIEF, U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND
Mr. BATEMAN. Now we are pleased to hear from General Peter J. Schoomaker of the U.S. Special Operations Command. General, we are pleased to have you.
General SCHOOMAKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate this opportunity as well to appear before you to discuss the readiness of the United States Special Operations Command. With your permission, I have submitted a detailed statement for the record. Therefore, I will be very brief. Today we are sharing the challenges of a resource-constrained environment with the other unified commands and military services. Despite those challenges, we are on the move fulfilling the intent of our founding legislation and focusing on our responsibility specified in Title 10. My concerns center primarily on two fundamental issues: The retention of our people and the ability of the services to fulfill their support obligations to the U.S. Special Operations Command.
First, people. They are our most important resource. Our challenges are to retain our trained special operators and to adjust to the smaller conventional service manpower basis from which we are now required to recruit. We believe our people are motivated less by money than by having worthy work to do. Nevertheless, they deserve adequate compensation for the often dangerous duties they perform. Congressional support in this area provides a powerful signal to our deserving men and women and will advance the state of our future health and readiness.
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Second, the military services have endured consecutive years of declining defense budgets. Inadequate service budgets have led to deteriorating infrastructure and underfunded base-operations support. As a result, we have been forced to spend some of our Major Force Program 11 SOF-unique dollars to fill critical holes. Since the services are responsible for providing our basic quality-of-life, maintenance, equipment, and facilities, their support or lack thereof directly affects our recruiting and retention.
In the face of the readiness concerns, we continue to innovate. The reengineering of our command has allowed us to focus more clearly on the core functions specified in our founding legislation. We continue to exploit more efficient ways of operating while taking some calculated risks so as to provide our special operators with leading edge technology in the future.
That future rests on four pillars: Strategic agility, ubiquitous presence, information dominance, and global access. New platforms we envision include the CV22, the advanced SEAL delivery system, and converted Seawolf and Trident submarines. In order to achieve our vision and to maintain readiness and retain our quality people along the way, we ask for your continued support. Thank you. I stand prepared to answer any questions you may have.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you very much, General.
[The prepared statement of General Schoomaker can be found in the appendix.]
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BATEMAN. Now we are pleased to hear from General Robertson from the U.S. Transportation Command. General.
STATEMENT OF GEN. CHARLES T. ROBERTSON JR., COMMANDER IN CHIEF, U.S. TRANSPORTATION COMMAND, U.S. AIR FORCE
General ROBERTSON. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I would like to thank you also for this opportunity. It is an honor to speak to you today on behalf of the 162,000 men and women of the Defense Transportation System, the first time since 1994 that CINCTRAN has had an opportunity to address this committee.
First, you need to know that the United States Transportation Command and the men and women of USTRANSCOM look on our global mobility mission as absolutely vital to the maintenance of this country's leadership position in the world.
There are two reasons here. First, because we think more than any other command, TRANSCOM's folks are doing their wartime mission every day on every continent around the world out on the pointy end of the spear translating national policy into action. Second, because we know that the readiness of U.S. Transportation Command, perhaps more than any other single factor, impacts the mission effectiveness of every other war-fighting CINC. Global mobility is the foundation today for every contingency this country faces, and we know that without a quality and reliable U.S. transportation system, much more than this Nation's political interests are at stake. The lives of the very finest men and women this Nation has to offer, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, will be jeopardized. So as simply as I can put it, war fighting readiness does not exist without global mobility. The war-fighting CINCs rely on U.S. Transportation Command, and we consider our support of their mission a sacred trust.
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All the above aside, the readiness of U.S. Transportation Command today can be viewed from both a good news and a bad news perspective whether we are talking people, whether we are talking equipment, or whether we are talking infrastructure. Those three factors we consider the key pillars of our readiness triad.
First, consider our people. The great, total force, men and women, officer, enlisted, civilian, guard, active, Reserve who, regardless of the obstacles we throw in their way, make the mission happen every day. Simply put, the good news is that we are blessed by some of the best folks we have ever had. The bad news, far too many of those great folks are taking their talents elsewhere for many of the reasons you listed in your opening remarks, Mr. Chairman.
Second, consider our equipment, the trucks, trains, ships and planes, and air mobile transfer equipment that are the tools of our trade. The bad news here is that much of what we operate is very old and hasn't been updated as it should have been in recent years, either with system upgrades to keep it viable or with the spare parts we need to keep it operating. The good news is that, with your help and some attention in recent years, we finally have begun to focus on the root causes of these years of neglect. Programming and funding modifications and spare parts that hopefully have stopped the decline in the mission capability of these critical systems.
And finally, a unique factor under USTRANSCOM's umbrella, the international infrastructure that supports the high speed that the CINCs need to succeed in their missions. The bad news here is that years of neglect have led to significant shortfalls in my ability to support the war plans of the war-fighting CINCs. The good news being the significant level of military construction funding for new ramps and new fuel systems which have been built into the outyear budgets of the supporting services and Defense Logistics Agency.
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So there is plenty of negative news to go around and a good dose of good news with which to counter it, but my point is we have only just begun. We can't let up. Mr. Chairman, I submit my statement for the record, and I stand by to answer your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Robertson can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you very much, General. Before we proceed to questioning, let me take a moment to introduce the members of the committee who are here today as the committee panel. First, of course, needing no introduction in this part of the world is the gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Owen Pickett, who has represented this area now since 1984, I believe, Owen?
Mr. PICKETT. I have. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Also needing no introduction in these environs, Congressman Bobby Scott, not a member of the committee, but we are delighted to have him sitting in with us today. He represents a part of Norfolk and areas stretching north and west. And from North Carolina, Mike McIntyre, new member of the committee and a very valuable addition. Down below on the far left, Congressman Robert Underwood from Guam and to my right, the gentleman from Nevada, Mr. Gibbons. We are pleased to have all of them here and, of course, you heard from my colleague, Mr. Sisisky.
Now that the cast of characters have all been identified, let me ask Admiral Gehman, you spoke of assistance in the supplemental appropriation for fiscal year 1999 and that you are optimistic as to further resources becoming available in the proposed fiscal year 2000 budget. Can you quantify what the fiscal year 1999 supplemental did for your people in the Atlantic command?
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Admiral GEHMAN. Yes, sir. As I indicated in my statement, Mr. Bateman, it is hard toit is hard to quantify dollar for dollar the impact of an individual readiness dollar because the equation is so complex. In my estimation, the '99 supplemental probably began the process ofjust began the process of turning this trend around. It probably arrested the downturn but didn't do a whole lot to get us readiness restored. It did, however, send an important message that was heard by everybody in the military that the nation was willing to support their efforts with additional resources. In my estimate, the $1.3 billion supplemental just began the process of arresting a slow decline in readiness.
Mr. BATEMAN. In terms of the year 2000 budget request, have you been able to identify, or has it worked down to the level of your command, what is in it in terms of enhanced spending over what you have got in last year's original appropriation and what was added to it in the supplemental appropriation? In other words, how much better off do you expect to be if that budget is real?
Admiral GEHMAN. Mr. Chairman, to some degree the answer is yes, we have. For examplewe know, for example, what training we will be able to do in the year 2000 that is over and above what we were able to do in 1999, and that was a little bit more than what we were able to do in 1998. We were able to see, for example, where spare parts inventories in depot level maintenance will be increased. The trouble is, I can't tell you exactly the increase in, for example, aircraft mission rates that buying this particular new spare part will get us, but to some degree we can measure the inputs to readiness. That is, we can measure a better training program, supporting exercise is better, road miles, ship days, flying hours. We can see intuitively where better depot level maintenance, better spare parts should lead to increased retention, and we do know exactly where that money is earmarked to go, at least as of right now.
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Mr. BATEMAN. This is not in any sense meant to be argumentative or critical of you. It is something that has been hoisted upon you. But I suspect that for several years we could have said we have fully funded all of the training requirementssteaming days of the Navy, tag miles for the Army, flying miles for the air unitsbut having authorized and appropriated the money to do it, that money migrated to other things that had not been foreseen or if foreseen, weren't funded. And we robbed Peter to pay Paul, and too often, it may have been some of that training, certainly a great deal of your base operating support, your real property maintenance was diverted to do missions and to meet contingency requirements. And having done that for a number of years, it seems to us, or at least to this Member, that we have left some rather deep holes that we have got to go back and try and fill.
General Robertson, tell us about your airlift and where you are headed unless you get some relief.
General ROBERTSON. Good news and bad news, sir. C17 program isthe first 120 C17s is on track, 47 delivered. The last 35 delivered on or ahead of schedule with the airplane living up to every expectation we had for it from its first day of creation. And in the 2000 budget funding for an additional 14 primarily to support General Schoomaker's Special Agent Forces. That is not enough. We are still about a billion and a couple hundred million short to fund those next 15, but a program that is really on track.
Switching to the other end of the strategic airlift perspective, sir, the C5 is known for its very, very low mission-capable rate and its lack of reliability around the world. That is unfortunate because as the C141 retires, the C5 is the backbone of the fleetof the strategic airlift fleet. We started some Band-Aid fixes to the C5 replacing a high pressure turbine on the engines. This year we released a contract to replace the cockpit avionics modernization program, but that will only bring us up within about 12 percent of our desired mission-capable rates. So we have a ways to go on the C5 and have a program that we are introducing this year called the Reliability and Enhancement and Reengining Program which we hope will bring it up to the rate of reliability that the war-fighting CINCs need to support them.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, General. General Schoomaker, tell us where your principle shortfalls have been and what you think is in the process to meet it.
General SCHOOMAKER. Yes, Mr. Chairman, as you know, as a Commander in Chief of U.S. Special Operations Command, I command about 46,000 active Guard and Reserve, Army, Navy and Air Force special operators. And with Program 11, which is my primary budgetary responsibility, I am responsible for doing all of the SOF-unique, special operations force-unique, organized training equipment. I am dependent upon the services to perform their responsibilities in terms of maintenance, et cetera. Where we are iswe have had to take some risk to accomplish our responsibilities.
As you may be aware, we are in about 60 to 70 countries a week, the Special Operations Forces. That is consistent. Deploying about somewhere close to 5,000 people a week out of CONUS, out of the continental United States, to support this special operations engagement crisis kinds of missions. So we cannot afford to underfund our current readiness. So to fund our readiness and to be absolutely ready to do, not only the shaping and responding but also the top of the spectrum war fighting, we have to take risks in our programs.
The program we have gotfor instance, the JCS directed us to cut the exercise program by 15 percent, which we have. We have cut our joint combined exercise training program with Allied Forces about 15 percent. We have reduced our ammunition count by about ten percent. In our program, we have cut our patrol coastal fleet in half. We have gone from 13 to 6 ships. We are taking 30 of our 40 ships, payload helicopters, out of the fleet early before we get to CV22. We feel these are prudent risks to take. We are underwriting them through others, but we feel we must maintain our readiness to be able to do what we are called upon to do every day. So I would say, you know, we are a hybrid operation. We are unique, but I subscribe to what General Gehman showed you up here. What we are doing is funding 100 percent of that top arrow right there. We are taking care of that next arrow and we are doing it at the expense of what you see on the right. The problem we have is when the services are underfunded, it causes us to have to migrate into things that will relate to actual retention of people because it is the quality of life, the quality of family life, et cetera.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, General. The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Sisisky.
Mr. SISISKY. I refer back to that chart, General. You said the top arrow you are all right. If you are not C1, then we are really in trouble. Are you C1? Did you qualify that you are C1?
General SCHOOMAKER. We are C1 in all of the areas that we are required to be C1 in. We are not C1 in areas that are notthat don't have the force activity designated with the BC1. In other words, some of the reserved forces are not C1 because they are not early deployers; but in general our special operating forces are at the highest state of readiness of our military forces.
Mr. SISISKY. Is that where you are, Admiral Gehman?
Admiral GEHMAN. No, sir, it doesn't worry me. The forces that arespecial operations forces that are earmarked for quick reaction immediate deployment that have tasks that are to be done right away, as General Schoomaker says, are all C1. When you get down to forces that have 90-day readiness attached to them and things like that, then they are not C1, but they have time to get that.
Mr. SISISKY. So you can handle all of thatwhere the arrow points up to the left, you talk about less training. Is that true? I have been saying that we are going to be doing with less training. For instance, TRADOC, in the A76 program, has already cut next year's budget 20 percent just to begin. That has got to be a function of less training. You can't get away with that. Doesn't that worry you, Admiral Gehman? And you know I am not trying to
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Admiral GEHMAN. I understand. As this committee knows, for the last five, four, three years, we have been presenting a budget that was balanced and had some risk in it. The risk was deemed to be prudent when taken into account all the other political dynamics of how much the Department of Defense should get. But nobody has been coming up to this committee and saying there is not some risk in it. Unfortunately, what we have been seeing is that because of day-to-day costs associated with running this department, we have been migrating money across these three arrows. Mostly, we have been migrating money up to feed the top arrow and the bottom two have been
Mr. SISISKY. The maintenance is still not very good.
Admiral GEHMAN. We have been paying bills with base maintenance, depot maintenance, and things like that.
Mr. SISISKY. And of course, the quality of life, if you look back overyou look at the quality of life, the lack of housing, medical care, evenmilitary people now even have to worry about commissaries. Can you believe that? And that is why we depend on the uniform military leaders rather than the civilian military leaders. I hate to say that out loud, but I know I depend on you to get that message in Washington that these are all quality-of-life issues that are very important to the military.
I just read down here, and I know it had to do because of your O&M budget, that you have reduced child care pretty drastic. That has something to do with enlistments and talking about enlistments, one of the big problems as we all see is personnel. How short are we? Let us saywhen you order a battle group out of this beautiful port that the real Navy lives in down here, how much are you short in people as a battle group moves somewhere?
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Admiral GEHMAN. Mr. Sisisky, your analysis is very close and similar to mine in that what has changed over the last ten years is thatis this all-volunteer force, and therefore, the personnel part of the equation is different when you look at readiness than when you have a conscript force. Because when you have an all-volunteer force; and they all decide they don't want to do this anymore, that is the number one readiness threat to the American military is it is an all volunteer force and the impact on it. So everythingmy point that I tried to make with this little chart is that everything affects all volunteer-force. Not only just pay and quality of life which does affect the all-volunteer force, but even if you gave them allall the pay they could ever dream of, you can't get them to stay in if they think they are flying an unsafe airplane or if they never get to shoot weapons or if they never get to practice their skill.
So it is a balance, and it is a very delicate balance. And whatever was balanced for one year may not work five years from now because we may move it around. But the key is this all-volunteer force and the personnel aspects, including quality of life, medical care, pay, retirement, it is all part of it. But you can't fix it just with quality-of-life issues.
Mr. SISISKY. Now that I have talked about the bad news on that chart, I think I can talk about the good news. That is recapitalization and modernization. I do believe other than the President's budget which is notI think basically only added four and a half billion dollars to the defense, you will see an addition to the defense budget this year, which it may be under the guise of O&M, operation and maintenance, but it will be for recapitalization and modernization. And, of course, not too far from here, you are going to be doing the experimentation to some degree, am I correct? So the good news is on the right-hand bottom part of that chart.
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Admiral GEHMAN. And of course as this committee fully well knows, if you underfund the top arrow there for one reason or another or if you overexecute the top arrow due to operations or contingencies and you have to pay the bills, money migrates from the other two arrows. And by properly funding the operations in the first place, you would tend to at least slow down the tendency to migrate money.
Mr. SISISKY. I will yield back my time. We have no clocks so I will try to exercise the five-minute rule.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Sisisky. Mr. Pickett.
Mr. PICKETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral Gehman, I note in your statement here that you make the observation with a primarily U.S. based force, this has generated a logistics challenge that we did not face during the Cold War. Can you tell us a little bit more about how this impacts on readiness.
Admiral GEHMAN. Absolutely. This is General Robertson's business every bit as much as mine. In the past, prior to the great drawdown of U.S. forces and not only the drawdown but the larger percentage of forces which return to the United States, generally speaking, contingencies like we see in Kosovo and other places were handled by the theater forces. And if there was an increase of tensions on the Korean peninsula or tension in Taiwan Straits or something like that, generally speaking, the theater forces took care of these crises. Now, these crises have to be taken care of, generally speaking, by forces from the United States as we see right now this week. Those forces in the United States were all busy doing something else, readiness related kinds of things. All that process is now going to be interrupted more often and more often and more often in order to deal with these contingencies.
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And lastly, I would make a very, very strong point that one of the unique and special capabilities that sets the United States Armed Forces apart from the others in the world is our strategic mobility, our ability to get places far away, fast, with large forces. It is a special capability that requires special taking care of, and so General Robertson and I are in a partnership. Since he owns the mobility process and I own the forces, we are in the process of looking at how we can do this better, more efficiently, both from a taxpayers' point of view and also a readiness point of view.
Mr. PICKETT. You also mentioned something that we talked about already, not here but in the committee, and that is this issue of relying on the Guard and Reserve and the fact that sometimes employers, the first time, it is, yes, we are behind you. And the second time is, well, are you back again? And the third time is, Hell, no. Can you tell us about that?
Admiral GEHMAN. I sure can. We have been on a campaign for a number of years to better utilize the Reserve and Guard. We have done that. We are now beginning to the point where the Reserve and Guard is starting to feel a little bit of pain in the sense we may haveusing them toto their full extent.
A case in point comes into my memory. In the case of the U.S. Army, a large portion of the combat service support and combat support of the Army has been put into the Guard and the Reserve; yet in a lot of cases, for example, Hurricane Mitch response and other kinds of things, it is just those forces that we need. It is not heavy armored divisions and things like that. It is engineers and medical and communications. And in the case of Bosnia, for example, which we have a Presidential Selective Reserve Callup (PSRC) for which you can only call people up once, we are just about out of our Guard and Reserve forces in the support area. So we have been following the mandate to use the Guard and the Reserve more to mitigate the impact on our operational forces or active forces and we are now beginning to see the bottom of the well.
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Mr. PICKETT. General Robertson, do you keep a measure of how appropriately you are able to respond to requests to transport items like spare parts and emergency goods from one point to the other in a transportation command?
General ROBERTSON. Yes, sir, we do. It depends on the priority given to it by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, obviously. We basically respond to the requirements of the CINCs and the services, depending on what their priority is.
Mr. PICKETT. The question I was leading to, does it have a tendency now to rely more on the transportation command, for example, for spare parts and that has caused you a lot of additional work and has slowed down the pipeline to get parts to where they need to be?
General ROBERTSON. No, sir. Well, there is alwaysthe requirement grows every day, but the transportation system is not just great airplanes and great ships. It is commercial. We lean heavilyat least 50 percent of our response capability depends on the commercial side of the business and so as the requirement grows, the timeliness of the response increases. We lean more heavily on our commercial partners to supplement what we have as far as great airplanes and great ships are concerned.
As far as timeliness is concerned, we don't have a problem. The problem is meeting the volume of the requirement. For instance, we will just take last year's for example. I said no to airlift requests from CINCs over 500 times. I said no to air refueling requests from CINCs, most of them for exercises, over 200 times. That is where the capacity restriction comes into being; in my end of the business is just the handling the volume of requirements and requests that come in.
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Mr. PICKETT. So what impact does this inability to respond to the CINCs' request have on readiness in those commands where they are commanding.
General ROBERTSON. I think, generally, we are better as far as response is concerned just because of the fact we have harnessed the capabilities of technology now through in-transit visibility and total asset visibility to be able to tell those CINCs when they are forward deployed, when things left home, where they are in the pipeline; they go right on the Internet and check and when they are going to get there. So basically we are meeting the requirements as they currently exist as far as timeliness is concerned and actually working to improve those throughby tightening the constraints on ourselves.
Mr. PICKETT. General Schoomaker, you mentioned here in your statement, you said with regard to nuclear, biological, and chemical equipment, we cannot fully support our commitment to the geographical commanders in chief. That is a little bit disturbing. Can you enlarge on that some and tell us what the problems are there, what we need to do to correct it?
General SCHOOMAKER. It is disturbing and it has caused us to have to make choices here on obviously outfitting personal quarters and those that are oriented towards the likelihood is highest that they'll get engaged. But basically this is an inventory problem of chemical biological defense suits, and we are in the process of switching out to a new generation of subsuits. As you know, there is a shelflife associated with it. So there is nobody right now at risk anywhere that is deployed.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our problem is in training, and in the process of it where we had to serve a great deal, I would have some concerns about how we are outfitted. The fix of this is in the program; and as the industrial base produces the suits and as they get distributed, they will be out there and the training will improve. That is one area where I am concerned, and I think it is indicative of 14 years in declining budgets. This is one of the places where we have had to take risks over the years.
Mr. PICKETT. Thank you, gentlemen. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Pickett. Mr. Gibbons.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, I want to thank all of you for your presence here today, but more importantly I want to thank you for your service to this country. I think we are very fortunate to have leaders like you leading our military men and women around this globe. Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased to have this hearing here today as well, and I want to just set the stage because Admiral Gehman said perceptions have been driven by statistics.
Years of decline that are showing up today are going to need to be followed by years of additional resources to see a change in all of that. I want to ask, knowing and setting the stage, what has occurred over the past historyin other words, prior to the Gulf War we have had four operations other than war that were theoretically in the first 40 years. Now, since the Gulf War, we have had 40 operations which have all come out of those two bottom legs of your graph over there. I guess the question I want to pose to each one of you three today is can we, today with our budget, meet the current national military strategy identified in the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) of a two major regional conflict with the ongoing operations we have got going?
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Admiral GEHMAN. I believe with the increased resourcing that is being considered by the Congress, and I won't put a dollar number on it, but the levels of increased resourcing which are being considered by the Congress in response to the administration's bill, we should expect from the military that we will maintain a ready force capable of doing thecarrying out the military tasks that have been assigned to us which is this test we have of nearly two simultaneous Major Theater Wars (MTWs). At the resourcing levels we were talking about in the '90s, no, you should not have expected to have a ready, all-volunteer force who could be as active around the world as we are. I hope that addresses your question.
Mr. GIBBONS. General Robertson?
General ROBERTSON. I have a different perspective, sir, because I am the one who is probably the shortfall as far as our capability to meet the two-major-theater-war nearly simultaneous strategy. The Chairman has said it, and I will echo his comments. ChairmanGeneral Shelton to meet the first major theater war requirement medium risk, which is what the strategy calls for, I have no problem doing that. To swing within 45 days to the second of the two-major-theater wars he has labeled high risk, and I concur with that. And it's basicallyand I will quantify for you. It is, basically, a shortfall of strategic airlift. C5 mission-capable rate is 14 percent below what the war plans call for, and enroute infrastructure, the points I made in my introductory comments. If you consider that my requirement to meet the two CINCs opposing needs is 49.7 million ton-miles a day, today I am about 11 percent short of that, and half of that can be attributed to either perspective. As Admiral Gehman pointed out, if current funding trends continue, I will be well by about 2007.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GIBBONS. General Schoomaker?
General SCHOOMAKER. Sir, I again am a little bit different in this regard. As the services have gone down over the last several years by about 30 percent, Special Operations Command remains level. We have not gone down.
Mr. GIBBONS. Let me follow up that question, if I may, with another one. Can we maintain the size of our current force structure that we have got today and the size of our current infrastructure under current budgeting?
Admiral GEHMAN. We believe that our current infrastructure is larger thanis disproportionate to our force structure. That is our opinion. As a matter of fact, in my opening comments, I indicated that this readiness equation that we have to work on for many more years not only requires more resources from the government, from the Congress, but also requires us to do some management kinds of things. One of those things we need to do is we need to trim our infrastructure. Our infrastructure is larger thandisproportionate to our force structure.
Mr. GIBBONS. Let me ask the question then. Do all of you support a BRAC?
Admiral GEHMAN. Yes, sir.
General ROBERTSON. Yes, sir.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General ROBERTSON. Yes.
Mr. GIBBONS. General Robertson, one final question, if I may with your indulgence, Mr. Chairman. I want to talk a little bit about the C130 program. In your comments and your statement, it is the mainstay of your tactical airlift. Yet you are stating in here that it is 60 tons per day short, being able to deliver about 60 tons per day short of what you need. I am wondering, do you agree with the DOD proposal to stop production of the C130 line for up to three years?
General ROBERTSON. Sir, we built our program, the Air Force built its program, based on the funding available and to try to meet the needs of the three legs of Admiral Gehman's triad. When you throw in the fact that my greedy part of the house requires C17 procurement, requires C5 modernization, as well as the modernization of the other legs, the air refueling legs of my triad and the infrastructure legs and the militarily handling equipment legs, the C130 program falls out about where I would place it on the priority list based on the funding that we have available.
Mr. GIBBONS. You understand, of course, you have got Guard and Reserve units and Marine units out there flying 40-year-old airplanes that are eight years beyond their life cycle requirements, so you would support closing the C130 line down even though it is going to cost the military a $1 billion addition to the start-up cost and further air pilots.
General ROBERTSON. I would rather have the capability to vote otherwise, but I don't, sir. I will tell you my KC135s are almost 50 years old. My C5s are passing 30, well on their way to 40 as well. I don't like flying old C130s. I fly them myself. They are not only old, the mission-capable rate equals about what the C5 mission-capable rate is. We have to fix the C130 fleet both with the C130 J buy and the C130 X modernization program and retire some of those old ugly ones, but it is a matter of priority, sir.
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Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Gibbons. Mr. Underwood.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for these interesting presentations. I thank the panel for them. Going back to your triad here, Admiral, and I believe in your statement earlier you made, I guess, a characterization that we were receiving input from the field so to speak that we weren'tthat we were having problems with readiness before the metrics kind of demonstrated that. And it seemed for the time that I have been on this subcommittee that for the pastin the earlier years, there was some denial about problems with readiness, some hesitancy to identify those problems of readiness from upper levels in the uniformed personnel, but there was quite open discussion from field level that there were problems with readiness.
And so the question I have is what was the source of this disconnect for all this time period, because now it seems like the floodgates have opened, and now we are getting all this information about problems with readiness from all levels. Whereas earlier, it seemed like we were only getting them from people who some might characterize them as willing to put careers on the line or willing to be a little bit more upfront with their estimates about what was occurring in the services. So I am trying to understand the disconnect between people who normally come before the subcommittee versus people who provide input sources from the field versus the metric of the situation and when they all kind of meet up because this is more an analytical model that tells us what happened.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I am kind of more interested in how do we get to know what happened on a more timely basis, and perhaps all three of you could speak to that. It certainly seems that, General Robertson, you have a very interesting series of metrics, very specific. I mean, that is the kind of metrics I assume were always generally available, just never saw it. I have never seen it characterized that way until quite recently. So I am wondering what is the disconnect between the sources of information that you have from the field telling you you have a problem with readiness versus the willingness to share that with this committee versus the metrics and how can we keep that from occurring again?
Admiral GEHMAN. Shall I? It is a very difficult and challenging question. Let me start to answer by saying that my contemporaries and I are all officers who were mid-grade officers in the post-Vietnam drawdown, and I think that all of us agree that that period in the U.S. military's history was not one we look back on with any pleasure or pride. That drawdown because in ourby my own personal recollection was not a very good time. It was a really bad time. And all of us have committed ourselvesall of us that are of approximately the same age and same background have committed ourselves personally that that is not going to happen again, not while we are in uniform.
So in the 90's when the military was getting smaller, we were drawing ourselves down, we were watching, our antennas were all up for signs of decreased readiness. But unfortunately, regretfully, our measuring systems are just not accurate enough to pick that up. So my answer to your question is this committee ishas got the right sense about it. You should go out and ask people and use your gut feeling.
What has happened is the range of acceptable readiness, take for example the range of readiness that we call C2, which is essentially ready with some minor degradation. But the range is so big that when you are at the top part of C2 in which you can go out and you can do your mission safely and execute the mission that the United States has assigned to you and the bottom part of C2 which you can still go out and do your mission. But the difference is that the work force, the structure of the armed services when you are down at the bottom part of C2, the rank and file people have to work so hard when you are down there that they decide to get out. So you are still C2. Our statistics are still reporting to C2, but that range is so big that the bottom part of it will drive people out of the armed forces, whereas the top part of it will keep people in. So the statistics just aren't good enough for us to measure this fine tune, this very sensitive thing.
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Meanwhile, we started hearing stories about how our people are having to work and just-in-time spare parts weren't good enough and the depots weren't funded well enough and the people weren't getting enough live firing to be confident about their military capabilities. And they were away from home too much, and pay was starting to fall behind, and all these things added up to where we had anecdotal reporting that we were in trouble.
And then I think that thewhen the senior officers finally heard enough, then they finally came up, went to the President, I was in the room. We were all in the room. We met with the President last September. He sat there for two hours while nine of us went around the room and told him terrible woe after woe. And then finally he said, Okay, go up to Congress and see what you can do. So, unfortunately, mythe best I can tell you is what this committee is doing, that is, going out and getting hands on, sensing it themselves is the best readiness indicator that we have other than to make sure that every member of this committee knows that at least all of my peers that I talked to who lived through the drawdown of the 70's are committed to not let that happen again.
General SCHOOMAKER. I would like to come at it from a little different angle. I'll try to be brief. I grew up in the Army because my father was in the Army, fought World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. I was at Desert One. This armed forces we have today is not in the problem we had in those days. We are not talking about that. All of us sitting here, 30 years of service apiece plus or minus, have seen hard times; and we have seen readiness on an upswing. The problem we have right now is there are a lot of people with expectations that have never known anything but good times. They start to see some things and that is where you start getting somethe increased anecdotal kinds of reports. I don't think that there is a problem in integrity here. I think it is a matter of expectations. I think what we now have is a convergence of our perspective and other people's perspective in a way that I think we are doing the right things here.
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Mr. UNDERWOOD. I certainly appreciate the commentary on the issue of integrity because sometimes when you are sitting at this end of the table and you hear anecdotal evidence and it is at variance with what senior officers are telling you, and then you come to find out a couple of years later that the metrics validates all of these perceptions, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that somebody wasn't giving you the whole story or somebody knew the whole story, didn't want to tell it to you; and so I very much appreciate that, the commentary and integrity. General?
General ROBERTSON. I would like to change the perspective also, although I need to echo General Gehman's comments. I sat in the ready rooms in 1979 as aircraft after aircraft broke and I couldn't go flying because there were no parts. I made a commitment then if I ever got to a level where I could do something about it, I would make sure that that didn't happen to the kids who followed me.
But let me give you another perspective of readiness, just from the transportation business, and I will use Desert Shield/Desert Storm as an example because I have been asked if I could do Desert Shield and Desert Storm today with the shortfalls that I have today.
If you stop to consider sealift, airlift, infrastructure and people, you can look at the cup is half full or the cup is half empty. In Desert Shield/Desert Storm, we had 24 prepositioned ships, basically old and not very big. Today we have 33, much more modern, much more capable, with a lot more equipment, stationed around the world.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In Desert Shield/Desert Storm our readiness rate and recall rate for the ready reserve of sealift backup ships was about 25 percent. Today we are sitting at 80-plus percent with a recall rate last yearwell, since Desert Shield/Desert Stormof 9799 no-notice activations on time. The Navy has stepped up to procure 19 reconstructed or brand-new, large, medium-speed instructed ROROs (roll-on, roll-off) to flesh out the capability required to meet the two major theater war requirements that Representative Gibbons asked about earlier. From an aircraft perspective, C17s coming on line, that is good news for our folks and C141s are retiring. The C5 is broke. We need to fix that.
Infrastructure is the same way. We have not paid attention to infrastructure. We noticed about four years after Desert Shield/Desert Storm that we had not been paying attention, and have devoted a significant amount of money, over $500 million, to fix that over the last four to five years.
And then you go to people. I need to put pilots in perspective because the current pilot shortfall is the number one headline. It is dramatically bad, and we need to do something to fix that. But you have to balance that against a perspective of my own.
I was a numbered Air Force commander six months ago, two years ago to six months ago, and I was manned because of the steepness of the drawdown between 150 percent and 200 percent in pilots. I had more than I could fly and I was trying to find a place to put them. So as we tried to level off the curve of drawdown of aviators, we overshot badly. But we were reporting a year ago with 125150 percent capability as far as pilots were concerned, and little did we know that we could not stop that decline.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So it is cup half full/cup half empty perspective. The point is that we can't stop now. We have just started and we need to continue this ''get well'' plan.
Mr. BATEMAN. I am not sure what the technical problem is. Thank you. Mr. Underwood. Mr. McIntyre.
Mr. MCINTYRE. After having been subject to redistricting all or part of Fort Bragg, Harley Pope Air Force Base, and Camp Lejuene, I especially appreciate the three branches of our service that you represent. I wanted to ask General Schoomaker, in answer to Congressman Pickett you mentioned something about the concerns about equipment and the inventory for chemical and biological and radiological concerns. I know a couple of years ago we had to put back into the budget, after there had been at that time a line item veto, the urban terrain preparation because it was outdated for our forces. And I wonder if we are in a situation now, given the probability and possibility of chemical and biological warfare, if we have adequate training facilities for that now, if that is something thatfurther in your report on page 36, you mentioned some short-, mid- and long-range goals, and given the immediacy of this kind of problem, if this is something that we need to look at right away in terms of simulated hazardous environments for training?
General SCHOOMAKER. I think this is one of the areas that we are working on. As you know, we have in the past at Fort McClellan a facility that allows you to train in actual chemical environments associated with chemical school. The complexity of the chemical-biological environment now is the weapons of mass destruction. A proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction continues. We are learning more and more about the kinds of things that we need, and we have some major problems.
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I already said that we are fixing the individual protection aspect, but we have some problems in detection, particularly in the biological agent area. We have some challenges, as you have seen and know about, in terms of preparing ourselves for biological kinds of environments. And when you get into the areas of treating casualties, chemical and biological casualties, particularly the wounded, there is a significant training investment there.
Decontamination is another area. So this is a very, very complex problem, and one that, especially with the emergence of rogue states and actors and the increasing possibility of weapons of mass destruction in light of either one of these three kinds of areas, has raised our concerns in terms of the readiness.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Do you feel you are at a sufficient level now to meet the threat, or do you feel that you are in dire need of some extra attention?
General SCHOOMAKER. No, I think we need to continue to put money against the proven basic measures that we require to protect our troops. Right now they have proper adequate chemical biological and radiological (CBR) protection and personal gear. They receive training, and they have the very best that we have. What we know is that this is a moving target, and we have to continue to develop and inspect what this means.
You know, in another forum, not appropriate to this forum, we can go into a great deal on this. But needless to say, this is one of the areas, particularly in my command, where we received the benefits of the additional money for readiness.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As you indicated, I am not a member of the committee, I am a member of the Education and Workforce Committee and the Judiciary Committee, and one of the challenges we have on education is trying to make sure that the graduates that are leaving high school are matched up with the jobs that are available. Many of the jobs that are available and unfilled are the high-technology jobs; and, unfortunately, we are not filling them.
I assume that you are having the same problem in attracting and retaining those who are academically prepared to function in a high-tech military. I just wonder if you can say a word about what you are doing. We have heard reports that rather than increasing the academic standardsin some areas the academic standards are actually being reducedand what that does to the readiness.
Admiral GEHMAN. Mr. Scott, are you correct. All of the armed services are facing increased challenges in recruiting talented people to serve in the armed services. This, of course, is an area which I am not an expert in. This is what the service chiefs do. They buy and train the forces. We operate them.
But I do know from my own personal experience that the services appear to be taking prudent steps. For example, I will give you one case in point. Some of the services are adjusting the requirement forthe mandatory requirement for high school degree, for example, before entering the service. But what they have done, at least as I understand it, they have substituted other tests of IQ and achievement to indicate that the quality of the person that they are getting has every indication that that person would succeed in the armed services. This looks to me like a calculated risk. Our all-volunteer force is one that we are particularly proud of, and we are very proud of the quality, and I would be nervous about any erosion of it. But as it has been explained to me, at least in every case when they have widened the aperture of people who can come into the armed services, they have substituted another quality measure.
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General SCHOOMAKER. I double what Admiral Gehman has said. We do not recruit basic soldiers, sailors, or airmen. We enjoy the benefit of the best that they have, and we bring them through very stringent selection programs, and we get, at best, three out of ten of all of those that apply. So we are dealing with a very, very high-caliber person. The quality of those people makes you proud every day. There is no question that we are very, very blessed in terms of the quality of the people that we have.
General ROBERTSON. I need to echo what Admiral Gehman said about the services' responsibilities. In the Defense Transportation System, 90 percent-plus are Air Force because Air Mobility Command is the largest of my three commands.
And I guess I would say thatand we are 100 percent manned, basically, across the board, we don't have the same shortages that some of the other service-heavy organizations would have.
My problem is not recruiting so far, and there have beenthe services are doing prudent things like increasing advertising budgets and incentives to make sure that doesn't become a problem. My biggest problem is retention, because we train our folks to such a high level of competency that they are in great demand at much greater wages and compensation than we can provide them. So if I have an area of emphasis that I need to stress from my end, we need to continue to work with some of the programs that we have been talking about as far as retention is concerned.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Scott. That completes the first round of questioning. And if I may, let me take but a moment for this panel, as well as for the other people who are on the later panels, to offer some comments about this year 2000 budget.
It would be very, very unfortunate if there is a perception throughout the country and in the services that this budget is going to do all that needs to be done, or even significant things that need to be done, and for it not to happen. But I think we have to be forewarned that this budget is far from a cure-all. As someone has pointed out, it really presents only $4.1 billion in new money. The rest of the $12-plus billion increase, if it really is an increase, is based upon changed assumptions about rate of inflation, fuel costs, foreign currency exchange; also reflects 1.6 billion in rescissions from your 1999 funding that we don't even know and haven't identified yet. It also reflects only a fraction of the actual normally-budgeted amounts for the military construction projects that are recommended in this budget, which even if the Congress approves a change in the way that we finance military construction, is going to put even greater pressure on future years' budgets where you have to catch up with what you didn't do in the year 2000 budget.
So there is a great deal of difficulty with whether you are really going to get the kind of enhancement in your capabilities that all of us, I think, realize we need and which we are hoping to get. Also I have to point out that it doesn't do a fraction of what needs to be done in terms of real equipment and modernization because those are things that are calculated to come in outyears with not that level of improvement in the immediate upcoming budget as are necessary.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This week in the Congress, or in the House, we will be acting on a budget resolution. I am optimistic, I am hopeful and I keep knocking on wood that that budget proposal is going to include enhancements to the national security function beyond what the President has recommended, but I am fearful that it is not going to be as much as it ought to be. And please stay tuned. One of the worst things that could happen for all of us is to demoralize and aggravate retention and recruitment problems because we lead people to great expectations and then disappoint them again. I certainly hope that is not going to be the case.
Gentlemen, thank you very much for being here and for testifying this morning. We will dismiss this panel with our continuing thanks and ask that we take a 5-minute recess where I am told that we are going to address some technical problems with the sound system, and then we will begin our second panel.
Mr. BATEMAN. I believe we are ready to resume and hopefully, without too much interference from static on the public address system.
Our second panel consists of General Tom Schwartz, Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command; Admiral J.P. Reason, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; General Richard Hawley, Commander, Air Combat Command, United States Air Force; and Lieutenant Gen. Peter Pace, Commander, U.S. Marine Forces, Atlantic.
Mr. BATEMAN. We will proceed down along the line, General Schwartz.
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STATEMENT OF GEN. THOMAS A. SCHWARTZ, COMMANDER, U.S. ARMY FORCES COMMAND, FORT MCPHERSON, GEORGIA
General SCHWARTZ. Good afternoon. Thank you, the gentlemen of this committee, absolutely for the opportunity to be here today. I am excited to tell our story and I will summarize.
Forces Command is trained and ready, but I shudder to think that that statement is taken that we don't need any money. We need lots of money, and I am prepared to articulate that need in my statement. I shudder to think that trained and ready only emphasizes that training is the only piece of this thing. There is quality of life and infrastructure, from the operational level, that is how we define it, the three of those components, much like Admiral Gehman did in his charts; I need to emphasize that because we have the soldiers trained, and we can't afford the Army not to have them trained. Sons and daughters of America are prepared to go in harm's way; and I can tell you when the phone rings at Forces Command, that commander can send those men and women to war and they can do the things that they need to do. We have to keep that piece of the equation up. We migrated a lot of dollars to do that.
I would like to say that we want to be judged by our performance and not by the rhetoric. If you look at the performance of the soldiers in Bosnia and look at the performance of the soldiers in Kuwait and the thousands of soldiers we have all over the world, it is an incredible story of performance by the great American soldier that we are tremendously proud of. When I visit them and I think even more importantly, sir, when you visit them, when you go outand as was brought out in the earlier testimonywhen you talk to the soldiers, you get the sense of good and bad; and there are good things out there. The soldiers love the challenge and they talk about that challenge. They love the adventure of the training, and that is exactly why they signed up, and they are doing what we trained them to do; but the pay incentives are tremendously important.
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The reason that I say this, I sometimes have spouses come up to me and say, Hey, General Schwartz, could you keep my husband over there a couple more months because I need the $300 extra that we are getting because of pay incentives. They don't want to say it, but they are sensing a hurt there, that they can't make it back home, and this little extra money that they are getting helps.
There are bad things: the quality of life and some of the housing, the Fort Braggs, the Fort Campbells, the Fort Stewarts; you see the housing and the barracks, the things that need attention. We have got to put the money into repair and maintenance and the quality-of-life things that speak loudly to our soldiers. The separation from family is a bad thing and a recognition just to these great soldiers have to be done. I know the plight of the soldiers. I have been with soldiers now for 12 straight years. I know their plight and I sense their frustration and understand their concerns, and I feel the uncertainty that those soldiers have out there right now. And every time I visit them, they tell me the good and the bad. Sometimes they are hurting so bad I can see it in their eyes. But they also tell me they feel so good about what they are doing, they have a hard time articulating themselves, what they are doing for this great Nation, so they have those kinds of mixed emotions about things.
And I guess the right picture for this committee is there is good and bad. They love what they are doing but they need our help. They really need our help. I would say that I call this thing ''balanced readiness,'' and I define it much like Admiral Gehman. It is training, quality of life, and infrastructure. You have to have those three components, not just one of them. It is the three tied together that speak to the soldiers, that are going to make soldiers vote to stay in and understand that we care and are concerned about them.
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In 13 years of declining budgets, in 1998, that austere year when we really met the elephant head on, were challenging for us. And they brought us together and made us take a hard look at where we are going. Thanks to this Congress and this subcommittee that they got a 3.6 pay raise, that you gave it to them and fought for them, and that the billions of dollars, almost 7 billion that you talked about, Mr. Chairman, you gave it to us and it found itself out in the force. And thank God for that.
In the course of those kinds of things last year, I took and put $100 million more dollars into training that we didn't have before. General Roemer and I sat in the desert at the National Training Center for 21/2 hours and listened to those observer controllers talk about the battalion task force level training is broken and we need to fix it. And we listened, and that is a good sign of our greatnesswe listened and fixed, and are on the road back with respect to the training. But those dollars came from you, and that is the only way we can do it. I think we are using every dollar that you give us. We are using it right and are trying to get better in using dollars and gaining the efficiencies and doing the kinds of things that we need to do. There are some huge challenges out there. The NCO shortages that I talk about in my statement are there, and we have to fix those and some of the buyback of NCOs will start to get us right in that effort.
The full time support for the Guard and Reserve, we don't have that now. We are calling on them more. They do 60 percent of the missions right now for the Army, and we don't have them manned right; 53 and 57 percent respectively of the requirements that we need to man them to do the kind of jobs and step up to the plate in terms of the things that we are asking them to do.
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OPTEMPO is as fast I have seen anything in 32 years. It is just as fast as I have seen. So we are on a fast pace and we have to be sensitive to that and what we are doing. Soldier recruiting and retention is the Achilles heel of the future and we have to pay a lot of attention to that.
But the inadequate pay and the retirement benefits, these kinds of things are on the minds of our soldiers. And I see our soldiers; I see and sense the hurt. I would relay a little quick story which I think kind of captures what is going on out there with the soldiers. They are moonlighting and they are doing all kinds of things, the food stamps and the moonlighting and selling the blood, which you read about in the newspapers the other day. The USA Today had a big story about pay for soldiers. Some of those things are out there and our soldiers feel them. I was going through McDonald's at 11 o'clock at night through the drive-through window. This young soldier almost fell out the window to shake my hand and say, How are you doing, General Schwartz, you are my corps commander. But 15 seconds later as I turned to go back home, it is near 11:30, McDonald's closes at 1:00, this kid will be up at 5:30 and will be in PT formation at 6:30. He is the same soldier that we are going to ask to start a tank that costs 7.6 million. There are 10 procedures to start that tank. If you mess up even one of them, it will cost you $250,000, just to make one mistake.
We have to have him and her ready, present, motivated to do the job, and I think to do that we have to pay them right. We have to look at this problem because it is a real challenge for us, and I would say that there is hope out there. I mean, I see the hope. I see the things that you are doing. I see the things that we are discussing in terms of the triad. The soldiers see this. They are reading all of the right signals. And what I am getting feedbackthey care about us.
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Sir, there is going to be a change. There is tremendous hope for the future, all of the signals that we are sending as we talk here today and as you do the kinds of things that you do for our soldiers. Last year I said I needed $796 million; and this year I am saying I need $622 million; and if I look at the figures and put them for fiscal year 2000and this is looking at the plus upfrom a FORSCOM perspective, I said I need $422 million.
Now the good part of that is it is a downward trend, and that is good. We need to move in that direction. The bad part is that we have a lot of unfunded requirements. Those are millions of dollars. Most are in the quality of life and the RPM infrastructure. So we have to address that.
But I would say in my last comment, families and kids count. They count and we look at the Army today and we say it is single soldiers. No, when you look at the Army today, it is married soldiers. It is 64, 65when I was at Fort Hood, 67 percent of that Force was married. It is a married Force. Those families vote. Those kids vote. They count quality of life and the infrastructure they live in. All of those things send powerful signals to our soldiers that hey, they care about us and we want to stay part of a first-class organization, and that is the organization that we want to stay part of. I look forward to your questions, sir.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of General Schwartz can be found in the appendix.]
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BATEMAN. Now we are pleased to hear from Admiral Reason.
STATEMENT OF ADM. J. PAUL REASON, COMMANDER IN CHIEF, U.S. ATLANTIC FLEET, U.S. NAVY
Admiral REASON. Thank you, Chairman Bateman and Members of the committee. Welcome to Norfolk, the home of the United States Atlantic Fleet. It is an honor to appear before you today. I hope you will enjoy your stay, but I hope that each of you will come back sometime when you have a little time for adventure.
The United States Atlantic Fleet with its partner in the Pacific maintains, trains and equips Naval forces for every unified commander in chief. The Atlantic Fleet is a Naval component commander for two union CINCs, the U.S. Atlantic Command, and the U.S. Southern Command, and is a Force provider for two others, the European Command and the Central Command. As such, we stay quite busy, and fleet capabilities are in high demand all over the world.
In March 1997, early in my tour as commander in chief of this fleet, I testified to this committee that the Atlantic Fleet was ready and able to execute all assigned missions. Now, deep into my assignment as a fleet CINC, I am able to say again that the Atlantic Fleet is ready, ready in every respect to carry out each of its assigned missions. I am extremely proud of what the Atlantic fleet sailors, both afloat and ashore, are doing every hour of every day to keep this fleet ready and sharp in service to the United States.
In my earlier testimony, I expressed the reservation that maintenance of this force would be a growing challenge, that is, keeping it ready and able to do its missions over the long haul. That has, indeed, been the case. Becoming ready and staying ready are tough tasks, and the challenges involved in readiness are growing every day. Although all Atlantic fleet units are deploying with mission-readiness rating of Charlie 2, C2 or better, getting to that level is becoming increasingly difficult. There are fairly significant fleet manpower shortages. Shortage of some spare parts and some types of ordnance requires regular attention. The maintenance backlog is growing but manageable. The integration of new technology, especially information technology, is moving forward, but it is not proceeding quickly or smoothly in all cases.
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The Navy has not been idle in meeting the challenges, especially in the present period of fiscal austerity; and our Navy and its leaders are vigorously pursuing several courses of action to improve the Navy's effectiveness and efficiency. However, the Atlantic Fleet currently lacks about 7,600 sailors in afloat billets. This shortage, if not corrected, has the potential to both cause and accelerate declines in readiness, retention, and quality of life in all phases of the deployment cycle.
The past three carrier battle groups and amphibious-ready groups have deployed below the manning level. Getting them close to full strength has required significant extra effort in the manpower distribution system.
Enlisted retention and recruiting have received due attention from Congress and the administration. You are all familiar with the problem. Less visible, but also troubling, is a growing shortage of officers in the middle pay grades, especially at the department head level.
In response to the personnel shortage, Navy leadership has beefed up recruiting through a variety of measures. As fleet commander, though, I don't get too involved in that recruiting process, but I have a lot to do with retention. Every sailor retained is at least one less person that must be recruited.
Perhaps the single most powerful factor in influencing retention in the fleet is quality of life in port and home port. Several initiatives are underway to improve that aspect of Navy life. Among these are CNO-directed employment training cycle reform, Secretary of the Navy Danzig's Smart Work Program, the reduction in joint exercise requirement, and the recent push at the highest level for approval of the pay triad, namely, boosting base pay, restoring the retirement system, and reforming pay tables to emphasize advancement over longevity.
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Closely related to the task of manning the fleets is the need to train the fleet; and here, too, there are significant challenges. Given our many and wide-ranging operational commitments, current resource and manning levels require that we husband, prioritize and optimize training opportunities even more carefully than before. Every single time that a ship gets underway or a pilot climbs into the cockpit, maximum training value must be gained from that experience.
Overall, sufficient financial resources are on hand to fund our most essential maintenance and spare parts programs. But I also think about maintenance in another way: The human cost of material readiness. Sailors recognize the age, serviceability, and future utility of ship and aircraft systems. When assets are approaching the end of useful life, the Navy must have a plan for replacement, rather than simply working maintenance technicians harder. Working sailors harder to maintain equipment that they know should be retired is demoralizing and indicative of poor business practices.
Cannibalization is sometimes a factor, especially with older air and sea systems. A special interest of this committee, it is also a special interest of every maintenance technician in the fleet. No one likes to cannibalize a platform which must later be made whole. It is double the work and maybe more than double the cost. Fortunately, careful review of surface, air, and submarine cannibalization shows that today's trend is not adverse. Submarine cannibalizations had been increasing until a few months ago when they returned to previous levels. Surface and aviation trends have been fairly steady.
Ship depot maintenance is starting to grow a backlog. Most of this is in the area of widely distributed systems, bilge systems, weld deck systems, fuel and piping systems, habitability. These are areas where you don't usually affect current operations by a degradation in maintainability.
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The situation is manageable today, but the long term costs could erode future readiness. Our recently implemented condition base approach to ship maintenance allows us to mitigate the risk of deferring many traditional time-based maintenance actions while conserving our repair budget.
Recently, the damage to USS Radford, which is currently estimated at $32.7 million, has been added to our scope. My staff is working with Navy headquarters and shipyard personnel, private shipbuilders, and the Naval Sea Systems Command to assess the impact of that repair.
There has also been uncommon demand for our ordnance stocks, particularly Tomahawk missiles. I can't go into much detail on this subject at an unclassified level, but I can say that the fleet is still fit to fight. But as a force provider, I would be more comfortable with a few more arrows in my quiver as I await the introduction of the tactical Tomahawk.
An aggressive regional maintenance program giving strong efficiencies and better planning and execution has been implemented. We call this ''regionalization,'' and its basic elements are stamping out duplicated effort and reorganizing along functional lines. Regionalization is working in maintenance and is being extended to all shore support functions. Within the Atlantic Fleet, 3 regional commanders have been established to oversee the activities of shore commands. Their responsibilities include physical security, firefighting, ordnance, housing, family service support, other quality-of-life programs, and the management of real property (RPM). Regionalization makes it possible to realize both immediate and long term efficiencies and safety.
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With respect to technological advances, it is a very exciting time for the Navy. The IT21 initiative, that is, information technology for the 21st century, and the Cooperative Engagement Concept, CEC, promise to launch the Navy well into the next century. IT21 is a fleet-driven reprioritization of programs to accelerate the fleet's transition to a PC-based tactical support war fighting network. IT21 initiatives are one of CNOs highest unfunded priorities.
I strongly support the need to fund this program at the earliest opportunity to allow fleet forces to have the added capability and flexibility associated with this technology.
With a cooperative-engagement concept, the distributed assets of ships and aircrafts are networked into a very quick, responsive, accurate lethal force. It is not just a step forward in improving the fleet's operational effectiveness; this is a quantum leap. CEC is a project of unprecedented complexity, and difficult challenges are only to be expected. Those challenges are being met with vigor and technical rigor.
There are particularly knotty problems with intraoperability; and solutions will require the teamwork of the Navy headquarters, the fleet staffs, the relevant program managers, and the responsible industrial partners. It is a tough road, but the destination will be reached.
Ladies and gentlemen, this completes my survey of the immediate challenges facing the Atlantic Fleet. You now have some examples of how the fleet and the Navy at large are meeting those challenges one by one. But the key to success is smarter organization afloat and ashore.
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Let me close by reaffirming that the readiness of the Atlantic Fleet is high. It is ready to go anywhere and to execute every one of its missions. And that fact is due to the talent, dedication, constant sacrifice, and superb professionalism of the American soldier.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and your committee for this opportunity to speak to you about the United States Atlantic Fleet.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Reason can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Admiral Reason. We are pleased to hear from General Richard Hawley, Commander of the Air Combat Command.
STATEMENT OF GEN. RICHARD E. HAWLEY, COMMANDER, AIR COMBAT COMMAND, U.S. AIR FORCE
General HAWLEY. First, it is good to be here; and I want to thank you for your support of those great young men and women who get such a great job done every day from all the services. In Air Combat Command as a force provider, we have some significant readiness challenges today. I would categorize them in several ways.
One is people. In a number of key areas we are short. In many areas we are short of experienced people. And in some areas we have got a lot of tired people.
The second area that I need to address is spare parts. Again, we are short spare parts. It doubles the workload of our people because they have to go cannibalize from one piece of equipment in order to get another one ready to do its work; and then they have to fix the one that they cannibalized from, frequently breaking parts in the process and, therefore, significantly raising our costs to operate these systems.
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The third area is age, aging equipment and aging facilities. We are operating the oldest fleet of mission aircraft today that we have ever operated in the United States Air Force, and that applies to almost all mission areas.
We are also operating some of the oldest facilities and poorly maintained facilities that we have in my experience in the Air Force because, for a number of years now, we have virtually eliminated funding for both military construction and real property maintenance of some of these facilities.
At Langley, we are maintaining aircraft systems in 1917-vintage buildings that take a lot of maintenance. It requires real property maintenance to keep those facilities operating.
And then finally and most important is the high operational tempo that our forces are enduring today. Never before in my career has there been such an imbalance between the tasks that are levied upon the force and the size of the force that is available to respond to that tasking. That is particularly true in some low-density high-demand areas such as combat search-and-rescue and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance. Those systems are severely over tasked in this so-called peacetime world that we are living in.
To me the fundamental problem that remains, despite the great work of this committee in trying to rectify some of our shortfalls, is a fundamental imbalance between the level of tasking, our appetite for engagement around the world, and our willingness to fund the forces that is required to complete those tasks. Until we resolve that disconnect, I think we are going to continue to see some of the problems that have come to your attention.
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Nevertheless, we are making some progress. I think the last time I testified before this committee, I talked about a precipitously declining mission-capable rate across our forces. The good news is that, although that decline continues subsequent to my last appearance before this committee, it has recently leveled off and our mission-capable rates for calendar year 1999 approximate those for last fiscal year. That indicates to me that some of the money put into spare parts in 1998 and in 1999 is beginning to show up as parts in the field. But I am still looking for an update.
We have seen some modest improvements in pilot retention. Some of that is simply due to some rule changes that brought a lot of prior-service pilot members into the eligible pool for the pilot bonus, but some of it is real.
So I think some of the signals that the administration and the Congress are sending by talking very openly about our problems and by addressing them, particularly with pay compensation and benefit initiatives, is being heard in the field; and our people have been looking to hear that message for a number of years.
Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, I submit the rest of my statement for the record.
[The prepared statement of General Hawley can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, General Hawley.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Two Mondays ago in Naples we heard General Pace in another capacity. We are delighted to have him back before the committee this morning.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. PETER PACE, COMMANDER, U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES, ATLANTIC
General PACE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman; and it is a great pleasure to be here today and have this opportunity to answer your questions.
I would like to allow my written statement to be my primary statement. To that I would simply like to add, your Marines know it is the steadfast, long-standing commitment of the Congress of the United States that allows us to answer the mandate of the 82nd Congress that your Marines Corps be most ready when the nation is least ready.
I am responsible for the readiness of 92,000 Marines, 50,000 active and 42,000 Reserve; and I am proud to sit here this morning and tell you that your Marines are ready. They are ready to answer this nation's call. But that readiness has come at a steep cost. We have underfunded modernization. We have underfunded base infrastructure. We have underfunded quality of life programs. We have literally mortgaged tomorrow's readiness to maintain today's readiness.
Most important, our most precious asset, our Marines, have borne the brunt of this. We have done this on their backs. They are working 10, 12, 14, 16-hour days to maintain our aging equipment. The solution is funding. We are very much encouraged by the very positive signs that we have seen recently from Congress on plussing up the budgets. And we are particularly encouraged, Mr. Chairman, by this committee's travels for you to get out and about and see your Marines and other service members and find out from them personally where we stand. That message is not lost on your servicemen and women and we very much appreciate it. Thanks.
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[The prepared statement of General Pace can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, General Pace.
When we had our hearing at Nellis Air Force Base with the training commanders and personnel, we were told with reference to the National Training Center, with reference to the Navy's Top Gun and the Air Force Red Flag training programs that the quality of training being rendered and the ability of the people coming there for that training was below what it was a few years ago and, frankly, was viewed with some alarm.
That certainly alarmed me. Do you feel that we are well on our way to correcting those problems, General Schwartz?
General SCHWARTZ. Sir, the comment that I would like to make is this: We are on the way of making a correction. There was a tremendous recognition in the last couple of years as we assessed the National Training Center and looked at its performance levels; and it has been stated over and over that has been on the decline. As we asked the force to go so many places, the contingency operations picked up. They have not had constant concentration on the training piece and ability to go to the training center as they had in the past.
With the decrease in funding and ability to go out and do the training, they couldn't prepare themselves as they had done in the past, particularly the battalion task force-level training, so it had been on the decline. Then there was a tremendous recognitionno matter what we got in terms of dollars, we had to take a significant portion of that and put it into the force to raise this training level; and we put, like I said, about a $100 million. That was not that we got $100 million directly to do with, but we make those tough decisions with respect to quality of life and RPM, because this Force, this soldier, more than any that I have ever seen, we have to keep him and her trained and ready, and the cry was, train us a little more; we need to do better. And, sir, we are turning that around and making a difference.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Admiral Reason?
Admiral REASON. Mr. Chairman, I think we have fallen victim to sort of a systemic problem. We had a wonderful inventory of highly experienced many-years-of-service, dedicated combat-experienced pilots and air crews. Every squadron had its cadre of gray beards, if you will, just enhanced the training advantages, every operational opportunity. Unfortunately, a lot of that cadre has found itself in very high demand in the private sector this year and last year, more so than in previous years; and that, coupled with many other reasons why people may choose to terminate service, has had them shift to the private sector.
So what we are seeing is not necessarily a poor quality of student or a steeper ramp to climb, but rather they are more novices. They are younger. They don't have the experience base. So when a squadron goes to fall in, that squadron now starts out at a lower level. And in Washington I know they love to do these the bathtub analogies, and they are really down in the tub simply because the older experienced pilots are not there. So that is, I think, one of the effects that we are seeing.
Mr. BATEMAN. General Hawley?
General HAWLEY. What you picked up at Nellis is exactly right. We have throttled back the demands at Red Flag to make sure that we control the risks of the operation because we have less experienced people participating. We are going through a rapid decline in the average experience level in our force.
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Complicating that, of course, are the contingency deployments where these young inexperienced people don't get much training, so they are less well prepared even than their predecessors who are not very experienced. We don't have an adequate aggressive force to provide good adversary air for these people.
If you are going to do a Red Flag, you have to have a robust adversary Air Force; and over the years we have relied upon a small corps of professional aggressors that we dedicate to that mission, augmented by TDY units who come in from all of the services to provide adversary air.
The high operational tempo on all of our forces makes it much more difficult to recruit those units to come in and provide adversary air, and so we wind up with a less robust threat; and that detracts from the quality of the training. You put all of those things together, Red Flag has been throttled back, and it is not as demanding; and also the schedules are less reliable. Too often we find we have a pop-up crisis such as the current one going on involving Kosovo; and we are forced to pull a unit out of the line that was going to participate in Red Flag and commit them to that emerging crisis. And so now you end up with less force structure involved, a less robust exercise, and less adequate training.
The fix, in our view, is the Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) concept. We are very hopeful that by building a predictable schedule for our people, by convincing the commanders in chief and the geographic commanders and warfighters and force consumers, if you will, to let us provide forces out of the vulnerable AEFs, rather than having to pick them from across the whole Air Force; that we will be able to get a predictable schedule for the rest of the force and allow them to make their schedules at Red Flag and spin up for that exercise so when they show up, they will be ready for the demands of that scenario; and we won't have to throttle back so much during the first several days of our Red Flag exercise.
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Unfortunately, that won't help our low-density, high-demand systems. And when you can't provide those systems, you can't have a complete Red Flag because air power has to operate with its whole kit of capability. That includes the command and control assets. It includes the surveillance reconnaissance. All of those assets are in very high demand around the world and are increasingly not available to Red Flag because of other demands; and that also detracts, and it is going to be hard for AEF to fix that part.
Mr. BATEMAN. General.
General SCHWARTZ. Mr. Chairman, our training cycle has not changed significantly in the last 10 to 15 years. As you know, we have one-third of our corps fully deployed and one-third training up to go, and the other third reconstituting from recent deployments. So inside that cycle, we have remained constant.
What has changed is the cost of doing that business. For example, in the last two years, for me to fix ground equipment has increased 104 percent in the last two years. The cost for flight op is up 43 percent in the last two years.
So to maintain the same level of training, which we are doing, it is costing us more and more money. To get that money, we are shifting, as I said, the infrastructure to modernization, et cetera. So we are mortgaging our future to pay for training, but our training is high quality.
Mr. BATEMAN. There have been a number of people on our Armed Services Committee who, for the past several years, have taken the point of view that the authorized force levels for the services were inadequate in view of the numbers of deployments and contingencies that have been thrust at the drawn-down force that remained and was authorized. I happen to be one of those who thought that was probably pretty sound, especially as you look at the challenges for the Army.
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Are any of you concerned that even if today's authorized force levels are what they should be that we are now with an all-volunteer force having difficulty maintaining those force levels, given the trends in retention and recruitment? Anybody concerned?
General HAWLEY. Well, I am. It is difficult. At the rate that we are losing rated people, particularly, it is going to be very challenging to be able to maintain fully manned well-experienced units for the future at current force levels. There are parts of the force that are too small, in fact. The force structure is inadequate for the task. In particular, our combat search-and-rescue force is too small, much too heavily stressed; and we have paid a severe price for that.
We do not have enough suppression of enemy air defense units in the Air Force to support our requirements. We are asked to engage in air operations almost daily around the world and expected to do that with zero risk. It is hard to do that with zero risk if you don't have adequate electronic combat suppression resources to do it with.
We don't have enough JSTARS. Right now I have CINC demands for every JSTAR airplane that I own. You cannot sustain that kind of commitment. We don't have enough AWACS. AWACS is a severely overstressed force.
I go around to the force providers each year for each of my supported CINCs, and the one common theme I get every time I give them a status report on the command, I want more U2s, rivet joints, AWACS, all of those systems that are in very limited supply and almost unlimited demand.
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So there are many parts of the force that are severely stressed and not adequate in this peacetime mission that we have been asked to deal with.
Mr. BATEMAN. Admiral, you said that the Atlantic Fleet was 7,600 people shy of its full authorized or required strength?
Admiral REASON. You have a very valid point, of course, Mr. Chairman; but I am not quite ready to throw in the towel. This is peacetime. This is a time when we can accept a little risk as we try and find better, fresher, newer ways to operate our forces within the people that the United States gives us.
As I said, I deploy all of my forces at least Charlie 2. One element of that short training is manning levels; and so I could deploy some of these forces that are less than their optimal, or 100 percent, manning levels; and these forces have not disappointed me or you or anyone else. They have done well. They work very hard when they are deployed, but sailors always work very hard when they are deployed; and they almost need to do that.
At the same time we are doing experimentation to see what we really need to operate a ship, not just today but into the next century. We are tryingcan we operate an Aegis cruiser with fewer people putting in systems which save labor and make people more efficient? So we have these experiments ongoing at the same time. And I think somewhere as they resolve, hopefully, within the next year or two, we will have a better picture of long-term needs to operate the Navy that we need to operate well into the next century.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General SCHWARTZ. Sir, I am concerned. I am not concerned about the number for the Army as much as I am from three other aspects: One, in terms of the shortages. Take the NCO shortages that we have. I am concerned about those because we can't afford to stretch as we are as a force to operate without those critical NCOs in the force. If you go into the 10th Mountain Division, you find about an 83-percent level of assigned NCO strength. And you take 10 percent away from that, that takes you down to about 73 percent of the NCOs that you need. In a division like that, that is a critical shortage. That is a stretch we can't deal with. I am concerned about it from a force management perspective because recruiting and retention, from those two aspects, I am concerned about it. If we have 480and that is good for us- we have to recruit and sustain and retain at that rate, and I am concerned about that challenge in the future.
Another aspect of concern I would have is for the Army particularlyand I work this piece real hardis the Active Componant Reserve Component (ACRC) integration piece of it. I am concerned as we move to 54 percent of Forces Command, our Army actually 54 percent reserve component; Forces Command is 74 percent reserve component. Of the 728,000 soldiers that I command, 74 percent of them are Reserve component.
So we have to look hard at that mix and that challenge; and we have to look at what we are doing with them and the things that we are asking them to do. And we have to make sure that it is right.
I am tremendously encouraged by the direction that we are moving. We are doing things in terms of teaming, we are doing things in terms of integrated divisions, and we are doing things in terms of multicomponent units that look at this mix and all of its challenges and try to make it do the things that we are asking it to do and do it right. And the enthusiasm and the vigor and the dedication from all components is there, but we are experimenting. We are making those things right. I am not exactly sure of how it is going to turn out, but I am encouraged; and I think we are doing that in the right way.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, General. Thank you all. Mr. Sisisky.
Mr. SISISKY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am one of the people on the committee that have asked the question that the chairman just asked. Do we have enough people? From my belief the QDRand I have criticized it publicly in front of the people that were doing itwas budget driven rather than threat driven. Having said that, I do have a few questions and since we are at home base, I will ask you questions first, Admiral. I noted about a year ago, I think, you said, Oh, my God, we are going to hear from that, the comment that you had never met a CINC that didn't like a training exercise.
Admiral REASON. No, sir. That wasn't me, but I think that gentleman is at this table.
Mr. SISISKY. Has it worked?
Admiral REASON. Yes, sir. We are getting better, and a lot of this was driven by the Chairman and the Joint Chiefs. They have mandated that there will be a decrease in joint exercise. Now, the mandate and the actual implementation of the mandate always leave room for some transition. It seems that the metric for measuring joint exercises in the field is mandated as opposed to numbers of exercises.
So I found myself this year supporting about the same number of exercises, but they are shorter so the number of mandates actually obligated to those exercises is lower. I sense that my savings may have been a little greater had I had some vertical cuts where the ships didn't have to get underway at all and the aircraft never launched. However, it is not
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Mr. SISISKY. We quoted you a few times, by the way.
Admiral REASON. However, emboldened by some of that direction, I have refused or declined participation in 15 joint exercises this year; and I don't do that, of course, in isolation. I do that through staff-to-staff negotiations or, if need be, negotiations between myself and deployment commanders. We have come to an agreement that, yes, we can do things better; and we have done a lot better with scheduling so that everyone's exercise needs are met when we get underway, both joint, Navy, and bilateral service exercises. So we are making great strides.
Mr. SISISKY. Am I correct that the C2 designation that you talked about is about 80 to 89 percent, is the figure that you used for manning and other things? And if soI asked Admiral Gehman, he never answered the question; but obviously I should have asked you the question. The Theodore Roosevelt is getting to sea next week, and I noticed a little squib in here about 26 sailors have refused to take the Anthrax test. How short are you going to be?
Admiral REASON. Teddy Roosevelt is the best manned carrier I have sent out to sea out of the last four groups. That is over 2 years.
Mr. SISISKY. That is good news.
Admiral REASON. Yes, sir. She's just about as robust as we can get. At least in personnel, she will be Charlie One. However, the system of reporting combat readiness is based upon war fighting. It is not based upon peacetime needs. It is not based upon reputation. It is based on war fighting. And it is a joint system. So we all have to sort of fit under the same rubric which makes it difficult to equate sometimes apples and oranges and reduce that to a
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Mr. SISISKY. We may not be at wartime, but we are certainly at a great OPTEMPO now. Having said that, I noticed in your testimony, you talk about ship depot maintenance. Obviously I have a little interest in that, and I worry about that because as youa recently implemented condition-based approach to ship maintenance allows us to mitigate the risk of deferring many traditionally time-based maintenance actions. What are wewhat we are really doing is deferring them where we will have to repair more than we anticipated. Am I correct in that? Isn't it like a car getting a 7,000 mile checkup or 3,000, whatever it is, is that what you are basically talking about?
Admiral REASON. Yes, sir, quite similar. The idea is to fix small things when they first break or when you see the first clue rather than to wait until you go to an experienced level that says after five years this equipment is shot. So I would rather repair a little of it at one year, a little bit of it at three years. And it has some impact on maintenance going into the private sector; but by and large, they are participants so we have a lot of ship maintainers
Mr. SISISKY. I raise the question because I worry we don't have enough money going into ship maintenance. I hope you do keep that in mind if we do get extra money in the budget, certainly a part of that would be for ship maintenance. General Schwartz, you are doing some A76 programs in your command, are you not?
General SCHWARTZ. Yes, sir.
Mr. SISISKY. Are you assuming savings on these studies based on what they are telling you at the Pentagon, or can you certify that you are really going to save money by the A76 and the privatization or outsourcing, whatever it may be?
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General SCHWARTZ. Yes, sir. I would say this: We are assuming efficiencies in savings at about ten percent calculation, general rule of thumb that they look at and use when they try to calculate should we enter into this or not.
Mr. SISISKY. Excuse me. Have they cut your budget 20 percent for the year '00 already?
General SCHWARTZ. In some cases, sir, if there is an A76 study initiated and it is on the books, then there was some efficiency in savings taken up front; but I have got to tell you, we are just in the very beginnings of A76 in a lot of respects. It is new turf for us, new ground. We are competing and dealing with this, I think, quite well. In fact, I would share with you that I am encouraged about some of them because I think this competition is good for the force. I think some of them are turning out that the home force is winning the competition, and we think that is good. On the other hand, it is causing us in a lot of respects to look at ourselves and make ourselves more efficient. We are looking
Mr. SISISKY. Even if the home force wins, you are still 20 percent behind the eight ball. In Washington they say you are expected to save 30 percent. Now we are going to do you a favor. We are only going to cut you 20 percent. Somewhere along the line it has got to hurt training. It has got to hurt training. Now, I am not talking about outsourcing per se. I am talking about the absolute cut that they give you; and, of course, you will have to assume that you have these savings.
And before my time is up, General Hawley, we were briefed sometime ago about the Air Expeditionary Force would provide some predictability and stability for the force. What is the status of the implementation of the Air Expeditionary Force?
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General HAWLEY. Making very good progress. Air Combat Command is, in fact, in charge of implementation for most of the air expeditionary force concept of the Air Force. We have worked with commands across the Air Force to build our consolidating tasking order which will include all of the mission tasks that are known for our forces to include exercises, both joint and service exercises, as well as all the contingency tasks that we expect for next year. That has been completed.
We are in the process of finalizing that and will soon distribute it in the field so they will then know what their schedules are. That will be effective on the first of October and extend well on into the middle of calendar year '00. So that is one we will begin to implement. I think we are on track.
As I said, it is not going to help everybody. It will do a lot for the bomber force, fighter force. It will do quite a bit for the theater airlift force. It will do much less for AWACS, the search and rescue forces, those kinds of folks; but we are on track with implementation. I'm optimistic it is going to pay significant dividends to large parts of the Air Force.
It will increase our ability to get Guard and Reserve participation in our contingency work because one of the keys for getting volunteers out of the Guard and Reserve is predictability. They have to arrange their schedules well in advance so that by going to this long-range scheduling, we will get greater participation out of our Reserve components. That will help to reduce the operational tempo in the operational force.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SISISKY. I will yield back. I have some written questions particularly as it relates to all of you, what is your top on finance requirements. I thinkunless somebody wants to ask it later. Thank you.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Sisisky. I mention, for purposes of all of the witnesses, we will probably have some written questions that we will submit and ask you to respond for the record. Otherwise, we would be here all day just talking to you. We wouldn't even get to the third panel after lunch.
Mr. PICKETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We have had quite a bit of discussion in our hearing today about recruitment and retention in the budget that was sent over to the Congress about a proposal in that budget for 4.4 percent across-the-board pay increase to restore 50 percent retirement after 20 years and to rework the pay schedule. I would like each of you, if you would, to voice your opinion about whether Congresswhether that is the right direction for us to go in to contribute to improving recruitment and retention. I know it is not going to solve the problem perhaps, but is thatthe money that is going to go into that, is that the way to spend that money? General Pace, you want to start?
General PACE. Thank you. Sir, I think it is a tremendous step in the right direction. It is messages that people receive both in the recruiting side and retention side. This isn't an all-recruit force. This is not a volunteer force.
Marine recruits, God bless them, sir, are finding 45,000 young men and women a year. It is 2,500 of our best NCOs out there day in and day out making phone calls, making house visits, finding young men and women to be recruited one at a time in all ranks. The message that you are sending to them and to young men and women we are trying to recruit is that we value their service and this pay raise is very, very positive as is the pay-scale reform as will be, if you all pass it, the correction of the Redux retirement system. Those are all very loud messages.
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Would any one of those in particular be something you can point to and say that will fix the problem? No, sir, it is not. But collectively you are sending a very loud message to your men and women in uniform: You care about your service, their service; they can value their service. The answer is yes, sir.
I can tell you in my trips down to Camp Lejeune, my trips overseas to see the troops, they are very encouraged by all they are reading in newspapers about what the Congress of the United States is doing with the President's budget with regard to the pay. I think you are right on track.
Mr. PICKETT. General Hawley.
General HAWLEY. Me too. I would add one thing. As I go around and talk to troops and talk about these issues, it is interesting that when I talk about the elimination of Redux, you almost always get a spontaneous round of applause from the troops. If there is one element of this package that I think is really going over well in the field, it is restoring 50 percent of the retirement benefits.
Mr. PICKETT. Admiral Reason.
Admiral REASON. I would have to say me three, Congressman. Sailors are a little bit of a different breed. We have some sailors that respond very positively to Redux. Most of those are ashore. We find some sailors who really feel that their life revolves around whether or nothow the pay schedule allows them to get on a fast track and go just as far as they can, and then there are some others, probably very few sailors, who really are living paycheck to paycheck and they want that pay raise that we can deliver to them today. Congressman Sisisky looked at me. I am a little facetious about that.
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There is something in that package for every sailor, and it has done a nice job of reaching out and touching every one of them. So I strongly support the entire triad as being necessary.
Mr. PICKETT. General?
General SCHWARTZ. My answer is yes, obviously. I think it plantsas I said in my opening statement, it plants that seed of hope. Somebody asked me the other day what one word characterizes what you feel out there amongst soldiers. I sense that hope that they have that things are getting better. This sends all those powerful signals about hope, and I like that. It also sends powerful signals to the force that we care about them, and those are important in the equation of readiness. And, two, it sends the signal that we're a first-class organization, the best Army in the world, the best services in the world, and we take care of our people. We are making it better. We are moving in the right direction. So I think it sends all the right signals to our soldiers.
Mr. PICKETT. General Hawley, in your statement you mentioned several instances where significant damage had been caused to some of your equipment because of the failure to maintain real property or maintain your buildings in proper condition. Do you have a figure for your unfunded real property maintenance backlog?
General HAWLEY. I don't have the entire ''B Mark'' of the Air Force. What we need in order to sustain Air Combat Command in the real property maintenance is a hundred million dollars a year. We get almost zero. That is why we find like Langley, as I mentioned in my testimony, would total about 15 and it falls through a grate. It causes substantial damage to the airplane because we just didn't have the real property maintenance to properly inspect and repair that kind of stuff.
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And so I had a BOQ in Canada about a year ago this time that we had to shut down because the interior plumbing just flat quit. So for nine months we found emergency funding to go fix it, but it took a while. For nine months we were sending people down to live in hotels rather than living in our BOQ, and our payback for fixing that building occurred in six months.
Mr. PICKETT. Could each of the others comment on your real property maintenance condition?
General PACE. Sir, I would be pleased to. ''B Mark'' in the Marine Corps is at $700 million right now, sir. 200 million of that is at my base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. 200 million, 140 million is critical, sir. But across the Marine Corps, 700 million in backlog in maintenance and repair. If the President's budget is submitted, has ramped us up now to where that 700 million will not grow if the President's budget is approved as it is, but it will notit will not decrease.
Admiral REASON. Sir, I also have significant shortfalls. However, I am in a position where a lot of my bases have been or are drawing down currently as a result of BRAC. And that has helped my situation. I am getting rid of some of the costly shore infrastructure that would draw down on MRP. That said, I also have some very old bases thatnot all are frontline operational bases. I also have some facilities on wonderful old bases like this one that really cry out for more maintenance than I have the funds to give them.
We are in the attack mode trying to do what we can with what we have and use our Seabees to great advantage for a lot of self-help, but we can use some help always.
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Mr. PICKETT. General?
General SCHWARTZ. Forces Command, not the Army, I have said we need $621 million this year. Of that, for RPM, I need $116 million to fix the things this year I need to fix. And I need $86 million each year for 20 years to eliminate the backlog and maintenance and repair throughout forces and command, 13 large installations representing 738,000 soldiers.
Mr. PICKETT. I know you experienced an accident in your fleet with the Radford you mentioned in your testimony. I believe that ship was scheduled for retirement sometime in the not too distant future originally.
Admiral REASON. I believe it was 0506.
Mr. PICKETT. 0506?
Admiral REASON. Yes, sir.
Mr. PICKETT. One of the concerns Iof some of the local ship repair facilities is we don't go back to having these spikes up and down in the workload. Do you think you'll be ableyou will be able to get through this with the kind of dislocations that the numbers say occurred back in 1998? It was sort of up and down in the funding for ship repair.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral REASON. Congressman, I hope we can get through with some of those dislocations. Chairman, if I could take one minute. I sort of would like to give you the rationale behind my decision. Radford unfortunately went to sea. They had an accident. This accident, as I said, is going to cost us about $32 million, probably no more than that to repair the damage.
So the first question which you alluded to: Do you repair that damage, or do you just take her out of commission early? Well, she wasn't scheduled to go out, I believe, until 2005 so that is a long period. Of course, we wouldn't have to wait that long. We had some other platforms scheduled to go out sooner than that. I believe the first one is 2002. So I would only have to do without one Tomahawk missile shooting destroyer, a deployable battle group asset for 3 years; but as a fleet command, Mr. Congressman, I am not going to do that. These forces are in very, very high demand, and there will be other ships and other crews and other sailors that would have to take up that slack if I took Radford off the rolls. As a fleet commander, I am responsible for maintenance of my force. If this ship had gone out and had battle damage instead of collision damage, I would be sitting in the same spot today. I would have to repair that damaged ship, return it to the fray. I couldn't wait a year for the funds to do that to be appropriated.
So you have given me monies to maintain my fleet of ships. I will use those monies to the best of my ability to do just that. Unfortunately, I will have to do some restructuring to include Radford as an unexpected emergent cost. That said, it is about 700 man days of labor. We will do most of it at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, but supplemented by some of the private ship builders. That will probably have some ripple effect of other jobs of Norfolk Naval fallout that I hope will help stabilize the private sector concerns. We are working with them. It is not being done by Fiat. There is a lot of two-way communications going on.
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And I hopeand we are trying to do this in a manner that is satisfactory to everyone concerned, but I get Radford back, fixed, ready to fight, ready to deploy, and if she canshe is supposed to be deployed four days from now. I hope she can join the Theodore Roosevelt (TR) battle group before they come home. That is my goal. That is a challenge for the shipyard. It is a challenge for their private sector supporters. It is a challenge for the sailors of Radford who are already trained for that deployment.
Mr. PICKETT. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Pickett. Just one very brief observation, and I know we can't get into this classified area. But, Admiral, I am getting a little worried you may have more Tomahawk shooters than you are going to have Tomahawks to shoot.
Admiral REASON. I have already got that situation, Mr. Chairman. Maybe we can do something about that.
Mr. BATEMAN. I am hopeful that we can. Mr. Gibbons.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, as we navigate ourselves through these perilous times, I only wish all Americans can sit where we are and see each of you and hear the pride of the men and women that serve under you. On behalf of this committee and a grateful America, I thank all of you for your contribution to this great country and the service you have given it.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I don't want to put any one of you on the spot because I think, as we sit here today, the job you are doing is just fraught with questions that even you can't answer. In doing so, I would like to just to ask one simple question if you can tell me. Looking down the road to Kosovo, how much is it going to cost each one of you to participate in that operation, and where are you going to take money from or cut back on to pay for it? General Pace?
General PACE. Sir, I am not sure of the exact number but I can give you some example figures. Last year, fiscal year 1998, my command spent $8.3 million on contingency operations. This year to date, one half of the way through the year, I am at $10 million plus and counting. I have a Marine training unit, the 24th MEU, embarked aboard U.S. Navy ships, the Nassau (ARG), in the Mediterranean right now. To give you an example of what it costs to keep that force ready, they are at 103 percent now. They have 28 aircraft.
I asked the question this past Friday of my staff. What's the readiness rate of the aircraft? The answer was given which day it was over ninety percent, a hundred, hundred percent. That is an acceptable level for a deployed unit. Then I asked what is it taking us to keep that going? The airframes are, on average, 30 years old. In the last 30 days, sir, 140 times when a mechanic has gone to the parts committee to find the part to fix the airplane, it wasn't aboard the ship, not that the ship is not properly configured but because the aircraft is old, because larger parts are breaking, it is not in the historical database of our maintenance to have those kinds of equipment on board. So 140 times, this impacts everybody on this table. 140 times in 30 days that ship is called back to the East Coast of the United States. It has taken 15 aircraft on 15 separate days from AMC on either old C5s and old C141s or on commercial aircraft can now fly those parts over to the theater. The Navy isin theater logistics commandis taking care of getting it to the Marines aboard the ship so they, with their counterparts aboard, can fix it.
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The Air Force and Army counterparts are waiting for our Marines to participate with them in Kosovo. Because of our aging equipment, not only does it cost just to have people on station out there to maintain our equipment; but we are spending inordinate amounts of money and inordinate hours fixing the equipment to keep it there. So I don't know what the Kosovo cost will be, whether you can extrapolate Bosnia to Kosovo, if you have a life-size force, and I would have to guess, a life size-dollar amount. I have heard numbers anywhere from two to $10 billion a year based on how many U.S. Forces are actually authorized and deployed to that region.
Mr. GIBBONS. And that will make the problem you just described even worse?
General PACE. It would exacerbate the problem.
Mr. GIBBONS. General Hawley.
General HAWLEY. Because we don't know the scope of any operation that we might undertake in Kosovo, I think it is impossible to put a number on it; but you have got great information on what it already costs us to sustain the operations in Bosnia, in Turkey, in Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. So those are good benchmarks. You also know where we took the money from, which is almost always modernization because when we don't get a supplemental funding for those things, we almost always go to the modernization accounts to find flexibility to pay for those contingency bills. My guess that is where it will come from again.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GIBBONS. Admiral Reason?
Admiral REASON. Once again, Congressman Gibbons, the scope being unknown sort of limits the answer to the question. However, as you may have seen in the press, we had the Enterprise battle group in the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea. However, we just took her through the Suez Canal last week, and she's moving around to the Persian Gulf. That doesn't mean that the Navy is not there and ready to respond.
We have Tomahawk missile shooters that remain behind in very, very significant numbers; and, of course, the nice thing about an aircraft carrier, you can turn it around and send it right back at top speed as events unfold. So our investment is already in the water where they need to be, and that is the ships and the Marines that are aboard those ships. They are there, ready and able. Whatever our country asks us to do we will step up.
Mr. GIBBONS. General Schwartz?
General SCHWARTZ. Sir, I don't know the cost either. I wouldn't even venture to guess, but I would simply say this: The costs really come maybe in a different dimension, that is, in terms of the people. The cost is going to be to the soldiers that have to respond whose workload is going to increase, and the shortage of NCOs are going to even be further stretched. The cost will be in terms of the time, the timemore time deployed, more separation from family, the cost will be in terms of some of the maintenance because every time we put more people over there, there is less people to maintain things back here. And it just generates that workload.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And the cost is in terms of OPTEMPO because one in, one going, one returning. Three to support one we always say, and that is the OPTEMPO I was talking about. In 32 years, I have never seen the likes of because that dynamic is going on and when you throw Kosovo in, it just increases that rate. So that is the cost I would look at in terms of its dimension.
Mr. GIBBONS. General Schwartz, over the last few years the increased use of Guard and Reserve forces even since the Goldwater-Nichols Act has come into play. When you look at, as you have mentioned, Desert Storm, Bosnia, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, all these other gentlemen have talked about as well and even though I have only been on this committee a relatively short few years, the Army seems to be the one major force that consistently says its Guard and Reserve forces lag behind in their readiness for deployability.
And I read your statement wherein the Army is giving only 53 percent to the Reserves, 57 to the Guard compared to the 100 percent for the Marines andor the Air Force Reserve, 96excuse me. 100 percent for the Marines, 96 for the Air Force, and 88 for the Air Guard. There is an enormous chasm of difference between resource funding from active duty forces. Is this systemic in the Pentagon with regard to its fundamental belief that the Army Guard and Reserve cannot meet the deployability requirements, that they only fund them at 53 percent, even though you said 65 percent of the operations are now being manned by Guard and Reserve forces?
General SCHWARTZ. Yes, sir, a great question. I would answer it like this. I don't think there is any lack of identification of the problem. We now know what it is. We know the percentages and have articulated some in the paper. But this is a new dimension of the Army. This is a new direction the Army is taking. Fifty-four percent isn't all that new in a lot of regards, but the deployment of that force with all the contingencies that are taking place is new. And the stretching that is going on, and the thing we are asking this Reserve component to do is a new dimension that we have to deal with it. And I think we are taking the right actions to do that. We justthe cry, the battle cry from the Guard and Reserve right now, they tell me, General Schwartz, the number one need we have is full-time manning. If we are going to do the kind of things that this country is asking us to do, if we are going to step up to the plate, we have to have better support full-time manning requirements that we have laid on the table.
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So that is what we are going to come forward with. I am working with the Guard and Reserve to articulate those full-time manning requirements and get them on the table and see if we can't ramp them up because 65 percent of the force you have in Bosnia, for example, and the latest missions we have done in the Army anyway, have been Reserve components. If we are going to respond, we have got to respond with compensation of people we are going to add to the full-time manning force. And then I thinkwe think we can do the mission and we can deal with these kind of numbers.
Mr. GIBBONS. Sir, it is your opinion finally in the next budget or so, we will see an increase in the funding and manning for our Guard and Reserve forces?
General SCHWARTZ. Yes. Particularly a generation of requirements and identification of a need on our behalf. We are working this problem with the Guard and Reserve closely. I have two great commanders there doing a great job. We will come forward with those. They are articulated quite well.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you, gentlemen. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Gibbons. Mr. Underwood.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for those comments, General Schwartz. I was very interested in the same issue about the support of the Guard and Reserve units. And in hearings like this you either get real detailed questions or specific answers to specific questions or you get a summative kind of commentary. You have touched on that the most, General Schwartz.
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I know in reading your testimony, this kind of problem associated with readiness, whether it is a problem with equipment or modernization or maintenance or spare parts, problems of personnel, quality of life and, of course, that chart over there sort of speaks to the issue of the high OPTEMPO, theI guess the demands that are being made upon the units that are under all your commands and the kind of stretching that is going on.
What I would like from each of you is to just make a summative conclusion as to what is the ultimate source of the problems that we face in readiness and ifbasically I am getting the sense that it isit really isit is not so much the specific issues that are associated with modernization rather it is the fact that modernization is being drained. It is not the although, you know, there are problems with competition with the private sector economy for the attention and theand problems in recruitment and retention, but the fact is that perhaps the energy is being debilitated by high OPTEMPO.
So could you just venture a summative statement on what you think is the source of many of themost of the problems we have with readiness. I will start with you, General Schwartz.
General SCHWARTZ. Yes. I think the root of most of our problems with respect to readiness goes back to that definition that I have been using and Admiral Gehman articulated quite well in his chart over here, it is training, quality of life and infrastructure. We have the piece about training about right. We understand that mostand it is our business what we do the best, but we have to figure out this piece called quality of life. We have to figure out this piece called infrastructure better, identify to you, articulate very specifically our needs so we can bring this whole definition of trained and ready and readiness as I describe it, its three components together. We have huge challenges there with respect to manning the force, for example.
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I would just add that. Recruiting and retaining are significant challenges to readiness of the future. And we havegoing back into the quality of life, I think that is one that is often forgotten because it adds so much to the force. It addsit says so much to soldiers down there who they are. If you have good facilities and good barracks and good motor pools, that sends powerful signals to these soldiers. It sends signals of pride. We want them to have that pride.
I remember talking to a soldier the other day and asked him why did you come in the Army. He said, Because my mother kicked me out of the house. She told me go into the Army, maybe they can do something with me. The fact of the matter is we can do something with him. We can do something with him. He started to articulate. He said, I found pride but the neat part is when I went home, my mom was proud of me. And see, that is wonderful things we do with soldiers. We change their life and we give them hope and we give them that pride.
That is where quality of life comes into play. It speaks to those kinds of things and it changes our soldiers into understanding this culture, but even more importantly wanting to stay and be part of this culture. Sosee, that is where that equation of readiness, quality of life starts to show itself in terms of the force that we want to retain.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Admiral?
Admiral REASON. Congressman Underwood, as a fleet commander, I spend so much of my effort on keeping deployedthat is, those forces that are on the pointy end of the sphere, I want them to have the best of everything they need to carry out their mission and win every time. Never to find a shortfall.
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But as I do that in these times, nondeployed readiness is where I have to take up the slack. Non-deployed readiness has many, many factors. Of course, training is a big part. The incorporation of new technology and equipment is a big part because sailors like new things. Sailors want to operate on the cutting edge of technology. They want to be technically better than any adversary they might encounter but today as weI find for years the Navy stayed in front of the rest of the world on technology.
Now, if you want high-tech stuff, you go into the private sector because they have the ability to push that frontier forward faster than we do in the Navy. That is wrong in my mind. I just happen to love this outfit. Been around a long time. I want the Navy to be foremost and in the front of all technological advancements, but we are hand strung a little bit now by things like interoperability as I mentioned in my statement.
We buy so many things in the private sector. They are put together by different companies, and they are expected to work when they deliver them to me. Well, you see, say there is five companies that build part of a system and they each have to change their product a little bit to make it a comprehensive system that works together, well, each one of them says I am the right one. The other four will have to change. And what happens is I get a system on a ship with all these technicians coming from all over the country to install this new system and it doesn't work because the pieces didn't work together. There was a cruiser named USS Monterey that I refused to deploy on schedule last year because its automatic Tomahawk weapons control system did not pass the interoperability test, the pieces didn't work well enough with one another.
That is just one example of several instances of this problem where the Navy, and, probably all of us at this table, face problems in transitioning to a new way of acquiring technology as opposed to developing things in the Naval Research Lab and building a prototype at one of our other labs, putting all the engineers on board a ship, taking it to sea and making it work. We don't do it that way anymore. That is probably good in the long run because we can work in a lot more fields of endeavor at the same time, a lot of parallel paths, but we haven't quite got it right yet. And that impacts my non-deployed readiness because by the time I get this system up where it will work, it is time to deploy again. And I missed all of the time to bring the sailors up on the step.
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Sometime I will tell you about my anecdote about automobiles and washing machines. Washing machines have gotten better over a lot of years, but every housewife can walk up to any washing machine and make it work because they have not changed the interface between the machine and the people. Well, my sailors get a new interface every time we get a new system so they have to be retrained. So it is that non-deployed readiness. There is a lot of factors. That is only one that we are concerned about.
General HAWLEY. If I were to try to summarize one point, our readiness problem, it is an imbalance between the demands of a national security strategy that calls for global engagement and the nation's willingness to resource forces that happen to respond to those commands. And the symptoms of that imbalance are ready shortfalls in people and experienced people, tired people, shortages of spare parts, old equipment, old facilities and a very high operational tempo on those people who serve so well in all our services.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you.
General PACE. Sir, for me it boils down to money. The operational tempo has increased. We had 44 operations to which IMarine Force Atlantic sent Marines in 1997. We had 60 in 1998. Prior to 1990, the Marine Corps was responding to crises worldwide once every 15 weeks. Since 1990 we have been responding once every five weeks.
It is not those kinds of things, sir, that are our problem. Marines joined your Marine Corps to do just that for their country. They love doing that for their country. The problem, sir, is to maintain that readiness, we have taken the money that you have given us from our modernization account, from our infrastructure accounts, and from our quality of life accounts. We can keep this 1957 Chevy running, sir, as long as we need to, but it is costing us more each year in dollars and manpower hours to keep it running. It is a combination of modernization deficits, infrastructure deficits, and quality of life deficits, sir, which equates to money, which is the summation of our readiness response not today, sir, but five years from now.
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The question is what do you want your armed services to look like five years from now and are we buying it, is the Congress of the United States buying the armed forces that you want five years from now? We are ready today, sir. The question is what do you want us to be able to do five years from now. Thank you.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Underwood. Mr. McIntyre.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to follow up, General Pace, on what you were just saying. On page 7 of your remarks, you mention that while you are concerned about the impact of insufficient operations and maintenance funding, a larger issue is the shortfall in procurement money. Serving both on this panel of readiness and also the procurement subcommittee, how much of a shortfall would you say of procurement money?
General PACE. Historically, the Marine has spent approximately $1.2 billion a year to buy ground equipment. Over the last several years, we have been down as low as 300 plus million dollars. To take over the next five years the historic 1.2 billion and add to it what we have not bought in the last seven years would require us to spend on procurement ground $1.8 billion a year over the next five years. So whatever budget you approve, sir, plus or minus $1.8 billion on ground equipment will be the health of your Corps on the ground side.
To that, sir, on the aviation side which, as you know, Congress gives to the Department of Navy and that the U.S. Navy spends on U.S. Marine Corps aircraft an additional $750 million a year, add to that, sir, on the base and infrastructure a backlog of maintenance and equipment of $700 million, we have a deficit of 10,000 housing units. We have 12,000 housing units that need maintenance and repair, sir. Those are the major pieces, sir. To get our housing up to DOD standards by the year 2010 would require an additional $910 million, sir.
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Mr. MCINTYRE. The primary equipment needed, you mentioned as examples the Osprey, the Advanced Assault Amphibious Vehicle, the Joint Strike Fighter, would you say those are the targeted primary new equipment needed?
General PACE. Sir, those are the leap ahead technologies. Those are the technologies that allow us to go from today's capabilities to the capabilities that our country, in our opinion, will need in 2015. So the triple AV, the Osprey, combined with the Navy's LCAC are the things that give us mobility from ship to shore. All the remaining pieces, sir, the artillery, the trucks, the Humvees, the backbones of our lightly armored reconnaissance vehicles, all those things collectively add up to the numbers that I gave you.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you. One other question. General Schwartz, on the Reserve and the National Guard, you mentioned some of the initiatives to reduce or minimize the impact with employers.
Now, with the reality of what Bosnia is and Kosovo on the horizon here, do you think those initiatives are going to really have an impact any time soon, or do you think once again, because of what's developing in Southern Europe, that here we go again and reality is just going to have to pull those Reserve units out and whatever happens happens with the employers? How are you all handling that in the immediate term?
General SCHWARTZ. One thing we are doing, sir, is if we need them, we are going to have to pull them and that is going on. But at the same time, commensurate with that stretching that is going on and the exercising of this force, we are going out across America and we are touching this thing called ESGR, Employers Support for Guard and Reserve, and it is a powerful organization from the D.A. all the way through FORSCOM. We have got specific initiatives in FORSCOM where we are going out and wrapping our arms around the employers.
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Just give you one little example. We are now standing up what we call an America's Day down in Texas where we are trying to look at pulling in all these employers, having a day with them, explain to them about the 49th Division, and its going to Bosnia, its role, its needs, the deployment, how long it is going to be, that communication there is essential.
For them to understand their part of this and articulate, hear from them, express their concerns and then for us, as an Army, to respond to some of that, that is what ESGR is getting at. That is what these initiatives are trying to do. I don't think it is going to be anything we are going to do real quickly, but at the same time I think we are moving in the right direction. We are very sensitive to this issue, and we also have initiated a study in forces command, a separate million dollar study to try to look at employer support to the Guard and Reserves so we can better understand where we are going and where we need to go for the future. Those are things we are working on right now.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. McIntyre. Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I know we are running a little late. I will just ask one question. That is, the Navy a few years ago adopted the idea of trying not to move people around in an effort to increase the quality of life. Can you tell me how that is going and whether or not that has made a difference in retention?
Admiral REASON. That is an excellent question, Representative Scott. I wish I had good hard data to give you. Unfortunately, it is sort of hard to measure the impact on retention at times when retention is tough. It is a lot easier when retention is really good because there are other factors that sort of muddy the debt.
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But anecdotally and as I talk to sailors and sailors' families, home basing has been a very, very popular outcome of the efforts to give stability to sailors and their families. This area is probably the best example in that we have just about every facet of Navy life that you can generate and every job category and every collateral job category you can find within 25 miles of where we are sitting right now. So that makes us a very, very popular site to not only go on sea duty on every type of platform but also on shore duty. We find that it is very popular in this region. It is very effective. We find a lot of sailors, even at fairly junior levels, are buying homes because the community here has a very broad spectrum of housing opportunities.
That said, it gets a little more austere when you go to Groton, Connecticut, or to Kings Bay, Georgia, where you have a smaller cadre of people or Brunswick, Maine, where it is difficult to find a job ashore that is professionally challenging and supportive technically of a sailor's continued progression when he comes off of a sea-going billet. So this sea-shore rotation is wonderful in fleet concentrations, but as you get to areas with lesser depth, it becomes more difficult; and we find that we are moving sailors more often to places like Meridian, Mississippi, where there is no shore dutyI am sorry, no sea duty. So they have to go to other sites.
So it is positive. It is good especially for those who take advantage of it.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Scott. I believe that gives everyone a round of questioning. And as I indicated, I am sure we will have some further questions that we will want to submit so that you might respond for the record.
I know certainly, General Hawley, that I have some about the combat air and rescue mission and difficulties there as well as there is something in your prepared statement with regard to Goldwater-Nichols and how that is operating, and perhaps with some intended consequences that affect how we best make the decisions as to how forces get deployed and how we answer the demands of the geographic war fighting CINCs. All very interesting areas, and I will be getting back to you for responses to those questions. And I am sure the other Members will have others.
My information is that the good people here at Naval Air Station Norfolk have prepared lunch for us which awaits the Members back here and would also like to invite any of the witnesses to make it convenient for them to join us for lunch. If you have other obligations or needs, we understand that, but we would be delighted to have you join us if that fits your schedules. With that, we will adjourn for lunch and reconvene at 1:15.
[Whereupon, at 12:30 p.m., the subcommittee was recessed, to reconvene at 1:10 p.m., this same day.]
Mr. BATEMAN. If the committee would come to order, we are now ready to hear from the third panel, which as I indicated in my opening statement, we are especially happy to have this panel appear before us today and give us their perspective of readiness from the operational needs that you try to deal with day in and day out.
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This panel consists of Col. Robert Michael Williams, Commander, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) from Fort Stewart, Georgia; Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Edward Dean Foerstel, Cmd. Sgt. Major, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia; Capt. F. Joseph Klingseis, Commanding Officer, USS Anzio, (CG 68) U.S. Navy; Master Chief William B. Robbins, Cmd. Master Chief, USS Anzio; Colonel Raymond E. Johns, Jr., Commander, 62nd Airlift Wing, McChord Air Force Base, Washington; Senior Master Sgt. Gary Rutledge, Maintenance Flight Chief, 68th Fighter Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia; Col. Robert B. Neller, Commanding Officer, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II MEF, U.S. Marine Forces, Atlantic; Sgt. Maj. Richard Thornton, Regimental Sgt. Maj., 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S. Marine Forces, Atlantic.
Gentlemen, we are delighted to have you with us, and we will commence with Colonel Williams.
STATEMENT OF COL. ROBERT MICHAEL WILLIAMS, COMMANDER, 2ND BRIGADE, 3RD INFANTRY DIVISION (MECHANIZED)
Colonel WILLIAMS. Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee, I am honored to appear before you today. My name is Colonel Bob Williams. I command the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division which is the only tank-heavy brigade in the XVIII Airborne Corps.
Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you about the readiness of the Spartan Brigade and the outstanding soldiers who serve in it. To create a setting for our discussion of readiness, I would like to take this opportunity to give you an idea of what the tremendous pace and scope of operations has been for the Brigade over the last 20 months. The Spartan Brigade has been engaged in a broad array of military operations. From June through December of 1997, the Brigade executed a tough cycle of training to prepare itself for a rotational to the National Training Center (NTC) in January of 1998. As we began our redeployment to the NTC in February of 1998, we were alerted to prepare for deployment in support of Operation Desert Thunder. What this meant for the soldiers of the Brigadeeven as we were arriving at Fort Stewart, we were immediately preparing equipment for redeployment to Kuwait. In the end, we did not deploy to Desert Thunder, but we did sit in a high state of alert through mid-April at which time we stood down for a period of maintenance.
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Within a month, the Brigade again prepared to answer the Nation's call as the Forces Command Division Ready Brigade, or DRB. This is the earliest deploying heavy brigade in the event of a contingency somewhere in the world. Simultaneous to this, we learned that we would provide two task forces for the next two rotations of intrinsic action in Kuwait. As I think many of you are aware, that is a four-month deployment for our soldiers in support of our Kuwaiti allies.
It is also important to note that we did this concurrently with our mission to serve as the Division Ready Brigade for the country. That is something I have never seen done before. In December, the Brigade was alerted for Operation Desert Fox; and we halted our preparations to redeploy the initial task force that we sent to Kuwait in August. Simultaneously, we hastened the movement of our second task force along with brigade headquarters to Kuwait. Within 17 hours of notification, the brigade headquarters was in the air, and by 18 December the Brigade had two complete combined arms task forces in its parent headquarters and theater about 2,900 soldiers.
Mr. Chairman, once that crisis passed, we redeployed the task force we had initially deployed in August along with the brigade headquarters. That left the second task force in theater where they remain today. All in all, the past 20 months have been a challenging time for the soldiers and families of the 2nd Brigade. Maintaining our focus and the readiness of the Brigade has been difficult but not impossible. Achieving a balance between our operational requirements and a reasonable quality of life for our soldiers has required constant effort.
This then leads to the heart of my submitted testimony of this committee. Specifically, the readiness of the Brigade. I know that all of you are aware that readiness has always been a complex business, but given the pace and scope of operations my brigade has faced, it is even more complex for us at our level and is stretching us as I have never seen us stretched before.
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Essentially, I believe the greatest challenge to readiness of the Brigade falls, into five categories. First is personnel shortages. Specifically, in the area of NCOs, I am short 121 sergeants of my 472 authorized. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, this has a profound effect on our day-to-day operations and our ability to train and even retain young soldiers. As an example, I am authorized eight tank turret mechanic sergeants in my brigade to help maintain the turrets of 116 M1A1 Abrams battle tanks. I only have two right now. The young soldiers who watch those two sergeants work are making value judgments about their future in our Army. And what they see is those two sergeants working seven days a week, as you can imagine, very long hours.
The second point I would like to bring up is the impact of the long term back-to-back schedule deployment such as Intrinsic Action. In the case of Spartan Brigade, we have had 12 to 1,400 soldiers deployed to Kuwait for eight consecutive months now.
Third, the stress on our units induced by extended periods of Division Ready Brigade and alert coupled with no notice or short notice deployments. Mr. Chairman, the 2nd Brigade assumed the Division Ready Brigade for 10 of 12 months this last year. Another thing I have never seen done before. During that time period, we alerted three times; packed the Brigade up and deployed on one of those three occasions. The impact of this extended period of Division Ready Brigade is significant to the soldiers and families since they are generally restricted in terms of the freedoms that they would otherwise enjoy.
Fourth, sir, is the quality of home station infrastructure. Savannah and the coastal region are a wonderful place to live, but Fort Stewart is in dire need of funding to improve our facilities. Our soldiers live in outdated barracks and housing. And our ranges are antiquated, and our maintenance facilities are inadequate. I believe it is telling that the 2nd Brigade and the 3rd Infantry Division that sits on the tip of the spear for our heavy force fields, some of the world's most sophisticated weapons, but maintains those weapons in some facilities that were designed and even built in the 1940s as temporary buildings.
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Finally, sir, OPTEMPO. Although funding has been adequateand I think the operative term is ''adequate''to train and maintain the brigade, we have done so by occasionally adopting efficiencies that do not allow us to train at the level we would like to train at.
I am happy to report that this is improving. Whereas in the past, as an example, we could not fund or conduct task-force-level training in preparation for National Training Center rotations, we now have the funding from FORSCOM to do that. That is a good news story, sir.
Mr. Chairman, let me conclude by saying up front that the challenges that I have just mentioned are just that, challenges. They do not constitute an absolute roadblock to maintaining our fighting edge or winning spirit. The soldiers and families are the number one reason why we remain ready even though it has been difficult. The kids that we have in our force are truly, as I like to say, the kids next door; and I consider command of these wonderful young men and women a sacred trust and great honor. Nothing the Brigade has done in the past 20 months would have been possible without their sacrifice.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, they always deliver, which is a significant indicator of our readiness. And they ask for very little. If called upon today, I am convinced that they could perform our wartime mission despite the obstacles that I have mentioned here.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity to speak today, and I am prepared to answer the committee's questions.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Colonel Williams can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. We are pleased to hear from Command Sergeant Major Foerstel.
STATEMENT OF COMMANDER SGT. MAJ. EDWARD FOERSTEL, BRIGADE COMMANDER SGT. MAJ., 2ND BRIGADE, 3RD INFANTRY DIVISION (MECHANIZED)
Sergeant Major FOERSTEL. Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the committee, my name is Command Sergeant Major Foerstel, and I am the senior enlisted soldier of the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, known as the Iron Fist of the XVIII Airborne Corps. We are the only heavy brigade within the Corps.
Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you about the Spartan Brigade and our great soldiers who proudly serve our Nation. As my brigade commander just mentioned, the pace of the Brigade over the past 20 months has been the most challenging I have seen in my 24 years of service. Probably the one point I would like to emphasize most is that despite the number of missions and complexity of our tasks during this time, our soldiers accomplished all of them in a superb manner in spite of the personnel shortages, long-term deployments, and shortfalls in quality of life.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The shortage of the personnel that I speak of is in the NCO ranks. Many of our sergeants are serving in staff sergeant positions while many of our lower enlisted are in sergeant positions. What this means in the case of a full tank crew of four soldiers is that the gunner's position may be fielded by a private first class, even though it calls for a sergeant. The gunner on a tank is the primary individual who operates the fire control system. He pulls the trigger if the situation calls for it. Taking this problem one level up, it also means that a sergeant with as little as five years of experience is in charge of a tank section consisting of two tanks. This is a tough situation for a young soldier to take on that responsibility.
I can tell you that the number one issue I deal with on a daily basis is the lack of key personnel. I spend many hours a day working the ''each's'' to ensure that key positions are filled with qualified NCOs. On top of the actual shortages, we also have a problem caused by a soldier who is a known loss. He still fields a duty position even though we know that he will not be available for deployment. Today, unlike Desert Storm, during many of our deployments, those soldiers who were on orders to move or leave the Army continue to move as scheduled. We have to consider them as nondeployable as early as 60 to 90 days out so that they and their families can prepare for their move. At any time, the number of those nondeployable soldiers will change. The longer the deployment we are considering, the higher the number of soldiers we have that cannot go for this reason.
Deploying units have to leave behind all of those soldiers scheduled to depart during the deployment, not just those who are 60 to 90 days out; because the cost to return them on civilian flights is too great. These numbers grow even larger when you consider those scheduled to attend Department of Army schools. We would do an injustice to the soldier and Army if we stopped these individuals from attending these professional development courses.
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The impact of these deployments on quality of life cannot go unmentioned. Long term absences and the threat of possible deployments have had a major impact on families. This causes stress in marriages and soldiers' lives that would otherwise not exist. I must emphasize, though, that you won't hear this come from our soldiers' mouths because they are truly professionals.
Understanding some the challenges that I have mentioned, we in the Spartan Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division have policies to help improve the quality of life for our soldiers and their families. We have what we call a ''predictable duty day.'' This tells a soldier and his family that, under normal conditions, the end of their day is at 5:00 p.m. We also have ''Marine Time.'' Across the division, soldiers know on Friday they will be released at 3:00 p.m.
The final area that has presented us with challenges is the limited funding available to the units that may be applied to quality of life areas. My number two challenge as a command sergeant major, after ensuring our units have the right persons in the right jobs, has been to maintain appropriate living conditions for our soldiers. Due to the lack of facilities we currently have at Fort Stewart, we are forced to have our soldiers in barracks that were designed in the mid-1970s. The standards of the 1970s are not acceptable today.
At this point, I must emphasize that I have no doubt that the soldiers of the Spartan Brigade are ready and able to execute their mission if called upon. I believe they can respond any time, anywhere the Iron Fist is needed and achieve results that will make the mothers and fathers of America's sons and daughters proud. Mr. Chairman, I thank you and your committee for the opportunity to speak today, and I am prepared to answer questions.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you very much, Sergeant Major.
[The prepared statement of Sergeant Major Foerstel can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Now we are pleased to hear from Captain Klingseis.
STATEMENT OF CAPT. F. JOSEPH KLINGSEIS, USN, COMMANDING OFFICER, USS ANZIO (CGO68)
Captain KLINGSEIS. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to appear before you to discuss the readiness of the Navy. By way of background, Anzio deployed with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Battle Group from June to December 1998. During this deployment, crises in Kosovo and Iraq, including contingency strikes cancelled at the last moment by the NCA in November, drove our underway time from over the 72 percent mark for the six month deployment period. During the last 70 days of the deployment, my crew spent four days in port. Only ten weeks following return from deployment, Anzio participated in and, just recently returned from, a three-week testing of the latest in theater ballistic missile defense and Cooperative Engagement Concept technology with the Marines and Army while operating with the soon-to-deploy Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group.
Throughout the deployment and up to the present time, I have maintained an M1 level in training proficiency in every area except undersea warfare because of this high operational OPTEMPO. Now three and a half months into a compressed and uncertain fourteen-month turnaround time between deployments, the issue of readiness and how to sustain the level of proficiency required to execute the many tasks we are capable of performing is one that demands my daily attention.
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The first step in the inter-deployment training process of ensuring long-term readiness is to repair and upgrade the ship with the latest equipment afloat. In just one week, I begin an eight-week $1.5 million maintenance period, an allocation that is half of that originally envisioned by my port engineer as being necessary for the prudent, long-term maintenance, repair, and upkeep of this ship.
Fortunately, Anzio is in superb material condition. Solid engineering practice coupled with superb leadership during her seven years at service have translated into a ship materially ready to meet every commitment through her next deployment. The cost of this scaled-down maintenance period, however, will be in the long term. Ships need maintenance, and they only get it while in home port. Downsizing has eliminated the forward-deployed afloat tender support we previously enjoyed. High OPTEMPO deployed operations coupled with these minimally funded maintenance periods will, over time, erode the material readiness of our ships if not adequately compensated for.
There was one other aspect of this maintenance period that is difficult for us to plan and manage. That is the area of equipment upgrades. The maintenance period is the ideal time to install new equipment and upgrades to existing installations. In practice, however, we are unable to satisfactorily schedule the installations and training during the maintenance periods because a significant number of the installations are not ready to be installed during this time. The reasons for this vary with each installation; and, as a result, our sailors are forced to work long hours to complete these late installations just prior to deployment, and then deploy without the necessary training to operate or maintain the new equipment.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Upon completion of the maintenance availability, a time when all ships' readiness naturally degrades due to a lack of underway training opportunities, I will then have three and a half months to complete the basic phase of the Inter-deployment Training Cycle and bring my ship back to a level of peak operational proficiency prior to complex battlegroup workup starting in September. I expect I will finish this summer with an even split of M1 and M2 training levels of readiness across the spectrum of warfare areas, probably higher than the average ship in the Inter-deployment Training Cycle because of our compressed turnaround time.
Over a two year period starting in June 1998 and projecting to the end of our next deployment in June or July of next year, the average Anzio sailor will be sleeping somewhere other than his own home for 77 percent of the time. I believe a major contributor to this high OPTEMPO is the small size of the Navy. My sailors are serving on the most technological advanced surface combatant in the world, yet manning shortfalls that exceed ten percent across the board are driving the individual sailor to have to do more with less.
Personnel shortfalls across the board mean I am projected to receive a significant number of new personnel in September 1999, the same month the battle group workup starts, and only four to five months prior to deployment. This ''just in time for deployment'' manning construct, necessary because of a general lack of qualified personnel to fill important jobs at sea, is good enough to meet warfare requirements; but it is far from what I, as a commanding officer, need to guarantee sustained long-term readiness.
As a manning situation stands, I will be forced to cross-train some of my sailors to make up for this personnel shortfall. This presents an additional job dissatisfier as sailors are again being asked to do more with less. These sailors need to be here in the next few months so they can be trained as a team, integrated into the ship's routine, and capture the benefit of a summer's worth of valuable training; but that is not going to happen.
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I do believe we are committing the right degree of training resources during the advanced phase of the deployment training cycle. Battle group operations during comprehensive training exercises and the more complex joint task force exercises that precede carrier deployments ensure that crews have an opportunity to engage in a spectrum of live-fire and simulated unit level exercises needed today to meet deployment requirements.
I anticipate that Anzio will be M1 across the board prior to our deployment in January 2000. We can and will redistribute and train sailors from within our lifelines to meet our requirements and commitments; but it will come at a price because inadequate manning, increased individual work loads, and retention are inseparable entities. All too often that price is a top-notch sailor saying he has had enough.
This is where I think that the administration, your committee, and our Navy leadership can make a real difference to the American sailor. Increase the Navy budget to support a shipbuilding program matched to real-world requirements, better pay, reinstitution of a more robust benefits package, and long-term commitment to maintenance, upkeep and modernization. I believe this will surely provide the formula for better quality of life for our sailors and concomitantly higher levels of sustained readiness.
Can we further reduce the amount of time our sailors are out of home port? No, I believe we are a level of interdeployment training cycle, operational tempo, that is the minimum for a surface combatant commanding officera minimum, a minimum that a surface combatant officer needs to adequately train his crew without compromising the ship's ability to execute the missions that you, our leadership, and the American taxpayer expect us to perform.
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Given our ever increasing global commitments, the best we can do is make an impact where it counts, in the everyday quality of our sailors' lives. Leadership, a creative and an ingenious approach to training, and further reductions in unnecessary interdeployment training cycle requirements will take care of the rest. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to address the committee today. I am more than happy to answer any of your questions, and I invite each of you to embark Anzio this summer and witness firsthand your outstanding sailors at work.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you very much, Captain Klingseis.
[The prepared statement of Captain Klingseis can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Now we are pleased to hear from Command Master Chief William B Robbins.
STATEMENT OF MST. CHIEF WILLIAM B. ROBBINS, USN, COMMAND MASTER CHIEF, USS ANZIO (CGO68)
Chief ROBBINS. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the subcommittee; it is a privilege to be here and have the opportunity to offer my thoughts on military readiness issues. I have submitted a written statement to the committee which I would like to summarize here.
Mr. BATEMAN. Excuse me for interrupting. All of your written statements will be made a part of the record so you can proceed any way you see fit.
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Chief ROBBINS. Thank you. My remarks are centered on personnel and manning concerns, specifically recruiting, retention, pay and benefits, and quality of life issues. The present personnel shortage we are facing is one area we need to make progress in. I believe one of the keys to fleet readiness is our ability to retain quality sailors as well as recruit them. Anzio, part of the Eisenhower battle group, deported in June 1998 forty five people short of our authorized 359 enlisted billets. Vice Admiral Murphy pointed out similar shortages in USS Eisenhower in his statement to the Readiness Subcommittee on 8 March of this year in Naples, Italy. In fiscal year 1998, the Navy recruited 6,892 less people than planned. Retention requirements have also fallen short of desired goals. What are some of the reasons for these shortfalls?
Recruiting. The military should offer pay, retirement plan, benefits, et cetera, sufficient to have our country's finest anxiously knocking at our door to get in. Patriotism alone will not get us the quantity we need, and flooding the land with recruiters won't either. Besides, we need those trained sailors at sea and ashore in training commands or other billets where they can improve professionally and grow personally. There are numerous civilian companies in the business of recruiting personnel for employers. Maybe recruiting can be civilianized and outsourced.
Retention. What causes sailors to stay Navy and reenlist? Certainly pay, benefits, and quality-of-life concerns. Pay tables need to be reworked. Some allowances need to be included as pay so certain classes of service members will no longer be discriminated against. For example, why is a married second class petty officer, pay grade E5, worth significantly more per month than a single second class petty officer doing the exact same job. No civilian company I am aware of pays employees differently based on marital status alone. Also, most likely a second class petty officer, especially one with dependents, will lose money when they return to sea after a shore tour. This does not appear to be a reward for returning to arduous sea duty. My written statement includes the statistics on these examples.
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The proposals to reward advancement significantly more than longevity are good, but must be looked at carefully. In my written statement, I cited the example of sailors who excel and advance to the range of master chief petty officer, E9, in the shortest possible time and may be penalized by doing so under this concept.
Another factor affecting retention is benefits. The military is watching continued erosion of benefits. Our commissary benefit is in constant danger of being lost. Our medical benefits have also eroded over time. Since its inception the CHAMPUS, now TRICARE standard, annual deductible has continued to rise increasing the out-of-pocket expenses of our service members.
In the last few years, we have seen the emergence of TRICARE in its various stages of growth. The TRICARE system continues to burden service members by charging copayments and deductibles for services and additionally, annual enrollment fees for retirees and their families. Our sailors, especially the more junior ones, can't afford this. Personnel that choose not to enroll in a TRICARE Prime get appointments that are last after all of the TRICARE Prime enrollees have scheduled their appointments. This leaves an extremely limited number of appointments to care for a large population of beneficiaries. Sometimes it seems that our family members have to schedule their illnesses. Retirees and their families are even further down the priority list for medical services.
Quality of life issues also have a significant impact on retention. Sailors join the Navy for many reasons. One of them is to receive education and training in a specific field. For example, a sailor joins for the advanced electronics field program and expects he or she will use this training when they get to the fleet. In reality, they can look forward to spending between three and six months performing food service duties, washing pots and pans, cleaning and helping Commander-in-Chief meals for the crew. The sailor in the example above, and there are many of them, didn't sign up to do this, but most recognize that this is a necessity although it retains a strong dissatisfier.
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Sailors also join the Navy to see the world and visit foreign lands. Our sailors make superb ambassadors for the U.S., but the increased operational tempo caused by world crisis situations and fewer ships means more days at sea and less days in port. This is understandable but unfortunate in that it does not satisfy one of the basic reasons sailors join the Navy. Also the method of tabulating these days is faulty and dangerous. Some sailorssailors know how many days they spend at sea. When they see the number of days deployed being reported vice the actual number of days spent away from home, they feel as though they have been lied to.
Combining days deployed, additional at-sea periods, and duty requirements shows that an Anzio sailor was not home with family or friends approximately 77 percent of the time from March 1998 through Januarycorrection, through July of 2000. That is the statistic that matters to sailors and their families. It is also the one that they think of when it comes time to reenlist.
Training and readiness. The timing of training before deployment is critical. Training throughout the Inter-deployment Training Cycle, IDTC, is necessary, however long it may be. But final intense uninterrupted training shortly before deployment is especially important.
I have covered the issue of tour lengths, timeliness of training, and the importance of timely arrival of new personnel in my written statement.
In closing, I would like to reiterate four key points.
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We need to make a Navy career attractive to potential recruits. We need to amply and equitably compensate our sailors. We need to be aware of issues which affect our sailors quality of life and make improvement where we can. We need to be sure our sailors receive the right training at the right time. These four areas can do much to improve the organization as well as the individual sailor, and both can benefit greatly.
Once again, Mr. Chairman, thank you for giving me the privilege to address this committee today, and I am prepared to take any questions you may have.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you very much, Master Chief Robbins and we appreciate your testimony.
[The prepared statement of Chief Robbins can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Now we turn to Colonel Raymond E. Johns, Jr., Commander 62nd Airlift Wing, McChord Air Force Base, Washington.
STATEMENT OF COL. RAYMOND E. JOHNS JR., COMMANDER, 62D AIRLIFT WING, MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, WASHINGTON AIR MOBILITY COMMAND, U.S. AIR FORCE
Colonel JOHNS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and distinguished Members. I appreciate the opportunity to come before you and talk about the state of the 62nd Airlift Wing. We operate the Nation's largest fleet of C141s, and this summer we begin the exciting transition to the C17. We are ready. And we have demonstrated that knowing, with our daily operations, we recently had an Operation Readiness Inspection (ORI) and Nuclear Surety Inspection (NSI); and we were one of three units in the government selected to receive the President's Unit Quality Award.
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As we look at the world situation, and my airmen do as we discuss it, we don't see a change in the OPTEMPO. We see that continuing in the new term future. The world situation is not improving. We operate at maximum continuous power with weekly and monthly wind sprints above that. The short notice taskings for us are on the increase. And when we sprint, we are unable to train.
We provide the ultimate flexibility to the nation and to the work fighting CINCs, but that flexibility that we provide comes at the stability of our airmen and their families. One of my greatest concerns is our challenge of retention. General Reimer said it, and it is so true. We recruit individual military members, but we retain their families. Ten years ago, 35 percent of my airmen were married. Today, that number is 65 percent. The reality is that our military members will be gone 100 to 125 days per year for the entire duration of their career, and that is a change from the Air Force from 10 years ago.
The other situation is if you are not deployed, if you are home, then you are working longer and harder because I am not manned to support the deployments plus cover the requirements at home because we operate from home station. Our families are unwilling to endure this for an entire career because they see no end in sight. The instability and the workload drives our people to look for other options in the civil sector which provide more money, stability, and more benefits. And we realizeand we will saythat the spouse has 51 percent of the vote.
Losing our airmen is something that we cannot replace. I cannot buy a master sergeant at 13 years of experience. I have to grow him. And when our airmen get out on their first term, I do not have the option of replacing them with a master sergeant.
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As I sit around and I look at a hundred airmen, I hope at the end of their enlistment, I have 65 of the remaining; but that is not true. I have about 45 remaining; and although my job is to produce for the Nation, if I have to retrain so many new faces, I am unable to produce at the rate that I would like to. The pilot shortage, although we are seeing a slight upturn, I am not confident that we have reversed the trend; but I am optimistic that we are going in the right direction.
Some of the benefitswhen I came into the military, I was unconcerned about my benefits. You would take care of my family. And my young ones are concerned about benefits, and they talk about them a great deal. And what they also are concerned about isalthough we may restore things this year, when you talk about the pay and the redux, they are concerned about the future because as they listen to the retirees, they will tell them it was promised to us, expectation or not, and it is not there. So the young ones are hearing about that, and they are concerned about the roller coaster effect.
I would give my airmen the keys to my cars and let them take my babies downtown because they are wearing the uniform. That is the trust we operate from. And they know that the American people appreciate it, but they want to see it there for the long term. So that is a signal that is very important, and the initiatives that the committee is taking are important. And there is an expectation that it will come true for our airmen.
The initiatives that we are taking is the expeditionary Air Force is good. That will answer some of our problems. The other thing is called Year of the Family. General Robertson started this. It is a recognition that I serve the Nation, and I have an intrinsic value for what I do. My wife does it because she loves me, and we have to let them know that they are critically important to us because I want to keep the families in. And to do that we have to look at new programs, programs for the families. We have to look at reducing some of the roadblocks that we put up for families.
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So we have to put our arms around them and say you are critically important to what we are doing. We do that through family military housing. We have opened up 90 beautiful homes, and I call them homes because that is a promise kept. They are gorgeous, not like the other 900 quarters that are in need of repair.
We look at TRICARE as a commitment to our families, and we also look at the MWR support. So a lot of our focus is that we are doing a great job. Our airmen are bearing the brunt of that. And they served and they smile. And it is our families that we are really trying to focus on to make sure that we keep it home.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and the committee members for the opportunity to speak before you.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Colonel Johns can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. We are pleased to hear Senior Master Sergeant Gary Rutledge.
STATEMENT OF SENIOR MAST. SGT. GARY E. RUTLEDGE, 68TH FIGHTER SQUADRON, 347TH WING, MOODY AFB, GEORGIA, AIR COMBAT COMMAND, U.S. AIR FORCE
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Sergeant RUTLEDGE. Mr. Chairman, distinguished members, I am from Moody Air Force Base, 347 Fighter Wing, Senior Master Sergeant Gary Rutledge, I supervise about 200 people, and have 20 F16 CGs that I supervise the maintenance on and personnel actions for all my folks.
My two biggest concerns on readiness are the lack of spare parts and the retention of my enlisted force. You have heard it from all of the members, and it is a big factor that I live with from day to day. The lack of spare parts makes it difficult for me to maintain my readiness and to complete my mission.
When that technician goes in and finds a bad part and goes in to order it, walks up to the shelf, I need this part; it is not there. Although it seems to be improving, what is improving is the time lapse from depot to my base. When it used to be five days just a couple of months ago, it is now two days. The problem still remains on the base. When he goes to that shelf and asks for that part, it is not there. He still has to go ''CANN'' it.
I manage at least one CANN aircraft on a continuous basis all the time. That means that I have one aircraft that I take parts off of to replenish and keep my others mission-capable.
There are times when I have three aircraft with the same part out. What that means is there is one part that I cannot get, and I have three jets that have that particular part out of it. It causes undue stress on the airframe, and it causes things within that aircraft to go sooner than they would, cannon plugs, mounting brackets. Things of that nature that you are not used to repairing end up being repaired. We keep these CANN'd jets for about 30 days, and then we rebuild them. I pull people from my day-to-day operationto get my sorties for December to keep my pilots trainedoff of the flight line and put them on that aircraft to rebuild it. And it is a major undertaking. It can take two to three days to two weeks. There are times when we have had them down for 60 days because we cannot get one particular part, and we do not want to CANN it.
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Those cause a lot of stress on my people and keeping my readiness capability at the point. People work long hours. We average at least 50 hours a week Monday through Friday, not including Saturday. We try to keepwe basically have made a commitment to our folks to keep them down on Sunday, to give them one day off, at least, guaranteed.
As in my statement last month, I had to come up and talk to my folks and say, Hey, it is Friday afternoon, but we are just too bad off to go through. And I had to make Saturday a regular workday in order to meet some of the taskings that I had to meet Monday.
This brings a big force on my NCO corps. When I started four or five years ago as an Aircraft Flight Chief (AFC), I had five and seven levels, which are the trainers and get the mission done on the flight line. I had five to seven on each shift. Right now, I have two hitting the rubber on the ramp per flight per shift. What happens, those guys are training the three levels and the five levels to get them up on those tasks. They are asked to do a lot. Now, those guys are lucky if they walk out of that place after 13 to 14 hours because they come in early. They get what needs to be done and get it done and then come back and ensure that all of the paperwork and everything else gets done. Those are the people that are making everything happen out there, and I am losing a lot of them. In order to keep them, they need to look at something at the end of the road, and it is hard to see anything at the end of the road with things deteriorating. A lot of the initiatives in the bill in front of Congress will help.
Just Thursday I had a young man come in greasy in overalls. He said, I have only about 60 days left. And he was one of the individuals that did not fall in the 50 percent. And I asked him, What would it take to keep you in?
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He said, I don't know. My OPTEMPO is large. He has been to the desert four times over the past four years. He has seen a lot of it, and he has been through quite a bit. And he has seen a lot of his friends and other people get out. He feels that he would definitely have to think three or four times before he would reenlist again. He has been in eight years, and he is going to get out.
Now, I asked him, What if you got the 50 percent retirement, would you stay in? He said, I would have to go home and talk to my wife. To piggyback on what Colonel Johns says, those people are talking to their wives because we are reenlisting the families now, not just the individuals.
The long hours that these people work and the TDYs and the extenuating circumstances are hard on the family life. A lot of my guys are saying that they are tired. The balance from one side to the other is too hard for them to stay in, and what businessman wouldn't hire any of our folks on the outside. They are well-trained. They are well-disciplined. They know what they need to do to succeed, and they have a great work ethic. They can go almost anywhere and get a job. Thank you for your time.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, very much, Master Sergeant. That was very, very enlightening.
[The prepared statement of Sergeant Rutledge can be found in the appendix.]
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BATEMAN. Now we will hear from Colonel Robert B. Neller, Commanding Officer, 6th Marine Regiment, Second Marine Division.
STATEMENT OF COL. ROBERT B. NELLER, COMMANDER, SIXTH MARINE REGIMENT
Colonel NELLER. Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee, since last July I have had the honor and privilege of being the commanding officer of the 6th Marine Regiment on behalf of the 3,000 Marines and sailors and their families that comprise the regiment, and I appreciate this opportunity to talk to you about maintenance.
Our mission is pretty simple. We have to be capable to deploy on short notice anywhere in the world and fight and win. And I am confident, sitting here today, that today we are prepared to do that. However, that capability is ever increasingly coming on the backs of the Marines as they continue to train and take up the OPTEMPO and fix the gear that they have to fix to be able to accomplish that mission. I enjoyed Admiral Gehman's diagram where he talked about training, maintenance, and quality of life. That is where I live. Like the people on this panel, I am impacted by the stuff at the top, contingencies, deployments, experimentation impacts on me. And the stuff in the lower right-hand corner I read about in the magazines, capitalization and modernization.
Our OPTEMPO is high. It is a constant concern. On any day in 2nd Marine Division, five of the nine infantry battalions are deployed or getting ready to deploy. They are in the Med, Panama, or Haiti. These are more commitments than we had before the Gulf War, and there are two less infantry battalions to fulfil it.
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That is part of our job, but in order to do this we have to train. And I have an obligation to train every Marine to the highest degree possible. I see it as a force protection and even a quality-of-life issue because I have to look those wives in the eye and tell them that I am doing everything I can to get those guys back. So that is part of quality of life for everybody.
But we are very busy. Our training readiness does not come cheap. We support three CINCs, and we are in the war plans for the other two. We have to train in a variety of environments, the desert, the mountains, the jungle; and it costs money and it forces us to deploy and it increases our OPTEMPO and it wears on our gear.
In order for me to train, I need equipment that works and is reliable, and it is becoming ever-increasingly difficult to keep that gear up.
General Pace said that the equipment repair order has increased over 100 percent in the last few years. Before coming to the committee, I examined the number of repair orders we had written in the last six months of the last fiscal year and the first six months of this fiscal year, and it had doubled. That could mean that we are doing a better job of repairing our gear, but I think it means more things are breaking. So we are required to spend more time and money to keep the gear up that we need to train, and this affects the motivation of the Marines and it effects our ability to train. If our gear is broken, we simply cannot train with it.
Our gear is old. I know that there are things in the pipeline. And I appreciate the efforts of the committee to support modernization, but I can tell you here that it can't come soon enough. And I am not talking about MB22s or joint strike fighters. I am talking about trucks, Humvees, rifles, automatic weapons, infantry gear that we need to do our mission.
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Quality of life. The key to our success is the ability of our Marines. These are young Americans who are dedicated and willing to undergo the challenges of this training and put up with long deployments. However, they increasingly feel that they are not being adequately compensated. You have heard from the panel about compensation, about medical, about retirement; and for some of these people no matter what we do, we can't keep them. I have two young corporals that are communicators that do information systems management. I can't pay them enough money to keep them. They can command a salary on the open market that I would be remiss if I told them not to take the job.
But the things that you are doing or trying to do I believe will help. Although it is a very complex equation, and for every military member it is a different answer.
But we are concerned about our families. The Air Force members are absolutely correct, we recruit the Marine and we retain the family. We spend a lot of time working with our key volunteer organizations to support and train the family because the family member also has to be trained to be ready for the rigors of deployments. We have to get the family on board so they support the Marine and help him fulfill his obligation. Our key volunteer program is a real combat multiplier, and we appreciate the continued support of that program.
Again on behalf of our Marines, I appreciate the opportunity to address the committee and share some thoughts on readiness, and I stand ready to answer your questions.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Colonel Neller.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Colonel Neller can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Our concluding witness is Sergeant Major Richard I. Thornton, Regimental Sergeant Major, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.
STATEMENT OF SGT. MAJ. RICHARD I. THORNTON, REGIMENTAL SERGEANT MAJ0R, EIGHTH MARINE REGIMENT
Sergeant Major THORNTON. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee. Thank you very much for this opportunity to share my views and some of my Marines' views, specifically the young Marines' views on readiness and quality of life as it effects them. I would like to start off first by thanking you specifically for your efforts in modernization by getting that Gore-Tex gear that we so desperately needed. Those tents that we needed, and I will tell you that I recently came back from a combined arms exercise and, believe me, that gear was some of the best that we have had; and those young Marines really appreciate it.
As a regimental sergeant major I have three battalions and the headquarters company. At the risk of not going over everything that has already been said, I just want to speak shortly and briefly about a couple of things.
Number one is the deployment tempo. Right nowI will go back to last fiscal year, one of the battalions was deployed 250 days. Of those 250 days, as I say to them, to you, are deploy days. They are not training days that we also have them out in the field. Within a battalion, one of my companies was deployed for a total of 300 days last year. So that is 300 days that those Marines were, in fact, away from their families, and again that does not take into account any of the training days.
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So we are definitely keeping our Marines deployed. We are keeping them ready, but as you can see or hear, that readiness comes on the backs of our young Marines. That readiness falls on the quality of life of their family. So we pay a high price for what we do. Marines expect to deploy. The families want them to deploy because that is what we come into the Marine Corps to do, but at the same time they also expect to have some good quality downtime with their families. Because of the equipment that we have today, they are unable to do that. Marines come from deployment, and they are into a maintenance cycle. I will give you a case in point. As I mentioned, in my last CACS deployment we brought those Marines back and we gave them four days off. Of those four days, there were Marines working every single day, not because we ordered them to, but because they wanted to be there. They knew that they needed to be there so that when they came back to work, if a contingency came up, they had gear that was fit to go.
Had they not been there and not come into work, they would have worked around the clock to get it down. It is what we do.
So deployments are nothing new. The problem is the maintenance. The problem is the gear. If you take a look at a vehicle, and I like to just kind of draw an analogy hereif I give your teenage son a vehicle today and you let him drive it for 14 years, I doubt very seriously you would take that vehicle across country and not expect to spend a lot out of your pocket on maintenance. That is what we are doing today.
We are paying for not putting a lotfor not investing in new gear years before. We have taken from our modernization account, and we are spending on maintenance today. I justrecently Colonel Neller and I were up talking to the commanding general and took a look at a graph. Today right now with the Second Marine Division, we spend more money on maintenance than we do on training. It is what we do. It is what we have come down to.
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I am going to conclude my remarks and ask that my statement is part of the record, but it is important that we understand that we are deploying Marines. We need to take a look at the compensation that we are giving their families. We need to take a look at the compensation that we are giving to the individual Marines.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for this opportunity to talk.
[The prepared statement of Sergeant Major Thornton can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Sergeant Major Thornton.
Your testimony has been very helpful, and I can't let the hearing go any further without echoing what my colleague Mr. Gibbons and others have said about the very deep appreciation we have for you and the people you lead. You do amazing things in the service of your country, and it is far beyond anything that we would ever be able to reward you with in terms of increases and pay and allowances and adjustments in retirement programs.
All of us, I am sure, on this committee are committed to seeing that we do improve those things, but there are other things that aren't going to fix what needs to be made right if we don't do them as well, and that gets back tothat reequipping and modernizing. It gets back to the quality of life and the quality of the quotas that you and your loved ones are required to occupy while you are doing military service. Yours is a very inspiring story, and we are indeed very grateful to all of you.
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I am struck by the fact that there is a commonality apparently through all of the services in shortfalls in personnel, especially in the mid-grade noncommissioned officer ranks. Nothing has been said specifically about the junior officer and field grade officer ranks. Are there deficits there or are there anything other than pilots where we have shortage in those ranks? Colonel?
Colonel WILLIAMS. Mr. Chairman, in the last year I have not seen significant shortage, but I can tell you that those people are recruited very heavily by the outside. More so than I have ever seen in my career. And I can tell you that in the Third Infantry Division last year, we had a 100 percent increase in losses of captains departing the Army, making the decision to go into the civilian life. Now, the Army has backfilled me as those losses have taken place.
Another interesting point that I would like to raise in regard to that question is that it takes, on average, three to five days before a young captain, armed only with his undergraduate degree and great leadership skills he has acquired in the Army, to get a job at a significant raise from what he is getting as a young captain. I have seen that five times in the last year.
I am also seeing recruiting all of the way down to the sergeant E5 level, something that I never saw before.
Mr. BATEMAN. And you have 121 noncommissioned officers that are missing from your organization that you are authorized to have?
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Colonel WILLIAMS. That is just E5s, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Well, you say that you have been backfilled with your officers. You are being backfilled because you are one of the units in the Army that has to be at the peak of readiness virtually all of the time.
Colonel WILLIAMS. Yes, sir, that is correct.
Mr. BATEMAN. The people being sent to you to backfill, are they leaving a void in some other unit somewhere else that are looked upon as being not as important in terms of their readiness edge?
Colonel WILLIAMS. Mr. Chairman, I am not sure if that is the case. I hesitate to answer that question, but I have heard anecdotal evidence from my colleagues at places like Fort Riley, Kansas, and Fort Carson, Colorado, that they are obviously not manned to the same levels that we are in the Third Infantry Division as part of the contingency corps for the United States.
Mr. BATEMAN. Master Chief Robbins, you had some interesting statements about some of the eccentricities that I was never aware of in terms of how military compensation is allocated or parsed out. We will certainly make sure that our colleagues on the Military Personnel Subcommittee become aware of that and as we go through this process of looking at what to do in terms of the compensation and retirement package, that surely there is going to be one; we will try to get them to focus upon those suggestions and see if there are some better answers that we can come up with.
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Next, Mr. Pickett.
Mr. PICKETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think we are all impressed with what we have heard here today. We are looking for advice, and we have heard a lot of different things bearing on the issue of recruitment and retaining good people. The modernization issue is one that comes up a lot under pay retirement, operations tempo, health care, family housing, deployment, personnel shortages, lack of spare parts, all of these things play their part and their role in some of difficulties that we are having.
I wonder if you all could go down the line here and tell us what your prioritywhat do you think the priority is if this committee is able to do something, but we can't do everything that you would like to see done, what would be the number one item?
Sergeant Major THORNTON. The number one priority has to be personal protection equipment for those young Marines. It has to be. If I had to sit here and throw everything away because without that there is no quality of life. There are no Marines that are ready. When I take a look at gear that our Marines are operating with today, believe me, we need something different. We need modernization to come a heck of a lot faster.
Colonel NELLER. I would concur with the Sergeant Major. I think the modernization piece, if I had to prioritize these things. The gear we have, the age of our vehicles, it is very frustrating and it positively impacts on retention knowing that we have good quality gear. It is worn out. We have used it. We have done a pretty good job taking care of it, but it needs to be replaced.
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And I know that there are programs supported by this committee, and I would ask if they could be expedited and speeded up. Again, I am not talking about the more sophisticated things. We are in the infantry and what we need is trucks and weapons replacements and spare parts to replace those items. We know that they are coming, but it would be nice if they were a little faster.
Mr. BATEMAN. Sergeant?
Sergeant RUTLEDGE. Spare parts. If I had spare parts, I could build on those as far as quality of life and get my troops a little better positioned. But having the parts right where they are needed instead of at another base or depot would make a big difference to me and my troops.
Colonel JOHNS. Focus on retention. I have the troops. And I need to keep them in. I need to go towards modernization. I inherited an Air Force that has kept our airmen safe. I feel I need to leave an Air Force to those that follow me to keep them safe.
Mr. PICKETT. Thank you.
Chief ROBBINS. I would have to say that we continually say people are our most important asset, and I would like to reiterate that. It all ties to taking care of our people and retaining those people once we get them trained. We spend a tremendous amount of time and dollars training these fine sailors we have. And to keep them, we need to offer them some things in the quality-of-life line, and also for pay and benefits.
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Mr. PICKETT. Thank you. Captain.
Captain KLINGSEIS. I agree completely with Master Chief Robbins. I think John Paul Jones had it right when he said men mean more than guns in the rating of a ship. We need to adequately compensate our sailorskeep them in the Navythe whole package, from educational benefits, medical, pay, the whole thing. We need to look at that, find a way to keep these young sailors in the Navy. The second priority would then be modernization.
Mr. PICKETT. Master Sergeant?
Sergeant RUTLEDGE. Sir, we redeployed soldiers from Kuwait in January. They were away from their families for over five months. They came back to barracks where they moved in to three men per room that barely has enough space for two. Our married soldiers came back to housing that was built in the 1970s, with none on the horizon to be built. If we could get one thing, money for quality of life at Fort Stewart would be my number one.
Mr. PICKETT. Thank you. Colonel?
Colonel WILLIAMS. Sir, General Reimer likes to say the Army is people. So I go after the people and all those retention incentives that we need to fix the shortages that I have in my brigade so I can do the things that the country asks us to do. So that is what I would ask you to focus on.
Mr. PICKETT. Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, I think I have overcommitted for the afternoon. If you will excuse me.
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Mr. BATEMAN. I understand. The Congressman does have other commitments. We appreciate your having been here and understand you can't stay. Next, Mr. Gibbons.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you very much. I too want to associate myself with the comments of our chairman about the job each of you have done for this nation and the commitment that you have given every one of us toward freedom, because I sit here and I look and I see the right men with the right stuff for the job.
And I know that each one of you, if you reach down inside of you, you look at the units you command or the ship you command. I cannot imagine the strain it is to see the condition and the direction it is headed, without having the controls to stop it.
We are here to try to hear your story and I only wish more of us could hear this story and to see the job you are doing with the little bit of resources that have been provided to you. So we are very proud.
I want to just take a moment; and in light of the OPSTEMPO, the PERSTEMPO, the deployment tempo that all of you face, and have faced, in the last several years, just prioritize for me, if you will, the biggest threat to your unit for what is going on. And I don't mean enemy threat. I am talking about day-to-day threat, whether it is equipment problems, personnel problems, loss of life. Tell me what the biggest threat that's happening to you, if you could forecast down the road, because what you have got to look for, in my view, as leaders is what is happening, what is the future, how do I remove from that scenario the danger that your troops, your soldiers, your airmen and your sailors face in what is the biggest threat with the OPTEMPO, PERSTEMPO, deployment tempo that you face today, facing each one of you.
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Sergeant Major THORNTON. Sir, I would like to say I think the biggest threat within the 8th Marine Regiment is the equipment that we have: the age of the equipment, the rust, the cancer that eats away at that equipment on a daily basis.
I related in my statement a story of metal fatigue while we were doing a combined arms exercise. I don't know how many of you gentlemen have been behind a machine gun, but it is a horrible thing when a machinewhen a machine gun or a weapon explodes because of metal fatigue. We actually had a weapon that exploded while we were out doing live fire from metal fatigue.
It is the equipment that we have. It is old. It is really old. And we can fix the parts, and we have good mechanics that fix the parts; and we have good armors that fix the parts, and we have outstanding Marines who know how to take those weapons apart and put them back together and take care of them and shoot them straight; but the problem is they are old.
The equipment is old, and it is worn out; and it is tired; and if there is any one threat that we live, it is the threat that we won't be able to get where we need to go because the equipment won't allow us to get there. Not that the Marines don't want to go, not that we're not willing, not that we don't want to be there. We are ready. Your Marines are ready, but the equipment may not allow us to get where we need to go.
Mr. GIBBONS. Colonel?
Colonel NELLER. Every unit, because we are normally deploying, they kind of go through a life cycle. The units that are deployed, they've been through a six-month cycle; and they are very well trained. They are certified before they go out. However, the units that are back at home station, they are at various levels; but they are still committable forces. They are forces that could be called upon to go somewhere.
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When you add the equation of the maintenance issues that we deal with on a daily basis, the life of that unit and its training life as it develops, my concern is with the number of things that are going on in the world, units that have not possibly reached a certain maturity in their training having to be deployed. Would they do all right? I am confident they would and historically they have butand I don't know if I would coin it as a threat. It is more of a concern.
There are so many things going on and so many possible contingencies and scenarios that are out there that we look at; and we look at who's not already committed, who's not already in the pipe to go. We are in a pretty good situation, the 6th Marines right now, because our personnel manning is very good as far as numbers. But we have got a lot of really young Marines that have just joined us, and every day they get a little bit better; and every day I feel a little bit better about this.
But you are never completely satisfied. You have never checked every block. You have never figured out that you have trained everything to the level of degree that you want to; and when you are out there for real, you are always wondering what it is you didn't do. So I would say that training people, because of all that is going on, is what concerns me on a daily basis.
Mr. GIBBONS. Sergeant?
Sergeant RUTLEDGE. Yes, sir. I would like to piggyback right on what the colonel said. Training is one of my biggest worries, keeping the seven levels in a couple years. As you said, forecasting. That is one of my biggest concerns in two or three years. What type of seven levels am I going to have on the flightline? Am I even going to have out there? Is it going to be the senior master sergeant and the master sergeant stepping out, or will I be able to bring some of those young guys up and train them to fill those seven level positions? That would be my biggest concern at this time.
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Colonel JOHNS. Sir, if I could take credit for all of theirs and I will give a different approach. We offer a great amount of flexibility. When the nation calls for everything, I can start launching the fleet in 12 hours. I can empty the ramp within the next day. And we do that too often, that flexibility in responding with the 141s and the soon-to-be-deceased 17. You call, we are moving to pick up somebody here to move them where they need to go. We do that all too frequently, and when our folks say they have no control over tomorrow because they don't know what tomorrow will bring because some humanitarian crisis to a man-made crisis to responding to a contingency, we are there and we are going and we do it quickly.
When they are gone, they say watch CNN, that is where I am going. I am not sure when I am coming back, be it two weeks, two months, whatever the case may be. That lack of control in their lives is something that threatens and theycan we continue this for 20 yearsand the family just can't handle that always.
Colonel JOHNS. I would say that manning for the future is the largest closest danger. We can do what we need to do now. We can do what we are ordered to do anytime. NCO has been working hard, and we could go tomorrow if we were ordered to do so. Based on our recruiting today and our retention, if we don't do something to fix those, I am not sure if three or four or five years ago we could still do that.
Mr. GIBBONS. Captain?
Captain KLINGSEIS. I agree completely with Master Chief Robbins. I am sort ofI think probably of the panel up here, I am in theI consider myself in the best possible position because I have a ship that is in outstanding material condition. We could go tomorrow if we are ordered to go. Even though I am only going to get half the maintenance package I think I need, I am not going to pay for that right away. The nation will pay for that in a couple of years when things start to wear out. So I don't have material concerns.
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My concerns are the personnel shortages, the ten percent of my crew that is not there that won't get trained, not there to learn how to operate equipment, take up their fair share of the ship's workload so that those that are there are doing more. That is my concern.
Mr. GIBBONS. Sergeant?
Sergeant RUTLEDGE. Sir, within the brigade, with over half, 50 percent, of our tank crews right now manned with E4 blow gunners, the big concern is if we are deployed, are those private first class and specialists mature enough, have an experience base that would be able to handle the stress that is associated with maintaining that system and making sure everything works.
Colonel WILLIAMS. Sir, the loss of qualified people is my biggest concern, threat, and I think the long-term effect of the current shortages we have. We do not fully understand what that long-term effect is yet because we are, as we sit here, training young NCOs; but we are training them with a much smaller force of qualified NCOs on deck than we need.
Mr. GIBBONS. Let me reverse the order. Just a real quick question. It doesn't take a long, detailed answer. I guess what I would like to ask is: Do you think our current measurement standards for today that assess our training and assess our readiness, that those standards meet today's requirements? Should we revisit them?
In other words, for the Air Force, is a three-level a true three-level or a five-level a true five-level today because of the fact that we have got E4s or below filling in for E5s and above? Do we have a measurement standard that is going to be able to adequately assess our own military readiness? Colonel?
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Colonel WILLIAMS. Sir, I thinkI would sign up for keeping the standards as they are. They have served us well. In fact, the Army in some areas, tank gunnery is an example, is getting tougher.
And the reason I'd do that is I prefer to find out the concerns or the issues that are related to training, are forced to go to combat in training, as opposed to on some future battlefield; and it is sort of a philosophy of the Army. That is why the national training center is so hard; and although there is not many units that go out there and win, there is a lot of them that come out of there prepared for combat.
Mr. GIBBONS. I am not saying we should lower our standards. What my question was
Colonel WILLIAMS. I didn't understand the question.
Mr. GIBBONS. Not about lowering standards, but whether or not the standards of measurement that we have today are giving us a true picture of what is going on.
Colonel WILLIAMS. If you are referring to the United Status Report (USR) report that we all submit on a monthly basis, in my written testimony I show a place where I think we have a disconnect. My sergeant major mentioned it and, that is, the USR, I think, is a good device to measure wartime deployability. But for these deployments that we are involved in right now, we have a large number of soldiers which we do not deploy because they are 60- and 90-day losses either for expiration of term of services (ETSs), Permanent Change of Station (PCSs), or schooling that is required for them to advance and take on the next position that we want them to take on. We don't want to punish those soldiers by deploying them for four months. But yet the USR may say that we are C1 and I may get deployed; but I can only perhaps field 85 percent of my force because of those short-term requirements to not take those people.
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So I think there is some disconnect in the current USRs in terms of how we report and what kind of fidelity it gives the nation as to whether or not we are capable of going on these short-term deployments as they exist today.
Mr. GIBBONS. Command Sergeant?
Master Sergeant RUTLEDGE. Sir, I don't want to tell our unitto think that these young soldiers we have pulling triggers on these tanks are not trained and incapable of doing it, because they are. We have taken them to Kuwait a couple of times already. They are very well trained. My concern is they don't have the experience base to lead that tank if that tank commander gets off of it and have to fight it as a three-man crew if it becomes necessary.
These standards that we are going under, as far as moving into the job on these tanks, or Bradleys, or any of the other MOSs across the spectrum, these are proven standards over time and the experience base comes with time.
Mr. GIBBONS. Captain?
Captain KLINGSEIS. I believe the standards as they apply to me are effective. And I also have the authority to downgrade any rating if I think that it is maybe high for some reason and I want to draw that to the attention of my superiors. I can automatically downgrade my own readiness.
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GIBBONS. Master Chief Robbins?
Master Chief ROBBINS. I think the standards we have in place for measuring our effectiveness are effective, are good. I agree with the captain. The CM2 Xs that the Navy does and the joint task force exercises I think are a good measurement of our capabilities.
Mr. GIBBONS. Colonel?
Colonel JOHNS. I think the Status of Resources and Training System (SORTS) work, but they work well in combination with the ORIs and NSIs that we go through because it really helps fine-tune and tell you just how good you are. And the obligation is that commander has to look at every mother and father in the face and say, are my airmen trained as well as I would want one of my sons or daughters trained? That is the standard I hold them to.
Mr. GIBBONS. Master Sergeant.
Sergeant RUTLEDGE. As far as my training, all of my people are very well trained. The review process is good to make sure they know what they need to know to get to the next step. If they don't, we have people overlooking to teach them how to do that. Like I said, that seven-levels jumping between job and job to make sure what is being done on the aircraft is safe, reliable, and it is a good air product at the end.
Colonel NELLER. If you looked at a matrix with a SORTS data across it, I think it could be deceiving. You need to read the report, as the report gives you a certain level of detail and granularity. I think we are being straight up on the SORTS. There isyou actually have a figure for what your equipment and supply readiness is on there. We had a unit that went out to CACS with Sergeant Major's regimental headquarters. They went out there. At the end of that training period, they were short personnel; but for training, they were C1 and they had received a couple hundred new Marines waiting for them back at Camp Lejeune. So on paper they were now C1. The commander came to me and said, I am not going to put myself at C1 because I haven't trained these guys. We are C2 until I get these guys trained. I said, Roger, at it. Your report. Report it up, and that is the way it is. So you have got to get in and read the report and get the level of details. I think that we are reporting accurately and trying to use as accurate as possible barometer what our readiness is.
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Mr. GIBBONS. I guess, Sergeant Major, it looks like everything has been said; but not everything has been said by everyone. So it is your turn.
Sergeant Major THORNTON. Thank you, sir. Sir, you are absolutely correct, sir. Everything has been said, except I would also like to kind of bring that down just a little bit.
Individual training standards for the individual. I think our individual training standards for the individual, as it relates to the individual sergeant, the individual lance corporal, can that lance corporal do what a lance corporal is supposed to do? Can that sergeant do what a sergeant is supposed to do? We have individual training standards and, yes, they work. The unique thing about those is that we require a Marine to train up. So we require that lance corporal to be able to move directly into that corporal spot on a moment's notice. We require that sergeant to staff up and be a staff sergeant on a moment's notice. Those standards work. They have worked. They've been looked at and revised and, I don't think we need to change it.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Gibbons. Mr. Underwood.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wish everyone had the opportunity to hear your testimony in Congress. I think a lot of people misunderstand, or don't fully appreciate, exactly the kinds of sacrifices that all of you make and the people that you represent, the people that you guide.
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I am very much affected by the discussion of work tempo, even beyond OPSTEMPO and PERSTEMPO, the fact that even when you are not on deployment, the people are having to work six days a week to make up for the problems in readiness and the sense of commitment that your people have to do that, in large measure, on a voluntary basis; and the fact that, particularly for the Marine Corps and the Navy, spending just lots of time away from home, lots of time away from families.
I have no real questions, other than to simply make the observation, Mr. Chairman, this committee operates on national security. Now armed services again operates underon a very strong bipartisan basis. It occurs to me we belong to two political parties. One frequently uses the term ''family values'' in order to make a case before the American people and the other party uses ''families first'' in order to make the case before the American people.
If both parties really valued families and really did put families first and thought of it in terms of those families that are affected by people in uniform, I think we would go a long way towards resolving the kinds of problems and readiness that we have. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you. Mr. Scott?
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was struck by one of the comments in Sergeant Major Thornton's testimony where he said 75 percent of those 3,000 Marines are on their first enlistment. It seems to me with the training costs, starting from scratch, having to train people, that we have a significant interest in having more people reenlist. It would help in our readiness significantly.
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I guess I would just ask without everybody answering if people can comment, anybody who wants to comment, on what the reenlistment incentives are and what we can do to increase the incentives to reenlist.
Sergeant Major THORNTON. Sir, if I may, first let me clear up maybe a misconception. When I say 75 percent of young Marines, which in fact they are, but of those Marines who reenlist who haveat this point they have done two deployments or maybe they have completed a third deployment and now they've reenlisted, they are normally what we call movers and those Marines may have gone overseas for a year. They may be out on recruiting. They may be drill instructors. They may be out at Marine Service Support Group (MSSG).
Being a regiment, those battalions are always going to be young. We arethe Marine Corps, in fact, is a young force. We are young just by nature. So that 75 percent of a regiment is, first termers, is really not unusual. Insofar as retention, Marines stay in the Marine Corps because they want to be Marines. It is because of who we are. It is because of what we do. It is because we enjoy defending this nation. It is not about money. It is not about material things. It is about knowing that this Marine on my right, if anything ever happened to me, I would come back home; that this Marine on my right, if he knew that I was having problems, he would come directly to my aid. There would be no second thought about it. That is who we are; that is what we do, and we make sure that our young Marines understand that. So it is not always about anything material. Marines stay because Marines want to stay. And I don't think I could put it any plainer than that.
Colonel NELLER. Just to add something on the age thing, I went to a dinner the other night with the rifle company, Gulf Company, Second Battalion, 6th Marines. Of the 206 Marines in that room, only 75 were old enough to drink. So that is the type of force we are dealing with.
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As far as retention, sirand it is different. Every one of us has a different profile because of the type of people we are dealing with. The young Marine, I think they are moreif they are interested in anything, it is probably money; but like the sergeant major said, it is a lot of intangibles. The guys that are married, I think you get more into the benefits and they will want to talk about reduction and Tricare and the housing and the facilities.
And we are not any different than anybody else. We need help with our facilities. Camp Lejeune is undergoing the Tricare thing, and I will tell you it is very painful. It is very painful. I can tell you that from personal experience and hopefully it will get better. But we appreciate the proposed pay raises and all that; but I don't think anybody knows a magic formula for retention because everything that we have talked about, all those things, the OPTEMPO, the maintenance, having good gear, being properly compensated, having the benefits, having good housing, it is all part of this thing. And if you brought a hundred people in here, they'd give you a hundred different number one reasons; but we appreciate the efforts in that because anything that you gentlemen can do will help us retain those Marines that we want to retain.
Colonel WILLIAMS. Sir, I think the whole suite of benefits that you have worked on very hard is important. The targeted pay raise and then another major pay raise next year is important. Two weeks ago I reenlisted a soldier, a sergeant, to go to Fort Riley, Kansas. It may be a short stop for him on the way to Kosovo, but he received a bonus to reenlist to go to Fort Riley. I asked him how much he is getting. He said, Sir, it is about 20,000. Not small change to these young sergeants. But then he said, But, sir, taxes are going to eat it up big time.
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So I would just ask thatI don't know how expensive that is, or would be, but it would be great if we could look at those bonusesand it's a short-term fixand have them excluded from taxation. I think that would send a very strong message to these guys that we are trying to get to right now. So I would just add that.
Colonel JOHNS. Sir, our airmen do anything the nation asks them to do. The question is are we adequately resourced so we can continue to do it so they are not saying, I have done my thing; I served the nation; I need to move on for my family, for my own sake.
General ROBERTSON. I would like to add to that, that I think as wesome people say it is different strokes for different folks. What I need to retain that first-term is different than what I need to retain the second-term sailor. The first-termer may be looking at those dollars. I need some dollars. Some of them are certainly looking at them. And then we get intoand also the second-term sailors are looking for educational benefits, possibly a college degree, an associate's degree or a baccalaureate degree or follow onNavy in my caseNavy training for special schools or things like that. Maybe the second- or the third-term sailor would encourage him or her to stay in, maybe duty station location. So the various reenlistment trip marks, if you will, I think it will change based on first term, second term, or third term.
Mr. SCOTT. Do you have enough flexibility right now, or do you need additional legislation to help you?
Page 137 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General ROBERTSON. I would say right now that we are, for the most part, from my perspective targeting the first-term sailor and firstin some instances the second-term sailor. But I don't think there is many for that mid-career sailor; and I am not really qualified to speak if that translates across to the Army, Air Force, and Marines; but that mid-career sailor right now, I think we need to do something for them.
Captain KLINGSEIS. Sir, I think maybe General Rhodes this morning talked about sort of the totality that the message is sent. I think that is what we are talking about. There are a lot of good ideas here; but it is the whole package, the whole message, that we send to our individual service member, that the nation is interested in his well-being and compensating him and wants to see him succeed and give him the tools to do that. And if he thinks that will keep all these young servicemen, I think we will go a long way to solving our problem.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Scott. If you want, I would appreciate it if you would be willing to respond to some further questions that we or the professional staff may have that we submit in writing in order that you might respond in writing for the record. If there are no other specific questions, let me ask if there are any of you who have not had a chance to say anything as we have been through the afternoon session to this point that you would like to add?
We have, indeed, enjoyed hearing from you. We have benefited from hearing from you. Again, I think this was a special afternoon for the panel. I am sorry that we did not have the entire committee here. In fact, I would like for the entire Congress to have experienced what we have experienced this afternoon.
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Let me close with a little anecdote that I am sure will be looked upon favorably by our Marines. The hearing in Washington some weeks ago I noted that the Department of Defense had asked all of the services to make a survey and conclude how many military personnel were not necessary and whose positions might be privatized or outsourced. I got various answers from all the services; but from the three star Marine General, he said, Sir, we have looked at it very carefully; and we haven't found any Marines that we can commercialize.
I don't think we could commercialize any of you this afternoon. We are grateful to you; and with that I think we can excuse you; and we will go back to Washington and try to get our job done and hopefully in doing it make it better for you. Thank you again.
[Whereupon, at 2:40 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
March 22, 1999
March 22 1999
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DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD
March 22, 1999
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD
March 22, 1999
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