SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10823]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005H.R. 4200
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING
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TITLE IIIOPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
DIVISION BMILITARY CONSTRUCTION AUTHORIZATIONS
MARCH 24, 2004
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado, Chairman
HOWARD P. ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico
KEN CALVERT, California
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
JEFF MILLER, Florida
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTOM COLE, Oklahoma
ROB BISHOP, Utah
CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan
MIKE ROGERS, Alabama
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
LANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM MARSHALL, Georgia
MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, Guam
Richard I. Stark, Jr., Professional Staff Member
Mary Ellen Fraser, Professional Staff Member
Joseph Fengler, Professional Staff Member
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCB. Ryan Vaart, Professional Staff Member
Diane W. Bowman, Staff Assistant
Danleigh S. Halfast, Staff Assistant
Preston Johnson, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Thursday, March 24, 2004, Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization ActPrepositioning Equipment Programs of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps
Thursday, March 24, 2004
THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 2004
FISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTPREPOSITIONING EQUIPMENT PROGRAMS OF THE U.S. ARMY AND THE U.S. MARINE CORPS
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Hefley, Hon. Joel, a Representative from Colorado, Chairman, Readiness Subcommittee
Ortiz, Hon. Solomon P., a Representative from Texas, Ranking Member, Readiness Subcommittee
Johnson, Brig. Gen. Jerome, Director for Plans, Operations and Readiness, Department of the Army; Brig. Gen. Kevin T. Ryan, Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy, Department of the Army; Brig. Gen. Robert B. Neller, Director, Operations Division (PO), Plans, Policy and Operations, U.S. Marine Corps; Mr. Eric Peltz, Associate Director, Military Logistics Program, Rand Corporation Arroyo Center and Mr. William M. Solis, Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, U.s. General Accounting Office
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Johnson, Brig. Gen. Jerome joint with Brig. Gen. Kevin T. Ryan
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCNeller, Brig. Gen. Robert B.
Solis, William M.
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
FISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTPREPOSITIONING EQUIPMENT PROGRAMS OF THE U.S. ARMY AND THE U.S. MARINE CORPS
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Thursday, March 24, 2004.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:03 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Joel Hefley (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
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Mr. HEFLEY. The committee will come to order.
Good afternoon and welcome to the subcommittee hearing on Prepositioned Equipment Programs of the United States Army, and the United States Marine Corps.
The U.S. military stores are prepositioned military equipment and supplies near potential conflict areas to ensure that the material is quickly available to forces in the event of a crisis. During a crisis, prepositioning speeds U.S. response times because it decreases the amount of equipment required to be transported by air or sea.
While this concept is not new, it has gained importance due to the nature and frequency of military operations during the last decade, and most recently in OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM.
Today, we will hear from representatives of the U.S. Army, the United States Marine Corps, the General Accounting Office and the RAND Corporation.
The principle objective of this hearing is to receive testimony on the Army and Marine Corps prepositioned programs.
We are interested in recent performance of the prepositioned equipment in OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, as well as the initial lessons learned from these ongoing operations.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We understand that a majority of this equipment has been used to support our troops in battle. We have been told that it will take several years to reconstitute all the prepositioned equipment and supplies used.
We also have heard that in order to properly reconstitute the prepositioned equipment used in OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, the bill will run into the billions of dollars.
Currently, the majority of this bill is not funded in either the fiscal year 2004 supplemental or the fiscal year 2005 President's budget request. We would welcome the observations from our panel today on how to address this shortfall.
Finally, we look forward to hearing testimony today on the future strategies and plans for prepositioned equipment.
Both the Army and the Marine Corps have identified changes in their programs in order to improve, not only their capability, but also the response time in the event of crisis.
I will turn now to the gentleman from Texas, the Honorable Solomon Ortiz, and ask for his opening remarks.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank you for having this hearing today and I join you in welcoming our panel this afternoon. This is a very important issue, and I look forward to hearing each of your testimonies.
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The recent war in Iraq has shown that the concept of prepositioning forces has come of age. It has greatly increased our strategic responsiveness and our ability to rapidly deploy significant kinds of power around the world and is an important part of helping to ensure global stability: It is a formidable deterent to would-be regional aggressors.
They know they cannot achieve their aims before heavy United States forces appear on the battlefield. And should deterrence fail, the timely arrival of those heavy forces would swiftly defeat that aggression before it becomes a full-scale crisis.
That our prepositioned forces worked so well in Iraq is a testament to the skill and dedication of our service men and women and our civilian workforce that put them together well before the war.
It is also a testament to the training of the warriors who drew that equipment and used it to fight on to Baghdad.
But as you know Mr. Chairman, it will be sometime before our prepositioned forces are reconstituted. In an uncertain world, this represents some strategic risk. I would be interested to hear from our panel today what steps they are taking to mitigate that risk.
I am particularly concerned about the adequacy of funding in this year's budget and on that whole capacity to support a timely reconstitution.
Furthermore, I would like to hear how the Army and Marine Corps will apply the lessons learned in Iraq to increase the effectiveness of our prepositioned assets in the future.
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And gentlemen, thank you for being with us and I look forward to your testimony.
And I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Ortiz.
First, let me introduce the panel.
Brigadier General Jerome Johnson, Director for Plans, Operation and Readiness for the Department of the Army; Brigadier General Kevin Ryan, Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy for the Department of the Army.
And I understand, General Ryan, you are not going to be testifying unless asked questions? Is that correct?
General RYAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. Okay.
Brigadier General Robert Neller, Director, Operations Division, Plans, Policy and Operations for the U.S. Marine Corps; Mr. Eric Peltz, Associate Director, Military Logistics Program, RAND Corporation; and Mr. William Solis, Director of Defense Capabilities and Management for the U.S. General Accounting Office.
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And let us start with Brigadier General Johnson.
We will start with you.
Without objection, your entire written statements will be put in the record.
STATEMENTS OF BRIG. GEN. JEROME JOHNSON, DIRECTOR FOR PLANS, OPERATIONS AND READINESS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY; BRIG. GEN. KEVIN T. RYAN, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY, PLANS AND POLICY, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY; BRIG. GEN. ROBERT B. NELLER, DIRECTOR, OPERATIONS DIVISION (PO), PLANS, POLICY AND OPERATIONS, U.S. MARINE CORPS; MR. ERIC PELTZ, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, MILITARY LOGISTICS PROGRAM, RAND CORPORATION, ARROYO CENTER; AND MR. WILLIAM M. SOLIS, DIRECTOR, DEFENSE CAPABILITIES AND MANAGEMENT, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
General JOHNSON. No objection.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is my pleasure to be here today and report to you on the Army Prepositioned Stocks and Operational Project Stocks.
First of all, I would like to add that in addition to General Ryan, we also have Mr. Gary Motsek with us.
He is from Army Materiel Command (AMC), the command which actually executes the maintenance, repair and issuing of the prepositioned stocks for the Army.
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I would also like to thank you for the past Congressional support of the battle part of the Army's Power Projection Program.
Since OPERATION DESERT STORM ended in 1991, increased funding has brought our prepositioned stocks to the state of readiness that allowed us to issue several thousand vehicles. In fact, this is the largest issue and employed manner of prepositioned stock in its history.
Due to its operation, we issued over 17,000 pieces of rolling stocks: trucks, tanks, trailers and so forth; 218 unit sets; 124,000 sets, kits and outfits; and the largest recipient of that equipment was the 3rd Infantry Division (ID), which received three brigade sets of equipment, including 252 Abrahms tanks, 325 Bradleys, and multi other combat support equipment.
This allowed the 3rd I.D. to walk off airplanes in Kuwait-and immediately give the Joint Task Force commander significant combat power in a matter of days, instead of waiting for weeks for the equipment, that division's equipment to make an ocean transit from Georgia.
The Army prepositioned stocks (APS) support the national military strategy by prepositioning critical warfighting equipment and sustainment stocks in strategic locations worldwide.
Prepositioning of materiel reduces the deployment response required for an expeditionary army; this program is evolving from its Cold War mission of large amounts of equipment and supplies stored in central Europe to tailored sets deployed ashore and afloat in three regions to better support our regional combat commanders.
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Our current Program Objective Memorandum (POM) requires by the end of 2006, which may be moved to the right, because this equipment is continued to be used during the current conflict, requires that we have three Army flotillas stationed in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean and on land in Southwest Asia, Korea and Europe.
This new strategy will allow us to geographically disperse the equipment and be more flexible and responsive to the combatant commanders' requirement.
The three Army regional flotillas will make up the full portion of our prepositioned program and will be sided near Guam/Saipan, Diego Garcia, and the Mediterranean Sea.
At the core of each flotilla are two large and medium-speed, roll-on, roll-off vessels. One of these vessels contains the brigade set consisting of equipment for one armored and one mechanized infantry battalion, a round out assortment of brigade combat support and combat service support units, 15 days of supplies, and unit basic loads.
The second of these vessels will contain equipment for supporting units normally found at corps level. The third vessel, a shallow draft, roll-on/roll-off ship will provide the capability to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
Finally, each flotilla will include a forward ship for sustainment. A fifth ship, loaded with ammunition sufficient to provide 30 days of supply for 2 1/2 divisions.
The Army faces significant funding challenges as it resets and converts to modern units, but recognizes that the prepositioned stocks must also be reset, repositioned and be ready for tomorrow's challenges.
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The performance of the APS stock during this conflict was as expected; it had challenges, but it adequately met the requirements of the combatant commanders.
Some of the challenges that we faced are modernization, adequacy and design of prescribed load list (PLL) and authorized stock level (ASL) and stockage and fuel of the Army War Reserve Secondary Items.
I have submitted a full testimony for the record. I thank you again for this opportunity to appear before you and look forward to working with all of you.
I would be happy to take your questions at an appropriate time. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of General Johnson can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
Brigadier General Neller.
General NELLER. Mr. Chairman, I have submitted my testimony for the record.
I don't have an opening statement other than to say the Marine Corps continues to thank this committee and the Congress of the United States for their continued support of their Marines and sailors deployed.
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I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Neller can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Solis.
Mr. SOLIS. Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss our preliminary observations on logistical issues related to OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, focusing on prepositioned reserves of military equipment and supplies.
My statement today is drawn from ongoing work as well as previously published reports.
As requested, my testimony today will focus on the performance, reconstitution of future Army and Marine Corps prepositioning programs. My message this afternoon has three main points.
First: prepositioning was a key to the success in OIF, although the Army faced some challenges.
Second: reconstitution, when it happens, may be very costly.
And third: the DOD, the Army, and Marines face several issues in the near and long term as they consider prepositioning's future.
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With regard to my first point, the importance of prepositioning of stocks was dramatically illustrated during OIF.
While they faced some challenges, the Army and Marine Corps relied heavily upon prepositioned combat equipment and supplies and reported that these stocks were a key factor in the success of OIF. Prepositioned stocks provided a significant amount of combat equipment used by the Army and Marine Corps.
For example, the Army issued more than 10,000 pieces of rolling stock and thousands of pieces of additional other equipment during OIF.
For the most part, the prepositioned combat systems were in good condition and reportedly maintained high readiness rates throughout the war.
However, some of the Army's equipment was less than modern and there were shortfalls in some equipment, such as trucks and spare parts and other items.
Moreover, the warfighters did not know what prepositioned sustainment stocks were available in theater, apparently, worsening an already overwhelmed theater of supply distribution system. While these challenges were not insurmountable to the units, they did slow them down.
Fortunately, the long time available to build up allowed U.S. forces to fill many of the shortages and adjust to unfamiliar equipment.
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In regard to my second point, it will be several years before reconstitution of the Army and Marine Corps prepositioned stocks occurs because of much of the equipment is still being used to support continuing operations in Iraq.
For example, the Army has reissued over 11,000 pieces of equipment; much of that was downloaded for OIF and remains in Kuwait. The Marine Corps also had a significant amount of equipment still in use in OIF.
However, when the equipment is no longer needed there and reconstitution begins in earnest, our decision will have to be made whether to repair it, replace it with existing equipment, or replace it with new equipment.
Since much of the prepo equipment is still in Southwest Asia, it is unclear how much of the reconstitution funding will be needed in the near term for the Army and Marine Corps for prepositioned programs; but it is clear that there is a significant bill that will have to be paid at some point in the future.
A few months ago, the Army had previously identified an unfunded requirement of over a billion dollars for reconstituting of prepositioned equipment used in OIF.
However, since most of the prepositioned equipment is still in Southwest Asia, it has not been turned back over to the Army materiel accounting for reconstitution; most of that funding is not required at this time.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My third and last point is that DOD and the services face many issues as they rebuild the Department's prepositioning program and make plans for how stocks fit into the future.
In the near term, while it may be several years before most of the prepositioned assets are available to fully reconstitute the Army's program, the Army has opportunities to address some longstanding problems, mitigate risks and improve readiness by one, addressing shortfalls in afloat and current prepost stocks; two, modernizing equipment to better match home-stationed equipment and better operational needs; and three, planning and conducting training to practice drawing and using prepositioned stocks, especially afloat stocks.
For the longer term, the Department and the services may need to consider three additional issues.
First, rethink the prepositioning programs to ensure that they are in sync with overall transformation goals and the evolving military strategy. Perhaps it is time for DOD to go back to the drawing board and ask, ''What is the military trying to achieve with these stocks and how do they fit into future operational plans?''
Second, establish sound prepositioning requirements that support joint expeditionary forces. Some change is already underway. For example, the Army and Marine Corps are pursuing sea-basing ideas, where prepositioning ships could serve as floating logistics bases.
Third and last, ensure that the program is resourced commensurate with its priority and is affordable, even as the forces transform. The massive drawdown of Army forces made prepositioning a practical alternative in recent years because the service equipment was available from downsizing.
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However, as the services' equipment is transferred or recapitalized, it may not be practical to buy enough equipment for units to have one set at their home station and deploy onto another set of prepositioned equipment.
Consideration of cost of various options will be critical as the Department evaluates the alternatives for transforming its force structure to achieve future mission objectives.
Congress will have a key role in reviewing the Department's assessment of cost effectiveness of options that support DOD's overall mission, including mobility and force projection.
This concludes my prepared statement. I will be happy to answer questions at the appropriate time.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Solis can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
Mr. PELTZ. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting us to testify today.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC RAND's Arroyo Center is the Army's federally funded research and development center for studies and policy analyses. Over the last few years, we have analyzed concepts for transforming the capabilities the Army offers for power projection.
This includes how prepositioning might be leveraged as part of a three-pronged strategy for future forces, which will be the focus of my testimony today.
During the Cold War, the Army evolved into a powerful force designed and stationed to counter the dominant threat. While light forces provided some strategic flexibility and were well-suited for many roles, they were without much firepower or ground mobility.
In the years since, the dominance of one threat has been replaced by great unpredictability, placing a premium on flexible, strategic responsiveness across the spectrum of defense capabilities.
This, combined with new emerging warfare concepts to create the foundation for Army transformation, will affect almost every aspect of the Army, including prepositioning.
There are three interlocking levers for improving strategic responsiveness. First, force design. What are the units and sustainment requirements to accomplish the mission?
Second, lift and port capabilities. At what rate can forces and supplies be moved?
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And three, force positioning. How far do units or their equipment and supplies, or the complete units themselves, have to be moved?
Finally, I will briefly illustrate the new relationships among these three levers for focus on one needed early entry capability, mobile armored ground forces. In the area of force design, the Army's drive to transform started with an emphasis on developing forces that can deploy more rapidly than its traditional heavy forces, yet can provide more combat power than its light units.
Future force plans center around the future combat systems, unit of action that will be mobile, lethal and survivable, yet deployable in as little as 96 hours, which will go a long way toward eliminating the traditional tradeoff between response time and combat power.
To achieve some of the desired capabilities more quickly, the Army is fielding Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. SBCTs are about half the weight of Army heavy units, yet offer significantly more combat power than lighter units. Critically, air deployment is a viable, valuable option for SBCTs, in contrast to Army heavy units.
Now I turn to airlift and airfield capabilities, which can be important for the deployment of SBCTs in situations where deployment time is critical.
For any combination of deployment distance, force size, and airfield throughput capability, one can determine the number of aircraft needed to fill the air bridge and minimize deployment time.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For extreme distances, it takes many aircraft to fill this bridge. So, to support rapid deployments from the continental United States to places like central Asia, it takes very large numbers of aircraft.
Conversely, when the route is short, speed becomes primarily a function of airfield throughput and the number of required flights; the aircraft demand much lower. The constraint instead will often be airfield capacity. The design of the SBCT has lessened this constraint somewhat.
During the first SBCT air deployment exercise, turn times at the arrival airfield averaged just 27 minutes, or one-fourth the traditional planning time. During the initial phase of a deployment, virtually all Stryker Brigade flights only had wheeled vehicles, which can quickly drive out of military aircraft as soon as the ramp hits the ground.
Additionally, the relationship between distance, force size, throughput and airlift requirements, combined with the weight of a Stryker Brigade, has implications for the value of forward positioning, unit basing, and prepositioning.
While light enough for air deployment to provide value, a Stryker Brigade deploying from the continental United States still requires 35 to 50 percent of the U.S. strategic airlift fleet for rapid deployment.
Deployment from a forward unit base, whether permanent or temporary forward deployment, while just slightly faster in some cases, would reduce the strain on airlift to only 10 to 20 percent of the strategic airlift fleet, offering the ability to simultaneously deploy other capabilities in conjunction with the Stryker Brigade.
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The same degree of value would not accrue for a heavy force because the air deployment time would still be lengthy.
An alternative to forward unit basing is the prepositioning of its equipment. With the cost of procuring full brigade sets of Stryker equipment, developing the future force, and recapitalizing current equipment on the horizon, the Army initially assumed that prepositioning Stryker equipment would be too expensive.
But this was based upon the traditional concept of prepositioning full brigade sets.
A more affordable approach, now incorporated in Army plans, is to preposition only the less expensive equipment, such as trucks and other support assets. Then the higher cost assets, such as the Stryker, could be deployed by air.
This reduces airlift requirements by about 60 percent, for only about 10 percent of the brigade's total procurement costs.
The SBCT in the future, future combat system (FCS) unit of action, are examples of force designs that provide combatant commanders with new expeditionary capabilities. The value of such forces to expeditionary warfare can be further enhanced by positioning them or their equipment overseas.
Given the swiftness of response desired, the limits of force design options, the cost in technical hurdles of future air and sea lift, and uncertain with regard to threats, prepositioning appears to have a critical role to play in the flexible strategic response strategies of the future.
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It is a valuable option for improving the deployability of initial forces in large operations, both combat and theater opening packages and for improving their ability to quickly and decisively respond to small-scale contingencies.
This concludes my remarks.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Peltz can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you so much for being with us today and General, your testimony and root statements indicate that it would take several years to reconstitute all the equipment and supplies to rebuild our prepositioned assets.
Why will reconstitution take so long?
Maybe you can give us a little input into that.
General JOHNSON. Well, sir, let me try this. Okay?
First of all, part of the problem is the equipment is still engaged. We think that somewhere between 9 and 12 months after the equipment is no longer needed in operations, we will start to see much of the reconstitution effort come into whole.
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That is the primary reason that it is going to take a while.
The other piece is the funding itself; the cost of it and then the capability to reconstitute it. We already have our depots about 125 percent of what they normally operate at and we will have to take time to ramp up their capabilities.
Mr. ORTIZ. Somebody want to touch on that?
Or, if not, my next question was going to be: it used to be that before we were having base closures because we had excess capacity, but now, if you are going to have a big maintenance of equipment to rebuild and overhaul and bring it back and fix it, if you get the funding, do you have a place to do it?
General JOHNSON. Let me ask Mr. Motsek.
Mr. MOTSEK. Mr. Chairman, with your permission?
I am Gary Motsek, good to see you again.
To put it simply, as General Johnson described, if you look at a baseline program, we have obviously downsized the industrial base substantially since the drop of the Cold War.
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But if you look at baseline year; 2001 and 2002, and look what has now happened because of, as you call, reconstituting the forces, we are seeing across the board at our depots, an increase of work of about 25 to 30 percent above that baseline.
So, we are pushing work into them pretty extensively.
Corpus Christi, for example, I believe, is hiring 127 additional people this fiscal year to help with that ramp up. It will clearly be more in fiscal year 2005 as that ramp up continues.
There is a finite amount of work that obviously you can do at the depots, and we are trying to balance the work requirements with the 50/50 rule that we are all familiar with and the reset operational requirements that the Army has placed upon us, as well as the other services, because, as you know, the depot system is a joint community and we support each other.
So, there is a balancing act going on and we have, in fact, ramped up. When we left fiscal year 2003, the depots across the board had already ramped up to that 125 percent; and our job right now is to sustain that and increase it as the funding goes up.
There is a finite level we can hit; we are not there yet. And it would absolutely depend on how many resources we had and how fast we had to turn it over.
Based upon the plan for this year, with the funding that you all provided us for fiscal year 2004 in the supplemental, we are going to meet those requirements.
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And it will be close, sir, as you know, with the 50/50 rule. And we are watching that very, very closely. But we should be able to make it with the additional funding you provided us this year.
Mr. ORTIZ. See, the way most would see it, we don't want anybody to come in with an excuse and say, ''Well, you know what? We don't have capacity, so that means that we are going to have to contract most of this work.''
Another thing is the funding. If I understand correctly, the Army alone will have more than $1 billion of maintenance backlog.
So that means that you are going, like you stated, on the supplemental, that you will have to get adequate funding, otherwise you will continue to have the same problems.
Mr. MOTSEK. Sir, you are absolutely right. And the funding that you provided us last year, if you recall, had a depot slice to it of about $1.22 billion.
And that was associated with the depots. Now, don't misunderstand, that was a mix of organic and the contractor-based, but the mix that we can accommodate inside the depots.
Right now, we are able to absorb the requirement. We can absorb somewhat more, but as you know, there is a challenge of how fast you do this.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And so, as General Johnson said, with at least a billion dollars' worth of work backlogged, the real question we would have to answer is how fast do we have to do it?
If we have a couple of years to do it in, we can accommodate it without violating any of the rules that we have. Again, depots that had to plus up, their workforces will continue to plus them up.
We have been very successful in the fact that we had the foresight to have training programs, as you are aware, partnerships with the local community colleges and trade unions and the like. So, we have been able to mobilize the local workforce and hire on as necessary right now.
But we are increasing the workforce.
One of the things that we are doing to try to get ahead of this process is, as you are aware, we have lots of unserviceable equipment throughout the world and our priorities are to reset certain units based upon operational requirements.
We are pulling in unserviceable assets worldwide, feeding them into the depot so that we don't have to wait for the actual unserviceable to come back from the prepositioned spot.
I will not tell you that the M88 recovery vehicle that was used in the war will be the same one that will go back upon afloat prepositioning ship (APS5) when we reconstitute it. We may swap it out because we are going to try to keep this turmoil going on and keep our depots fully engaged.
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One of the challenges that you are aware is that we have had lots of crashed, damaged aircraft, and we have been trying to draw those in. And now we are bumping them up against the carryover rules that we are all painfully familiar with.
And one of the things I think we all have to recognize as a community is that we are at war. And some of the peacetime business rules that we have been operating under and the way we have been dividing money up may not be appropriate in the environment that we are in.
So we may have to come back and seek some help on those carryover rules to let us bring all the crashed, damaged aircraft because there are long lead times associated with repairing them.
And those are some of the innovative things I think we are going to have to cooperate on and work together. So, everything is not squared away, to say the least, but I think we are making significant progress.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. McKeon.
Mr. MCKEON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I guess it was several years ago we went on a CODEL to visit some prepositioned equipment. We went to Kuwait, we went to, I think it was, Diego Garcia; we had the equipment there on ship.
Mr. HEFLEY. Yes, sir, that is correct.
Mr. MCKEON. What I am wondering: those ships at Diego Garcia, is that equipment still there? Has that been used at all?
General NELLER. Sir, the answer to that question is the ships are still there and the equipment has been used. And it has been used a number of times.
As I mentioned in my statement, the Marine Corps has 16 MPF ships, 11 of those were offloaded for OIF. Today, 8 of them have equipment on them.
One of them, a 9th ship is getting ready to reconstitute at Blount Island. I don't want to leave the committee with the opinion that we are not working to reset or reconstitute the force, we are.
The fact, however, is after OIF we put a force in Kuwait to reload as many of these ships as we could with the best gear that was being brought back by the force.
We didn't select gear that came off the ships and went back on the ships; units brought their home station gear and they were given gear off the ships. We said, as a policy, ''We are going to put the best gear the force has, the best conditioned gear, put it on the ships, because we need to have that ready to go.''
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So we backloaded 4 of those 5 ships that would have been in Diego Garcia. However, because of OIF II, we have offloaded those ships and we put that gear back into Iraq, which is why we only have 8 of 16 ships.
So, the ships themselves, a couple of them are in the Naval Sealift Command common user pool, a couple of them are en route right now with some gear that wasn't required for OIF II to move to Blount Island to put in the pool that we will use to reconstitute another Maritime Prepositioning Ship (MPS) run.
So, the answer to your question is, ''The ships are still out there. And the one that you saw in Diego Garcia, here. In a short period of time, if not already, the common user pool for sealift, will be empty.''
Mr. MCKEON. I heard somewhere that we had kind of changed strategy and instead of using some of the prepositioned equipment where the troops showed up and were having to fight with equipment they weren't used to, that they were bringing more of their own equipment.
Do we know what percentage of their own equipment they brought with them versus what percentage was used from prepositioned equipment right now in Iraq or since we have been in Iraq?
General NELLER. Right now, for OIF II, I can't tell you what percentage of the equipment there was fielded from the five ships that we offloaded and then what was brought by other methods of strategic lift, air or, most likely, sealift.
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But I can take that question for the record and get back to you.
But you have the equivalent of three regiments and an aviation capability in an forward space support to theatre (FSSG) in Iraq and we offloaded enough equipment to probably field one of those three regiments and a portion of the aviation and the Combat Service Support (CSS).
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCKEON. One of my concerns I have is that, say that equipment is not needed for awhile, we get it all reconstituted, it sits there; meantime, we buy new equipment, train with new equipment and then the equipment that is prepositioned becomes outdated.
It is there for an emergency, but if we are not planning on using it, if we have trained and our strategy is to fight with equipment we train with, I am wondering if that is something we shouldn't look at and shouldn't get a report on and some judgments.
Maybe that is in your report, sir; I haven't had a chance to read all of your reports.
General NELLER. The issue of having obsolete equipment on the ships: we buy new equipment, we get new variants of vehicles, we make modifications.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Each ship in the Marine Corps prepositioned fleet is on about a three-year schedule, where every three years it comes into Blount Island Command, it is completely downloaded, the gear is taken off, and a new set of gear is put back on.
It is during that time, if we have procured new variants, A2 Humvee, MTVR, vice a 900-, 800-series truck, any modifications made to RAM/RS, amtraks, are loaded at that time. So you have an inherent time lag in the way we do this. We just cannot bring every ship in at one time.
Mr. MCKEON. But then none of the equipment would be over three years old?
General NELLER. That is correct.
Mr. MCKEON. So it is not going to be too far out of date?
General NELLER. It would not. Sometimes as you transition, for example, this time we had some ships that had one type of a truck and some ships that had another type of a truck, we send our drivers to school, and they get licensed in the new type of truck.
So, can they learn to drive a new type of truck? Yes, and if they have time, they will get licensed and they will understand that there are some small nuances. It is not like it is something that they haven't seen before at all. And the commands are aware that they may or may not get the type of truck.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And then they have to take, before they deploy if they have time, they take measures to mitigate that by saying, ''Okay, we are going to have these types of trucks. I am going to license you to drive this truck.''
''So this is this and this is that.'' I mean a truck is still a truck, but there are some different things, probably more so for the mechanics than it is for the drivers.
Mr. MCKEON. I guess I am also wondering about the tanks. Do they have the latest in bombs and sights and all of the latest equipment?
General NELLER. Again, unless there was something that happened to change that, the Marine Corps uses M1 A1 common tanks; the tanks that are on MPF, the changes to the tanks, if there were any, were not significant enough where the crews were not able to operate the tank effectively.
As long as we are aware of it, it is something within that three-year cycle, sometimes we field something and it is part of our planning every year that we know that when these ships come in, part of our procurement is to buy the new gear and part of that procurement is to put it on the ship.
Mr. MCKEON. The Army is the same?
General JOHNSON. Similar, but not exactly the same. We have 24 to 30 month download and repair, and we do up basic equipment at that time. The Army does not upgrade the trucks. Most of the new equipment like heavy equipment transporters (HETS) and Humvees and ODS Brads we do and we modernize.
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But our real problem, and we have a truck strategy being worked now, you will probably talk with General Christiansen when he is in here next week, we do have a problem with Deuce and a half trucks, 800-series trucks that are still within the APS fleet. We simply don't have enough trucks to completely modernize those fleets.
But, essentially, everything else that was said by the Marine Corps pretty much matches the Army. If you were talking about the percentage of equipment that was issued for APS during the early portion of OIF, 3rd I.D. was 70 to 75 percent APS.
Much of the extended active duty (EAD) units were about 25 percent as they went into battle. We issued over 218 unit sets for the battle itself.
Mr. MCKEON. Thank you. I think my time is up, Mr. Chairman.
General NELLER. If I could offer one other observation on this.
Comparing and/or contrasting the two services: the Marines view their pre-po as their go-to-war and they are very familiar with what is on that ship.
The Army doesn't necessarily have the ownership, so the Marines, when they go, the MEF knows what is there.
If there is a mobile liaison team (MLT) or equipment, it also matches what they have at home station, so they are used to practicing generally, what is on that ship. It is not necessarily the case with the Army.
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Mr. MCKEON. What are you seeing, and let me have General Ryan
General RYAN. Sir, if I can add, no correction to anything that has been said so far.
First of all, units drawing equipment from the APS were able to draw equipment which provided a significantly better force than what was readied against us.
So, at no time during the battle, were we in danger of drawing equipment which put us at a disadvantage against the enemy.
That is the bottom line that I want to be taken away from this.
Now, a very accurate observation that units coming over would draw equipment that was different, either had not been modernized to the same degree that they were training on at home station, different series trucks and so on.
And, as General Neller pointed out, this is a function of priorities, the amount of time and the ability to modernize equipment which is in stockpiles at the same rate that you are modernizing, say a unit at Fort Stewart.
But the differences between the equipment are not significant, in our opinion. Certainly not to the point that we felt we were at a disadvantage in executing any war plans, tactics or operations there.
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In addition, the units which first went into the war, for example, 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, drew what was essentially its mirror set of equipment from the APS; and they were all familiar with that equipment, and it was structured in a way that they were already training and operating back in the U.S.
But in subsequent operations now, as we deploy units there, these are just maneuver units on the Army side; you had a different mix of equipment that we are trying to seek because our operations have shifted slightly.
We don't need the numbers of tanks and heavy armored vehicles that we needed before.
Now we need lighter vehicles, more trucks, Humvees armored and up-armored, add-on armor, et cetera, to enable us to do the patrolling, and smaller unit operations that are necessary at this point in the operation.
And when you do that, you begin to require or need a different set of equipment than what was in the prepositioned stockpile. So, that is why you see some units bringing equipment today, rather than drawing tanks out of the APS.
I hope that gets to some of what you were asking about.
Mr. MCKEON. Thank you.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HEFLEY. Mrs. Bordallo?
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I represent Guam and it is a territory that is a very important asset to the United States, mainly because of its strategic location. I think it is all about location.
And I see that Guam is included in several of your prepositioned equipment programs and I am very, very pleased and want to go on record as saying I am very pleased to see this.
My first question is to General Johnson or General Ryan. Could you expand on the Army's flotilla plan for Guam and Saipan?
What is the timeline?
And is all the infrastructure that you need already in place?
General JOHNSON. Currently, the infrastructure is in place. The flotilla is not complete yet.
We have the 1x1 brigade complete, the CS ship, combat support, equipment ship is about 48 percent complete.
We are dependent primarily on trucks and some other combat support equipment that is still being used in the war to complete that set.
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The sustainment ship and the ship, I think, are virtually complete.
Guam, in priority, is second only to Korea right now.
Would you like to add anything, Kevin?
General RYAN. Just that the Army's regional flotilla, of course, has three parts, Mediterranean, Guam/Saipan and Diego Garcia are a critical part of our long-term strategy and they give us the flexibility to respond to and to reinforce different theaters around the world.
So, you are absolutely right, madam, that this is a key part of our future strategy. And so it will be around for a while for us.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you.
My second question, Mr. Chairman, is to General Neller. How will the Navy sea basing concept affect the Marine Corps use of the prepositioned equipment in places such as Guam?
General NELLER. I am sorry, madam, can you repeat the question?
Ms. BORDALLO. How will the Navy's sea basing concept affect the Marine Corps use of the prepositioned equipment in such places as Guam?
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General NELLER. I don't think that the sea based concept, which in the future sea base, the MPF ships, the prepositioned capability, would conceptually be allowed.
We would not have to offload on shore in order to access our equipment. This will require building of different kinds of ships than what we have now, allowing the force to, kind of, flow through the ship.
In other words, instead of offloading on the shore, you would, in effect, offload at the ship in the sea and then project your force ashore. In all that I have seen and in all our concepts, there is always an MPF, whether it be the current capability or their future capability, homeported in Guam because of its location.
Ms. BORDALLO. Yes.
General NELLER. I will mention that when we went and assessed the risk, when we were doing the OIF planning, a conscious decision was made, obviously in coordination with Pacific Command (PACOM), to leave MPSRON Three, which is homeported in Guam, alone.
They were also in the middle of, I mentioned the schedule maintenance cycle, they were in the middle of their tri-annual maintenance cycle. So, those ships were left there.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, as I mentioned also, there are eight ships that are loaded today. Six of those ships are now homeported out of Guam. But I don't anticipate that the sea base concept will affect where these ships are homeported. It just affects the type of ship that we end up trying to build.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you very much, General. I am very pleased to see these programs now and looking toward Guam to put them in place.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Taylor?
Mr. TAYLOR. You know, I can't tell from your testimony where we are on this thing. Everybody seems to think it is a good idea to preposition and yet, can we afford to preposition with two sets of equipment; one back where they train and one in their prepositioning in the future?
Obviously, from everything we heard in your testimony, it is going to take a long time to reconstitute the prepositioned stocks. If we don't need them for a while, will they be out of date?
Mr. Peltz talked about maybe it doesn't make any sense to preposition everything, but to preposition some of the standard things, like trucks, maybe that makes a position. So, can you help us a little bit to understand exactly where we are on this?
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Do you like the prepositioning concept still?
Is this what you are going to continue to want to do?
And if so, what do you want to preposition and how in the world do you expect us to reconstitute that in the foreseeable future?
And why is that not in the budget in the coming years so that we can prepare for it?
I have asked a lot of questions and do the best you can.
Mr. MOTSEK. Let me have General Ryan talk the strategy piece a bit and then we will talk to some of the options we have looked at, because some of the things you mentioned, we have looked at as options, both I will and Mr. Peltz.
General RYAN. Mr. Chairman, first of all, the only strategy on prepositioned equipment is driven by the intent or the purpose to provide the combatant regional combatant commanders with responsive forces, flexible forces, timely, rapid deployment into the region.
For us, these preposition stocks would necessarily include combat equipment, the one brigade-, the two brigades-heavy mechanized are the kinds of equipment that the strategy would want us to have in place around the world, cutting lift requirements and the amount of time and cost, actually, of deploying those sets of equipment to the region.
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So, I will go especially with the Stryker where we have a very special and new and emerging piece of equipment; it does make sense to provide those units with combat support trucks, maintenance, things that are not unique to them, but are common to all maneuvering units.
It does make sense to provide those items to the Stryker units.
But our strategy really would be undermined if we didn't have, for the other units, the combat equipment in place. So, that is number one on what kinds of equipment we would like to have there.
The reason that we still support, and it is part of our strategy and our future to have these prepositioned stockpiles, is because we see the global character of the capability to deploy globally that we need to maintain.
And you are familiar with this construct that we use? The one, four, two, one; one being the primary job is homeland defense; four the ability to maneuver to four regions around the world, critical regions; two being the ability to swiftly defeat the enemy in at least two different theaters; and finally, the last one, which is to win decisively in one theater.
So, when we look at four critical regions around the world, it matches very well with where we are headed with our stockpile, the APS in Korea, APS in Southwest Asia (SWA), in Europe, and a regional flotilla which allows us access into the East Asian littoral, reinforcement to Korea to the East Asia area, to the Diego Garcia part, to that part of the world and the Mediterranean flotilla part, also to that part of the world, to Africa and to the Middle East.
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So, trying to get to your question, ''Where are we?'' that is where we are headed. And we see those requirements very clearly at this time. Those regions are regions that are well documented.
Mr. MOTSEK. If you are talking resourcing these, we have looked at several options; and Eric, if you will?
Mr. PELTZ. First, I would like to echo General Ryan; in our analysis, if given the national security strategy and the joint swiftness goals, it is virtually impossible to meet the timelines without some sort of forward presence, when you run through most of the numbers.
Whether it is a forward deployment or some sort of prepositioning, now, what that has to be, depends again on unit type.
For the current heavy forces, even if you were to put the trucks forward, for example, it would still be a daunting challenge to lift the remaining tanks and Bradleys and other heavy tracked assets from the continental United States.
So that same paradigm that may help, with a unit such as the Stryker brigade, wouldn't provide you the same type of benefit for some of the current heavy forces.
So that is why, as the future forces change in their design, different may become viable. So the best way to pursue a strategy will depend again on the force design.
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The future airlift could change some of the dynamic, too.
But as we look at the Stryker brigade, and it will probably be even more so for the future unit of action, if you put the trucks forward, even though the Strykers are more supportable than a tank and a Bradley, for example, better fuel efficiency, different type of ammunition, the proportion of the brigade that they represent is much greater than a heavy unit.
So the remaining number of assets that have to be moved from the continental United States, or say from Germany as part of that basing plan calls for, is much lower.
Airlift really becomes viable from a heavy unit standpoint; almost no matter what you do from a stationing standpoint, air is not a very viable option, except for very, very small elements such as a company or a even a platoon or so.
Also, there are some possibilities on the horizon that are just starting to be explored. We haven't looked at it in detail; but there are some possibilities that, as the procurement challenge becomes more intense for the future, that option, such as sharing equipment among units, could be considered.
This is an option the Army is just in the cursory stages of exploring; there is a lot more analysis to be done, but there could be other creative strategies for enabling prepositioning in a more cost-effective manner in the future.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MOTSEK. And sir, with reference to funding this program, our plan was to use supplementals through fiscal year 2006. Reset has begun to some degree.
We have reset APS4 with two 1x1s, two ammo ships for Guam/Saipan. The current strategy was to complete by 2006; we expect that to slip to 2008; given current operations.
But reset will begin in earnest with the completion of combat operations in SWA.
As we transition from supplementals through 2006, we will start to put the reset plan within the POM, starting in fiscal year 2007.
General NELLER. I would just pile on a little bit.
I think you ask us about money; Mr. Chairman, I think if we didn't spend the money on this, we would have to spend it on additional means or ways to lift our force to get it there. So, it is kind of an alternative opportunity cost.
We save thousands of airlift sorties equivalence by having this equipment on ship and the time was already discussed.
And the strategy that we are currently working further compresses the timelines, which means the only way you are going to make it is to be closer and closer; and prepositioning is the way you mitigate that.
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Now, if we didn't have prepo, we would have to deploy the equipment that our units train on a daily basis to maintain their readiness at home station. The gear that is on ship is statistically and historically at a higher state of readiness.
In effect, you know when you get the stuff off the ship that the goal is 90 percent; but it has historically been in the high 90's, 98.7 percent for the gear that came off from Marine Forces for OIF.
So, you have a ready, credible, capable force that you can close faster. Now it is expensive; and as we further shape the force and see what the force is going to look like in the future, I think we will have some decisions to make.
Remember, we are not talking about airplanes; all aircraft themselves will self deploy, or they will be strat lifted. We will have aviation support equipment.
As our systems seemingly become more expensive and more capable, there will be issues for us to discuss as to what we actually put on the ships.
As was mentioned with the Stryker, can we afford or not afford to buy a Stryker-type vehicle?
And then just have the CSS there to further mitigate the requirement for lift?
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And last, I am not sure if I mentioned this, but we are in the midst of reconstitution now.
I mean we are loading ships. We just had the Wheat sail out with a load, the Bobo, which is part of MPSRON One, will come in here this next month and go back; and we will continue to load ships until we don't have the equipment to put on them. And I don't foresee that happening here.
Now, as far as coming up with a dollar figure, because of the frequency of our activity and OIF and OIF II, we are still in the assessment.
We just laid the force down for OIF II; one MEF, in fact, just took responsibility for their area of operations from Navy Second Airborne today, and when we turn that force over and rotate it here in the next six months, I think we will have a much better idea of what our costs may be for this equipment.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Solis, do you have any comments to make regarding where we are going on this thing?
Mr. SOLIS. Well, I would agree. I would say that it is going to continue to be an important piece of the mobility triad. I mean it is either going to be sea lift, air lift or prepositioning, or in the case, which is becoming less likely, is forward basing.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I would say that it is going to continue to be an important piece.
I think the thing is how does it fit into the strategic context in terms of what they want to do and how they want to execute that strategy?
I think it is clear from the work that we have is that the Marine Corps, again, as I mentioned earlier, uses this as their go-to-war equipment and supplies and their full rates are very, very high.
If you look back at where the Army was prior to OIF, there was a big surge in order to get to that point. And I think, looking to the future, it is going to be very important that if you are going to have this, you are going to have to make sure that it is filled to what you need to execute your strategy.
Again, I would say that it is going to be a very important piece of the future.
Mr. TAYLOR. With all the emphasis nowadays on jointness, everything is jointness, does that work today?
Can you, if you had prepositioned equipment and you thought an Army unit was going to take a certain responsibility, but you decide, all of the sudden, that a Marine unit is going to, can the Marine unit fall in on the equipment that is there?
Or the Army unit fall in on the equipment that is there; does it make any difference?
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Mr. SOLIS. I think clearly there are a number of common items; there were a number of trucks that were, because of other requirements, there were drivers needed, so the Marine Corps sent drivers over to drive Army trucks.
I not sure if those trucks were sourced from a prepositioned stock, but clearly anyone is prepo, if you have common items of supply, food, water, ammunition; the Army and the Marine Corps have very few commodities that we don't use.
Now there are certain systems, they use, Bradleys, we don't. We have amtraks, they don't. But we have generally the same tank, M1 A1.
There may be some modification differences that use the same ammunition, we have the same artillery, we have the same wheeled vehicles. There may be a difference in trucks, but there is a great deal of commonality.
Could we use each other's equipment? Yes, Mr. Chairman, we could and we have.
And I think as we look at the future of the sea base, as a joint sea base, there will have to be decisions be made as to whose gear, what gear gets on this ship.
But clearly there is a great deal of commonality and we have and we will continue to leverage each other's capability to support our respective force.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HEFLEY. Committee, any further questions?
Yes, Mr. Taylor?
Mr. TAYLOR. Gentlemen, we have really been fortunate and blessed as a nation to have had so few maritime casualties, as least in the last 15 years, followed by JUST CAUSE, followed by the first Gulf War, Kosovo, Bosnia, 2nd Gulf War.
And I am very much a supporter of the prepositioned ships and the roll-on/roll-off ships, but I remember reading a long time ago a paper by someone at the War College on what he thought was the vulnerability of having so many of our possessions on one or two ships.
In your testimony here, you talk about having, in fact, all the equipment on one ship. Now, I happen to remember that the Princeton was taken out by one mine, 1812 vintage.
The Cole, unfortunately, was taken out of commission by something not much bigger than a rowboat. Seeing that our opponents have shown themselves to be pretty clever on occasion, what is the contingency when one of these ships, if and when, one of these ships is taken down en route to a conflict?
I certainly hope that it is never, but I believe in preparing for the worst and hope it never happens.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General RYAN. Yes, sir.
First, I will tell you up front that I am not the expert on security and force protection measures that are being taken on the ships themselves as they move from port to port. I suggest, at least from the Army side, we can take that back to get you an accurate answer for that
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay.
Question number one: the Red Cloud, I am familiar with it, the Red Cloud set sail from Charleston, does it travel across the ocean unescorted?
General NELLER. The plan for maritime security, for OIF; this was a new issue for us, because we didn't have the asymmetrical terrorist threat during the first Gulf War, we kind of sailed around.
But as a matter of course, we always have Marines on ships as ship riders.
Now, they are normal, as what we would call an offload preparation party, and they would be working on the gear and preparing it, but they have a collateral duty to provide force protection for the ship.
Now, when we were deploying these ships for OIF, obviously we recognized the danger because most of the ships, at least from the east coast, transit through the Straits of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, and then through the Indian Ocean and into the straits and into Kuwait.
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So, what was done was the Navy would pick up these ships as they entered the Mediterranean; there would be a force protection capability for a great deal of force provided by soldiers from the Puerto Rico National Guard that were trained in maritime protection.
They would be on the ship from the beginning; the Navy would escort the ship through the critical points, through the chokepoints, and then bring it all the way in.
And at the time when the ship was offloaded, the protection force would either get off and get on another ship that had cargo, or would stay on the ship until it went back.
And as far as I know, that capability or that requirement still exists. So the Navy, the Sixth Fleet, in the Mediterranean, or the Fifth Fleet, would provide escort for these ships.
We also used the host nation, the Egyptians; and I have asked Marines that have transited through the Suez Canal, when the ships transit the Suez Canal, a naval ship, or even a cargo ship, the Egyptian military moves along the shore line because of the proximity and the narrowness of the passage, actually physically moves along with it to provide force protection.
Is that a 100 percent fool-proof system, sir? No, it is not. There is always a potential for a threat.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But my point is, is that we recognize the potential and we have taken what we consider to be, prudent actions to mitigate it.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay, I just happened to remember the Red Cloud and I believe its homeport is Charleston. Okay?
So it leaves Charleston and it sails unescorted with all that equipment, no telling how many billions of dollars worth of equipment, as far as the Straits of Gibraltar. So a clever foe, if his intentions shifted from killing a lot of people to harming a symbol of the United States, which the Twin Towers were also, has pretty well got an open field to either attack it with a high-jacked plane full of explosives, or high-jacked yacht or supplies.
His intention could be something like what happened to the Cole to just go along side and detonate it. But no, I believe that once that cargo is loaded, there is a force protection capability onboard that ship, of armed Marines or soldiers.
General NELLER. That is correct.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay. So tell me what they are there to protect and defend?
General NELLER. They are there to provide physical protection for this ship.
Mr. TAYLOR. Keep it from being boarded?
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General NELLER. They are specifically trained in maritime security.
The complement and I will have to take that for the record to get back to you specifically, but my understanding is about 15 to 20 personnel are onboard this ship from the minute it gets underway with its cargo and ride with it all the way through to its destination to provide that close physical protection for a small boat threat.
Mr. TAYLOR. Well, again, General, not trying to belabor the point because we got burned with the Cole;
What I read is that the standing orders were to turn the water-side security over for United States Navy warships to a third world ship chandler. That struck me as somebody along the way just didn't see that coming.
And that is what it was in the case of the Cole, we had turned the water side security over to a third world ship chandler, as that same guy who sells them fuel, toilet paper, shackles, what not.
And it does trouble me. Again, let's say you have 15 Marines; at best, 7 of them are going to be on duty at a time for an almost 1000-foot long ship. That does not strike me as a lot of protection. And I would like to talk to someone about that.
I regret to say our fellows have done a pretty good job of going to school on us and finding our vulnerabilities. And I hate to give them too many.
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General NELLER. All right, sir, I will take that for the record and I will get back to you with an answer on what our concept of operations (CONOPS) is for maritime security, what constitutes the fallback.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. TAYLOR. We are attacked, we are attacked; we attacked in Korea. You deploy the vessels that were supposed to respond.
Do the rules change if we have been attacked? No. No.
Does the Navy provide a higher level of security for that vessel approaching Korea under those circumstances, than what we saw in the most recent Gulf War?
General NELLER. I don't want to imply that the Navy didn't provide the proper level of protection for these ships as the Navy was patrolling those areas, those chokepoints.
Mr. TAYLOR. If I may, General.
Our foe is not limiting himself to operating only in his backyard. Right? The Pentagon, twin towers; there is no longer a front yard, backyard, as far as this. And that is the part that troubles me.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I don't think a clever foe would limit himself to attacking Americans waiting for it to get into that part of the world.
General NELLER. Sir, if the question is specifically about force protection of the ships, and going up or down depending on the situation, I think the best thing is for us to take it back and get with the Navy and get an exact answer for you.
Mr. TAYLOR. Good.
And I will give you the instance. I happened to have been in Charleston as one of our Marine prepositioning ships set sail last spring.
And for anyone who could put to two and two together, that ship was headed for the Iraqi theater. This is prior to the war.
I am amazed that our foes did not try to do something as it transited somewhere between Charleston and the Straits of Gibraltar, because to my naked eye, it left Charleston unescorted.
Mr. HEFLEY. Yes, sir?
General NELLER. Sir, we have got the question.
Mr. HEFLEY. Okay. We will get back to you.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General NELLER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. If there are no further questions, then we want to thank you; and the committee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:14 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]