SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10825]
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
TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS
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TITLE IVMILITARY PERSONNEL AUTHORIZATIONS
TITLE VMILITARY PERSONNEL POLICY
TITLE VICOMPENSATION AND OTHER PERSONNEL BENEFITS
TITLE VIIHEALTH CARE PROVISIONS
MARCH 24, 2004
TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York, Chairman
TOM COLE, Oklahoma
CANDICE MILLER, Michigan
PHIL GINGREY, Georgia
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JIM RYUN, Kansas
EDWARD SCHROCK, Virginia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
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VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
MADELEINE BORDALLO, Guam
Mike Higgins, Professional Staff Member
Lynn W. Henselman, Professional Staff Member
Elizabeth McAlpine, Staff Assistant
Jennifer Ruddock, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Wednesday, March 24, 2004, Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization ActBudget Request on Military Personnel Policy, Benefits and Compensation Overview
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2004
FISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTBUDGET REQUEST ON MILITARY PERSONNEL POLICY, BENEFITS AND COMPENSATION OVERVIEW
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
McHugh, Hon. John M., a Representative from New York, Chairman, Total Force Subcommittee
Snyder, Hon. Vic, a Representative from Arkansas, Ranking Member, Total Force Subcommittee
Abell, Hon. Charles S., Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness
Barnes, Master Chief Joseph L., (Ret.) National Executive Secretary, Fleet Reserve Association
Brown, Lt. Gen. Richard E. ''Tex'', III, USAF, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel
Hagenbeck, Lt. Gen. Franklin L., USA, Deputy Chief of Staff, G1
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Harting, Erin M., Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States
Hoewing, Vice Adm. Gerald, USN, Chief of Naval Personnel and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower and Personnel
Hosek, Dr. James, Senior Economist, Rand Corporation
Lange, Col. Lee F., USMC, Ret., Deputy Director, Government Relations, Military Officers Association of America
Parks, Lt. Gen. Garry L., USMC, Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs
Stewart, Derek B., Director of Defense, Capabilities and Management, General Accounting Office
Thie, Dr. Harry J., Senior Management Scientist, Rand Corporation
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Abell, Hon. Charles S.
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Barnes, Master Chief Joseph L., (Ret.)I6000
Brown, Lt. Gen. Richard E.
Hagenbeck, Lt. Gen. Franklin L.
Hoewing, Vice Adm. Gerald L.
Hosek, Dr. James
Lokovic, Commanding Sgt. James E., Deputy Executive Director and Director, Military and Government Relations Air Force Sergeants Association
McHugh, Hon. John M.
Parks, Lt. Gen. Garry L.
Snyder, Hon. Vic
Stewart, Derek B.
The Statement of the Military Coalition presented by Master Chief, Joseph L. Barnes, USN, (Ret.), joint with Erin M. Harting, Co-Chairman, Guard and Reserve Committee and Col. Lee Lange, Co-Chairman, Survivors Committee, USMC, (Ret.)
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Thie, Dr. Harry J.
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
FISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTBUDGET REQUEST ON MILITARY PERSONNEL POLICY, BENEFITS AND COMPENSATION OVERVIEW
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Total Force Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, March 24, 2004.
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 1:04 p.m., in room 2212 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John McHugh (Chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCOPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN M. MCHUGH, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW YORK, CHAIRMAN, TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. MCHUGH. Let me call the Subcommittee to order, and to welcome you all, for this at the 958,227th we had this month, I think. But obviously, all of these topics are important, and we are very, very fortunate to have, as we have had in the past, panelists of great distinction, and we appreciate, as always, their insight, their expertise, and most of all, their ability and willingness to be here today.
And today, we are going to hear testimony concerning, really, a wide variety of military personnel programs and policies. This overview of the military personnel world ensures that the Subcommittee stays in touch with the bedrock issues, such as compensation and benefits, which are so vital to the welfare of service members and their families, and to a large extent, dictate whether they remain or they leave military service.
And two of the areas that help us gauge how we are doing on compensation and benefits are found in recruiting and retention, and by most reasonable measures, I think it would be stated that fiscal year 2003 was aneven an excellent year for recruiting and retention, and in some cases, you could say legitimately, a record breaking year. However, if this Subcommittee has learned anything, and certainly, if I have learned anything over the last 10 years, it is that the only thing you can count on in recruiting and retention is that there are cycles. They look natural, and if you hang around long enough, ultimately, the environment will change, and the trends will change.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And as good as the environment may appear today, I personally worry that improvement in the job market and continued stress on the force will yield a hostile recruiting and retention environment in the near future. And the questions we face, therefore, are: are we prepared to recognize that we have a problem early in those cycles, and early in the next cycle; and are we, in turn, prepared to respond with the resources that will undoubtedly be necessary?
I am also concerned about how we are compensating our war fighters. We are at a crossroads on imminent danger pay and family separation allowance. Given that on December 31, 2004 expiration on increased levels for both of these programs is approaching, we need to decide how we are going to proceed on those issues in the future, and we also need to decide what role programs such as high deployment allowance should have during this period of extreme operations tempo.
This Subcommittee and the Congress as a whole are very concerned about how to best structure compensation and benefits for the reserve components. The Congress is acutely aware of the new era of high operations tempo (OPTEMPO) within the reserve forces, and the effect it is having both on the reservists and, of course, equally important, their families. And there is considerable pent-up energy, to put it in a positive way, pent-up energy in the Congress regarding reserve programs, and that has certainly led to a bumper crop of new ideas. And the challenge facing us on this side of the room will be, into the immediate future, how to best choose which of those programs will receive the benefit of what, unfortunately, still remain to be limited resources.
And certainly, in that regard, we will be looking for today's witnesses to help us understand and address those and, I am sure, other issues that the Subcommittee members, and indeed, the panelists themselves, may wish to bring up. As I said, we welcome our panelists here today. I note that, in addition to the written statements that we have for both panels, which I would move without objection to have entered into the record in their entirety, we also have, and I move that the Subcommittee accept, a written statement from the Air Force Sergeants Association which, without objection, will also be entered into the record. And with that, let me yield to my partner, and to the distinguished Ranking Member on the Subcommittee, and a leader on these issues, Dr. Snyder.
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[The prepared statement of Sergeant Lokovic can be viewed in the hard copy.]
[The prepared statement of Mr. McHugh can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. VIC SNYDER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM ARKANSAS, RANKING MEMBER, TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And Mr. Chairman, I also have a prepared statement that I would like to have entered into the record.
Mr. MCHUGH. Without objection, so ordered.
Dr. SNYDER. And I won't read it, and as is often the case in this Committee, gentlemen, I don't disagree with anything that Mr. McHugh said in his statement, that you all have a big task with a lot of specific issues.
The one thing I would say is, you know, we are here to help you all do your job, and I would hope that if there are any things that didn't make it into your written statement, that you feel it would be helpful to this Committee, the Armed Services Committee, that are really your advocates, if anything that would be helpful for us to know about, and I hope you will mention it. If there are problems that we ought to know about it, that didn't make it into your written statement, or questions we need to be asking, or some legislation that perhaps we need to think about tinkering with, I hope you will also feel free to add that on during the course of this hearing today. I know that sometimes written statements can be a little bit different than this discussion that we have, so I hope you will let us know what problems and challenges you have out there, so that we canwe arewe want to help you, and help our men and women in uniform.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Snyder can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman. And let mepardon melet me move to the introduction of our first distinguished panel, all of them no strangers to this Subcommittee, most of them no strangers over the last couple of weeks, because most of them have been here in the recent past, and as I mentioned earlier, we deeply appreciate their continued willingness to join with us and help to sort through these very, very pressing issues.
First of all, let me introduce the Honorable Charles S. Abell, Principal Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and as I said before, no stranger to this Hill, somewhat of a stranger on this side of the House, but knows Congress well. Mr. Secretary, thanks for being here.
Lieutenant General Franklin Hagenbeck, United States Army, Deputy Chief of Staff, G1, Headquarters, Department of the Army. No stranger to this room, he was here not so long ago, or I should say to this Subcommittee, certainly no stranger to me when he was the Commanding General for the 10th Mountain Division, and as I mentioned at the earlier hearing, the last time I saw Buster, I think we were sharing a cigar at K2. So, it is good to see him in a somewhat more civilized environment. Somewhat more civilized environment.
Vice Admiral Gerald Hoewing, United States Navy, Chief of Naval Personnel and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower and Personnel. And we will thank you so much, again, for being here, as you were not so long ago. And Lieutenantorskipped one. I don't want to do that.
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Lieutenant General Richard ''Tex'' Brown, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Headquarters, United States Air Force. General, good to see you again, as always, and thanks for being here again and your continued service, and Lieutenant General Garry L. Parks, Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, United States Marine Corps. GeneralI told the General, just a few moments ago, I have seen him, and his colleagues more recently, more often recently than I have my family.
I should note to you thatand that is not a very high standard, but I should also mention this will be the last opportunity, if his luck holds out, for General Parks to testify before this Subcommittee. I believe he will be retiring shortly. Is that right?
General PARKS. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. Can we talk you out of it?
General PARKS. I don't think so, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. Okay. I won'tout of respect for your service, I won't try to, then, but let me express, on behalf of the entire Congress, and indeed, the entire population of this great country, thank you so much for your service. You have done an outstanding job over many, many years, and we deeply appreciate that, and you go with our thanks and our best wishes for a prosperous future, as you have had such a successful past, in whatever endeavors you choose to pursue.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General PARKS. Thank you, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, sir. And with that, let me go to Secretary Abell. Mr. Secretary, as I said, welcome. We have your written statement, and our attention is yours, sir.
STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES S. ABELL, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, PERSONNEL AND READINESS
Secretary ABELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Dr. Snyder. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today on compensation and benefits and military personnel programs. I also want to thank this Subcommittee for exercising strong advocacy and support foron these important benefits and programs.
To begin with this afternoon, I commend the brave men and women in uniform who are defending our nation at home and abroad, and the Department of Defense civilians and contractors who support them. As you know, Mr. Chairman, I recently returned from Iraq, Kuwait, and Bahrain, where I found great soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coastguardsmen performing their duties with professionalism and enthusiasm. I was heartened to see selfless activity throughout the theater, as units who have been serving in dangerous and austere conditions for a year are preparing to turn over to replacement units.
Everywhere we went, units are working hard to leave the bases and facilities better than they found them for the incoming units. All of these troops realized that they would not benefit from their hard work, but they were determined to make the quality of life for those that follow them better than that that they experienced. The selfless service, Mr. Chairman, of the members of our armed forces make me proud every day. I saw these military personnel on watch, on patrol, and enjoying bustling exchange outlets and MWR programs.
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Over the past year, I have visited many of the installations from which our troops deployed, where guard and reserve members mobilized, and where families anxiously await their return. In every location, I found the quality of life and community support programs that were responding to the special needs that accompany the global war on terror. There have been and will continue to be challenges to be met to support the frontlines as well as the home front.
At the same time, the compensation, benefit, personnel policies, and quality of life programs are positioning to change with transformation, with the global posture review, with Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005, and with the global war on terror, and I am confident that we are up to that task.
The Department is committed to providing the best and most effective suite of compensation and benefits to our force. We are in a competitive business, in which we compete in recruiting the best and the brightest young men and women to serve. We also compete with private sector businesses to retain the highly qualified professional leaders that we develop during their service. We must provide our force competitive pay and benefits, good training, excellent, well-maintained equipment, and the personal attention to their family needs that they expect. The non-compensation benefits include world-class health care, commissary and exchange privileges, quality housing, and a safe place to work and relax. The Department is equally committed to the MWR programs, including child care and fitness programs. These form the military community support structure and contribute to mission readiness. Further, we recognize that many of our retirees rely on these same programs.
We thank you for your support for these programs, and for the emergency supplemental funds that have helped us with the personnel programs, family assistance, and morale programs related to the war effort.
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Mr. Chairman, I am prepared to address any questions that you may have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Abell can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, and I suspect we will have some questions, at the time. I am trying to get back to the order in which I introduced everybody.
Next, we have Lieutenant General Buster Hagenbeck, Franklin Hagenbeck, Deputy Chief of Staff. General.
General HAGENBECK. Thank you, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. Welcome.
General HAGENBECK. Thank you very much.
Mr. MCHUGH. And we look forward to your comments, sir.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. FRANKLIN L. HAGENBECK, USA, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, G1
General HAGENBECK. Congressman McHugh and Dr. Snyder and distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today on behalf of America's Army. The centerpiece of what we do as an army is our soldiers. For these brave men and women, I want to express my sincere gratitude for your continued and committed support. As I speak to you today, the Army has embarked upon the largest movement of troops in our history. We are nearing completion of more than 250,000 soldiers moving in and out of the Iraqi theater, and what will remain constant, however, is more than 300,000 soldiers will continue to be deployed to more than 120 countries in the near future. We are fully engaged across the full spectrum of the globe and we remain committed to fighting and winning the war on terrorism.
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To continue this war, we must recruit and maintain a quality force, soldiers who have a warrior ethos ingrained in their character. Last year, the active and reserve met their recruiting goals, and the National Guard met their end strength. Recruiting incentives such as the Enlistment Bonus Program, the Army College Fund Program, Loan Repayment Program, and the National Call to Service, have successfully enabled the Army to execute precision in recruiting. Also in the previous year, the Army achieved all retention goals, a result that can be directly attributed to the Army's Selective Reenlistment Bonus Program.
We anticipate retention increasing this month and in April, as Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom units transition and soldiers take advantage of the present duty assignment Selective Reenlistment Bonus in theater. In recent years, Congress has supported compensation and much-needed entitlement programs. Congressionally mandated increases and imminent danger pay, family separation pay, and targeted pay raises are the foundation of soldier well-being. With your support, we have undertaken a number of initiatives to provide special compensation for our soldiers who serve their country under hazardous conditions.
And finally, as you know, the Army is transforming through its rebalancing, stabilization, and conversion, with the goal of temporarily increasing end strength by 30,000 soldiers. Although we have been very successful in the last few years in recruiting and maintaining quality soldiers, to achieve the required temporary increase, the Army will continue to need broad incentive packages to shape the force.
Our country continues to face unparalleled challenge at this time in our Army, our sons and daughters, have an unwavering commitment to meet that challenge. I am proud of our soldiers and their selfless service, and we will continue to need your support as we focus on the protracted global war on terrorism while fulfilling the manpower needs of the Army.
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Once again, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today, and I look forward to answering your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Hagenbeck can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, General. Next, Vice Admiral Gerald Hoewing. Admiral, there are you.
Admiral HOEWING. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you for being here.
STATEMENT OF VICE ADM. GERALD HOEWING, USN, CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL AND DEPUTY CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS FOR MANPOWER AND PERSONNEL
Admiral HOEWING. Dr. Snyder and distinguished members of the Subcommittee, thanks for the opportunity to be here today.
When I was here a couple weeks ago, I talked about the unprecedented success that the Navy has had in our manpower and personnel readiness programs. I told you that our retention was at record level of highs, our attrition was at all time lows, and that we continually strive to recruit the best and the brightest that the Nation has to offer.
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Our sailors are proud to serve their country in this time of war, and we are certainly proud of them. We are doing everything we can to reward that service and sacrifice, through innovative growth and development programs, through meaningful work, and maintaining a high quality of service for our sailors.
I would be remiss if I didn't also recognize the significant role that you all have played in securing this level of readiness through your support of the many very important compensation and benefit incentives. Everything from pay raises to housing allowance increases to targeted skill incentives you have allowed us to pursue over the last several years, have made a huge difference in our ability to recruit and retain the best that our nation has, and to take care of their families.
But these financial benefits and incentives have done much more than just improve retention and quality of life; they have been critical tools in our effort to shape the force around our troop requirement need. Take the Assignment Incentive Pay pilot program that you authorized last year. Because of these innovative, out of the box, market-based incentive program, our Navy has been able to attract hundreds of sailors into those types of jobs where we need them the most in order to meet our readiness requirements.
Aviation Continuation Pay, Nuclear Officer Incentive Pays, and other incentives such as these have had enormous impact on our ability to keep those officers that are not only highly skilled and highly required within our service, but they are also very sought after out there in the civilian sector.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have refined the bonuses this year to improve manning, with very discrete skill sets. Using the force shaping tools, we have applied very narrowly in our recruiting efforts and our retention efforts, in order to make sure that we are retaining exactly those skill sets that we need, and I would say that those Selective Reenlistment Bonus (SRB) programs is probably our most effective, certainly our most effective program.
And in the future, as we shape the force even further, types of tools like these are going to be even more important. And we may need the requirement for additional force shaping authorities as we look forward to the future when some of those market-based challenges will continue to grow.
Again, thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the chance to be here, and thank you for the extraordinary support that you and the Committee have provided to our Navy and our Navy families, and I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Hoewing can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, Admiral. I appreciate it, and I appreciate, as I have said, your service. Next, Lieutenant General Richard ''Tex'' Brown, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. General, thank you for being here.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. RICHARD ''TEX'' BROWN, USAF, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR PERSONNEL
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General BROWN. Chairman McHugh, Dr. Snyder, and distinguished member of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to talk with you today.
In previous testimony, I had the opportunity to tell you about our great Air Force, and thank you for the tremendous support that you have given to our people. So, I will keep this short. Today, our Air Force is meeting the many challenges facing us, from our efforts to shape and develop the force, to addressing criminal behavior and the effects it has on morale, good order, and discipline, and esprit de corps.
Using the Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) construct as a framework, we continue to mold our force into one that responds faster, with greater flexibility, and more precision than any other in the world. This incredible team of men and women continues to work together to ensure our Air Force remains the greatest air force in the world, and again, we appreciate all this Committee and Congress have done to provide the opportunities to succeed.
I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Brown can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, you are a man of your word. That was short. Thank you, sir. Next, and the about to retire member of our distinguished panel, Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs in the United States Marine Corps, Lieutenant General Garry Parks.
General Parks, thanks for being here, and in all sincerity, and at the risk of repeating myself, best wishes for a prosperous and happy future.
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STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. GARRY L. PARKS, USMC, DEPUTY COMMANDANT FOR MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS
General PARKS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Snyder, distinguished members of the Subcommittee, it is my pleasure to again appear before you today, during which we will examine a wide range of policy, benefits, and compensation issues.
As a backdrop to this testimony, I affirm that the President's budget continues to raise the basic pay and reduce out of pocket expenses for our dedicated Marines and their patriotic families, and additionally, the President's budget provides valuable funding for our recruiting and retention programs, which as alluded to earlier, are foundational in today's challenging personnel environment.
I would just like to highlight a few relevant issues. Due to the hard work of our recruiters and our Marine leaders, the Corps is once again poised to exceed our recruiting and retention goals, on pace for a ninth consecutive year of achieving our recruiting mission. Concurrent with a contingent totaling some 1,400 Marines currently in Haiti, 25,000 plus Marines and sailors are recently deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom II.
Our reserve units and individual mobilization augmentees have rapidly integrated with our active force, demonstrating the effectiveness of our Marine Corps' total force team. In support of the global war on terrorism, the Corps has approximately 4,500 reserve unit Marines mobilized, and another 1,300 individual volunteers are filling important joint and internal billets.
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Our Marines are working hard. While they are stretched, they are doing what they trained to do. We are watching our recruiting and our retention numbers, and other key indicators more closely than I have ever seen in the past. To date, they remain strong. The Corps continues to consider ways to best utilize your Marines, and is reviewing our active and reserve component structure in order to rebalance the Marine Corps to meet future challenges.
As evident in recent testimony, interest concerning sexual assaults is high, and appropriately so. Eliminating sexual assault is a leadership issue, and one that Marine leaders will confront directly.
Finally, we are proud of our deployment support programs for our Marines and their families, especially our Marine Corps Community Services One Source Program, that we have been fortunate to pilot for the Department of Defense.
Again, the Marine Corps expresses its support to what this Subcommittee, and for that matter, the entire Congress does on behalf of our dedicated men and women and their wonderful families, and I look forward to answering your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Parks can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, General. Let me start off withit is really a point of curiosity on my part, and I hope it can be answered relatively quickly by Secretary Abell. General Parks mentioned the effort to continue to increase the compensation levels for the men and women in uniform. That has been an objective, and it began, from my experience, back under Secretary Cohen and President Clinton, and it has continued, and that is a good thing.
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We have a multi-year program underway where we take CPI plus half a percent, andtrying to close that gap. But just as a point of reference, when the RAND Corporation did the ninthI think itNinth Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC), they determined that the target point for measuring the difference between civilian and military 70th percentile, and if you want to take that for the record, I amit is kind of an inside baseball question.
But I am just curious, why 70 percentile?
Secretary ABELL. Well, Mr. Chairman, we discussed that a lot, as we reviewed the work of the Ninth QMRC, and it is notthere is not a lot of science there. What it is is a realization that the folks that we recruit, and those that we have, and want to retain, are a littlewe are a little like Lake Wobegon. Everybody is above average, so we were trying to find what is a good place to be, and we settled on 70th percentile, and there is not a lot more science than that, except that weas we looked at those cells that were at 70 or approaching 70, we could see the behaviors that we were looking for. We were attractive to those who weren't in, and we were attractive to those who were in to stay, and so, it is no more scientific than that.
Mr. MCHUGH. From your observation, it seems to work.
Secretary ABELL. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, it is fair. I just was curious how it happened. Speaking of Lake Wobegon, myeverybody was above average, you are right. My dad always had a problem with averages. He said you know, John, if you have got two one-legged farmers walking their cow to market, on average everybody has got two legs. I worry about the recruiting and the retention statistics. I mentioned in my opening statement that by standard average measurements, we had a pretty successful year. By standard average measurements, some would argue statistically, with validity, that it was a record in some areas, a record year. And yet, as I said, I worry, we may have a quick shift in that environment.
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But I am wondering, to what extent, and I don't know as there is a quantifiable answer to this, but to what extent does stop loss affect that retention statistic? I think all of the services have some form, some as a unit, some are unit stop losses in the Army, others are broad-based job classification and such, but is itare we being a little bit Pollyannaish to rely upon our statistics when we have a pretty broad-based stop loss program in place to gauge retention?
Secretary ABELL. Now, Mr. Chairman, I will start off, and then defer to my colleagues at the table.
First of all, I think you will find that they will willingly report that except for the Army, the other services have eliminated their stop loss, effectively eliminated their stop loss, perhaps even processed the last of those who were under stop loss off the rolls.
Mr. MCHUGH. May I interrupt?
Secretary ABELL. Sure.
Mr. MCHUGH. I think that is true, but that wouldn't be reflected in the statistics we are crowing about right now, because stop loss was in effect whenit is my understanding, it was in effect when those statistics were compiled.
Secretary ABELL. For part ofcertainly, for part of the year for
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Mr. MCHUGH. It skews it.
Secretary ABELL. Yes, sir. It doesit could
Mr. MCHUGH. What I don't know is, and again, it is not fair of me to ask you a question and then interrupt you, and I apologize, Charlie, but
Secretary ABELL. No, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. I don't know as there is a hard answer to this. I am just worried we are placing too much optimism in the statistics that are affected by that, but go ahead. I apologize for interrupting.
Secretary ABELL. Well, Mr. Chairman, we worry about recruiting and retention every day. And Iall of us do. And we try to shred that data as many ways as we can to determine whether we are being somehow misled by our own data, and that we can see a trend before it becomes a trend, if you will, looking for the leading indicators that we have got to do something before we get to the crisis.
I am convinced that for the most part, our reports arereflect ground truth. ThethereI will admit, macro-numbers hide micro-problems, and I think everybody would agree with that, that we have specialties that are more difficult than others. We have shortages in critical specialties out there, and that includes both recruiting and retention. But in the macro sense, we are certainly, as you indicate, looking at historic highs, and with that, sir, I think I would be of better service to let my colleagues talk about their particular service.
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Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Anybody want to add? General Hagenbeck.
General HAGENBECK. Sir, I would be happy to. You are right about the numbers. In excess of 44,000 stop loss soldiers at any given time. Projections into the next fiscal year could be in the vicinity of 31,000. But there are two parts that I would highlight about that. The primary purpose for stop loss in the future for our Army is a function of the Chief of Staff's initiative for unit stabilization, and what that means, as you well know, as we form up teams that are going back into the theater, we want to keep those teams together from start to finish.
If we continue to do business as we did in the old days, in the Cold War construct, we wouldn't stop loss, but we would have individual replacements flowing in and out of the theater over a given 12 month period, and you would have a very different looking team that would leave the theater.
So, being focused on combat readiness, we thought it prudent to keep these teams together. As we achieve unit stability and force stabilization over the next few years, really through '07, fiscal year 07, the need for stop loss ought to completely evaporate. Now, I don't know that that reality will happen. We will probably have some critical skills that we will always have to manage by the each-es, but by and large, stop loss ought not to be as large a factor in the retention equation as it is today.
To answer the second part of the question, does it obscure what is really going on with regard to retention? I think that in some respects, that possibility certainly exists. The conditions today, certainly in our Army, are different than they have ever been before. Retention figures look pretty solid right now, and I would have to rely on the commanders in the field, who are reporting back to us that they are cautiously optimistic that they will reach their 100 percent goals, or objectives, for retention.
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In addition to their statements, we have ongoing surveys from the Army Research Institute and RAND to continue to pulse our force to see if we see any of these lights blinking that you have suggested, so that we can address those as needed. And we have begun to do that, and we began with the 3rd Infantry Division just this past week, with some targeted Selective Reenlistment Bonus, and to date, it is very, very positive for us, so echoing Mr. Abell's comments, it is something that we worry about every day, and we try to do something about to influence positively every day.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, General. Any of the other Chiefs?
General BROWN. Chairman, I would like to make a short comment about the Air Force and the issue on stop loss.
WeI was in this position in August of 2001, was in the building on 9/11 when we were attacked, and I believe it is true that the Air Force, we were the first to initiate stop loss shortly after 9/11, still in the month of September.
I know we were the most aggressive initially with stop loss. We stopped the entire Air Force. We didn't do it by career, field, or by unit. The entire Air Force was put on stop loss. We had never done that before, and it was a very aggressive step. We didn't know what we didn't know, so until we knew how we were going to respond to the global war on terrorism, we thought we better keep everybody in uniform, and then we will sort it out.
So, it was anot taken lightly. It was a very difficult decision for our Chief and our Secretary. I prompted and pushed that I thought it was the right decision, as DESPER, the Chief of Personnel. We gradually came back off of stop loss over about the next five, six, seven months, to where we were out of the entire stop loss business about a year later.
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Now, I will tell you, we don't even report our retention figures from fiscal year '02 because of the very issue you have raised. It skews the figures. It is impossible to know what kind of retention you have when you won't let anybody out, and you are still bringing folks in. So we don't even report the fiscal year '02 figures, because they are immaterial.
Our greatest concern, when we came off of stop loss, was we were going to have an Air Force that responded to let me out of here, I feel like I am in prison, that theyit is no longer my choice. This is a volunteer force, and we were very pleasantly surprised that we did not get an overreaction, and in fact we havenow, we can measure retention in '03, and now the first six months of '04, and I feel pretty solid that these are real retention figures, and that they are ones that we can hang a hat on.
We should never get complacent to think okay, we arethis is easy, because this business is not easy. We must continue, with your support, to have those incentives, and those benefits that we need to attract the best of young Americans. But stop loss was a very difficult issue for us, and we are thankfully out of that business for now.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, let me just state for the record, I understand, certainly, post September 11, the need and efficacy of stop loss. I am not objecting to anything right now, but I certainly don't object to that. And it is a necessary tool at time, unfortunately. I do become a bit concerned when it becomes a longer term resource, after you know those unknowns, and when you utilize stop loss as a way toand I am not accusing anybody of this right now, but as a way to deny the need for end strength adjustment, so we will take that on at another time, but in fairness, Admiral Hoewing.
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Admiral HOEWING. Very quickly, Mr. Chairman, because the Navy used the stop loss very sparingly in very specific skill sets, but two points.
First, we went back and did spot checks using what we call quick polling techniques with those sailors, many of those sailors, that were in fact on stop loss, and were held in position, to see what the impact was on their behavior, and largely, their continuation rates, or their retention behavior, was largely unchanged because of stop loss during the 2001 time frame.
The second piece, to discuss the concept, and you were exactly right. Averages hide everything, the goods and the bads, but what we are working on in the Navy very, very hard right now, are a series of very specific lead and lag indicators of recruiting successes and retention successes, and byleading indicators are much more difficult. Where we are using these polling techniques, we are using communications with the commanders in the field to get those lead indicators as to whether or not the tone of the force changes. We are so proud of our tone right now, we believe that is going to be the best leading indicator. The lagging indicator, then, are the statistics that follow, very specifically measured against the various skill sets.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, I am glad to hear that, and you are absolutely right. Leading indicators are a heck of a lot harder to establish and to measure, but they are critical, and it is both on the recruiting and the retention side, and I will pursue that later.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General Parks, I don't know if you want to make any comments.
General PARKS. I will add, sir
Mr. MCHUGH. You are leaving, so obviously, you are not in stop loss.
General PARKS. I am indeed not stop loss, sir, and Mr. Abell said, nor is anyone in the Marine Corps today, but we did use it last spring. We used it across the entire Marine Corps. We did it directly for the initial operations into Baghdad, and then ceased it at the end of that, approximately early May.
I would say that, as my colleagues have mentioned, that the aspect of percentages can be deceiving. We are trying to dig into that further. One of the metrics that we are using is matching that percentage against the number of military occupational specialties that are filled, and the numbers that we need.
And at each of the last three years, we have improved in that category, so much so that we established another program to ensure that we had continuation rates for our second term individuals, we needed to put some focus on. We have established a new program. That program currently is 15 percent ahead of last year in its success. So we remain optimistic, and yet, at the same point, we see some things that we are watching very closely, that we are trying to track on, and yet at this point, some Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) are up, others are down, and we don't have a vector that tells us anything statistically significant at this point.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCHUGH. I want to thank you all very much. My colleague has been very patient, and I will yield to Dr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I guess I want to go back to my introductory comments. I need you toeach of you to give usstarting with you, Mr. Secretary, if you would, the what keeps me awake at night list. I mean, if it keeps you awake at night, then it ought to keep us awake at night. I mean, what things do we as a nation and as a military, as a Congress, need to be focused on, that we think needs some work. It may not be going the direction we want. Need some statutory change, needs more money, is gotworking fine in the short run, not so good in the long run. I mean, would you all respond to that question for me, please?
Secretary ABELL. Yes, sir. The things that I worry about every day, or think about at night. I amwas absolutely literal when I said I worry about recruiting and retention every day. And my staff listens to me ask them every time they bring me a policy, how does this affect recruiting and retention?
I worry about the suite of compensation and benefits that come, and I worry from the perspective that you and your colleagues are very generous to our folks, and in most cases, our folks deserve everything that you give them. However, I do get worried that it is possible to create a force that is too expensive for the nation, especially when it comes to programs that are essentially deferred compensation, or where the benefits accrue only to those who no longer serve. I worry about the cost of that, and what that does to our labor costs within the Department of Defense.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And the third thing I worry about every day, sir, is the implementation of the National Security Personnel system that you and others worked so hard on for us last year, that we get to implement that in a way that meets the goals that we all agreed on, and keeps our workforce with us and supporting us. And those are the three things that I worry about every day.
Dr. SNYDER. You can go ahead in line, if you would.
General BROWN. Okay. Yes, sir. Mr. Abell has touched on one that clearly, we all, and that is recruiter intention, and we cannot let that be forgotten. We keep it to the forefront. I think weI know I can speak for all of us, wethat stays probably first and foremost, foras the Chiefs of Personnel.
Another one that comes to mind right away for me is ops tempo. And it is not for the entire Air Force. I am not going to pretend to tell you the whole Air Force is on extremely high ops tempo, but we have specific career fields, and we have gotten certain groups of people that we are putting great demands on, and so, as the Chief of Personnel, one of the things that keeps me awake is we are about, you know, I need to get on with trying to do this faster, shaping our Air Force, and trying to redistribute some of the uniforms, some of the personnel within the Air Force into those career fields that have the very high ops tempo.
So, I am going towe are looking to move some people out of the career fields that are less strenuous, or possibly can be reevaluated for Mil/Civ conversion, possibly outsourcing, and then take those uniforms and those people into those career fields where the tempo is very high right now, and probably will be for the foreseeable future, as long as we have this enemy that brings us into the global war on terrorism.
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That is probably the one area that keeps me awake.
General HAGENBECK. Sir, I want to echo those remarks. I think what I spend my time worrying about is getting it right, when we talk about manning the force. It is for today and for the future, and recognizing that is not necessarily a one for one when you talk about putting somebody in uniform, the compensation associated with them while they serve, and then when they leave our service.
Somebody described it to me before as a spider web that is up in the corner of a room. It is three dimensional, and as you try to get it right, you are cutting and pasting up there, just because you cut one seam on that web, it may have second, third order effects that you may not see immediately, and so there are those kinds of permutations that concern me when weand I try to work around those edges as best that we can, that we don't be shortsighted in trying to solve today's problem that may cause us more problems or greater problems in the future.
Dr. SNYDER. On the other hand, theand I know you all know this, you don't want to be so stuck in inertia that nothing ever changes.
General HAGENBECK. Absolutely.
Dr. SNYDER. Because we have been there before, too.
General HAGENBECK. Yes, sir.
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Dr. SNYDER. Admiral.
Admiral HOEWING. Thank you, sir. I had mentioned leading indicators a few minutes ago. I am worried that we got the right leading indicators, that it does sneak up on us, and therefore, I worry also about having the flexibility with incentives soon enough to be able to make sure that we can counter what could become a trend in one direction. Let us say enlistment bonuses or retention bonuses in specific areas. I worry that we don't have enough flexibility to increase those bonuses as the market requires, and I would also say from a personal perspective, as we do major transformation, with that comes cultural change. Communicating to the force about the extents ofthe extensiveness of the transformation that goes on, I worry about that, also, because we need to make sure that our leaders and those sailors that are working for them fully understand that are communicating all of those things that are necessary to help them shape that culture of the future.
General PARKS. Sir, I would only add whatone aspect of which is really a restatement of what my colleagues have said, and some of the things that they have said as well, but it goes back to the heart of the Chairman's question, and that is you have asked for my advice. I haveas has been mentioned as well, I am leaving the Marine Corps this year to retire, and I just want to make sure I give you the best advice.
We are weighing a lot of factors here. We are working really hard to tell you what is right to reflect in the mirror to make sure we have got it right. That is the piece that keeps me awake. Are we calling it right? Are the commitments going to overburden us, versus the end strength, the challenges, and the burdens that we have? We work real hard to try to make sure we have provided the right insight into that.
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Dr. SNYDER. General Parks, you were with the First Recon in Vietnam, weren't you?
General PARKS. I was, yes, sir.
Dr. SNYDER. Were you one of those guys that rode around at theunderneath the helicopter, sitting on a ladder?
General PARKS. Unfortunately, I was. Yes, sir.
Dr. SNYDER. Do you foresee that is going to help you in any kind ofin retirement?
General PARKS. Itonly the fact that I held on real tight.
Dr. SNYDER. It scared the hell out of me just to watch. I wanted to ask Mr. Secretary, with regard to the Selective Reenlistment Bonus Program, Government Accountability Office (GAO) had asome recommendations in the study, I don't remember what the time frame was, butthat dealt withthey suggested an annual review, some consistent procedures and metrics so that it could be reviewed. Would you just respond to how do youhave you all made some changes in response to GAO, or rejected them, or whatgive us an update on that, if you would.
Secretary ABELL. Happy to, sir. We have established the reviews. We have developed metrics that, in conjunction with my colleagues here at the table, we are codifying those in the Department of Defense regulation, and I believe one of the other findings of the General Accounting Office was that at the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) level, we didn't have in place a document that demonstrated that we were providing oversight, and we are developing staffing right now to Department of Defense instruction, which is a regulation, that establishes the procedures that were already in place, that shows that we are monitoring it.
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That is close to being done. My staff would tell you, if they were here, that I am the cause of the delay, because they have brought it to me a couple of times, and I have sent it back to say where is this piece, where is that piece, but they have been working diligently since the GAO report came out.
So, I would tell you that we have the things in place, and the part we are doing now is the regulatory codification of those.
Dr. SNYDER. Is your routine to let the Committee know when you reach that conclusion, when youor will youwere you planning on doing that, oris there a process for doing that, or
Secretary ABELL. You know, sir, I don't know, but we certainly will.
Dr. SNYDER. You would.
Secretary ABELL. Yes, sir.
Dr. SNYDER. That would be great. And you mentioned the conversion from military to civilian. The position you are in now, is there upfront cost associated with that, because you are going to create some civilian positions, and take your military people, and put them into places where you think you need them more? But where is the money coming from? Is that coming out of someone's hide now?
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Secretary ABELL. Yes, sir.
Dr. SNYDER. How isI don't know who to ask. I mean, somebody ismust not be very excited about where that money is coming from.
Secretary ABELL. I will certainly let my colleagues talk about their service-specific areas, but as you know, within the Department of Defense, there is no free money. There is no new money, so when a decision is made to do something like this, that has a cost that was not previously budgeted, then we have to find the resources within our budgets, and that, in this case, means within the service budgets, and that is what the program budget decision directed the Service Chiefs and Secretaries to do.
Dr. SNYDER. We have had this ongoing discussion, you know, Mr. Secretary, but it seems like that is something that could have been budgeted for, that if you are going to make these conversions, you are establishing new civilian positions, we don't expect those to be a surge or for three months or six months, or only as emergency, we expect those to be ongoing costs. I would assume that you are creating only positions you think you are going to need for some period of time. Why wouldn'twhy wasn't that made as part of President's budget?
Secretary ABELL. In the '05 budget, which you have before you, it certainly is budgeted.
Dr. SNYDER. Some of it is, okay.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary ABELL. But in fairness now, sir, the service folks
Dr. SNYDER. It just takes a year to catch up. Is that what we are saying?
Secretary ABELL. Well, the service folks would say that even though there is money in the '05 budget, they already thought they were going to do something else with that money.
Dr. SNYDER. I see.
Secretary ABELL. So, even in an '05, or even if we look forward to '06, they already have all the money accounted for, and then we say this is a program that is important. The Service Secretaries agree, and then, that means that somebody has got to go in and shift that money around, so it is a matter of perspective, I guess. Weat OSD level, we are going to say this is funded. The services are going to say we didn't get any money to do this. We are both going to be right.
Dr. SNYDER. I understand. One last question, if I might, Mr. Chairman, is on child care.
Secretary ABELL. Yes, sir.
Dr. SNYDER. Ops tempo, was mentioned, I think, by General Brown most eloquently, but longer hours means need for more child care, more people deployed, I think means more, if you have one parent that goes, more need for child care. And yet, I think the Administration budget has essentially been a flat line with regard to child care. I mean, where are we at with child care funding?
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Secretary ABELL. Yes, sir. Itthe budget for child care went up 50 million from '04 to '05, which is essentially a flat line. It is a modest increase, I grant. There was also money, another 21 million, in the supplement, supplemental, which went to child care as a direct cost of the longer hours and the increased op tempo, but that doesn't meet our needs fully. We recognize that. We are working, very aggressively, an initiative to try and leverage off-base facilities, if we can subsidize the availability of child care for our families in off-base facilities, either though direct subsidy, or through some sort of payments in kind. Maybe we could put some of our people in their facilities, increase their capacity. We are working those issues very hard to try and get at this. We are about, by our own reports, 40,000 child care spaces short across the Department, and we think if we can leverage the private sector, we will be able to get that shortage down.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I work better probably with a red light, I think I got carried away. I am sorry.
Mr. MCHUGH. Be careful what you pray for. Well, I thank the gentleman, and he didn't get carried away at all. Let me just editorialize here for a minute. I wish Secretary Abell were my high school math teacher. I might be a physicist today. But right, you are right.
I think the CongressIwell, let me speak for myself. I think there were two misconceptions, either rightly or wrongly, certainly that I had on this civilian and military conversion issue.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The first is that we would see it funded on a one per one basis, and that has not happened, and I think the Administration and the Department would say we have finally put some money into it '05. I think there is some validity to that. But the other misconception is for every military person we took out of a so-called civilian position, we are going to put another civilian in, and that hasn't been the case at all, so there
Secretary ABELL. No, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. This is a much different program than many of us perceived it to be, not tothat doesn't necessarily categorize it one way or another, but just to say it is different. And I think it bears watching, because you know, I don'tobviously, we all want to see the military funded at sufficient levels, but I am also not sure we are staffing those former positions to the level necessary to do the job that is before us. So, for whatever that is worth, I thought I would throw that out there.
With that, well, in essence, a very long-winded way, it is an election year. I am saying I agree with the gentleman fully. Let me yield to the gentlelady from California, Ms. Sanchez.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Are we using it?
Secretary ABELL. I am. But you are
Ms. SANCHEZ. Be nice. Thank you for coming before us today. I actually have a couple questions for Secretary Abell, and I think you are probably anticipating this, because you brought it up in your official testimony.
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You said that your office has madehad begun implementing nearly 45 of the 200 recommendations issued by the Domestic Task Force onthe Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence.
Secretary ABELL. That is right.
Ms. SANCHEZ. I am glad that you are making progress, but I have some questions with respect to that. First of all, do you have adequate funding to implement the program? And if not, can you provide an estimate of the financial shortfall? Second, what are you doing to ensure that the recommendations are being implemented in a uniform fashion across all the services? And how do you intend to provide oversight for that? What are you doing to get out the information on the domesticthat domestic violence will not be tolerated? Iyou know, I have beenobviously talking to members of the Task Force continuously, and I think it would be beneficial for the Department of Defense to hold a series of stop sexual violence against women in the military conferences, for installation officers, for commanding officers, for Judge Advocate General (JAG) officers, in order to drive the point home that this is serious business and we really mean this, not just send out a packet of information, which is probably what you are about to tell me that you have been doing so far.
How do you feel about holding that type of a conference, and how are you making sure that this is a priority within the armed forces?
Secretary ABELL. Ilet me start backwards, if I will. If you would. The conference, absolutely. We actually have a conference, a worldwide conference, planned in June, to do exactly as you say, to bring folks in from our installations and our commands all over the world, to talk about just this issue, to talk about the implementation, to talk about the policies, to get the word out. We ensure our uniform implementation by providing oversight from the departmental level, at the various service levels. We get the word out through passing out papers, through using command information channels, through making it a topic of discussions at various command level staff calls, if you will.
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It isthe effort this year. We have an office that works for me, to dothat does everytheir day to day duty is to work on implementation of the 200 odd recommendations. Just to update you, from time to time, the statement was writtenuntil today, we are up to 65 now, from 45, so
Ms. SANCHEZ. Beginning implementation, fully implemented?
Secretary ABELL. These are implemented.
Ms. SANCHEZ. These are
Secretary ABELL. These arethe policies are done. They are out there. They are beginning to be implemented. Big department, as you know. And the funding, that office has a budget of $10 million. We believe that to be adequate. We have no reason, at this point, to believe that it will come up short, and if it does, we will go to our colleagues in the Comptroller and seek a reprogramming to make sure that it has enough money. But we areright now, we have no indications that that is an inadequate budget.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Soyou mentioned, you said that itpart of the oversight was to send people out.
Secretary ABELL. Yes.
Ms. SANCHEZ. What does that mean? What iswhat does that look like? Where do you send them out? How many people do you have doing this for you?
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Secretary ABELL. Okay. The office is about my implementation office is about four. They work with their service colleagues. We leverage each of the services teams on this as well. All the services have conferences, family action conferences, sexual harassment, sexual harassment conferences. We make sure our folks are there, and this is part of the agenda. Weagain, using command information and normal chain of command activities, staff calls, commander calls, if you will, to pass out this information.
Ms. SANCHEZ. And this is new since we have received back the information from the Domestic Task Force, or this has just been an ongoing thing?
Secretary ABELL. No. This implementation office was formed as the Task Force concluded.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Okay. Just making sure that it was something, not something that was
Secretary ABELL. Yes, ma'am. It is post Task Force. As a matter of fact, I just last week signed the papers that would extend that Task Force yet another year. It is an annual thing, and so I just extended it yet another year.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Okay. I would also like you to comment on your approach to tackling sexual assault. I know that Ms. Embrey is charged with ensuring that we have appropriate measures in place to respond to sexual assault, and hopefully we will get her findings shortly.
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But I have a few questions that I hope you can answer for me today. I would like you to describe the care that is available to sexual assault victims at combat support hospitals in Iraq. I am particularly interested to know what kind of psychological care is offered. And can you verify that there are trained rape trauma counselors at every combat support hospital now deployed?
Secretary ABELL. Well, okay. As I traveled, I visited every combat support hospital in Iraq while I was there. What I saw were, and I asked these questions is a more general way than you have asked, so I will tell you what I believe, and then I will, for the record, make sure that that is accurate, if that is okay. Yes, there wasthere were trained people, and adequate equipment, kits if you will, to do the necessary forensic work for someone who hadwho came in reporting a sexual assault.
Ms. SANCHEZ. So you saw rape kits at every
Secretary ABELL. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. SANCHEZ [continuing]. Combat hospital?
Secretary ABELL. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Psychological?
Secretary ABELL. Yes. There isthere are psychological counselors in the theater, notI can't tell you that they are in every combat support hospital, but they are in the theater. Now, there may bethey may be in every combat support hospital. I didn't ask that specific question. And I thinkwas there another question in there?
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Ms. SANCHEZ. No, you answered those.
Secretary ABELL. Okay, but Ibut let me also get ourget my folks to confirm
Ms. SANCHEZ. Right.
Secretary ABELL [continuing]. Those things for the record for you.
Ms. SANCHEZ. That would be great. It is my understanding that there is emergency contraceptive available for women in Iraq and Afghanistan in the event of a rape, at the larger combat support hospitals. But I don't think that they are available at the smaller deployed units. Is that an accurate statement?
Secretary ABELL. I didn't ask that question, but I would not challenge that. I would think that was how that would probably be done.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Is it possible to provide emergency contraception at smaller field hospitals?
Secretary ABELL. I
Ms. SANCHEZ. I mean, what do we have if a woman is forward deployed, and she is at one of these smaller hospitals, and she comes in and she says she was raped, and she thinks, you know, and she is worried about being pregnant?
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Secretary ABELL. She would go to a combat support hospital. The problem with the scenario you described is that there is really nothing between the clinic, the unit level aid clinic, if you will, and the combat support hospitals. There are no sort of intermediate hospitals there. So, if the problem presentsany problem, medical problem presents at the unit level, at the clinics, and it isit exceeds their capacity, then the individual goes to one of the combat support hospitals.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Emergency contraception is a very timely issue, soyou know, you can go back and ask your people.
Secretary ABELL. I will.
Dr. GINGREY. Mr. Chairman. Will the gentlelady yield for just a second? Would the gentlelady yield for
Ms. SANCHEZ. Certainly, Doctor.
Dr. GINGREY [continuing]. A very friendly comment? It is an important point that you bring up, of course, but as an obgyn physician, there is a 72 hour window of opportunity there, and I
Ms. SANCHEZ. Right.
Dr. GINGREY [continuing]. Just thought I would mention that to you, for emergency contraception.
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Ms. SANCHEZ. Right, and that is whatthe question I was just going to ask. Within 72remember, that sometimes the woman doesn't report it necessarily within the first 24 hours, let us say. I am just saying, if she came to you a day after she was raped at a unit, and said I was raped and I need some emergency contraceptive, is there enough time to get her to the combat hospital where that would be available?
Secretary ABELL. Certainly. They are not in Baghdadwell, there is one in Baghdad, but they are also scattered among thein the outlying installations, in close proximity to the troop concentrations.
Ms. SANCHEZ. And it would be our policy to get her that, to get her there, to get her that if that is what she wanted?
Secretary ABELL. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Okay. That is what I am trying to find out. Thank you, Doctor. I wasn'tI am aware. It is just that it is a very time sensitive thing, and you know, for a woman to come out and say I have this problem is a very difficult thing. Let me ask you, is abortion offered at combat support hospitals in the event of rape?
Secretary ABELL. MyI will get that for the record, my gut reaction is they are not equipped for that, but I don't know.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Okay. All right. I have some other questions, but do we get to keep going, like Dr. Snyder, or
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Dr. SNYDER. Longer time.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Oh, please, Victor. You are crazy.
Mr. MCHUGH. Let usI want to provide everyone, let us move on, and then we will certainly come back to the gentlelady.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you. The Vice Chairman, the gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. Cole.
Mr. COLE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and we are glad you are a good chairman, rather than a great physicist, because they are a lot rarer and harder to find. Let me, I am going to ask a couple of questions, if I may, Mr. Secretary. And let me preface with them, because I don't want them to be misunderstood in any way at all. I think very much that great soldiers come from every area, every social class, every demographic group, and all people have the potential, and frankly, the issue of our military, I think really shows that, as we have provided, historically, minorities opportunities to serve, they have become obviously many of our greatest soldiers, as we have become more gender-integrated in the service, that has been a terrific asset for us. I think the more we have expanded opportunities to serve, the more we have gone to look for people, sometimes, from untraditional categories or backgrounds, the better off we have been as a military, so with that as a preface, are there certain, you know, if you were a football coach, I promise you there are pools geographically that you recruit. You know there is a lot of good football players in Texas. There is a high school culture, if you will, that encourages great football in Texas, and believe me, we in Oklahoma know it, because we get about half of them, that we usedour Texas players are usually better than their Texas players every year.
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So, given that, what are the pools that you draw off of now, geographically, socially, demographically, and what, if you do ever think and look that way, in terms of how you deploy your recruiting sources, and what are the sorts of things you do, if you are doing them, to think beyond that, into different pools, and different groups, in an effort to reach out and literally provide that opportunity to serve, and meet your needs in terms of quality soldiers?
Secretary ABELL. Now I will, again, start off, and then commend to my colleagues to give you the more direct answers, as they are the ones who deploy those recruiters. From the OSD level, we are not willing to concede one sector of this nation as an area that is not fruitful enough to deserve to have recruiters working every day in that area.
Many studies would indicate to us that we could probably fill our recruiting needs from the southern one third of our nation, across the two coasts, but in the southern third, but like you, we want that cross-section. We think America deserves and wants that cross-section, and so wethese gentlemen send their recruiters in to do tough duty in places where the propensity is not as great as it is, perhaps, in Texas, for instance, butso from the OSD level, our policy is that we leave no area uncovered, and people work harder in certain sections of the country than maybe they have to in others, but
Mr. COLE. So does that mean literally, geographically, your forces, your recruiting forces, if you will, are about equally deployed around the country, and
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary ABELL. I thinkI wouldn't tell you they are equally deployed, but they are represented everywhere.
Mr. COLE. Okay. Let mejust following on that line for a second, you know, I would assume one of the great predictors of a propensity to serve is a family tradition of service. I mean, you must get, of course, many of your soldiers have seen their parents before them, or members of their family serve, and that is a shrinking pool, as we all know, unfortunately. The other thing that worries me is, and I see thisyou mentioned the southern one third, and of course, southerners, and myself being one of them, well, you know, we have this great martial tradition, and all that. I think we have got a whole lot more military facilities than any place else in the world, too. And that makes an enormous difference when you see, and you are surrounded by that culture, if you will, which has so many admirable traits associated with it. Do you ever worry about the BRAC process in terms of literally costing you catchment areas, if you will, of people that have an exposure to military culture and the tradition of service associated with it?
Secretary ABELL. The honest answer, sir, is no, I have never worried about the BRAC process in regard to recruiting. Theas I said, we recruit without regard to where the bases are. The BRAC process is going to recognize our most essential bases, our largest bases, and for allI know while every community worries, you or I could probably draw up a piece ofon a piece of paper the bases that aren't going to close, put it on
Mr. COLE. I am notreally not fishing for
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary ABELL. Right.
Mr. COLE [continuing]. That kind of answer. I believethis is not a backdoor into the BRAC
Secretary ABELL. No, I understand. I justbut no, I have not worried about that.
Mr. COLE. Okay.
Secretary ABELL. We do worry about influencers. We do worry that more high school counselors are unfamiliar with the military, and we have programs to try and get to those influencers to the football coaches and the basketball coaches, and to the high school counselors. That is one of the reasons we so strongly support the Troops to Teachers Program, where former military people go into the schools as teachers, and become those role models in areas where they may not have a military role model.
Mr. MCHUGH. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. COLE. Yes, I yield to the Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the Vice Chairman for yielding. He has raised a very important point, and Mr. Secretary, I think you, if I may, I think you answered the question exactly as you should. Because BRAC should, at its most fundamental level, be a military value exercise, but I think the gentleman from Oklahoma points out some very important realities, and that is there is a reason, when a United States citizen walks down the street and sees someone in uniform, they don't cower in fear, as I have seen them do in other countries.
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Not the least of that reason is we currently have a military basing structure, whether by design or by accident, that brings military facilities into every part of this nation. And I respectfully would suggest that it is awfully damn important that that continue to the greatest extent possible, because it is critical to recruitment. And in fact, I felt so strongly about it, I introduced a piece of legislation, an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act two years ago that, in fact, requires that in the base closing procedure, and this isn't your domainI am not chastising you, Mr. Secretaryrequires that, amongst some other indices we put in there, that there is a distribution of geographical consideration that comes into the BRAC closure process.
There is a couple different reasons for that. One is national security. September 11 told us, it should have taught us that it is good to have the access to military facilities throughout the country. The other is to ensure that the military, be it whateverwhichever branch, is not some foreign, unknown, rarely seen entity in any part of this country. So I just wanted to put that on the record, and the gentleman, as I said, raised a good point, and the Congress isI am pleased to say, and I think I am being fair in making this assumption, and its resounding support both in the committee level and in the full House level, is of that belief as well. And you don't need to comment on that. That wasn't my intent, but
Mr. COLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman for bringing it up, and thank him for yielding.
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Mr. COLE. I thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me just continue a couple other things along those lines, just to get responses, or perhaps you can just help me in my thing, because I think this really is a really important question that we face as a society, and there is a lot of good things happening right now. You know, my experience, probably the esteem in which the military is held today is probably higher than any time since the Vietnam era, and I think legitimately so. It has actually been one of the good things about the debate, which is a very legitimate debate, over Iraq, is that I have seen neither side denigrate the military in the course of that. Quite the opposite, they have fallen all over themselves, and again, appropriately so, to express appreciation for the service of people over there, and if we are going to have a debate, it is a political debate as to what we have decided as political leaders to do.
But there is a deep appreciation, I think, on both sides of that debate, for what men and women in uniform have done. As I reflect back on why 18, 19, and 20 year olds make decisions, it is quite often gratification in the best sense of the word, not compensation only. It is the idea of doing something meaningful, and something honorable with their lives, and what is recognized in their communities as a terrific service, something to be appreciated and praised.
As you think through, you know, how you recruit, and obviously, you have to deploy most of your resources and efforts to get that person that you are after, in terms of skills and background and what have you, but you know, what do youdo you also spend some time whenyou have some excellent public relations (PR). I mean, you have excellent commercials, excellentin terms of, you know, expanding that appreciation. I think it makes a big difference. And unfortunately, I tend to see a little bit more of this directedI would argue we ought to be spending a little bit more money, a little bit more effort, aimed atin communities that are relatively affluent, where I think their kids are more likely to be headed off to college or whatever, that they have the same exposure. Sometimes, you know, we talk about gosh, if we lose them at high school or something like that, they go on to college. I recognize the percentage ofyour percentage of chance of getting them goes down a little bit. At the same time, building that sense of service and opportunity among different groups offrankly sometimes relatively privileged as opposed to disadvantaged groups might be a good thing to do.
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Secretary ABELL. I amyes, sir. We do that. Well, there is a division of effort, if you will. At the OSD level, our efforts are, in that regard, are aimed at influencers. At the service level, they are aimed at the recruit, and so those programs thatfor which I have direct responsibility, we are after the coaches, the counselors, the mom and dad, the uncle, whomever would be the influencer of the young man or young lady, and then we transition to the service recruiters, who go after the individual young man or young woman, and I think they could probably explain how they do it asbetter than I.
Mr. COLE. If you indulge me, I would love to hear.
General BROWN. Congressman Cole, let me start with being a Texas boy who moved to Tulsa and spent most of my high school years at Tulsa Hale, then was recruited back to Texas to play ball. I know exactly what you are talking about.
Mr. COLE. You could be a politician when you leave.
General BROWN. You need to know I am a Texas Christian University graduate, with my master's from the University of Oklahoma. So I sit right on that border. Theit is critical to our Air Force, and I think all the services would say this same statement, that we attract, recruit, and retain Americans from across the entire United States, and Guam, I would add, and Puerto Rico, the areas that arethat whereour people live. We do not want to just recruit those football players from Texas to come back to Oklahoma. That is not what our business is. Our business is serving the entire nation. So we really want Americans from across the whole nation. It would be easier just to recruit from those very high intensity places where we are congregated, where we are seen and exposed. Those are our highesteasiest recruiting places, but that is not the kind of Air Force we want to have. We want to have one that represents the entire nation, so we probably work harder in places where we are not very well known, where we may not have based nearby, but we work hard there.
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We also try to look to the future. What kind of America are we going to have in the future? Not just next year, but 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now. What is the demographic of our nation, and we are concerned today about trying to attract into that demographic kind of environment, so that again, we reflect and look like America, 15, 20, 30 years from now. And as I look back over our history, and where we are today, and where we are trying to go, you see the demographic changes in our force that are reflective of similar demographic changes across the nation.
Mr. COLE. Well, I want to compliment you gentlemen on doing just that, and frankly, thinking that way, and approaching this task in that matter. I justI think it is absolutely critical in terms of performance today and in the future. Mr. Chairman, I will certainly give up myI have got a series of questions about the guard, but I will ask them at another time more appropriate.
Thank you for your indulgence.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
Mr. COLE. And thank you gentlemen.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the Vice Chairman, the distinguished Vice Chairman. The gentleman from Georgia, Dr. Gingrey.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I willin fact, I will continue just a little bit, of my colleague from Oklahoma's line of questioning, because it haskind of stimulated me to think about this a little bit, too. And I have said on this Subcommittee before to previous panels, how I wish we literally had a junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program in every high school, in every nook and cranny, not just Oklahoma and Georgia, but everywhere in this country, and so, then, Ibased on whatTom's line of questioning, I am thinkinghow hard do we recruit in the private school sector, and are weis it even allowed, maybe it is common, and I am just not aware of it, that you have ROTC programs in private, nonpublic, non-military focused high schools, and if not, why not? I think thatwhen I go back to my district, which you know, as an endangered species freshman member, I do every week, looking for some opportunity to do something good and meaningful, and a lot of time, that is visiting with the high schools, and speaking to them, maybe about what we do here on the Committee, the Subcommittee, Total Force, and the fact that we have such a bipartisan group of men and women in the Congress, 61 of us, I believe, that probably all have been to Iraq and seen the boots on the ground, and realizeand the kids love it. They literallyI mean, especially, of course, if it is an ROTC class. They love it. So, I had a line of questions I wanted to ask, but Congressman Cole, I thought, really brought up such an interesting point and something that I sort of have a passion for, too, so I have switched gears completely, but maybe I could get you all to continue on his line of questioning, and answer that, if you would.
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General PARKS. Sir, I will be glad to take that on. I have had several tours in recruiting, and it is an area that is near and dear to my heart. Picking up, in regard to the initial thrust and carrying over to your comment. I think we approach it from the standpoint in regard to the earlier question of one area better than another. What we found is the leadership of who we put in charge, like most anything else in life, makes a huge difference. Next would be the quality of the individual recruiter that you put out there to represent your military, because that young man or woman who looks to that recruiter is typically not saying where will I be a year from now, what will I do 15 years from now? They look at that individual and say I want to be like him or her. I picture myself doing this, and I like what I see. Or I don't.
In regard to the display across theor the distribution across the country, I know we have looked at it from the standpoint of an internal structuring conference, and said, back to General Brown's comments on where will people be in 10 years, 5 years, one of the things we realized a few years ago was, as we looked at it, the fastest growing city in the Nation was Las Vegas, Nevada, and we didn't have a recruiting station there. We needed to get one there, because of that population shift.
As far as locations, we believe that no area does not have propensity, that the recruiter and the recruiter's leadership create that propensity to enlist, by virtue of their energy. In regard to the family tradition and those kind of things, clearly, we have got a dying population, unfortunately, of wonderful Americans who have given a great deal for our country, and so we have to reach out in order to continue to create that visibility with the influencers. There are a number of things that we are doing, the commercials that were mentioned, the access to different programs. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has a greatMcDonalds sponsoredMcDonalds Corporation sponsors the National Salute to the U.S. Military in Fort Lauderdale. That is just a wonderful outreach to address just the kinds of concerns that you raised. As far as the private school aspect, I believe that there is no single way there. It is the networking, the contact, the referral, the access, that the individual in that particular city or town that has that kind of a school opens those doors through his or her contacts in order to get access in there, so that we reach every aspect of the market, if you will, that we can possibly get to.
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Admiral HOEWING. A comment, also, sir. There is one area that I would like to highlight, that we in the Navy have really put some emphasis and funding behind this year, and we call it our Strategic Diversity Initiative. Specifically, to where we are expanding the definition far beyond minorities and equal opportunity, into the whole concept of diversity, and have put together four specific projects, one on recruiting, one on retention, one on growth and development and mentoring, and then finally, on communications to our Navy and the nation, in order to go out and literally engage the marketplace in the diverse type nature that it is. We have also merged our recruiting efforts from active and reserve in the Navy, which now gives us even greater access to the nation, because we have active recruiters in what used to be reserve recruiting stations, so by merging those forces, we have actually expanded our capability, and we are looking for the United States Navy, whether they come into the United States Navy active or reserve, and pool those resources together.
So, it has been ain fact, I would also add that we have learned a lot of things in the Navy from our friends in the Marine Corps when it comes to recruiting. They do it extremely well, and we are changing many of our business processes to learn some best practices from our colleagues.
Dr. GINGREY. Well, if somebody would comment, again, on the specific questions, I mean, you are speaking to agenerally, and I appreciate that, that is very helpful, but
General BROWN. Congressman, I will
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. GINGREY [continuing]. Try the specific questionsGeneral Brown, thank you.
General BROWN. SpecificJunior ROTC. Junior ROTC, the high school level ROTC, is truly a citizenship program. It is not a recruiting program. Now, the number of Junior ROTC units, I believe, a year or so ago, was in the neighborhood of 600, and is going up to 900 or 950. It is increasing, because we think it is a tremendous program for our nation, to show the value of good citizenship, of kids who learn some discipline. They put on a uniform and they show self-respect, and every high school that has it talks highly about it, and others want it. So, we are part of helpingall of us are part of helping increase that program, but it is truly a citizenship program for our Nation.
Now, I am not going to tell you we don't get benefits. We do. And we can, we find often folks who will spendthese kids who spend time in the Junior ROTC program then have a propensity to either join one of our services, or to go into the ROTC program at the college level. College level ROTC, which isthose are our programs, and they clearly are recruiting programs, to recruit folks into our Officer Corps, and they are in both public and private institutions across our nation, and there arethey probably make up for the Air Forcehalf of our officer force comes through our college, university ROTC program.
Dr. GINGREY. And again, my specific question, though, in regard to the Junior ROTC program, and I realize it is not a recruiting program, that it is a citizenship effort, and that is good, and I think ultimately, it certainly can be, is a recruiting program, but is it permitted, that is a very specific question, to have a Junior ROTC program in a private, nonpublic high school?
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General BROWN. Sir, I have got to admit I don't know the answer, I don't know if Mr. Abell does
Dr. GINGREY. If you couldif somebody couldon the panel could
General BROWN [continuing]. The record
Dr. GINGREY [continuing]. Get thatanswer that specific question
Secretary ABELL. Sir, I will
Dr. GINGREY [continuing]. To me, I would appreciate it.
Secretary ABELL. I will take that for the record.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. The gentleman yield?
Dr. GINGREY. Yeah.
Mr. MCHUGH. Gentlemen, in my opening statement, I mentioned we have got some deadlines coming up in December with respect to imminent danger pay (IDP), family separation pay (FSP). That is a subset of the larger debate about what kind of differences do we maintain with respect to the active and the reserve component? Do we need to continue to ensure that there are distinctions, and the way you demonstrate those distinctions are through such things as compensation, reenlistment bonuses, et cetera? And I am just curious, and I guess this, certainly I would be very interested in our military folks' response to how you balance those needs, but I am curious first with Secretary Abell, Mr. Secretary, has the Department, or will the Department take a position with respect to those two particular pays, and the extension of those, and if so, would you like to state that for the record here today?
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Secretary ABELL. Mr. Chairman, itI have anticipated that we would be asked about those two pays, and
Mr. MCHUGH. A wise anticipation.
Secretary ABELL. So, we have , in fact, thought about a way ahead there, and I think where we are is, in my view, the higher level of imminent danger pay is a sound way of proceeding, and I would not voice any objection to having that continued permanently in that regard. I need to preface this by saying none of these comments have been submitted to nor cleared by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), but
Mr. MCHUGH. You are a brave man, Charlie.
Secretary ABELL. On family separation allowance, I am a little less sanguine that that isthat the program at the higher levels accomplishes what, perhaps, was the intent when that was enacted. It provides a higher benefit to the entire force if you are away from home for more than 30 days. If it was the intent to try and compensate those folks who werewho are in the combat zones, or actively engaged in the global war on terror in an area where they are receiving imminent danger, it got them, but it also got the rest of the force.
And so, on that one, if that was your intent, you accomplished it. If your intent was to look at theat a way to adequately compensate the force that was at risk, most at risk, the force that wasthe part of the force that wasfacing the greatest danger, you got them. You got part of them. But it doesn't get the single soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine anything. We are going to ask you, or have asked you, in our legislative proposals this year, to increase the cap on the hazardous duty pay. That would allow us, then, to provide, in a targeted way, to those folks who are at risk, higher levels of compensation than the rest of the force and the fleet might get.
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And so, I submit to you that there may be a formula here where thewhere we could use the hazardous duty pay to reward both the married and the single who are in those more dangerous areas, and then that would allow us to adjust the family separation allowance back to a level that is most indicated by where it should be adjusted against the economic factors. Clearly, its old level was not correct. It hadn't been adjusted in years. But if we apply the inflation factors, that number would come to about $125 a monthvicethe higher level which is going to expire in December.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, I thank you for that. We haven't seen that proposal yet, so
Secretary ABELL. Well, what I just described to you wasn't a proposal, but theexcept for the hazardous duty pay.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, that is the
Secretary ABELL. Understanding.
Mr. MCHUGH. You are right, that is what I
Secretary ABELL. Yes.
Mr. MCHUGH [continuing]. Was referring to specifically.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary ABELL. Okay.
Mr. MCHUGH. I can tell you didn't run it by OMB, because imminent danger pay, there is no money in the budget request for it, so I suspect while you philosophically support it
Secretary ABELL. We are inthe budgetfor the '05 request, the higher FSA and the higher IDP are funded through its December 31, '04 termination, and then, beyond that, what is in our budget is the higher hazardous duty pay that we have requested.
Mr. MCHUGH. Okay. Because thatperhaps I didn't make that clear enough. I was asking with respect to post-December 31.
Secretary ABELL. Right. It is not in there, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. Okay. Thank you. I don't know if any of our service reps want to respond to that. And by the way, Mr. Secretary, do you want to talk aboutit is a philosophical question, and you have already been here a longall of you have been here a long time, and we have another panel to go, but how do we negotiate the sticky wickets ofunderstanding the reserve component today is out there and doing great work on a high ops and personnel tempo basis, and yet the philosophical position that there really should be some distinctions between active and reserve, even when they are fighting side by side.
Any suggestions off the top of your head?
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Secretary ABELL. Again, sir, at someprobably some personal risk, I don't know. When a reservist is on active duty, his benefits should be the same as the active duty sailor, soldier, airman, Marine that they serve beside. It is when they are not on active duty, when they are in their selected reserve status, that I think there ought to be a difference in the benefits suite, and it ought to be commensurate with the lesser duty that they are performing.
Mr. MCHUGH. How aboutand we saw a number of these last year in consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act, and I am absolutely positive we will see more this year, the initiatives to, in essence, hold guard and reservists harmless, if you will, to make up the differences between what they are receiving during those active deployments, and what they would receive in the private sector pay.
Secretary ABELL. Let me just give you my personal view again. I think that the high quality of folks that we recruit, that these gentlemen recruit for both the active and the reserve are well aware of the pay that they will receive and the benefits that will accrue to them when they serve on active duty. At the same time, the reservists are also well aware of what their compensation package is when they are not on active duty, and that when they are then activated, those few who cry foul, I think, are being a little disingenuous to us. I think they know full well when they serve all those years and months in their reserve status, what the price would be if it is notif it doesn't fit with their household needs, then that is when some action should be taken.
I may be in the minority view here, but that is my view.
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Mr. MCHUGH. General Hagenbeck.
General HAGENBECK. Now, I would just underscore thatif I could, that Army's position is that a soldier, whether reserve or active duty, of a given pay grade, ought to receive the same pay.
Mr. MCHUGH. Let me, then, I appreciate that, and I know General Hagenbeck has been out on the battlefield circumstance in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and I am sure the others of you have experience as well, could you characterize for me the tension that mightand maybe there is none, I don't knowthe tension that might result in a battlefield situation where you have got an active guy there earning whatever the table calls for him or her to earn, and a reserve person who, because we have in the goodness of our hearts, and well-intended, have enacted a bridge, that is to pay them additionally, so that they are not losing money back home, would that be a morale problem on the field?
General HAGENBECK. Sir, from my perspective, it absolutely would be. As I said, Army's position is that whatever your rank is, reserve or active duty, you ought to receive the same benefits under those particular conditions.
Mr. MCHUGH. Any others want to comment? Admiral.
Admiral HOEWING. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to add also, I fully agree with my colleagues here, and I would add that for the mobilized reservists, we have had about 22,000 since the 11th of September in the Navy, 99.9 percent of those great Americans have volunteered to do so. They were called and they wanted to do it. So I believe that that is an indication of the types of people that we are bringing in to our active and reserve components, and I believe that they would support the concept that they would be paid the same as their active duty compatriots working right alongside of them.
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Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you. General Parks.
General PARKS. I would only add to what you have already heard, but just from another voice, sir, and that is that the key to me is the active duty. Whether that individual is a reserve or a regular component service member, that when they are on active duty, they earn the same entitlements.
Mr. MCHUGH. Everybody is
General PARKS. Exactly the same, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. Okay. And let me just for point of clarification, I took a CODEL throughout the European theater, and upstream from Iraq prior, just prior, as it turned out, although we didn't know it at the time, just prior to our actions in Iraq, and exclusively to meet with guard and reserve folks. And we kicked the commanding officers out of the room, and we had some great and fascinating discussions, butand I am willing to consider anything, but I never once heard a complaint about that discrepancy in pay. I heard a lot of things about, well, you know, we should have had a little bit more notice to deploy, thebut the major complaint was precisely as you have descried it, you know, we just want to be treated the same when we are here, or there, or wherever they are. And in twice in Iraq, once in Afghanistan, I didn't hear that, but they want equitable treatment. These initiatives are out of the goodness of the heart of a lot of Members of Congress, and good people, and maybe they are right. I just wanted to provide you the opportunity to respond to those concerns, and to set out an important part of the record so we can discuss it meaningfully.
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But this is not something the troops are generating, the reserve component is generating. It is something that we in Congress, in our immense compassion, are at least discussing. So, with that, thank you, gentlemen, and Dr. Snyder, I know, has some followup questions.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a followup here on this issue, because this is one that members do talk a lot about. And I understand the issue that if somebody works two days a month at a job versus the person who works full-time, they ought to be paid for the two days a month of the job, and it works out that way, but we have some, like in foreign languages. I mean, in both the active and reserve forces, we have Farsi speakers, right? Now, don't theyif they have proficiency in a language, they get paid the foreign language bonus, do they not? Even if their job, day in day out, involves nothing involved in Farsi.
Now, that seems to me to be kind of a gray area there, that the person is in the Army Reserves, sitting at home, doing whatever his regular job is, then going for his weekend a month, but is available, at a moment's notice, to go speak Farsi somewhere and be activated, and may have to work at keeping up his Farsi skills, even though that is not part of his regular job in the military. The active person is being paid appropriate for whatever they are doing, if they are a pilot or whatever, but Farsi is not part of their skills, and yet we paythe amounts are different, even though we expect them both to have their skills current and be proficient 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Is that a gray area, or am I overstating thethat that is different than the other examples you used?
Secretary ABELL. That is an interesting area, sir, and we just forwarded to you, I just signed out to you a week or so ago, a report on reserve compensation, and in there, we talk about the foreign language proficiency pay. It is, today, classified as a special pay, so it falls into that area where a reservist would not get the full month's worth, if you will, but itin that report, we also said we were willing to look at that, and perhaps a way ahead on foreign language proficiency pay, is to transition it, it may be subtle and bureaucratic, but transition it from a special pay to a bonus, where it could be paid as you might suggest. But we are looking at foreign language proficiency pay in a larger perspective, to say have we got a right, even for the force at large, because I am not sure that it isthat it, today, is right for even the active force, and so
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Dr. SNYDER. That is a good point.
Secretary ABELL. It isas we look at foreign language proficiency pay, period, we will look at it from the perspective of both the reserve component and the active component.
Dr. SNYDER. And it is not just a problem with the military, it is a problem throughout thethroughout government. A lot of our agencies don't have the depth or breadth of foreign languages.
Secretary ABELL. That is right.
Dr. SNYDER. I wanted to ask Admiral Hoewing and General Hagenbeck, the Committee's staff heard from folks, I think it was at Walter Reed, that with some of our wounded soldiers, that were interested in, earlier than they received it, were interested in career counseling, in terms of what their options were, even though they were wounded and had some kind of a disability, but what were their opportunities to stay in the military and job changes and so on, and they were frustrated there weren't career counselors out there, and Admiral Hoewing, I know we have a lot of Marines over there now, and you deal with Bethesda. Is that an issue we are addressing? You don't have to go into any detail about it, just
Admiral HOEWING. I do not believe that is an issue, though it must be, or you wouldn't be asking the question there.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. SNYDER. The reports we received were from Walter Reed, because at that time, they hadWalter Reed had a lot more
Admiral HOEWING. We have an engagement process for sailors and I am sure the Marines also, that are in the facilities, and in fact, I can even recall one specific situation during the war, when I went to visit these young folks myself, to make sure that they understood what their chain of command was in order to be able to retain on active duty. We have kept many of our injured sailors, both from the Cole and from OIF, and OEF also, in the service, even with lost limbs and things like that, so we engage them on the spot there in the hospital, and they should be engaged at the unit level also.
General HAGENBECK. Sir, from the Army perspective, we recognize that problem along with some others. We have created an agency inside my staff that is the moniker is Disabled Soldiers Support System, that now is funded, and it takes our most severely disabled soldiers from the time that they are hospitalized until they are reintegrated into the community, that stays connected with them from start to finish. So the career counselors will come earlier, and the mentors that we will have in the receiving communities, we expect, will ease that process that they are faced with.
Dr. SNYDER. And Admiral Hoewing, just one detail question. A couple of weeks ago, you testified before another hearing that theyou were down 600 junior officers below your requirements for naval aviation, or for officersI assume that that number has not improved in the last two weeks, that you are still 600 junior officers short.
Admiral HOEWING. We were talking about the naval aviator area, what we gave you in that statement, and it was not in this statement
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Dr. SNYDER. Right.
Admiral HOEWING [continuing]. Was an aggregateI am sorry, not an aggregate number of naval aviation, but a reflection of during the late 1990's, middle and late 1990's, we drove down the assessions in naval aviation to a point below what we needed to sustain the force, and that created a shortfall of about 600 junior naval aviators. We have some O4s and above in excess of that requirement, and we ploughed those lieutenant commanders into lieutenant jobs, mostly in production type jobs, in order to balance out the force out there. So that was just ait has nothing to do with retention. It is, in fact, an underassession from the mid to late 1990's.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you. Thank you.
Mr. COLE [presiding]. Thank you very much. Let megentleman, Ithe opportunity to resume my questioning, so if you don't mind, I will. But not in quite the same vein. Let me askanother area that interests me a great deal is how we are doing in terms of guard and reserve units, and we have some interesting and somewhat conflicting evidence and even testimony that has come our way.
One, the obvious statement that there is evidence that as people are deployed, they actually enjoy the opportunity to exercise their skill, and that helps with retention. I believe that is probably true, if they are deployed in a war-making capacity or major combat operations, or something that is of comparatively short duration. I am wondering if that is still true. When they are deployed for lengthy periods of times, and peacekeeping, and almost occupation type duty, as opposed to major combat operations.
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General HAGENBECK. Sir, I can address that. We have several ongoing surveys and studies that basically show that those soldiers engaged in routine combat operations, their propensity to serve remains very high through 6 to 8 or 9 months. Those that are involved in support operations, or even support of those combat operations, as well as security and assistance and other things in other areas of the world, their propensity to serve does not begin to decrease until the 12 month mark, so we are looking at all those models on what our force rotation scheme out to be over the coming months and, potentially, years, as we look at retention and the combat readiness of all these units.
Mr. COLE. Does that lead you toward the conclusion at allthis morning, in the full Committee, we had testimony that essentially all our forces that are now, I believe, in Bosnia, are all National Guard units, and obviously, that is probably what most of those individuals signed up for, or thought they were signing up for. I mean, again, no question they are happy to do their duty, they have done it just brilliantly, but does this lead you to some conclusions about the size of the force? Can you juggle guard units in that way that you are only hitting 12 months or do we need a larger standing military, particularly the standing Army?
General HAGENBECK. Sir, we need more available forces to rotate, and I think that is exactly what our Chief of Staff is going toward in our basic combat, or brigade combat teams. The Army, as I recall, them is creating more active duty brigades that can get in the deployment scheme, as well as the National Guard numbers as well, and you are very familiar with what that will be. Up to 77 brigades over time. And the increase in those numbers will then allow those lengthy deployments, 6 to 12 months, and longer dwell time back in the United States, and the model is that guard and reserve units will have 5 to 6 years between that potential deployment for up to 12 months.
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Mr. COLE. I assume you do this, anywaybut just a simple question. And you must do a great deal of market research in your respective endeavors, in terms of recruitment. Do you spend a lot time surveying or talking to guardsmen, reserve units, about these issues, not just relying on the data that comes up, either retain or not retain, but literally probing a representative sample about what are the things that make youthat got you here, what are the things that keep you here?
General HAGENBECK. The short answer is yes, we do, sir. We do it both before they deploy, when they are in the theater, and longitudinal surveys as well, and in some instances, we don't have enough data to draw hard, firm conclusions yet onand predict behavior here in the out years, and that is why we are keeping a very close watch on it.
Mr. COLE. Do you do the same things, General, with their families?
General HAGENBECK. Yes, sir. We sure do.
Mr. COLE. Okay. Thank you very much. That is all the questions I have. We will move on to the next panel.
Well, thank you very much, gentlemen. We appreciate your patience, and thank you for your service to your country, and your generosity with your time. If we could, we will move to the next panel. General Parks' last service. Let meappropriately, you should do the honor.
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Dr. SNYDER. We appreciate you, General Parks. We appreciate your years of service. Thank you.
General PARKS. Thank you very much, sir. It has been my honor.
Dr. SNYDER. I am sure we will see you between now and when you leave.
Mr. COLE. Thank you, gentlemen, very much. Distinguished members of the second panel, please make the way to the front. We have your name placards up, so I hope that helps you to find your place. And I would note that in spite of the fact we apparently misspelled his last name on the placard, Colonel Lange found his place. If you will turn it around, you will see what I am talking about, Colonel. Oh, it issee, we hadwe were ready for both.
Colonel LANGE. 50 percent right, sir.
Mr. COLE. But let me welcome you all and thank you for your patience, and with no further ado, let me please introduce the distinguished members of the second panel.
For the record, and in the order in which it is written here. Dr. Harry Thie, who is Senior Management Scientist for the RAND Corporation. Doctor, thank you for being here.
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Dr. James Hosek, Senior Economist and Professor of Microeconomic Theory, RAND Corporation. Doctor, welcome.
Mr. Derek B. Stewart is Director of Defense Capabilities and Management of the General Accounting Office. Good to see you again.
Mr. STEWART. Yes, sir, and good to see you.
Mr. COLE. Another one of our stalwart witnesses on this Subcommittee, and we appreciate both his and GAO's continuing support.
Mr. Joseph Barnes, National Executive Secretary of the Fleet Reserve Association. Mr. Barnes, welcome.
Ms. Erin Harding, who is Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs to the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States. Ms. Harding, welcome.
And last, as I opened up with, Colonel Lee Lange, United States Marine Corps, Retired, Deputy Director of Government Relations, Military Officers Association of America.
And again, welcome to you all. As I mentioned just previous to the first panel, we do have all of your written statements in their entirety. They have been entered into the record, so to the extent you find it possible, we would appreciate your summarization of those comments, but we look forward to your observations, to your testimony, and let me start with Dr. Thie.
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Dr. THIE. Thank you.
Mr. COLE. Again, welcome, sir.
STATEMENT OF DR. HARRY J. THIE, SENIOR MANAGEMENT SCIENTIST, RAND CORPORATION
Dr. THIE. Thank you. I would like to thank you and the members of the Subcommittee for the opportunity to be here today. This statement is based on research conducted by myself and three RAND colleagues, Dr. Margaret Harrell, Peter Schirmer, and Kevin Brancato. Dr. Harrell co-led this research effort with me, and our report is publicly available.
Our research focused on the career patterns of general and flag officers in the military services. The concerns motivating this research were that general and flag officer assignments are too short, and that their careers don't last long enough. Emphasis in our study was placed upon addressing these concerns, because rapid turnover in the senior ranks affects organizational effectiveness, individual accountability, and the confidence of junior and mid-level officers in their leaders.
For their part, the military services worry that lengthening the careers of senior officers would clog the system, hampering the promotion flow of more junior officers, and thus affecting retention.
We analyzed various general and flag officer career models based on the distinction between developing and using positions that we gained from assessments of the private sector.
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Early executive jobs tend to be developmental and help to build functional skills, organization knowledge, and personal insights, while later jobs tend to have more complex and ambiguous responsibilities that draw on the knowledge and skills developed in earlier ones. Thus, the assignments have different purposes. Some develop skills, while others use skills previously developed. The developing assignments do not need to be as long as the using ones, and private sector management reflects this practice.
The military also is developing and using jobs for its senior officers. Certain jobs are developing jobs, because they appear repeatedly on the resumes of four star officers, those of the highest military rank. Other jobs seldom or never appear on these resumes, and would be classified by us as using jobs. But for the military, assignment lengths do not vary between the two types of jobs. For example, the average assignment length for two and three star officers is about two years, irrespective of the nature of the position.
Our proposed career model that we analyzed is based upon this developing and using distinction, but we do it in order to maximize both the contribution of senior officers and the developmental opportunities for officers without significantly reducing promotion flow. The detailed service-specific results of our study are discussed in detail in our published report and in the written statement, and I will simply summarize the findings here today, and I will note our findings assume that the total number of general and flag officers stays constant. We do not increase or decrease the number of officers.
Our main finding is that officers can serve considerably longer in using jobs without hampering the promotion flow that is a concern of personnel managers in the military services. A career pattern for general and flag officers in which developing assignments last at least two years and using assignments last four years emerged as best because it met the criteria of maximizing stability and accountability without sacrificing promotion opportunity.
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It is also consistent with the attitudes and concerns that senior officers shared with us. Senior officers would serve in assignments longer. Those in using jobs would have more time and grade at retirement, and the most senior officers would have longer careers. Promotions would generally equal or better the current system, except for promotion to O10, which is cut by about half.
Conversely, though, selectivity for these positions of greatest responsibilities would double. Those rising to the highest level would hold their jobs longer and stay longer. This career model increases stability and accountability, while keeping promotion opportunity. Moreover, organizations will benefit from the stability of leadership tenures equal to or longer than those witnessed today. Individuals will have clearer expectations about their future, and at the apex of their careers, an opportunity to produce a more significant organizational impact.
We believe this management system could be implemented within current legislative constraints, using waivers to age and tenure limits. However, changing or removing the existing constraints would allow more flexible management. Moreover, compensation changes should be considered. Such changes could include uncapping pay at senior levels, continuing the accumulation of retirement benefits, and basing retirement pay on uncapped figures.
Finally, such a changed system will require some flexibility. For example, some officers in using assignments will be promoted, and some officers in developing assignments will serve longer than two years.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In conclusion, we propose a career model with greater stability and accountability, with fewer job rotations and longer service in position for many, with comparable promotion probability, except for the most senior positions, but with greater selectivity for these greaterfor these most senior positions.
I thank you for your time, and I look forward to any questions you may have.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Thie can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, Dr. Thie. Dr. Hosek.
Dr. HOSEK. Sure, thanks.
There has been a lot of discussion today, all very interesting to all of us, I think, about recruiting, retention, the pressures the forces are under right now.
Mr. MCHUGH. Doctor, may I interrupt you, and I apologize
Dr. HOSEK. Of course.
Mr. MCHUGH [continuing]. To all of the witnesses. Maybe we could move those mikes. They are not very sensitive to begin with, so
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. HOSEK. Is that better?
Mr. MCHUGH. That is why I lean up here.
Dr. HOSEK. Oh, yeah, yeah.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF DR. JAMES HOSEK, SENIOR ECONOMIST, RAND CORPORATION
Dr. HOSEK. Thank you.
For me, the discussion today has really been well-focused and quite interesting in general. The material I am going to present to you falls under two topics. One topic has to do with the relationship between deployment and retention, and the other has to do with the competitiveness of military pay. And I want to start off with two main points.
The first point is that based on an analysis of past data, military personnel, and the active duty force have shown themselves to be extremely resilient to the frequency and duration of deployment. It has had very little effect on their retention, even when they have been deployed multiple times. I will elaborate on that in my comments.
The second thing is that the pay actions that were taken, beginning with NDAA 2000, and the subsequent actions had the very fortunate side effect of establishing a wonderful foundation for this country to be in when the terrible events of 9/11 happened. Those pay actions shored up our personnel system, and we are benefiting from it today. And the lesson I draw from that is the importance of maintaining close vigilance on the competitiveness of pay, which of course has been the discussion ofthe point of a number of the discussions so far.
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On the deployment, suffice it to say that the data I looked at were from the 1990's, clearly a different environment than today's environment, and I was able to look at two types of deployments, two general types, one involving hostile duty at some point during the deployment, and a second involving long separation of at least 30 days, sometimes extending on to eight or nine months, sometimes a year, but not involving hostile duty at any time in the deployment, so that latter group would have included things like unaccompanied tours, humanitarian and disaster relief, nation building, extensive military exercises.
What we found in looking at the active duty enlisted force is that hostile deployments, one, two, three, had virtually no effect on reenlistment. Non-hostile employments actually tended to increase reenlistment. For second term personnel, both hostile and non-hostile deployments were associated with higher levels of reenlistment. Only at the extreme ends, that is people with three or more non-hostile and three or more hostile, was there fairly clear evidence that retention was dropping off, and it was dropping off toward levels that were still higher than the retention rate of personnel who were not deployed.
The impact of deployment on retention for an individual member of the military depends on the specific starting point. What we found is that if an individual had had no deployment, adding, say, just for example, one hostile and one non-hostile deployment always led to an increase in reenlistment. For people who had had one or two hostile deployments, adding one or two non-hostile deployments generally led to an increase in reenlistment.
We found similar patterns among officers, by the way. In relating these findings to the current situation, the key point, I think, is that the retention effects of increased hostile deployments depends on how they are spread across the force. To the extent that the burden of deployment can be shared, the impact, the negative impact, if there is one, will be reduced, to the extent that the deployments are not excessively long, which will vary from service to service, the possible negative impact will be reduced.
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We used our results and actually did a policy simulation involving an extensive increase in the number of hostile deployments, and because of this difference in the effect of adding the first versus adding another deployment, we actually found that when these deployments, these hostile deployments, were spread across the force randomly, there was a slight increase, not a decrease, in reenlistment for both first and second term personnel. If that simulation had been accompanied by also adding non-hostile deployments, there is likely to have been a net increase in reenlistment.
While that wasthose were projections based on the 1990's situation. Today's situation is different. Earlier, you commented that perhaps we were at a cusp. I think there is good reason to consider the extent to which the current situation is different. I don't have available data to analyze the current situation. I have given you the most up to date analysis I can provide for you, but nonetheless, I do think that because of the high pace of current deployments, and in some cases, the very extensive length of deployments, there is considerable reason to worry, and to hedge against the possible downside that we are using our forces at too high an op tempo, and too high a deployment tempo.
I have, in the past few weeks, with my RAND colleagues, actually been visiting military bases and talking to personnel firsthand. So far, we have talked to Navy personnel, Marine personnel, Air Force personnel. We have not yet had a chance to talk with Army personnel. On net, the picture we get is very much in line with what I told you, although I will add the observation, two observations.
One is that the high pace of operations today stresses everybody, not just the deployed people. We don't collect data, typically, I mean there are some data, but typically, data on a service member's hours of work and surge time are not regularly reported and tracked. My guess would be that hours are up right now. That is likely to be associated with higher levels of stress for practically everybody. I think that is important to keep in mind.
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The other thing that I would mention just in that regard is that many service members do experience difficulties in reunification with their families, and at the same time, on the positive side, the services have gone some distance to develop programs related to reunification activities. My guess, although I haven't basedI don't have an analysis to give you. My guess is that those programs have been highly effective.
Before I leave deployment, I want to offer just a couple of thoughts on why deployment might have so little effect on retention. That is, why are personnel apparently resilient to employment? And I will suggest a set of reasons that are based on actually theoretical model of deployment we have done that are in line with the results.
The first, and probably foremost, is that today's force is entirely a force of volunteers. People select their service, and to a large extent, but not always, they select the occupational area they enter. The second thing is that based on the data, as well as based on the conversations I have been having, most personnel enter the military with a preference for deployment. If they are not deployed, it may be that their expectations for deployment and their preferences simply weren't fulfilled.
The third thing is that when deployment occurs, people typically talk about the meaningfulness of the duty, the opportunity to serve their country, the opportunity to serve with team members that they have trained with, their unit members, and the opportunity to use the many, many hours of training and preparation that was necessary to make them ready in the first place.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Service members tend to have a preference for the predictability of the number and length of deployments, and they also have a preference for communication with family members and family support activities.
Let me shift now, and spend less time on compensation. There, I think the charts I submitted with my written testimony convey the basic message. In a quantitative look at how military compensation compares with civilian compensation, I and my colleagues used a measure of cash military compensation called regular military compensation, basic pay plus basic allowance for subsistence, housing, and the tax advantage that comes with that, and we related that measure to promotion rates, and we developed an out year projection of the RMC earnings profile of typical military members by service, enlisted and officers, and then we used that information to make comparisons with tabulations of civilian wage data based on the current population survey.
This was done for men and women. This wasseparately, this was done for different levels of education separately. Probably, the primary comparison group for the active duty enlisted force today are civilian workers, full-time, who have at least some college, and compared with those workers, military pay today lies at about the 70th percentile. That, I think, represents, obviously, a significant increase over the past few years, and we are seeing, I mean, in a sense, one of the best measures of military pay is not just where the numbers line up in terms of military pay versus civilian pay, but in terms of recruiting and retention outcomes. For officer pay, it actually lies above the 70th percentile.
One of the pay comparisons we did as part of this involved looking at different occupational groups. We had a concern that in the out years, as the force became increasingly reliant on information technology for at least some of their functions, each of the services might face a serious personnel shortfall in information technology personnel. This was true in the mid-'90's, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast that the IT area would be one of the fastest growing occupational areas in the country. Obviously, a lot of the steam went out when we had the dot-com bust. But even today, in new projections, the Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to project IT as a major area of growth, and so from the long-term perspective, it is probably prudent for the military to pay attention to that. What we found is that for IT andfor IT occupations, civilian wages were indeed higher than in non-IT occupations, and therefore, military pay, since it is the same for everybody, with minor exceptions associated with bonuses, was lower, relatively lower, for IT occupations. But what we also found is that even during the tempestuous years of the dot-com bubble, and the period of economic boom, each of the services was able to bring in higher quality recruits in IT, who tended to sign on for somewhat longer terms, and had a significantly lower rate of attrition in their first term of service, and had basically no difference in their rate of reenlistment at the end of the first term. And so we had a paradox, namely, that the IT occupations had relatively lower pay, but their personnel outcomes were better, and we believe a simple resolution of that paradox lies in the fact that the military offers significant training that is valuable and transferable to civilian positions, and that in addition to patriotic motives, a desire to serve, everything I mentioned before, there is also the importance of the experience and training in the military to factor into the equation affecting an individual's decision to enlist or to stay in the military.
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There is a concern, perhaps, that most of the training is provided at the front end, and so retention might be lower at the end of the first term. We didn't find that. We think that the reason we didn't find that is that because many personnel find that the service careers offer sufficient opportunity for further career advancement and personal challenge to stay in.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Hosek can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much. By the way, the Ranking Member and I have both taken our coats off. It is warm in here. You are not going to offend anybody on this sideif any or all of you want to make clothing adjustments, why don't you be within reason, we want you to be comfortable. Mr. Stewart, welcome.
Mr. STEWART. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. Good to see you again.
Mr. STEWART. Good to see you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Been a long time, what, a week, two weeks? But thanks for joining us. We look forward to your comments.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF DEREK B. STEWART, DIRECTOR OF DEFENSE, CAPABILITIES AND MANAGEMENT, GENERAL ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE
Mr. STEWART. Always a pleasure, and we consider this an opportunity to talk about our work before the Committee. Mr. Ranking Member, Dr. Snyder, we appreciate the opportunity.
When your staff called, we were asked to cover a number of issues, and I worked with my staff to try to theme this, and I don't think we came up with a theme, so I am just going to tell you what we are going to cover here. Compensation for guard and reserve personnel, just very briefly, an issue Dr. Snyder brought up, and I think a very critical one, DOD's Selective Reenlistment Bonus program, SRB program, and our preliminary findings on mail delivery to troops in Iraq. And I will be very, very brief on all of these issues.
As several members of the previous panel said, reservists are entitled to all the pay and benefits of active duty members when they are activated. But it isthe issue is income loss. And recent increases in basic compensation and other actions by Congress will help mitigate that, but in the most recent DOD survey, 40 percent of all reservists reported that they lost income while activated. I submit to you that that is a problem for the Department of Defense, and if we are worried about recruitment and retention, that is an issue that I think DOD should pay close attention to, and I can talk more about that later in a Q&A.
We continue to review the benefits for reserve personnel and they obviously have improved, thanks to many actions by the Congress, notably in the area of health care. One benefit we continue to study is the Reserve Retirement System, and we expect to issue our report on that issue this summer.
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Turning to the Selective Reenlist Bonus program, SRBs, we looked at DOD's, the administration of the program. We did not look at the reenlistment bonuses for reservists, but we think our findings are instructive for anything that DOD or the Congress may want to do on the reserve side. And essentially, DOD does not have oversight and is not paying enough attention to the program. Dr. Snyder brought up a very important issue, and that was the instruction that guided the program which DOD canceled in 1995, and as a result of that cancellation, in effect, what happened was it removed all criteria that the services had to follow in order to award bonuses under the program. Consequently, we saw the cost of that program almost double between 1997 and 2002. It went from $300 million to almost $800 million, and the services will tell you that there were a number of reasons why the budget went up, but the primary reason that we identified in our work was the lack of uniform criteria across all services that all services had to apply in awarding the bonuses.
One of thein addition, just to emphasize that point a little bit more, when the criteria was removed, the Air Force, for example, in 2001, awarded bonuses to 80 percent of all of its occupations. Now, this is a Selective Reenlistment Bonus program. It is intended to help the services retain enlisted personnel in critical occupations only, critical skills. So the Air Force has deemed 80 percent of its roughly 200 career fields as being critical fields. We have our doubts, quite frankly. And we have seen corresponding increases with the other services.
Last, Mr. Chairman, our ongoing work reviewing mail delivery to troops in Iraq. First, I would like to say, DOD handled a lot of mail, 65 million pounds of letters and parcels during 2003. Problems with mail delivery surfaced very early during the war, and continued throughout, included such things as inadequately trained postal personnel, inadequate postal facilities, material handling equipment was in short supply, as well as transportation assets.
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Most of these problems were the same ones encountered during the first Gulf War, and I would also note that, last, that DOD does not have a reliable system in place to accurately measure the timeliness of mail. DOD would tell you that their standard is 12 to 18 days for mail delivery, and their data will show that they, in fact, met that timeline.
We examined the data and we determined that the data is flawed and that the system is not reliable. On a positive note, DOD did incorporate one of the lessons learned from Desert Storm, and they hired a private contractor to airlift mail to the region, thus avoiding the competition for military air cargo space. That worked really well.
Our report on this issue is due out next month, and we will be making a number of recommendations to DOD. This concludes my oral statement, and I would be happy to answer questions later.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Stewart can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, thank you very much again, Mr. Stewart, and as I tried to mention before, we deeply appreciate both your personal as well as GAO's attention, not just to this hearing, but so many other matters. It is greatly appreciated.
Next, Mr. Joseph Barnes, National Executive Secretary, Fleet Reserve Association. Welcome, sir. We look forward to your comments.
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH L. BARNES, NATIONAL EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, FLEET RESERVE ASSOCIATION
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Mr. BARNES. Mr. Chairman, Dr. Snyder, and other distinguished members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present The Military Coalition's views on key personnel and compensation issues. I extend the Coalition's appreciation for the pay and benefit enhancements enacted in recent years. These improvements are very important and are directly contributing to sustaining adequate retention levels and overall military readiness.
I will summarize several issues addressed in our statement, and my colleagues will address issues from the guard and reserve, retiree and survivor perspectives. The Military Coalition again recommends increasing service end strengths to balance today's demanding operations requirements with the personnel needed to perform these missions. The services need adequate personnel to sustain the war on terrorism and demanding operational commitments, and cannot rely indefinitely on stop loss orders and temporary increases, plus extended guard and reserve activations to fulfill mission requirements.
All service members deserve at least a 3.5 percent pay increase next year, as is called for in current law. The Coalition urges the restoration of full pay comparability on the quickest possible schedule, and rejection of any Administration requests to cap future pay increases for U.S. public health service or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) personnel. The Coalition strongly supports the Department of Defense's targeted pay increase plan to align career enlisted service members and warrant officers' pay with earnings in the private sector for those with similar education, experience, and expertise.
We also encourage DOD to provide its vision of an optimal pay table as part of its plan for compensation reform. We thank Congress for extending last year's increases in imminent danger pay and family separation allowance through 2004, and urge that these increases be made permanent. The lack of predictability in today's military life also adds to service member stress, and to help address this, the Coalition supports a high level of family readiness, to include improved education and outreach programs. This also includes increased child care availability, and associated support to assist families left behind during deployments. Family support programs in many places are improving, and new programs, such as the Military One Source are expanding awareness of support resources.
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The Coalition strongly supports the plan to eliminate service member's average out of pocket housing expenses in 2005, and gradual adjustments in grade-based housing standards that are more realistic and appropriate for each pay grade. Education benefits are very important, and the Coalition is closely monitoring initiatives that may result in the transfer of DOD domestic schools to local school districts. As noted in recent testimony, the Navy has little, if any problem assigning sailors to installations having DOD schools, but experiences considerable reluctance from those ordered to areas where there are mediocre public schools.
The Coalition also recommends authorizing an Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) signup window for career service members who declined participation in the Veterans Education Assistance Program, or VEAP. Adjustments are also needed for selected reserve MGIB benefits, which should be restored to the 47 percent level of basic benefits, as intended when the program was established in 1984. Benefits are currently at the 27 percent level. Finally, the Coalition urges continued upgrades in permanent change of station reimbursement allowances to recognize that the government, not the service member, should be responsible for paying these costs.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to present the Coalition's views, and I stand ready to respond to any questions you may have regarding this statement.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Barnes can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, Mr. Barnes. Again, Iwe all appreciate your efforts here today, and your work through the Fleet Reserve Association. Next, we have Ms. Erin Harting, Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs, the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States. Welcome.
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STATEMENT OF ERIN M. HARTING, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS, ENLISTED ASSOCIATION OF THE NATIONAL GUARD OF THE UNITED STATES
Ms. HARTING. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to present the views of the guard and reserve Committee of The Military Coalition.
Since the 1990's, we have seen an increased and almost overwhelming reliance on National Guard and Reserve members to support military operations around the globe. There could be no doubt that guard and reserve members are engaged and providing a valuable service to our active component counterparts throughout the world. They are committed, dedicated, engaged, and most importantly, relevant. We ask you to remain diligent in overseeing moves to rebalance the force and the transformation process that has already begun.
The Coalition appreciates the steps Congress took last year to provide TRICARE to National Guard and reserve members on a cost share basis, to those who either did not have employer provided health care, or are unemployed. Unfortunately, the program has not yet been implemented, nor can the Department of Defense tell us when it will be.
DOD officials have stated that it will be difficult to change the TRICARE contracts to accommodate the temporary program, and then change them back again when it expires. In testimony, DOD officials have recently also mentioned a limited demonstration program to gather data and see what the impact is on recruitment, retention, and readiness. A demonstration program is an excellent first step for those without any health care, but recent health care demonstrations have shown that people who have a health care plan do not want to enroll in a temporary program. A health care program is not something people want to try out for a little while. They don't like changing doctors, and they are afraid they can't get back into their previous coverage when the demonstration ends.
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DOD officials have also said recently that opening up the benefit will not help with readiness. It is a readiness issue. Approximately 20 percent of the guard and reserve members, 40 percent of the enlisted force, do not have any health care coverage. Currently, and in recent months, hundreds of guard and reserve members were on medical hold at various mobilization stations across the country. Could some or all of these medical holds have been avoided if they had access to health care?
It is only right that we provide access to the necessary health and dental care, so our guard and reserve members can meet the physical requirements for military duty. TRICARE for all guard and reserve members is a quality of life issue for those who serve in the guard and reserve. It provides affordable health care to the service member and to their families. It will aid in recruiting and retention, and can also be an incentive to the civilian employers.
Another point I would like to make about this program is that it is not the same as the active duty benefit. There will be a significant annual premium to purchase the coverage. I urge you to send a strong message to DOD, and to the members of the Selected Reserve that TRICARE for guard and reserve is a priority of this Congress. Pass permanent legislation into law and expand the program to include all guard and reserve members and their families.
Another issue I would like to discuss is the change to the Reserve Retirement System. The fundamental assumption of the Reserve Force Retirement System that was established in 1947 is that a guard or reserve member has a primary career in the civilian sector. The demands on reserve forces over the past 14 years have cost tens of thousands of guard and reserve members significantly in terms of their civilian retirement accrual, civilian 401K contributions, and civilian job promotions. The time has come to recognize the Reserve Retirement System as a complement to civilian retirement and not as a supplement. Failing to acknowledge and respond to the changed environment the guard and reserve members face could have far-reaching effects on reserve participation and career retention. The contract with America's National Guard and reserve has changed. It is now the time to reward those who have made the change possible, reward them with a retirement program that allows them to draw benefits at an earlier age.
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The Coalition also urges that adequate funding be made available for family support programs that meet the unique needs of guard and reserve families. These families frequently do not have ready access to military installations or current experience with military life.
Thank you and the Committee for all the support you have given our National Guard and reserve members. Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony, and I am prepared to answer any questions.
[The joint prepared statement of Ms. Harting, Master Chief, Joe Barnes and Colonel Lange can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much. Again, we appreciate your being here. Colonel Lange, you are United States militaryUnited Stateswell, that is trueUnited States Marine Corps.
Colonel LANGE. Sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. Retired, who is Deputy Director of Government Relations for the Military Officers Association of America, MOAA. Welcome, sir.
STATEMENT OF COL. LEE F. LANGE, USMC, RET., DEPUTY DIRECTOR, GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, MILITARY OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
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Colonel LANGE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Dr. Snyder, for the opportunity to appear before you today and discuss the Military Coalition's views on retiree and survivor issues.
I would first like to thank the Subcommittee for passing concurrent receipt provisions last year. This historic legislation is improving the daily quality of life for thousands of disabled retirees.
My one message today is to ask for your support on improving the military Survivor Benefit Plan, SBP. Military survivors now face a steep drop in the SBP benefit at age 62, about one third of the dollar amount. Ending this is The Military Coalition's number one retiree and survivor goal. SBP is the only way a military retiree can pass on a portion of his or her retired pay to survivors. Over 250,000 survivors who are overwhelmingly women, are now drawing the benefit, and 90 percent are over 62.
Another one million retirees are enrolled in SBP to protect their survivors in the future. The age 62 benefit reduction is wrong for three reasons. First, many older retirees and survivors weren't told of the age 62 reduction and are shocked to learn of it. Examples of early enrollment forms from the first 10 years of the program describe the benefit as 55 percent.
Second, the government is not paying its fair share of the costs of SBP. When SBP was enacted in 1972, Congress intended that the government would pay 40 percent of the cost to parallel the subsidy for Federal civilian SBP. Because of conservative actuarial consumptions, the government's cost share has declined to 19 percent. When this happened before in 1990, Congress restored the 40 percent subsidy by lowering the SBP premiums. Now that the subsidy has dropped even lower, Congress should act again, only this time, to raise the benefit for survivors.
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Third, Federal civilians fare much better on their SBP programs. Their government subsidies are 33 to 48 percent, and their survivor payments are either 50 or 55 percent of retired pay with no drop at age 62. Military survivors should not be treated any differently. For many survivors, the reduction in benefits may be the difference between keeping their home, having a car, or having anything left over after paying bills. We are particularly concerned for the 135,000 survivors of enlisted members whose retirements are less to start with, and where the reduction in SBP hits home especially hard. The Coalition worked closely with representative Jeff Miller to develop lower cost SBP legislation. This legislation includes an open season to allow those who did not elect SBP to join the program. This generates savings by reducing DOD outlays in retired pay. In addition, a delayed effective date means no outlays in the first year. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has scored this bill, H.R. 3763, at less than $500 million over 5 years.
We appreciate your request to the House Budget Committee to consider SBP in the 2005 budget resolution. Last week, the Budget Committee included a reserve fund for SBP in the budget resolution. In a separate meeting with us, Chairman Nussle pledged to work with the Armed Services Committee to find offsets that would not have to come from sources under your jurisdiction.
Mr. Chairman, there is a great opportunity to act on this extremely important matter this year. Over 330 members of the House have co-sponsored legislation to improve SBP, including 50 members of the Armed Services Committee. These widows have waited a long time and they need our help now.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to your questions.
[The joint prepared statement of Ms. Harting, Master Chief, Joe Barnes and Colonel Lange can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, and I appreciate your efforts with respect to concurrent receipt and your efforts at this time, as your testimony underscored with respect to the SBP program. Let me return to the source of this particular discussion, back to Dr. Thie.
I am just curious, and had we had more time, I would have and probably should have posed this to the military services. I would be curious what your perception was and is with respect to the extent, either positively or less so, as to the services buying in, for lack of a better phrase, of your recommendations, and what your view, at least, was of their receptivity to your findings, and to put in place the fundamentals of aligning the stars in your study report.
Dr. THIE. And clearly, that will be my perception, and
Mr. MCHUGH. I understand that.
Dr. THIE [continuing]. Views, because I was not present for many of the discussions with the senior departmental leaders on this. First of all, Mr. Rumsfeld was very supportive of it when it was discussed with him, and he clearly set the direction that this is a way to move. Dr. Chiu briefed all of the military departments, the Secretaries, and the Chiefs of Service, and to my understanding, we were not there for those. There were no objections raised.
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We worked with analysts in the general office or management offices to go over our findings. They ran them through their models and analyses and agreed that our conclusions were certainly robust in terms of what was likely to happen to promotions and length of service, given these changes.
We had briefed selectively individual officers in the services that have asked for the briefing, for example, a senior member of the Army we have briefed, and their views, I think I would sum up as saying they were surprised sometimes at the practices with which general officers were managed. It wasn't clear that they understood the rapidity of movement through assignments and jobs. Clearly, I would represent that they were generally supportive of changes. As part of our work, we were asked to interview serving and retired senior officers. We discussed some of the direction we were taking in that research. I think there was general agreement that improvements could be made in the system in a number of ways.
I would not want to represent, though, that any of the services, or each of the services, has somehow endorsed our work or our findings.
Mr. MCHUGH. I understand. And I appreciate your forthright perspective on that. But I asked for your opinion, and you rendered it, and that is appreciated as well, and we will certainly follow up with the services, and although we didn't ask this on the record here today, we will certainly follow up with written inquiries as to their specific perspective.
You mentioned, and I believe I understood, in my review of your report that promotions under your concept, under your plan, would by and large remain the same with respect to O10's, and that would be cut bygo ahead.
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Dr. THIE. I am sorry, I started to interrupt you.
Mr. MCHUGH. No, no.
Dr. THIE. Promotions to the grades of O7, O8, and O9 would remain the same, in terms of the numbers of people promoted to those grades, to the grade of O10 is where the big change would be. They would be cut in half.
Mr. MCHUGH. That is exactly what I was going to state, and I am glad that I heard you correctly. Could youwhy is the drop by 50 percent on O10?
Dr. THIE. It is basically the tenure that they would have in jobs would go to four years under our recommendations, and they would have two of those jobs, so a typical O8 or O10 would serve for eight years in grade, and when you increase the amount of service, in effect you are almost doubling the amount of service. You are then having the number of new O10's that you need to make in order to fill all the billets. So you have the same number of positions, but you simply make fewer officers who will serve twice as long than they currently do in those positions.
Mr. MCHUGH. So, did you get into what happens to the O9s that aren't acceded?
Dr. THIE. We did, and the basis, again, of our views has to do with certain positions that can be observed within the services that are used to develop officers that progress up. Other positions are used for longer service, and those officers will not be promoted. If you focus on those who are on the developing side, those who have the expectations of continued promotion, they would continue to advance through the system at a higher rate than they actually do now. It is those O9s who typically don't get promoted that would go into longer service positions and serve longer in their careers. So you are increasing job tenures for part of the population, while continuing the developmental and promotion flow for the other part of the population.
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In a way, it is back to what you said earlier. Statistics currently are misleading, because you become the average statistics. So on average, everybody looks in a certain way. What we are suggesting is there are really two groups of people and two types of positions, those who would, on average, serve much longer in positions and have longer careers, and those who on average would continue to move through the system at about the same or a greater rate than they do now.
So rather than just looking at the averages, we are looking at the two groups of people.
Mr. MCHUGH. I understand. Thank you. Dr. Hosek. Obviously, the basic finding of your examination that deployments, in fact, tend to enhance retention. You do, however, note that there are periods of extensive deployments that have the opposite effect. Are you abledid you quantify what makes an extensive deployment circumstance, number one, and number two, if you did, or even if you didn't, anecdotally, do you think we are approaching that now?
Dr. HOSEK. We did quantify it, and I would guess that we are approaching it now. In brief.
Mr. MCHUGH. And could you briefly describe
Dr. HOSEK. Yeah.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCHUGH [continuing]. That quantification?
Dr. HOSEK. In the report that underlies the table that was supplied for the testimony, there is another chart, another table, that actually indicates the percentage of people in each of the number of deployment cells, so zero, one, two, three plus non-hostile, and zero, one, two, three plus hostile. In the 1990's, the percentages with three of either type was quite low over a three year period, prior to reenlistment.
My guess is that today, we are seeing a number of people with probably on the order of two hostile and two non-hostile over a three year period. So we are verging out toward that territory. I don't know that we are really in the three and three category yet. I kind of doubt it actually, but I am not sure, because again, the data are still being assembled, at least.
The second way we tried to quantify this had to do with the length of a deployment. And if Iagain, the document, the report, has that information in it, but typically, for Marine Corps, Navy, or Army, the average length of a hostile deployment tended to be around five to six months. For the Air Force, it was a bit shorter, reflecting the fact that many air missions are really just flown. They are very short. You know, you fly, you come back, and then, if you rotate crews to fly the next mission, you tend to get fewer. What we found is thatsome evidence that longer deployments tended to reduce the reenlistment a bit. Tending to bring it down toward, but still above where it was for people who were not deployed.
Mr. MCHUGH. I appreciate that. Two
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. HOSEK. Yeah.
Mr. MCHUGH. Two qualifying responses. Theyou mentioned the 1990's. This study, and the deployments that you mentioned, two hostile, two non-hostile, whatever
Dr. HOSEK. Yeah. Yeah.
Mr. MCHUGH [continuing]. The combination may be. That is a three year period.
Dr. HOSEK. Yes, over a three year period.
Mr. MCHUGH. Over a three year period. Not over the entire decade, obviously.
Dr. HOSEK. That is correct.
Mr. MCHUGH. Okay.
Dr. HOSEK. It was, for each person, we built a longitudinal record, counted their deployments and their lengths, and then looked at their subsequent reenlistment behavior.
Mr. MCHUGH. My able staffer, Mr. Higgins, said it could be anywhere within the decade, and I understand that, but we are talking about a three year period.
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Dr. HOSEK. We are talking about three year periods.
Mr. MCHUGH. Just for the record.
Dr. HOSEK. And we actuallythat observation is correct, but wein our models, we made adjustments for whether the reenlistment occurred in 1996, 1997, 1998, or 1999.
Mr. MCHUGH. Right. And I could onlyI won't speak for the Army, but my observation of the Army deployments in recent times, you mentioned four to five month deployments on average previously. They are probably at least twice that long now.
Dr. HOSEK. That is what I hear in the field.
Mr. MCHUGH. Yeah.
Dr. HOSEK. The number of people who have been out there for a year, and they come back, and they are facing a, say, a forward basing.
Mr. MCHUGH. Right.
Dr. HOSEK. Okinawa, something like that.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much. Dr. Snyder.
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Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to ask, I guess, Dr. Thie first. Somewhere I gotthis is like a chapter or something, isn't it, of a bigger RAND study that looked at a lot of different personnel policies, or is this a stand alone?
Dr. THIE. That is a stand alone document. We have ongoing work that is looking at personnel policies for the rest of the officer corps, those in the grades of O1 to O6, and we have the series of works in the past looking at the commissioned officer corps. But that is stand alone.
Dr. SNYDER. All right. And we were having problems in markup last year about whether we had these documents or not. This thing just came out like a couple of months ago, and the others have not yet come out yet. Is that right?
Dr. THIE. What you had
Dr. SNYDER. You had some summaries.
Dr. THIE. What you had a year ago, we were asked at the time we completed the work, because our publication process is normally lengthy by the time we do internal review, formal printing.
Dr. SNYDER. Yeah.
Dr. THIE. We were asked if we couldthe two lead researchers, Dr. Harrell and myself, put together our views with respect to the research and what we thought the outcomes would be. That was published in what we called at the time an issue paper. It was about a six page summary of the research.
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Dr. SNYDER. Yes. Right.
Dr. THIE. That was provided to the Department last year, I believe in the February time period. And I believe that is what they may or may not have brought up to you at that time.
Dr. SNYDER. There was no study published until
Dr. THIE. There was no studythis is the full study of that work. There was just a briefer summary of it.
Dr. SNYDER. I got you. You said something, and I don't know if it is inI can't remember if it is in your written or just what you said today, about the issue ofif I heard you correctly, did you say something like most of the changes that you are talking about could dobe done without legislation, but there is clearly some advantage of having some legislative changes in terms of flexibility. Is that a fair summary of what you said?
Dr. THIE. That is a fair summary. The way the law is constructed now, there are a series of waivers to some of the provisions of the law
Dr. SNYDER. Oh, I see.
Dr. THIE [continuing]. That are allowed, to age 62 can be waivered. There are other provisions, though, that are not really waiverable that I am aware of. For example, the length of service of a Chief of Service is set at four years. It is extendable in time of war or national emergency, but it is not extendable at other time periods, so there are some provisions that probably should be changed. Others, you could operate a series of waivers, but we would asset you would much prefer to manage a system where you are not relying on the Band-Aids, that it has got clear expectations for all about what the likely outcomes would be.
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Dr. SNYDER. Would it be fair to say, I guess, I didn't see anything in here about where you got a legislative proposal. Would it be a fair statement to say that your proposed legislative remedy would be one of removing obstacles, but probably not Congress stepping forward and laying out specific, or proscribing a specific statutory mechanism? You are more concerned about giving the flexibility to Secretary Rumsfeld or the President with regard to these fairly small numbers of high-ranking generals?
Dr. THIE. I think that is fairly stated just the way you did.
Dr. SNYDER. Yeah, and then we all provide oversight.
Dr. THIE. To allow the boundaries within which you can manage to expand without prescribing what has to occur, as you said.
Dr. SNYDER. I got you. Dr. Hosek, and I know according to your written testimony, you chose the words hostile and non-hostile just to kind of lump them together, but then, of course, words have meaning, and we start latching on to them, because it does make a difference. I mean, you are saying there were differences inas to why people are retained. I mean, I look on itis itmaybe there islet me throw out some other possibilities. It may be that there is a sense of overseas, you know, the adventure of going overseas. It may beso it would be overseas versus not going overseas. It may be the sense of adventure versus boredom. I mean, what motivates people of 18, 19, and their 20's?
Dr. HOSEK. Right.
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Dr. SNYDER. You know, they saw those Marine Corps ads, and the movies for some good reason. You know, they want to go out and kill a dragon with a sword. It may be something to do with are you functioning within your MOS, what you were trained to do. And thoseI would have thought the humanitarian aid would have been high, except that it is not what they were trained for. They were trained to fire M16s and then they are out there food distribution. They may feelin a foreign country, they may feel uncomfortable. So it seems like there is other ways of looking at it. I just say that, I guess, as a cautionary note, because we all might jump on that and say, well, it has to do with the threat of danger, and it may not. I recall someit was shortly after September 11, I believe, within a few months. I was sitting on a plane with a woman who was in the reserves and guard and had been activated to come and work here in Washington. A pretty exciting time, the country needed her, you know, there was a lot of reasonswell, she was very unhappy. Why was she unhappy? Because she had been told she was replacing another person here so that person could do their education to further their career. It is not like she was replacing somebody who was going to guard an air base or anything. She said what about my career? That is, you know, we join the reserves to help our country, and I can argue with her will that help the country, but you have got my drift. I mean, it was notthat is not what she had signed up for, so I don't know if you have any comments about that, but it does seem like hostile, non-hostile, there could be a lot of different reasons within that. Do you agree with that, or do you have any thoughts about that?
Dr. HOSEK. I think there is a huge range of variation in the nature of deployment experiences. And on the, I guess, on the constrained or negative side, the primary reason for using the hostile/non-hostile designation is that that is the onlythat was the only thing the data told us. I have hoped for, for years, and I have written about this in a couple of reports, that someday, deployment related information would have information about the origination, the destination, on a classified basis, with limited usage, the nature of the missions somebody went on, the conditions, you know, camel spiders, high winds. There are just so many other details that would be relevant. It would be great to bring in to information about these, I will call them temporary assignments, but certainly deployments.
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Everything you said, I agree with. I support it wholeheartedly. I am justI don't want to step beyond what the data allows me to.
Dr. SNYDER. Yeah, I understand. The issue of length of tour. Don't weyou straighten meI probably should ask the Chairman or Mr. Higgins this, but I think we are going to have an ongoing test, are we not, in that we have gotwe are going to have fairly dramatic differences in length of tours between the Marine Corps and the Army. Is that correct? Marine Corps tours are going to be overseas 6 to 7 months, is that correct, and
Dr. HOSEK. Yeah, indeed they
Dr. SNYDER [continuing]. Army will be 12 months on the ground, and
Dr. HOSEK. There are a variety of things going on. The Army is going to the unit based rotation. That is a major change. They havethey tried that in the mid-'80's, if I recall. I don't think there wasI don't know of any data being collected at that point. For individual units, oftentimes, based on the conversations I have had, a unit might have expected to leave at a certain date, and not left at that date. Might have expected to return on a certain date, and been postponed, and so there is already some variation in how long they were there. We don't know, with the data we have, what their initial expectations were, how long it was extended, a number of people were, I don't know, I wouldn't say annoyed, but obviously not pleased with unanticipated, seemingly arbitrary changes in deployment, departure, and return dates, particularly because it had effects on their families. They would plan for, you know, a certain time of reunion, and getting back together, but yeah, with, I must say, with the current heavy pace of deployment and op tempo, we will certainly have a wide range of variation in individual experiences with respect to duration of deployment.
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Dr. SNYDER. And then that will have to be weighed against, can you turn over every six or seven months, and accomplish your mission
Dr. HOSEK. Absolutely.
Dr. SNYDER [continuing]. Which will be a
Dr. HOSEK. Yeah.
Dr. SNYDER [continuing]. I think something for the Marine Corps to sort out.
Dr. HOSEK. Yeah. This huge range of activity right now, to build up a unit, deploy, and then regenerate the unit, as well, you know, bringing in new people in the Navy before a ship goes out, there is just so much that needs to be done to qualify individuals for their positions, so while the ship is being readied, personnel are being sent back for their, you know, training to get certified that they have got the skills that are needed and so forth.
Dr. SNYDER. Dr. Hosek, did you reach any conclusions about should DOD continue itsthe targeted pay raises for certain mid-grade and senior enlisted personnel? Is that something you all looked at?
Dr. HOSEK. I haven't looked at that for four years now, and Iand so I have no update on it.
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Dr. SNYDER. That is fine. And Imay I ask you a question, Mr. Higgins.
Mr. HIGGINS. Certainly.
Dr. SNYDER. I was at the Veterans Committee Hearing, and the topic of Montgomery GI Bill came up, and now, we have had testimony here from Colonel Lange, I think, and maybe it was you, Ms. Harting, about Montgomery GI Bill, which committee has jurisdiction over Montgomery GI Bill?
Mr. HIGGINS. Mr. Snyder, that is a rather, at times, contentious issue, I would say. It is at times an issue that is somewhat debatable. Clearly, the Reserve Montgomery GI Bill for the Selected Reserve is a Title X provision. That is clearly our jurisdiction. The Montgomery GI Bill for the Active Forces is Title XXXVIII. That is clearly the jurisdiction of House Veterans Affairs. It has a great deal of information in there that is of relevance to the armed services, and in that context, and the Secretary of Defense has responsibilities outlined there. In that context, I think we have a substantial claim, and in turn, I think that since the Reserve GI Bill is essentially managed and paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs, that they have a substantial claim to our piece in the reserve.
Dr. SNYDER. Well, I don't really have a question. Colonel Lange, it was you that mentioned that, wasn't it?
Colonel LANGE. It was Ms. Harting.
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Dr. SNYDER. Oh, Ms. Harting. Okay, good, but weI think it is a very real issue. I think it is maybe more important than we used to think it was, just because of this changing economy, and this whole idea that there will be a need for ongoing training and education, which means we need to look at it and even for our reserve forces, even though they may be 30 or 35 years old, they still willmay well have need for additional education when they get out. We have got this little funny issue right now you can pay in your $1,200, but if you wait for 10 years, you don't get your $1,200 back, and it would seem like, at a minimum, we could say well, you should be able to at least draw out your $1,200 after the eligibility runs out, since it was your money plus interest, if it is for an educational purpose, because we think a lot of people do have to go back to school. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman. A couple other little points here. Dr. Hosek, in your presentation, you talked about the issue of the gap between military and civilian pay. You mentioned the 70th percentile as well. You may have heard me query Secretary Abell as to how they got to that. Did you utilize that based on some independent analysis, or did you just utilize it because that is what the military utilized?
Dr. HOSEK. It was an independent analysis.
Mr. MCHUGH. I am sorry. It was or was not?
Dr. HOSEK. It was.
Mr. MCHUGH. It was.
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Dr. HOSEK. An independent analysis, as part of the QRMC, actually, and what we did working with my colleague, Beth Asch, and Professor John Warner at Clemson, what we did were really two things. The first was to make pay comparisons of the sort you saw in the charts, and the second was to look at recruiting and retention outcomes. The idea being based on the economic model that retention is going to respond, among other things, to the level of military pay relative to civilian pay, and of course unemployment, and many other things. And trying to control for those things, and looking at studies that were done in the past as well, we came to the conclusion that roughly speaking, and not as a rule, a hard and fast rule, the level of military pay was competitive at around the 70th percentile of civilian pay for enlisted personnel, and that is the short story.
Mr. MCHUGH. It is for purposes of measurement.
Dr. HOSEK. Yeah. Retention and pay together.
Mr. MCHUGH. You feel that that is a valid data point.
Dr. HOSEK. Yes. And again, I would stress, not as a rule, per se, because it depends on other things.
Mr. MCHUGH. Sure.
Dr. HOSEK. Yeah. So, thinking
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCHUGH. You have got to use something.
Dr. HOSEK. Yeah.
Mr. MCHUGH. I guess. Thank you, sir. Colonel Lange, in your comments about SBP, you mentioned theI don't want to put words in your mouth, but I believe that your comments were intended to suggest that there was a 40 percent subsidy target originally. Is that correct?
Colonel LANGE. That is correct, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. We are obviously below that in certain categories, depending on where you were at the time, and theyou can be down to about 19 percent. I guess the average is about 33 percent. You probably know better than I do, but
Colonel LANGE. It may be overall, yes, sir. 19 percent would refer to non-disability retirees.
Mr. MCHUGH. Right. Right, yes. We are back to averages again. That really doesn't discern it, but if the offset were totally eliminated, the data that have been given to me suggest we are going to be at 53.8 percent subsidy. I personally don't have a problem with that, but itI think it is important, because of the 40 percent target that you mentioned, that you might want to comment to the acceptability of that somewhat higher subsidy, and also, I would add that that is even higher than the Federal, which one is it, the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), so I mean, there is a challenge there. But if you would like to comment on that, and I am not trying to play gotcha, because Ias you know, we worked real hard to try to get headroom on that, and we are going to continue to try to do everything we can, but I just think
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Colonel LANGE. Yes, sir. Now, that 53 percent, that is a number I hadn't heard before. We knew that restoring the subsidy, or raising the benefit to 55 percent would certainly at least restore it to 40 percent, and as you have suggested, it could be more than that. I guess my only comment would be that I don't know that we would want the limit, the increase in that benefit, just based on that, and if it did exceed that subsidy, I think that is an issue that the Congress would have to wrestle with, whether that is the right thing to do. We would suggest that it probably is. But that would be my comment.
Mr. MCHUGH. Now, I appreciate that. So I don't want to, again, put words in your mouth. Taking your thought a little bit further down the road, I suspect what you are saying is the mathematics of it are really irrelevant, or not irrelevant, but secondary to the fact that there are a right way and wrong way to do these things, and the right way is the better way. Is that fair?
Colonel LANGE. Yes, sir. I think what we are really suggesting when we say restore the benefit, by looking at increasing thatrestore the subsidy by looking at increasing that benefit, that is a way to at least start attacking the problem.
Mr. MCHUGH. Got you.
Colonel LANGE. And maybe there is some room there, and what you are saying is that may not take care of the whole issue. There is some overlap there, but that certainly is the place to start.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCHUGH. Got you. Thank you very much. All of you, and I am dealing mostlywell, but Mr. Stewart mentioned it as well, with respect to his comments on the averagethe 40 percent loss of income for reservists who are activated, out of their civilian role. I am sure all of you heard the comments, first, of Secretary Abell, and then, later the service reps who responded to my query about efforts to make up lost pay, and kind of extend it beyond that, no more generic discussion about equitable treatment, and I think I am being fair when I say well, their experience was when they are deployed, activated, deployed, they should receive the same and any makeup of income creates problems, particularly with respect to their interface with the active force, et cetera, et cetera. Would you like to respond specifically, any or all of you, to that statement, that most of the service, I think all of the service representatives made, and certainly Secretary Abell did.
Ms. HARTING. We have spoken about this in our guard and reserve Committee.
Mr. MCHUGH. Right.
Ms. HARTING. And we couldn't really come to a consensus on the issue, because many of the strictly guard and reserve organizations would like to see our members taken care of, and some kind of income protection would do that. However, that weyou do have to worry about, is that guard and reserve Members are going to be getting paid, essentially getting paid more than the active duty member, so we can't
Mr. MCHUGH. Yeah.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. HARTING. We haven't been able to solve the problem. One suggestion is to either amend the SCRA to the extent that some kind of, maybe a debt management program, where they wouldn't have to pay their mortgage, for example, while they are mobilized, because for people who have a really high income, and are really low rank in the military, they simply can't make the payments, and if they are mobilized for a year, there is no way for them to make those payments, so if we could establish some sort of threshold and let them not do it while they are mobilized. That may solve the problem.
Mr. MCHUGH. If you had an income insurance program, that you all probably know more than I do is aI don't want to call it a miserable failure, but I don't know as I would be far off the mark. It didn't work. Mr. Stewart.
Mr. STEWART. Mr. Chairman, itGAO comes at this from the issue of retention. And we see this in the Army in the health care field. The Army is woefully short of physicians and thoracic surgeons and what have you. Many of these folks are reservists. If you expect to retain those individuals, when you look at the data, physicians and nurses reported the highest income loss, some as high as $50,000 per mobilization. If the Army is to retain those types of folks, they are going to have to do some type of targeted income supplementation. We are not saying that there should be an across the board. That is not GAO's position, but we do think that the services are going to have to look at their critical wartime specialties, and how these are being met by guard and reservists, and what do they have to do to retain it. That is why we made the recommendation in our report. This was our 2002 report, that DOD needed more information about who was actually losing money, to what extent, and what did the reservists, guardsmen mean when they said they lost income. What didwhat were they reporting. This was self-reported data, and DOD really hasn't gotten behind the data. To DOD's credit, they did go out with a survey in September, andbut they haven't analyzed that data yet. They tell us that it will be July before they report out on that data. So it will be interesting to see what they find.
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Mr. MCHUGH. Yeah, we will probably ask you guys to analyze their analyzation of the data.
Mr. STEWART. We would be happy to. We would be happy to.
Mr. MCHUGH. Sounds like a plan.
Dr. HOSEK. May I offer a comment or two on this?
Mr. MCHUGH. Certainly, Dr. Hosek.
Dr. HOSEK. My impression is that when the insurance plan was launched, the launch strategy was not very adept. And in particular, my understanding is that the reason the insurance program floundered and failed in the early 1990's is that the personnel who had private information about whether they would be deployed were the ones who were most likely to sign up for insurance.
Mr. MCHUGH. Makes sense.
Dr. HOSEK. And therefore, they soon broke the bank of the insurance fund. That is an observation. That is not to be, you knowso the second thing is, if we want to think about the provision of insurance through a public or a private agency, there is the question about how the insurance pool would be defined, and that, I think, is a crucial question here. If theif, for example, the insurance pool were defined to be de facto you are in, like with the MGIB, and if you want to be out, you had better say you are out, and further, if you are in, you select the amount of insurance you want, A, B, or C, or you know. Something like that probably stands a better chance, particularly if it is done in a way that detaches the enrollment process from the private knowledge of whether a reservist will be subsequently deployed in the near future.
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The second thing is that thewhat I understand is that the complementary statistic to Derek Stewart's correct observation that 40 percent of reservists lost income, is that if I recall, 40 percent gained, and about 20 percent were neutral.
Mr. MCHUGH. Right.
Dr. HOSEK. It is important to look after the reservists who lost income. So please don't mistake this comment. The information about the distribution of loss, I think is really crucial, and my understanding is that the medical professions were the most prominent big losers. And obviously, others would say that they also entered professions where they received an enormous amount of training inor, you know, a medical education provided by the government for that. That is meant to be an observation only, not a pro or a con. It did help the military get physicians, and as I believe you pointed out, one of the crucial questions is how to hold onto them once they have finished their initial obligation, and here again, you know, we sort of get back to well, just how do you protect that career and that income?
Mr. MCHUGH. Right.
Dr. HOSEK. So
Mr. MCHUGH. Right.
Dr. HOSEK. Yeah.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCHUGH. I appreciate that. I expect that 40 percent figure, where they actually gain income, has something to do with the high volunteer rate, by which some of the stop loss has been offset. And I don't want to minimize the issues of sense of duty and patriotism at all, but it probably doesn't hurt that you are making more money than it would if you stayed home. And that is neither here nor there
Dr. HOSEK. Yeah.
Mr. MCHUGH. But I just thought I would mention that, but I appreciate it. Anybody else want to comment on that?
Mr. BARNES. Mr. Chairman, I would just add to
Mr. MCHUGH. Mr. Barnes.
Mr. BARNES [continuing]. Dr. Hosek's comments that, as I recall, during the period of this mobilization initiative, there was a limited timeline, and as was reference by Mr. Stewart, I believe, that the communications, the marketing, were very, very limited on that, and those are very key, very key aspects of launching a new program. And we see similar challenges, or examples of similar challenges, with other programs that the Department has instituted, so as this is looked at, that is a very key aspect
Mr. MCHUGH. Right.
Mr. BARNES [continuing]. To the implementation process.
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Mr. MCHUGH. Right. Thank you. Dr. Snyder?
Dr. SNYDER. I don't have any other questions, just a comment about this income and doctors. I mean, I know a doctor back home that was mobilized during the first Gulf War. A solo practitioner, I remember getting a call from him one day if I would try to cover his practice, but I already had plenty to do, and he left, and that was the end of that practice.
Dr. HOSEK. Absolutely.
Dr. SNYDER. It wasn't just like for a period of six months or something he had a loss of income. He came back and had to start over working for somebody else.
Dr. HOSEK. Absolutely. Some people were really hurt by that.
Dr. SNYDER. And he is still veryhe is a big believer in the reserve forces.
Dr. HOSEK. Yeah, it is interesting. So often, it is the case in phenomena like this, that there is a tale that involves very significant outlays or losses. A tale of a distribution of, you know, losses or gains. And they become very important cases. They can affect the entire system. That isthat, as I am sure you know, tends to be the way it works in health insurance, and Iit seems like it is also going to be the way it works in terms of people who have high income practices and are self-employed.
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Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Yeah, well, I appreciate the gentleman's comments. We are blessed. I mean, we really are, for all the challenges out there, and all the things that we, I think, collectively agree need to be done to respond to both the guard and the reserve, and of course, the active component. They are still out there doing amazing work. God bless them. I am not sure where we wouldwell, I don't want to know where we would all be without them, and that has been true for over two and a quarter centuries, so that is why we are all here today, too, to try to respond to that. So, let me thank you all. Unless you want to hang around and talk some more.
Mr. STEWART. Mr. Chairman, I would just
Mr. MCHUGH. Mr. Stewart wants to hang around.
Mr. STEWART. Hang around and talk. I would be remiss if I did not compliment your staff, Mr. Higgins, and Debra Wada. It has been a pleasure to work with them over the years. They are really hard working people, and we arewe appreciate working with them. I just wanted to pass that on to you.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, I hate saying it in front of them, but I couldn't agree more. We are blessed there as well, and I have got Lynn Henselman, and John Chapla, and
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STEWART. Yes. Oh, yeah. All of them.
Mr. MCHUGH [continuing]. Had Dudley Tademy, and so many others, that have done great work, and you are absolutely right. And the bipartisan nature of it, too, I will tell you, in this town, is awfully refreshing.
Mr. STEWART. Absolutely.
Mr. MCHUGH. And I am speaking from a very personal and selfish perspective. But I thank you for that, as I indicated to the previous panel, we would hope if we submit to you some written questions, when you can submit those back for the record, we like to have the full range of views, but thank you for your patience and your contributions, as always, and keep up the good work, and with that, I would adjourn the Subcommittee.
[Whereupon, at 4:14 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]