SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 1072]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2002H.R. ????
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
FULL COMMITTEE HEARINGS
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AUTHORIZATION AND OVERSIGHT
MARCH 29, 2001
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HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
One Hundred Seventh Congress
BOB STUMP, Arizona, Chairman
FLOYD D. SPENCE, South Carolina
DUNCAN HUNTER, California
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN M. McHUGH, New York
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
HOWARD P. ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
VAN HILLEARY, Tennessee
JOE SCARBOROUGH, Florida
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
BOB RILEY, Alabama
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
DON SHERWOOD, Pennsylvania
HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico
KEN CALVERT, California
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
ANDER CRENSHAW, Florida
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
ED SCHROCK, Virginia
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
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IKE SKELTON, Missouri
NORMAN SISISKY, Virginia
JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
LANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH, Illinois
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
THOMAS H. ALLEN, Maine
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
JAMES H. MALONEY, Connecticut
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jersey
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMIKE THOMPSON, California
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
Robert S. Rangel, Staff Director
David Trachtenberg, Professional Staff Member
Laura Truesdell, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
Thursday, March 29, 2001, Fiscal Year 2002, National Defense Authorization ActRegional Commander in Chief (CINC): U.S. European Command
Thursday, March 29, 2001
THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2001
FISCAL YEAR 2002, NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTREGIONAL COMMANDERS IN CHIEF (CINCS): U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Skelton, Hon. Ike, a Representative from Missouri, Ranking Member, Committee on Armed Services
Stump, Hon. Bob, a Representative from Arizona, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
Ralston, Gen. Joseph W., USAF
Ralston, Gen. Joseph W.
Skelton, Hon. Ike
Stump, Hon. Bob
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents submitted are pending.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
FISCAL YEAR 2002 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTREGIONAL COMMANDER IN CHIEF (CINC): U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Thursday, March 29, 2001.
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 9:30 a.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bob Stump (chairman of the committee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BOB STUMP, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM ARIZONA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
The CHAIRMAN. Meeting will please come to order. Generally, we have a policy around here of starting on time, and this is our first 9:30 meeting. So we may be short for a few minutes until some of the members get over here, but welcome this morning, anyway.
Today, the committee meets to hear testimony regarding the posture of the U.S. Armed Forces within the European area command of responsibility, advancement of United States European Command (USEUCOM) area of responsibility to continue to capture the world's attention. Most visibly, the events in the Balkans and in particular, the situation in Macedonia, have been the focus of much recent concern. Some have speculated that the recent flare-ups of violence in Kosovo and Macedonia could lead to yet another wider Balkans conflict. Some in Europe have criticized the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for not reacting quickly and forcefully enough to quell the attacks.
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As this most recent violence continues, I am reminded that last year marked the fifth anniversary of our ''1 year'' commitment to the Bosnian peacekeeping mission. We also will soon mark the second year of in Kosovo peacekeeping mission. For the past few years administration and military officials have noted how much progress is being made in these areas. However, both these missions seem to be open-ended with no clear signs that U.S. Troops will soon be withdrawn.
I look forward to hearing from our witness today, his assessment of how both these missions are proceeding, and the prognosis for the future.
In addition to the Balkans, the commander in chief of the European Command must also deal with serious issues facing the NATO alliance. The continuing emergence of European security and defense identity and the posture of our European allies toward national missile defense is just two of the most recent important issues.
There continues to be questions as to whether a separate emerging European defense force would serve as a complement to NATO or as a substitute for it. There are also questions about whether Europe's efforts to develop its own security identity will divert resources from needed NATO military enhancements, particularly the time of flat or shrinking European defense budgets. At the same time, some of our allies are concerned over the impact of national missile defense deployments on our relations with Russia and the European security.
To help us better understand these important issues, we have before us today General Joseph W. Ralston, Commander-in-chief, U.S. European command. Welcome, General Ralston. Before we get started let me turn to our ranking member, Mr. Skelton for any remarks that he may wish to make.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Stump can be found in the Appendix.]
STATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you and I welcome our friend and distinguished General Ralston. Thank you for coming over and testifying for us today. I have a prepared statement, Mr. Chairman. I wish that it be included in toto in the record.
However, I would like to make comments about an item in the newspaper this morning, hopefully put it on the General's radar screen for his comments. The article refers to the third infantry division at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Headline is reading ''Army says unit is unprepared for war duty,'' and my comments would be directed to him to tell us about the preparedness of his troops in Europe.
With that, I ask unanimous consent that my prepared statement be put in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Skelton can be found in the Appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. General, the floor is yours. You may proceed in any way you see fit.
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STATEMENT OF GEN. JOSEPH W. RALSTON, USAF
General RALSTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and first of all, let me tell you how much I appreciate being before the committee today and the great support that the committee has given to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in the European theater. I have a statement they would like to submit for the record, but I would like to spend just a few moments, if I may orally, on some operations that we have ongoing in the theater.
The CHAIRMAN. Your statement will be put in the record in its entirety General.
General RALSTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I would like to direct your attention to the map that I have got over here on the easel. Sometimes I think that the European command is slightly a misnomer because it includes the countries not only of Europe that we normally think of, and as you see there, the countries in yellow are the NATO countries, but it also includes countries of the Middle East like Israel, Syria, Lebanon and it includes most of Africa with the exception of northeast corner. So the command goes from northern Norway to the tip of South Africa. It encompasses 91 nations.
We have a little over 100,000 troops that are forward based in the European theater, along with about 100,000 in the Pacific and some people ask the question, do we really need 100,000 troops over there?
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, I would submit that that is 8 percent of our active duty military, and I believe that if we are going to engage the 91 nations that are in the European command, that that is not an unreasonable number to do that with. I would like now to go to Operation Northern Watch, next slide please.
Northern Watch is our operation that we have got ongoing over northern Iraq where we enforce the no-fly zone north of the 36th parallel. I have drawn for you here a typical mission, and if I could ask the commander to point out there, Incirlik Air Base in Turkey is where we fly this operation out of. It typically is 47 airplanes, as you see on the left, that includes Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACs) and tankers, fighters, EA6 B jamming aircraft, defense suppression aircraft like the F16, as well as United Kingdom aircraft and Turkish aircraft.
A typical mission, the planes will take off, they will fly an hour to get to the area. They typically take a 3-hour mission inside Iraq and an hour to get home. So it's about a 5-hour mission, which is a significant mission in a single seat fighter.
To give you an idea of the magnitude of this, last year we flew 7500 sorties in Operation Northern Watch. Our people that were in Iraq, and I am just talking about the northern no-fly zone here now, I am not talking about the southern no-fly zone that General Franks that I think you heard from yesterday covered. Our people were shot at over 250 times that we know of. Those were with missiles or triple A. And we responded against their defenses more than 60 times. That is more than once a week during the year of 2000.
Mr. Chairman, I bring these facts out just because I want to make sure that the committee understands that what we are doing, and while I am not trying to change American policy on this, this is something that the Administration has under review, and I can continue to do this mission for 20 years. I have been doing it for 10 years now, but it is not a risk free operation. Anytime that our pilots are fired at 250 times, and the fact that we have been flying single-engine airplanes over northern Iraq for most of 10 years now, just the law of averages, we should have had engine failures by now. So I am not complaining about this risk. We are willing to accept this risk, but I just want to make sure that all the policy-makers know that it is not a risk-free operation.
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Next Mr. Chairman, I would like to go to Bosnia or to the Balkans and to point out on the map here, you can see Bosnia in the dark green, Kosovo, which is the smaller there, point out Kosovo on the map, just north of the orange, there you go, Kosovo and then Macedonia in the orange. I will talk about each of those.
First of all, with regard to Bosnia. There has been progress Mr. Chairman in regard to the Bosnia. Progress on the ground in terms of the mission has been accomplished and that is reflected, I think, best in this series of thermometers here.
Notice on the far left, when we went into Bosnia in December of 1995, we went in with 60,000 troops. That is the blue part. 20,000 of those were Americans. We had 20,000 Americans depicted in red. We were 33 percent of the effort. But notice over time, we have brought that down so today we are right at 20,000 total. We have about 4,000 Americans and the Administration approved my recommendation that we bring an additional 750 troops out of Bosnia. We will do that here in the next couple of months. So we should be down to about 3,500 Americans instead of the 20,000 that we went in with in 1995. I think we will continue this progress.
Every 6 months, NATO does a review of what is required and we will make recommendations back to the North Atlantic Council, of which the U.S. Obviously has a major say in that regard.
But I would like to say that the measure of merit here is not how many U.S. Troops are there; the measure of merit is what the situation on the ground and militarily the situation on the ground is improving significantly that has allowed us to make this kind of a drawdown.
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Next slide, please. A little bit on Kosovo. Today we have about 37,000 NATO troops from 39 nations. By the way, this is sometimes portrayed as an American operation there. There are 39 nations that are there and you will see in a moment the U.S. Is providing about 14 percent of the troops in Kosovo. We have, you have heard a lot about the ground safety zone, and that is the area in light green, if you could point out there, that goes around the outside of Kosovo. This is an area that was in June of 1999 when the Kosovo Force (KFOR) troops went into Kosovo, we told the Yugoslavian military that they needed to stay out of that 5 kilometer zone that was done for the force protection of our KFOR forces.
We didn't want the Yugoslav Army putting tanks about artillery right up on the border where we had no warning time and they could threaten our people. They have, in fact, stayed out of that 5 kilometer zone.
Now there was an unintended consequence of that. The unintended consequence, while it gave protection to the KFOR forces, it allows the extremist Albanians to set up in a no-man's land. There was a vacuum there. The Yugoslav authorities were not in there and KFOR was not in there because it is sovereign Serb territory. We recommended, and the North Atlantic Council agreed back earlier this month, that we could start a phased and conditioned returned of that ground safety zone back to Yugoslavia, and we have done that now, and the majority of that zone has been turned back to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) authorities.
We put some conditions on there. We didn't want them to put tanks in there. We didn't want them to put artillery in there again that could threaten the KFOR forces. But again, they could go in there and police it as their normal territory. That return had gone extraordinarily well. The FRY military has shared with us exactly what they were going to bring back, when they were going to do it, what the contact points would be between our soldiers in Kosovo and their soldiers on the border.
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There are two more areas of the zone on the eastern part, the eastern most sector. Go ahead and point that out, right in there. That is the only thing left yet to go back. Now it is likely to be more contentious because that is where the heaviest concentration of the Albanian extremists are located, and the North Atlantic Council has made a decision in principle that we would continue this return, although the exact date has not been resolved yet because the North Atlantic Council has tried to put, take a balanced approach here and tell the former Yugoslavian government that they need to do some confidence-building measures for the Albanian population that lives in southern Serbia. They need to give them access to the political power, they need to give them access to jobs, and to schools. And so this is a balanced approach we are trying to take.
Next slide please. Going back to the thermometer charts, where is the thermometer chart for Kosovo? When we went in, as I said, we had about 47,000 troops in 1999. The U.S. Had about 7,000. We were about 15 percent of that effort. Today we are down to about 37,000 in Kosovo, about 5,500 Americans, and as I say, we are about 14 percent, 13 to 14 percent of the force level. So I think, again, we are showing that you can make some progress, and we intend to do that and once again, we review these force levels every 6 months.
Next slide please. Let me go to Macedonia because I know that there is interest on the part of the committee with what all is going on there. This is a terrain map looking from the south to the north, and you can see there is a lot of mountainous terrain there. Point out the capital of the country, Skopje, right there. That is the headquarters of our rear supply depo. We haveKFOR has about 5,000 soldiers that are in the Skopje area. They are primarily supplies and they get our supplies from the Greek port of Thessaloniki up through Skopje over land into Kosovo.
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The problem that we have got in Macedonia is that you have a government that has approximately one third Albanian population that lives primarily in the north, around Skopje and to the areas to the north. In their view, they have also been denied access to the political process by the government of Macedonia. The government of Macedonia, I might add, is a democratically-elected government. It does have a contingent from Albanian parties in the government. They have been very friendly towards the West, and NATO and the U.S. And very cooperative. But you do have this budding of an insurgency in the northern part of the country.
There are a couple of hundred Albanian extremists that have gone to hostile measures to get political access to the government of Macedonia. We have sent strong messages to the Albanian extremists that we will not support that, and we have sent a strong message to the Macedonia government that they should not overreact, that they should use restraint and use proportional force in order to cover this.
My own judgment, in the past few days, the situation has improved significantly. That is not to say that it could not erupt again. That is always a possibility in the Balkans. Our support from NATO and from KFOR has primarily been on the Kosovo side of the border, to make sure that we shut down that border as best we can, and I might add, Mr. Chairman, shutting down that border is an impossible task because it is extremely mountainous, extremely remote. These people havethey don't understand where the boundary is. They don't know what country they live in. I mean, they are going to visit their cousin and their uncle on the other side of the hill, and they have been doing that for centuries, and they will continue to do that.
But we have taken a very strong line to interdict any arms or fighters that would be going back and forth across that border on the Kosovo side. We have also made arrangements from a NATO perspective to share intelligence with the government of Macedonia. I requested from the Secretary of Defense and was granted a predator Unmanne Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system. We got that in theater. It flew for the first time yesterday in terms of getting checked out and all, and that information will be made available to our troops in Kosovo as well as to the Former Yugoslov Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) government.
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In addition, we have a NATO assessment team on the ground inside Macedonia to look and see what does the Macedonian armed forces need, what do they need in the way of equipment, what do they need in the way of training, and that assessment will be done here in a few days, then will be provided to the various nations and to see who can help the Macedonian government.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to go to an operation that we have had in Africa called Operation Focus Relief. As you know, there is an insurgency in Sierra Leone, and rather than send U.S. Troops to Sierra Leone, what we have done is operate in a training mode to train African militaries, African battalions for them to go into Sierra Leone. We completed the training of two Nigerian battalions in December. They deployed to Sierra Leone in January. We are prepared to train a battalion from Ghana, a battalion from Senegal and three additional battalions from Nigeria here in the next few months. So if you hear at some time that American forces or European Command (EUCOM) forces are in Africa, that is what they are doing. They are training either Nigerians, Ghanian or Senegal soldiers to go into Sierra Leone.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to cover two issues, if I may. This has to do with requests that I have made back to the Department of Defense, and it has to do with military construction and real property maintenance. 10 years ago we had 360,000 troops in Europe, and we drew down those troops from 360,000 to just a little over 100,000. Now, back in 1990 and 1991 as we were trying to decide how many troops we would take out and how many bases we needed to have to stay behind, we did a moratorium on military construction and real property maintenance, and that was a prudent decision at the time because you don't want to be putting resources into places that you were going to be getting out of.
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But Mr. Chairman, we continued that for the better part of a decade, and it has had a devastating effect on the places that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are living in and working in the theater. Let me give you an example. We set a standard, and I believe this is a standard that would be totally supported by the American public for military housing. We have said if you have a large enough family that you need three bedrooms, then we think you ought to have two bathrooms in the house. We think you ought to have a stove and a refrigerator in the kitchen, and we think you ought to have a washer and a dryer.
Now Mr. Chairman, I don't believe those are, we haven't raised the bar very high, but having said that, 69 percent of our Army families living in Europe do not meet that basic standard they just outlined for you, and I believe it is time that we do something about that, Mr. Chairman. So that is one request that I made to the Pentagon. I talked to the joint chiefs in session about this, to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, to the Defense Resources Board, around to the Secretary of Defense. Now, I don't know what is going to be in the budget that comes over here to the Hill, but I am reasonably optimistic that there will be some attention paid to that, and I would request the support of the committee on these very basic needs that we have got.
I have got some pictures I would like to show. Here is European Command (EUCOM) family housing, and as you can see, this is housing, it is old, it isthe apartments are the stairwell apartments that you know about, and to give you an example of some of the problems you will have, a young mother with two young children and she has no washer, no dryer, she has to go down four flights of stairs into the basement, what does she do with the young children while she is doing that? She has to carry all of the clothes and all of that to do that. We can do better than that.
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Next slide please. Here is a barracks, and as you can tell, it is not in very good shape. This is what our people are living in. We have a program to try to get it to the Department of Defense (DOD) standard by 2010. We are working on it. And I need some help from the committee to get there.
Next slide. Here's an example of the work spaces. We have motor pools that do not have the ability to do maintenance on the equipment indoors. They have to do it outside in a muddy parking lot, or in the rain and in the elements, and once again, I would request your understanding and help in that regard.
Mr. Chairman, that is the end of my comments. I would certainly welcome any questions that you may have.
[The prepared statement of General Ralston can be found in the Appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you General Ralston for that briefing. The Chair recognizes the ranking member, Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you. In looking at your prepared statement under the heading of ''readiness,'' I assume that you have no readiness problems; is that correct?
General RALSTON. Mr. Chairman, readiness is what I have listed for the command as the number one priority. We need to be able to do whatever task we get assigned by the political authorities. I have several problems that we continue to work on. Let me give you an example of them. The Marine Corps, normally deploys with its amphibious ready group with its complement of fixed wing aviation. Because of problems with the Harrier aircraft, the Marines that I have in theater do not have their complement of fixed wing aircraft to support them.
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The next fallback position is well, you go to the carrier battle group to provide air support for the Marines. Mr. Skelton, I don't have a carrier battle group in EUCOM because under our current policy, we provide a carrier battle group for 1.0 present the Commander in Chief, Chief of Mission, Area of Operation (CINC COM AOR), so it has to come from somewhere. And so the best I can hope for this year is about 180 days of having a carrier battle group. Now we have plans to back that up.
I would go back to General Jones, the commandant of the Marine Corps, and ask that he keep airplanes in the United States on a short string that in case I would need them, they would have to deploy in a land-based mode to EUCOM. Is that a readiness problem? Yes, sir, it is a readiness problem. Have we tried to mitigate it? We have tried to mitigate it, but that is the situation. That is one example of the situation with regard to readiness.
Mr. SKELTON. I understand from recent press reports that there is a high level of political unrest in the Croat Muslim Federation, and that there may be an indication or a desire to establish a third and separate political entity. Could you comment on that.
General RALSTON. Yes, sir. That is my understanding as well. The Bosnian Croat political faction, the HDZ, as they are called, has indicated that they no longer want to be part of the federation and adds, you know this federation is composed of the Bosnian Muslim faction as well as the Bosnian Croat faction. This is a, in my view, a very disturbing political development, and it is something that I think needs to be worked because it clearly is outside the context of the Dayton agreement, and as long as the Dayton agreement is our road map, that is our policy, that is what we try to do to enforce on the military side. But if you change this in some fundamental way, then I think you have got to go back and look at a lot of issues.
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Mr. SKELTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Spence is recognized.
Mr. SPENCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome General. I am glad to see you brought Colonel John Kelly along with you. You have a big AOR, they call it, stretches, as you said, from Norway all the way down to Horn of Africa.
General RALSTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPENCE. Containing many hot spots, potential for all kinds of wars, small large and all the rest. We also have many other places in this world that are unstable, to say the least, and portend things for the future. Our military strategy right now is for us to be able to fight and win two major theater wars at about the same time. This committee has spent a couple of years now trying to make the point from our military leadership that we cannot fight those two wars at the same time without a high degree of risk the way it comes out now, and it started off being well, we can do it, but it will just take longer, and I asked what taking longer meant. It said meeting our objectives, and we would lose a lot more people in the process.
It was difficult to make the point that we couldn't carry out that strategy until Kosovo happened. I was not a big fan of Kosovo, quite frankly, because as threats go, I didn't consider that as a threat to this country of the magnitude of the Persian Gulf and Korean peninsula and those kind of things.
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Nonetheless, we got involved in it, the air campaign, mostly the Air Force, the Navy was involved, and according to the Air Force, they marshalled most of their assets to back that air campaign. At the end of it, they had shot off about all the cruise missiles they had, no new production line up and running. The Navy had just about done the same thing, same position, so General Jumper was asked the question back then, what would have happened if something big time had broken out somewhere else and paraphrasing what he said, it would have been difficult to have handled it.
That is what worries me today. We are talking about changing the strategy now, if we can't do two, we are going the try to do just one. The problem with that, in my estimation, is that our adversaries aren't going to go along with our strategy. The likely scenario is we are occupied and tied down. Somewhere in a major theater war, somebody else of our many adversaries are going to stretch us out more by starting something there. I don't know why it didn't happen in Kosovo. That is my question to you, what do you think about our present strategy or changing that strategy?
General RALSTON. Mr. Spence, let me state it this way, I will give you my personal opinion of where we are. I think that it is very important that this Nation have the capability that if there is a big fight that breaks out somewhere, that it does not take all of our resources to go to that one fight. We have got to have the ability, as you say, if something starts somewhere else in the world while we are doing it, we can't give that person a free pass. So I don't care what you call it, whether you call it two Major Regional Contingencies (MRCs) or two Major Theater Wars (MTWs) or whatever name you want to put on it, we have got to have the capability, in my judgment, my personal opinion, to be able to respond to more than one major problem around the world.
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Now, this is a subject that we could talk about, I am sure, the rest of the day here, and I feel in balance. I have to say a couple of more things in the way of a personal opinion. One MTW is a very difficult thing to do. If you recall back in August of 1990, when we started Desert Shield and then went to Desert Storm, that was not an easy thing for this Nation to do. We spent the better part of 6 months getting forces in place and getting ready to do it. Going to war, a major theater war is very, very difficult. It is not pretty. We don't like to talk about this, but it is hard. Trying to do two at the same time would be double ugly. It would be very difficult, but I do believe we can do it, I believe we could do it. It would take longer than what we want. There would be more risk than what we would like to accept, but I do believe it can be done.
Now let me talk on the other side of the ledger, the improvements that have been made. If we go back to Desert Storm, I was in the Air Force at the time and I was worried about some of our modern systems. We had a grand total in 1991 of 18 lantern pods, laser-guided lantern pods. That is all that we had in the inventory. We sent 18 to southwest Asia. Now today we have got over 450 laser-guided lantern pods. When we went to war in 1991, we did not have a single Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) missile in the theater when the war started. We tried to send over about 25 a month into the battle. We put them into battle. The software wasn't ready and we had to very quickly take them back out of battle because it wasn't an AMRAAM problem. It was an F15 airplane problem.
Today, we have literally thousands of AMRAAM missiles in the inventory. So I think we have to provide a balance while our force is smaller today than it was in 1991, to be fair, it is far more capable today because of the assistance that this Congress has given to the military to field these weapons systems.
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Mr. SPENCE. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Gentlelady from California, Mrs. Tauscher is recognized.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am going to have to come really early. Welcome General, how are you.
General RALSTON. Fine, thank you, ma'am.
Ms. TAUSCHER. I just want to talk to you briefly, I have toured many of the facilities that you showed on those pictures and I think it is a scandal that we have American fighting men and women and their families housed in those types of places. I think that we have worked hard in our cities and our towns in this country. I think, that is, looks worse than Appalachia did at its worst, and I think it is a scandal that we have fighting men and women living in those places and their families are not provided for.
What do you think the number is on the deferred maintenance of the existing facilities in your AOR, and what do you believe the number will be proposed by the administration? And then what would that unfunded number be? And do you have any kind of proposals that you could provide perhaps to the personnel subcommittee. We have got a great new chair, Mr. McHugh, that we could be working with you and obviously Military Construction (MILCON) to provide better facilities.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General RALSTON. Yes, ma'am. Some of that I will have to provide for the record, but let me give you an order of magnitude. We have in excess of a $2 billion backlog in terms of military construction and real property maintenance. I can't tell you what is going to be in the budget, because I don't know yet, but this is something that I have shared with the Administration and I would be delighted to work with the committee as we go through the funding process.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will defer to later on if you don't mind. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Hefley, is recognized.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you much. General, we have started doing some military construction and trying to take care of some of this in Europe, as you know. But we have a special problem with this in that these kind of projects need to be in your budget. It needs to get through the building and get over here because these are very difficult to add as you know, there is no constituency for adding them over there and it is deplorable. We should not have anyone or their families who dedicate themselves to defending this country living in Third World conditions like you pictured there, and they are all over and some of them are here in the United States as well. And we are trying to desperately to catch up with that, but please get it in your budget if you possibly can and we will do everything we can to be helpful there.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Second, you say that theyou have been shot at 250 times in that Northern Watch, and we have responded 60 times. I guess I would ask with our fire power, why haven't we pounded those missile sites into dust? Is it because they can move them around? Is it because we don't have good intelligence? I mean, for crying out loud, how can that country still be firing at our planes? Now, there was a big deal when we fired at the missile sites around, radar sites around Baghdad. I understand we weren't very effective in knocking those out but why in the world are they still shooting at us when we have the kind of fire power we do? Do we have some kind of limitations put on us as to how we can respond?
General RALSTON. Let me respond to both of those, Mr. Hefley. First of all, with regard to getting the request for the MILCON and the real property maintenance in the budget, I agree with you, that is why I went to the joint chiefs at the top, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC), and to the Defense Resources Board (DRB) and to the Secretary of Defense, and while I can't tell you because I don't know myself in the budget, I was given to believe that because that was the only major budget issue they submitted from the EUCOM AOR, that we did, in fact, get about $600 million added to the EUCOM budget over the Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP). Now what actually shows up in the 2002 column as it comes over here, but I don't know but I have tried very hard to work that problem within the system and within the Pentagon.
Second, with regard to the shooting, the over 250 times that I mentioned was just in the year 2000. It was a lot more in 1999. We do respond and I don't want to go into great depth about this in an open hearing, but we do respond to anything that threatens our crews.
Now there are occasions where we are not sure exactly where it came from, and so I am not going to send people down looking for something where I am not sure where it is and perhaps causes a bigger problem. So that is the reason that, and some of those 250 times may be firings out of the same site. So if each site fired four times and we responded 60, that would be pretty much a one for one. That is not always the case because but there are multiple firings from a single site where we then go and attack that particular site. And to answer your question, there are no restrictions that are imposed upon me that I disagree with or that I would change.
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Mr. HEFLEY. Well let me take you back to the MILCON question. I am particularly gratified that someone at your level has seen that as something that ought to be emphasized now because that has not always been the case, and I am delighted that you have thrown your weight behind that request and maybe we can get something done there. We will certainly try, I will tell you that.
General RALSTON. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Andrews of New Jersey is recognized.
Mr. ANDREWS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General, for your service and for your testimony this morning. On page 4 of your testimony, I was very alarmed to read you point out over the last past 2 years efforts to cope with rapidly shrinking training and training dependent budgets, such as strategic lift, have resulted in several canceled and restructured exercises, which I consider to be a major, major problem. What is the shortfall with respect to training resources that would remove that problem?
General RALSTON. Mr. Andrews, again, I would have to submit for the record, depending on what we wind up with the budget here, but let me tell you one of the things that was one of the unintended consequences. There is a line in the budget called Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Exercise Program. That was probably not terribly robust funding when it came over, but the Congress of the United States cut that line considerably, I think, for good intentions because there was the issue, well, maybe we are working our people too hard and sending them out there, it has an unintended consequence that it did, in fact, adversely impact our training. So that is one of the issues in this very complicated.
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Mr. ANDREWS. Can you guess the order of magnitude of shortfall for us?
General RALSTON. It is tens of millions of dollars.
Mr. ANDREWS. Tens of millions?
General RALSTON. It is millions, but on the order of tens of millions.
Mr. ANDREWS. With respect to Azerbaijan on page 29 and 3 of your statement, you suggest to us that we might want to consider some modifications to section 907 to permit more robust engagement with Azerbaijan. As you cite in your testimony, one of the conditions to lifting section 907 that the Azerbaijan government shows that steps are being taken to lift the economic embargo against Armenia, have there been such steps?
General RALSTON. Let me go to the broader principle before I come back and answer that. What I have tried to emphasize that I think it is a mistake for us to not engage with Azerbaijan and not engage with Armenia. It is not that we are trying to take a side in favor of Azerbaijan versus Armenia or vice versa, but currently, the way the policy is implemented, I can't exercise with either one of these countries, and I think we wind up losing valuable influence where we might be able to influence these countries in a positive way.
With regard to the specific things that they are doing, once again, I would like to provide that for the record, because that is more of a State Department question.
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Mr. ANDREWS. I would appreciate that. I was very taken by your discussion of the Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV) epidemic as it affects troops in sub-Saharan Africa on page 34. You point out that some of the countries were trying to engage with their have military infection rates of 20 to 50 percent of the force. What kinds of precautions are we taking to protect our people who engage in these joint exercises.
General RALSTON. Well, obviously we have a very robust education program that we give to our own forces, and we are trying to give the same robust education program to the forces of the other nations. There is tremendous education problem here, and in many of the cases, the nations, for their own purposes, have refused to accept the fact that they have a problem.
Mr. ANDREWS. Many of us have been arguing that one of the key national security issues for our country is to reverse the unbelievable epidemic of disease in less developed countries. It is outside of your jurisdiction, but it is within ours to make a major national commitment to providing the drugs and pharmaceutical products at a reduced price or free would not only benefit those recipients of those products, but would put us in a position to defend ourselves better, and I suspect that your comments echo that.
I have one final question. On page 43 you talk about National Imaging and Mapping Agency (NIMA) and the Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) project with respect to NIMA. And you talk about its successes, but you talk about it being underresourced overall. What is the magnitude of the shortfall there? What will we need to do in respect to NIMA to give us greater too many force precision targeting?
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General RALSTON. I think the real issue there is what is called the TPED. That is the processing and the exploitation and the dissemination of the information that we get. This is outside, again the EUCOM AOR. But from my previous experience, when we were working this, this is an issue that it is in excess of a billion dollars that is needed for the TPED project. Now how much of that you bite off in any particular year you can probably work it over a period of time, but it is a significant shortfall in terms of doing the proper analysis, exploitation and the distribution of the information that is collected.
Mr. ANDREWS. I have come to realize the importance for propaganda in strategic and diplomatic purposes in being able to surgically strike. And I think it has reverberations well beyond simply limiting collateral damage and support your request, and very much appreciate your testimony.
The CHAIRMAN. Gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Saxton.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, you heard Mr. Hefley say very clearly, as I intended toof course Mr. Hefley was the chairman of the Military Construction Committee for the past 6 years, and he has moved on, and I am now the chairman of that subcommittee. So I want to be helpful as well. But I would just like to begin by echoing what Mr. Hefley's message was, and that is that I can't imagine a way that we can make ads to take care of the problem that you so adequately described and that we need to, here is our concern.
We have got the top line number from the Administration on our national security needs as they see it prior to the completion of the top to bottom review, and essentially it would be an exaggeration to say there was any meaningful increase in the top line. And so perhaps being optimistic, we have an opportunity during this review to make sure that these needs, quality of life needs, et cetera, are included in the budget request that comes over here, and we want to work with you to make sure that the Administration, or the folks over at the Office of Managment and Budget (OMB) who are making these decisions, understand how serious this is. You talked about Army housing being 69 percent of the units is inadequate, or language to that extent, and I believe you indicated that the overall cost to bring those units up to standard would be something in the neighborhood of $2 billion; is that right?
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General RALSTON. The $2 billion that I referred to was the backlog in military construction and real property maintenance, more than just the family housing. That is the barracks, the family housing and the workplaces that the people are in. I think the military construction is on the order of 600 million or so.
Mr. SAXTON. So the $2 billion that you believe there is a need to provide includes support facilities and operational facilities as well as housing and barracks needs?
General RALSTON. Yes, sir it is those three main categories of unaccompanied housing, barracks if you will, the military family housing and the work spaces.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. I have talked to our staff on this side and I haven't had a chance to talk with Mr. Taylor who is my partner but I think we might want to communicate with the Administration on this subject to make sure that they understand that we have heard and understand the need and what the requirements are and we will certainly look forward to working with you, but I want to just repeat, I hope somebody from the Administration understands that there is no way we are going to be able to add significant numbers. We have got a process here and it is a difficult one sometimes, and as Mr. Hefley quite correctly pointed out, there is no significant political force around here to make those kinds of ads. So we just want everybody to understand that.
General RALSTON. Mr. Saxton, I appreciate your comments and I will assure you that the only issue that I took back to the Pentagon that I complained about was military construction and real property maintenance, and I will continue to do that until, in my judgment, it is adequately addressed.
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Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Part of your area of responsibility is Israel, and I would like to ask a question, if I may. Obviously, many of us, all of us are concerned about what is going on in Israel currently and I was, I am just curious to get your overall impression of the role that we might be able to play. Obviously we all want to see a peaceful resolution to this situation that has evolved there between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and I think also if you could comment on other groups that may be playing a part, seems to me that the Palestinian people would like to be able to live in peaceful situations.
I know the Israeli people would like to live in a peaceful atmosphere. I am not convinced that all the groups there have the same goals. Would you comment on how you see this playing currently and where you think it, how we can be helpful in bringing about a resolution of the situation?
General RALSTON. Mr. Saxton, first of all, I think it is a very serious situation that we have got, because as you point out, not only is it serious for the citizens of Israel, it is serious for the Palestinians that are in the area, and it is also a very serious issue, and this is sometimes not quite appreciated as much as I think it should be for American servicemen and women that are located around the world far away from Israel and the Palestinians.
For example, with the unrest that has taken place in Israel and the Palestinian areas, the number of threats of force protection, the number of explosive devices, if you will, around our areas, everywhere, even in Germany, in England, in Turkey, we are constantly having to increase our procedures to protect our people adequately. So this goes far beyond just the immediate area of Israel and Palestine. What we can do beyond what the Administration is doing, in other words, encouraging a dialogue on the part of both parties, I don't have specific suggestions for that.
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This is a terrible problem, but I just want to get the point across that it goes beyond the immediate area of the Middle East, and it is very much impacting our operations in Germany, U.K., Spain, Italy, Turkey, Belgium. All of them have been impacted because of the increased threat.
Mr. SAXTON. Can you identify the people that are carrying out those acts of terrorism?
General RALSTON. We can identify certain organizations, and it is no secret that Usama bin Laden's organization is somewhat behind some of this. Not totally him and his organization, but others that use this as an opportunity to get people stirred up and use it as an opportunity to bash America and to take the threat out on American servicemen and women.
The CHAIRMAN. Chair recognizes the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Bartlett.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much. General, we have been told that with our two major regional conflicts, policy that the first conflict would present moderate risk, and the second conflict would present high risk. I want to follow the line of questioning that was started by Mr. Spence.
I think that it is very probable that we will not have a single conflict. There are opportunists out there that if we were engaged one place, I think would see a target of opportunity and would engage us elsewhere, and so I think it is very probable that we will have none or two.
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Moderate risk means that we are going to lose more treasure and more young people, more of our military personnel than if it was low risk, and high risk of course means that we are going to lose a lot more than if it were moderate or low risk. And my question is, what would it take so that we have a low risk for the first conflict and a moderate risk for the second conflict rather than the present presumption that these are moderate and high?
General RALSTON. Mr. Bartlett, let me give you a personal opinion on that and suggest that that is a better question for the chairman of the joint chiefs or the vice chairman, because notI have got only the EUCOM area here. Let me give you the first thing that we are short of, and everybody knows this, you are short of strategic airlift. One of the reasons that it takes longer for that second theater is because it takes longer to get stuff there. We don't have as much strategic airlift as this Nation needs in order to get units to the place.
And because you can't get the units there to engage in conflict early on, that is why it takes longer, that is why the risk goes up and that is why you have a greater chance of casualties. But I would suggest that is more appropriately a question for the joint chiefs as opposed to the EUCOM AOR.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you. I don't know how familiar you are with Yamantau Mountain, but the Soviets and now the Russians have spent probably about $6 billion on what is probably the world's largest nuclear secure underground facility. They are still doing that. They have two closed cities with a population of 60,000. There has been a recent ramp up in the population of those cities indicating they are still continuing robustly to build under Yamantau Mountain. I asked why are they doing that, and the answer I get is that they are paranoid.
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Relative to this assessment, I have a question about expanding NATO. NATO was a defense force that was put in place to counter the Warsaw Pact which now does not exist. If Russia is doing Yamantau Mountain and other similar things because they are paranoid and they certainly are paranoid about the advancement of NATO, my question is, does it make any sense to feed that paranoia by advancing NATO? If we want a friendship society or a goodwill society in Europe, a collection of nations who have common objectives, why do we want to call it NATO and feed Russia's paranoia?
General RALSTON. Mr. Bartlett, whether NATO expands, or when NATO expands, is a political decision, not a military one, as it should be. I take it as a very serious responsibility to try to provide our political authorities my best military advice on what the status of the military of a particular applicant is, what does the geography mean to alliance in terms of defense? Do they have civilian control of the military? Are they at peace with their neighbors? A whole set of objective criteria. But at the end of the day, it is quite properly a political decision to be made in the capitals of the alliance as to whether NATO should expand, when it should expand, and who should be offered membership in that alliance.
Mr. BARTLETT. I understand that this is probably a question better addressed to others, but they don't appear before our committee, and I just wanted to get this on the public record. I am having great difficulty understanding why Russia is doing all of these things which are counterproductive to our future security, and they are doing it because they are paranoid, why we ought to be feeding that paranoia. I hope to this get out there and have it discussed. I agree that the countries of Europe ought to get together. I am not sure that it ought to be called NATO because that is very threatening to Russia. Why would we want to do that? Thank you very much.
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The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Rhode Island, Mr. Langevin, is recognized.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General, I want to thank you for your testimony this morning. Just a brief comment. I want to thank you for highlighting the poor conditions, the living conditions, of our troops. I want you to know, that is something I am greatly concerned about as a member of this committee. I hope you will continue to raise the issue, and I am optimistic and hopeful that this committee will appropriate the funds to remedy the problem.
General RALSTON. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
General, aloha. The national missile defense, we hear a lot about it, costs, talking about radar facility from the north Pacific remote islands. But unless I am mistaken, General, if this national missile defense is to be successfulsetting aside for a moment all of the theoretical questions and the implications on the assumption, for conversation's sake, that this is an infrastructural reality and possible to deployam I not correct that there would of necessity be sites required in Europe, that there would be key radar sites perhaps in Great Britain, Greenland, in order to accomplish this? Particularly, if I understand correctly, there has been at least discussion of the idea that in order to assuage concerns in Europe about the national missile defense and the Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, that Europe be brought into this umbrella of defense or brought into this shield.
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Now, I am not quite sure exactly the requirement for that, why that would be required. Following up on Mr. Bartlett's observation, if Russia, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, is in such poor economic condition, I am not quite sure exactly why they are supposed to be contained or how they are supposed to go about posing a threat that would require the national missile defense being there.
But settingagain, for conversation's sake, setting that aside, what is your estimation then as to what your relationship or what is your estimation as to theor your observation with respect to receptivity on the part of the Europeans to the construction of these radar sites and the extension of the national missile defense in the European theater under which you have responsibility?
General RALSTON. Yes, sir. Let me try to answer the question on two paths here.
Number one, it is my opinion from having talked to the NATO allies in the European countries about this, that the real issue with the European countries, in my judgment, is not whether we build a missile defense or not, but whether or not we unilaterally withdraw from the ABM Treaty. I think there is an appreciation on the part of the European countriesand this was confirmed by Russia, by the way, about a month ago when Lord Robertson, the Secretary General of NATO was in Moscoweven Russia now acknowledges there is a threat from ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. And they acknowledge that it needs a military response, not just a diplomatic one.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And if I could talk about changes to the ABM Treatyand this is something that clearly is being looked at by the administration, and I don't know what the final policy will
be, but let me use this as an illustrative example:
In the 1972 ABM Treaty each side was allowed to have two antimissile sites, one around the nation's capital and one somewhere else. In the case of Moscow, Moscow built an antiballistic system around Moscow.
The Congress of the United States decided that this was a bad idea for the United States, for the American people to see a missile defense built around Washington, but not around anywhere else. So the United States elected to select their site in North Dakota.
Now, if you could technically solve this problem from North Dakota, we wouldn't be in this situation. But technically you cannot do it from North Dakota. You have to go further north if you want to defend against a small number. And, by the way, I wouldthe only point I would make, the missile defense system that I have heard discussed, that I am familiar with, is in no way, shape, or form aimed at Russia; it would not be in any way a threat to Russia's strategic deterrent. What we are talking about is a system that would protect against an accidental launch or an unauthorized launch, or a blackmail launch, from some irrational nation.
Now, there is anotherso the idea of working with the Russians to modify the ABM Treaty in some way that would be acceptable to both sides, I think that is really a possibility and something that should be pursued.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, the other argument that is made is that if the United States had a missile defense of some kind that this would somehow separate us from the NATO allies and would have a bad effect on the transatlantic alliance. And what I tell my European colleagues is along the following lines: You all remember that there was a newspaper story about the Chinese general who said, do not worry about the United States coming to the defense of Taiwan, because we have got a missile aimed at Los Angeles and the U.S. Doesn't want to exchange Los Angeles for Taipei. Now, regardless of how you feel about that statement, I think you have to acknowledge that any President of the United States would at least have to consider that possibility.
So I tell my European colleagues, flip it over to the other side of the world. What if an irrational actor threatened Berlin and said, don't worry about the United States coming to the defense of Berlin, because we have got one aimed at New York City, and they don't want to exchange New York City for Berlin.
It doesn't make Europe safer because the United States is vulnerable. Europe would be safer in the United States is protected and had the opportunity not to respond to a blackmail threat along those lines.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Just a moment more?
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman may proceed.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you.
That said, my question still goes to the pointyou raised issues here: bipartisan, quality of life, hundreds of millions of dollars involved in that. I don't have time right now, and I hope others, and I expect others, will be asking you about a supplemental budget that might be required.
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That said, is it not a fact then, or is it a fact that a national missile defense extended then into Europe, or whatever you want to call itchange the name of the national defense; call it regional defense or something of that nature. Wouldn't that require billions of dollars of capital investment in radar sites in Europe, et cetera, and would that not compete with the necessities that you have articulated so far today?
General RALSTON. Mr. Abercrombie.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I am asking you to assess the relative strength of these threats in the context of the requests and the observations you were making today about budget problems.
General RALSTON. You are exactly correct. This is something that the Congress of the United States will have to decide, what are the priorities that they want to fund.
But let me add one thing. Under this overall umbrella that I will call missile defense, I think we need to worry about cruise missile defense.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I agree.
General RALSTON. Theater ballistic defense, as well as strategic missile defense.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I agree. You may have to decide on an order of that.
General RALSTON. Yes, there is an order. In fact, that has been addressed by the Joint Chiefs, and there is a considerable amount of resources in the budget today to address each of these issues.
But at the end of the day.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Because my time is running very short, you will agree then that the establishment of necessary radar sites and other infrastructure associated with regional or national or anywhere national missile defense would require additional billions, in all likelihood?
General RALSTON. The only fixed installations that I am aware of under the one-land-based missile defense that has been talked about is a modification of a radar site in the U.K. And the modification of a radar site in Greenland. Whether those two radar sites would cost billions or not, I don't know. That is a question better addressed to the ballistic missile defense.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Ortiz.
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Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General, we certainly appreciate the fine work that you and your troops do with what we give you.
General RALSTON. Thank you, sir.
Mr. ORTIZ. I am concerned about the epidemic that exists now in Germany and Europe, the foot and mouth disease, the mad cow disease. If this crisis continues in Europe, will this have effects on the ability of European Command forces to train and maintain their combat readiness, and do we have any plans to mitigate any of the field training to limit the spread of this disease, because they are talking about the movement of soil.
When you move the equipment from one place to another, are we prepared to conduct training elsewhere if this does happen, or do you think it might place limitations on the groups as far as the exercises?
General RALSTON. Yes, sir, Mr. Ortiz, this is a very serious issue, and I can tell you it is already having an impact because in Germany, for example, the German Government has said, no training. If you have to leave one training area to go to another, you cannot go along the roads and so forth for the regions that you have mentioned. If you happen to be located on Grafenwohr range, then you are okay as long as you stay inside that range area.
But it very definitely has an impact. U.S. Army in Europe is trying to assess the impact right now, to quantify that, to tell us what are the ways around this, what are we going to have to do. Do we have to deploy somewhere else to train? It is a very serious issue.
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I can't tell you exactly what the impacts are. As you know, this came up and just happened, but we are looking at it, and I am concerned about it.
The CHAIRMAN. Would the gentleman yield for one second? The Chair would like to require those whenif and when we have come back. Mr. Hayes, Mr. Schrock. Okay, we will come back.
Mr. ORTIZ. Because readiness is very, very important if you are not ready to move from a particular area, then some part of your readiness will be impacted; and then, of course, if you have to move elsewhere, then you have an additional cost.
General RALSTON. That is correct if you are stationed in an area that is not adjacent to a training area, then clearly as your weapons qualification expires over time, your readiness is impacted. And if the alternative is that you have to somehow pack them up and fly them somewhere else and do the training, yes, sir, that would be a significant increase in cost.
One of the things, by the way, thatif I could go back, that concerns Military Construction (MILCON), for a moment, one of the things I think we could improve in Europe in the United States Army in Europe, we kept a lot of what I will call little mom-and-pop concerns, small installations, their infrastructure is in very bad shape. We will never have enough resources to go and fix all these places and give them a decent gymnasium and a commissary and all of that.
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I think there is an effort we can do in terms of consolidation. General Meigs is looking at that. We have put forward a plan to close maybe 13 of these little mom-and-pop operations and relocate everyone to the range at Grafenwohr, so they are inside the range, they can use the existing gymnasiums, hospitals and commissaries and all; and I think that is by far the most effective and efficient way to do this in a longer term.
Mr. SAXTON. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. ORTIZ. Yes.
Mr. SAXTON. General, if you would provide us with that information on the study and recommendations at the earliest possible time, that would be appreciated.
General RALSTON. Yes.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you very much.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. We have a 15-minute rule and a 5-minute general vote. We have four more members who want to be heard. It will be necessary that we stand in recess for about 20 minutes. Can you accommodate us?
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General RALSTON. Yes, I can.
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair will stand in recess for about 20 minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please come back to order.
The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Schrock.
Mr. SCHROCK. General, again, it is nice to see you here. Thanks for chatting with me.
I don't want to beat a dead horse to death, and I appreciated the comments of Mrs. Tauscher and Mr. Hefley about the housing. I was in the Navy 24 years. My wife, son and I lived in some bad stuff and we lived in some good stuff. It is a quality-of-life issue that will make sure that we keep the best people in and keep the forces as strong as we can, because if mom and the kids are not happy, dad is not going to hang around very long.
Let me give you an example. At Fort Story, an Army post in Virginia Beach at the center of the district I represent, they have 168 sets of quarters; two have been condemned, 166 of them have been red-tagged, which means they are not fit for any human to live in them. And the Sergeant Major of that command was living in a 1,700-square-foot set of quarters whose floors had turned to the consistency of sponge. They had termites, they had asbestos; and I believe the day before yesterday it was bulldozed. That is a huge, huge issue.
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I know you have heard it here a lot. We do not mean to keep bugging you about that. We just need to do what we can in the MILCON budget to make sure that happens.
General RALSTON. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kirk.
Mr. KIRK. General Ralston, it is an honor to be able to talk with you. I wanted to raise two issues with you.
First, on Operation Northern Watch, we were just talking, and I wondered if you could go on the record with this report that the Royal Air Force would be able to carry the whole load of the Northern Watch mission.
I, for one, support the protection of the Kurdish people. I actually would urge the Administration to extend the no-fly zone into the southern PUK area to embolden the Iraqi opposition to fully implement the Iraq Liberation Act.
But what is your feeling on the manning of Northern Watch and whether the Royal Air Force could carry the load?
General RALSTON. Let me put it this way, as far as the Royal Air Force is a very professional force, and I don't want my comments in any way, shape, or form to reflect adversely on that. But if you look at the size of the Royal Air Force and what their commitments are in Southern Watch and other places, if you notice on that typical package that I had there of the 40-some airplanes, a couple of those airplanes are U.K. It would take a sizeable order of magnitude, plus increase in the U.K. Forces, in order to carry out that mission.
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Now, I am not here to pass judgment that they couldn't do that. Clearly, if they have made a national decision to do that, they may be able to do it, but it would not be easy.
And, again, let me reemphasize that my comments, when I make them, are in no way to be construed as being critical of policy that we have got; I am just trying to make sure that everyone is educated. As you very well know, this is not a risk-free operation and sometimes when I talk to the American people, they are astounded that we have people that are at risk or that something could go wrong over northern Iraq. I just want to make sure everybody understands that piece of it.
Mr. KIRK. I think the American people poorly understand that every morning several dozen American men and women risk their lives over northern Iraq60 millimeter, 100 millimeter, BM21, multiple launch rocket system, SA3, SA6, it is the whole gambit. I think, from the feeling of the air crews, we felt like eventually they are going to get one of us.
But on the other side, given the chemical and the biological attacks, the Halabja massacre, the 5,500 men and women and children in one afternoon, the risk is worth what we do. This service is in the highest values of the United States.
Let me touch on a broad subject. If you read the Rumsfeld-Andy Marshall tea leaves, the balance of power between Pacific Command (PACCOM) and European Command (EUCOM) will shift dramatically. We made a decision in December of 1941, after being attacked by an Asian power, to emphasize Europe. And that decision reflected the economic reality of the United States; in 1941, Europe was far more important to the United States. It would seem to me, in the coming review, we are going to dramatically deemphasize the European Command as we emphasize commitment to the Pacific Command.
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Have you been wrestling with this as part of your review?
General RALSTON. Well, I certainly will have an opportunity to discuss this with Secretary Rumsfeld. I just today received a letter requesting my input into the strategy, and so I will clearly be making that input. And what the ultimate decision is, obviously I am in no position to predict or forecast what it is.
I can only tell you the argument that I think I would make is, I say we have a big area of responsibility (AOR). We have got 91 countries as it is; 8 percent of our active duty forces for those 91 countries, I do not believe is excessive. And we have got instances, as you very well know, twice in this previous century when we did ignore Europe and things went badly, it wound up taking a great deal of our treasure and blood from our fighting forces.
So I think the fact that we are there making an investment in the stability and security of Europe is certainly something that you can't ignore. People will say, well, there hasn't been a war in Europe outside of the Balkans in a while. Perhaps one of the reasons is the fact that we have been there to do that.
So I would make the argument that we need to consider that very carefully before we would make a precipitous withdrawal of forces from Europe.
Mr. KIRK. I would agree. I think that your command is probably most of the reason why that third conflict did not happen.
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Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. General, welcome back. If there is a supplemental, how much could the European Command use?
Number two is, one of the frustrations that I share with Mr. Saxton on your housing problems is that I was told by a number of offices that I visited, particularly in Germany, that as we closed some bases and consolidated in others we left some of our housing behind; and we have to start all over. The question is, can you work with our German hosts to come up with a long-range plan to determine which bases will be available for us, so when we make that investment with the idea that these houses are good for 30 years that we actually get 30 years' use out of them?
And the third thing that I would like you to touch on is, I personally believe the absolutely best ambassadors our Nation has are the young men and women in uniform. I think we are continuing to miss a golden opportunity in places like Bosnia, where the only way they see our forces is in full battle gear, on duty, armed to the teeth. And the young men and women who respect our country are not allowed to go into the town off duty to let them see the true faces of Americans that are behind the face of helmet.
That is when I know we will accomplish our goals, when Americans are safe walking the streets of Bosnia, when Bosnians are safe walking the streets of Bosnia. At what point do we start normalizing our relationship with the Bosnians, opposed to presenting only an armed face that either tells them we are scared of them or tells them they should be afraid of us?
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General RALSTON. Yes, sir. Mr. Taylor, let me try to take each of those. Let me talk about the first one and I am not giving you this answer to avoid the question, but I think it is important we understand the role of the Commander in Chief (CINC) here. I don't have a comptroller at EUCOM. I don't get issued money. The services take care of that for me. In other words, if I need air forces, I expect the United States Air Force to do the funding and the flying hours and what is necessary. I expect the United States Army to do the same, and the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps.
So the service chiefs have told me that each of them is short X amount of resources in terms of the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) budget to get through fiscal year 2001, but that is a decision that is made in Washington as to whether or not EUCOM gets fully funded and you take it out of the Continental United States (CONUS) or you take some from PACCOM or whatever.
So I can't give you how much EUCOM needs to do. That is something that is a compilation of each of the services.
Mr. TAYLOR. General, if I may interrupt. If you can't give us a number, don't complain that you did not get any money. I am giving you an opportunity to tell me what you need so we can build a case for a supplemental. If you don't give us a number, we can't help you.
General RALSTON. I understand that, but again there is no line in the budget for EUCOM. EUCOM doesn't get O&M money, so I can't tell you how much O&M needs. I am not trying to avoid the question from you. Each of the service chiefs has said they are X dollars short. They have told me they were short; they have not told me how much EUCOM's piece of that is. We have had discussions with the Secretary of Defense so he needs to understand what the shortages are. If you took their shortage, in other words, if EUCOM got the same cut as CONUS base and as PACCOM got, thenlet me take the Air Force for exampleI am told that the United States Air Force in Europe will have to stop flying in August. If you don't take a fair share, cut EUCOM, because of Northern Watch and what is going on in Bosnia and Kosovo, I may get 100 percent of what I need and somebody in the CONUS would take a deeper cut than before.
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So that is the reason I cannot give you a number for EUCOM, because EUCOM does not have a number.
Am I answering the question in that regard?
Mr. TAYLOR. In all fairness, you are not answering the question. These numbers should be determined from the bottom up, not from some guy sitting in the Pentagon saying I need X dollars. If the regional commanders can't report back to the Pentagon and say, I have had increased fuel costs and operating costs, this is what it costs me, it ought to come from the bottom. It ought to come from each of the regional commanders determining their need, as opposed to somebody sitting across the river making up a number.
So I do disagree with you, sir.
General RALSTON. I understand and I will continue to work with you but I must emphasize again this is not something EUCOM does. I don't have budgeteers, I don't have a comptroller, this is something that is handled within service channels from the EUCOM commander up to the Air Force chain.
I have talked to Mike Ryan, the chief of the Air Force, about this. I said, how much am I going to get? He says, I don't know. Until I find out how much I am going to get, I can't tell you how much I am short, other than to say in the case of Air Force flying hours, if I take the same cut as everybody else, then I would quit flying in August.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Your second question on consolidation, we have put together a plan to do exactly as you say. Let's figure out which of bases that we are not going to stay at, let's try to consolidate on the ones that are the best, that have the best training opportunities, and let's put whatever resources we have into that. That is what I am calling the consolidation plan. We are working that through the services, and that will be made available to the Congress.
Mr. SKELTON. Will the gentleman yield on that?
Mr. TAYLOR. I am not in a position to yield.
The CHAIRMAN. Does the gentleman want to be recognized?
Mr. SKELTON. Yes. You have already started that haven't you? You have already shut down Bad Kreuznach. How many others in that same category were shut down at the same time as Bad Kreuznach.
General RALSTON. We have shut down in total about 600 of the various bases from 800 and something down to 200. My own judgment is, we have not gone far enough. We need to continue to shut down more. And in particular, the Giessen area, there are 13 installations that General Meigs and I have talked about, that we would like to close them down and put them at Grafenwohr. We have also looked at moving forces out of GermanyI am sorry, moving forces, wherever the Army wants to do that, into the southern region in Italy. I think there is certainly a case that can be made geopolitically to get more forces into the southern region, and that is a plan we are working. So I think we are working through that and we will provide that to the Congress.
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With regard to your third issue, let's talk about Bosnia in particular and the issue of having the young American women servicemen and -women not in full battle dress into the cities. And I agree with you that that would be a wonderful signal and would be a great service in terms of ambassadors of the United States. That obviously is balanced against the need for force protection and the threat level at the time.
My own view is, what is badly needed in Bosnia is a functioning police force. If you had a functioning police force, then there would be the opportunity for American servicemen and -women that are there to, in fact, participate more in a normal way of life. But we do not have adequate rule of law, we do not have adequate police forces there now.
My own judgment is that the risk today mitigates in favor of force protection. I do believe we ought to be moving in the direction you are talking about. I don't think we are there yet.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentlelady from California is recognized. No questions.
Mrs. Davis. Welcome back.
The Chair recognizes Mrs. Davis from Virginia.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's the other Mrs. Davis.
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General, thank you for coming to testify today. I do have a question. You have stated earlier, in your opening remarks, that you do not have a carrier there, but there is one in CENTCOM I am assuming that that means we just have a shortage of carriers and that is why you don't have one.
But would you have concerns if the size of the strike package for air carrier wings was reduced?
General RALSTON. Under our current plan, under our current force levels that we have got, each of the CINCs is authorized X number of days per year of a carrier battle group. And in the case of CENTCOM, the planning factor is for them, I believe, to have 270 days a year. But if, in fact, they have to go to 365 days out of the year, that has to come from somewhere else, and it has come from EUCOM.
So that is what drives me down to 180 days or so. If, in fact, you reduce that force structure even further, then, in fact, you would have a proportionally less number of days per year.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. In view of the recent comments that they are talking about, reducing the size itself of the carrier, how do you personally feel about that?
General RALSTON. I honestly have no knowledge whatsoever about what people are talking about or not talking about. I read in the papers what you have, some of those things. My own view is, I need the carrier days that are in the current plan, which I am not getting, and if I had fewer, I would get even less. So I wouldn't be terribly excited about that.
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Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. You note that the Marines have a problem with their air wings, and you said that is a readiness concern. Based on that, I will ask you two questions.
I know the Harrier is a different airplane, but would production and employment of the Joint Force Surgeon (JFS) be helpful in relieving some of the stress, number one? And number two, could you provide the committee readiness statistics for EUCOM's F15s and F16s?
General RALSTON. With regard to your latter question, I will be happy to provide for the record the readiness statistics in terms of mission capable rates and so forth for the F16s and F15s.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
General RALSTON. With regard to the first issue, my own view is the Harrier force is well beyond its service life. It is a difficult airplane to maintain. It needs a replacement. Whether that replacement is the Joint Strike Fighter or something else is obviously a decision for the U.S. Marine Corps and for the Administration and the Congress to resolve.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. And you will provide on the F15s and F16s, later for the record?
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General RALSTON. Yes, ma'am.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, sir. That is all I have.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Hayes.
Mr. HAYES. Good morning, again. Welcome back.
General RALSTON. Thank you, sir.
Mr. HAYES. A couple of questions: Back to the Bosnia security issue, we seem to be having problems with Macedonia. I apologize for being late. Recap briefly for me, if you can, what our status is there in terms of progress, lack of progress, holding your own.
General RALSTON. Let me get my two charts back up here, the Bosnia thermometer chart.
Mr. Hayes, the situation on the ground in Bosnia is obviously much, much better today than it was 4 or 5 years ago; and I think an indirect measure of that is this chart that I will put up here.
On the left-hand side of the thermometer, the blue line is the 60,000 troops we put into Bosnia in December of 1995. At that time, the red bar is 20,000 Americans. We had 20,000 American ground troops that we put in. We were 33 percent of the force. But as the situation on the ground has improved, we have been able to withdraw those forces, and today we are down to about 20,000 troops overall from 34 nations.
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The United States today provides about 20 percent of that, about 4,000, and I got approval of a recommendation that I had made back to the Administration, just a couple of weeks ago, to take that down further to about 3,500 American forces here in the next couple of months.
And, as an example, we had Apache helicopters there. I don't need Apache helicopters today in order to handle the situation on the ground. So here was a weapons system that had a lot of maintenance people that went with it. That is something we could remove and take them home. I didn't need as many tanks or Armored Personnel Carrier (APCs), Bradley vehicles, as we had.
So if we are now down or will be in a couple months to 18 percent of the force and with 3,500 Americans, that is a tremendous improvement over what it was of 25,000 Americans 4 years ago. We review the force levels every 6 months. We review the situation on the ground, what is the threat, and try to make a recommendation. And so I think that process is working reasonably well, and I think the force levels reflect the improvement on the ground.
With regard to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, here is a situation where it is a country that has a border with Kosovo. We have about 37,000 troops inside Kosovo. That is the 39 nations' total; about 5,500 of those are Americans. And we have about 5,000 logistics and support troops in Macedonia, not combat troops; and the American contingent is about 400. They were primarily logistics, they were supply troops; they get the supply from the port in Thessaloniki in Greece and up through FYROM into Kosovo.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The situation that we have there is, the countrythe country of Macedonia is about one-third Albanian and two-thirds Slavic. The Albanians live primarily in the north close to the Kosovo border. The Albanians will tell you they have been denied access to the political process and economic opportunities, and that is what they desire. The Macedonian government is a democratically elected government. It is composed of both Slavic parties as well as Albanian parties.
We have, as NATO and as the U.S., tried to put pressure on the Albanian extremists, that they are doing no one any good, including their own cause; and we have tried to encourage the Macedonian government to use restraintdon't go in and wipe out villages and further inflame their own citizens of Albanian extraction.
My judgment is that the situation has improved over the last few days. It is always possible that it can go badly at any time. So continued restraint on the part of both is necessary, and a dialogue between the various preliminary factions is important. There is not a military solution to this problem; there is only a preliminary solution to it.
Mr. HAYES. I found your comments about the Marshall Center and the Joint Peace Program very interesting. Are we pursuing that actively?
General RALSTON. The Marshall Center, I think, is one of the great things that we have got going in European Command in terms of writing people from various nations.
Let me give you a little story, if I may, here. I was in the country of Albania not long ago. I was having lunch with the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister's wife was sitting on my right. And she told me about the life-changing experience that she had had. She had attended school at the Marshall Centerthis was before she was the wife of the Prime Ministerand while she was there, during the course, her husband was elected Prime Minister. And so the school authorities went to her and said, I am sure you want to go back to Albania to be with your husband, he is the Prime Minister; and she said, no, I want to finish the course. And she stayed there and completed the course at the Marshall Center.
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And she saysshe then told me about the contacts that she had made at the Marshall Center, and every day when she and her husband are facing issues in Albania, she has some e-mail traffic going back and forth to the Marshall Center, asking what is their input, what do they think of this issue, and gets the inputs; and she provides them back into the government. Here is a situation that has, we never expected that. When this lady was selected as a student at the Marshall Center, did anybody know she was going to be the wife of the Prime Minister and would have this kind of influence some time? No. But there are literally a hundred stories like that out there of the people that go to the Marshall Center.
Mr. HAYES. One more question, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. HAYES. Put your flight suit on for a minute, General. Talk to me about the F22.
General RALSTON. Mr. Hayes, let me put it this way: In my current job as the EUCOM commander, I have got enough on my mind trying to deal with the Balkans and 91 countries that I don't follow the procurement programs back here in Washington.
Mr. HAYES. I am not talking about procurement, as a flyer.
General RALSTON. Yes, sir, let me talk to you in terms of the need. I attended the first flight of the first F15. I was a captain. This was in 1972; that was 29 years ago. At that point wasn't when the F15 was designed; it wasn't when it was thought of. That is when it was airborne. So the technology in the F15 is over 35 years old. It is still a good airplane, and it is our premier airplane that we have got today, but I don't believe that it is fair to ask America's sons and daughters to go into combat in the F15 in the year 2010 and beyond. And you need a replacement.
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The F22, I think, isfrom everything I know about it is an excellent airplane. I must tell you, I do not follow the particular details on the F22 because I am doing other things.
But the need is there.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, sir. One more thing, Mr. Chairman, if I may. Think about this: With the foot and mouth disease problem that we face, and it is huge. Think about how we can get our folks coming back from areas that are areas that are infected, to do a simple disinfection process there, and here, to prevent that problem on this, sir.
General RALSTON. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Texas is recognized, Mr. Turner.
Mr. TURNER. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
General Ralston, it was a pleasure for Mr. Skelton, Mr. Hill and I to be in Germany and be able to see some of the housing improvements that are being made in Ramstein and other locations there. And I am convinced that it is one of the best investments we can make in terms of continuing to improve quality of life and the morale of airmen and soldiers. And I appreciate your interest and your commitment in continuing that.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I wanted to ask you about a portion of your remarks that I have read here, and I am sorry I wasn't here earlier. They address the evolving European Unions defense initiative. And I want to ask you, and I have read what you have to say about it, but it seems to me that one of the things that you mention that you would like to see happen is that relationship evolve between NATO and the European Union's defense efforts. You really envision a structure where NATO would basically be integrated in, that the leadership of the European Union's defense effort would be at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) headquarters, and when decisions were made regarding intervention in world problems that the European Union would be, in effect, secondary to NATO.
And I was wondering, from what I am reading about the Europeans' interest, though they haven't really made the financial commitments yet necessary to have a viable effort; their intentions are strong. And I am not sure their objectives are the same as you have expressed.
And you mention the failure of the foreign ministers meeting in Brussels that occurred recently, the failure to reach agreement on some of these things. And I would appreciate your characterization of really what the Europeans' interests are and what our interests are and what you see as the future of that relationship.
General RALSTON. Yes, sir, Mr. Turner, I appreciate that. Let me make an overall statement at the beginning.
For years and years we in the United States have asked our European allies to carry a greater share of the burden for the security of Europe. So then when they decide to do something about it, we get nervous and say, well, we are not so sure about that. So I think we need to be consistent, and that is why I have said that I support whatever the European Union does, the countries of the European Union, to improve their defensive posture.
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Now, the caveat I put on that: It needs to be done in a way that doesn't detract from the NATO alliance. And I am most concerned about the planning activity between these two organizations. How do you keep them tied together and make sure that they are mutually reenforcing, as opposed to being in opposition to one another?
And that is why I have suggested that if you do the planning at SHAPE headquarters, take the four countries that are members of the European Union that are not in NATO right nowFinland, Sweden, Austria and Ireland; and by the way, I already have representatives from those four countries in Monshave them decide to do the planning with us. And that planning can be done under the direction of the deputy Supreme Allied Command Europe (SACEUR) who is a European, who will always be from a European Union country. And then that planning can be provided simultaneously to the European Union and then to NATO. And then the two political bodies will have the same set of military plans, same set of options, same set of military advisors; and then the two political bodies can make whatever decision they want to make.
By the way, let me give you an example. In the European Union it is very difficult for me to imagine any operation that the European Union would carry out where they wouldn't need air surveillance, and that needthat they will need NATO AWACS. How are the NATO nations, the eight nations in NATO that aren't a part of the European Unionyou have crew members and airplanes in the NATO AWACS force; how are they going to decide if they want their crews to go off on this mission if they haven't had an opportunity to talk about it?
So if you do it the way I have talked about, it gives the NATO nation an opportunity to discuss that. If NATO decides, for whatever reason, they don't want to support this operation, and it is fine for the European Union to do it, then they ought not to complain about providing the AWACS to go along with it. On the other hand, if they want to do it themselves, then I think NATO should do it.
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The second issue, if you set up a second headquarters to do this planning in the European Union, it will waste a lot of resources in terms of buildings, in terms of officers assigned; and these are resources that more appropriately should be put into the battalions, the squadrons, and ships to truly improve the alliance.
And, third, who is going to deconflict tasking here? If the European Union says, I want battalion X from Germany on this operation that I am going on, how do we know that battalion X from Germany is not already committed to a NATO plan?
So that is why you need to have this planning done in one place that supports both organizations. If we do not do it that way, then I am very concerned that, in fact, we will set up an organization that will be in conflict with NATO. It will cause confusion, waste of resources and double-tasking in times of crisis.
Mr. TURNER. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Chambliss, is recognized.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Good morning, General. How are you. We still miss you at Moody, but we know that Europe is in good hands with you.
General RALSTON. Thank you, sir.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHAMBLISS. And obviously you have done a good job, because one of the last conversations you and I had before you left is your apprehension at what would happen over there and how volatile the situation is. And, by golly, we send you over there and next thing we know the civilians topple the government in Kosovo. And we need to find some other place to send you, I guess, to see those same results.
One thing that was a real concern during the early days after the fighting was stopped in Bosnia and, I know, Kosovo was the establishment of some sort of judicial system, some sort of rule of law over there.
Can you give us an update on the rule of law over there and are we making any significant progress?
General RALSTON. Yes, sir, and it is different in the two different countries. Let me talk Kosovo first.
There was a crying need a year ago to get a functioning judicial system. That means the judges, the prosecutors, the police, and we have made a lot of progress in that regard. We in fact do have a substantial number of judges and international prosecutors. We have trained over 3,000 indigenous people from Kosovo as police officers. This is across all ethnic groups; there were Albanians, there are Serbs, there are minorities, there are men, there are women, and it is a real success story. This is something done under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and as I say, today they have over 350 that they have out on the beat, patrolling. We were training 300 a month.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC By the way we have a retired Marine officer, Steve Bennett, who is running this police academy, and he's doing an absolutely magnificent job. I think we ought to keep that going because that is the answer to this thing, to get the local people to do their own policing and their own rule of law.
So I feel very good about the situation in Kosovo and where that is going.
I don't have the same confidence level in Bosnia. We have not made as much progress in terms of police out on the street and the rule of law. Militarily, we are doing very well in Bosnia. In terms of the former enemies going back to war with each other, that is not a high probability right now. But we do have a very big need for police on the street and the rule of law.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. With respect to what is going on in Macedonia right now, I know that historically has been a prime arena for training terrorists, particularly by al-Quaeda Islamic Jihad folks. Are we seeing any evidence of participation by those groups in Macedonia right now?
General RALSTON. Mr. Chambliss, I don't have any direct evidence of that. One of things I am concerned about is extremist activity on anybody's part, whether it is extremist from the Albanian sides or from the Slavic sides. That is why we have gone out of our way to put pressure on the Albanian parties, to make sure they are not using extremist tactics.
We have also put pressure on the Macedonian authorities to make sure they don't overreact and cause this situation to get worse. They have got to have a political dialogue between the two parties. There is not a military solution to this conflict. A military solution is going to take us down the wrong road. So we are trying to encourage that political dialogue, and I am hopeful that the parties will act responsibly on this.
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Mr. CHAMBLISS. This obviously is a different scenario in Macedonia than what we had in Kosovo and Bosnia. Do you take any comfort in the fact that we do not have as strong, I won't say ''dictator,'' but it is obviously close to that, at least in Kosovo, presence there that is going to cause us the same kind of problems that we encountered in Kosovo.
Have we learned anything and are we prepared to participate to bring that to a conclusion?
General RALSTON. Well, I believe that the huge difference that we have got here is that in Macedonia we have a democratically elected government. They are trying very hard. They are very Western oriented. They are an applicant for NATO membership. They would love to be a member of NATO. They are a Partnership for Peace nation. They have supported the U.S. And NATO and all of the 39 nations in the Kosovo force superbly with facilities in Macedonia, with all of our supply routes, everything goes through there. So that is a different situation.
Here is a government that is trying to reform. They have got problems because of the economic issues, because of the years of communism and all that they were under, but they are proud of their country, they are proud of their government. It is a democratically elected government, and I think it is a much, much better situation than what we were facing with Kosovo.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Thank you, General, and thanks for the great job you have always done and you continue to do.
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General RALSTON. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Anyone for a second go-round?
Mr. Skelton, Mrs. Davis, Mr. Abercrombie, do you care to be recognized again?
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Chairman, my questions were answered about the police force. I just wanted to make a comment that I think is the key to this. The fact that it hasn't gone further, though, is a little disturbing to me. In addition, let me just ask this then.
When do you foresee that being sufficiently completed, if you will, to withdraw American troops in the various instances. I realize Kosovo is a little bit different situation, but going back, do you think your remarks in the earlier session about Bosnia, et cetera.
General RALSTON. Let me go back to Bosnia for a moment. Put my thermometer chart up again, please.
The one thing that Secretary Powell said, that we are moving in this direction, that with the 19 NATO nations and the 34 nations in Bosnia, we went in together and we will come out together, so this is something we do as a collaborative process, and that we, every 6 months, do a review of how the forces are going. And I think you can see on the chart we have made what I would say is very reasonable progress in that regard.
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Now you are asking me to project, when is that line going to run down to zero down here, and I am afraid I can't do that.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I won't say zero, but if we are going incrementally here, even 2 percent at a time. I think there has got to be some exponential change, rather than mathematical change, if in fact the police forces and the judicial system are operating reasonably effectively here.
General RALSTON. You are exactly right. That is whatI came back to General Shelton with my proposal that as soon as you can get a functioning police force, then I can do a dramatic reduction in the number of forces that are here.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Is the establishment and the sustenance of that police judicial system a function of funding? Do we have sufficient funding for that, in your estimation?
General RALSTON. When we say ''we,'' this is something that is obviously not a military line item. This is something all the nations would have to contribute to.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Is it sufficient, the funding part?
General RALSTON. My judgment right now, it is not. Let me give you an example. Let me switch to Kosovo for a minute, because I am familiar with the numbers there.
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While we have got a very good start on the police system in Kosovoand as I say, we are training 300 police officers a month, we put them out on the street. You know what we are paying them? We are paying them $150 a month. Now $150 a month, even in Kosovo, is not enough for a family to live on, and that subjects them to corruption, payoffs and so forth. That is a problem. And that is solely a function of how much the international community is willing to provide for support of the police.
I think a similar situation exists in Bosnia. I don't have the exact numbers for you in Bosnia.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. At some point, they are going to have to pay their own people.
General RALSTON. At some point you are going to have to pay their own people. That is why you have to get the economy up and going and everything else that goes with that.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I am following up on your question. I will be happy to yield.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. I am curious who is paying for that. Are we footing the bill?
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General RALSTON. No, sir. It comes from OSCE and the United Nations. United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is responsible. Now, it is a little bit of a complex thing, because there are certain revenues that the UNMIC administrator in Kosovo gets from Customs and all of the other things that come in and that go into the general budget, but that has to be supplemented with funds from the United Nations.
The OSCE, Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, is funding much of the police work that is there in the police academy. So it is a combination of what is locally generated plus donations from the international community.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. We are a participant in OSCE?
General RALSTON. Yes, sir, we were.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. It sounds like we are footing a significant portion of it indirectly.
General RALSTON. We obviously contribute to it, but it is certainly not the majority.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Does that come out of DOD funds?
General RALSTON. No, sir.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHAMBLISS. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Schrock.
Mr. TURNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Ralston, this question I think in a way relates to your discussion of the European Union's defense initiative. In so many areas, it seems that we have seen our allies pulling away from us in a sense, seeking their own identity, their own role. Perhaps it is a part of the general resistance to the fact that we are the world's remaining superpower.
When we see things like, irrespective of our views on the Kyoto Treaty, which the President just recently announced we would pull out of, there seems to be a potential for a growing sense around the world that we are going on our own; and that same sense is present when we discuss the issue of national missile defense. And I would like for you to give us your candid views on the attitude and help us understand the attitude of our European allies with regard to missile defense.
I mean, it is obvious that we are the ones currently that feel a threat; and therefore, we have an interest in protecting ourselves against rogue nations and their potential for delivery of a nuclear, chemical, or biological warhead to our shores. The Europeans don't share that, and yet you in your remarks suggested that perhaps we should have discussions with our allies about possible cooperation, maybe.
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I don't know if you were going so far as suggesting sharing a missile defense, which obviously they may not currently be interested in, but I gathered from your remarks, you may be suggesting we should move down that road. But if you could just for a moment give us your assessment of what our allies really think about our interest in missile defense and your opinion as to which direction we should be moving on this subject.
General RALSTON. Yes, sir. I do believe that recently the dialogue, the consultation that we have had with European allies, coupled with Secretary General Robertson's trip to Moscow a month ago, where the Russians now came on with a proposal that, in fact, they did see a threateven the Russians saw a threat in terms of cruise missile defense, theater ballistic defense, as well as strategic missile defense. And the Russians, further in their proposal, agreed that it required a military response, not just a diplomatic response that they had said before.
So I sense that there is an appreciation on the part of the Europeans that, in fact, there is a threat and that something does need to be done about it. So I don't sense that there is opposition to missile defense per se. What the concern is is the prospect of the U.S. Doing a unilateral withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, and that has a lot of political ramifications.
And in my own indelicate way, I see people are not looking for the return of the Bertrand Russell days with the protests in the street and all that might come about if you had an unilateral withdrawal of the ABM Treaty.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General RALSTON. So I believe that if it were possible for the United States and the Russians to come to an agreement on changes to the ABM treaty that the opposition from the Europeans would in fact disappear. I do believe that we should do a better job of explaining the missile threat and, as I say in my umbrella, I would say cruise missiles, cruise missiles can be just as deadly as ballistic missiles, and it takes a different technology to counter a cruise missile than a ballistic missile.
I think theater ballistic missilesthe Surface to Surface Missile System (SCUD) missiles can obviously be very deadly and dangerous, and we need a way to counter that, and we are working on that.
Then, finally, you get the strategic nuclear reentry vehicle. That takes a different technology because the speeds are so much greater in that particular missile than a theater ballistic missile.
So I think each of these takes a separate technical solution. I think we ought to be working on all three of them and then having these kinds of discussions with the Europeans. But I do believe it is key for the Europeans that the U.S. Have a dialogue with the Russians on how can we collectively agree to the type of system that we would need.
Mr. TURNER. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. General, we thank you for your time. We thank you for your excellent testimony. Care to make any closing remarks?
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General RALSTON. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to thank you and to thank the committee for the absolutely superb support that you have given to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines of the European Command. It was my privilege and honor to appear before you today and hopefully explain to you some of the unique operations that are ongoing in the European Command and some of our needs, and I thank you for that.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir, very much.
No other questions?
Meeting stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:01 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]