SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 1094]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2006H.R. 1815
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING
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TITLE IIIOPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
DIVISION BMILITARY CONSTRUCTION AUTHORIZATIONS
MARCH 3, 15, AND APRIL 6, 2005
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado, Chairman
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
JEFF MILLER, Florida
MIKE ROGERS, Alabama
JOE SCHWARZ, Michigan
CATHY McMORRIS, Washington
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHOWARD P. ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
JEB BRADLEY, New Hampshire
CANDICE MILLER, Michigan
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
LANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
JIM MARSHALL, Georgia
KENDRICK B. MEEK, Florida
MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, Guam
TIM RYAN, Ohio
MARK UDALL, Colorado
G.K. BUTTERFIELD, North Carolina
Mary Ellen Fraser, Counsel
Paul Lewis, Counsel
Ryan Vaart, Professional Staff Member
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCLindsay Young, Staff Assistant
Sarah Gelinas, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Wednesday, April 6, 2005, Fiscal Year 2006 National Defense Authorization ActMilitary Services' Requirement on Reconstitution of Equipment
Wednesday, April 6, 2005
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6, 2005
FISCAL YEAR 2006 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTMILITARY SERVICES' REQUIREMENT ON RECONSTITUTION OF EQUIPMENT
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Hefley, Hon. Joel, a Representative from Colorado, Chairman, Readiness Subcommittee
Ortiz, Hon. Solomon P., a Representative from Texas, Ranking Member, Readiness Subcommittee
Christianson, Lt. Gen. Claude V., Deputy Chief of Staff, G4, United States Army
Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, Director, Congressional Budget Office
Hugel, Rear Adm. Mark A., Deputy Director for Fleet Readiness (OPNAV N43B), Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, United States Navy
Huly, Lt. Gen. Jan C., Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations, United States Marine Corps
Wetekam, Gen. Donald J., Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations and Logistics, United States Air Force
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Christianson, Lt. Gen. Claude V.
Hefley, Hon. Joel
Hugel, Rear Adm. Mark A.
Huly, Lt. Gen. Jan C.
Ortiz, Hon. Solomon P.
Wetekam, Lt. Gen. Donald J.
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mrs. Davis (Jo Ann)
FISCAL YEAR 2006 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTMILITARY SERVICES' REQUIREMENT ON RECONSTITUTION OF EQUIPMENT
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House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, April 6, 2005.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:08 p.m. in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Joel Hefley (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JOEL HEFLEY, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM COLORADO, CHAIRMAN, READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. HEFLEY. The committee will come to order, and please be seated, gentlemen.
I apologize, first of all, for being a little tardy here. I was in the Terrorism Subcommittee hearing dealing with a subject that was very important to me. So I just am running a little late, and I hate to do that.
I want to welcome you to this afternoon's subcommittee hearing on resetting or reconstitution of military equipment returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
This is the subcommittee's second hearing on this topic; the first was held in October of 2003. Much of the testimony at that time indicated that there was not enough information yet to determine the cost of reset. Today, we do know more. Through emergency supplemental funding, the military services have received approximately $9 billion for reset cost. The fiscal year 2005 emergency supplemental has a request for approximately $9.8 billion for reset requirements. Although these figures are large, there are more bills to come. We will most likely see those bills in a fiscal year 2006 emergency supplemental.
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A structured reset program requires time, facilities, spare parts, trained workers, contractors, forward deployed maintenance workers and full funding that includes both operation and maintenance of procurement dollars. It is not clear to me if the reset programs are fully funded. I have asked the director of the Congressional Budget Office to be present today in order to decipher the different methods that can be used to calculate reset costs. Reset is a priority and a must-pay bill. Congress must understand how each of the services has determined the size of the bill and managing implementation.
I also intend to explore today to what extent factors other than money limit reset. Do we have the spare parts? Are there adequate facilities both at home and in the theatre? And the most challenging factor, time; how much time will it take?
Not surprisingly the Army and Marine Corps have the most significant challenges. The current operational tempo (OPTEMPO), combined with the aging fleet and significant combat losses challenge the Army and the Marine Corps ability to sustain operational availability. I expect to learn today what actions the Army and the Marine Corps are taking to meet this challenge.
I would like to gain a better understanding of the difference between reset and recap, two important programs in the Army. I would also like to better understand the Marines cross-leveling of equipment as a means to make up equipment shortfalls.
I would like to now turn to Mr. Ortiz, the Ranking Member, to see if he has any opening remarks.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Hefley can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM TEXAS, RANKING MEMBER, READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I join you in welcoming our distinguished witnesses, and I look forward to hearing the testimony on this important readiness issue.
Before I begin, I would like to first express my thanks and appreciation to our military personnel for all the sacrifices they make in providing for our defense.
I would like also to recognize the support of the many dedicated government service civilians and private individuals who work hard to help maintain the readiness of our armed forces. We cannot fight and win without them, and I thank them for their dedicated service to our national defense.
Mr. Chairman, our armed forces have been engaged in combat operations for over three years now, and the stress of this continuous combat is clearly evident on our military's equipment. Increased usage rates, environmental conditions and heavier armor are wearing out our ground and air equipment as much as five times faster than peacetime. This problem is only made more difficult by the Department of Defense's (DOD) requirement to reconfigure equipment to meet its goals of transformation.
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While I have been pleased to see the effort that the service has put into meeting these challenges, I am very concerned by the growing backlog of expenses that have not been requested by the Department's fiscal year 2006 budget for the supplemental budget request. By Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) estimates, this growing mountain of worn-out equipment could cost as much as $18 billion to repair or replace. This is an enormous shortfall, and surely it will have an effect on our ability to respond to continuances in the future.
I hope the officers on our panel today, who have the very difficult job of managing this emerging problem, will be able to explain to you how they plan to overcome this funding shortfall.
One final point I would like to make before I close this about the defense: Our defense industrial base, the depots that repair all of this damaged and worn-out equipment are carrying a tremendous workload. At this point, I see little surge capacity remaining in our depots to meet emerging requirements.
The current conflicts have demonstrated that we must have the ability to surge our industrial base and sustain that rate over the long term. I hope our witnesses will take this opportunity to comment on the defense industrial base and how they plan to ensure our depots are strong and fully equipped to meet the needs of our troops in the field.
I, again, welcome our witnesses, and I thank you for your courage. Thank you, sir.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC[The prepared statement of Mr. Ortiz can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Ortiz.
Let me introduce the witnesses and ask any of them if you have an opening statement and if you would like to summarize that.
Without objection, all witnesses' written statements will be made a part of the record.
First is Lieutenant General C.V. Christianson, Deputy Chief of Staff, G4, United States Army. Second is Lieutenant General Jan Huly, Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations of the Marine Corps. Third is Lieutenant General Donald Wetekam, Deputy Chief of Staff Installation of Logistics, United States Air Force. Fourth is Rear Admiral Mark Hugel, Deputy Director of Fleet Readiness Division of the United States Navy. And finally, Mr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Director of the Congressional Budget Office.
Lieutenant Christianson, are you the kick-off guy here?
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. CLAUDE V. CHRISTIANSON, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, G4, UNITED STATES ARMY
General CHRISTIANSON. Yes, sir.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Ortiz, distinguished members of the committee. Thanks for the opportunity to appear before you today to talk about the work we are doing to reconstitute our Army's equipment.
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Fundamental to our Army's ability to meet future threats is the absolute requirement that we rapidly return our equipment to an effective level of readiness upon return from operational employment.
Over the past three years, the Army has deployed over 40 percent of its equipment to Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Currently, we have about 15 percent of our equipment in the forward area. The increased operating tempo of our deployed equipment, combined with the harsh environment and an aging fleet plus significant combat losses challenges us to sustain readiness at the tip of the spear.
As an example, Army helicopters experience usage rates roughly twice their peacetime rates. Tanks and other track vehicles are being used at roughly five times their peacetime rates, and our truck fleet is operating at three to five times what we would consider normal peacetime rates. This readiness challenge can only be met with a structured, formal, fully-funded program to reset the equipment when it returns from the operational area, complimented by a long-term program to ensure we can sustain the readiness of our systems over their entire lives.
We feel we have developed a comprehensive approach to providing our forces with ready and capable equipment. Even in the midst of this conflict, our approach ensures that, first of all, the forward commanders have the combat power they need, while minimizing the load on the strategic transportation system. Second, that returning units will be rapidly returned to an operationally ready condition, prepared for whatever mission comes their way. Third, as we are able to draw down our forward forces, that we can reset that equipment that we have kept in the operational area. Fourth, that our Army prepositioned stocks (APS), our APS equipment, is brought back to readiness condition for its mission as soon as it is able to be redeployed. And last, that we have in place a long-term program to sustain the operational readiness of our all critical systems over their lives.
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Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the soldiers, their families and our professional civilians, we greatly appreciate the support of the Congress, and especially this committee, in addressing our needs. Your support has given us a solid foundation upon which we are building a stronger, more relevant and
ready force. We appreciate your support, and I look forward to answering your questions this afternoon. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of General Christianson can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. JAN C. HULY, DEPUTY COMMANDANT FOR PLANS, POLICIES, AND OPERATIONS, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
General HULY. Chairman Hefley, Congressman Ortiz, distinguished members of the committee, it is my privilege to report to you any actions taken to date to reset the Marine Corps as well as our future reconstitution efforts. These actions are critical to ensuring we are prepared to meet today's operational challenges while maintaining good stewardship of our Nation's treasure. I recognize that this is only possible with your continued support while we remain at war.
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There are a myriad of programs ongoing to reconstitute the Marine Corps. Our forces preparing for combat and forward deployment are using their equipment three to six times higher than normal. This increases the cost of operations and maintenance beyond what was originally budgeted. Additionally, our gear is being damaged by enemy action and worn down in the harsh desert environment. These effects increase maintenance and create a toll that frequently renders economical repair not feasible after being used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Repairing, replacing and redistributing this equipment among units rotating in and out of theaters of operation are some of our highest priorities.
Our prepositioning programs have once again proven their strategic utility by helping to close rapidly and sustain reinforcements in combat. We are recovering from using these extensively for Operation Iraqi Freedom, but we face some challenges, two of our three Maritime Prepositioning Squadrons (MPS) have been reconstituted and will complete a scheduled maintenance cycle in the next one to two years. Equipment and supplies from the third squadron have been downloaded and used for current requirements in Iraq. We are planning to reconstitute this squadron and our Norway prepositioned equipment as soon as possible, and have identified the replacement of our ground equipment as an area where our fiscal year 2005 supplemental request will be applied.
While our analysis of requirement costs continue, we are confident that our supplemental request, when combined with those additional items presented at the behest of the Congress, is what we need to continue to fight the global war on terror (GWOT) while continuing to modernize the force, where practical.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Added to supplemental funding requests, the Marine Corps is internally funding essential warfighting equipment through an urgent-needs process that allows us to fulfill requests and provide to marines and sailors rapidly the equipment they need to conduct combat mission in operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. This process of satisfying urgent requests is directly tied to lessons learned on the modern battlefield; enables us to bypass the normal development procurement process and aggressively pursue improved armor, counter-improvised explosive device (IED) equipment, medical packages, rifle and night-vision optics, and other important items that can be quickly placed in the hands of troops conducting operations.
In September 2004, in order to meet the current enduring challenges of the changing nature of the war, the Commandant improved numerous structural changes to our operational forces; bringing these improvements to fruition will require the continued support of this committee in supplemental and additional items as we begin the extensive phases of recruiting, equipping, building and training these additional marine units.
In closing, I would like to again thank the members of the committee for their continued support of the Marine Corps and for the opportunity to discuss our current readiness and its inextricable link to our resource requirements. Marines' accomplishments are a direct reflection of your continued support and commitment to maintaining our Nation's expeditionary warfighting capability. I look forward to answering your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Huly can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. General Wetekam.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF LT. GEN. DONALD J. WETEKAM, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR INSTALLATIONS AND LOGISTICS, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
General WETEKAM. Chairman Hefley, Congressman Ortiz and distinguished members of the committee, I thank you for the opportunity to appear today.
It is my privilege to report on our reconstitution efforts, our successes in this area and our challenges for the future.
The Air Force is organized, trained and equipped to meet expeditionary commitments through our Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) concept. We have sized our logistics support system to meet those AEF requirements, along with maintaining a surge capability. Our experiences to date in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom have largely confirmed the fact that our logistics system is capable of meeting those requirements. We have experienced many successes throughout OEF and OIF. We have flown over 270,000 sorties, opened 36 bases and supported as many as 31,000 airmen within the Central Command area of responsibility. Our airmen have been busy and successful.
Of course these successes are not the result of internal Air Force efforts alone. Congressional help was and remains key to providing the funding necessary for protecting our forces, replenishing and replacing equipment lost in combat, and reconstituting critical capabilities.
No success comes without challenges, especially in a combat environment involving multiple locations worldwide. The cost of resetting the force continues to increase with each passing year of the global war on terrorism. As we face these challenges, we thank you for your continued support. I offer my written comments for the record and look forward to our discussion on this important topic.
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[The prepared statement of General Wetekam can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Admiral Hugel.
STATEMENT OF REAR ADM. MARK A. HUGEL, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR FLEET READINESS (OPNAV N43B) STAFF OF THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS, UNITED STATES NAVY
Admiral HUGEL. Chairman Hefley, Congressman Ortiz, and distinguished members of this committee, thank you for the invitation to come and spend time discussing the reconstitution of our military equipment returning from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Through your support, the Navy has been able to repair and replace equipment utilized to support United States operations in theater and maintain the level of readiness forecasted by our budget programming models.
Before I address fleet reconstitution, I would like to share a snapshot of what our Navy is doing today. We currently have 93 ships and 38,000 sailors forward deployed worldwide in support of the global war on terror, including the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group and the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group.
The Navy Ashore component has proven critical to continuing ongoing and combined operations with extensive medical, construction and other combat support and combat service support to the Marine Corps and Army ground elements. In addition, we have recently participated in operation non-focused items (NFI) assistance, which provided sustained relief to South Asian tsunami victims, demonstrating our surge capability and the value of seabasing in both responsiveness and access.
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Testimony today addresses three areas of fleet readiness. The first is maritime readiness, which covers the maintenance approach that we are applying to the increased wear on our ships and submarines involved in the global war on terror.
Our ship maintenance budget during this period reflects the proper balance of readiness which directly contributes to the combined power of our forward presence forces and our ability to surge assets as required by the fleet response plan. Due to the increased operational tempo associated with the global war on terror, we have been experiencing some increase in the war-related maintenance, and we have been successfully able to address those challenges through using supplemental funding. Similarly, in the aviation area, we have sufficient supplemental funds each fiscal year to fund equipment reconstitution for our aircraft supporting OIF and OEF. Our aviation and maritime depot maintenance programs have been able to fund and execute necessary maintenance and repair actions to provide a surge-ready force while maintaining the appropriate workload balance between public- and private-sector industrial base. Additionally, we are finding and implementing innovative process improvements to assure that our maintenance is being delivered effectively and efficiently.
Finally, my testimony addressing our success in reconstituting our naval ground forces, in particular our naval construction force, allowing continued level of sustained support for the Marine Corps and Army ground forces in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. Again, the financial support of the budget supplemental process allows the Navy to maintain our current readiness levels while still accomplishing the emerging wartime missions as they occur.
In closing, I would like to thank you for your continued support of our Navy. Your efforts have been critical in allowing the Navy to sustain an unprecedented level of current readiness and to be prepared to surge when called upon.
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I would like to thank the committee for offering me this opportunity, and I stand ready to answer questions.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Hugel can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Holtz-Eakin.
STATEMENT OF DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN, DIRECTOR, CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE
Mr. HOLTZ-EAKIN. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Ortiz, and members of the committee, the Congressional Budget Office is pleased to have the chance to be here today to discuss the cost of additional equipment stress. As the committee is well aware, the United States has maintained a substantial force presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the result has been that many hundreds of thousands of pieces of equipment are in need of repair or replacement.
The heart of the CBO's work in this area is summarized in the chart which you have in front of you and which is on the poster, which shows our estimates of the cost of equipment stress in this area. As the written statement details, we take two approaches to estimating these costs. Given the absence of complete and comprehensive data, we take a top-down approach which broadly attempts to assess the additional costs by looking at faster depreciation due to higher operational tempo. And the second approach is a bottoms-up approach, which for each piece of equipment would directly measure costs associated with sustainment, restoration, recapitalization or replacement. But uncertainty is associated with both approaches, but the results indicate that, for 2005, there is a range of $7 to $8 billion in additional costs associated with the higher operational tempo and that, over the window from 2003 to 2005, this higher cost ranges from somewhere in the vicinity of $18 to $21 billion. If one goes back over that period, as the statement provides the details for, we can see a range of $3 to $5 billion in funds dedicated to this task, and as a result, there is an accrued unpaid liability there of somewhere in the vicinity of $13 to $18 billion for excess costs in excess of funding.
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The distribution of these costs across services is unequal. Because of the larger presence of the Army, about 60 percent of these costs are associated with Army equipment; 20 percent in our estimates are associated with Air Force aircraft; and the remaining 20 percent are split between the Navy and the Marine Corps, with the latter predominating.
The CBO's estimates are quite similar to those produced by the services themselves. Their estimate is about $13 billion, and the percentage distribution in cross services is similar as well.
Looking forward, to the extent that the United States maintains the same presence in these areas in fiscal year 2006 and assuming that the operational tempo is diminished somewhat next year, one could estimate that these costs will occur in the range of $6 to $7 billion for FY 2006.
Now I would close our remarks in emphasizing the uncertainty associated with these estimates. In either approach, the top-down or the bottom-up approach, our particular estimates could be either too high or too low. In the top-down approach, it could be the case that adding an additional intensive year of usage does not, in fact, mean that the lifetime has been reduced in proportion to that intensity. Maybe their peacetime rates are much lower than one would expect the equipment to be used at, or in the other direction, we could understate the cost by not directly factoring in the harsh conditions in which the equipment are operated.
More generally, under both approaches, an enormous amount of data is required to do it exactly right. In the absence of that data, we adopted an approach of trying to bracket the approach with two different analytic constructs and by using analogies where we did not have direct evidence on these costs.
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We thank you for the chance to be here today and look forward to answering your questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Holtz-Eakin can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much.
We keep getting testimony that a lot of the equipment is going to be left over there, simply is not going to come back, and you testified to that here. Is that because of the level of use of the equipment or the harsh environment, or both? Is this equipment that, if it was here in the United States, would be repaired and put back into service? The Navy always operates in a harsh environment of salt water, and now we are operating on the ground in sand. Is that what is causing this? Or is it, you feel, that just bringing it back and then having to repair it and bring it up to standards would simply not be economic?
General CHRISTIANSON. There are really two reasons, Mr. Chairman, why we have decided to leave equipment in the area of responsibility (AOR).
First is that some of that equipment is special equipment, for example, all of the vehicles that had armor plating added to them we left over there so that we could maximize the level of force protection. In addition, there is some special communications gear. There is gear over there that we have put in the theater that allows us to detect explosives. There is gear in the theater that allows us to jam frequencies and do other kinds of things that we do not have a lot of, so we do not want to keep rotating it back and forth. So, primarily, we are leaving equipment there that gives the soldiers and the forward members of the military the kind of capabilities they need to execute the warfight.
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The second reason that we would leave equipment over there is to take some of the load off the strategic distribution system. Instead of sending things back and forth, the more we can leave in theater, the easier it is for us to work on the strategic system; plus, it is more rapid for the people to transition from one unit to the next if a lot of the equipment stays there. So those are the two fundamental reasons.
The second part of your question is, do we intend to fix that? Absolutely, we do. We concur with the CBO findings that there is a workload out there that we have not yet identified because we do not know when it is going to come back. But when it does come back, we will put it through the same process that we are doing for the equipment that is coming back with the units today.
General HULY. Sir, in the Marine Corps, we have those same concerns with the equipment, and the same rationale added to those. We believe we are saving in transportation costs by not bringing some of the equipment back, even though we possibly could, but to just leave it in place over there and then just redistribute what we need within the Continental United States (CONUS).
Some of the equipment over there is one of a kind, so it just makes sense to leave it there and get the maximum use out of it, and we replace it only as necessary. And some of the equipment is just not worth the effort to bring it back; it is in such a shape of disrepair that it just makes sense to leave it there.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Ortiz.
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Mr. ORTIZ. At what point do you know that some of this equipment that you just cannot bring back has to be replaced and buy new equipment? And the period of time that it takes to replace this equipment?
General CHRISTIANSON. Congressman, actually, we are finding out some of that right now. As units have come back with their equipment, there is a percentage of their equipment that cannot be repaired. It is just too costly to be repaired, and we have to replace it. In the cases where we have production lines going, you should see that come to you as a procurement requirement.
In those cases where we do not have any production capacity, where we are not making the item anymore. For example, the Bradley, you will see that come to you in recap requirements to turn that chassis, that hull of a tank or a Bradley back into a new piece of equipment at the latest standards.
And we have some planning factors we use on how many are what we call wash out, in other words, how many are worn out so badly that they cannot be repaired and they need to be replaced. And I have some of those numbers here.
In the case of aviation, we are anticipating about three percent of our helicopters will never be replaced, they are just too beat up. Tracks, about two percent. But the biggest number is wheeled vehicles, and we estimate about 12 percent of our wheeled vehicles, when they come back, cannot be repaired and have to be replaced. So those are the planning factors we are using.
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In terms of the timing of when they come back, that is a tough question because we rely on the forward commander to determine whether or not they need those capabilities forward. So in the case of up-armored humvees, I do not anticipate up-armored humvees coming back for a long, long time until our forestructure is drawn down to the point where we do not need as many as we do today. So that vehicle is going to be the last coming back. So it is a reset requirement that sits out there, as the CBO indicated. We just do not know when we are going to actually fix them, so it is very difficult for us to anticipate programming those dollars.
Admiral HUGEL. Sir, we have recently undertaken an initiative to establish repair and replacement facilities in theater. And as you probably know because you have been there, the operating forces get the equipment in their hands, they get comfortable with it, and by golly, they are going to use it. And it is just the case of having the one in your hand. It is a process for us to get them to evaluate that equipment, to turn it in, to get a new piece of gear, and then we evacuate that piece of equipment to a location, generally either in the rear with our foreservice support group in theater, or we evacuate it back to Kuwait, so we can get a good analysis of it. And I do not have to tell you because you have been there, but you have seen some of the equipment. It is just not equipment that you would want to bring back and operate with in the United States. Perhaps the turn signals might not work on it. Perhaps the speedometer does not work. It is just nothing that will ever prove worthwhile for us to repair and replace back here again, but it meets the purposes for over there, and it just makes good sense to keep it in theater for as long as we possibly can.
General WETEKAM. Sir, if I might for the Air Force.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our situation is a little different. We do rotate most of our equipment. In terms of our aircraft, we do rotate those, and so they receive depot-level maintenance, et cetera, back here at their normal depots.
A lot of that is true also for our ground support equipment. The major exception are vehicles and some of our specialized mobility handling equipment. Even prior to 9/11, we had five War Reserve Material (WRM) sites established in theater with contract support, and so while we have had to plus up those contracts for support of additional equipment that we have put in theater, we do have in-theater support for a lot of that stuff.
Admiral HUGEL. Congressman, as you know, the Seabees we have on the ground have similar ground support equipment as our Marine Corps brethren. We have folks there to do maintenance on that equipment on the ground. And as long as that equipment is economically feasible to maintain, then we are going to keep it maintained and bring it home with us when the time comes. When it is just not economically feasible to do the repairs anymore, then we will abandon it in place, but we do not see very much of that.
Mr. ORTIZ. I just have one more question, Mr. Chairman.
You know, given the current state of the equipment and the condition of the equipment, what would happen, God forbid, if there is an unforeseen crisis somewhere in the area? You know, we have Lebanon, Syria. We have Iran. We have Iraq. Some of the equipment is not worthy. Can we respond to another unforeseen crisis with what we have?
General HULY. Sir, for the Marine Corps, we have approximately 25 percent of our aviation assets of our total assets in the inventory, and about 30 percent of our ground equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan right now.
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We have sufficient storage. We have two maritime prepositioned squadrons worth of equipment that we have not touched and we have fenced, so to speak. And they are forward deploy, one in the Mediterranean and one in the Pacific region, so that if we needed to respond to a crisis, we would have a maritime prepositioned squadron worth of equipment.
Added to that, we still have equipment with our organizations in the Continental United States that we are swapping around, cross-leveling to get back to the units as they rotate. So I believe that we have sufficient assets, more than sufficient assets, to be able to respond to a crisis.
Is it necessarily the equipment that we are going to wantthat we are going to actually need in the next crisis? I will tell you, for instance, right now, we do not have a lot of up-armored vehicles, humvees, for instance, in the Continental United States because as fast as the industrial base can produce them, we are shipping them directly into the theater. If something were to break out that we needed armored humvees again in a different location, we would have to look at either another source of supply for those or actually sharing what we have elsewhere. But overall, I think we are in good shape to respond to any crisis that develops, that we certainly are anticipating might be a potential.
General CHRISTIANSON. As you know, we have prepositioned sets; we have a set in Korea that is pretty much land-bound in Korea if something were to happen there. We also had put, about two years ago, a Flotilla, a one-by-one brigade, aboard ship that has got some strategic flexibility and can move. So we do have some prepositioned assets.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And the 4th Infantry Division and the 101st are just finishing their reset coming back. If something were to happen and it was important enough, we would probably hold units in the current operation to use those organizations to respond if we had to.
So we have got about 15 percent of our combat equipment forward positioned in Iraq. The rest of it remains here. About a third of that is going to reset. The rest of it is ready to go. So there would be some difficult decisions, but we have the capability to respond.
Mr. ORTIZ. My time is up, thank you so much.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr.Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I want to say I am honored that these gentlemen are here today. I regret that we could not have included the Guard and the Reserve because I think an important component that we are missing today is that the overwhelming preponderance of Guard and Reserve equipment that has gone to Iraq stayed in Iraq, and so we are looking at a portion of the problem, but the biggest portion, if you are looking for the problem, is what the Guard and Reserve left behind, and I think that is a fair assessment.
I would like to ask a few questions in particular of the Air Force. I am troubled by the Administration's acknowledged plan to terminate the C130J program, particularly in light of every trip that I have taken to Iraq, it is pretty apparent that we are flying the wings off of the C130's that are in the region. A lot of those are E models, I am told, and a lot of those the Air Force has already scheduled to retire at the end of this conflict. So I would like your thoughts on that, what is being taken to address that.
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I would like to hear what your different Guard and Reserve components are telling you. I know the Marine Corps Reserve has been extremely active in Iraq, I know the Army Reserve and Army National Guard have been extremely active over there. I am sure you have called up the seabee reserve to serve over there, and so my hunch is that a lot of the equipment that was dedicated to themand I know for a fact that, when the 90th Engineers came back to Mississippi after their tour in Iraq, they left every stick of equipment they had behind. So we have now been through a hurricane season that, thank goodness, did not hit Mississippi, but was only 60 miles away. The folks we were counting on their stateside mode to help reopen the roads and get electricity to the people and fix bridges; they did not have a stick of equipment last August and September when the hurricanes hit many parts of the states adjacent to us.
And last, I would like to turn this back to the Marines and the Army.
I am happy that this committee is doing, I think, a lot of work toward resolving the armored humvee problem; we still have a lot to do. Just last week, a couple of Mississippians were horribly injured, one losing two legs; but all present acknowledged that had it not been for the fully-armored humvee, that those two soldiers probably would have lost their lives.
It is something I should have seen myself, but thank goodness someone else was smart enough to point it out to me. Almost all of our vehicles in theater have flat bottoms. When a mine detonates underneath that flat bottom vehicle, it is much like a flat-bottom boat hitting a wave; the reaction is very severe. You are catching the full pressure of that detonation. It throws the vehicle up. In the case here, the humvee was thrown over 10 yards I am told.
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I am told that in some parts of the world, and particularly the South Africans, in responding to the landmines that they were encountering during their wars, they went back and redesigned many of their urban fighting vehicles to have a V-bottom. Much like a V-bottom boat, it slices and diffuses that force. In fact, I am told the Russians were probably very good at this and that most of the vehicles they used in Bosnia had a V-bottom. And when their vehicles would hit a landmine, it blew the tires off, but the people inside the vehicle walked away from it.
What is being done as we reconstitute to be a little bit smarter? And I have got to admit, I am one of the ones that fought very hard for the up-armored humvees, but maybe it is time to look beyond that to some sort of an urban fighting vehicle that incorporates a V-bottom so that we find ourselves with fewer young people that are in Walter Reed because of their legs blown off as a result of that flat bottom.
So I know it is three questions, the C130J, sir, the talk about your Guard and Reserve equivalents and their equipment shortages, and what are we doing as far as looking at the next generation of fighting vehicles and responding to the landmine problem that we are encountering in Iraq?
General WETEKAM. Sir, if I may, I will start with the C130J briefly.
The Department of Defense has indicated that we are going to review the production decision on the 130J within the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). The 130J is really part of a larger issue, and that is the theater lift issue, and what do we need and what is our current capability and what is our current fleet telling us?
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The production termination decision was made almost coincidentally with the discovery that our C130E and early age model fleet was not as robust as we thought it was. Essentially the problem with the center wing box that was discovered almost at the same time. And so what we are really doing is looking at the entire theater lift issue, the C130 fleet as a whole. The 130J obviously has to be a part of that solution as we determine really what part of the 130E model and H model fleet are going to be available to us, what it takes to reconstitute that fleet. And so that will bethat is being looked at currently.
General HULY. Just for the record, so we do not get lost in the shuffle; the Marine Corps is also into the C130Js. Our C130J requirement and solution is different than the United States Air Force's. We received some 33, I believe, of the C130Js out of a fleet of about 51 we were anticipating. Recent funding decisions got us cut off for the procurement of those last 18, but we think that that funding is being put back in so we can ultimately get our requirement of the C130Js. But to us, the C130J version that we are getting is a great aircraft, and we look forward to its service for many years in the future.
Mr. TAYLOR. General, to that point, I had the good fortune to meet one of your flight crews in Kuwait just last week, and they had been up most of the night refueling other planes. And he was extremely proud of the performance of the plane. What he did requestand I am going to pass this on to youis the program to replace the fuel pods can be moved along, apparently they took the pods off some older models and stuck them on the newer planes. He felt like it was in the works. If there is anything this committee can do to move that along, I am asking for your thoughts on that.
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General HULY. Sir, I am going to take that question for the record, and I will get back to you on that, to exactly what the status of that is. I know it is in the works, but I want to give you the exact scoop.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
General CHRISTIANSON. Sir, let me address first of all the equipment that we left behind, particularly for the Guard and the Reserve forces.
The Army has developed a force generation model of which will put our Reserve components of one in five or one in six years, and what the intent is that for one year out of that five or six year cycle they would be ready for deployment. The challenge we have right now, particularly with the Guard, is with their homeland security and their state missions, the suite of equipment they must have in their unit to do that mission you just mentioned for the Mississippi Guard, we have not yet identified this. We will identify that, and we will fill those units with that equipment. So even coming out of a deployment like the one we came out of now, we are obligated to provide the equipment to those organizations to execute those state missions. And then as they come into that one year window, then we give them all the equipment they need to execute their full-mission suite. That process was not in place when the first rotations came back, as you know. So most of the Guard and Reserve units, engineer in particular, transportation units in the Reserve had to leave almost all of their main equipment in country, and it is still there being used every day. So we have that challenge to address that.
Our intent is to handle the Guard, the Reserve and the active forces exactly the same. The rotational model is one in three years for active, one in five for the Army Reserve, and one in six for the National Guard. That is the intent. Now we did not get there right away with these forces, so we still have some work to do, but at the strategic level, we are going to maneuver the equipment to give the units the capability to be able to handle their mission sets.
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General HULY. As far as the Reserve equipment for the Marine Corps goes, we are doing our best to cross-level once our Reserve levels get back; 95 percent of all of our Reserve units have seen combat in either Afghanistan or Iraq. And as they return, we are providing them with what equipment we have got and replacing the equipment that has been damaged or destroyed, looking for industrial base opportunities where that is needed. And we are also trying to, as you pointed out, be a little bit smart in what we are replacing in anticipation of our future requirements. We are looking for those opportunities and vehicles to get better armor on them, underneath armor. We have taken some of our humvees, as you know, and armored them up better on the bottom so that they can withstand a certain quantity of a landmine or an explosive charge placed underneath them. That does not get all of the support that we want under there, and we are looking forward to the next generation of vehicles, but have not decided on which one to procure yet.
Admiral HUGEL. Congressman, our active components are an integrated fighting force; we prepare the units and first units; we marry those two up. Right now the equipment is in use. About half of the equipment is Reserve equipment; the other half is active equipment, but all of the equipment is being treated and maintained the same way, and it is as a result of this close integration of the reservists into our construction battalion (CB) battalion.
General CHRISTIANSON. And Congressman, if I could address the question of armor protection for our forces forward given the environment they are in, particularly in regard to the humvee and its flat bottom, really I think the vehicle of choice over there is the stryker, which does not have the same type of bottom and is much more protective for the forces, over 800 armored security vehicleswhich is a special vehicle designed much like the South African vehicle you mentioned.
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And third, we have purchased some of the sport utility vehicle (SUV) 31s from south Africa, and those who are the most exposed for this kind of damage are using those vehicles over there. So we have taken those vehicles right now, and we look to the future and what kind of land vehicle are we going to have. In the Army's case, the tactical truck system, how it looks is going to be driven much by what we learn here, and the last point that I would leave is still the vehicle that we are not going to go away from is the heavy armored vehicle, so we do not see any intent in the future that the Army is going to get rid of any tanks or Bradleys. But they all need to provide the level of force and protection that I think both you and I would like to have.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to pursue this a little bit about the Guard and Reserve forces, if I might. About a year and a half ago, when the 39th Brigade left Arkansas, I went out one of the days when they were loading up the equipment on rail cars, it was like the biggest use of rail and moving of equipment since World War II through Arkansas, and it was just rail car after rail car. And so they moved all that stuff with them. And now they have come back, and most of them are now back in Arkansas or Oklahoma.
So General Christianson, can you explain to me kind of the trail now that is going to happen in terms of if I am General Morrow in Arkansas and I am trying to figure out how to replace this equipment that is either worn out or some left behind, so who does the adjutant general go to? Does that come directly through you orwalk me through that, if you would, please.
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General CHRISTIANSON. It is going to be a centrally controlled program. The Army Materiel Command effective 1 October this year will be completely in charge of this program. We will work directly with the Army National Guard, G4, my equivalent on the Army Guard side, directly with the State maintenance officer and the units in the organization.
What the unit commander should expect is for the equipment they have brought back with them, it should go through the same reset program that all of the active forces have gone through, no difference. The timing may be different. Where it is done is going to be controlled by Army material command. So a lot of it is going to be done locally, but some of it will require repairs that will have to go to the depot or will have to go to some kind of a higher level organization.
So our intent is to leverage the combat supplies management system (CSMSs), the mates, all of the technical capability the Guard has, but to leverage all that in the context of a unified national program with a single standard. So no one is going to get something back at a lower standard that comes out of this program. That is our intent.
Dr. SNYDER. So requests from the Guard or the Army Reserve not come through you, or do they? They eventually get to you?
General CHRISTIANSON. Yes, sir. They will come to me from the National Guard, the bureau itself here in Washington, and then we will bring that all together. And then Army Material Command is kind of the coordinator of the national program who will ensure that all of this work is distributed right and that the standards have beenthey obtain the same level of productivity and standards coming out.
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Dr. SNYDER. I have not talked to the folks back home about this issue yet, but as you know, the concept of the enhanced brigades came up so we could take certain units and make sure they got the equipment they needed, and I think that probably has worked reasonably well, but these are the folks that did get some help with getting equipment several years ago, but they have now gone overseas. And I think there is some fear that perhaps now they will be behind getting that replaced. Is that a reasonable fear to have?
General CHRISTIANSON. The enhanced brigades are also going to be modularized as they go through this reset process. They will come out of this reset process looking different than they did when they went into this operation. They are going to look just like the Army modular brigade construct, it will be no different. If it is a heavy brigade. It will look the same as all other heavy brigades, so when it comes out of this process, as its equipment is reset, it will be issued the right kind of equipment to meet those requirements. I can take for the record the timeline to know when 39th is actually going through its modularity window because that will give you and the Adjutant General (AG) a picture, a window of when they should come out of this looking like the new organization.
Dr. SNYDER. That is all right. You do not need to take that for the record. I was using them as an example. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Hayes.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Wetekam, you referred earlier to the Quadrennial Defense Review. I want to ask you about the mobility capabilities study; very very much concerned about the issue of C130's, we grounded a bunch of them at Pope. They had to move one of the 45th National Guard planes to back field. Does the Mobility Capability Study take into account the recapitalization and reconstitution issues that you mentioned in your testimony on page four?
General WETEKAM. Sir, it takes into account those issues to a degree, but it is not at the heart of the Mobility Capability Study (MCS).
What we expect out of the MCSand of course, it is not produced yetit is essentially a range, if you will, of forces that will be required, depending on the contingencies. I certainly share your concerns relative to the existing C130J fleet.
In addition to Mobility Capability Study, Air Mobility Command and the program office, the C130 program office, are working hard right now to assess what the data, the new data is really telling us with regards to the condition of the C130's, the older 130's that have the center wing box problems you referred to, sir.
Mr. HAYES. Well, the data is telling us it is a bad problem. I think what you are going to find, when you look more closely, with the grounded birds and wing boxes, it is worse than we think, and we very badly need to get into spending money on the new Js.
And when you answered the question for Congressman Taylor, you mentioned a wing box. Did you say it is better or worse than we first thought, or did I misunderstand that?
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General WETEKAM. It is worse than we first thought. We had initially established a limit at 45,000 equivalent baseline hours, at which we restrictedput flight restrictions on those aircraft, but continued to operate them. What we found out in recent months is that 45,000 equivalent baseline hours is the point at which we actually need to ground the aircraft, and we have moved that restriction limit back to 38,000. So it is worse than we thought it was until a few months ago when we got essentially new data as we have worked more with the center wing boxes. It is not getting better; it is going in the wrong direction.
Mr. HAYES. You are confirming what we had feared.
The MCS study was due at the end of March; now it comes out at the end of April. I am pretty sure we use that as another way of letting folks up here know what the situation is. At Pope, we have got 31 aircraft grounded, seven or eight limited flying status, 20 percent of the fleet, 84 of which are on active duty on restricted weight capabilities. We have just got to keep hammering the fact that recapitalization, that is keeping our young men off the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan and increasing safety.
Talk at length about the continued, not just procurement as it is now outlinedand hopefully, we have corrected the initial oversight in the budget for continuing production. Speak to that, and then speak to the issue of what really we need, and that is more C130Js than was initially projected. And anyone else that would like to speak in the range of whoever uses them, I would love to have your comments for the record. We need those aircraft badly.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General WETEKAM. Yes, sir. Essentially, the production for the Marine Corps 130's is kind of bridging, if you will, the production gap until the department can fully assess the impact, as referred to earlier.
Mr. HAYES. There is a study underway, and I am sure you are probably aware of it, but I know there is a request, and that is, the amount of money that is being spent, we are way past the point of diminishing returns. We are spending money on aircraft that may fly for a limited amount of time; some that will never fly again. We need to transfer those tax dollars into new aircraft with availability and capabilities that are full time, not limited on weight. So again, any comments on that? And I yield back my time after that answer.
General WETEKAM. Sir, I just say that I share your concerns with aging aircraft, 130's are a big part of that, but we have other fleets as well, as you are certainly aware, that are in the same boat. Our KC135 fleet, which averages about 43 years of age
Mr. HEFLEY. Do not lose focus. If we can get them on the C130's, then obviously have answered on the 15s and the KC135s and so on. You are right. Let's give the people some airplanes, you know?
General WETEKAM. Yes, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. Dr. Schwarz.
Dr. SCHWARZ. General Wetekam, we are not picking on you, sir, but let's talk about A10s. My understanding is that there are about 200 A10s Guard, Reserve and Active left in the inventory; is that about correct?
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General WETEKAM. Sir, I believe it is slightly higher than that. I can tell you in just a moment what the total number is.
We have a total, total inventory including trainers of 357 active and on-guard Reserve.
Dr. SCHWARZ. That is a lot better than I thought. The plan is to upgrade, refit, refurbish. What part of that fleet to keep them active and in the inventory, my understanding, until maybe the year 2018, 2020?
General WETEKAM. Sir, I will have to take that for the record and provide you an accurate assessment. We do have upgrade plans for the A10, but I do need to be sure what portion of the fleet and what the projected service life is.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Dr. SCHWARZ. I feel about the A10 the way my friend Mr. Hayes feels about the C130J. I have a vested interest in it. There is an A10 base in my district, but that A10 squadron has flown in every operation this country has been involved in for the past 15 or 18 years, including the first Gulf War, Kosovo, the southern no-fly zone, Iraqi Freedom, and they are a superb outfit.
Then I speak with my friends who are both retired and active officers in the Army and the Marine Corps. When you talk about plans the Air Force might have to take the A10 out of the inventory and replace it with another close air support aircraft, they are unhappy campers.
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So my interest is, and the assurance, that I want, if you can possibly give me, is that keeping the A10's in the inventory active and in support of our Marine Corps and Army troops on the ground isthat is the plan, that is ongoing.
General WETEKAM. Yes, sir. We have long-term plans for the A10. We will, as I said for the record, provide you with the detailed force structure laid out for the outyears. But we certainly share the Army and the Marine Corps' enthusiasm for the A10 as well. It has been a great performer for us.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Dr. SCHWARZ. Thank you very kindly, General. I would yield back my time right now. I have another question later.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Reyes.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, gentlemen and thank you for being here.
The first question I have, on the occasions that I have had to visit in theater, we have been told various things about how fast the equipment is wearing out. Is it accurate that the equipment is wearing out five times faster than we anticipated because of the harsh environment?
General CHRISTIANSON. I am not sure that it is accurate that it is wearing out five times faster. I think it is accurate we are using it five times more than we would in peacetime operation, training operations. How much wear is being done kind of depends a little bit on the equipment.
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As I mentioned earlier, with wheeled vehicles that we have added a lot of extra armor to, so it is carrying extra weight. I believe they are wearing out much faster.
What we are finding out on the aircraftwhen we have come back for those aircraft that we have completely resetthat there is not as much wear as we thought. Part of that is because I believe our soldiers learned from Desert Storm and took actions as part of these operations to avoid some of the damages we saw on those helicopters during Desert Storm.
The same thing has been applied to some of our ground systems. We have better filtration systems. The maintenance checks and services the soldiers are doing forward, I think, have helped to help alleviate some of the wear. Not the usage.
The usage is five times higher than normal. But the wear depends on other things. As I mentioned, we are not seeing that in the stuff we are resetting right now, with the exception of wheeled vehicles, which I think are wearing out at a higher rate than our other equipment.
Mr. REYES. In that same vein, what are the lessons that we have learned? Is somebody in a position to not only evaluate but to make recommendations and maybe implement changes to either our logistics system or the design of the vehicles that are wearing much faster? What is being done in that area?
General CHRISTIANSON. Exactly what you said is what is happening. We are taking the lessons learned and applying them. The lessons learned after Desert Storm were applied primarily to aviation and paid huge dividends in this operation.
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The aircraft that came back out of this last operation, as I mentioned, the wear and tear was much less than we thought. In addition, other lessons that are learned are being applied during the RESET. So if we are able to put improved capabilities on those helicopters, better screening systems for dust, better capabilities for cleaning. We are doing that as part of the RESET program.
Better training for the soldiers, what extra steps should you take in this kind of environment when you are operating? Those are also lessons that are being applied every day at the point of the sphere. So we are doing exactly that.
I think where we see the results is in the equipment forward. So even though the equipment is being used at a much higher rate than normal, we are seeing readiness rates that are 94, 95 percent almost across the fleet. With aviation, almost all of our aviation fleets are well above the Army standard in the deployed area despite their high usage. So I think they are applying many of the lessons.
Mr. REYES. What about some of the information that we get that parts are taking a long time, vehicles are deadlined for parts and are down an inordinate amount of time.
What do you know about that? What are you doing about that and where are we today about that?
General CHRISTIANSON. In the two and a half years that we have been in operation over there, there have been significant changes to the way the supply distribution system works. As you know, there isthere are a lot of items that are moving by ground and it is a long ways, so we have used a lot of repair time, a lot of time just waiting for supplies to be delivered. But today I can report that for those items that are ordered and delivered by air, the turn-around time is 18 days on average over there.
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The biggest problem we are having is the distribution locally, because when it gets up into Iraq and then gets out to the forward operating basis, those distribution runs are all made in coordination with all of the maneuver forces. They take into consideration the security environment, as you can well imagine.
But we are getting good turn-around times in supply. Eighteen days is very, very good. Now this is compared to almost twice as long a year and a half ago. So we are doing very, very well.
The other indication that the repair part situation is good is on aviation. We have very few helicopters that are down waiting for repair parts. We have about 10 percent of our helicopters that are in a phased maintenance. After so many hours, they bring them in for a phase maintenance. I think this is also indicative of a good supply system and lessons learned and applied in this operating environment. We are watching it every day. We watch the supply turn-around times every single day.
Mr. REYES. Are theseexcuse me, go ahead, General.
General HULY. Sir, in the Marine Corps, perhaps in the early stages of the campaign, there might have been some supply problems or some delays. But I have heard of no reports of any recently and readiness rates don't bear out that they have got a problem.
Our readiness, like the Army's, is way into the 90 percent for our ground vehicles. So I think they have got the supplies. They have got the maintenance capabilities to keep things running. Our aviation rates over there as well remain high. This is because we do have the forward in store supplies and the maintenance effort over there.
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Conversely, however, though, our maintenance on the CONUS-based aircraft is declining. It is declining at the expense, because we are putting the effort into keeping things forward deployed. That is where the emphasis is right now.
Mr. REYES. Mr. Chairman, can I ask one quick follow-up by way of documentation? I was going to ask, are there reports that can give us a comparison of how things were early on in this conflict versus where they are today? Could we get copies so we could take a look at them?
General CHRISTIANSON. Congressman, I will take that for the record, and I will give you some background. We track that all the time.
I wanted to add one thing that I forgot that is very important. In the last couple of years, one of the things, one of initiatives that we have taken that has paid huge dividends is we now have satellite connectivity to the very forward edge of the battlefield for logisticians.
So before where we take several days for a request for a repair part to get back here to the United States, today it is happening in less than half a day. That makes a huge difference in the ability to support the forces. Because now the people who are back here supporting are able to respond rapidly. The last point I would make is we also have a supply capability in Kuwait.
About 35 to 40 percent of the repair parts that are needed in Iraq are coming from that warehouse in Kuwait. So that shortens the supply pipeline significantly and helped us in turn-around time, but we will get you the information and you can see what happened.
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[The information referred to can be found in the hard copy.]
Mr. REYES. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Miller.
Mr. MILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to go back to the C130 question, and particularly the wing boxes. Can you, in particular, General, talk about how many aircraft are currently affected by wing box cracks? Given the rate that we have seen over the last year with the problem, can you forecast what we may run into this year? I ask all this to go to the point of the company or companies that produces the wing boxes, do they have the capacity? Are they producing fast enough to be able to replace what needs to be done so that we don't run into a crisis in regards to replacing those parts.
General WETEKAM. Yes, sir. First off, the first part of your question is we haveand these numbers change, because as we operate aircraft they obviously move into that over 38,000-hour category and then the over 45,000 or 45,000-hour base line category.
But my most current data is that we have 35 aircraft that are over 45,000 hours and so essentially are restricted from all operations at this point. In addition to that, there is another 56 aircraft, and this includes also C130Hs, it is not just the E models, but some of the earlier H models. Fifty six aircraft that are in that restricted area where they can operate, but they have significant limitations on maneuvering and on carriage, weight carriage.
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I will take for the record what our projection is for the next year. There are a number of aircraft obviously that will be moving into those categories, and I will take that for the record.
Relative to the production capacity, we think that it is about 36 per year, according to the manufacturer, 36 center wing boxes that could be produced. And sobut it is not just a case of producing the wing boxes, it is also a case of having the depot capacity then to replace the wing box. We couldn't do 36 simultaneously, and we are still assessing that.
So the wing box production capacity itself would seem to be adequate. But we haven't fully assessed what the depot capacity could be and how fast we could put those aircraft, particularly those 36 that are already in theor the 35, rather, that are in the grounded category through the depot.
Mr. MILLER. Does the work actually have to be done at a depot. Can it be done privately?
General WETEKAM. Yes, sir. I say depot, but that could be either public sector depot. We do in C130 work in both Ogden, Utah and Warner Robbins, Georgia. There are a number of private sector depots that do contract C130 work and have in the past as well. I would suspect that it would be a combination of the two.
Mr. MILLER. I would hope, so because we have a facility in Crestview that does a lot of work. When I look at the numbers, I see that the private sector doesnot that I am against depots at all, but it seems that they are turning out equipment faster within budget, and I want to make sure that we don't just force everything back into the depots to get the work done.
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General WETEKAM. No, sir. In a situation like this, where we have an operational restriction, we would seek to repair it, you know, address it as quickly as we could, using whatever capacity is available.
Mr. MILLER. Very good. Thank you, sir.
Admiral, can we go to the water for just a minute.
Admiral HUGEL. Yes, sir.
Mr. MILLER. You may have addressed it before I got here. But talking about the Kennedy and the plans to retire the carrier does, this cause a capability issue as we reconstitute our forces? What happens when the Kitty Hawk comes home to be retrofitted, you know, during that period of time?
Admiral HUGEL. In the near term, Kennedy was already planned to be in a maintenance period, and so we had enough other carrier strike group capability in place to continue to supply our six plus two carrier strike group rate, and that is in accordance with the fleet strike plan.
We are looking now over the longer term to determine whether we will be able to continue supplying six plus two carrier strike group readiness or something less than that with Kennedy out of the mix.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A piece of that work is understanding thenot only the capability that we need to have deployed but the presence that we need to have. Those two things, coupled together, to make sure that we are meeting the combatant command (COCOM) requirements forward.
We are additionally looking at Kitty Hawk and the Kitty Hawk replacement. The plans are not finalized yet on replacing Kitty Hawk. So further study required there before we announce where we are going.
Mr. MILLER. YouI have heard the discussion, in regards, if I might, for just a second, Mr. Chairman. I know my time is out. In a 30-second nutshell, I have heard the term ''mothball'' used in regards to the Kennedy. What does that mean?
Admiral HUGEL. We have fundamentally two different kinds of things we do with a ship after we inactivate it, Congressman. One is to mothball the ship, basically to lay the ship up in a condition so that if we decide somewhere down the road we need to reactivate the ship, the systems have been dried out, the ship has been dehumidified so that rust and the deterioration of the hull life components doesn't get away from us. The other alternative is to scrap the ship, to cut it up, and that is a pretty final action.
So mothballing or demobilizing the ship allows us to put the ship away, but to recover the ship if somewhere down the road we decide we need the ship back in the inventory.
Mr. MILLER. I understand when youthe reasoning, I guess, behind from a financial standpoint. But can you quasi-mothball something and turn it into a training carrier?
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Admiral HUGEL. Quasi-mothballing means taking pieces of the ship completely out of action, sealing the compartments and locking it up. If we were to use a ship for a training asset you need to have access to the entire ship. If there is a flood in the ship, you need to get to wherever the problem might be, and so it is impractical to partially mothball a ship and continue to operate it, sir.
Mr. MILLER. Okay. I have got some other questions in that regard, but I will pass them too you.
Admiral HUGEL. Yes, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mrs. Davis.
Mrs. DAVIS. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, thank you to you all for being here, and for your service, and particularly to General Huly. We miss you, and miss your service in San Diego.
I wanted to turn just a second to what could be, I guess, the most personal of all readiness questions, having met with a group of Marines just a few days ago in San Diego, who were being treated at Balboa Hospital.
One of their big concerns was that their weapons jammed, and that even despite their cleaning the weapons constantly, that they still are having a lot problems, it is hard to get a replacement, and they also mentioned that they would like to have a side arm available to them so that when their weapons jammed that they have a backup.
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Could you tell me how you would respond to them when they make those requests, and what we are doing about that?
General HULY. Ma'am, this is the first that I have heard of any weapons jamming in combat or in any training leading it to it. If it is so, it hasn't been a problem that has been brought to our attention. I am sure if they are saying it happened to them, then we will check it out. So I am going to have to take your question for the record. I will find out which units specifically and to see what the problems were.
[The information referred to can be found in the hard copy.]
Mrs. DAVIS.Okay, I can help you with that. Thank you.
General HULY. Thank you.
Mrs. DAVIS. And also I just wanted to ask then about the tracking of war-related expenses and equipment, do we do that separately or are all those war-related expenses tracked in one way and other military tracking expenditures are tracked another way. Do we separate those out or are they together?
General HULY. I can speak for the Marine Corps in that we are capturing all of our war-related expenses and our costs separately at this time from our normal operating costs. We had a very good foundation of what our normal operating costs were preOIF and preOEF.
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We were pretty much able to capture what our costs were, not only for our own information and managing internally, but to be able to present it to the Congress and to the Department of Defense to be able to justify what it is that we are asking for. So, yes, ma'am, we do break them out separately.
Mrs. DAVIS. Is that true for all the services?
General CHRISTIANSON. Yes, ma'am. We have to track our expenses separately. I know that if an auditor came in to look they probably wouldn't think we are doing it as well as we should. But we are trying to keep them separate for many, many good reasons. We have to do that.
General WETEKAM. The true is for the Air Force as well, ma'am.
Admiral HUGEL. Yes, ma'am. Within the capability of our ability to distinguish an underway day for the war versus just being an underway for other reasons, we do try to distinguish those costs. Certainly we program in budget and predict with models that are tied to baseline requirements and then wartime requirements above that.
Mrs. DAVIS. Because, I am glad to hear that then because there was some question of whether or not DOD allowed that, but that is the way that you do that.
It is my understanding that in 2004 the supplemental requested 2.8 billion addressed to equipment and wear and then 2005 supplemental was about 12 billion for that purpose. Now that we are in 2006, if we have a pretty good idea about what those amounts are, if you are separating them out, then why don't we include those from your point of view in the 2006 budget request, which will be separate from the supplemental?
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General CHRISTIANSON. In accordance with the Office of the Secretary Defenses (OSD's) policy, the incremental costs of the war we put into the supplemental, the emergency supplemental request. The problem with trying to anticipate it, and we do the best we can when we build a supplemental requirement, is we are not exactly sure what is going to come back next year.
If the security situation changes up or down, the units that were returned or the units we will send over will not be the ones that we currently are planning. So we could get a lot more equipment back. So, for example, if a security situation improves dramatically over the next six to eight months by the end of this calendar year, we could see a lot more of the equipment we have left behind returning here.
If that happens, there will be a larger amount of RESET required next fiscal year than we are currently planning, because currently we know we are only planning for the units to come back that we think are going to come back.
So we are kind of in a little bit of a time crunch. I know, Mr. Chairman, you had asked earlier, what is the resource that really drives all of this? Time is the resource that we really don't have any control over. So weif the budget goes in and it has to be in by this time, and we havewe don't know what force structures will remain in theater until after that time, we have no choice but to ask for it in a supplement.
Mrs. DAVIS. Where do we factor in equipment for the Iraqi Army?
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General CHRISTIANSON. Most of the equipment that I knowsome of the equipment we have given the Iraqi Army. Some of our prepositioned trucks, for example, that are very old models that we don't want in the Army anymore. About 1,215 we gave to the Iraqi Army. We were compensated, recompensated from Coalition Provisional Authority (Iraq) (CPA) for that.
Most of the other stuff that I know is being purchased commercially and is not equipment that the Army, at least in the Army's case, the Army is not giving them. It is outside the Army.
Mrs. DAVIS. Great. Thank you.
Admiral Hugel, I was going to ask you just about the sea swapping and what we anticipate down the road. We know there are a lot of plusses of that, certainly, but the downside in terms of readinessand if we don't have any more time, Mr. Chairman, I will stop. But that was a question that perhaps others haven't asked about.
General HULY. Yes, ma'am, we have done sea swap pilots on the west, for a couple of West Coast ships now. We are embarking on sea swap pilots for ships based on the East Coast. We continue to learn from each of those sea swap exercises the upside and the downside, and there appear to be quite a few upside things.
So I think when the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) testified earlier on what the future force structure requirements in terms of number of ships might be, he mentioned sea swap as an issue and an effort that we are going to continue to explore. Depending on our success at employing sea swap, depending on how much of the fleet we can do sea swap with, we will eventually dictate the size of the force that we need because of the extra forward deployed operational availability we get from those platforms when we are able to swap crews back and forth.
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So far, we have learned many good lessons from sea swap. The East Coast ships will add to that collection.
Mrs. DAVIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Evans. Mr. Evans has some questions for the record. We will do that. Do any ofany of the rest of you have any questions for the record as well? We will do that.
Are there any final questions or comments?
If not, the committee stands adjourned.
Thank you, gentlemen, very, very, much.
[Whereupon, at 3:25 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]