SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10944]
THE CURRENT STATUS OF MILITARY RECRUITING AND RETENTION
MILITARY PERSONNEL SUBCOMMITTEE
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
JULY 19, 2005
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MILITARY PERSONNEL SUBCOMMITTEE
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York, Chairman
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota
THELMA DRAKE, Virginia
MICHAEL CONAWAY, Texas
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
ROBERT ANDREWS, New Jersey
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
MARK UDALL, Colorado
CYNTHIA McKINNEY, Georgia
Michael Higgins, Professional Staff Member
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDebra Wada, Professional Staff Member
Jennifer Guy, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Tuesday, July 19, 2005, The Current Status of Military Recruiting and Retention
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2005
THE CURRENT STATUS OF MILITARY RECRUITING AND RETENTION
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
McHugh, Hon. John M., a Representative from New York, Chairman, Military Personnel Subcommittee
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Snyder, Hon. Vic, a Representative from Arkansas, Ranking Member, Military Personnel Subcommittee
Bergman, Lt. Gen. J.W., Commander Marine Forces Reserve/Marine Forces North, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
Bradley, Lt. Gen. John A., Chief of Air Force Reserve and Commander, Air Force Reserve Command
Brady, Lt. Gen. Roger A., Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel, U.S. Air Force
Chu, Hon. David S.C., Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness)
Cotton, Vice Adm. John G., Chief of Navy Reserve, U.S. Navy
Hagenbeck, Lt. Gen. Franklin L., Deputy Chief of Staff, G1, U.S. Army
Hall, Hon. Thomas F., Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs
Hoewing, Vice Adm. Gerald L., Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education), U.S. Navy
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James III, Lt. Gen. Daniel, Director, Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force
Osman, Lt. Gen. H.P., Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, U.S. Marine Corps
Vaughn, Lt. Gen. Clyde A., Director, Army National Guard
[The Prepared Statements submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Bradley, Lt. Gen. John A.
Brady, Lt. Gen. Roger A.
Chu, Hon. David S.C.
Hagenbeck, Lt. Gen. Franklin L.
Hall, Hon. Thomas F.
Hoewing, Vice Adm. Gerald L., joint with Vice Adm. John G. Cotton
James III, Lt. Gen. Daniel
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Osman, Lt. Gen. H.P., joint with Lt. Gen. J.W. Bergman
Vaughn, Lt. Gen. Clyde A.
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Army Reserve Recruiting and Retention, Then and Now...
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
THE CURRENT STATUS OF MILITARY RECRUITING AND RETENTION
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Subcommittee on Military Personnel,
Washington, DC, Tuesday, July 19, 2005.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 11:03 a.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John McHugh (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN M. MCHUGH, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW YORK, CHAIRMAN, MILITARY PERSONNEL SUBCOMMITTEE
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Mr. MCHUGH. The hearing will come to order.
Good morning. Today the subcommittee turns its attention to the two building blocks of our military forces, recruiting and retention.
This panel has attempted to closely monitor recruiting and retention trends to be certain that Congress does not overlook even the most subtle signal that further legislative action or congressional oversight may be required. We are absolutely committed to ensuring that military recruiters have the tools and the resources needed to be successful.
While the statement ''Failure is not an option'' is probably overused by most, if not all, of us in describing important objectives, it seems to me to be the precise circumstance in which we currently find ourselves. It is imperative to national security that we continue to recruit and retain the very best that America has to offer.
It should be no secret that I certainly believe the Army, and by that I mean the active, guard and reserve, is simply too small to successfully perform all that our nation is asking it to do. That is why I am particularly concerned about any evidence that suggests even the current authorized end strength of the Army cannot be attained because of the failure to successfully recruit sufficient candidates for that branch of the service.
If there be any, close observers of the subcommittee know that we have long had standing concerns about recruiting and retention. For example, much of the March 16th military personnel overview hearing focused on these very issues.
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At that time we observed disturbing trends spanning the 2004 fiscal year, but the verdict was not yet in on 2005. We now have a much clearer picture of the fiscal year 2005 format, and, unfortunately, we know there are serious manpower challenges, particularly in the recruiting numbers.
For example, it now seems unlikely that the Army will achieve its goal to access 80,000 new troops, missing that number by as many as 7,000. Among the reserve components, we may well see four of the six suffer a failed recruiting year, with the Army National Guard achieving less than 80 percent of its objective, thus failing for the third consecutive year.
While we are likely to hear positive comments about retention today, predictions of a looming retention crisis continue to feed the Washington rumor mill and are hard to refute as the operations tempo continue to grind the force.
Just this past week the RAND Corporation released a report with a press release entitled, ''RAND study warns that military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have stressed the U.S. Army thin,'' precisely mirroring our deepest concerns.
The need to sound the alarm this year may be greater than any time in recent memory. While recruiting and retention is never easy, the emergence of the civilian job market and the stresses of wartime operations on the force may well force and forge an environment over the next several years that will be the least favorable of the past two decades.
I have heard much discussion in recent weeks about the need for our nation's leadership both to speak out about the nobility of service in our nation's military and to reach out to those people who influence the decisions of our youth.
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For the record, I am in complete agreement with that objective, as recently articulated by the president in his speech at Fort Bragg. But I must also caution that one of the hard lessons this subcommittee has learned is that the military must also be competitive in the marketplace. We must be prepared to offer the programs and, I dare say, the cash to attract quality people to serve.
We have included a number of initiatives to support recruiting and retention in the House version of the National Defense Authorization bill, as well as $462.7 million in additional funding; and as good as I believe this package is, I suspect that more still needs to be done.
That is why we are here today, to get the perspective of our military leaders from the active and the reserve components as to what more is needed to re-place recruiting and retention back on a level course.
Before I introduce our first distinguished panel, it would be my pleasure to yield to the gentleman from Arkansas, the distinguished ranking member of the subcommittee, Dr. Snyder.
STATEMENT OF HON. VIC SNYDER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM ARKANSAS, RANKING MEMBER, MILITARY PERSONNEL SUBCOMMITTEE
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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I would ask permission that my written statement be included in the record.
Mr. MCHUGH. Without objection, so ordered.
Dr. SNYDER. This is our second hearing this year. It is good to see you all again, and our second panelists are sitting in the audience.
This may well not be our last one this year. This is a topic that is not going to go away, as you all know, and we hope today that you will outline for us how you see the current status, the direction you see it is going, and potential solutions. We are here to help you, and if you do not give us the kind of level-headed assessment and suggestions on directions you think we ought to go, we are not able to help you.
The unfortunate end result that we do not want is to have our tactics and strategy and the decisions made by the president and our military leaders made by what the level of recruitment is. That is not what we want to have occur.
So I appreciate you all being here, and I look forward to an energetic several hours.
Mr. MCHUGH. Speaking of hours, I would note for everyone's information we have a hard deadline on this hearingsome would consider this good news, others bad; I will leave it uneditorializedat 3 o'clock.
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It has been our practice in the past to try to avoid the dreaded five-minute clock, but the ranking member and I have agreed that at least at the outset we will try to use that. So I would urge members on both sides to remember that when that light turns red, their time has elapsed. With that, I would like to introduce our first panel.
First off, the Honorable David S. Chu, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.
Mr. Secretary, thank you for being here.
Lieutenant General Franklin L. Hagenbeck, deputy chief of staff, G1, Headquarters, Department of the Army roster.
Vice Admiral General Hoewing, deputy chief of naval operations, manpower, personnel, training and education, Department of the Navy.
Lieutenant General H.P. Osman, deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs, United States Marine Corps.
And Lieutenant General Roger A. Brady, deputy chief of staff, Personnel Headquarters, United States Air Force.
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Welcome to all of you.
I would state for the record: Without objection, all of your opening statements will be entered in their entirety into the record.
Without objection, so ordered. And we will leave it to you to summarize or present those statements as you see fit.
With that, Mr. Secretary, thank you for being here, and we look forward to your comments.
STATEMENT OF HON. DAVID S.C. CHU, UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (PERSONNEL AND READINESS)
Dr. CHU. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, Dr. Snyder, members of the committee, it is a great privilege to appear again before this panel to discuss recruiting and retention issues. I would like to start by thanking our men and women in uniform, active and those from the reserve components. They are doing a terrific job for this country, and their excellence is a tribute to the young people of America today.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As members of this committee appreciate, over 30 years ago the United States returned to its traditions, returned to an all-volunteer force, and it has maintained that course ever since and intends to maintain that course in the future. That volunteer force, as you appreciate, has turned in an extraordinary performance in Panama, in the first Persian Gulf War, in the protection of the Kurds, in the enforcement of no-fly zones, in Haiti twice in the last 15 years, in the Balkans, and now in Afghanistan and Iraq.
An all-volunteer force, as members of this subcommittee appreciate, is really an all-recruited force, as my colleagues know all too well. It requires constant effort, constant attention, as you suggested, Mr. Chairman, as to how the situation is changing and how we best respond to that situation.
It is also important to pay the same careful attention to retention, as you have argued. I believe our success to date in this regard over the last 30 years, and it is an outstanding success, is a reflection of the legislative executive partnership on this matter. You have helped ensure that we are fair in how we treat our personnel, which I think is essential to their morale and their willingness to serve, and you have helped us target compensation to the areas of greatest need.
There is some hard news out there, as you have noted, but there is also a great deal of good news. The active component has generally made its recruiting numbers, with the recent exception of the Army, and the Army has recently improved its results thanks to new initiatives that you have supported.
The reserve components are also starting to do a bit better. We have maintained quality standards constant in the department, and the outcome of these quality standards have generally been good. Our retention, as you have noticed, is very strong both on the active side and among the reserve components. The measures we are using to gauge our success are becoming more sophisticated. Admiral Hoewing can speak to this in the case of the Naval Reserve.
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I do think we have to be careful, as we switch our measures to switch our public consciousness, to pay attention to those new measures, beginning to measure not just the overall number of people we recruit or retain but, more importantly, how well we do with specific skill sets. And we are willing, on a case-by-case basis, to take overall shortages if we are only going to recruit people of a skill set that is not applicable to our needs.
Mr. Chairman, as you have suggested in your opening comments, and we welcome that invitation, we have taken a fresh look at the complete set of incentives, complete set of authorities, we have available to us through the department, as to whether they are the right set given the circumstances we now face.
As you know, we have communicated to the subcommittee a list of initiatives, some already in the president's budget, some that you have supported, and some additional ones that we think merit your consideration as you proceed to conferenceI recognize your bill actions already are completedthat we think would indeed benefit from your endorsement.
We are very grateful to the subcommittee for its willingness to increase the enlistment bonus to $30,000, to endorse a critical-skills retention bonus for the reserve components, to increase the funds available for joint advertising and marketing; but we do think it is important to increase our authority also on selective re-enlistment bonuses on hardship-duty pay, to offer us some target incentives for the reserves, particularly where prior service enlistments are concerned and where a critical unit assignment is at issue.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Perhaps most interesting, in terms of the list that we have forwarded to you, is the set of new ideas that have arisen from the Army's deliberations, which we have put together in a proposal, for an incentive trust fund to allow the Army to experiment with a housing incentive, housing ownership incentive, in terms of its recruiting efforts, and to benefit from best practices elsewhere in our society, by offering a modest reward to those who successfully refer a candidate who is meritorious for military service and actually completes the initial training.
At the same time, and I know this sounds a bit contradictory, we are asking again for your consideration for targeted separation incentives. I think it is important, in setting the tone of this institution, that when we have an overage we encourage people voluntarily to leave, not bring down on them hard, heavy-handed procedures that characterize as the kind of institution unattractive to the best and the brightest in our society.
As your comments suggested, Mr. Chairman, in the end what counts is not the individual recruiting and retention outcomes. In the end what counts is can we maintain appropriately the strength levels of the military forces of the United States and do those strength levels support the capabilities we need? It is indeed the whole picture that counts.
I very much appreciate the leadership that you signaled in your opening comments. We are very grateful for that leadership. In celebrating with Americans as a whole the value of military service, one of the most important things we can all do is to remind young people that military service, whether for a few years or for a career, is a great choice to make.
Thank you, sir.
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[The prepared statement of Dr. Chu can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Appreciate your comments.
Next, Lieutenant General Franklin Hagenbeck. Thank you for being here, sir. Our attention is yours.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. FRANKLIN L. HAGENBECK, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, G1, U.S. ARMY
General HAGENBECK. Thank you very much.
Mr. Chairman and Dr. Snyder and distinguished members of the committee, thanks for the opportunity to appear before your committee again today on behalf of America's Army.
The United States Army owes its success to the all-volunteer force, which provides the high-quality versatile young Americans that we depend upon to serve as soldiers. As you know, this is the first time in our nation's history where we have tested the all-volunteer force during prolonged war. In determining what kind of all-volunteer Army we need, we have got to consider compensation, education and incentives, and that is one of our greatest strategic challenges that we face here in the near term. For those brave men and women that willingly serve our grateful nation, I want to express my sincere gratitude for your continued support and commitment.
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To win this war, we must recruit and retain a quality force, soldiers who have the warrior ethos ingrained in their character. Last year the active and reserve met their recruiting goals and the National Guard missed theirs. In the current war, low propensity to serve, and negative feedback from influencers, coupled with the improving economy and lower unemployment rates, puts the Army at risk of meeting our fiscal year 2005 recruiting goals.
Recruiting incentives, such as the enlistment bonus program, the Army College Fund program, the loan-repayment program, and the National Call to Service, combined with increases in recruiters, incentives and advertising, will help improve our ability to approach or meet our annual missions.
In the previous year, the active Army achieved all its retention goals and results that can be directly attributed to the Army's selective re-enlistment bonus program. The reserve and the National Guard nearly achieved their overall retention objectives, both finishing at 99 percent.
To date the Army is exceeding all retention goals with the active components. Actually, today we are at 107 percent year-to-date. The reserves are at 102 percent year-to-date, and the National Guard is at 106 percent year-to-date as well.
An important component of the Army's ability to retain our soldiers is the selective re-enlistment bonus, and as you know, this bonus is offered to those soldiers that are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and Kuwait. It has been increased to a maximum of $15,000, and it has been very well-received by our soldiers.
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Congress has supported needed pay increases and increases in special pay, such as hostile-fire pay, family separation allowances, and critical-skills retention bonuses.
These increases significantly contribute to the soldiers' overall well-being, and with your support, the Army has the flexibility to encourage soldiers to serve in difficult-to-fill positions and less desirable assignments, as well as retaining soldiers who hold critical high-demand skills.
These tools ultimately provide the Army the ability to continue to fight our war on terrorism and to recruit and retain our quality force. With your continued support, we will be able to compensate soldiers and their families wherever they serve and under all conditions, and we appreciate all of your efforts on behalf of our soldiers.
Although we have been very successful in the last few years in recruiting and maintaining our quality soldiers, to achieve the required temporary increase the Army will continue to need incentive packages to shape the force and a renewed recognition that raising and maintaining an army is a shared responsibility among all Americans.
And, finally, to assist the Army with the recruiting and retaining of quality force, Army asks for favorable consideration during conference: to increase the House-authorized $30,000 enlistment bonus to the maximum extent possible; increase the $1,000 referral bonus to the maximum cap of $2,500; add language to support what Dr. Chu just mentioned, the new Army Home Ownership Fund, to help with recruits and to retain our quality soldiers and young officers; as well as the authority to include officers in the student loan-repayment program.
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Once again, I thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning, and I look forward to answering your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Hagenbeck can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, General. Appreciate it. Appreciate your service.
Next, no stranger to this subcommittee, in fact most here this morning are no strangers to the subcommittee, Vice Admiral Gerald Hoewing, chief of naval operations for manpower and personnel.
Admiral, thanks for being here.
STATEMENT OF VICE ADM. GERALD L. HOEWING, DEPUTY CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS, (MANPOWER, PERSONNEL, TRAINING AND EDUCATION), U.S. NAVY
Admiral HOEWING. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, Dr. Snyder, and distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you so much for all that you do, the extraordinary efforts that you do for all of our sailors, our men and women in uniform.
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Thank you also for this opportunity to come and talk to you at this particular time, prior to conference, so that we have the opportunity to discuss the issues associated with recruiting and retention that are so important to our all-volunteer force.
First of all, I would like to discuss the retention efforts that are going on in the Navy and the positive influence that they have had on our recruiting mission. We have retained a higher level since the beginning of this century than we have in the past. As a result of that, and a reshaping of the Navy, we have been able to reduce our recruiting goals from over 57,000 in fiscal year 2000 to about 35,000 in 2006, and that is a direct result of the very strong re-enlistment rates that we have.
Additionally, if you take a look at our new business process for tracking re-enlistments, we do it by very specific skill sets. When you aggregate those skill sets, for Zone A, for example, we are retaining at 57 percent, against a goal of 53 percent.
However, there are some specific skill sets out there where we are underretaining, and that is where we have focused very carefully our re-enlistment bonuses such as the selective re-enlistment bonus (SRB).
Another reminder to the subcommittee is that in the Navy we have instituted a program, about a year and a half ago, called Perform to Serve, where we do not allow ourselves to overretain in some skill sets above the requirement. If we did so, that would mean we would naturally underretain in other areas. So we take sailors that want to stay in the uniform, want to stay in the service, and transition them from overmanned skill sets into undermanned skill sets, in order to balance the force out.
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A couple of those skills that are below those goals right now are our nuclear technicians, some of our submarine folks, and some of those technical skills. That is why it is so important that we focus on SRBs and raise the cap for SRBs in order to be able to retain these most critical and most technical skills we have.
On the officer side, our continuation rates continue to remain very strong. We are taking some risk in the nuclear skills by reducing the accessions. That naturally means that we need to raise our continuation rates in the submarine skills, and that is why we are asking for your support for nuclear officer incentive pay and Limited Duty Officer (LDO) bonus increases in order to sustain those skills.
We would also request your support on what we call voluntary or targeted separation incentives. This is to support our retention efforts in that if we have too many in one skill set, that means that we will naturally have shortfalls in the others. By having voluntary incentives in order to do multiple opportunities in order of priority, we would retrain in the United States Navy, next would be retrain into another skill set, next would be Blue to Green, in order to support our brethren in green down here, by having folks stay on active duty, then into the reserve forces.
If all of those alternatives fail, voluntary separation with an incentive in order to be able to retain at a higher level in other skills, in order to stay under our caps, would be a very important part of our strategy.
I would also like to say that our recruiting goals this year, we have met all of our recruiting goals, new contract objective, shipping goals, as well as exceeded our contracting and quality goals. We expect to begin fiscal year 2006 with about 60 percent of fiscal year 2006 in the delayed-entry pool, but we are continuing to struggle as we shape our reserve force from a recruiting perspective.
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We will come in below our beginning-of-the-year recruiting goal because we are now focusing very specifically on skills there also. At the same time, we are going to come in above our strength for our reserve commitment.
Therefore, we will continue to shape that over the course of the year.
So, once again, thank you very much for your very strong and extraordinary support to our men and women in the Navy, and we look forward to your questions as the day goes on.
[The joint prepared statement of Admiral Hoewing and Admiral Cotton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, Admiral.
Next, Lieutenant General H.P. Osman, United States Marine Corps. General, thanks, as always, for being here.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. H.P. OSMAN, DEPUTY COMMANDANT FOR MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS, U.S. MARINE CORPS
General OSMAN. Chairman McHugh, Dr. Snyder, other distinguished members of the committee, I thank you for the continued support you provide your Marines and their families. I also thank you for what is obviously your genuine interest and concern over these two important issues, recruiting and retention.
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Right now we have over 28,000 Marines deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and another 6,000 that are deployed worldwide, supporting the other combatant commanders. In order for us to sustain this capability, we have to be able to retain and recruit the right Marines. I would like to share with you how we are doing and what we can do to improve that.
First, on recruiting, you need to know that our accessions this year are going quite well. We are at 102 percent of our mission thus far, absolutely confident that we will bring onboard those men and women we need to make Marines. We have exceeded all DOD as well as our own self-imposed quality standards as we recruited and brought these individuals to the depots.
It is also important to realize that there is another part of recruiting, and that is the contracting part. At this point we are at 97 percent of where we would like to be with contracting. It is a tough contracting environment out there. This is going to sustain itself into fiscal year 2006, we are confident of that.
Some things we can do to help the recruiter, particularly in contracting. First, as you may have remembered from a previous hearing, I mentioned that the Marine Corps does not use the enlistment bonuses as much as the other services. Our recruiters like to use what we call the ''intangibles'' to bring individuals into the Marine Corps. We are going to start using the enlistment bonus, as other services have, and I request your support in that.
Second, continued funding for advertisement is critical at this juncture.
And, finally, as Chairman McHugh had mentioned earlier, the vocal support concerning the honor of public service is very important at this point in time.
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On the business of retention, it is a good-news story across the Marine Corps and our total force. At the end of June, aggregatewise, we had re-enlisted all the first-termers and careerists that we need for fiscal year 2005. We will continue, obviously, to attempt to re-enlist those individuals that we need in those high-demand, low-density MOS's.
Retention is not a problem. Interesting story, on 1 July we allowed those first-term individuals who will be eligible for re-enlistment in fiscal year 2006 to submit their re-enlistment packages. This was on the 1st of July.
By the 13th of July, we already had 1,500 RELM documents that had been submitted, Marines trying to get ahead, if you will, of the curve to get re-enlisted for fiscal year 2006, a good-news story indeed.
Success that we have enjoyed in retention is a function of a number of things: certainly command interest; the monetary incentives that we use in the form of selective re-enlistment bonuses; important is the family support, a married Marine can only stay in the Marine Corps if his family is supporting him, and we are seeing that; and finally, and probably most importantly, is job satisfaction; several things that we want to continue to sustain to help us in the retention is the selective re-enlistment bonus program, an important one; and finally, continued support of the quality-of-life initiatives for our families.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am optimistic of the personnel picture in the Marine Corps, and that optimism is based in part on the great support that you have provided.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you very much.
[The joint prepared statement of General Osman and General Bergman can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, General.
Our next presenter is Lieutenant General Roger A. Brady, deputy chief of staff for personnel, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force. General, thanks so much for being here.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. ROGER A. BRADY, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, PERSONNEL, U.S. AIR FORCE
General BRADY. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Chairman, Dr. Snyder, distinguished committee members, good morning, and thank you for the opportunity to be here today. On behalf of our airmen, thank you for all of the tremendous support you continually provide our troops. Our men and women are doing extraordinary work, given the myriad of challenges before them. Your support enables our leaders to sustain and improve fundamental quality-of-life initiatives for our troops. Moreover, your astute awareness of the need to maintain focus on our recruiting and retention developments further demonstrates our mutual desire to uphold and continually cultivate the world's premier air and space force.
We are now at authorized end strength. We will continue to bring balance to the force by right-sizing and shaping specific career specialties and overall officer/enlisted skill sets.
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We remain postured to use various programs already in place, such as career job reservation, Non-commissioned Officer (NCO) retraining, Palace Chase and Blue to Green initiatives.
You can expect to see continuing adjustments to our current force-shaping criteria that will ensure we right-size and shape the force. As we have returned to our authorized end strength, relief has flowed to overstressed career fields.
We are doing this prudently, identifying specialties and specific peer groups within those specialties where we have more people than we need. At the same time, we are correcting our skill imbalances by realigning manpower and expanding training pipelines.
We are also taking a hard look at where our people serve. We have airmen serving outside the Air Force who do not deploy with an air expeditionary force. They serve in Joint and Defense agency positions, some of which require uniformed people and some which do not. Through military-to-civilian conversions and competitive sourcing initiatives, in consultation with other agencies, we are returning some of these to Air Force positions.
The Air Force performs a vital role in air expeditionary operations. We continue to maintain a robust operations tempo supporting joint operations with airmen deployed worldwide. Although heavily engaged as an expeditionary force, we have brought our active duty strength back to congressionally-authorized levels.
For fiscal year 2005, we will access nearly 19,000 enlisted active duty members and just over 5,000 active duty officers. In fact, we are complete for 2005. Our one-year reduction in our recruiting goal was part of a deliberate effort to reduce force size without jeopardizing long-term health. Our Air Force is still hiring, and our recruiting programs remain strong. However, we must continue to maintain this level of awareness among our potential airmen by keeping public schools and colleges open to our recruiters.
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Ours is a recruited force, which means we must be competitive in the national marketplace to both recruit and retain our people. With your continued support of our recruiting and marketing programs, we can ensure serving in the United States as an opportunity every person considers and thus maintain the Air Force's competitiveness and as a dynamic job market.
A vital element for success is the ability to offer bonuses and incentives where we have traditionally experienced shortfalls, and we need the continuing authority to use incentive tools flexibility in a dynamic personnel market. Congressional support for these programs, along with increases in pay, benefits, and quality-of-life initiatives, have been critical to our success in recruiting and retaining airmen and their families, and we are most appreciative of your effort in that regard.
Our current retention goals reflect our force-shaping efforts to meet our congressionally authorized end strength. Our retention numbers generally indicate a positive retention trend. As we continue to monitor this trend, we recognize that some critical skills have historically experienced shortages.
We appreciate your continued commitment to ensuring competitive pay and quality-of-life initiatives that enable members and their families to maintain a contemporary standard of living as well as attract and motivate an all-volunteer force to remain in uniform. As we continue to shape our force, we recognize the recruiting and retention challenges of our sister services. By continually promoting the Blue to Green Initiative, we can continue to foster the total force integrated needed in today's global environment and maintain a combat-ready force. We anticipate that as we make corrections to our officer/enlisted mix, some young officers will elect to continue service with the United States Army.
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Going forward, we will continue to develop and shape the force to meet the demands of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (AEF). We will leverage opportunities to educate our future leaders and make the extra effort required to retain and recruit incredible men and women, who will take the challenge of defending the Nation in the 21st century. These are our most valuable resources. With your support, we can ensure they have the resources to perform their duty and the quality of life to remain focused on the mission.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for your support to all of our recruiting and retention efforts, and especially to the men and women of this Air Force.
[The prepared statement of General Brady can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much.
Thank you all.
I do not think we can say we have got ''A Tale of Two Cities'' here, but we certainly have a challenge that is divided into two parts.
All of you have talked about, as I very much expected, the relatively good numbers under retention; and I think that is, more than anything else, a real comment about the devotion to service that the men and women that wear the uniform of the United States military, across all the services, bring to their jobs. It is remarkable. I have been to Iraq now five times, Afghanistan twice, and every time I go I am struck by the morale and the devotion to the objectives that those men and women have.
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But there is another side, and eventually the ''twain shall meet,'' and that is the recruiting side. I think the recruiting side is far more problematic, and we can talk about the details of that if it is necessary.
But I think before we search for solutions, we ought to have to come to a common ground as to the challenge, and the first question I would ask you folks isthis is a relatively new phenomenon. I mean, it has been experienced in the past, but I think this era is somewhat different.
But I would be interested in all of your perspective, certainly the department's perspective, of: What is the core of this challenge? Why are we experiencing this problem? And then we should talk a little bit about what more needs to be done to meet it.
Mr. Secretary, why do you think it is such a difficult recruiting environment?
Dr. CHU. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. That is the central question in front of us, indeed, as you argue.
I think there are several factors that contribute to the present situation. First, we have had a secular problem, which has gotten worse in recent years, of older advisers to young Americans reluctant to endorse military choices. That has been going on for some time. It antedates the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. But it has gotten worse. Thus I think the importance of what you mentioned in your opening remarks and that we strongly feel is critical is that we celebrate the value of service, that we reinforce the willingness of young Americans to serve, not discourage them.
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Second is a cyclical trend. Very strong economy at the moment. That has always posed recruiting challenges for the department. That occurred in the late 1990's, as this subcommittee will recall.
Third, there is obviously the burden of current operations as a factor out there, although I do not think it is as large a factor as some commenting on the situation would believe.
Fourth, I think, as your actions have helped us, we need to put more energy into our recruiting effort. We realize that on the order of a year ago we started to make those moves.
With 20/20 hindsight, we probably needed to start that even earlier and give even greater energy to it, which is why we are grateful for the inquiry from you and from your colleagues in the Senate as to what are the additional measures we should take now.
I am encouraged. We are starting to see some signs of payoff. The Army has put more recruiters in the field. The Army did better in June, both active and in the reserve component. It is a bit like the infamous supertanker, it does not turn around on a dime. It does take time for these measures to be effective. I think we need to sustain them, and as you have invited, we need to reinforce them.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Gentlemen.
General HAGENBECK. Yes, sir, just to underscore what the secretary just stated. Obviously, the economy, we compete against that same population for young soldiers, age group about 17 to 24. It is really the top third of that age group that we compete for, that can qualify for any of the military services. So we have got to be competitive from that standpoint. Ongoing operations, as mentioned, in Iraq and Afghanistan also have an impact, but primarily on the influencers, as I testified the last time I was here.
We have continued to have the same number of recruit leads, if you will, over the past 12 months. That is encouraging. Where we have got work to do is to be able to close the deal with these youngsters that are considering coming into the Army and to be able to have positive influence from the parents, teachers and coaches.
So again the call to duty, but again the competitiveness that we need for some of the initiatives that we have discussed this morning, including the enlistment bonus increase, that you have so graciously supported, and the potential that we think we have got for this Army Homeowners Program, that we think will be a positive impact on our recruiting efforts.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral Hoewing.
Admiral HOEWING. I would just say that we are obviously all aligned with that propensity and the influencers and the economy. What we are seeing are moms and dads saying, ''We appreciate all the opportunities that our sons and daughters have in the military service, but just not right now.'' I believe that that is because of the daily appearance in the news, that far exceeds any recruiting advertising efforts, of the negative images that they see on the television, and I believe that has shaken the confidence of many of our influencers out there.
If there is a way to get at that, it needs to be a communication strategy, a national communication strategy, that goes after identifying and acknowledging all the positive things that are taking place around the world.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, sir.
General OSMAN. Sir, just to certainly echo what the other folks at the table have said, the influencers are really a key consideration. I think, one, if you step back and say, ''Well, if the operations are a problem, then why are we not seeing these problems with those people who are serving at this time?'' And as we can see, retention is going extremely well.
So it is getting to the people who have not seen the other side, help them understand the nobility of the cause, that will allow us, I think, to crack that, and that is the challenge we face today. The recruiters are working as hard as they ever have. They are getting the leads, as General Hagenbeck said. The problem is the influencers.
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Mr. MCHUGH. General Brady.
General BRADY. Well, I do not have a lot to add to that, but I certainly agree with my colleagues. People have other options in a growing economy.
But two things that I think that combine to hurt us are not only, as Jerry Hoewing said, a pretty consistent barrage of negative press, but if you combine that with a reduced ability to have access to young people to tell our story in schools, those two combine to hurt you, because the media can tell its story, and we are reduced in our capability to tell our story. That is not a good combination.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you all very much.
Let me just make a few comments. Obviously, the economy is a challenge, and I said in my opening statement we have got to compete. You are out there, fortunately, in a happier time, when the American job market is looking up, and we all want that to happen, but it presents certain challenges. As I also said in my opening statement, we have, on this subcommittee and throughout the Congress, over the past several years tried to have been very supportive, and I think we have been.
We have got $462 million, almost $463 million, in retention and recruiting support in the bill, that we have passed and we wait to go to conference on, from active duty re-enlistment bonuses to reserve critical-skill retention bonuses, reserve affiliation/accession bonus, hospital, fire, eminent danger, prior physical, prior enlistment and service enlistment bonus, elective reserve enlistment bonus, basic housing for allowance for reservists, on and on and on, and I have got here about eight pages of other incentives that we have passed over the recent several years along the same areas.
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I just have to begin to wonder, however: At what point can we continue to buy a force?
I woke up this morning and went down to the gym to work out, and as I was reading one of the local papersand this is guard, but I think perception is realitythe headline above the fold: ''Guard Deployments Weigh on Governors,'' and they are talking about ops tempo and purse tempo.
And you both, General Hagenbeck and Secretary Chu, mentioned it particularly, but others of you mentioned the ongoing operations; and I have got to tell you, I think we continue to kid ourselves to a dangerous extent if we do not begin to admit that we have an insufficient force.
I was enormously disappointed, enormously disappointed, when I saw that the Department of Defense (DOD) budget request for 2006 really sought to authorize an end strength floor for the active Army at the old end strength number of 482,400. We just cannot do what we are asking these men and women to do, at that number.
Fortunately, I think in spite of that number this House has passed a DOD authorization bill that would increase that by 10,000 above the 2005 authorization and 30,000 more than the authorization of end strength sought by DOD, and the Senate apparently is going to go even higher.
So I have got to ask you, Mr. Secretary: Why this obsession with 482,400, when clearly this is not sufficient for the tasks that we have given to the military? I understand the earlier argument that we hoped this was a transitory circumstance, but we are four years, nearly, past September 11th, and the demand and ops and purse tempo increases.
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I have to tell you that this, in my judgment at least, is having a devastating effect on the ability of the recruiters, and probably more than any single issuemy judgmentis affecting those influencemakers that in the package you sent up yesterday, and I think it is a package worth careful study, we are trying to address.
I would be interested in your comments.
Dr. CHU. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We have no obsession with 482,400. 482,400 in the regular budget is a financing issue. The additional Army strength, the Army is moving toward 30,000 additional personnel. Whether that is transitory or permanent is another issue to be decided over the longer term. It has all the authority it needs to increase its strength.
What matters in the end, beyond strength, obviously, as you appreciate, is capability. Therefore, I think we really do need to reinforce department's efforts, particularly in public appreciation we are trying to do, in the Army's efforts to be able to field all 77 of the combat brigades at which it is aiming, 43 active, 34 reserve component, guard, almost in their entirety.
That really is what counts, and how many brigades we can get out there, and their modularity, so we are not stuck with a situation where some brigades have to go a lot and others are not as useful, I think that is the second important development in terms of the department's plans, that will do a great deal, and has already started to do a great deal, to relieve the burden of current operations.
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Mr. MCHUGH. Well, perhaps ''obsession'' was too strong a word. ''Great affection,'' perhaps, but
Dr. CHU. No, I am sorry, it is a financing issue. If the number in the regular budget, to be financed in the regular budget, the overage, is financed in the supplementalI know that is controversial with some, but this is the approach we have taken. The Army is growing its ranks. But most important, I would argue, the Army is growing its capability.
And the Marines are doing likewise. The Marines have gone through a force structure review that yields two additional infantry battalions, three long-range reconnaissance companies, if I recall correctly.
I would say there is another development, and I know this is controversial in some quarters, but I would like to have the opportunity to endorse it, and that is our efforts to move military personnel out of those fields and slots where civilians could do an equally good job.
The department is, as you know, in the course of moving 42,000 such spaces, and I am saddened that in the authorization and appropriation processes the Congress is not supporting the funding that goes with those changes. That is 42,000 spaces returned for military use, as the individual military departments and services might think appropriate, and that is real strength added to our deployable capability.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCHUGH. Well, I appreciate your comments, Mr. Secretary.
I would tell you the fact that it is not fundedand by ''it'' I mean the end strength numbers that we are discussing hereat a higher level in the active and in the regular budget requests versus the supplemental suggests to many of us that we are not serious about effecting a permanent end strength increase.
As to the conversion from civilian to military, this subcommittee has been very supportive of that, been supportive for about the past eight years, and we keep hearing about it. As you said, it becomes a funding issue that where we think the more immediate needs have to be met, versus that conversion, that has been on the drawing board for the past nearly a decade now.
So if we can see some demonstrable action in that and some actual conversion, I think you might have a different story. But
Dr. CHU. Regardless, Mr. Chairman, if I could submit you the evidence of conversions, I would emphasize without the funds we cannot complete them, and so decision to deny the funds is a decision to deny the conversions.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, we happen to think for the moment end strength is more important.
Dr. CHU. But it is end strength, sir. It is the same strength. It is just being used in a different way.
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Mr. MCHUGH. Immediate end strength. You are not going to take a colonel, sitting out at a desk job, and put him into the frontlines of Iraq. Immediate war-fighting end strength.
Dr. CHU. It has immediate dividends, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, we are on the drawing board on that. Let us just agree that you and I have a different perspective on which is more important, shall we?
Dr. CHU. I think they are all part of the same picture, sir, and that is why we would very much like to get your support for those conversions.
Mr. MCHUGH. I will tell you what, you send up a budget that affects end strength, I promise you an authorization bill coming back that does your conversion. How about it, got a deal?
Dr. CHU. That is above my pay grade, sir, on the end strength issue.
Mr. MCHUGH. I will be happy to yield to Dr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for your line of questioning there.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General Osman, in your written statement you had a line that I do not think you read in your opening statement, that you consider the environment to be the most difficult one in ten years.
I appreciate your candor and applaud the efforts that you are putting into it. But it does bring home that this is something different that this Congress and that most of you have had to deal with it, obviously, at your levels of responsibility.
Dr. Chu, in your statement you called attention to the 86 percent accession rate of the Army and the challenge that that creates. Where are we at with regard to the Delayed Entry Program and the recruiting, and what predictions can you make about where we will be a year from now?
Dr. CHU. We are below where we want to be for the Army's Delayed Entry Program.
Dr. SNYDER. Do you have numbers on that?
Dr. CHU. Yes, we do. We are in the 15, 20 percent range, which is well below where we would like to be. Whether we can improve that situation substantially over the course of the next 12 months is one of the challenges ahead of us.
As you appreciate, and I think that is the import of your question, it is one of the leading indicators for us of the difficulty of the recruiting environment.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are in fine shape as far as the Air Force is concerned, at the end of the spectrum. The Marine Corps has seen some erosion in its Delayed Entry Program, but not a great deal, reflecting the contract source goal that General Osman spoke to.
So we have a variety of situations. Each service is a little different situation. But we recognize the seriousness of improving the Delayed Entry Program.
Coming back to incentive changes, they do take time. The ones voted on in this billand we are very grateful for the support of the subcommittee, let me underscore that. You have helped lead the way, and we are counting on you in the months ahead, but they will not take effect until this winter.
So there is a lag in each of these changes in terms of how we can produce results. We are energetically applying what you gave us last year. We are counting on the energy of the Army's additional recruiters in the field, and it is starting to produce some improved results.
Is there anything you want to add?
General HAGENBECK. I would like to underscore this is a tough recruiting environment. As Dr. Chu stated, we are shooting for 15 to 20 percent for the Delayed Entry Program.
We are not close there yet, we have about half that at the moment, about ten percent; and those that we are recruiting this summer, by and large, are going right into the uniformed service and not in that Delayed Entry Program.
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So we have got a lot of work to do this summer to get where we need to be, but we think in the long haul, over the next 12 or 18 months, based on a number of other factors that are out there and the support from the Congress, that this situation will improve.
Dr. SNYDER. Dr. Chu, that discussion of those numbers, was that in your written statement? I did not see that discussion. I mean, I think that
Dr. CHU. No, it
Dr. SNYDER. I think that is an important piece of information, and we had that discussion last timeI do not think you were there, Dr. Chuwith Secretary Abell: Sometimes it is like an Easter egg hunt, trying to find pieces of information that are helpful. I think that is an important piece of information, that the Delayed Entry Program is like your seed corn. Is that a fair metaphor? And if that is not going like you would like, then that has the portend of further challenges to come.
That is the kind of thing I think it would helpful to have right up front in the statement, that ''This is where we are at with this, and this means this challenging environment is going to continue because we are using that to help our accession numbers now,'' which are still a struggle for the Army.
Dr. Chu, in your written statement you make reference to further utilization of the Immediate Ready Reserves (IRR), and you make reference to the fact that you consider that a viable option in both the short term and the long term.
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Is that a hint to us that that is coming relatively soon, or is that just something on the table that you for the sake of completeness included in your written statement?
Dr. CHU. No. The point I should make in my written statement, and I apologize it was not clear, is that we have been limited in the use of IRR. In the first Persian Gulf war, the Nation mobilized about 30,000 IRR members. We have mobilized on the order of 10,000.
We will use some modest additional amounts of IRR, the usuals, but at the present moment we do not anticipate that being all that significant.
Dr. SNYDER. General Hagenbeck, would you talk a little bit, please, about where you see the numbers are at withand I did not see this in the written statement, but maybe then I just missed itin terms of recruiting, a limit for the Army, both in Delayed Entry Program and accession.
Are those numbers down? And if so, what does that mean about where we are going, as part of the recruitment methods we use?
General HAGENBECK. Yes, sir, I understand.
With regard to female recruits, the recruited force right now is about 18 percent female. Last year it was 17.5 percent. But pre-9/11 we ran anywhere from 20 to 22 percent of the recruited force. So it is down over time. It appears to have plateaued at this juncture.
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Dr. SNYDER. How about with regard to recruiting of African-Americans and Hispanics?
General HAGENBECK. Sir, it is the same this year as last year, at 14.4 percent. But that also is down since 9/11. Propensity to serve both in the African-American community and among females has dropped anywhere from three to five points over the last two years.
Dr. SNYDER. I would like to hear each of you, if you were called up by the advertising consultant, or maybe you already have been, and they are putting together a spot that is going to go into movie theatersI do not know if you do that much anymore. I went and saw ''Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'' the other night, and I did not see an ad for the Marine Corps, General Osman. I was a bit disappointed.
But if you get called by a consultant that says, we want to put out an ad to target what you all refer to as the influencers, Momma and Grandma and the veterans in the family, what is the message that the five of you think ought to be in that message?
Dr. CHU. Let me start, if I may, Dr. Snyder.
I think the message that we want to seeand we have been attempting to put that message out, I should emphasizeis that a young person who joins the military will gain in the values that he or she follows and celebrates over a lifetime, and that is the great personal benefit that military service brings.
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There is, of course, the extraordinary benefit to the Nation of your being willing to join the ranks of military, particularly at this critical juncture in history. It is that personal gain that we would like to be sure parents, counselors, coaches and so on understand and appreciate.
General HAGENBECK. Sir, if I could, I would make the point that it is a noble cause, it is serving something bigger than one's self, and that at the conclusion of that enlistment, again, whether it be 3 years or 30 years, that that young soldier brings back to the community something of great value, both intrinsic and extrinsic, a greater sense of maturity and leadership that they can provide to the local communities.
Admiral HOEWING. Thank you, sir.
I actually have the opportunity to go to a premiere tonight, and there will be a Navy trailer at the end of that, and it focuses on three to four specific areas.
One is the personal growth and development opportunities that are in the Navy, the opportunities to serve for their nation and the fact that ''When you come back to America, whether it be after 4 years, after 20 years, 30 years, or more, that you will come back to America as a better American, as a better citizen, and an opportunity to continue the successes that you have learned to grow and develop from your time in the service.''
General OSMAN. Dr. Snyder, the Marine Corps has been blessed with a great advertisement agency for decades, J. Walter Thompson, and they have time and time again pressed exactly the right button to capture the imagination, interest, of our youth to come to the Marine Corps. I would like to see them, if we could, and I have talked with the commanding general of our recruiting command, to have J. Walter Thompson craft an advertisement that would focus on the influencers.
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It would focus on those things that we call the ''intangibles,'' those things that the recruiters themselves have used to bring young men and women to the Marine Corps, highlight those intangibles; have a young man, young woman, essentially make the statement that ''I am not the same person today that I was before I came in the Marine Corps''; lay out the fact that the Marine Corps generally recruits people to come in for four years, serve their nation, and return to the civilian society as a better person.
And that is what we do a lot of. Those would probably be the things that we would focus on and that the CG at our recruiting command and I have spent a good bit of time talking about.
General BRADY. I think we benefit from telling people that the Air Force is an opportunity to reach their potential as part of a winning team, in an effort that is bigger than themselves, and that does important things for the Nation and for people that they know.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman.
I would be happy to yield to the gentleman from Minnesota, Mr. Kline.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being here. A fascinating subject. I have watched it at high points and low points for many years in my life, as we have struggled with too large a force, too small a force, an imbalanced force. Frankly, really nothing new. For decades we have been trying to do that.
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I have got so many things to ask, so many areas to cover; let me see if I can get to a couple of them right away.
We have been very supportive, I think, in this committee and in Congress, in providing selective re-enlistment bonuses, enlistment bonuses, quality-of-life issues for family housingand all of you mentioned thatand I am sure we will continue to provide that kind of support when you come to us and point out the need.
But I think the recruiting problem is more than that. Many of you mentioned in your discussion the influencers, the bad news, the news scrolling across the bottom makes it a little bit tough, sometimes, that influences the influencers, and you would like to see some of that change. But the truth is, we cannot change that. We are not going to change how networks report the news and what the news is that they are reporting.
And so the question is, what are we going to do about it? Clearly, I think Dr. Snyder was working down the trail of: ''What is your advertising message? What is it you are trying to get out there, and how are you getting it out there?''
I think, for example, that the Marines for a long time ran on television and movie trailers, they had somebody slaying a dragon and turning from dragon slayer into Marine in dress blues, an appeal to that spirit of service and adventure and a higher calling, that proved to be very effective. I do not know what to say about the Army. I have never understood the slogan ''An Army of One'' and how that might work in enticing young men and women into the Army, but there must be something there that I have just been unable to grasp.
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My point is that I think we need to look at the advertising message that we are using and where we are putting it out, and if that is something where you need more resources, I know that those of us on this committee would listen with a receptive ear.
But let me get at another problem, and, General Brady, you mentioned it, I think, and that is: How do we get our recruiters access to the young men and women that we want to recruit into the armed forces? And your quote, General Brady, was that ''we are reduced in our ability to tell our story.'' What did you mean by that?
General BRADY. I said if we do not have access, that reduces our ability to tell our story.
Mr. KLINE. Okay, I am sorry. I misunderstood. I thought you said, ''We were reduced in our ability''
General BRADY. I say to the degree that we have difficulty gaining access, in those cases where you do, you obviously have a reduction in your capability to tell your story in that venue.
Mr. KLINE. And so are we having difficulty gaining access? That is the question. And it is open to anybody. Are the recruiters having difficulty in gaining access to high schools and colleges and places where we want to find these young men and women?
Dr. CHU. Your action several years ago, pointing the way for the department on this matter, has been very helpful. Over the last four or five years we actually have improved our access to the nation's high schools.
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That is not to say that we do not have spot problems and spot issues, and we see those emerge in the yet, I regret to say, disproportionate play in the media.
I do think the efforts of you and your colleagues over the last few months to reinforce your message of the value of service, which is our central message here, consistent, I think, in all our responses, is starting to pay off, and I am starting to see a little bit different tone that will be helpful to us, over time, in the reporting.
But we have been helped by your pointing the way to us on how we should tackle this problem, and our success, and I want to thank our uniformed personnel for leading that charge, because they did it. Drawing an analogy, these are basic infantry tactics; this is slogging it out on the ground, school by school, and they have produced a better result.
Mr. KLINE. I hope that you will not hesitate at all to come to us when your recruiters, when our recruiters, are having difficulty.
I see I am going to run out of time here, but my final comment is: I just this morning was at a memorial service for the 26th commandant of the Marine Corps, General Louis Wilson, who took over the helm of the Marine Corps at a very difficult time, coming out of post-Vietnam. I raise that because he was sort of famous, to all of us who served in the Corps, for maintaining, uplifting, holding high standards of service for those that we retained in the Corps and those that were recruited for the Corps, saying, ''You either get in step or you get out.''
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I see the light has turned red, and I would just please ask you that we not lower standards for our men and women in any of the services in order to make goal. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Andrews.
Mr. ANDREWS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I thank the witnesses for their testimony and for their service at a very, very difficult time.
Secretary Chu, are there empirical data that show that adding recruiters increases the number of people recruited?
Dr. CHU. Yes. The department, as you know, over the modern volunteer forces' lifetime of 30-plus years now, has invested a great deal trying to understand what works and what does not work.
We do not pretend to know everything, but we do think we have some insights, and recruiters are seen as one of the most cost-effective investments we can make.
Mr. ANDREWS. So that, I assume, underlies the recommendation of the decision to add 1,900 Army National Guard recruiters. Is that correct?
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Dr. CHU. Absolutely right, sir.
Mr. ANDREWS. And my understanding is that we are at about 77 percent on the recruiting goals, Army National Guard, fiscal year thus far?
Dr. CHU. That is approximately right, yes, sir.
Mr. ANDREWS. I am having a little difficult time reconciling that with the fiscal year 2006 budget request. My understanding is that the increase in investment per accession is 2.5 percent for the Army National Guard. It increases to $14,237 per accession. Let us just stop there for a second. How does that square, if we are adding 1,900 people? Do we have the money?
Dr. CHU. We do, sir. I think you are referringI think we have to be careful of the timing of when these things occur. The added recruiters have just now reached the field. I think that is partly why we have started to do a little bit better. So they are in the fiscal 2005 numbers.
So if you are looking at increases in 2006, they are already there in the base. They are already part of the program.
Mr. ANDREWS. Did we have a problem in fiscal 2004 in Army National Guard recruiting?
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. CHU. We did not do as well as we would have liked to in Army National Guard recruiting. That is partly why we started to make these moves sometime ago, a long effort here to get the right number of recruiters out in the field.
Mr. ANDREWS. How early in fiscal 2005 did we start to add these new recruiters?
Dr. CHU. I am sorry, sir, I could not quite hear the question.
Mr. ANDREWS. How early in fiscal 2005 did we start to add the new recruiters?
Dr. CHU. We made the decisionI would have to go back and look at the records carefully, but the discussions on decision to add recruiters took place in the early part of fiscal 2005, so approximately
Mr. ANDREWS. I am curious as to why
Dr. CHU. It does take time to return it tofirst you have to recruit the recruiters.
Mr. ANDREWS. Yes.
Dr. CHU. We prefer volunteers in this assignment, as you know, sir. Second, you have to train the recruiters. Then you have to deploy them to the point of need.
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So it is not
Mr. ANDREWS. I appreciate
Dr. CHU. We do not call up in the morning and say
Mr. ANDREWS. No, I appreciate that.
Dr. CHU [continuing]. ''Tomorrow morning you go do this, sergeant.''
Mr. ANDREWS. Nothing around here happens that way. I appreciate that.
But I think I just heard you say that the decision to add recruiters was made in the first quarter of fiscal 2005. Why was it not made late in fiscal 2004, so we could have funds in the fiscal 2005 budget, so we could people on-line earlier? Why did we wait?
Dr. CHU. I do not believe, sir, that the funding in the 2005 budget has been a constraint in terms of the recruiter effort.
Mr. ANDREWS. But was the decision made in fiscal 2005 or in 2004?
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. CHU. I would have to go back and look carefully at the records to determine exactly when we made the decision. This was the product of ongoing discussions with the Army Guard leadership. We monitor these trends very carefully. Yes, with 20/20 hindsight, I obviously wish we had started earlier.
Mr. ANDREWS. I do not have 20/20 hindsight either. It is not a new subject around here that we have had recruiting challenges. It is not a new subject that they initiated at least in 2004 fiscal. I am glad to see we are catching up, but I am concerned that it took us that long.
The next question I have along those lines is that, my understanding, in fiscal 2006 the Army National Guard item for accession bonuses actually dropped by $19.2 million; that we were at $158 million in fiscal 2005, we are down to $139 million in fiscal 2006. How does that reconcile with this strategy?
Dr. CHU. We have to be careful, sirI will let General Hagenbeck respond in detailto look at the end strength picture, which will be the sum of the 2006 regular budget and any 2006 supplemental.
And so some of these expenses have been financed out of supplemental funds. I know that makes it harder to track.
Mr. ANDREWS. Yes.
Dr. CHU. But that is the reality. So I would be very careful about comparing the
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Mr. ANDREWS. I appreciate that. I must say that you have touched on a much larger subject a lot of us have a concern about, that, I assume, there will be money in the supplemental.
I think it should have been in the regular budget so we could have a rank and clear assessment of what this is all really costing us. That is not a decision that you made, but it is a decision I think a lot of us around here really regret, that
Dr. CHU. General Hagenbeck would like to
Mr. ANDREWS [continuing]. Supplementals are supposed to be for unforeseen exigent circumstances.
We are now in the fourth fiscal year of an operation, that I support, voted for, but it certainly is not unforeseen and exigent at this point. I think it ought to be regularly budgeted.
Dr. CHU. If General Hagenbeck would just give you the numbers here, it would be helpful, I believe.
General HAGENBECK. Sir, I understand the point that you just made, and you are right. For the president's budget, the numbers that you cited are exactly what we have got, and there is a following request for the bridge supplemental for an additional $303 million for the National Guard.
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Mr. ANDREWS. Did you ask for it in the regular budget?
General HAGENBECK. I cannot answer that question, sir.
Mr. ANDREWS. Okay. Thank you.
General HAGENBECK. I mean I am unaware of it as well.
Mr. ANDREWS. Thank you.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman.
The distinguished vice chair of the subcommittee, the gentlelady from Virginia, Ms. Drake.
Mrs. DRAKE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to thank all of you for being here. And, Admiral, I would like for you to know that my husband and I spent 24 hours on the Theodore Roosevelt this weekend, and I can tell you the young people that you are recruiting, men and women, are absolutely phenomenal, the hours they work, how hard they work. It was a wonderful experience to see that. So thank you very much.
Admiral HOEWING. Thank you, ma'am. We are very proud of them.
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Mrs. DRAKE. There are three things that I would like to bring up in my five minutes.
First, you know, we are all concerned about our recruitment, but I also serve on Education and Workforce, and every time, we talk about tremendous needs in the workforce.
So I am wondering, when we talk about military recruitment, if we are putting that in the context of what is really happening in our workforce across the nation. There are teacher shortages, nursing shortages, shipbuilding, truck drivers. We have tremendous needs and aging workforce across the board. So I am wondering if we can talk about the military on its own without putting it in context with what is going on across the workforce.
Second question is: Do you do some sort of survey when people do not re-enlist into the military, to find out why they are leaving? Because all of you have talked about incentives, but I am wondering if we have policies in place that might encourage someone to leave rather than to stay.
An example would be, say, a young officer that wanted to pursue a career in law and was not able to do it as part of their military and so would be forced to leave, even though we have a tremendous investment in them, that type of thing. I just wanted all of you to think about: Are there things we are doing, we have not thought about, that would encourage them not to remain?
And the third thing is, I would really like to hear more about this Home Ownership Program, and I heard it referenced in regards to the Army. I am assuming that that means we are making commitments for people to stay longer in a certain region, so that they could build up more equity in that home.
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And, Mr. Chairman, we have not talked about this, but I am very concerned about the VA loan today and that it is truly an unworkable loan program for most of our military and veterans because of the particular real estate market that we are in, and sellers will just not take VA loans anymore from buyers.
So that you may be unaware of, and I think we need to talk about that in Financial Services, and probably in this committee, to make sure that problems in that program are resolved so we are not doing a disservice to our military.
Dr. CHU. Let me begin, if I could, ma'am, and maybe I will turn to John Hagenbeck on the Army home ownership proposal.
We are very sensitive to larger workforce developments because they do shape the environment in which we are recruiting, as you are arguing. As you appreciate, one of the most important developments over the last 20 years has been the steady increase in the proportion of young Americans who seek to go on to college right after high school. It is approaching 70 percent.
All the military services, I am impressed to say, have changed their recruiting strategies and their in-service educational strategies to respond to that desire of young Americans for more education.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. DRAKE. Mr. Secretary, let me just ask you that, because years ago it used to be you went in the military to have the funding to go to college, and of course we are doing a better and better job of providing that funding right out of high school.
Dr. CHU. Absolutely. And that is one of the competitive differences out there, and it has not been stressed as much in public discussion, that the alternative sources of funding for post-secondary education have improved enormously over the last 10 to 20 years and that is part of the competition we are facing.
Now, we have adjusted. We have tried to make college education compatible with, not competitive with, military service. Each military service does that a little bit differently. We do survey all our personnel on roughly a trimester basis, and one of our questions, one of the central issues we are after, is retention behavior and what is causing people to stay and what is enticing people to leave.
Let me just touch on one subject, because it does go beyond what the subcommittee can do, but it is something in which we can all participate at every level of government, and that is the question of spousal careers.
This is increasingly a force that is married. The spouse wants not just a job but a career. That is where stability of assignment is helpful, in terms of enhancing that, but where our practices as a country are not necessarily supportive of a spouse that moves around a great deal. There are licensing issues across states. There are issues of how unemployment compensation is treated.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have started to work with the National Governors Association on just those issues, because we believe that the satisfaction of the spouses, I think as my colleagues have emphasized, with respect to the family with a military lifestyle is critical in encouraging a military person to stay.
General HAGENBECK. Ma'am, the three primary reasons that we get from our surveys for those that choose to leave the Army fall under, specifically: predictability, stability, and family separation, in varying orders depending on how long that soldier has been in the Army. But to get at that, of course, the Army for combat readiness reasons has gone from an individual replacement system to a unit replacement system, and that in and of itself lends itself toward stability and predictability.
So the soldiers that are joining us now, both enlisted and officer, have the opportunities to stay at posts and installations for longer periods of time, an average of six to seven years for the first time, and if they stay with us even beyond that, which then leads into the notion of the spouse having opportunities for jobs in that area, for youngsters, young kids, to go to the same schools, and for, we think, home ownership.
From our surveys, it has been indicated to us that could be a competitive advantage for the Army, much like the Army College Fund was in the past.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentlelady.
Before I yield to the next member, I just want to go back to what Mr. Andrews was talking about, and it is another problem of funding ongoing repetitive needs through supplementals. We spoke about end strength as one of those, but it also applies to recruiting.
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Over the past year we have added $748 million-plus to recruiting budgets and recruiting programs, and frankly that was done because we did not do a good enough job foreseeing the future needs. The reality is that if we do a supplemental to augment that next year, that will come mid year, at best, and we will be starting, as we did in 2004, as we have in 2005, the same shorting of recruiting budgets that have brought us, at least in part, to the circumstance that we find ourselves in now.
And, Dr. Chu, you mentioned it, there is a lag time between bringing recruiters on, getting them out in into the field after you have trained them up and seen the results. By funding this as a full program, in large measures through supplementals, we are engendering that.
That is above your pay grade too, I understand that, but I think it is important to state for the record: That is the problem that emerges from this kind of approach to this issue.
With that, I will yield to the gentlelady from California, Ms. Davis.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you to all of you for your service, for being here. I wanted to turn for a second to General Osman, if you would, sir, and talk a little bit about the needs that the Marines have for recruit training centers on both coasts.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You know, one of the issues that has been raised is that the other services have consolidated, and yet I think there is a belief that you do better in the Marines by having those additionalreally not additional, but to having the options. I wonder if you could speak to that, why that is important and whether or not you see any difference, or perhaps less attrition, even, as you move from training to the active services as a result of that.
General OSMAN. Yesterday, General Nyland, the assistant commandant, gave testimony to this very subject. I know the issues that he raised, and I helped him build some of his thoughts based on my experience as the commanding general of the Marine Corps recruit depot in San Diego from 1997 to 2000.
Congressman Kline showed us a brochure that was part of the funeral service today for General Wilson, one of our former commandants. General Wilson did wonderful things for recruit training and recruiting in the Marine Corps. He brought them together. When I was the CG of the recruit depot in San Diego, I was not only responsible for training the Marines that came to the depot, I was responsible for recruiting them; and we are the only service that does it that way.
We feel that during those particularly tough recruiting years in the late 1990's, when we were making mission, that that was one of the key reasons why: that important link between recruiting and recruit training.
So by having a recruit depot on the East Coast, with a commanding general responsible for training those Marines as well as recruiting them, having a recruit depot on the East Coast at Parris Island that does the same thing, we have derived tremendous success from that formula.
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You put on top of that that when you look at recruiting, and I know this based on my opportunity out there to do that, that a mom or a dad is a lot more comfortable, if they live in Utah or Montana or Arizona, sending their son or daughter away to a recruit depot that is close to home as opposed to the other side of the country. It makes a difference in the recruiting scheme.
Also, when you look at the challenges that you face, particularly if you have to ramp up surge capability, if we tried to do all of our recruit depot, either one of them, they could not handle a surge.
Interestingly, the Marine Corps is the smallest of the four services; however, we are actually assessing more than all but the Army. We have nearly 40,000 young men and women that will go through recruit training this year, about 20,000 per depot. If we tried to do all that at one depot and then take a surge, I think we would probably create ourselves a single point of failure.
So these are just a couple of the reasons that I really think that the two-depot construct has worked and served the Marine Corps so well over the years, and I would certainly encourage that we continue to do it that way.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you. I appreciate that. Is there any difference in attrition, then? Is there any difference from the East to the West Coast even?
General OSMAN. The recruit attrition is running about 12 percent, and it is about the same at both depots. To get back to a point that Dr. Snyder made about the Delayed Entry Program, this is a real key part in keeping down recruit training attrition.
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If you can get a young man or a young woman in a Delayed Entry Program, where they have three or four months to work with the recruiter, to figure out what is going to happen, to get themselves in good physical shape, to get themselves mentally prepared for recruit training, they do a lot better. So you put those two things together and you have got a winner.
So recruit trainingand we spend a lot of time doing it; it is three months long, in the Marine Corps, getting the individuals prepared, getting them into a depot that has a continuity, if you will, of going from that depot to the school of infantry to the operating forceshas served us real well.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. And what is the rate now? How many
General OSMAN. It is running about 12 percent right now, recruit attrition.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Has there been any difference lately compared to two years ago?
General OSMAN. No, there has not. Over the years there have been differences. I mean, there have been times when we have had recruit attrition as high as 20 percent. This was years and years ago. Usually we figure if we can keep it about 10 to 12 percent, we are doing about
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. And are the reasons basically the same?
General OSMAN. I am sorry?
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Are the reasons basically the same for why
General OSMAN. For the attrition
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA [continuing]. Certain recruits drop out? Yes.
General OSMAN. Yes, ma'am, they are.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you.
You know, I was at Stand Down in San Diego this weekend, which is an annual event. It began in San Diego in 1988, I believe, to bring together veterans who have been on the street, who have not been able to get the kind of care that they need, et cetera.
It was just interesting, and perhaps if you all could respond to this. A gentleman approached me who was no longer able to join the service because he was past 35. I know there have been some discussions.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, we obviously have people in the reserves who are a great deal older than that. Could you please talk about changes. Should we be looking at this, or are we seriously looking at it? What are the upsides and downsides to going beyond the 35 age limit in the services today?
Dr. CHU. That is part of our package, ma'am, that we have tabled with the subcommittee, to raise for regular enlistments the age limit to 42.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Is there a downside to that as well that we should be aware of?
Dr. CHU. First I want to emphasize I do not think it is a panacea, but there is a segment of the population that is older, that would like to serve, and we would like to open up that aperture for the military departments to use as they see fit.
I think there obviouslyyou have got to be attentive to physical fitness issues. But that allows them to serve a full 20-year career and reach retirement eligibility.
So we see no reason not to change the limits to reflect the improved health status of the American population at large.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Okay. Thank you.
Consensus across the services on that?
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Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Mr. Conaway, the gentleman from Texas?
Mr. CONAWAY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, thank you for your service, and I understand how difficult the job is you are doing. I also understand that you bring a great deal of professional expertise and wisdom to the table, and that hindsight is a wonderful thing.
My colleagues in the non-military world face many of the same challenges trying to recruit good folks at the right point in time. There was one program that the Navy and the Air Force both mentioned, this Blue to Green. Let me couch the question: Flesh it out for us, as to what that is and how extensive that is. But if I am in the Air Force, in the Navy, and I am one of the best you got, I am not sure I want to go to the Army. And if I am in the Army and I get a bunch of folks being volunteered from the Air Force and the Navy, I am not sure of the quality there.
The folks that are being offered these opportunities, is the Army starting from the top down? I know what the answer is going to be, but the idea that you come over to join a sister service, if it is open to officers and enlisted, you are going to get the same kind of career opportunities, the same kinds of evaluation that you would if you would have stayed in the original service, academy biases, and all those kinds of things.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So whoever wants to take that question
General BRADY. First of all, sir, you are right. People join the services for a reason. They do not join DOD. There are people who want to be Marines and nothing else, there are people that want to be in the Air Force and nothing else, and we all regard that as a positive. We have unique cultures that we think all bring important things to the table. However, the reality for the Air Force right now is we have an embarrassment of riches in some areas, and these are fine young Americans that are excess to our needs in terms of their skills. These are great folks, but we have a budget we have to live within also.
And so we are providing them some opportunities, including our own guard and reserve, including some civilian employment opportunities, where that is appropriate. Also we are mindful that if they want to continue to serve on active duty the Army is happy to have them, and in fact I think Buster is paying them some bonuses to come. So these are good folks who may see the U.S. Army as an option for them.
Admiral HOEWING. Same thing for the Navy, sir. We support the Blue to Green Program.
It is a voluntary program. There is no quality-cut sort of an aspect toward the people that we send and the information we provide to the Army. We provide the names, the contact, their status, and based on many of the bonuses that the Army is offering right now, there are opportunities for bonuses to go Green that they do not have in some areas in the Navy because we may be overmanning those skill sets. So we believe it is an important program. It is a voluntary program, though.
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General HAGENBECK. I would just underscore all that, if I could. All of these are terrific young people. As I mentioned earlier, we are all of us competing with industry against the top third of a particular setup, they are 17- to 24-year-olds in particular, and we think we have got a lot of opportunities in the Army, that is, the Navy and the Air Force right-size their forces, that we can take them in without forcing them out the door in these other two services, and we welcome them with open arms.
Mr. CONAWAY. Is it open to enlisted and officers' ranks?
General HAGENBECK. It is. We have got 225 enlisted so far, and another 110 officers. We expect to see those numbers climb in the coming months.
Mr. CONAWAY. Do you expect this to be a really significant part of the solution or just something that is going to help
General HAGENBECK. I have no analytics on that yet, for all the intangibles you described and the cultural differences and some other aspects.
Admiral HOEWING. One other point. In many cases, in those areas where the Army has skill shortfalls, that may be exactly the same areas where we in the Navy have skill shortfalls also. So engineers, antiterrorism force protection, doctors, those sorts of things, are often shortfalls in both areas.
Mr. CONAWAY. Thank you, sir.
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Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much.
Just to complete the record: Mr. Secretary, you and I had what I viewed as an unexpectedand not inappropriate, but unexpecteddiscussion on civilian-to-military conversions.
Just for the record, we are in the authorizing committee. In 2005 the authorizing committee, this committee and this subcommittee, fully funded under authorization your request for civilian-to-military conversion.
For the record, for 2006 a program budget decision that you all do internally cut that figure by $300 million. For the record, for 2006 the authorization bill that this committee and this subcommittee has sent to conference, awaiting the Senate, takes the $200.5 million that you requested for military-to-civilian conversion and fully funds it for each one of the services, with the sole exception, sole exception, of a $50 million cut for the Air Force. So, just so the record is clear, if you have a concern and an argument you are in the wrong committee.
Dr. CHU. We appreciate the support, although we would of course have liked the Air Force money back, if possible.
I was speaking to the larger congressional process, which in the end determines what we can do. And yes, sir, it is a real issue on the appropriations. However, we appreciate your support. But, of course, you all get to vote on all the bills, and that is the point of my message. We need your help on this front.
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I will be very plain about it, we are not doing well in getting support for what is, as I think you and I do agree, an important initiative in terms of releasing more uniformed slots for those things that only a uniformed person could do.
It is an important issue to the department. It is already 42,000 slots, about 20,000 in process, 20,000-some more to go, and we intend to do more.
So I am seeking to sustain the support that you have given thus far and to encourage in your broader congressional role your support in the appropriation debate about where we should come out here.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, the biggest and most effective argument we can make is in authorizing. You are authorized under the purview of this committee to do the conversions for 2005. And I would respectfully suggest we did make what you could characterize as a value judgment on the Air Force, that they probably could not have the capability to do the full conversions that you asked; and if you could come back and show us we are wrong, that would be an important tool for us to have in the future. But with all due respect, the $50 million we have asked for a cut is far beyond the $300 million that you guys cut through the PPD.
With that, I would be happy to yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Meehan.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And thank you to the members of the panel for your testimony and your service to our country.
Dr. Chu, the department has gone to great lengths to recruit and retain every able-bodied soldier, with re-enlistment bonuses anywhere from, some cases, $40,000. There have been some as high as $150,000.
We pay a large price in terms of both military readiness and taxpayer dollars when we lose people who choose not to re-enlist. Should we relook at our policies to be sure that we are encouraging all qualified people to stay?
The GAO conducted a report, that I had requested, that was released earlier this year, that concluded that we have spent almost $200 million firing gays from the military over the last 10 years and in that process we have turned them away from our recruiting stations, we have fired many with critical skills that our military urgently needs today.
I am wondering, do you believe that we should relook at this policy and see if we should not expand it as a recruiting tool and look at improving ways to keep qualified soldiers that we need to fight the war on terror?
Dr. CHU. Sir, as I know you will appreciate, it is not a policy; it is a statute. The department's role is to enforce the statute.
It is not, speaking frankly, a significant factor in our attrition experience, generally occurs early in someone's service.
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Mr. MEEHAN. But it is the equivalent of two full Army brigades and about one-third
Dr. CHU. We think the way GAO got those numbers, a standard allometric trick, is to take a summation over a very long period of time, as you have cited; and yes, I can make any number that is small in any year look big if I take enough number of years and add them up.
Mr. MEEHAN. But 10,000 would be a third of 30,000, which is what the Army says it needs to fight the Global War on Terror.
A report from the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military found that military discharges discharged nearly 1,000 servicemembers with critical skills over the past 5 years under the policy, and that includes hundreds of linguists and people who could interpret; and those skills in particular were the very skills that the 9/11 Commission affirmed that our intelligence community lacked prior to the September 11th attacks.
I realize it is a statute, but there is a broader policy here; and since we are looking at the policy of retention and recruitment, it seems to me that with our military stretched to the limits, that we should look at this issue, particularly when you consider the fact that nearly 60 percent of all our coalition forces on the ground in Iraq are from nations that allow gays to serve openly in the military, the British, for example, Australia and Italians.
So I am wondering how this would affect recruitment and retention, to look at this policy.
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Dr. CHU. We looked at the linguist issue, sir. My recollection of the numbers is that the majority of those people did not actually complete the training. So they were not really linguists; they were in training when they violated the norms that Congress has set forth in statute and which it is our responsibility to uphold.
Mr. MEEHAN. Well, you say ''violated the norms.'' Nonpartisan Congressional Research Service stated that in fiscal year 1997 more than 98 percent of all members discharged received an honorable discharge. So these are not people who are guilty of some other problems with conduct.
Looking at the fact that the British right now are actively recruiting gays into their forces as a way to meet their manpower needs, and, as I said, moreover, 60 percent of all our coalition forces on the ground in Iraq come from countries that allow gays to serve in the military, one wonders: If it works for the British military and 60 percent of our allies, who are courageously fighting with us side by side in Iraq, could it work for us?
Dr. CHU. Sir, we are enforcing the statute that Congress passed over ten years ago, and we are trying to do a good job in enforcing that statute. It is not a significant source of attrition to the department.
Mr. MEEHAN. But we are paying up to $150,000 to keep people who are qualified. I have had people
Dr. CHU. That number is for a special operations person, who is otherwise eligible to retire and who agrees to serve for an additional six years; and anyone who fails to complete that service will have to pay back the portion not earned.
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Mr. MEEHAN. The Urban Institute estimates that there are currently 65,000 people whom they believe are gay serving in active duty and guard, reservist troops that are serving in the military. Now, I have got to ask you a question. If we discharge all 65,000 of them, would that put us in a much more difficult place in terms of national security?
Dr. CHU. I do not believe so. With due respect, that is the issue. The issue is our responsibility to uphold the statute Congress enacted, I believe, in 1993.
Mr. MEEHAN. I guess what I am trying to get at is whether or notI realize it is a statute, but I am trying to get to the experts to determine whether or not as a matter of policy it makes sense, at a time when we are looking to recruit linguists, at a time thatyou know, I look and meet with individual people who have been let go, served admirably, courageously.
In fact, if you look at statistics, you will find that since the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of discharges are actually down dramatically, which is evidence to me that the commanders in the field know that they need good, competent, qualified people regardless of sexual orientation. So I guess what I am trying to get at is what it means in terms of a policy and do we need to rethink this policy. I am interested if any of the other panelists have a view on this.
Mr. MCHUGH. We would let the
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. CHU. I will try to answer again, sir.
It is not an issue of individual sexual orientation. The issue is does the individual violate the norms set out in the statute, summarized in the phrase ''Do not ask, do not tell.'' It is not an important source of attrition to the Department of Defense.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman for his questioning.
For the information of everyone, we are expected to have a vote in about five to ten minutes, so we have two panelists remaining, and if we strictly adhere, we will not have to ask these very busy gentlemen to remain while we go over and vote. Two votes, so it will be about a half an hour.
Mr. Jones, the gentleman from North Carolina.
Mr. JONES. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
I also want to thank the panel for being with us today.
I would like to first of all say that I am not going to suggest anybody in this room read a book, but I did read ''Battle Ready,'' written by General Zinni and Tom Clancy. It is an absolutely excellent book, and I say to any of my colleaguesI have not been in the militarythat have been in the military, this would be a great educational tool.
About three or four weeks ago we had General McCaffrey speak at an informal committee meeting for both Republican and Democrat. He had written an article for the Armed Forces Journal called ''Ground Down,'' and because of time, I want to ask just two or three questions, and if I could get a yes or no.
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I will go to you, Secretary Chu, since you and I in the past have had discussions about our veterans' benefits, but that is not the issue today. In his article, he said, ''The Army National Guard has failed to meet monthly goals throughout the current fiscal year, this after missing its mark by 7,798 recruits in year 2003 and by 6,792 in year 2004.''
Is General McCaffrey accurate with that information about the National Guard
Dr. CHU. I am sorry, sir, I could not quite hear the prelude to your question. The numbers refer to what?
Mr. JONES. I am sorry, I was not close enough to the mike.
Real quickly, recruiting in the year 2003, the Army National Guard missed its mark by 7,798; in year 2004 it was 6,792. Again, this is from an article written for a magazine by General Barry McCaffrey, who has visited with us, as Members of Congress, at a breakfast meeting.
Dr. CHU. I would have to check the numbers, sir. The Army National Guard did miss its numbers in 2004. I do not recall them missing them in 2003.
Mr. JONES. 2003 and 2004. Would you, please?
Dr. CHU. I would have to look. We have got to look at them. It is a matter of the record.
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Mr. JONES. If you would, provide the committee if that is accurate or not accurate.
Second, he also saidand I would like to know if this is accurate or not, and you can put it in writing, if you will, with the chairman's permission: ''The guard is now 3,168 Army captains short, those who are key company and company-size units and serve us in key staff positions.'' 3,168 Army captains short in the National Guard.
Dr. CHU. The Army Guard has long had a problem with company-grade officer numbers, importantly, because they have to come from the active service and they will have to come early enough in their career that they are still in company grades.
But again, I would have to look at the numbers to
Mr. JONES. If you would just verify those numbers.
Then I have one other, Mr. Chairman, and I will yield back to you, sir. This is to Mr. Kline's question a while ago. ''Soldier quality as measured by top category Army recruits, Cat. 13A, also is down.'' Soldier quality, according to General McCaffrey, is down.
I realize that that can be a question that maybe would be responded: ''no, it is not,'' ''yes, it is,'' or ''this has changed,'' ''that has changed.'' I will hold back on that to get to another point, Secretary Chu.
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Are you familiar with the Defense Science Board? Does the Secretary of Defense have what is called a Defense Science Board?
Dr. CHU. Yes, sir, he does.
Mr. JONES. Okay.
I am going to read very quickly. This is from insidedefense.com, July 6, 2004: ''A group of advisers to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is preparing a report warning that the huge costs associated with prolonged, bloody operations in Iraq and Afghanistan may become part of U.S. enemies' strategy.''
I bring that up at this point, this afternoon at 4 o'clock we are going to have a classified briefing on the Chinese military, and what I guess I want to know from you: If things keep going the way they are, do you feel that there is going to come a time that this country is going to have to consider going back to the draft?
If General McCaffrey is right, with his numbers, with what I have heard today from others, if the situation in Iraq requires for this nation to be there two or three more yearsand I want to say to the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps: You all have done an absolutely magnificent job. I was at Bethesda last week, and I will tell you, these men and women overseas, I do not care what their age is, young or old, they are special. But I want to ask a question. It will be the last one. If we stay in the same situation we are in now, two years from now will we need to consider putting the draft in place?
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Dr. CHU. No, sir, we do not see a need to return to conscription. I might add, on the quality point, my belief is the Army quality numbers have been sustained. They certainly continue to meet the Department's standards.
Mr. JONES. But you do not see a need for the draft, if the status is as it is today, two to three years
Dr. CHU. No, sir, I do not.
Mr. JONES. Thank you.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman.
The other gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Hayes.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, thank you.
I was at a base this weekend, and a lady said to me, ''I am sick and tired of our recruiters not having access to schools and colleges.''
How widespread is that problem, and what can this Congress do to help overcome that problem if it exists at that level?
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Dr. CHU. When we started under the statute you enacted several years ago, somewhat over 20 percent of the nation's high schools did not give appropriate access to our recruiters, as that is defined.
We are now down into the low single-digit percentages. There are still some, but it is vastly improved thanks to the direction you pointed to us, which was basically to ensure that we had approached each high school with an officer of sufficient rank to make the point that the Nation believed that this was the appropriate and fair thing to do, and it has worked.
We still have our holdouts, we still have issues out there, I do not want to be naive about it, but it is much better than it was five years ago.
Mr. HAYES. Nothing else is needed from us at the present time? You are okay with where we are?
Dr. CHU. In terms of high school access?
Mr. HAYES. High school and college.
Dr. CHU. Let me divide between the two.
High school, I will ask my colleaguesI think we are in the right place. I do think we have to watch the drumbeat of criticism that has come on the so-called opt-out issue.
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We are doing nothing more than providing young people the information, information I think they ought to have, and I am disappointed that some would seek to deny us that right.
On the university front, the law school/college access issue is under litigation, and therefore I really should not comment further at this time.
Mr. HAYES. Keep us advised, from your perspective, on that issue. ROTC seems to be one of the wonderful recruiting tools that we have.
Dr. CHU. It is.
Mr. HAYES. If you will keep focusing on that. Very, very helpful in my district and, I am sure, others.
What is the impact of the negative press that comes from certain elements on recruiting, in your opinion?
Anybody that would like to answer.
Dr. CHU. Let me turn to my colleagues, who have to live with this every day, but I join them in lamenting the failure to balance the negative news with the many positive successes.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This generation of young Americans has changed the landscape of the Middle East. Fifty million people today have a chance at freedom they did not have three years ago. The regime in Libya has given up its weapons of mass destruction. You have seen changes in Lebanon taking place.
This is an historic evolution. They have producedand I would like to see in our nation's outlets that inform the public more emphasis on the accomplishments, to balance the costs, the very real costs, that go with this effort.
General HAGENBECK. I would echo that, sir, that we think, from an Army perspective, that the news is skewed in a different direction for all the reasons that we understand the news may do thatfor selling newspapers, for being on TV, for whatever the reasons might be.
But I think the anecdotal responses that you hear from our soldiers that return from Iraq and Afghanistan, when they watch the news on TV or read the newspapers, they say, ''It is not the same war, in the same place, that I just spent the last 12 months in.'' They do not recognize it.
Mr. HAYES. I am sure the press, being here today, will correct the error of her ways immediately.
At Fort Campbell this past Friday, talking about what I think needs to be known by the publicI do not remember the specifics. Of course our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the 160th and the others that were lost in Afghanistan.
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But they related to me how one of the soldiers, whose funeral was held, I think it was, in a small town in Ohio, and he was buried 70 miles away. The roads, the streets, the highways were lined all the way with Americans who were paying tribute to this wonderful young man, and that is the attitude that I see.
Last question. An alarming thing I am seeing, a report recentlyit certainly makes senseis that many marriages are being impacted by the deployments that we have now. That is certainly a natural thing.
Is there anything this committee can do, any assistance program, help or whatever, that might help with that issue?
Dr. CHU. I think your continued support, sir, for our family support centers and our various family outreach efforts, including the Military One Source, toll-free assistance that gives everyone worldwide a chance to contact the kind of professional help they might need, that is something you are already doing, and we are very grateful for it. It does make a difference and is very, very helpful in these challenging, stressful times.
Mr. HAYES. I know we are all very sensitive to that. Chairman McHugh has been very helpful on anything. So just let us know on that specific issue and any others.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
Appreciate the gentleman's gracious comments.
As I mentioned, we are expected to have a vote soon, so rather than to subject our distinguished panelists to any further torture, I think perhaps we could excuse them and at least try to introduce the second panel.
Before I do that, let me just say in closing, as has become obvious here today, the challenges we face together are significant, and in spite of what I know are slight differences as to the intricacies of approach, we all have the same objective, and that is to do the best we can by some extraordinary, extraordinary men and women of this nation, who serve in all the branches of the military.
I know all of you very, very well, some of you very personally, and I feel very comfortable and confident when I say you are all devoted and dedicated in ways and this nation should be deeply in your debt, and we all owe you a great debt of gratitude for what you do, and I do appreciate that.
So, with that, thank you for being here.
We will go into recess for the moment, go vote and come back and introduce the second panel and try to get done before that 3 o'clock.
So thank you all very much.
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Dr. CHU. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
And thank the members of the committee.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
Mr. MCHUGH. The hearing will reconvene.
A word of appreciation beforehand to our second panel of distinguished presenters for their patience, and we are toldwith any luck it will happenwe will not be interrupted again for votes until before the 3 o'clock deadline that we must observe for this committee.
We only have an hour and a half for what is a distinguished and rather sizable panel, so let me get right to the introductions. We are set to welcome the Honorable Thomas F. Hall, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Reserve Affairs.
Mr. Secretary, thank you for being here.
Lieutenant General Clyde A. Vaughn, Director of the Army National Guard.
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Lieutenant General James R. Helmly, Chief of the Army Reserve and Commanding General, United States Army Reserve Command.
Vice Admiral John G. Cotton, Chief of Naval Reserve.
Lieutenant General John W. Bergman, Commander of Marine Forces Reserve/Marine Forces North, United States Marine Corps.
Lieutenant General Daniel James III, Director of the Air National Guard.
And Lieutenant General John Bradley, Chief of Air Force Reserve and Commander, Air Force Reserve Command.
So thank you all for being here.
As I have said in my introduction in the opening panel, we have your prepared testimony, it has been entered into the record, without objection, and we lookparticularly with only an hour and a half left and seven of you to present, and hopefully some time for some questionsfor you to summarize your comments as best you can and as you see fit.
With that: Mr. Secretary, thanks again for being here, and we look forward to your comments.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENTS OF HON. THOMAS F. HALL, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR RESERVE AFFAIRS
Secretary HALL. And I will be brief.
Mr. Chairman and Congressman Snyder and members of the subcommittee, I thank you for this invitation to offer my perspective on the status and ability of America's reserve component forces to meet current and future operational requirements.
I have submitted up-to-date information on reserve component recruiting and attrition to assist you in making the critical decisions to help the department over the next several months.
The reserve components had their best recruiting month in June, as you know, with four of the six meeting or exceeding their recruiting goals.
Many of the changes you legislated last year have helped them with those goals. This committee has always been very supportive of our National Guard and reserve forces.
On behalf of those men and women, I want to publicly thank you for all your help that you are providing them. The secretary and I are deeply grateful, our military personnel certainly appreciate it, and we know we can count on your continued support.
I had some additional remarks, but I think I will deviate in just saying that I just returned from Afghanistan, and I know you and members of this committee have visited there and Iraq many times, and I visited in that theater with every guardsman and reservist that I could find over those days, and I asked them three questions. One is, ''How was your training? Were you trained for this mission?'' Two, ''Were you provided the equipment you needed?'' And three, ''What do you think the progress has been in Afghanistan?''
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Because I ran into many, many multiple toursand by the way, they were not multiple tours because of involuntary call-up; they were all volunteers, and they had been there a couple of times voluntarily.
Without exceptionthe Florida Guard was replacing Indiana in the reservethey indicated that they had had feedback from the training in theater and that their training was better; they had the right equipment; and they were all encouraged about the progress they had seen in Afghanistan, because of the power grids, because of the schools, because of the progress that had been made.
So I promised them I would report that to you from the front lines.
But sort of in closing, something happened, which was mentioned earlier by one of the members in the other panel. I was there during the time that Petty Officer Axelson III, the last SEAL, was recovered and brought to Bagram, to be transportedhis bodyon a C17, and as that caisson went through the streets of Bagram, without signal, every building emptied of civilians, the military lined the streets as the caisson went by and with silence and salute honored their fallen comrade, and it struck me that in this war on terror, that is the difference.
That fighting spirit of the American man and woman and the commitment to never leave a colleague behind will spell the difference in this war against the murderous thugs who do not value life, who indiscriminately murder women and children.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And it will take a long time, but because of that commitment and the value of life is the reason we will win this war.
I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Hall can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. And I know I speak on behalf of all of the subcommittee and full committee, and in fact every Member of Congress, when we say we certainly share your perspective and hold an equal amount of admiration toward very, very special people. We are a lucky country.
With that, next, Lieutenant General Clyde Vaughn, director, Army National Guard.
General, thanks for being here, sir.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. CLYDE A. VAUGHN, DIRECTOR, ARMY NATIONAL GUARD
General VAUGHN. Chairman McHugh, thank you.
Dr. Snyder, distinguished members of the committee, thanks for the opportunity to speak with you today.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Army National Guard has responded magnificently over the last three and one-half years, as you well know, and we provide to the Army today a division headquarters and eight brigades in Iraq, another brigade in Afghanistan, another brigade tied down with the Bosnia-Kosovo-Sinai mission, and hundreds of units and individuals, totaling up to around 70,000, which is down a little bit from the 100,000 it was earlier in the year.
It has been demanding on recruiting for this force, because, you see, our number one generator of recruits are the unit members, those particular units that are deployed.
We talked about influencers earlier, and not going back and saying this is the number one bunch of influencers, our families certainly are the number one influencers, but the great influencers are those particular unit members, and this has been shown time after time.
I talked with the adjutant general of Tennessee last night, to provide an example, and he said, ''You know, the great 278th Regimental Combat Team just deployed into Iraq today.'' He said, ''We have got a basic problem there, because, you see, all the armories, almost all the armories, and all the people are gone in the units all the way between Nashville, Tennessee, and Bristol, Tennessee,'' in the eastern side of the state. So that kind of amplifies what I am telling you here.
We are a strong, combat-ready force right now. When you look at the number of people available for deployment, if you will go back and if you follow the figures, we are probably as strong as we have been in the whole time that we have been, into 9/11, before we started mobilizing and sending all these people. And we have many more, of course, combat forces.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We need to make some changes to our recruiting model, in my view. We have piled on higher and deeper with recruiters, and that is the only thing we could do. Our right rate is a certain number.
We responded late to this, and as you know, we have put on recruiters in great numbers. But we have got to turn the program around, and we will turn the program around. But we have a centralized model, and what we are asking for and what we have got to go down the road on is this initiative called this referral system, and we want to expand on that.
With your help, we would like to turn this into a decentralized force of recruiters, and I will be glad to cover every piece of that in detail if we get to it.
We are much appreciative of your efforts. I have to say that the retention bonus has made a fantastic difference. In the number of people accepting that retention bonus, we are at 250 percent over where we were last year, and obviously you all have talked to how well everybody is doing in recruiting.
We thank you for your magnificent efforts in support of our forces, and I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Vaughn can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, sir.
Next, Lieutenant General James R. Helmly, chief, Army Reserve, and commanding general, United States Army Reserve Command.
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General, good to see you again.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. JAMES R. HELMLY, CHIEF, ARMY RESERVE, COMMANDING GENERAL, U.S. ARMY RESERVE COMMAND, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, U.S. ARMY
General HELMLY. Good to see you, Congressman.
Chairman McHugh, Dr. Snyder, distinguished members of the committee, I am Ron Helmly, and I am an American soldier.
I am honored to be here today, representing my fellow Army Reserve soldiers and their families in discussing the serious issues with Secretary Hall and my distinguished colleagues.
Let me begin by thanking this committee for its long-standing and generous support of our warriors and their families. Your efforts send a strong loyal message to our troops that their contributions are recognized and appreciated.
I know we have much ground to cover, so I am honored to use my time to introduce to you two of our outstanding Army Reserve soldiers and recruiters, if they would please stand as I recognize them.
Captain John N. Anselmi.
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And Sergeant First Class David Morrison.
I am proud to tell you that Sergeant First Class Morrison is the Army recruiting command, that does Army Reserve recruiting, Army Reserve Recruiter of the Year for this year.
He is from Anniston, Alabama. He and his wife, Angela, have 5 children, ranging in age from 4 to 13.
Sergeant Morrison enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1988 out of high school. He has served as a driver, artilleryman, ammunition sergeant, and instructor. He volunteered to become a recruiter shortly after 11 September 2001, bringing his professionalism and dedication to this critically important mission.
Not only has he succeeded as a recruiter, assigned in his home state of Alabama, he has become a leader and mentor for his fellow recruiters. He has earned his gold recruiting badge, with three sapphire stars and the coveted recruiting ring. Sergeant Morrison has excelled throughout his career as a soldier, leader, student, and father. Sergeant First Class Morrison, thank you and your family for answering the call to duty to serve our nation with such distinction.
Captain Anselmi is from Sheridan, Wyoming. He and his wife have two sons, five and three years old. Captain Anselmi is a Medical Service Corps officer and is one of our health care recruiters in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has served in numerous duties with the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard, and then he felt called to volunteer for active duty as an active guard and reserve recruiter after the events of 11 September. Captain Anselmi has a doctorate degree in education and was serving his community as a teacher prior to entering the Army Reserve AGR program. Now serving as a recruiter with the 6th Medical Recruiting Battalion, he is responsible for the trying and difficult mission of recruiting health care professionals throughout a four-state area. Captain Anselmi, thank you and your family for answering the call to serve our nation. Thank you both.
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Captain Anselmi and Sergeant First Class Morrison are on the front lines with their fellow Army Reserve and other service recruiters, trying to entice quality young men and women to man our skill-rich force. They have a tough job, but they are as dedicated to this mission as all of our other soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are. The authorities and incentives you provide help them accomplish this very difficult, challenging mission.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you and the committee for your consistent, strong support for the Army Reserve and our other services. You and all of our citizens should be proud of the soldiers and other servicemembers who are serving both here at home and around the world. I personally am inspired daily by their dedication, professionalism, courage and willingness to continue to answer the call to duty.
Thank you for the opportunity to share with you today my views, and I look forward to answering any questions you may have of me today.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, General.
And I would say to the good captain and sergeant first class, thank you both, as General Helmly said, for your service. We appreciate it. A very important job at a very challenging time.
General VAUGHN. Mr. Chairman, if I could, I would like to introduce those two real quick.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCHUGH. Certainly.
General VAUGHN. First Sergeant Michael Collins, please, if you would stand, and Captain Bill Greer.
Michael was a first sergeant at the 274th MP Company, out of the D.C. Guard, 13 years, recruiting and retention. He has been out there a long time on the lines. He actually went back to D.C. to take a first sergeant's position, and he served two combat tours: one, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and the second time with OAF in Khampur, Afghanistan. We are very proud of him.
Captain Bill Greer is originally from the Florida Army National Guard, mobilized out of Florida for two years. He is now working at National Guard Bureau in really a great program. His primary program responsibility is the native interpreter program and cultural speaker program.
So we are very proud of both these great soldiers.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, General.
And First Sergeant, Captain, again, to you as well, thank you all very much. As I was saying, these are very challenging times, and you have taken on a very important task, and we thank you for that. Next, Vice Admiral John Cotton, chief of Naval Reserve.
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STATEMENT OF VICE ADM. JOHN G. COTTON, CHIEF OF NAVAL RESERVE, U.S. NAVY
Admiral COTTON. Good afternoon.
Mr. Chairman, Dr. Snyder, other distinguished committee members, thank you for this opportunity in a few minutes to brag about the accomplishments of our Navy's Reserve force.
Two years ago, under the capable leadership of Admiral Clark and Secretary England, we decided to go down on a little different journey, and that was to partner our two forces, the Navy and its reserve component, and integrate them for the greater good.
In other words, every process we could, try to combine it, which included recruiting, and it is this year that those two cultures that are coming together are finally paying off great rewards and that we found out our best recruit is a veteran, and the recruiting starts while you are in the active component, where we promote a continuum of service, where we fully believe that someone can serve in the active component, transition, you do not resign your commission or leave the Navy, you transition to the reserve component, fully expecting sometime to be called back to active service.
And so for this we get our best utilization of our most precious resource, which is our human capital. Because of that partnership now, we use the reserve component to do operational support, not just mobilize to go fight wars.
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So today we have over 23,000 Navy Reservists on orders, about 3,300 mobilized providing operational support to the fleet. That is about 30 percent of the force. All told, nearly half the force has been mobilized since 9/11, but we are finding out that the busy reservists are the most satisfied reservists, and they provide great support to us.
I would like to thank you for your great support. Force-shaping tools and bonuses make a huge difference, just like General Vaughn said and just like Admiral Hoewing said. We look forward to your continued support, the great things you have done for us, and I look forward to your questions.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, sir.
Next is Lieutenant General John Bergman, commander, Marine Forces Reserve/Marine Forces North, U.S. Marine Corps.
General, good to see you, sir.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. JOHN W. BERGMAN, COMMANDER, MARINE FORCES RESERVE/MARINE FORCES NORTH, U.S. MARINE CORPS RESERVE
General BERGMAN. Good to see you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman McHugh, Dr. Snyder, distinguished members of the committee, I just returned from Iraq yesterday afternoon, and I can tell you that of the majority of the 3,500 of our Reserve Marines that I had a chance to visit over the last week there, they are focused, they are tremendously creative, and they are committed to success for the Iraqi people. It was tremendously uplifting to be with them for this past week.
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The Marine Corps has spent a lot of time developing the Total Force Concept. We continue to look for ways to leverage not only the Marine Corps training that we get but also the civilian skill sets that many of our Marines bring to the table by ever increasing our capabilities in this ever-changing conflict. We continue to seek a balance between family, employer and Marine. When you blend those three, all feel part of something that is greater than themselves.
Good training, which you all have supported, leads to higher confidence at all levels, not only the Marine but their family, in their ability to survive, which leads to better mission accomplishment. Retention is strong. Recruiting is on-track. I look forward to your questions.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, sir.
Lieutenant General Daniel James III, director, Air National Guard.
General, good to see you.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. DANIEL JAMES III, DIRECTOR, AIR NATIONAL GUARD, U.S. AIR FORCE
General JAMES. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and Dr. Snyder.
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Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with your committee. As the others have, I would like to thank the committee, especially your leadership, for the support we have received has preserved the fund of the greatest Air Force in the world.
We have been challenged in the past to maintain a ready, reliable and relevant force, and we will continue to do so in the future, with your help. The incentives and bonuses that you have provided to help us with our recruiting and retention have been very, very valuable to us.
Last year, for the first time, we did not meet our end strength as an organization since 1999. I think prior to that it was only one year, and I think it was 1996, when the economy was very strong and we were competing with the outside endeavors and professions for people.
This year we find ourselves behind our recruiting goals. We are going to push very hard to make that recruiting goal. Right now we are about 1,300 people below the goal that we had set for ourselves for the end of June.
The good news is that in the terms of retention, we have had a stronger retention goal. We are one percentage point above our retention goal. So we are retaining more people than we thought we would be, and I think that is almost a uniform story across all of the services.
We are asking that you give us the authority in the future to hire more recruiters so we can have a positive impact on our challenge in recruiting, particularly when we look at the terms of the way the Air Force is shaping up for the future in terms of its Future Total Force and the Base Realignment Commission (BRAC) impact on the Air National Guard.
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We will be asking for an increase in retraining bonuses, from $2,000 to as high as $10,000, because we know what we are going to have to retrain people.
Approximately 27 percent of our force is retirement-eligible, and as we move equipment around and as we change and get involved in new emerging missions, we know that the turbulence caused to the force is going to require us to be very much on top of the recruiting and retraining issue. And I will thank you in advance for your support in this endeavor. Thank you for the opportunity to speak. Thank you once again for your support.
[The prepared statement of General James can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, General. Appreciate it.
Lieutenant General John Bradley, chief of Air Force Reserve and commander, Air Force Reserve Command.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. JOHN A. BRADLEY, CHIEF OF AIR FORCE RESERVE, AND COMMANDER, AIR FORCE RESERVE COMMAND
General BRADLEY. Chairman McHugh, Dr. Snyder, it is a pleasure to be here with your committee and the committee members.
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Thanks for the opportunity to talk to you. Thanks for including our statements. I will be very brief. I have, as some others have, two and a half weeks ago returned from a visit to Iraq and Afghanistan, with airmen, and I came away feeling so good about the young folks who serve our nation and what they are doing for our nation and for other people around the world. I think they are extremely focused, as General Bergman said. They are dedicated and professional, I think more dedicated and more professional, perhaps, than my generation was when I was in Vietnam.
They are better led, better equipped, and better trained, better prepared for their mission today than I think any force is, that we have ever had in our nation's history, in my opinion. I am very proud of our airmen and what they are doing for us. I want to thank you for your support.
What they wanted to know more than anything was: Do they have support of the American people? And we reassured them at every possible opportunity that the American people unequivocally support our troops and care for them.
We have been very fortunate and blessed to have great recruiters in the Air Force Reserve, and our recruiting and retention numbers are very positive. I worry, though, that anytime it could turn around, so we put a lot of emphasis on it at all times.
The things that you have given us through authorities and allocations of money to provide benefits and bonuses has tremendously helped us, and we thank you for that support.
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I look forward to your questions, sir.
[The prepared statement of General Bradley can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, General.
And thank you all.
I suppose if we were holding this meeting decades ago, it would be of a less critical nature. Guard and reserve, the reserve component as a whole, has always been vital to the national defense posture of this nation, to the national security posture of this nation, but we, I think all of us would agree, are into a new era in terms of how that component fits into the warfighting plans of this country.
We really do have a seamless force, and all of us have traveled to see it. Perhaps some can spot the difference and pick out the reserve and guard soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines, Coast Guard folks that are serving alongside the so-called active component, but I sure cannot.
And most of the folks in uniform I have talked to, if they can they do not even bother discussing it, and that is for good reason. This is a force that stands and fights together, and it is remarkable.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So this second panel is every bit as vital as the first, and I know all of you folks recognize that, but I think it is important to remind ourselves as to what this all about. It is about our ability to execute the war on terror, every much as the first panel was.
Mr. Secretary, you mentioned some relatively positive news on the recruiting end of the equation in months just past, and you are absolutely right. I know we all hope that that is the turning of the corner, but I suspect that challenging environment will continue to prevail.
Clearly, if you look at the broader picture at the end of 2004, four of the reserve components failed to meet their recruiting goals. I should say five of six of the reserve components failed to meet their objectives, and this year four of the six are coming up short on their recruiting goal.
The Army National Guard, the latest figures I have, are 77 percent of goal; the Army Reserve, 79 percent; Naval Reserve, 92 percent; and Air National Guard, 83 percent; and the Marine Corps Reserve and the Air Force Reserve have made or in fact are exceeding goals.
But I would be interested to hear from all of you how you feel. We still have a ways to go. I mean, that is a snapshot in time. How do you feel the trend lines are running? How do you feel you will come out in terms of your stated year-end goals? Do you think you are going to make them? Short? Just what is your general impression about the recruiting environment of today forward?
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Secretary HALL. I will let my colleagues each comment, because I think it is very important from their perspective.
But nothing is ever as good or bad as it is first reported, I have been told, and so to get euphoric about June, I think, would be a mistake.
I think we have to understand that the figures speak for themselves, but we have July, August and September. We have to keep our focus. The Army Reserve and Army Guard are going to have 5,100 recruiters in the field. I think they have added 3,100. I think we have to continue to train those recruiters. We need to keep our eye on the ball.
And I think you are exactly right. We cannot say that we have necessarily turned the corner, but it was encouraging results in June, and we are going to have to work just as hard in July, August and September and out. And I will let each one of the component commanders talk about their perspectives and plans.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much. Probably should go in the order in which you were called on to speak. General Vaughn. Unfortunately for you, you are next.
General VAUGHN. Mr. Chairman, we currently find ourselves in a hole, and I talked to in my opening statements some of those reasons.
It took a little while to get the recruiting force on. We delayed in that. We are making a difference. Our losses have flat-lined somewhat. We think we are leveled off. We have monthly videoteleconferencing conferences with our adjutant generals, and this last week they told me that altogether they thought they would improve a couple thousand before the end of the year, which would be a good start in going into the new fiscal year.
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But obviously we have got a long way to go, and we have got a lot of effort out there, but I do not believe that we are going to make this end strength. I think the objective is for 2006 to get within three percent and try to turn the basics of our recruiting program around in lines that I discussed earlier. Thank you, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
General HELMLY. Thank you, Congressman.
I must say that the difficulties we find ourselves in today come as no surprise to me. In September of 2003 I spoke at the National Defense University, at the 30th anniversary of the All-Volunteer Force Conference, and surmised that we needed to start changing then the policies and practices and procedures which govern how we man our force.
I felt very strongly about that, believing that we were about to place our force in the first extended-duration stress that we had faced in the all-volunteer force. And so my point in saying that is that I think we have to look beyond the end of this year and indeed next year. I think we have to take a more strategic view, four to five years out, of the demographics in our country, the motivational factors, the survey results.
In the Army Reserve, we just funded over $1 million to the Army Reserve Institute to do those surveys that you asked about in the first panel, by trained and educated demographers and sociologists, to determine what motivates people to leave. That is my second point. In my judgment, we have placed too much emphasis on recruiting. The emphasis has to be on strength, usable strength, and many of the policies and practices we have had in the Army Reserve to manage our strength have, frankly, been dysfunctional. We have focused on making end strength and not how much of that strength was in fact deployable and ready to deploy and fight.
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We also should place more emphasis on retention. We have talked at length about retention, but unlike some of the other services, our Army has not increased significantly the active to guard and reserve mix. So I think we and our guard brethren find ourselves suffering from that inadequacy because we have not increased that missioning at our transition points.
I say with some admiration that the news spoken by Admiral Cotton from the Navy side, in my judgment, is vital to our success, and that is, in our case, ''Once a soldier, always a soldier.'' And, frankly, I abhor the term ''discharge.'' I believe that the term ''transfer'' to another component of our services sends a very strong message that we pride ourselves on that service ethic.
So I do not want to wax any more eloquently. The themes and messages that we set in advertising, the kinds of incentives and entitlements that you and your other committees in the Congress have provided are badly needed. We now need to accompany that with some mechanical changes in how we go about recruiting, retaining and manning our forces. Thank you.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
Admiral COTTON. I would like to echo what the general said.
Mr. MCHUGH. Which general? We have got
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral COTTON. General Helmly.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
Admiral COTTON. My esteemed colleague.
We all experienced a tipping point on 9/11, and again I would like to say that Admiral Clark looked at the future, a strategic point, and said, ''What do we need for the Global War on Terror, vice what we have had?'' And thus the Navy has been decreasing end strength. Active component has gone down about 20,000 in the last couple years. Our reserve component has gone down about 6,000.
We did a zero-based review of what we needed for the GWOT, not what we had in the past, and came up with an end strength in the low 70,000s.
So here we are going to finish this fiscal year at about the 78,000 to 79,000 level, which is very enviable, because at the end of the year we go down to about 73,000, per our request.
So just like Vice Admiral Hoewing testified earlier today, we are putting into place a perform-to-serve, if you would, program within the reserve to keep the best capabilities and skill sets that we need for the GWOT, not just keeping numbers or end strength.
We have refined our recruiting process now to take the force-shaping tools you have enabled us, to put them against the skill sets and capabilities we need for the GWOT, those ones that we keep reusing in the desert.
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So those are the changes. The culture piece that General Helmly mentioned is huge because the recruiting for the reserve force starts while they are in the active component, keep serving, transition to the reserve force, maintain your benefits, and that culture change has proved great benefits for us this year.
In fact, over 1,000 recruits, many directly from active component, have come into our force in the last 4 months.
So I think that culture piece is what we all need to focus on, because the best recruit is a veteran.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, sir.
General BERGMAN. Yes, sir.
In the Marine Corps we have total force recruiting all under one command. It is part of the integration piece that starts in recruiting and filters all the way through the rest of the force, and it is working.
Emphasis on the training, the opportunity to make a difference while being part of something that is greater than yourself, is the message, and it is continuously heard by these young Marines, even before they become recruits.
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It is working. The challenge is, of course, we are not immune. We draw 100 percent of our officer corps in the reserve component from the active component. We draw a significant percentage of our staff NCOs, our mid-level enlisted leadership, from the active component.
Over the long term, the success and our continued success for recruiting and retention will be that strength of staff NCOs and those junior officers who transition from active duty. And I agree, we do not leave active duty anymore; we transition from one form of service to another. We are happy, but we are never satisfied. I would suggest to you that that is how we will stay.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, sir.
General JAMES. Mr. Chairman, before I comment, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce my senior enlisted adviser, who is here with me today, Command Chief Master Sergeant Dick Smith, from the great state of Ohio. He is sitting behind me here today in support. He is the eyes and ears that I use to gauge the morale, welfare and readiness of our enlisted force, and I want to thank him for representing that enlisted force so well.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, Commander. Welcome.
General JAMES. As I mentioned earlier, for the first time we are seeing some challenges in the recruiting area for the Air National Guard. We have had the luxury of not having to do some of the things that some of the other services have started doing even earlier.
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If you look at us in comparison to the other reserve components, you will find that we are a fairly older force. As I pointed out, 27 percent of our force is retirement-eligible, has 20 years.
Combine that with the trend of people retiring at the 20-year point instead of the 24- or 25-year points that they once traditionally did, in the Air National Guard, and then the training that we are going to have to do and the changes that are going to occur, our retention, which has been so strong historically, might start to suffer and suffer dramatically.
In order to make sure that we do not lose the heart and soul of that force, the core competencies that we have in our force, I think it is important for us to concentrate, as General Helmly said, not only on the retention piece but also on the recruiting piece. That is what I plan to do, and that is why I am asking for an increase in authorization for recruiters.
If you will look atin comparison from the Army Guardthe Army Guard, you will see that although they are three times larger than the Air Guard, their recruiting force is ten times larger. Their budget is also ten times bigger.
So I think we are going to need a little help. I think putting some more boots on the ground, so to speak, in recruiting service within the Air National Guard will bring us some dividends, and we would like your help in doing that.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, sir.
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General BRADLEY. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Sir, I would not want to leave my command chief master sergeant out. Chief Master Sergeant Jack Winsett is behind me. I would like to introduce him. I rely on him a lot. He is a lot better-educated and a lot smarter than I am, so he helps me understand the things that are affecting our enlisted force particularly.
We have been blessed, as I said earlier, to have been successful in recruiting. So far we are at over 113 percent of our goal so far, and it looks as if we will fairly easily make our yearly goal, and we will make our end strength. But, as I said, we always have to be cautious and worry about what happens next.
The thing that has helped a lot as well is our retention, which is, for us, at an historic all-time high, and the only explanation I can get on that, in talking to Chief Winsett and talking to as many as our young airmen as I have and talking to commanders and supervisors, is that folks are very proud of the organizations in which they serve, they believe they are contributing to something important, and they like the work that they do and the people they deal with.
So I think that is a major factor in our retention, but we put a lot of emphasis on our commanders in supervising, talking to our people, and making sure that they understand that we appreciate what they do for us all the time and that we cannot do what we do without them.
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So we try to make sure our folks understand that, and then we help them with whatever problems they may have as well. I think that helps us with our retention, and that is one factor in their longevity with us. But they do believe they are doing something important for our Air Force and for our nation, and so we are pleased with that response. But, as I said, our recruiting is good and we will make our goal this year.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you all very much.
Because of the size of the panel, one question takes so long, I want to yield to the ranking member and then the other members, and time permitting, maybe we can go to a second round.
So, Dr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The concept of the citizen soldier, I know that that is what you all believe in.
I have had three current or former employees who spent a year in Iraqone was in the Marine Corps Reserve, was a former employee, was shot in the hand, Purple Heart; and I have two current employees, one was in the guard, General Vaughn, and was shot in the shoulder and now spent his year in Iraq with me, and then a member of the Army Reserve who is on my staffand it brought home to me, Secretary Hall, your statement, you have a section in your written statement that we had not talked about any today with regard to this recruitment, but the role of employers.
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Do you think, Secretary Hall, that that lurks out there as an issue thatI mean, there clearly are certain professions that being a citizen soldier just would not work, if you have got some kind of a solo business and you were gone for 18 months or so. I mean, I have personally witnessed that with doctors that have individual practices.
You emphasize part of it in your report. Is that something that you are looking at for solutions for us to consider?
Secretary HALL. We will be back to you with some ideas.
In the past two and a half years, I have spent a lot of time with employee groups throughout the country. It has become very clear to me that our problem is not with large corporations, from Sears to Wal-Mart and those, who might have up to 1,800 employees; it is small businesses, it is self-employed, and it is people that have practices.
We are this summer commissioning with RAND a study to look at 2,500 of those kinds of businesses, to ask them, ''What are your challenges?'' We think we know them, but we want to hear from them. And we might need to come back to you with ideas, whether it be tax incentives or other kinds of things.
But clearly they are the ones that are coming to me, thatI went to North Carolinaa five-person construction company, we took the CEO and the owner and the financial officer and mobilized them, only left three workers. So that really hurts that company. And so we are going to look into that. If we see things that might be productive, we will be back to you on that, Congressman.
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Dr. SNYDER. Yes. That would be good.
You may recall, we had the small town in my district of Bradford, Arkansas, that both the mayor and the police chief were activated when the 39th was activated.
Secretary HALL. Yes, sir.
Dr. SNYDER. It is like its own small business.
This, I think, is more in the way of a comment, and I resisted the temptation at the end of the last panel because we were getting short of time, with the votes. But in terms of this media message that we send out there, I do not think I agree with the view that somehow all we have to do is change the news reporting that comes from Iraq or Afghanistan and that is going to take care of our problems in recruiting.
First of all, there is no one in this room that is going to change the news reporting. I mean, these folks are professional journalists; they are reporting what they think is the news. But, second, I think there is a deeper issue, and I have been thinking about this for some time now. It seems to me that one of the advantages of civilian control of the military is that you all in uniform know that you are going to do your job responsibly regardless of whether you ultimately agree with the decision coming from the civilian end; and sometimes that may be a congressional mandate and sometimes it may be a decision of the commander in chief, but your service is every bit as noble and honorable whether you agree with that decision or not.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The good effects that can come from military service are every bit as good whether you agree with every command that came from either the Congress or the president, as the commander in chief. And so I think part of this recruiting climate that we are in is somehowwe need to, maybe formally or informally, acknowledge there is disagreement in America at large about what is going on right now.
To me that means that there is an even stronger reason we need folks to step forward and recognize, even in a time of disagreement over where our foreign policy is going, it helps all of us to have the military be as strong as it can be, and I know that is difficult.
I was on the ''Washington Journal'' this morning, and we had several mothers call in, and all very proud of their people in the service, but acknowledged that for some it was tough to have a kid overseas. And I suspect it is even tougher, and I have talked to parents that have folks over there, if they did not agree with the original decision to go to war. But the service is always honorable. The strong military is one of the tools that our commander in chief has in his toolkit. And commanders in chief, they come and go. I mean, the military always needs to be strong, and somehow, I think, we need to acknowledge that.
There is a fancy ad in the movie theater, they are lamenting that ''Gee, there is not good news all the time coming out of Iraq, that somehow it is reported incorrectly.'' I do not think that is going to help. I think just the candor of saying, ''Hey, we are going through a bit of a bump in the road right now, and it is a serious one, and people are getting hurt, and they are going to be hurt, but the service is honorable and your country will benefit regardless of what disagreements any of us may have had or may have on future foreign policy decisions''that is just the nature of a robust democracy. There is always disagreement.
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I do not think that makes a very good 30-second spot, Mr. Chairman, for a movie theater, but I feel better by expressing it.
General Vaughn, we had had some discussion, and since you and I met yesterday, I looked in the House bill, and you were correct about the $1,000 incentive for members of the Army to go out and recruit a friend to join up, that they get a bonus.
I think that was a technical error in drafting. It specifically says ''the Army and the Army Reserve,'' and I do not think there was any intent to exclude the National Guard, but I think we are looking at that, and I suspect that is a technical correction that would be necessary and that is all it would take. I think it was in the speed of getting things drafted leading into markup. Do you want to amplify on that program at all, because I know that you were concerned that you were not included in that language in the House bill.
General VAUGHN. Dr. Snyder, thank you very much.
I think it is really key, and if you follow earlier, we talked about the fact that our units, really the lead generators for those units, come out of those soldiers standing there.
The things that the adjutant generals of the United States, the Territories, and D.C. want more than anything else is to be able to incentivize that force, and the piece that is in the referral language, the $1,000 is a start in the right way. And I know the Army wants to work with us on this, because it is a win for everyone.
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But $1,000, limited to one time, does not exactly work for us, because it should be unlimited for all those squad members, for all those unit members. What we want to do is broaden our recruiter base from the 5,100 potential that we will have next year, that Secretary Hall talked about, to approximately 300,000 that are out there. And we think this has enormous implications. We are concerned about the total amount of money that is going into the till for recruiters, and at some point in time that is a figure that we are going to have to deal with.
We also think that if we just incentivize for successin other words, when that individual recruits this individual right here, I am going to follow this individual through the pipeline, I am going to see that he gets through the MOS training.
So it is encouraging for us. We think the dropout ratio will decrease quite a bit. I have a reason for staying, obviously, you know, it is another retention factor, and he will roll in also and start the recruiting piece of this.
I think that our people, our traditional base soldiers are out there in schools, they are working, they are every place that the recruits are, and they are the influencers, and with the Army, as they look at the way they did this. Of course, the soldiers are out there on bases and they are forward deployed.
When our folks come back from deployment, just like the folks that are downrange today, if we get that package in place, we think it is going to have enormous implications for turning from a centralized recruiting force recruiting a decentralized force, which is what we are, to a decentralized recruiting force that puts the money back in the communities, and we will eventually look more like the communities than we do now.
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Thank you, sir.
Dr. SNYDER. It was my honor a couple of weeks ago to participate in one of theseI think it was called Salute to Freedom, to honor some of the members of the 39th Brigade that had returned from Iraq a few months ago.
This was the National Guard honoring, and they had maybe one of the speakers for one of the ceremonies. And then, as you may know, each veteran of the war, from the National Guard, got a flag and a coin, a certificate, and it was my great honor to present them with their flag as they streamed across, like a high school graduation.
It was obvious to me that everyone was proud of what they did, but I was really struck by these young women that were just beaming when they got their awards and came across that stage. And I was thinking about it later, as someone who still has my little box with my dad's memorabilia from World War II, and I was looking ahead, and, you know, some years from now, long after I am gone, there are going to be people who say, ''That is Grandma's flag, she got that when she got back, my grandma was a war veteran.'' So it concerned me when I saw some of these numbers that said that our percentage of women seems to be dropping some. Is that accurate?
And what do you think about that, General Vaughn, or anyone else who wants to comment?
General VAUGHN. Sir, I do not have the exact numbers on that, so I would like to furnish it for the record to you.
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I do not feel, in the Army National Guardmy sensing is that we are not dropping. Because of our combat force, you know, there are many areas in our organization that would like to have a little bit different force structure. And, of course, there are some that say, ''I want this combat armed force structure,'' but my sensing is we are holding about the same. But, again, we are a combat force. I think we are doing pretty well in that regard.
Dr. SNYDER. Does anyone else have any comment about recruitment of women?
General HELMLY. Dr. Snyder, the recruitment numbers, as was noted earlier, the propense is down slightly amongst female population.
We are privileged, in the Army Reserve, because of the way we are structured, that virtually all of our positions are open, and we enjoy the highest percentage female complement of any of the reserve components, or active, for that measure, only slightly higher than our brethren in the Air Force Reserve. So that is of greater concern to me, because we have a higher number of women in our force.
Secretary HALL. Overall, I think the figures you gave are accurate, about what the percentages are. But I do not draw any conclusion from that, that that is of any program. I think those are the accurate figures.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral COTTON. And, Dr. Snyder, one more addition.
We had a briefing on this in the Navy yesterday, and while the propensity to serve might be down slightly, it is more interesting to look at the fields that they are going into.
There is a huge increase in the IT world, and we are hiring more of those people, in a very complex network-centric Navy now. And I might add that the performance of our ladies is phenomenal, and we just detailed our first Strike Fighter pilot lady, commanding officer. So they are making huge gains in the service.
Dr. SNYDER. My last question, if I could get each of you to respond, please.
We have talked about bonuses and that you all thought that is very important. The opinion has been expressed that the budget number that came from OMB this year, in the defense budget, that the line item for these bonuses for you all is not sufficient for some of the services. In your personal opinion, is that number sufficient? Or we still have an opportunity in conference to augment if we need to. We could just go down the line.
General BRADLEY. Sir, I think that the bonus authority that we have in the budget this year is adequate.
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General BERGMAN. Sir, I would agree. We are relatively small, and the money we have is adequate for our reserve force.
General HELMLY. Congressman, the Army Reserve has a $68 million shortfall in recruiting and retention incentives in the budget that came forth to the Congress.
Dr. SNYDER. $68 million?
General HELMLY. Yes, sir.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you.
General VAUGHN. Congressman, we have about the same percentage of shortfall with our budget also.
Admiral COTTON. The Navy is requesting force-shaping tools, and this, again, is the training of people from the active component to the reserve component in the skill sets we need for the Global War on Terror and also to provide full boot camp for recruits that would come in on prior service to the reserve component. So there is a small amount in there. But we have ample authority within to use the funds we have to shape the skill sets, again, that we need for the G1.
General JAMES. Dr. Snyder, I mentioned earlier the retraining challenge that would be posed for us in terms of transforming the Air Guard.
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We are losing a lot of our winged platforms and will be transforming into some newer areas, emerging mission space, information operations, information systems. The good news on that is that we will have more opportunities for females to participate in those newer missions, as opposed to the fighter-centric missions that we have today.
But in addition to that, to answer your question: It is not a matter of the authorization, the authority that you have given; it is a matter of the appropriations to go with that. Those are underfunded at this time.
We looked at what we needed. When we saw our recruiting numbers falling off, we looked at taking out of hide $17 million this year to pay the bonuses that were on the books, that were authorized but not appropriated for.
Next year we are looking at $27.1 million, I believe is the figure, in appropriations, that we will need to cover those because we are getting to the point where we are running so lean on our budgets that we do not have the extra money to take out of hide. Something else will suffer if we have to do that. But I will provide some more information to the committee and to your office for this.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, gentlemen.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. The gentleman from Minnesota, Mr. Kline.
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Mr. KLINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being here and for your patience. I know you were all sitting there through the earlier panel, so it is a lot of hearing room time. We are glad that you are here. A couple of comments, and then I will get to a question.
It is just striking to meand the chairman and I were talking about this a little bit, walking back from votesI am just struck by how many of you there are, and by that I mean: We had a whole panel that was here to talk about recruiting for the active force, and then we have another panel of seven people, one civilian secretary and six in uniform, all trying to recruit to a total force.
And, you know, I wonder if sometimes we might not be working against each otherand I want to get to that point here in a minutebetween the active component and the reserve component, between the reserve and the guard, back and forth.
We talk a very nice game about total force and transitioning, but I suspect that there is some competition. And just looking at you all there, I am trying very hard to recruit the numbers for your guard, for your reserve, it makes meit sort of underscores my point, at least in my own mind.
The adjutant general for Minnesota, General Shellito, has made the point to me on a number of occasions that the Minnesota Guard has for some time recruited in competition, if you will, with the active Army, and by that I mean they have been going to high schools and they have been recruiting soldiers for the guard, just like the active Army does.
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And some National Guard units have relied very heavily on prior service, moving sometimes from the Marine Corps or from the active Army or something, to move into the guard. And so my first question is: Is that still prevalent in the guard recruiting? Are we still reliant on prior service or has the guard movedwell, maybe you did not move to copy the Minnesota model, but moved in that direction?
General VAUGHN. Congressman, our targeted objectives have moved way down.
Before 9/11, we were somewhere around 50/50, going to 55 percent prior service, 45 percent non-prior service. And there are many reasons for that. One, the training, the Military Occupational Skill Qualification (MOSQ), that we do not have to throw as much money, you know, on the front end of that. And today that objective is 35 percent prior service, is what we are after. So you can see we have had to lower it approximately 20 percent, for all the reasons that you well know.
Minnesota, by the way, I think you are well aware, leads the Nation in almost every statistic
Mr. KLINE. Amazing, I did not even have to troll for that.
General VAUGHN. And the comment about competition, that is a concern. I talked to our staff, and what we want to do, if we can get over into another model, I will tell you, we need to recruit for the active component.
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Mike Rochelle is a dear friend of mine, the chief of recruiting for the Army, and there are some initiatives out there, and it is just like the every soldier recruiting model.
And, you know, if they want to pay the bonus and if they want to help pay this referral fee, I think that we need to work something like a 242 type of thing, where you go in two years into the Army and potentially you would come back four years into the guard or reserve, and we would get an MOSQ soldier that way.
If they want to stay in the Army, fine. If they do not, they are going to come back to our communities anyway. Especially in the Army, between the Army Reserve, and we have.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you. I appreciate those comments.
I do not want to get an interservice rivalry going here any more than we have through the natural way of things, but the Marine Corps has for some time taken a little bit different approach into how it recruits and trains for the active and reserve component, and it is a model worth looking at a little bit harder, I think, department-wide. I would put that out there.
I am concerned about this competition. But since you are now, the guard, going into the high schools more and recruiting earlier directly into the guard, it raises a question that I raised earlier: Are you getting the access that you need? It was asked by a number of us, of different panel members. Can you get into the schools? Are your guard recruiters getting in there and having access to the students?
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General VAUGHN. Congressman, I am not sure it is ever going to be exactly what everybody would like. You know, there is always a few pieces out there, a few stories that come up.
But overall, the Army National Guard has a great relationship in the communities. You know, many of our people are those teachers and counselors and football coaches, and we do exceptionally well all across the Nation with the high schools, sir.
Mr. KLINE. So no complaints.
Can I just sort of quicklyis anybody else experiencing difficulty in getting your recruiters onto high schools and campuses? You can just shake your head, if you would.
General BRADLEY. Sir, for the most part, no problem. I know of one city where we are not allowed to go in schools, where I have a major unit.
Mr. KLINE. And what city is that?
General BRADLEY. Portland, Oregon.
Mr. KLINE. Portland, Oregon. Okay, thank you.
They did not turn the light on, but I know my time is expiring here rapidly. Just a comment.
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I am concerned about the message. My friend and colleague from Arkansas said that his comments would not make a good 30-second spot, and I agree with him, they would not make a good 30-second spot. But the point is you have to have one. And we can all remember, you know, ''It is not just a job, it is an adventure,'' ''The few, the proud, the Marines,'' ''Be all you can be,'' and all those sorts of things.
And I do not want to make light of that, it is important that we get a message out there, that we can do in those 30 seconds, that we can appeal to the influencers and directly to the young men and women that we want to enlist.
So I commend your efforts and ask that you go back and find the folks that are making those 30-second ads, and let us make some good ones. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General HELMLY. Congressman, may I address that, please?
Mr. KLINE. Yes, please.
General HELMLY. I will tell you that I have now been in this position for slightly over three years, and one of the first initiatives I undertook, looking at manpower, was that I believe strongly that our messaging was out of sync, and I would like to show you very cryptically through changes in print ads what we have done.
These are recruiting and a retention ad pre-9/11. One, this recruiting ad says, ''You can be your own sweet self 98 percent of the time and a soldier 2 percent.'' This one says, ''Earn extra college money,'' talks nothing but about benefits. It does not talk about service.
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I draw your attention to the difference today, and this speaks to the service ethos: ''Honor is never off-duty. Never off-duty.'' ''This is not one weekend a month, two weeks in the summer.'' These are ads, print ads, but our TV ads and electronic ads are very similar.
This one is a recruiting ad that says: ''It is not your everyday job: Honor, camaraderie, commitment, respect.'' It talks about the things that make a difference.
I will tell you that this is in concert with the adoption of a soldier creed, a warrior ethos, in the Army, the leadership of our chief and our secretary emphasizing service above tangible benefits, that those are a part of the total package.
So we are making an effort. But I cite the fact that today's force was recruited using the old ads. ''One weekend a month, two weeks in the summer, earn extra college money.''
And so we are after it. Unfortunately, I believe the times caught up with us, in terms of the stress of this war catching up with the way we had manned our force in the past.
Mr. KLINE. Well, General, I agree with you absolutely. I think you are absolutely correct. You are going in the right direction. This is a much better message. And you are right, I think we are paying the price for earlier 30-second slots. I am asking, you, please, let us get this message right. Thank you.
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Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Jones.
Mr. JONES. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
General Helmly, how much is your budget for this ad campaign? And I think it is very impressive, even though it might not be catching on yet. What is, roughly, your budget for this?
General HELMLY. Sir, it is about $250 million a year. We have some shortages in 2006. That is not my purpose, to emphasize those.
I do wish to emphasize that when I average out for Army Reserve, it takes us, in recruiter costs, supporting costs, and advertising, about $127,000 to recruit one non-prior service man or woman from a high school, and that is why I place so much emphasis on retention.
To the degree that we can retain soldiersand I might add I am satisfied if I help to retain them in the Army National Guard or the active component, because we are sort of all in this together, as you have citedthen it cuts that cost, because resources, as you well know, are fungible, and there is a limit on them.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General Vaughn, let me ask youand I want to say to each one of you, as I would with the first panel, and the chairman, certainly, and ranking member: We always are so grateful for you, National Guard, reserves, active duty.
And that does not really need to be said, but I wanted to say it because I feel better about saying it, quite frankly.
I had asked this question, if you were in the audience with the first panel, about General McCaffrey's comments about the guard. In 2003, General Vaughn, said, they were roughly 7,798 short, and in 2004 about 6,792.
Is he correct on that, ballpark?
General HELMLY. Congressman, I think he was correct in the numbers. Now, the piece is, though, in 2003, probably our targeting objective was wrong.
I was the deputy director at that time, and I believe we made end strength at the end of 2003 and we were starting on down the decline at that particular time, was starting to get excited about this, ''Maybe we can pull it back up,'' or whatever.
But I am not sure we even had the money, if we would have hit those goals, to pay for that force at that time, becauseagain, I will go back and get the exact time, but I thought about it when you asked the question, and, inside the Army, everybody was saying, ''Oh, the Army Guard did not make its recruiting numbers'' and so forth and so on. But it was real close to being 100 percent. 2004 I think is right on the money with that figure.
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Mr. JONES. General Vaughn, let me ask you about the captains in the National Guard.
His report said about 3,168 Army captains short in the guard. Is that about right?
General HELMLY. Sir, those are good figures. I do not mean they are good figures, I mean
Mr. JONES. I know what you mean, yes, sir. Accurate figures.
General HELMLY. Accurate figures.
The captain issue has been around some time. You know, as we recruit our officers and they go through Officer Candidate School (OCS) and so forth and so on, we have a lot of officers, but because of the amount of time away from home and what not, and a lot of other reasons, we have a lot of officers that fail to get their degrees and they end up getting passed over twice.
And the Army is working just real, real hard with this, you know, on these two-time passovers and no degrees. There are a lot of reasons, but that is one of them right there, is we have a lot of captains that just do not get the degree and they do not make the third shot on promotion.
Page 132 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. JONES. Well, he further said in the active duty that there was a problem too in those ranks. Maybe that is the war in Iraq, maybe it is not.
But I guess, on the lines of what the gentleman from Minnesota was asking you, if you have got an 18- or 19-year-old person, let us say 20 or 21, and you are in competition for that individual with the Armyand maybe this is where you go back to your 2 and 4 that you made mention toare you at a disadvantage because that personlet us say he is not married or she is not marriedis going to say, ''Well, I am going to end up going to Iraq anyway, I might as well just go into the active duty''? Do you run into that?
General VAUGHN. Congressman, I will tell you that the guard members are tied usually so strong, you know, into our communities, as you well know, that they want to serve our country. This is about duty to country and to state, and I do not think that is quite as big a deal.
You know, when I talk about this 242, for instance, we see young men and women all the time who say, ''You know, I would like to do something out there and get out and do it, but then I would like to go back to school, you know, come back to the community'' and so forth and so on. I do not think it is quite as big a deal, you know, in many, many, many of our communities.
But, at the same time, we do not want that competition, just to be very honest. We want to help the Army. I mean, between us and the USAR and the United States, as components of their Army, we have got to make this thing go. We understand, sir.
Page 133 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. JONES. Mr. Chairman, I would just make a comment and then I will finish. I think you all are doing a magnificent job in recruiting, the active duty as well.
I realize it is just a very difficult time, it is a very difficult war we are into in Iraq, and you run into a lot ofas my colleagues, both Mr. Snyder said and Mr. Kline, I mean, you have got mixed feelings here in this country, and so therefore you have got people that maybe would like to go into their reserves or maybe would like to go into active duty but just at this point in their life they are just not ready to take that step.
And so I want to say to the reserves and to the guard and to the active duty: We are blessed as a nation to have you, to have them over in Iraq and Afghanistan, active and reserves and National Guard.
I hope that as we continue to debate, that we can at some point in timein fact, I am leaving, and maybe some of my colleagues, to go have a classified briefing on the Chinese military, and I am very concerned about what the Chinese are doing. Not only have they taken 1.5 million of our manufacturing jobs since 1989, but now they are spending more and more money on their militaries and trying to really reach to the highest they can, technologically speaking.
So I think we as a Congress, Mr. Chairmanand I know we are doing it, the Senate has done it, the House has done it, but we really have to address this role of our active duty and the numbers, because I just do not believe we can continue to have the guardmaybe the reserve is a little different, but I just think the guard is going to have a very difficult time recruiting as long as they are seeing themselves becoming fully active duty soldiers.
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It is not that they do not want to do their job, and they have done a great job. Everyone I have ever met that has been to Iraq has told me that they came back with pride, they were helping, they were part of a team, they were getting it done. But, you know, this becomes a numbers game, and that is what we as a Congress have to deal with.
Mr. Chairman, thank you, and I will yield back my time.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman.
And, obviously, I closely associate myself with his closing comments.
Gentlemen, we could go on for some time, but rather than start another round of questions, we have agreed amongst those of us who remain that we would submit any further questions for written responses.
We would deeply appreciate those responses in as timely a fashion as you could possibly provide them.
And let me just say, in closing, thank you. Thank you for what you do in your leadership positions.
Equally, and in fact more importantly, thank you for soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines, Coast Guard men and women that serve under you and for you.
Page 135 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is a proud history, a proud heritage, and it is our responsibility to ensure that its needs continue to be met.
I think General Helmly set up a very important marker about a strategic vision, a longer-term vision.
We are ensconced in a very difficult struggle, a very difficult environment for you folks to field an effective force in recruiting and retention.
We need to meet that short-term challenge, but I think we have to work together, you as the leaders and us as the committee of responsibility, for meeting those long-term challenges.
We look forward to your guidance, for your requests as to what your challenges are, and hopefully we can do the best job we can to continue to help you meet that very important challenge.
So, thank you for your service.
With that, the subcommittee stands adjourned.
Secretary HALL. Mr. Chairman, could I
Mr. MCHUGH. Mr. Secretary.
Page 136 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary HALL [continuing]. If I might take just a second.
Mr. MCHUGH. Sure.
Secretary HALL. General James reminded us that we have our senior enlisted advisers, and because each one of us did not have a chance:
My Command Sergeant Major Holland is behind me, if he could stand up. Iraq/Afghanistan veteran, and soon after I recruited him we mobilized his wife and sent her to Afghanistan. So they are a true Army family.
We often forget that our armed services are made up primarily of enlisted, not officers, so we need these advisers.
Mr. MCHUGH. We do indeed.
And, Command Sergeant Major, I am sure that was certainly just a bad circumstance, no good deed goes unpunished; he recruits you, and there goes your wife. Thank you for your service, and for your wife's service as well.
Thank you all.
The subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 2:45 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
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