SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10666]
PROPOSALS TO TRANSFORM THE U.S. ARMY TRAINING AND DOCTRINE COMMAND (TRADOC)
MILITARY PERSONNEL SUBCOMMITTEE
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
NOVEMBER 28, 2000
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MILITARY PERSONNEL SUBCOMMITTEE
STEVE BUYER, Indiana, Chairman
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
MARY BONO, California
JOSEPH PITTS, Pennsylvania
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
STEVEN KUYKENDALL, California
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
MIKE THOMPSON, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
John D. Chapla, Professional Staff Member
Thomas E. Hawley, Professional Staff Member
Michael R. Higgins, Professional Staff Member
Edward P. Wyatt, Professional Staff Member
Debra S. Wada, Professional Staff Member
Nancy M. Warner, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Tuesday, November 28, 2000, Proposals to Transform the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)
Tuesday, November 28, 2000
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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2000
PROPOSALS TO TRANSFORM THE U.S. ARMY TRAINING AND DOCTRINE COMMAND (TRADOC)
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Buyer, Hon. Steve, a Representative from Indiana, Chairman, Military Personnel Subcommittee
Scott, Hon. Robert C., a Representative from Virginia
Abrams, Gen. John N., Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Va.
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Buyer, Hon. Steve
Abrams, General John N.
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted for the Record.]
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCQUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
PROPOSALS TO TRANSFORM THE U.S. ARMY TRAINING AND DOCTRINE COMMAND (TRADOC)
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Military Personnel Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Tuesday, November 28, 2000.
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:00 p.m., in the main dining room, Fort Monroe Officers' Club, Fenwick Road, Fort Monroe, Virginia, Hon. Steve Buyer (Chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. STEVE BUYER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM INDIANA, CHAIRMAN, MILITARY PERSONNEL SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. BUYER. The Military Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee will now come to order.
We are holding this field hearing at Fort Monroe in Virginia. I would like to recognize Mr. Scott, who is representing Ranking Member Neil Abercrombie. We are in his home district here in Indiana. We thank you for hostingin Virginia. What did I say, Indiana? I haven't had much sleep in the last nine days. My brother woke me this morning, and I didn't know where I was. It wasn't Florida. It wasn't Indiana. It is Virginia. Thank you, though, Mr. Scott, for hosting us here.
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Also with us is Mr. Hayes of North Carolina, a member of the Subcommittee and Armed Services Committee. Thank you for coming up from North Carolina. And also joining us here is Congressman-Elect Ed Schrock, who will be sitting here, and we appreciate your appearance with us today.
I also want to recognize with us in the audience, we have Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and Junior ROTC cadets. We have about 20 of them from the College of William and Mary. We have around six from Norfolk State University. We have 10 from Old Dominion University. From Bethel High School, there are 10. From Granby High School, there are around 15. From Smithfield High School, there are five. From Northhampton County High School East of North Carolina, there are six. And from Hertford County High School in North Carolina, there are approximately 35.
We welcome the ROTC and the Junior ROTC. I took a moment to recognize you because you, in fact, are the next generation of leadership, and we thank you for being here and participating.
We also welcome members from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion, and Disabled American Veterans. Your oversight is important to us, not only just your cause for those of veterans but making surekeeping your eyes and oversight over the military plays a very important role, and it is appreciated by those of us who serve in Congress.
General Abrams, thank you very much for being here. I want to welcome you to this hearing and thank you again for hosting the Subcommittee. I also want to say from the outset that you and I are in complete agreement as to the critical importance of the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to the Army. I appreciate your coming up to Washington, D.C. and the two of us being able to have a very frank and open discussion in Washington. And I really appreciated your responsiveness to my request.
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That importance that we discussed in Washington is embodied in two statements that you made as part of your command plan. The first is that ''TRADOC is Army readiness.'' And the second is that ''Training remains the connective thread that allows the Army to develop and sustain proficiency for all other missions.''
Despite our agreement on TRADOC's importance, I have had a longstanding concern, for a variety of reasons. TRADOC has been unable to perform its full range of missions to standard. I first became aware of how severely the overall shortage of Army resources had undermined TRADOC in the aftermath of the 1995 deaths of four Ranger students in Florida. Less than two years later, I again had cause to look closely at the state of training in TRADOC as part of the House Armed Services Committee investigation into the causes of sexual misconduct by Army drill sergeants at TRADOC bases around the country.
What I found stunned me with regard to how the requirement that TRADOC was required to absorb its ''fair share'' of Army-wide shortages and other factors not only had undermined the ability of drill sergeants to do their jobs but also created an environment for some of them to abuse their authority.
In addition, the initial entry training system had seemed to have lost its focus on rigor and the need to impart a warrior spirit into the new trainees. I know that you, General Abrams, are bringing that spirit into your bases, and I applaud you for your endeavor.
I worked closely with your predecessor and with General Shinseki's predecessor to address the many shortfalls and to urge both to restore that rigor and warrior spirit into the system the past three years. General Shinseki's initiative to fully man the Army's operational units caused me to once again refocus my concerns on TRADOC because of the potential for that initiative to make worse what I believe to be a less than satisfactory manning status of TRADOC. I appreciate General Shinseki's commitment not to allow the initiative to, as he says, ''break TRADOC.'' That is a word and term that he used in a conversation that I had at a House-Senate conference. It was the last conversation that I was able to have with the late Congressman Herb Bateman. And our concern was about TRADOC.
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The discussion that General Shinseki and Congressman Herb Bateman and I had was part of the focus of why this Subcommittee has come to Fort Monroe. And what he said to me, General Abrams, was that he was going to turn to you and let you define where the pain is. How do you accomplish your mission for the Army and its training and doctrine while at the same time perhaps delivering numbers to man the divisions? So I have remembered his quote that day because at that time, Herb Bateman said, ''Well, Steve, let's have a combined hearing with the Readiness Subcommittee and the Personnel Subcommittee at Fort Monroe and figure out what it means to 'break TRADOC'.''
However, I am not sure, as I said, what it means. It sounds like part of the Hippocratic Oath that establishes as the first principle that doctors shall do no harm. Promising to do no harm, however, does not address what needs to be done to heal the patient. How to deal with the patient is what brings us here today.
General Shinseki challenged you to present him with a plan to re-engineer and transform TRADOC as he seeks to transform the Army. You have developed that plan and presented your recommendations to General Shinseki. I have been patient. I wanted to go in order. We will now look forward to hearing from you regarding those recommendations.
General Abrams, because of the recent publication of the readiness reports from all TRADOC installations, the picture that was presented through media sources unto the country was that of a troubled organization. So you have an opportunity to defend. TRADOC faces critical shortfalls not only in military and civilian personnel but also in funding training equipment, facilities, base support, and modernization. In addition, it is being asked to take on new missions with no commitment for additional resources that those new missions require.
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I will be interested in your comments regarding those discussions on how you break up the pie. We are not interested in the micro-management of a particular service. But something must be happening when they are divvying up those resources that perhaps the focus is becoming so much more on the division; or is it so much on modernization, that you are not getting the access to the pie of funds that are needed to accomplish your mission? So your response to that is of interest to us.
I believe that TRADOC today in some ways is like a body struggling for survival. If your impression is different, please tell me. In order to keep core functions going, the body begins shutting down the less critical extremities. What I take away from the readiness reports is that for a number of years now TRADOC, in order to continue the training, its core function, has been forced to delay, defer, and even shut down performance on other missions. Moreover, to me, there is evidence in some of the comments from subordinate commanders that TRADOC's ability to perform its core mission of training to the required standards is beginning to fail.
Given the importance of TRADOC to the Army, as well as to the seriousness of the broad challenges faced by your command, General Abrams, your plan for the transformation and the subsequent Army commitment to support it are crucial to the long-term readiness of the United States Army.
I have great respect for you, General Abrams. And I know that your sincerity and your efforts are real. We are here to help support you and TRADOC and be helpful where we can. You have my full attention. You have the attention of the Members who are here. You have our ears to listen to your directions and your guidance.
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Before, General Abrams, we take your testimony, let me provide other Members here the opportunity to make opening statements. I now yield to Mr. Scott for any opening remarks that he may have.
STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT C. SCOTT, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM VIRGINIA
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I want to welcome you to Virginia, along with Representative Hayes and our new colleague, Representative-Elect Ed Schrock, from Virginia Beach. I am delighted to have the Armed Services Committee Military Personnel Subcommittee here in the Hampton Roads area.
Mr. Chairman, you mentioned the late Herb Bateman and, obviously, his services will greatly be missed. We are also missing from this committee the services of Owen Pickett, who did not seek re-election this past year.
I also want to welcome all of our cadets, many of whom are from the third district, other parts of Virginia and North Carolina, for their participation. As you have indicated, the Junior ROTC and ROTC cadets represent our next generation of leaders. The TRADOC mission for the United States Army is a very important one, now more than ever. We have many TRADOC installations in this area; Fort Eustis, Fort Lee, Fort Story, and, obviously, it is an area of local concern.
But as we begin to transform our armed services in the 21st century, TRADOC will obviously take a leadership role in this transformation. And TRADOC will be responsible for making sure that the new modern, better-equipped, better-trained soldier is a reality and not just a concept on paper. And this transformation will be a priority, and we want to make sure it happens in a timely and cost-effective manner.
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And so, Mr. Chairman, as you have indicated, there are specific issues involving readiness that we will be discussing today, and I look forward to the testimony from General Abrams on these particular issues. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BUYER. Thank you, Mr. Scott. I now yield the floor to Mr. Hayes for any remarks that he may have.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And let me just thank the people here at Fort Monroe. General Abrams, Col. Rosenblatt, Col. Martz, I appreciate the hospitality and the young folks and veterans that have joined us here today. This installation is certainly a tribute to the integrity, the honesty, and the tremendous role that our military plays in the freedom that we enjoy on an ongoing basis. So it is a pleasure to be here.
We work for you, and we look forward to your testimony, using your ideas and the information that you bring to the process to move forward to do the best job that we can for the men and women who are on active duty who have served before and who will serve in the future. Thank you very much.
Mr. BUYER. Thank you. General Abrams, you have the floor.
STATEMENT OF GEN. JOHN N. ABRAMS, COMMANDER, U.S. ARMY TRAINING AND DOCTRINE COMMAND
General ABRAMS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee. It is a great honor to be able to represent the United States Army to this Subcommittee and represent the great men and women of Training and Doctrine Command for what they do day in and day out. I have submitted a statement for the record. I would like to offer that for entry on behalf of my own testimony and use that by way of bypassing a formality for introductions.
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Mr. BUYER. Your statement will be entered into the record, so noted.
General ABRAMS. I wrote down a couple of notes, Mr. Chairman, as you were outlining your specific concerns and the basis for formulating this. I can respond in part at this time to some of the key points that you raised and then proceed from there to respond to very specific questions that might follow-on.
Mr. BUYER. You are free to handle it in any manner you choose.
General ABRAMS. I think the first strategic topic is in terms of the framework and the role of the mission this command is built around, the ability to impact the day-to-day readiness of the United States Army in all of its dimensions, in all of its core competencies, and provide the confidence, as well as the competence to carry on the work of the Nation on behalf of the Nation's people. And your concern on that role is built around a resource environment in there.
You also mentioned the role of how we perform our task to the Army, to the people of the Army more than just the institution of the Army in terms of our commitment to training as a thread for, quite frankly, the Army realizing its strategic goal of being a learning organization that fosters personal growth, professionalism, and allows an opportunity for that growth for every soldier no matter rank, no matter color or gender to be a part of that thing. And that, quite frankly, is the commitment of the institution, it is not a new commitment.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You have personally participated in a highly respected effort to provide visibility on some core issues over the course of the past few years. And you introduced a couple of those areas in terms of high-risk training areas and how we are handling our responsibilities and fulfilling all the obligations of not only providing for the opportunity for personal growth but also absolutely ensuring the safety and well-being of our soldiers and the cadre members in the process.
So for the record, I would just start off to you, we have been very clear in the discussions over the course of the last two years that the number one mission obligation of this Command is to train soldiers to standards and that includes soldiers not only going through initial entry training but that is soldiers going through every aspect of functional training. That is not just active component soldiers. It is active and Reserve component soldiers. It is also the men and women of the other services that I have a responsibility to provide service and training for their development, both in MOS, Military Occupational Specialty skills, as well as leadership development.
The specific issue that you raised down at the Ranger Training Brigade and that program down there that is so important to the Army in providing well-qualified soldiers and leaders, enlisted and officers alike, for the force, we are pretty comfortable with the process that we are into right now. As you know, there is a framework of mandatory guidelines that you have been a part of in developing, as well as our own experts in there. There is not a quarter that does not go by where each dimension of what has to be done in terms of training to standard and ensuring the safety and well-being of the soldiers and leaders that go through the Ranger Training Program is not reviewed and appropriate actions taken.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think the most heartening piece of this right now is the confidence of the cadre down there. Our assessment from the chief of infantry and the Commander at Fort Benning, Georgia right now is that we have got a good system in place that is pretty introspective. They take a hard look inside of themselves. Their resource environment down there is more than adequate to the task. There have been some challenges in some key areas, but my confidence, quite frankly, is based not on zero defects, but rather that that entire program is surrounded by well-qualified leaders and a dedication that starts with the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army through me all the way to the leadership on the ground to ensure that we maintain the proper standards for that training.
We, as I mentioned, have got a number of other areas of high-risk training. And your work and the committee's work that walk through for us a process to ensure in the wake of that accident down at the Ranger Training Brigade, we have reviewed all other high-risk areas. And I would just like to mention a couple of them because that is not the only high-risk training that we do.
As you know, this profession requires us to train to a proper standard. The nature of our business is inclusive of risks and risk mitigation in that process. And so we fly helicopters at night. We teach people how to do that. They maneuver helicopters at night at very fast speeds where the opportunity of error in judgment is there, and we have to deal with that.
The measures that we put in place to provide a systemic posture for not only the Ranger Training department but also the other high-risk areas for Army aviation training, as well as our demolitions expert training and some of the high-risk training ventures that we have even locally here at Fort Eustis, where we are navigating seas and over the shore operations in sea states, well above normal with time and mission of the essence for them to be able to accomplish their assigned tasks.
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I think we have been very prudent in our commitment of resources and making sure that those resources have got visibility on a recurring basis. And so our assessment right now is that systemically we have got our eye on the ball down there. The leadership knows down there that they haveat the Ranger Training department and all other areas of high-risk training, have the right to raise a hand and challenge the process and not proceed in any way if it not only endangers the safety and welfare of the men and women that we are entrusted to as they participate in training but also if we are unable to meet the training standards. And I am pretty confident in that.
There is a second dimension in training that you described and it was in the wake of Aberdeen and what we learned from that and how institutionally we have accounted for that process. I just have to tell you we are running an organization that is fairly dedicated to running a professional training regiment, a proper training strategy that is, quite frankly, focused on investing in growth and maturity of people, not only the trainees but also the cadre that has been entrusted to bring them along.
We are guided by standards. You know we are a standards-based profession. You know that in the wake of Aberdeen and the ensuing discussions and investigations in there that there were some issues about common standards throughout the command, how is it you can have so many different schools working on so many different military occupational specialties and maintain a common reference? I think we have accounted for that in a very positive way by not only organizational structure, providing requisite oversight and leadership in this headquarters by the appointment of a lieutenant general as a deputy commanding general for initial entry training that has oversight of all initial entry training, as well as functional training that we perform in support of the Army and our Department of Defense (DOD), missions.
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I also think that what you will see in our guidance and directions, that we have codified standards built around those common threads that will give us the assurance that the cadre and the supporting staffs, base operations, garrisons, and command and leadership understand very clearly what standards are all about and what a standards-based profession is. But, more importantly, our obligation to empower people to be successful in service to the United States Army, that we can train them to those standards.
And so this relationship between the cadre and the trainees is not one ''Are you good enough to join my Army,'' and ''We are only looking for a very few people.'' What this is built around is a framework that says we are good enough, we are very competent as trainers. We can set the conditions if you will give us your best effort, which our trainees across the board of all ranks that are in the command and come through the command on an annual basis, that we will be able to provide you an experience that will allow you to be successful, no matter the rank that you occupy but more important for going through this critical phase of transition from citizen to soldier.
And I would like to spend a little bit of time on that because you remarked that there was an indicator that you were looking for in terms of a weight point to gauge how is the health of the command. On the resource side of this thing, what we found in working with the committees and the other agencies throughout DOD as we were going through this process in the wake in Aberdeen is that there had to be a framework of not only just a common standard of how we were going to approach business day in and day out between the trainee and the cadre, you really had to have a commitment to quality people to be a part of that cadre. And not just drill sergeants but the cadre that the drill sergeants work for. And that you had to look inside and say were we picking the very best people for assuming this role for us. Were we properly empowering that cadre to be able to perform that task? Were we giving them the proper training to deal with the environment that we were going to place in there?
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We also had to take a hard look at the base operations support in terms of their framework because, as you know, the majority of our effort inside of Training and Doctrine Command in terms of supporting our training focus comes through our garrison and garrison support activities. So we have got contractors, we have got administrative personnel, we have civilians, all engaged and have opportunities to set the proper conditions for these young men and women to not only learn their craft but make this transformation very successful from citizen to soldier.
We have put an awful lot of emphasis on that effort. Quite frankly, that framework of resources, I have spent a little bit of time on manpower but there are some dollars associated that go along with that from everything from the equipment they wear while they are participating in the training to the nature of the combative pit when they go in for combative training to the marksmanship ranges where they learn how to employ their weapons and gain the confidence with their weapons and the confidence courses. And every dimension of the training support packages are out there. There is visibility command-wide now. There are proper standards that have codified, ''Look, this is what right looks like,'' and they are uniformly applied in our resource discussions across the command.
And it is a common reference not for the generals to manage and get engaged in but we now have got a lot of confidence that our civilian work force, our junior leadership, our middle-grade officers, and non-commissioned officers understand clearly what the standards are, what the expectations are and are directly engaged in ensuring that we are in compliance with those. And when we get out of compliance of those standards that the appropriate flags go up and the chain of command reacts appropriately, whether it is modifying the training at hand or not conducting the training until we make the appropriate corrections. So the culture of the command right now, I think, is ripe in its embracement in every dimension to embrace this commitment.
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Now, having spent most of my opportunity in response to your focusing on the training aspect, what you are sensing is there should not be any mistake in this command of what priority number one is, what job number one is. And what you have seen, both in the media as well as the commander's report and discussions and the dialogue that ensues is not just the accountability of us being able to fulfill that mission but the necessary activity that goes on that creates the vitality within an organization that this is job one, we are serious about it. We are going to live it. We are going to have passion for it, and we are going to work at it. And we are going to get better at it everyday. And where we don't, we are going to make the necessary corrections and move on.
Now, when you put that kind of emphasis across a population that is in excess of 300,000 people that we touch day in and day out across a year in a training regiment, in a training commitment, you are going to have other mission areas that you are going to say, look, I am going to either take a little bit of risk over there or I am going to defer this or I am not going to do it. But you are going to keep your main focus on a set of clear priorities.
And I would say to you if you were crystallizing the command climate that you would see today, in the command prioritization that you see today, in consultation with the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army is that there are really two dimensions that are getting the major investment in energy, resources, and effort within the command we are not going to back away from. We think it is an absolute correct recipe for what we have got to do. And that is training and leadership development. And so this other dimension that we handle is an extraordinary effort of developing leaders, non-commissioned officers, warrant officers, and officers so that they not onlyas we are reminded by the presence of these Junior ROTC members, but the relationship between the institution of the Army and its people is that we just don't train you in the front-end and send you off to a unit and then you go on about your career. Our commitment is lifelong. We do it before they enter. We do it when they enter. And we are there for them, both in education and experience in the schoolhouses as well as what we are trying to accomplish with the experiential opportunities in units of assignment.
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And so those two major priorities now reconcile into, ''Okay, so how is the manning going for that? Do you have any tension in the air over the manning?'' You describe the tension between the priorities of the leadership of the Army and what it is doing to this command. I can tell you forthright: I don't have a problem in those two areas right now. I have got some issues that I am reconciling. But in those two key areas, we have been able to frame the allocation of qualified people in terms of the cadre to be a part of this. We have got some shortages that are not reflective of authorizations, which is one part of the discussion. We have got shortages in Army distribution and meeting some needs and they have got to get reconciled and we are working through that.
As you indicated, the chief said, ''Okay, look, I am not going to rely on bureaucracy to report to me when we have gone below a resource level in manning or dollars in the Training and Doctrine Command. They know what the priorities are. They know what the missions are. They know what their core missions are for the Army. I am going to rely on, one, the command, the chain of command down there and the people of the organization that have got to live with this mission day in and day out to be a part of that process.'' We have clearly been in communications, frank, open discussions about where to put the manpower, the quality as well as the quantity, the grade level distribution throughout the command.
I had, as you indicated, two paths I could follow. I could say, ''Look, we can go down this path to the left that says let's reconcile this within the needs of the Army for today and what today's leadership requirements are that are pressing us with the missions the soldiers are going on.'' Or do I set it up in a posture that says, ''Look, I have got today's business that I have got to reconcile but it may not be the right business in terms of empowering the force, the human dimension for the missions that we are getting into.''
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For example, as you know, over the course of three decades, we were principally focused in a strategy built around our commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance and the Cold War strategy. We are now an Army that is full spectrum, requiring our people to go into a wide diversity of requirements in here. And so as I reconcile what the requirements are, the environment for which our leaders, if I could use that by way of illustration, is much different than it was when I was a young lieutenant and a young captain. A little bit more sophisticated in terms of width and breadth of where we have got to be able to rely on them to apply not only the proper judgment but also contribute with the proper skills.
And so what we have done is gone down a path that said, ''Look, some things that we were doing just were not right. Some learning models that we were doing were just not right.'' Now, as confident as we are in the area of initial entry training, three drill sergeants in every platoon, one drill sergeant for every 30 soldiers. If it is gender-integrated training, they are going to be two female drill sergeants in every company for us to be able to maintain these standards and create the proper environment. We are pretty comfortable with that model. And that model is what we use to guide us in terms of our matrix of commitment. When you get over to the leadership development models, we have got some models that are outstanding, and we are going to proliferate. They provide an experiential opportunity for people to be very comfortable with the nature of military operations across a broader spectrum. They are leadership development-intensive. They are so successful that what we have said is that this laboratory experience has got to be a major consideration for us.
Now, the reason why I am making a point of this, if I might, and I would enjoin your question following this, is how we determine what our requirements are is shaped entirely around what kind of models for training and education that we use. And so the issue right now is, we have got a couple of models that we are going through right now in terms of trying to find new approaches and new ways.
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Let me give you an example. Down at the Armor School, and you know that is one of my alma maters in my upbringing, I go down there and I see a course for developing company commanders. But I see 23 officers that are in residence in this course but they are remote at their armories and in their houses and in their workplace. And I look in this environment of the instructor, and I see the faces of real people, they are called holograms, this is a level of an enriching opportunity that is at the cutting edge. This is about increasing access and opportunity. This is about being a learning organization. And you see what has transpired with the enablers that we have got in technology and what is going on. And this path is very exciting for us. It also is going to transform your faculty, what kind of faculty you have, where is it going to be in residence and for what purpose. And it is going to allow you to look at learning models that give you a higher experiential opportunity than we have ever been able to achieve in a classroom. It has got enormous potential.
And you don't have to market it. You get the Reserve components, both U.S. Army Reserve (USAR), and National Guard, they look at this and they see we can get training to a same standard, high-quality access and opportunity. You see the active components saying, ''You know, maybe I don't have to have all of this in-resident for 16 weeks, maybe I can alter that.''
And the reason why I am walking you through that is, as you have asked me to provide testimony to you today, and I am pretty excited about being able to do this, as well as honored and privileged, is: what is TRADOC transformation all about? It is dealing with these learning models. It is dealing with an outreach strategy of what we can do better than we have done in the past. It is also an increase in access and opportunity for not one dimension of the force but for the total force.
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Mr. BUYER. Can I interrupt you for a second?
General ABRAMS. Absolutely.
Mr. BUYER. Do you think it was timely to have done that now or are you being forced to have done that because you are required to drive to a number?
General ABRAMS. Sir, to be frank with you, I think there is always going to be tension over resources. I think what you are going to expect of us as professionals is to make sure that resources are not driving the solutions, that you have an Army
Mr. BUYER. That is why we are here.
General ABRAMS.that has got leaders of character.
Mr. BUYER. That is why we are here.
General ABRAMS. And so I would say to you that how we got into it, with distance learning at the front endas you know, you have been with uswas driven by a resource decision rather than the effectiveness of models. What I am reporting to you is that this is not corresponding studies of ''check the block.'' Where we have been able to take this kind of technological application for learning and training is to a level that we had no clue about in the front-end of this thing when we got into it. And it is now providing usit is appealing to our sensibilities as soldiers and leaders that we are able to fulfill our obligations and that effectiveness in training and education is going to be kept at the forefront. And you know there has been some tension in the air over that, not only within the active component (AC), but across the force.
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So I would say to you that you have to count on us, it is not just me personally, to be clear-eyed about this and be able to look you, and not only you but the soldiers and the leaders of our force and say, ''Look, we are committed to being a learning organization, and this experience is going to continue to be first class.''
Now, there are going to be some issues that are going to come up in terms of student-teacher ratios that we still don't have reconciled. Let me give you an example, if I might. When you go to the Thayer Model for education, where we got into small group instruction, and you know we have embraced that method of instruction throughout the command. That is one well-qualified mentor instructor with no more than 12 to 15 soldiers, depending upon the leadership level, whether it is at the upper end of that or at the lower end of it. But you can see it is personalized attention. The interrelationship is very, very important. When you get into this dynamic that I talked about, that we have been spearheading with the National Guard to meet their continuing education requirements, particularly focused at the captain level, you can see that you are going to have to go back and re-validate what these models are.
And you are going to have to pay close attention to the impact of what it is you are going to do. And we have been reluctant, quite frankly, to move away from in-resident training because of a very important ingredient for us and that is it is not about competencies and skills. It is not about decision-making. It is about leadership. And all of the behavioral scientists that are in academia, those that are in industry and our own, have cautioned us that when you go down this path of distance learning, you have to be very careful that at the forefront of your investment is leadership and leadership development. You have got to have this issue between mentor and the student or you won't end up withyou will get skill competencies but you won't get the leadership stuff in there.
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Mr. BUYER. General Abrams, if I may, we are going to give you about three more minutes to wrap up your opening remarks, and then we are going to yield for questions, all right?
General ABRAMS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BUYER. Thank you.
General ABRAMS. Sir, you raised a question about dollars. As you know, we run an account annually of about $3 billion. And we go through a prioritization process like any other major command for the United States Army and the Department of Defense. The implication that you raised on the dollar side of this thing is that are the resources driving us to where we are not able to provide the ability to train to standard? The way I would respond in that regard is twofold. First off, we do set priorities. We know very clearly where the capital investment has got to be made, as well as our operating costs, where they are.
We are kind of in a unique environment. Of that money that is allocated to us annually, about 75 percent of it is fixed. And it is because of the make-up of the command. It is a civilian workforce element of it, very large. It is also our reliance on services in support of training and education that come through contract and contract support. So when you look at our flexibility for the distribution of those dollars, those bills have got to be paid up-front and so the process for allocating that effort has got to be very, very solid up-front.
It also gets you into a notion that is if you don't have the necessary discretionary capital to apply to a broader perspective, that you are going to take areas of risk. The area of recurring risk that we have taken is in the area of support for our infrastructure in our garrisons. Our backlog of maintenance and repair, our infrastructure, our housing, our training barracks are all areas that we have consistently had to take some risk in. It doesn't mean there hasn't been any investment in it.
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As you know, there are three programs for us to deal with infrastructure. One of them is through distribution of Operation and Maintenance, Army (OMA), Army dollars to address backlog of maintenance and repair. The other one is military construction. And the third one is out-source.
What we have attempted to do, quite frankly, is to set up an investment strategy that is not proactive but reactive, that allows us to ensure that the lights and heat of all of our facilities and all our installations are on, and that we are able to conduct the training. But in terms of dealing with some long-term issues in a proactive way, we have taken some risk in there. And so that is where the challenge is of resources are for us. And that is how we address it.
Quite frankly, the ability to deal with this over time is something that the Department is reconciling in going through this. And you know there are a number of programs that we have got ongoing from out-sourcing initiatives to in-house initiatives to be able to not only provide the quality service from our installations and the families and dedicated soldiers that are cadre, the 23 different schools that we have got on 16 different installations. But it is where we have taken risks over time.
And I would just remark to you that this has not been overnight. I mean this issue has been at the forefront and the dialogue in terms of distribution of resources that spans more than a couple of years, and we have got efforts ongoing on how to reconcile.
And one of them, quite frankly, is we have closed down interior infrastructure on a number of different installations, tearing down old World War II barracks, closing down sewerage and water plants that are no longer viable or support part of the garrison or post-camping station that is directly contributing to missions. So we are now at a posture where we think we have done all of the right kinds of things, internal to our base operations in terms of our infrastructure, that we are not just keeping things open just to keep them open. We think we have taken a very deliberate effort over the course of the last decade to treat that very aggressively and reduce the demand on resources.
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Mr. BUYER. Did you have to do that because we wouldn't give Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), or did you do that because it was the right thing to do?
General ABRAMS. I think it is a combination of both. I think it is the right thing to do. We ought not to be keeping up facilities and interior capabilities and installations that are no longer providing a valuable service. I think we owe that to you, as well as the people of this country. But I also think in the dialogue that has been ensued by the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), process, as well asthe previous QDR process and the discussions over the last round of BRAC, that opens up a venue. But we are not moving down a path right now in our vision for the future of this command that says it is inclusive, instead of this venue of 16 different installations, it would be these 11. We have not gone down that.
But I know very clearly the interior works and capabilities and livelihood standards of each of the installations and its major component in its infrastructure and how it is being able to measure up to expectations over time. And that is what we are dealing with. But it is a reactive posture, and I will be straightforward with you.
Mr. BUYER. Did you give your conclusion?
General ABRAMS. Sir, thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of General Abrams can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. BUYER. That is the best conclusion I have heard in a long time.
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I have a series of different questions I am going to ask, but what I will do is reserve them for the moment. And Mr. Scott, I will yield to you, since this is your home, for any questions that you may have for General Abrams.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. On page 5 of your testimony and in your comments, General Abrams, you have indicated that you believe that you are adequately resourced. We have been given a summary of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Readiness Report for six months ending March 20th, which indicates that many of the installations are rated C4 (the lowest readiness rating in the TRADOC system). C4 suggests that the activity requires additional resources. Is that a contradiction on your suggestion that you are adequately resourced?
General ABRAMS. No, sir, those reports, first off, are accurate.
Mr. SCOTT. Inaccurate or accurate?
General ABRAMS. Are accurate.
Mr. SCOTT. Are accurate?
General ABRAMS. Those reports are not only from me but from the commanders in the field that are charged with the responsibilities.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think you have got two issues that are part of this. One of them is in terms of what standard? What I have been very clear on is we are pretty good and reliable in terms of training and leadership development. We have got some issues inside of there, but we are very, very comfortable. Where we are not and where you see the discussion going on is within these areas of risk that transcend the training and leadership development. It gets into the core issues of combat development, things that I am not doing in support of stated requirements for keeping some of the program areas that I have a core responsibility to the Army. For example, doctrine development, training development, and some of the organizational design work that we do.
And so we have deferred getting into that and that is where the area of riskwhat you see from not only my own discussions on the manning side of it but in the resource side of it is that we have put a framework that said we are not going to walk away from training and leadership development. That is going to be the standard by which we are going to be dedicated in. So what you see us doing in my own reports and dialogues to the Department (of Defense) is I have either been deferring work or reporting that this work will not be done and get into a dialogue about whether that level of risk is acceptable or not.
Mr. SCOTT. Are you properly resourced for all of the essential mission-critical missions?
General ABRAMS. I would say for the core critical missions, the answer is no. But within the priorities that we have outlined and the assurances that we have put in place for training and leadership development, absolutely. In other words, I have sorted through what has got to get done.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCOTT. Well, I guess this goes back to the Chairman's question, is that a resource-based decision, that is the best you can do with the resources you have? If there are mission-critical elements that need to be done that you are not resourced for, it would seem to me that would suggest that you don't have enough resources.
General ABRAMS. Sir, the straight answer to you is you have got to reconcile what these requirements are. For example, if you are talking about developing a doctrinal standard for a unit that is no longer in existence in the United States Army, that one is easy, that is a no-brainer. You say that is no longer a viable requirement. In terms of our roles in meeting the stated tasks and missions that we have been assigned in terms of our future work, like supporting Army transformation, we have very clearly narrowed what our perspective is and how we treat that. And we have very clearly moved away from handling those other matters that have a traditional force in core competencies. So what I am reporting to you as a commander is we have set priorities within the resources allocated. We have been very clear with the Department in discussing what those areas of risk are and what they mean and are engaged in a discussion.
Mr. SCOTT. But you mentioned the transformation, you have a lot of high-tech new soldier concepts, and you mentioned high-tech education techniques. Are you properly resourced for that transformation?
General ABRAMS. I would say in the front end of that thing there are areas for improvement in there but in terms of meeting our core responsibilities, for example, the Army had a need to develop a new MOS in systems engineering, for software engineering down at Fort Gordon, absolutely. First-class cadre, opened up a new classroom, got the necessary hardware in and put that in place. In terms of the investment for digitization from the Force 21 experimentation down at Fort Hood, have we been able to put all of those training support packages across the schoolhouses in the Training and Doctrine Command? The answer is no we have not. Are we in a window of risk where we have got to be able to do that? Yes, we are. Is it being addressed? Absolutely. But it has not been reconciled, and there is tension in terms of resources of when and how we are going to get that done. But it is not that we are surprised by these things, we are very aware of them, and there is a process in place that allows us to address it.
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Mr. BUYER. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. SCOTT. I yield.
Mr. BUYER. Is the tensionmy sense that the tension is not just resources, that it is quality of personnel. If the demand is driven by the Chief of the Army to fully man the divisions and it is all about the divisions, what are you left with? So the question or concern is about adequately resourcing your command to make sure that you do your job. From my perspective, and I am sureI don't want to speak for my colleagues, but they will concur that you have to make investments with quality people in your command in order that we can have the next generation of leadership.
This ROTC that is here and the Junior ROTC, we have to make sure that they have the right mentors. I look at it from my own personal experience. I had a very good mentor at the Citadel. He was a company commander in Vietnam, and so he wanted to make sure that we knew how to make the right decisions at the right time.
So I just want to throw that question out to you on the quality side of the house, are the tensions there also, whether you are getting the right quality of individuals in your commands?
General ABRAMS. There are some cohorts that we have inside the command thatI mean the evidence is unimpeachable, there are no better in the world at what they do. We talked earlier about drill sergeants, what quality level they are at, what is their value added, how many do we have coming through, what is their impact on the Army when they leave us? I think this year for sergeant first class promotion, as an indicator, if I might, the Army selection rate from E6 to E7 was around 18 percent. Drill sergeants inside of this command who are above 35 percent, I think it was 37, 38 percent. And, as you know, that is a major cultural difference from the period of time when you began working with us in the wake of Aberdeen.
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And I think what it is is reflective that where we have set our priorities very clearly, you will look inside of our ranks and you will see a terrific, not only uniformed workforce but civilian workforce. Where the issues are and the tension is where we don't have that same blend of quality across the board and where we have gone into a process to reconcile the tension of resources and availability of not only people but the dollars. The ROTC command, for example, which you indicated, is an absolute priority, as you know, is the backbone of how we assess the majority of our officer mission, officer session mission every year.
We still continue to man active duty cadre in there. Is that cadre all active duty or have we gone into a resource impacted environment beyond administration? And you know that we did a test with RAND in oversight of us. It said is there a role for recent retirees that can be world-class mentors? And, as you know, for every one of these young people who are being touched by Junior ROTC, it is not an active duty officer or non-commissioned officer. It is a recent retiree that we have very carefully screened and hired and put inside of their high school to be a part of that program. And they are augmented and complemented by that kind of a support group.
But the issue at hand that you are talking about is that we don't have that same quality level across every one of the mission areas. Are we dedicated to watching what we are doing and paying attention to it? I think you would be pleased with the work that has been ongoing, not only in meeting our mission but our obligation to the Corps cadets within cadet command in there and there is more to do.
Mr. BUYER. I will yield back to Mr. Scott, but we are going to keep our focus on the quality side of the house in the training. My firmness on the issue is not just with the Army. I have been pretty tough on the Navy because they got away from it. So the Navy now isI don't understand how you can put commanders of certain particular training brigades that have never had theI don't want to call it combat experience but operational experience. Those are not the right mentors. So the Navy now is moving the Sailor of the Month, the Sailor of the Year, those types of individuals and rotating them back into the school environment for real good mentors. We are going to keep our focus on it.
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And I want to compliment you too for making sure there is a reward for those drill sergeants because sometimes they get discriminated against in those promotions and it is not right. And having the right focus and rewarding those mentors bringing them from an operational unit, bring them in and bring them back out could help us a lot. So I want to thank you, but we will continue that discussion.
Mr. Scott, thank you for yielding.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I had two additional questions. One is you mentioned problems with maintenance and you have had to prioritize your maintenance, how much of that maintenance is mission critical and are there non-mission criticaldoes the non-mission-critical maintenance problems, is that an issue with morale? Because I can quite imagine if you have maintenance problems in your housing that that would create a morale problem, which would lead me into the second question. You mentioned generically there were some issues with retention and recruitment but didn't go into any specifics. If you could kind of cover both of those, the maintenance question and then your retention and recruitment?
General ABRAMS. Yes, sir. There are three core areas of risks that we get into in terms of maintenance activities and maintenance support. I kind of focused on infrastructure. As you know, there is another aspect of this that you raised that I would respond to and that is, for example, there are 535 sophisticated aircraft that are at Fort Rucker where we teach people how to fly. We build their confidence as well as their competence down there, and we do it in a very difficult environment. That contract that is down there that supports that program, which by the way is a DOD program, is funded up-front and so it is non-negotiable in terms of access to spares, access to qualified maintenance personnel and the like. This innovation was adopted by one of my predecessors. It has kept us on the straight and narrow of not taking shortcuts, ensuring that our equipment is at a high state of readiness, particularly for these very demanding areas.
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As you crosswalk that and you go through our commander Situation Reports (SITREPs), and their readiness reports to me, you will see that we have got some tensions in terms of access to Class 9, spare parts, and qualified maintenance personnel at Fort Knox in support of the Armored Force Training Development Program, as well as at Fort Leonard Wood. Part of that is a function of resources, but I also have to tell you a part of it is we are in transition going through a decision whether we are going to out-source this or do it in-house, and we are having to keep a close eye on this.
The clear issue is are we putting unsafe equipment in the hands of trainees day in and day out. Do we have a culture of tolerance that we are putting equipment in the hands of cadre and trainees to perform this training? The answer is we are pretty comfortable we are not doing that. Are we measuring up to the Army standard in terms of performance maintenance qualities that we use at the higher standards? And the answer is we are when we put it in the hands of the trainees. What you see us doing as a part of this backlog in maintenance and repair is we are deferring some scheduled services and maintenance on equipment that are training sets of equipment until we can get the resource allocation to handle it. And so it is something we have got to keep an eye on and we are working on but it is the nature of our environment.
Mr. SCOTT. Let me hold the question on morale, retention, and recruitment so we can defer to other Members.
Mr. BUYER. Because of our militaryMr. Clausewitz taught us is the instrumentality of political decisions. As preparing for a possible upcoming Bush Administration, this whole question of putting together a budget that will move rather quickly, it has been difficult to evenwhether it is a Bush Administration or even a Gore Administration, trying to calculate and put a number on deferred maintenance, deferred real property maintenance, not just equipment, has been very difficult, because not only have you and your command been deferring, everybody else is deferring, too. And that infrastructure, whether it is from a sewage system to water to a roof repair to getting drywall to finish something in a building, everything is getting deferred. But at some time the bill comes due. We have to come up with the money somehow to give you to pay that.
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I am just throwing out to you that we can't continue to defer, defer, defer, defer. I just throw that out to you, not for you to make any comment. I just want you to know we recognize what is going on and that you are also having to make very difficult judgments, we recognize, with a particular number that is given to you. That was the purpose of my question and the purpose of Mr. Scott's question to you. We recognize the difficult environment that has been placed upon you.
Let me yield to Mr. Hayes for any questions he may have.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Abrams, big picture Army transformation is something that we are all headed towards and talking about. How do you reconcile Army transformation with the direction, or lack thereof, that you are getting from Washington? In other words, transformingwhat is your mission definition in the future?
It is interesting, to put the question in context, as I toured Fort Monroe and looked at some of the historical data of what we trained young men and women to do a couple hundred years ago; very different picture. What are you looking to train for in the next 10, 50 years?
General ABRAMS. Sir, trying to put clarity on that question is probably one of the most difficult challenges that not only I am confronted by but by the great men and women that I lead and command inside of this organization, as well as the other operational commands that are throughout the Department of Defense.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Here is the approach that we have reconciled. You have to have a framework that allows you to have the confidence that when our people are sent on a mission, that they are going to have some core qualities that are going to transcend from one mission task to the other. One of them is strength of character, for example, issues built around character. The other is issues built around teamwork. Others are issues built around leadership.
And so what you see in my testimony today is Army transformation is not about a couple of brigades at Fort Lewis and about the advent of new equipment and material solutions into the Army. Army transformation is aboutI would classify it as a commitment to the leadership dimension that we are absolutely dedicated to.
And so how we reconcile this is not the idea that they have got to be ready for just one mission area, just one mission in Kosovo, in their professional careers. But what are those transcending qualities that we are looking for? And that investment has got to be done for all three dimensions of leadership that we have.
And I will tell you how we have gone about this process in a very thoughtful way, not just inside the Army or inside TRADOC but in cooperation with the larger community. And that is, we have looked at the construct of the task that military forces have got to be capable of performing routinely and which are the most difficult and what determines the most difficult.
And if I might, I would just give you a design quality that we are looking for. One of the great strengths of the armed forces of the United States is that we have leveraged a great national character of the people of our society, been handed down from families from one generation to the next. And what we see in this foreseeable future of uncertainty of where we are going to go and what we are going to do is that you have got to go back in and make sure that the foundations of what the leadership has got to contend with, that there is a basis of character that is in there, that there is a willingness to operate for a greater good, that there is a commitment to a system of values. And there are a number of items that I would add to the short list on that. And then whether they end up going to East Timor, Panama, they go into Kosovo or Bosnia or they return to the Persian Gulf because a major tragedy has occurred and that we have been deployed in those vital interests, you will have the core qualities for the armed forces of the United States that will transcend from one theater to the other.
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The other dimension of it is that we are hard at work on is defining how in this formula for success in the future are we going to address allowing American industry to do for their generation what they did for my generation and that is we leverage technology to enable our people to perform their tasks. We give them world-class equipment. And so, as you know, we are trying to reconcile whether you go with a recapitalization effort that continues to keep the equipment that we have and a good working posture across the force. Do you want to replace it into a modernization strategy? Or do you want to go into a leap ahead in there?
The Department of the Army is working in a process that looks at all three of these venues in terms of a balance. It is my role in that and this command's role in that and in leading combat development for the Department of the Army, representing the soldiers, the users of this equipment in the future is to put it in the context of an operational logic that makes sense so that it is adaptable from one theater to another, meets the needs of one Commander in Chief (CINC), to another. And it has the qualities of not only responsiveness but capability upon arrival to be able to perform its task.
We have got the intellectual capital and the resources in terms of dollars and analytic capability and other explorations, not only resident inside of this command, but that are connected into the other agencies inside of the Department of Defense to work in collaboration to reconcile what that is. You will see, for example, the way we are going to proceed in the framework of this thing is a description of Army transformation to what end.
And you heard the leadership of the Army, both the Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Army, announce the Army vision. And in that light, they described future operational capabilities. What they have asked me to do and the men and women that are in Training and Doctrine Command is translate that into something that operationalizes and appeals to our sensibilities as a military arm within DOD. We have done that. We have described it in terms of the objective force. That publication right now is going through its final discussions inside the Army. It has been done in collaboration with our CINCs. And I think you will find from that in terms of making sure that we have the design qualities to meet the range of the variables of missions that men and women of this generation are going to have to contend with, that we are pursuing a path very deliberately that allows us to handle that. And we are pretty confident about that process right now.
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Mr. HAYES. Well, I would certainly appreciate your candor here. I would encourage you, as the Chairman and Mr. Scott have both done, to be very forthright, particularly when you and other leaders in the military come to Washington to really ask for what you need. And that has been a problem for me is that folks have been a little bit reluctant to ask for the assets that they need. And the young folks here and the people that are already active duty in the military need to know that we are behind, which we are, their efforts to do the tasks that we have asked them to do. Be sure that you ask us for the things that you need because it is important to everyone in the country. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. BUYER. Thank you. I have a series of questions, so I want you to hang in here with me. And I am going to ask one instruction if I may give unto you, sir. I am going to seek brevity from you in the answers, all right? I am going to challenge you, all right?
You don't have to write yet. One of the things that I think sort of has concerned us, some of us in Congress, you mentioned it earlier in respect to a question asked you by Mr. Scott about outsourcing. One of the executive branch directives from the White House to the Department of Defense with regard to the A76 study and how these installations will conduct the competitions for these bids. But I have almost been left with the sense that when you have a civilian workforceor excuse me, you might have a union workforce working at a particular installation and they say, ''Well, we are going to contract this out.'' Now, these are Government civilian employees, unionized, and we are going to now contract out those jobs. And the A76, my sense of this process is it almost is prejudiced against that Government civilian workforce to be competitive because of certain things that they are required to bidthey are required to include in their bids.
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Now, that directive came from the White House. I am not going to saydirectives negotiated to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). And I am not going to ask for your answer to pit you against the White House, but I just want to let you know that we in Congress are examining this so that with the next Administration where we are going to be hoping that you will be hopeful to us is to answer this question. I have noticed in my travels that individuals of whom are these Government civilians who are working upon the installation are part of the military family. They were either in the service and got out; they are either a retiree who chose to stay a part of the military family and culture; they are Reservists, they are National Guard. They are part of the military family for a particular reason. They have a sense of belonging, a sense of patriotism. They want to serve a higher calling.
And I have been bothered that in this pursuit of because of tight resources, let's go to the outsourcing and contracting, they are getting squeezed out. Culturally, I am bothered by that because if I were in command of a particular installation, who would I want to help me to get a particular job done? Someone who understands the military culture in time of the essence because of their commitment to working with us and have done it for years or, well, just because of the dollar, we are just going to outsource and we are just going to do contracting because they got the least bid.
Now, I am going to ask for your personal opinion. Is this one thatyes, you are smiling. This is onewhat is your advice to us as we approach this issue in the next Congress?
General ABRAMS. Probably the most difficult thing for any of us to reconcile is when you have to get into a framework of a manpower strategy that includes a RIF, Reduction in Force. It is fairly arbitrary, impersonal. It is usually driven by resources. The Army as an institution has gone through periods of time where I have seen the senior leadership of the Army try to defer that and seek alternatives and you know, that was a part of the calculus in our strategy for downsizing the Army, when we went from 24 divisions16 active, 8 Reserve components, 780,000 personnel; down to where we are today with the force levels that we are at, 480,000 and 16 divisions10 active, 6 Reserve components. This is probably the side of our business that is the most difficult to reconcile.
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There are some issues that are connected with this that you have to understand and appreciate when you are in our position of making these decisions. It goes like this, this workforce that, as you have described, has been so loyal and caring and supportive of not only our mission but our culture of being a professional member of the armed forces, being a proud member of the United States Army, been through thick and thin, good resources, difficult resources and the like. And so to go through this, you are talking about family members. And you really are challenged by your loyalty to your workforce, which is unwavering. And reconciling this process that we are in for seeking a more economical solution in there.
I have to tell you that a part of the dilemma that we have that is contributing to this discussion is that the emotions and attachments that you just described, the passion of which the Army and all the services are committed to their people, whether uniformed or civilian, is the same. And then we look at the quality of the service that we are able to provide, and we look at the quality of the infrastructure that those services are provided from, it says to you to be prudent, you have got to look at a larger context in there and that is what this process is all about.
Now why are these decisions, in terms of fairness, have we set our workforce in a set of environmental factors that they are not properly represented? In the practice, there is a process in there I have looked at, I have turned every rock over, I have challenged everybody that participates in it, it is pretty fair. At the core of it though is that when we downsized the Army, particularly our civilian workforce in this command, and I will speak to that issue in particular because that is the framework that you asked me the question, we kept the more senior members of our workforce. We didn't have a good cross-section of young people, intermediate level people and seniors. The framework for those kinds of decisions for the civilian workforce are much different than we applied it for the uniformed. And so when you get into services provided, by the fact of how you had to bring the civilian workforce down in its totality, you have to include an element of them being disadvantaged and recognize that. And that is, quite frankly, what contributes to this issue about which is more cost-effective and it is about retirement benefits. It is about the state of their professional careers that they are in.
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There is a cohort group right now within our workforce and the like and so the competition that comes in there comes in with a blend of leadership, young people, middle grade people and older people and they don't have
Mr. BUYER. But if I could design, if I could be helpful in the next Congress and designwell, let me put it this way; let me ask what I think might be the obvious question. Which workforce would you prefer? One for which we bring in, just because we can get it at the cheapest rate, or the one that is part of the military family?
General ABRAMS. Clearly, it is the former.
Mr. BUYER. Right. But what
General ABRAMS. Or the last one, I'm sorry.
Mr. BUYER. The latter.
General ABRAMS. I apologize.
Mr. BUYER. The key, though, here is that we make sure that their ability to compete for these bids is fair. Right now, most of them are not being competitive. I just wanted to let you know it is bothersome to a lot of us, and we want to work on that.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAYES. I think you are leading the witness.
Mr. BUYER. You are right, I was trying to get him where I wanted to go. That wasn't an objection, though, was it?
Mr. HAYES. That is all right.
Mr. SCOTT. I think it was a compliment.
Mr. BUYER. The existing officer enlisted in civilian manning challenges cited by many TRADOC commands highlight the current mismatch, and you mentioned this, between authorizations and requirements. In the case of officers, the officer distribution plan, which is an effort to distribute shortages fairly across all commands means that in many cases TRADOC commands operate with an officer strength well below which is authorized. Furthermore, the Army initiative to fully man operational units at 100 percent could increase the disparities in TRADOC between actual manning levels and requirements.
In addition, TRADOC recently completed a survey that documents new manpower requirements in excess of current levels. This documented increase in manpower requirements has caused a certain a certain amount of frustration among TRADOC centers and schools where for years there has been little expectation of getting manpower to meet current manning levels, let alone higher manning levels. Thus, the manpower survey raises questions as to the purpose of the effort.
For each category, officer, enlisted, and civilian, if you could summarize the current extent of manning shortfalls, the cause. I would also like to know what are the implications of the shortfalls in terms of TRADOC's ability to accomplish its mission to standard with safety and proper supervision and oversight. Also, as you are formulating your response, what are the impacts and implications on TRADOC and the Army's effort to fully man these operational units? And what is TRADOC's ability to solve its manning shortfalls on its own? Can TRADOC's military manpower problems be solved by a simple increase in Army in strength or the nature of the problem in TRADOC, is it more complex than that?
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General ABRAMS. That question, if I might, on just the introduction to the question has to deal with realities of people reporting to work in an organization in handling the day-to-day affairs, which is a little bit separate than authorizations. I have been pretty clear aboutthe framework of this dialogue about how much risk in TRADOC we are going to take as it relates to supporting the manning initiative and what that process is to ensure that we do not cross the threshold unwittingly out there and gets us down to a venue that you have indicated in earlier testimony, like Aberdeen or Ranger Training Brigade or the like.
First off, that framework is there. The dialogue is rich, it is open, it is frank between subordinates and seniors. We have got a high confidence level that when you move beyond the realities of getting quality work done in there.
The Officer Distribution Plan (ODP), issue that you raised specifically, last year for fiscal year 2000, to characterize it, we thought we were near a line that could support the division manning by MOS and grade level, particularly on the officer side, which is what you indicated some concern about. And that once you cross that line for fiscal year 2000 authorizations for us, you begin to get into an area of risk that you really cannot calibrate. You are so close on a margin that you are going to put yourself into an area of risk.
This year's ODP, as it originally was constructed, was lower than 2000. The discussions were begun in June to reconcile those issues. And, as you can imagine, we get into levels, banding levels in terms of what it means and how it operates. We are at a level right now in the reconciliation led by the Army staff and the Army Secretary to not only address the totality of the requirement, as you indicated, but very specifically this ODP issue. And it is built around one intangible that impacts us every year. And if I might give you the framework of it.
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When you are dealing with people showing up for work day in and day out, as you know, last year was the first time in a number of years we were able to meet our recruiting mission. So when they informed me of my manning support, the Army's distribution to TRADOC for enlisted personnel, it had to get re-reconciled because the level of accession, it exceeded expectations. When retention exceeds expectations and you have thisit is almost like a windfall in there, you are going to see some bubble going in that.
On the enlisted side for both 2000 and 2001, we are holding a pretty good line in terms of being able to meet our requirements, as articulated by the command, both in authorization as well as the right kind of people and the right MOS's and the quality level, as I indicated with the drill sergeants.
We have been challenged, as you know, in areas of retention for middle grade officers. And that is impacted on how much ODP support the distribution of the manpower resources for us to handle. So it has further exacerbated what the forecast was. And we are going through that.
Where we have drawn the line is built around a format that looks like thatin our discussions with the Department, and I think it would be instructive if I might go through that. I have said to them, I said, ''Look, small group instructors, very seasoned, experienced captains and majors that are in the classrooms that are in daily contact with our students, non-negotiable, top quality and the right quantity, and we have got to stay inside of this formula of a learning model that I talked about, 1 to 16 until we can get into this other venue that I have suggested we are taking a hard look at in terms of distance learning.
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And another area of officer contribution, you know that we man with TRADOC manpower officers and non-commissioned officers at all four Combat Training Center Programs that are in the Army, Fort Irwin, Fort Polk; Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC), at Hohenfels that you have visited and our Battle Command Training Program (BCTP), that helps us work with division and core level leadership. That framework of ODP support, like drill sergeants, is non-negotiable. Now where the ODP support has come up to create some tension for reconciliation is in the area of staffs and faculties that are in support of those small group instructors and in some key areas for combat developments where we have gotten very important programs that we have got to continue to bring on line and that process is ongoing for the Department to figure out how to reconcile it.
But we have been through the process. And I might add, the first time since I have been involved in manpower resourcing and authorizations for the Army, we codified for the first time in manpower authorizations with the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans (DCSOPS), of the Army, our totality of requirements in there. And so this is a new dimension for us that we had to join the ranks, if you will, of the operational forces in terms of line number and specialty by grade and MOS throughout every position that is in the command. And what that is done is it has very clearly been a venue for us to codify our requirements in a process that has been embraced by the Department of the Army. There is no disagreement between the Department of the Army and this command right now on authorizations for what we have to do today and where we are going in TRADOC transformation for the future. Our issue right now is built around reconciliation of officers, manning, our supporting staffs and faculties and some other key billets that we have got to reconcile the ODP for this year. That process is ongoing.
Mr. BUYER. I have got one question. I think Mr. Hayes has a flight he has to catch. And I want to ask this, and I want to thank Mr. Hayes for coming up from North Carolina. He has Fort Bragg in his areas of responsibility in his district. Discussions I had with Mr. Hayes, I don't want to speak for you and you can give comment here on it, it is not just him, there are others of us who have great concerns. You made your comment about you had this huge influx of recruits. You really didn't anticipate it was going to be as high as what it was. And because there were these shortfalls in the Army, it caught a lot of us by surprise when at your basic training facilities, your dropout rate went in half. So on the face of it, we began to ask questions on its face, have you lowered standards? Have you changed weight requirements? Education requirements? Mental capacities? Because the receivers of that product at Fort Bragg and around need to make sure that that product that you are producing not only out of basic training but advanced individual training and thereafter is a quality product that is properly trained. Resources is someone else's responsibility.
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What do you say to him? Can you explain here a little bit what happened there at those training facilities, what happened?
General ABRAMS. Well, first off, in the first year when we closed out the Army end-strength requirement the year before last, we didn't meet our recruiting mission, but we exceeded expectations substantially and were able to close out the end-strength requirements for the Army. The attrition rate that went on during that period was significantly different than the attrition rate that we are going through right now. We went to a strategy, quite frankly, that said, ''Look, we have got an institutional responsibility to invest in these people. We can't just stand back, put our hands on our hips, and look them straight in the eye and just harass them and say, if you can get through the harassment, you will be good enough to get in our Army.'' We had to go into an investment strategy.
Mr. BUYER. Was this your initiative?
General ABRAMS. Sir, I think it was command-wide. It was a recognition of what we were dealing with, because, as you know, we went from four measurable standards for graduation, for example, from basic training to 12.
Mr. BUYER. I hate to simplify this, but maybe I am just a country boy. Is this one whereby ''We have had shortfall, we have got a real influx of recruits here. We have got an opportunity here to man this force. Let's not be so tough on them in basic training. Let's get the numbers in that we possibly can.'' All right, what is it? That is what it is lookingI hate to be superficial, but that is what it almost looks like and appears that there was this excitement, that ''We have got the numbers in the force. Let's get them through. And, oh, by the way, when they get to Fort Bragg, we will let those good sergeants there, we will let them finish off the stone.'' But then what they tell us is some of those stones are too rough. That is whyI hate to interrupt you, but.
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General ABRAMS. The feedback that I deal with all the time is from the gaining units that we provide it to, and in the process of sergeant majors giving us feedback, whether it is Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Friedberg, Germany, or in the two ID in Korea, we have got a pretty clear channel of communications between the command sergeant majors and the first sergeants and the core commanders and division commanders and brigade and battalion commanders in there. It is systemic, it is not anecdotal.
Mr. BUYER. So do you think that theyou said, do you think we are going to go back to the traditional attrition rate that for somewhatever reason
General ABRAMS. No.
Mr. BUYER.this class was different?
General ABRAMS. No, sir.
Mr. BUYER. All right. And I will take you back to right where you were when I interrupted you. You said that there were four goals.
General ABRAMS. We had four measurable standards.
Mr. BUYER. Four measurable standards, so you have re-done
General ABRAMS. When you came to us in the wake of Aberdeen, what I am getting into is you implied that there may be some lack of standards in how we are approaching this. Those four standards for graduation, for example, from BCT, basic combat training, were built around passing a physical fitness test, qualifying with a weapon, doing the basic soldier knowledge thing, and responding to some competencies on common soldier skills that were pretty specific in there. You are up to 12 now in terms of level of difficulty of the experience in the first nine weeks and, as you know in the wake of Aberdeen, we went from eight to nine weeks.
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And so my view is you have got better-qualified cadre than you had five years ago. You have got tougher standards than you had five years ago and that the product that is being provided out of the training base is reconciled by the drill sergeants and the cadre that is on the ground. It is not mandated by a focus on attrition.
Mr. BUYER. What are the receivers of your products and their comments with regard to extending basic training by a week? The right thing to do or the wrong thing to have done?
General ABRAMS. Right now, I would say they would argue that it has had a positive effect in terms of the product. They would tell you thatand most of the feedback is not, quite frankly, recognized by the operational units because after graduation of nine weeks of basic combat training, they go to advanced individual training phases where they become skilled in skill level one tasks, their entry-level tasks for their MOS, their military occupational specialty. So the combination of increased rigor and the resource environment and standards and compliance to standards common throughout the command, I think, has really made a marked increase in our ability to fulfill our obligations in basic combat training.
I think concomitant with that is that we did not say we are only going to resource basic combat training. We applied the same intensity in a framework of training and education for advanced individual training. So those lessons that you saw us reconciling from not only Leonard Wood, McClellan, Aberdeen, and Jackson transcended what we do in basic combat training and carries into advanced individual training.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BUYER. At the end of that, I want to call it a dual investigation because not only did we in Congress do our own, you also looked at yourself, and we said we are going to go back in and we are going to have 100 percent manning at these training centers with the drill sergeants. We are going to make sure the ratios are proper.
But now what we are getting in our rebound is that they're dual and triple-hatted in their areas of responsibility. So what we get from your subordinate commanders is they are good listeners to their battalion commanders and captains, listening to their first sergeants out there and their drill sergeants is that they are so dual-hatted in other responsibilities and missions because administration has been pulled away. The bodies are not there to do those extra missions and requirements for them.
So it is easy on paper. We say, ''Well, TRADOC has a 100 percent manning now'' when, in fact, on the ground, we are still feeling thewe are hearing the echos of concern. Would you concur?
General ABRAMS. I think there is an issue of borrowed military manpower, but it is not a subtlety that is transparent to what is going on. That clearly is an organizational performance indicator of how much manpower you must divert into administrative areas to make up for a lack of manning support, whether it is base operations activities or it is in administrative areas that are within the command structure in there.
And so the commanders and I have to reconcile that. Clearly, we are under a resource environment right now to safeguard not only the letter of the law for what is the formula for success in Individual Entry Training (IET), but also the intent of it so that we don't say on paper we look pretty good, and we end up with the same levels of risks that we have had to visit in the past.
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And so those issues I am pretty confident have got the right kind of visibility. Have they changed? Where we have expanded borrowed military manpower over the course of the last 24 months, it has been pretty stable and we have made some progress in some communities, garrison and commands that really have been very difficult for us. And so I think we are on a path of not only addressing the issue but reconciling some of it. We have just got to keep our eye on it.
But to say that there is no borrowed military manpower within the command right now would be a mischaracterization of the environment that we are in. To say that we are at a risk now instead of having one very highly qualified drill sergeant, one world-class first sergeant and one company commander in every initial entry training company, properly focused and set up for the daily routines to the discharge of their duties, we are pretty comfortable that we have got an institutional commitment at a level of execution of doing that day in and day out, but it is something that we have to watch and it is a part of our readiness assessment.
Mr. BUYER. General, in October of 1998 in an effort to create a closer linkage between TRADOC, the organization responsible to train new recruits, and the Army's recruiting command, the organization responsible for enlisting the new recruits, I gave a recommendation to the Secretary of the Army to place U.S. Army Recruiting (USAREC), under the control of TRADOC. It was the recommendation I had from your predecessor, as we sat in his office like we did today. Prior to that time, USAREC had been directly under the operational command of the Army's deputy chief of staff of personnel.
Just recently, on the 2nd of October of 2000, the Secretary of the Army removed USAREC from TRADOC's control and restored it to the operation and control of the deputy chief of staff for personnel. The TRADOC commander, as I understand, you, have opposed the transfer back to the deputy chief of staff of personnel. Obviously, somebody overruled your objections. Would you please give us an overview and especially the most significant achievements and/or shortcomings of the two-year period in which TRADOC had control of USAREC and what were the reasons that TRADOC opposed the return of USAREC to the control of the Army deputy chief of staff of personnel?
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In announcing the decision to restore USAREC to the control of the Army personnel chief, the Army indicated that it was developing a support agreement with TRADOC to retain the best of what TRADOC did when TRADOC controlled USAREC. What is the status of that support agreement and what is it that will be retained? And you know I have great interest in this one.
General ABRAMS. As you know, we go through a number of important decisions. And the fact of how this got reconciled was from the vantage point of the leadership of the Army, and I would not characterize it in terms of a strong opposition or objection. What you are characterizing is that when we get into these decisions that have policy implications and stuff, that you are going to be able to count on us to give an appraisal for what our recommendations are in there. And I don't see that as oppositions but fulfilling our obligations to talk straight with the leadership and represent not only the needs of the Army but the needs of the command and to continue to provide the support to not only our civilian authorities but our uniform authorities. Now, having said all that
Mr. BUYER. Wait a second. I don't want this to be, oh, sure, a few years ago, ''Jeez, we got to respond to Congressman Buyer. Let's be attentive. Let's show that we are a good listener to the concerns for the investigations with regard to Aberdeen. He gives us recommendation to take the recruiting command and put it to the ownership of the TRADOC commander. I will tell you what, let's just go ahead and do this, and we will keep him quiet.'' They do it for a couple of years and then strip it back away from you.
I didn't do that because it was something that I thought would be a neat thing to do. I think the TRADOC commander ought to own the totality of that function. So when they talk about if you have got the receiver out there who may complain about a particular product, you should have the responsibility of actually recruiting the products that your commands are asking for, I am just frustrated here. I am challenged because I thought you were on the right path here.
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Now, what I don't want to do is continue to jerk an organization back and forth. The worst thing they did was make a decision like this in the face of a new Administration, whether it is going to be a Gore or Bush Administration. They should have never had made a decision like this.
So I will let you continue here, but I am a little challenged over what they have done. Go ahead.
General ABRAMS. You asked very specifically what was the venue for the success in terms of the turnaround with our involvement with USAREC, what is that formula that we used and is it intact today, are we able to do that properly, without any friction between the change in the command and control relationship.
Very specifically, there were four components that we attribute as providing the opportunity for the Army to turn around and make its mission reliably. The first one was built around the relationship that we have with the rest of the Army in terms of dealing with soldier development, leader development, organizational behavior and organizational effectiveness.
I still have that role for USAREC. I have a team that is ledit is the same team, same cadre. You met the deputy commanding general for initial entry training. He was a part of that process. You met Command Sergeant Major Breck, the command sergeant major of TRADOC. They go through the brigades and the battalions looking and assessing whether our doctrine for the recruiting force is adequate, whether the schoolhouse is producing the right kinds of skills in terms of new recruiters, new cadre members, new leadership and stuff like that. All of that work is continuing to go, very dynamic relationship and all of that remains exactly in place.
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Whether they have to listen to us or not listen to us, quite frankly, has not been an issue since the transfer.
Mr. BUYER. What is the argument, substantive argument, convince me here in 30 seconds, what was the substantive argument to take that responsibility away from you?
General ABRAMS. Two points, if I might. First off, Training and Doctrine Command did not turn around the Army's recruiting mission. It was, in fact, an integrated effort throughout the Army. And I just have to tell you and be straight up with you that our Secretary was at the forefront of that. He was an enormous support and help to me personally and professionally during this process. He took a lot of risks, demonstrated a lot of courage in going down areas of initiative that, quite frankly, predecessors would not take on. So you do have a Secretary who is very committed to accessing a quality force and has been personally engaged in that.
And the Secretary at the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (DCSPER), as a result of his personal engagement has been a part of it. He recognized, as with many of the mission areas that I do and this command does for the Army and DOD, it is not always a clear line of command and control and who is in charge, that there are always relationships outside of TRADOC. He remarked to me one day, he said, ''This is really strange. All of the advertising, for example, is done by the Department headquarters and you have never said a word about that. And I am going through a process of re-looking and revamping our advertising program and our marketing strategy to get back to basics.'' And you know what that dialogue has been about, and I think we are on a path that is going to continue to give us good things.
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He then said, ''You know, you got people that are in DCSPER that give you your assigned targets, monthly targets, by MOS and grade level of what you must recruit and there is no tension out of that.'' And he said, ''If you are able to do what you are doing and comfortable that we have got a synchronized effort, from my perspective and the totality of the effort that is going on, I think returning the command and control relationship of USAREC to the Department for the long term is best suited.''
And those were the two principal drivers that contributed to the decision. And the Secretary and the leadership of the Army came to that conclusion after very thoughtful discussion, very open and straightforward discussion, not only at the senior levels.
We continue to provide not only the leadership investment that we did before that I had outlined to you, but I must tell you we put 38,000 soldiers that are recent, top quality graduates from initial entry training that go down and are a part of a hometown recruiter program, selected by drill sergeants. And I have to tell you, it is just like these members of the Junior ROTC, our view was that that single effort of returning successful graduates from initial entry training back into their hometowns to talk on behalf of their experience firsthand, not from a drill sergeant, not from a recruiter, has paid us enormous dividends. That program has not waned. And, as you know, before we got into expanding that program on an annual basis, we were somewhere 10,000 to 12,000 people. So that is just indicative of the kinds of support that we are doing.
The commandants are still engaged in the regional outreach that we had going on for all the recruiting battalions and all the recruiting companies and will not only look out for their mission performance but TRICARE support, it is a real family engagement out there. And that to meour indicators are that that level of support from this command has been unwavering as we went through the change of command.
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So that is how I would characterize where we are at right now in terms of what got us to the level of success and now we are trying to safeguard that as we transition this command.
Mr. BUYER. That was the only time in my eight years in Congress that I ever got personally involved in what the responsibilities should be between particular major commands. I don't do that. So what I had done there was based on a pretty significant effort that we had examined. Well, maybe in the end, what I will do is professionally agree to disagree with the decision that was made by the Army.
Let me yield to Mr. Scott for a question he has.
Mr. SCOTT. I had one final question. You mentioned recruitment. I had a question about retention, the high level of education that is required, retention is extremely important. You don't want to have to retrain people. What are the issues involved in retention?
General ABRAMS. If you look at our trend indicators, it goes back to the parallel question that the Chairman raised, and that is you got all of these recruits coming in, exceeding expectations. The fact of the matter is the units are seeing pretty good product in a number of different ways. I kind of outlined it, but the soldiers are saying they are pretty confident about what they are doing. And so the rate of retention of first-termers since we have crossed a new threshold has not gone down, but the rate of retention has gone up. We have had a marked improvement, well before we were able to come near to meeting our recruiting targets. That tells me that, quite frankly, that what you have got is feedback that comes in systemically that not only the operational forces are getting comfortable with the product that we are providing but the soldiers themselves are feeling pretty comfortable about staying with us beyond the first term of enlistment.
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I can give you an insert to respond to specifics, but I would say to you a norm, pre-Aberdeen, in terms of retention of first-termers that we would look at would be in the category of somewhere of 18 percent. And what you see that doing is on the increase right there.
Mr. SCOTT. Eighteen percent what?
General ABRAMS. Of first-termers in terms of their attrition when they come up for re-enlistment.
Mr. SCOTT. Eighty percent, 82 percent were re-enlisting?
General ABRAMS. In the pre-work-up periods in there, it wasn't 80 percent. It was around 65 percent to 70 percent, and I will give you the specifics on there. But the trend lines right now are clearly demonstrating that their confidence of staying with us in the first-termers, which is a specific cohort that we are talking about, the indicators are they are voting to stay with us. Now our challenges with mid-careerists and others that have been reported are accurate, and we are continuing to work on that. But for first-term re-enlistment, it is a very positive trend.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BUYER. If you have done your analysis, to satisfy the demands of your subordinate commanders to fulfill their mission requirements, what is the increase in funds that TRADOC needs to satisfy them? If you have got $3 billion now, what do you need to do your job? Now, when I say that, I am talking about for deferred maintenance, don't do it. What is the bill that is due? Give me your bill. In your equipment that Mr. Scott brought up, give me your bill. I am your bill payer. I am ready to pay your bill. Give it to me. Can you give me an idea of what am I looking at?
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General ABRAMS. I can give you a range.
Mr. BUYER. Just give me a good idea.
General ABRAMS. To get specific on this, I am not prepared to do that right now. I could provide that to you for the record. But the range right now, to give you a couple of benchmarks, in the area of Building, Maintenance and Repair (BMAR), that would get you out of a reactive, just fixing broken sewers, dealing with power outages, dealing with active nature that comes in, whether it is a tornado and whatever, would get you on a five year program with an increase to deal with that in the range of about $500,000 per year. That would start getting you into
Mr. SCOTT. Say that again, say that again, how much?
General ABRAMS. For BMAR, for your infrastructure, to get you out of just this reactive posture to deal with it.
Mr. BUYER. How do you do that?
Mr. SCOTT. What was the number? What was the number that you said?
General ABRAMS. I said about $500,000 a year. And remember, I am just
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Mr. SCOTT. $500,000?
General ABRAMS. Absolutely. I'm sorry, $500 million.
Mr. SCOTT. Oh, okay.
General ABRAMS. Excuse me. Sir, you have challenged my logic before, and I have always taken counsel.
Mr. BUYER. We are Congress. We don't deal in thousands.
Mr. BUYER. If it is a billion or a trillion, then we canyou gave us a language we didn't understand. We round off. You would love where we round off. Thousands, that is chump change.
Mr. SCOTT. If that is all there was, we are in good shape.
Mr. BUYER. $500 million.
General ABRAMS. I appreciate your being patient with my misspeak there, but just in the BMAR of handling the infrastructure needs would be on an average of about $500 million a year.
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Mr. BUYER. Okay.
General ABRAMS. And what that would do is give you a confidence that you are beyond just doing the kinds of emergency efforts that you need. And so that to me is a fairly reliable benchmark.
Mr. BUYER. So let's say in the spring, General Shinseki comes up to the full committee to testify, and supposedly he is asked a question about what is the unfunded requirement for TRADOC. I could perhaps assume that the number that he would testify to would be possibly in that range or a corrected version.
General ABRAMS. If not, he will have the proper insight for that testimony, but that is not a new number.
Mr. BUYER. Or perhaps, what I am even more hopeful is that you have a budget that has been worked on, but you have a new Administration coming so that that budget that gets introduced by the new Administration has an opportunity to be properly shaped based on the testimony you have given to this testimony today. Can we anticipate that proactive measure?
General ABRAMS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BUYER. That would be great, because what you have here is you have got a Subcommittee that is prepared to help you, and that is what we want to do because what we want to invest, and I appreciate Mr. Scott's participation here today, we want to invest in the training and the education function of our force. I don't want to read reports out there that you see in the press about you're C4 at this particular installation or here is a problem here. This is a great force. And if America's greatest asset are our sons and daughters to protect our interests so that we can enjoy our prosperity, we owe them no less.
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So I want to thank you for your testimony here today. It is very important. We will have some questions that we will submit to you for the record and it goes to all members of the Subcommittee, and I will include Mr. Scott, if you have any questions that you will have for the record. And I appreciate your testimony. We are going to have a continuous dialogue as this transformation continues.
And I will take a moment to do this, to say on the record that I do not agree with General Shinseki's recommendation of new hats in the Army. You cannot improve the morale of the force by just changing hats. I don't like the idea. I don't particularly care for it. I also am very sensitive to the Rangers out there, that that beret means something to them. And I am hopeful that he will reconsider his decisions. He can earn a great deal of respect in the force by admitting a mistake.
I remember back when Carl Mundy, do you remember this, when he was the Commandant of the Marine Corps and he said, ''I am really bothered by how many are coming into the force who are married with children.'' And he was going to have a policy for the Marine Corps that you can't be married in the first term. And that didn't go over very well. And he called a press conference, and he said, ''You know, I made a mistake. I punted the football out of the stadium. But that doesn't make me a bad person.''
I think General Shinseki's ideas and what he is trying to do are in the right place but it is amazing, sometimes something like that can have a huge impact on the force and have a reciprocal effect rather than the one that he was seeking, in my opinion. I am saying this as Steve Buyer's opinion, not to elicit any response from you at all, General. But I just want to go on the record to say I oppose black hats, berets for the entire Army.
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Do you have any closing remarks you would like to make?
Mr. SCOTT. I want to welcome you again, Mr. Chairman, and appreciate you coming to Hampton Roads.
Mr. BUYER. Thank you. I will this afternoon participate in your commerce, and I need to do that. Since I have not been home for the last 10 days, I have to buy my way back into the home.
Mr. BUYER. But thank you very much. It takes a lot of preparation to prepare for these types of hearings. I know your staff has worked hard to help school you for your testimony today, and we thank them for their work and their efforts. And we are leaning forward for you, not just you, but for the Army, and we will also be responsive to General Shinseki's ideas to transform this military to the new asymmetrical threats that we face.
So you have a good listener and a good advocate, and we will continue to help serve our Nation together.
Thank you very much, sir, for your testimony. This hearing is now concluded.
[Whereupon, at 4:10 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
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