March 3, 2010 - SAC-D Testimony Hearing (as delivered)
March 4, 2010
Thank you, Chairman and Senators.
I'll give you my whole statement for the record and just try to summarize here for you because of time. What I'd like to do, Mr. Chairman, is give you a short update on where we are in restoring balance and then talk briefly about three areas that are priorities for the Army and-I would hope-for this Committee, as well: that's sustaining our Soldiers and Families, reset, and our modernization efforts.
Now, if I might, just to give you a quick update on balance: I've been saying since 2007 that we were out of balance-that we were so weighed down by our current commitments that we couldn't do the things we knew we needed to do to sustain this force for the long haul...this All-Volunteer Force...and to prepare ourselves to do other things.
And with you, we have been working steadily at this since 2007. I will tell you this budget-this 2011 budget-plus the drawdown in Iraq gives us the resources and the time to complete the efforts that we began in 2007 to get ourselves back in balance.
Now, let me just give you an update on some of the key parameters. First of all, growth. We completed the personnel growth that President Bush directed in January of 2007 late last summer. And, that is a huge boost for us. But even as we completed that growth, it was clear that for a number of reasons we needed to continue to grow.
And as you mentioned in your opening statement, Mr. Chairman, the Secretary of Defense did authorize us to grow by another 22,000, and we can talk a little bit more about that in the questions and answers.
The second element of balance is probably the most important, and that's dwell-the amount of time the Soldiers spend at home. And we have intuitively known that it takes about two or three years to recover from a 12-month combat deployment. We have been returning Soldiers to combat in about 12 months because we've been too small.
Well, we've now documented that with a scientific study that we finished last year. It shows that takes two to three years to recover from a 12-month combat deployment. So it is critically important that we continue to make progress to our dwell goals of one year out, two years back for the Active force, and one year out, four years back for the Guard and Reserve.
Because of our growth and the drawdown in Iraq-even with a plus-up in Afghanistan ... and our portion of that plus-up is about 20,000-we will get 70 percent of the Active Army to our goal of one-to-two by '11 and 80 percent of the Guard and Reserve to one-to-four by '11. The rest will get there in '12. That's critically important for us.
The third element I'd update you on is modularity. And, if you remember, back in 2004, we came to the Committee and said we were a Cold War Army. We weren't organized into formations that could be organized to deal with the threat that presented itself. We were designed to face a Warsaw Pact threat. And, we have been progressing ever since. Well, we are 90 percent of the way through converting all 300 brigades of the Army to modular designs, and we'll largely finish that by '11, which was our goal.
The other element of organizational change is rebalancing. We had a lot of skills that were needed in the Cold War, but are not necessarily as needed today. We've converted over 200 tank companies, artillery batteries, air defense batteries into civil affairs and psychological operation and Special Forces companies.
So that change has been going on, and together-modularity and rebalancing-represent the largest organizational change of the Army since World War II, and done while we've been deploying 150,000 Soldiers over and back to Iraq and Afghanistan every year.
Next element of balance is putting our force on a rotational model much like the Navy and Marine Corps have been on for years. And we're moving toward that. It will pay great benefits.
And, lastly is stationing. With the base realignment and closure and the growth, we are moving 380,000 Soldiers, Civilians and Family members all around the world over the next few years to complete that. But, the end result will be much better facilities for our Soldiers and Families.
So that's an update on rebalancing. With your support, we expect to largely complete what we set out to do in 2007 and be in a much different position by the end of '11. This budget is what gets us there.
But, we've still got stresses and strains. As Secretary [McHugh] said: we're not out of the woods yet.
Now, if I could, three priorities:
1. Sustaining Soldiers and Families: They're the heart and soul of this force. Two years ago, we doubled the amount of money we were putting toward Soldiers and Family programs. We have sustained that. And this budget continues that effort.
2. Reset: This budget contains almost $11 billion to reset about 30 brigades worth of equipment. That's absolutely critical to sustaining the operational readiness rates in the field in Iraq and Afghanistan and to the long-term health of the force. And, as we drawdown in Iraq, all of that equipment has to go through the depots and get reconditioned before it's put back in the force. And, I worry that folks will think: "Okay, we're out of Iraq. We don't need money for reset anymore." That's not the case.
3. And then lastly, modernization: As you mentioned in your statement, the Future Combat Systems program was terminated. We have-in this budget-the beginning of a brigade combat team modernization strategy that we believe is both affordable and achievable. And, it's based on four elements:
Aca,!Ac First of all, incrementally modernizing our network. And, we do that incrementally so that we can take advantage of continuing growth in information technology.
Aca,!Ac Second is incrementally fielding capability packages. In the Future Combat Systems [program], we talked about spinouts...about capabilities that we could put into the force ahead of the full system. We've refined that concept into capability packages where we will incrementally put ready capabilities into the forces that are ready rather than wait for the whole system to be developed.
Aca,!Ac Third, we've incorporated the MRAP-the mine resistant ambush protected vehicles into our forces. There's a significant investment in those vehicles, and we've incorporated them into the force.
Aca,!Ac And then lastly, this budget includes just under $1 billion of research and development for our new Ground Combat Vehicle. And this vehicle is designed as a replacement for the Bradley. It is an infantry fighting vehicle, and it is the first infantry fighting vehicle designed from the ground-up to operate in an IED environment. And, it will become a very important for us.
I'll just close with saying that I share your pride in what the men and women of this Army are doing around the world every day. I couldn't be more proud of them. And, so, I look forward to taking your questions. Thanks very much.