Oct. 27, 2011 - VCSA testimony to HASC Subcommittee on military readiness, budget cuts
October 28, 2011
Gentleman please sit down. We're just waiting for Ms. Bordallo to get here
and as soon as she gets here, we will start. Thank you for your patience.
So, we're waiting for Ms. Bordallo. I'll just tell everybody what we have
been talking about. Apparently votes are scheduled around 10:15 today, we're
not sure exactly when so we may have to break for some votes and come back,
but we will be coming back to complete the hearing.
So please work around us and with us and as you know they never call us and
ask if it is a convenient time to take the vote so they just have to -- have
to have them so we -- we will work around what we have to do.
I want to welcome all of our members and our distinguished panel of experts
to today's hearing focused on how we maintain readiness in an age of
austerity. Or more particularly, what is the risk to the national defense of
our country if we continue making some of the cuts to defense we hear being
discussed in Washington. I want to thank our witnesses for being with us
And I know several of you had to cancel longstanding personal commitments to
be with us this morning. I appreciate your willingness to testify before
this subcommittee once again on this most important topic. In the interest
of time, because we know we could have votes coming any time and we may have
to recess and do those votes and then come back because this is important
and we want to get all of this on the record.
I'm going to dispense with any normal opening remarks. Since Ms. Bordallo is
not here, we will dispense with her remarks and have both of them put in the
record. I would like to; however, look at a procedural matter that we use in
this committee and that is we discussed prior to the hearing that we'd like
to dispense with the five minute rule for this hearing and depart from
regular order so that members may ask questions during the course of the
I think this will provide a roundtable type forum and will enhance the
dialogue on these very important issues. We would like to proceed with
standard order for members to address the witnesses, however if any member
has a question pertinent to the matter being discussed at the time, please
seek acknowledgement and wait to be recognized by the chair.
We plan to keep questioning to the standard five minutes, however, I don't
want to curtail productive dialogue. I ask unanimous consent that for the
purposes of this hearing, we dispense with the five minute rule and proceed
as described. Without objection it is so ordered.
Gentleman, we are delighted to have you here with us today. We have the
honor of having General Chiarelli with us who is the vice chief of the
United States Army and has been such since August 4, 2008. He has commanded
at every level from platoon to corps. He has commanded the United States
European Command, the director of operations and readiness and mobilization
at headquarters, the Department of the Army.
We also have Admiral Ferguson and Admiral we're delighted to have you with
us. He is the vice chief of Naval Operations, Navy Personnel Command and
he's the chief of legislative affairs and chief of Naval Personnel. Also
General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. He is the assistant commandant of the Marine
Corps. General Dunford has gone through the U.S. Army Ranger School, Marine
Corps Amphibious Warfare School and U.S. Army War College and has a very
distinguished career and we appreciate the expertise that he brings to this
And last, but certainly not least, is General Breedlove and General we
appreciate you once again being with us. General Breedlove is the vice chief
of staff of the U.S. Air Force. He is a Georgia Tech graduate and General we
enjoyed, as a graduate of the University of Virginia, playing you the other
And it may be the one bright spot we'll have this year, but thanks for your
help and cooperation in that. He is also a graduate of Arizona State
University where he had his Master in Science Degree in the National War
College. And without further ado, we want to get right to your opening
statements. We're pleased to have -- the ranking member has joined us now.
We also have the chairman of the full committee. I know we talked about
before you got here, dispensing with our opening statements and putting them
in the record because they're going to call votes at about 10:15.
Mr. Chairman I'd just like to welcome our witnesses today and also to place
my statement into the record.
And we -- and we just appreciate your service to this committee and
Madeleine and I work as very close partners and -- and we have a special
relationship and I -- I just appreciate her help with this committee and the
great work that she does.
With that, we're going to do something a little bit different today. We're
going to put your statements in the record and they've already been made in
the record and as I told all of you before, we want you just to tell us the
importance of what we have and I'm going to tee each of you up with a
question, but then I want you to expand on it with your testimony anything
that you want to say.
And we'll start General Chiarelli with you and as you know we have heard the
-- we've already had about $465 billion in cuts to national defense taking
place in the country. Some people talk about an additional $600 billion
coming. The -- our discussion that that is going to significantly reduce the
force that we have in the United States Army. General you have been serving
for a long time. You have served in almost every capacity in the Army.
When we talk about risk and the risk that these cuts could have, sometimes
we talk about them in terms of institutions and missions, but it really
comes down to men. You have seen that historically. What have these kinds of
cuts done to the risk to your men that will serve under you? Would you
please address that question and then any other comments you'd like for your
opening statement and we now turn it over to you.
Well, Chairman Forbes, Chairman McKeon, Ranking Member Bordallo,
distinguished members, I thank you for allowing me to -- to be here today.
These are for sure challenging times. You've heard me say that before. We
are past a decade of war with an all volunteer force. We've always had
volunteers in our force, but I think it's important to note that we've never
done this before.
We've never fought for 10 years. We've never fought with an entirely
volunteer force. That force is amazingly resilient but at the same time, it
is strained. Its equipment is strained. The soldiers are strained. Families
are strained. But they have been absolutely amazing over these 10 years of
war. I -- I'd like to leave you with three key points in my opening
statement. The first is that we recognize budget cuts and corresponding
reductions to force structure will be made.
However, we must make them responsibly so that we do not end up with either
a hollowed out force, and I can expand on that later on, or an unbalanced
force. Our nation is in the midst of a fiscal crisis and we recognize we
must all do our part. We are continuing to identify efficiencies. We worked
very -- very hard on our capability portfolio review process, which have
found many of those efficiencies and we will book many -- many more.
When we appeared before the committee in July, we were looking at cuts in
the vicinity of $450 billion over 10 years. If the Army's portion of that
cut is at historical percentages, at about 26 percent, that will be in fact
tough, but as the secretary of the Army and the chief of staff have said, it
will be doable. I'm the vice. I get paid to worry about things and I worry
our cut may be a little higher than that.
And that causes me some angst. But above and beyond that will directly and
deeply impact every part of our Army and our ability to meet our national
security objectives and effectively protect our country against all threats.
Whatever cuts are made carry risks. And historically its -- its amazing to
sit here as the vice chief of staff where so many of the 32 before me -- or
31 before me have sat at a similar time in our history and had to make some
of the same arguments, answer some of the same questions.
I'm sure that was true in the debate after the war. I was in Indianapolis
recently, and I saw a war memorial to the war. Of course it was World War I,
and we cut our Army down to just over 300,000 folks. Only to grow it to 8.5
million to fight that four year war.
At the end of that war we cut our Army again, down to about 530,000 folks --
soldiers. Number sounds familiar I hope. And we ended up with the Korean
War. And in the Korean War the first battle of that war was for the Army.
Very famous task force with Smith. An ill equipped, ill trained force that
had infantry battalions that were incomplete. Infantry battalions that were
missing, and the results were predictable.
And it's interesting to note that General Bradley when the cuts were talked
about after World War II -- supported them. He -- he went on to say that the
strength of the military depended on the economy, and we must not destroy
that economy. But in his autobiography after the Korean War Bradley wrote,
"My support of this decision, my belief that significantly higher defense
spending would probably wreck the economy, was a mistake. Perhaps the
greatest mistake I made in my post-war years in Washington."
I went through an Army that came out of Vietnam, and did some of the same
kind of things. And for 10 to 12 years we had to rebuild that Army. This --
these questions, these decisions have been made before, and there's just a
tenancy to believe at the end of a war that we'll never need ground forces
again. Well, I tell you that we've never got that right. We have always
required them. We just don't have the imagination to always be able to
predict exactly when that will be.
My final point is that what other -- whatever decisions are made, whatever
cuts and reductions are directed, we must -- we must ensure we do not lose
the trust of the soldiers. The brave men and women who have fought for these
last 10 years, and their families.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you. I look forward to your questions.
Thank you, General. And we hope to get into that in a little more depth as
this hearing goes on, and what that compensation cuts could mean to your --
to your force. But thank you for that.
Admiral Ferguson, you are facing a tough time now as we tee up your opening
remarks. You're looking at a Navy, as we understand the facts, that we can
argue about numbers. But China right today has more ships in their navy than
we have in our Navy according to Admiral Willard. And again we can pick or
choose some of -- not through any fault of yours, but through dollars and
cents we've sent to you.
You've got a $367 million shortfall in your maintenance budget because of
dollars we haven't given to you. You -- we recognize that on surface to
surface missiles we have a distinct challenge between Chinese missiles and
-- and our missiles, because we haven't give you dollars we needed for
In addition to that we see the projection for our subs that could put us in
the next 10 years where China would have 78 subs to roughly 32 for ours. And
we can argue a little bit around the edges of those. But what do these cuts
mean to you -- this $465 billion that we've already done to your men and
women serving under you to the United States Navy. And what would it mean if
we put additional cuts out to you?
Anything you want to put in your opening remarks, we want to hear from you
Well, thank you, Chairman Forbes, Chairman McKeon, and Ranking Member
Bordallo, and distinguished members on this subcommittee.
It's my first opportunity to testify before the committee. And it's my honor
to represent the men and women of the Navy Active Reserve and Civilian who
do stand watch around the globe today. And I (inaudible) my appreciation on
their behalf for the congressional support of them and their families.
In an era of declining budgets we are ever mindful of the lessons of the
past when we assess force readiness. Taken in sum or in parts low personal
quality, aging equipment, degradation in material readiness, and reduced
training will inevitably lead to declining readiness of the force. We remain
committed to maintaining our Navy as the world's pre-eminent maritime force.
And to do so we must sustain a proper balance among the elements of current
readiness, and to the long-term -- and those long-term threats to our
national security. Those elements or readiness may be simply stated. Sustain
the force structure that possesses the required capabilities to pace the
threat. Man that force with high quality personnel with the requisite skills
and experience. Support with adequate inventories of spare parts and
weapons. Sustain the industrial base that sustains that force, and exercise
it to be operationally proficient and relevant.
So our objective and challenge in this period of austerity will be to keep
the funding for current and future readiness and balance, and holding
acceptable level of risk in the capacity of those forces to meet the
requirements of the combatant commanders. How we shape ourselves in this
environment must be driven by strategy. And we feel that's extraordinarily
The cuts that are contained that you discussed, Chairman Forbes, we will
accept as part of that. Some reductions in capacity -- it will affect
certain areas of presence that we have around the world, our response times.
That the -- the decisions will be tough, but they're executable. And we
think that in looking at the strategy with you that's going on in the
department we can meet those challenges. And we will meet those challenges
that's contained in the Act.
We intend to take a measured approach. And we'll look at both efficiencies
in our overhead, our infrastructure, personnel costs, our fore structure,
and our modernization. Absent the support of the Congress, and you alluded
to the impact of sequestration. That impact on our industrial base in our
Navy will be immediate, severe, and long lasting. And fundamentally change
the Navy that we have today.
So, Mr. Chairman, Congressman (Inaudible) and members of the committee, I
appreciate the opportunity to testify, and look forward to answering your
questions as we go forward.
Thank you, Admiral Ferguson.
And General Dunford, you have also served your entire career with men and
women under you in the Marines. And one of the things that a lot of people
believe is that once we get out of Iraq, and we get out of Afghanistan,
you'll have all the resources you need to do everything you need to do
around the world.
If you look at the cuts that have already been made, and we look at these
potential cuts from sequestration, the projections are that your forces
could go down as low as 150,000 men and women. If that were to occur, what
would that impact be on you. And would you be able, even if we were out of
Iraq and Afghanistan, to conduct a single contingency around the world.
And with that, if you'd answer that question in any opening remarks that you
have, general. The floor is yours.
Chairman McKeon and Chairman Forbes, Ranking Member Bordallo, members of the
committee, thanks very much for the opportunity to appear before you today
to talk about the readiness in the Marine Corps, and more importantly to
have the opportunity to thank you for your support of your Marines.
As we meet this morning almost 30,000 around the world doing what must be
done -- 20,000 of those in Afghanistan. I want to assure this morning that
those Marines remain our number one priority. And with your support they are
well trained and ready to do the mission.
Like you and my colleagues, I recognize that the nation faces an uncertain
security environment, and some difficult fiscal challenges. And there's no
doubt we have some tough decisions to make. That the support the different
-- oh, excuse me. We -- we have to make, we've recently this year gone
through a force structure review effort. We shared the results of that with
the committee in the past, and would offer that that framework will allow us
to provide recommendations to the secretary of Defense, and frankly to frame
the issues somewhat to the ones that the Chairman asked me a his opening
I want to assure you that we recognize the need to be good stewards of
resources. And you're working hard to account for every dollar. We're also
looking to make sure that every dollar is well spent. In the end we know
we're going to have to make cuts. As we provide our input I think we need to
address three critical considerations -- strategy, balance, and keeping
With regard to strategy, we simply need to know what the nation requires us
to do, and then with the resources available we'll build the most capable
force we can to do it. As Secretary Panetta refines the strategy, the
command is going to use what we learned during the force structure review
effort to make recommendations.
With regard to balance, we don't want to make cuts in a manner that would
create a hollow force. We've certainly seen that in past draw downs. Like
General Chiarelli mentioned, I've seen that personally in 1970s as a young
lieutenant. And we don't want to go back to the days where we have an
imbalance between our training, between our equipment, and between our
What the command is committed to is that regardless of the size of the
Marine Corps at the end of the day, every unit that's in the United States
Marine Corps will be ready to respond to today's crisis today. Finally, we
have to keep faith with our people. And we need to do that, because it's the
right thing to do, and because it's necessary for us to maintain a high
quality all -- all-volunteer force.
In all of our deliberations we need to send a loud and unmistakable message
that the contributions that our men and women have made over the past 10
years are recognized and appreciated. And -- and there's certainly many
different definitions of keeping faith. And I think something attributed to
George Washington gives us a good baseline for our discussion this morning.
Washington said, "The willingness of future generations to serve shall be
directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars retreated
and appreciated by our nation." And those words to me seem as relevant today
as -- as they were over 200 years ago.
Chairman Forbes, to -- to get back to your specific question, it won't
happen if the Marine Corps is at 150,000. When we went through the force
structure review effort, we came up with a size Marine Corps of 186,800.
That is a single major contingency operation force. So that force can
respond to only one major contingency. One hundred and fifty thousand would
put us below the level that's necessary to support the single contingency.
The other thing I would -- I would think about is what amphibious forces
have done over the past year. Humanitarian assistance, disaster relief
efforts in Pakistan. Supporting operations in Afghanistan with fixed wing
aviation. Responding to the crisis with pirates on the M.V. Magellan Star.
Supporting operations in Libya. Supporting our friends in the Philippines
and Japan. And quite frankly at 150,000 Marines we're going to have to make
We will not be able to do those kinds of things on a day to day basis. We
will not be able to meet the combatant commanders' requirements before
deploying foreign engaged forces. Will not be there to deter our potential
adversaries. We won't be there to assure our potential friends, or to our
assure our allies. And we certainly won't be there to contain small crises
before they become major conflagrations.
So I think that 150,000 Marines I would offer there would be some
significant risk both institutionally and inside the Marine Corps. Because
we will be spending fast and causing our Marines to do more with less. But
as importantly, perhaps more importantly, the responsiveness that we'll have
-- combatant command as contingencies and crisis response will be
Thank you, General.
And General Breedlove, we thank you for working in your schedule to be here.
Often times we hear everybody talking about leaving Iraq and Afghanistan.
But we know when the Air Force, when everybody else might come home, the Air
Force often times does not come home. They still have to stay there, and
continue to do operations.
I'd like to have any comments that you have about what these cuts have made
to the Air Force already and what future could do?
And the floor is yours.
Thank you, Chairman Forbes, Chairman McKeon and Congresswoman Bordallo.
Thanks for the opportunity to talk to you today about 690,000-plus proud
airmen who serve as part of a joint team that you see in front of us.
These are challenging times and the Air Force has been at war for more than
two decades. So we have fought alongside our joint team in Afghanistan since
9/11, and we went to the Gulf in the Gulf War in the beginning of the '90s
and we didn't come home.
To your point, sir, quite often when the mission comes back from a war we
leave significant assets to overwatch remaining forces to provide support to
those who would remain behind in the regions. And that was witnesses, as you
know, in Northern Flywatch and Northern -- Southern Watch. And the Air Force
stayed there and kept pretty OPTEMPO.
The cuts that we see in front, I think my remarks we'll talk about in just a
minute. They are challenging times and the OPSTEMPO is exacerbated I think
by the fact that our Air Forces since the opening of the Gulf War has 34
percent fewer aircraft than we started that war with, and about 36 percent
fewer people. So the tempo that we face which we don't see a change in, in
the future, puts a pretty big stress on the force. And that has led to a
slow but steady decline in our unit readiness, as we have discussed with
this committee before.
We have tried to reset and (inaudible) to pick up new missions. As you know,
the Air Force has built mission inside, as we have been asked to support
this joint team in intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance. We've also
been asked to build an increased capacity in special operations. And we will
continue to meet both of those requirements as a part of this joint team and
answer the call in the future.
All the while the strain put on our force in the need to recapitalize our
aging fighter, tanker and bomber fleets. As you know, we're flying the
oldest fleet that the Air Force has ever flown and we do need to desperately
get to recapitalization during this age of fiscal austerity.
The Department of Defense we know will have to be a part of this recover,
and the Air Force will play its part in that recovery. Our goal is to do two
things. And you've heard several of my predecessors remark on them. First of
all, maintain a credible military force. We expect that it will be smaller,
and quite frankly, much smaller in some areas. But we need to renew a
credible and capable force as we get smaller.
And second, to avoid becoming a hollow force, like Joe and Pete mentioned. I
was in the Air Force in the '70s and saw what a hollow Air Force looked
like. Flight line with airplanes that couldn't fly and buildings with many
people who had no training nor ability to go out and accomplish a mission if
the airplanes had flown. And we don't want to go there again. We will get
smaller to remain capable with the forces that are left behind.
Many of the challenges we see will come on our people and on the backs of
our people. As we get smaller and as we expect the tasking does not change,
as we mentioned, in many cases we stay behind when there's a peace dividend,
the deployed to dwell times and the OPTEMPO on our airmen will only
increase. And more importantly, I think the OPTEMPO on our proud Reserve
component, which you know is an integral part of our Air Force, will have to
increase because they will become ever more important in a diminishing
Finally, sir, if the sequestered cuts as mentioned in the Budget Control Act
are allowed to take place, we're going to have to go beyond just getting to
our capacity. We believe we'll have to then begin to look at what are the
capabilities that we'll have to shed and no longer offer to this joint team.
A reduction in size would reduce the number of bases that we could support,
the number of airmen that we could keep on board the Air Force. The impact
to the size of our industrial base will certainly be important, just as it
is to the Navy.
And then finally, as Joe has mentioned, as we downsize, some of the first
missions we'll have to shed is that engagement that we see around the world,
where we preclude further conflict, or where we build allies that will help
us to come fight. We'll not be able to make those contributions.
I look forward to your questions, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, General. And as each of you know, this is probably the most
bipartisan committee in Congress. We work together very, very well and it's
a privilege to have all our members here. We're also honored today, we have
the chairman of the full committee. And part of that reason that we serve in
such a bipartisan and effective means is because of his leadership.
He's graciously said that he'd like for our members to be able to ask
questions, so I don't think he's going to ask any questions. But I'd like to
defer to him now for any comments that he might want to make.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for being here and for your comments.
I think that the cuts that you're all working hard to put into place, I met
with Admiral Mahon, oh, probably a month and-a-half ago, and he said that he
had assigned to the Chiefs $465 billion in cuts. And that came from the
president's speech of cutting $400 billion, and the $78 billion that they
had found, and the $100 billion that you had gone through in efficiencies,
and what we did in the CR. It's an accumulation of a lot of things, so it's
hard to actually get the exact number.
I know when the secretary came up a couple of weeks ago he was 450-plus.
I've also heard 489, so it's somewhere between 450 and $500 billion that
you're dealing with that we'll start hearing the details on, I'm sure, in
January. But I think many in Congress, and I think most people in the
country, do not understand. They are focused on the Super Committee and the
5-to-$600 billion that we'll be hit with if they're not able to do their
But they don't realize the extent of the cuts that you've been working on
now for a period of time, and that will be hitting us next year. And we're
talking -- well, we've had five hearings at the full committee level, not
counting all of the committees' meetings, subcommittee levels, to try to get
a handle on this and to try to educate the rest of the Congress and the rest
of the populace of the country as to what really is going to happen to our
military. The first five hearings were the impact of -- on the actual
military, the men and women that you serve with. Those who are laying their
life on the line right now as we talk.
I've seen in my lifetime lots of drawdowns. I've never seen us do it when
we're fighting a war. And so, I think it's really incumbent upon us to try
to get the word out, the message, to see if this is really what people
expect. When I go home and talk to people and tell them what's happening,
they say, no, that isn't what we wanted. You know, we wanted to get the
troops out of Germany, or we wanted to cut the waste, or we wanted to get
the troops home from Korea or somewhere. They do not realize the extent of
what has already been done, let alone what will happen with that Super
And then yesterday, we had another hearing where we had three economists and
they talked abut the financial impact to our economic -- our economy. When
we're already in a fragile economy with a 9 percent unemployment rate,
they're talking about job losses of a million and-a-half, which would
increase that unemployment rate up over 10 percent.
And I think when all the members start looking at their districts and at
their homes and the lost jobs, the combination of all of this I'm hoping
will make us sit back and take another breath and say, wait a minute. You
know, is this really what we want to do? This economic problem that we're in
right now, that we've been building over decades, cannot be solved in one
budget cycle. I think we have to have some real understanding of what we're
doing here. And is this really what we want to do, given the risks that we
see facing us around the world.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I thank you. I thank you for being here. And it
looks like we're going to be having votes, by the way, which is unfortunate.
But I'm hopeful that we return after the votes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'm going to defer all my questions until the end, so we can get to as many
members as we can.
I'd like to now recognize the gentlelady from Guam for any questions she
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I hope everyone bears with me. I have
a very bad cold.
I have a couple of questions. And I understand we're coming back for a
second round? All right.
My first question, as I pointed out in my opening statement, Admiral
Greenert stated in July that further efficiencies and budget cuts would be
determined through a comprehensive strategic review. So I'm asking to what
extent each of the services involved with OSD in developing this review,
what are some of the key tenets of this review? And without a strategic plan
in place, why are we proceeding with arbitrary cuts? Why not wait until a
plan is developed?
So I ask this, because I do not understand the rationale for the reductions
in force at Naval Facilities Command Pacific, or the deactivation of the two
So I guess we'll start with Admiral Ferguson?
And if the gentlelady would just yield for a second. Just logistically to
our members, they've called a vote I understand now. If any of our members
need to go to that vote we will be coming back afterwards for anyone who can
come. Ms. Bordallo's questions will be the last one we take before we recess
to go to the vote.
So, and with that, if you'd like to answer?
Ms. Bordallo, by all the services are participating at the service chief
level and at the vice chief level in the forums that is the ongoing strategy
review at the level of the secretary of defense, as is the Joint Staff. And
those discussions that are ongoing presently are looking at the budget
submission that the services have done, and then looking -- and they were
primarily given a fiscal target, as you alluded to, for us to reach.
And now, they're looking at those fiscal submissions and then looking at the
overall strategy as we go forward. And then, we'll take action as we make
those decisions through the fall part of the budget submission about
balancing between those portfolios in terms of our capabilities and
capacity, and does it meet the strategy that we see going forward.
So what you're saying, Admiral, is that the reviews are not completely
finished; is that correct?
That is correct. From our perspective, the decisions regarding the final
form of the budget submission are not completed yet. And those discussions
are ongoing. And there is very active participation by the service chiefs on
Do we have time for any of the other answers, or do we have to...
Yes, let's let any of them answer that want to, and then, Madame Secretary,
we'll come back to any additional questions you have.
Because you and I will be here.
Would anyone else like to respond?
Congresswoman, thank you. We are also -- I mean, General Ferguson got it
exactly right. We're participants fully in the process to do a comprehensive
strategic review read by Secretary Panetta.
We have an opportunity to provide input in that comprehensive strategic
review and we're confident that the results of the strategic review will be
the framework within which specific cuts were made.
As Admiral Ferguson alluded to necessarily what we had to do in the initial
going was take a look and assume proportional cuts across the board as we --
as we went through the drill of approximately $450 billion, but, again, at
the end of the day as we get towards December, the strategic review, at
least a major (inaudible) of the strategic review will be complete and at
that point, we'll be able to talk about the specific decisions that I think
that Secretary Panetta will make.
But our understanding is that he has not made any final decisions about the
specific cuts that have been made in order to achieve that initial goal.
So pretty much the other witnesses have the same answer?
I would argue from the Army's standpoint that's exactly -- we are
participating in the internal debate in the building, but like when I get up
in the morning and I see the futures, how they're doing in the stock market,
if I had to look around town and read what all the think tanks are saying,
they seem to be discounting the requirement for ground forces which is a
natural tendency after what we've been through in the last 10 years, but
every other time we've done that in our history, as I indicated before, we
have done so on the backs of servicemen and women, soldiers on the ground.
And quite frankly, let's be honest. It has cost us lives. It cost us lives
at Kasserine Pass. It cost us lives at Task Force Smith in Korea. It cost us
lives every single time.
Well -- and we haven't done this when a war is going on as our chairman
mentioned. What is the timeline for the review completion?
I'm going to ask you guys to do this. Let's hold that until we get back
because we've just got a few minutes to get up for vote. So we're going to
recess until right after votes. Anyone that can come back then will be then.
Gentlemen, once again we apologize to you for the inconvenience of us having
to go over there and do those votes. But that's what we're here for. So we
thank you for your patience.
And we were continuing with Ms. Bordallo.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
General Breedlove, we'll begin with you. What -- what is the time line now
for the review completion?
Ma'am, as we were walking out, we all looked at each other, and came to the
same conclusion. We expect that the review should wrap up in December. And
then as we are working on the -- the budget issues between now and then as
we understand the facets of the review that apply to our budget process as
we -- we do that.
And ma'am, I would just echo with my three compatriots as they said, we are
to this point, and we have been a part of formulating that strategy.
Thank you very much. So that's the end of December did you say?
Ma'am, I -- that's our collective wisdom. That's -- we all have the same
date in mind.
All right. Thank you.
And then, Admiral Ferguson, you didn't answer fully the question that I
asked about the review process. I said I did not understand the rationale,
cause the reductions in force have the (inaudible) facilities command
pacific, or the deactivation of the two C.B. battalions. Could you answer
As we looked at the force structure of the Construction Battalions around
the globe, the initial budget submission that we prepared had a reduction in
order to meet the commands of the combatant commanders and as we size our
forces, those forces are really on call to the combatant commanders to serve
what we see as a future demand.
As I eluded to in the opening statement, we had to take reductions in
certain elements of capacity across the force in order to meet the budget
targets that we had an then we looked at that, areas of the C.B.s in
particular as a potential reduction. As we go forward in this review
process, that's part of the effort that we're looking at as to what the
final force structure of the Construction Battalions would be.
Thank you. I have one other question. Why would Congress consider any
potential changes to recruiting and retention incentives such as military
retirement and health care or reductions to essential training accounts when
the military departments can't identify the cost of what they pay for
The Army has fulfilled the requirements of the fiscal year 2008 National
Defense Authorization Act that requires contracts or requires an inventory
of contracts for services. But for nearly half a decade while this nation
has been at war, the Air Force and the Navy and the defense agencies have
failed to implement this law, which would help us control the sky rocketing
costs and expenditures on contracted services.
So what is each of your military departments doing to reduce contracted
services and work requirements instead of just reducing dollars? If you are
only reducing dollars then you are likely setting up conditions to default
to contractors in light of the current civilian hiring freezes. So I guess
Air Force will answer that first.
Congresswoman Bordallo, thank you for the opportunity. We are, as are other
services, looking at everything we do contractually, especially as we
learned the lessons of the wars that we have been in for the past 10 years.
What is inherently governmental and what should we be retaining as a blue
suit requirement versus those things that we contract for, most specifically
in combat zones.
And every facet of what we do via contract has been reviewed to see if this
is something that we either want to eliminate, we need to repurchase and
bring back into our service those things in a military way, of course this
is in a time when we expect that our Air Force will get smaller rather than
larger so there's a lot of pressure on that process.
And what are -- how does that relate to those jobs that typically our
civilians also do, civilians who are a part of our Air Force. So we're in an
ongoing review. We are focusing most specifically on those things that are
done in combat zones and whether they should be a blue suit job or a
contract job. And we are putting fiscal pressure on what we spend on
contracts to help us incentivize looking at how to get at that approach.
Anyone else care to answer?
I know that in the Navy the secretary -- Office of the Secretary is leading
an effort that goes across all our budget submitting offices to look at
service contracts in particular and other contracts that we have along the
same lines that the other services are to see what's inherently governmental
and where are we paying excessive overhead and charges in that area?
Are you all in agreement?
We are doing exactly the same thing. We've appointed, I believe it's a
deputy secretary to handle contracts and service contracts, going through a
complete review of them to understand where there's redundancies, where
there's places that we in fact can cut and where there are certain areas
that may fall into the purview of being able to use soldiers to -- to help
us in some of these areas.
Congresswoman we're a part of the same process that Admiral Ferguson
described within the Department of the Navy.
All right. What is the timeline for this review?
I'll be honest, I'm not sure -- you know, our -- our process within the
Department of the Navy, I do not know what the timeline is for the review.
My assumption is that it's in conjunction with the budget that will be due
in December and we'll at least have initial assessment of our contracting at
that time. And -- and I'll get back to you if it's going to extend past
Thank you very much. Thank you gentleman. Mr. Chairman I yield back.
And the gentlelady from Guam is yielded back. I know she has some additional
questions but she's graciously deferred those until the end so that some of
our members can get their questions in. Now I'll have the gentleman from
Georgia, Mr. Scott for five minutes?
Thank you Mr. Chairman and gentleman I -- one of the things I would hope
that you'll continue to do is to inform the committee of things maybe that
are in the code sections that we could take out that are increasing your
cost of operations, things that we'd like to pretend that we can afford, but
Such as some of the energy mandates and other things that are -- that are
running up the costs of operations. General Breedlove, as you know I
represent Robins Air Force Base and I'd like to once again invite you down
to their Logistic Center and the JSTARS and if you'll come in hunting season
I might get a -- I promise I'll make it a worthwhile venture.
I'll -- I'll even get you to a Georgia Tech game, although I might wear a
different hat to the game than you would. Georgia -- Georgia Tech would be a
great opportunity for you to come as well, but the men and women in -- in
our area are very grateful for the commitment of the three depot strategy
and just want to again ask that question, make sure that that is a
commitment from the Air Force that we have to maintain the three depots?
Thank you. Thank you so much for that and I hope that as we go through these
cuts that -- let me say this as a member of Congress, I know that you know
more about running your agencies, your -- your different departments I
should say than -- than I do. And I hope that you'll be very forthcoming
with us about what we can do to help you in doing that.
And I just -- I want to be an ally for you. I'm sorry that we're going
through this. I'm quite honestly embarrassed that we have more discussions
in this Congress about cuts to the military than we do about cuts to social
programs. I think that is something that quite honestly is carrying America
down a very -- very dangerous path and I -- I know America is tired of the
wars in Afghanistan and I know that our men and women that have been over
there will continue to go.
But I also know they're ready for more time with their families. But I'm not
so sure that when we come out, that the world is not going to be a more
dangerous place than -- than it is today. So again I want to thank you for
everything you've done and General Breedlove again, thank you for your
support of Robins and if I can ever help you, please -- please feel free to
call on my office.
Congressman, thank you and we do have a commitment to the three depots that
-- we think that's the minimum. And we thank you for your support to us and
as all of us I think look at what we can do to address the tail of our
forces to add to the tooth and that will continue to be important as we go
forward. The depots as you know bring a capability to all our services that
is unmatched around the world to make sure that our services, our Air Force,
and the airplanes that they fly are ready to do the mission and -- and our
commitment is strong there.
Yes, Sir and -- and the other aspect of it is those cuts, you know, we -- we
need to rebuild a lot of our machines that we've used and when -- every
dollar that we take out of the rebuilding of those machines is a dollar that
comes out of a man or a woman's pocket that's working on that assembly line.
So if -- if you want to create jobs in the country, I would respectfully
submit that this is the place where you do it.
The country -- every citizen gets a direct benefit from a strong, well
equipped military and -- and every dollar that we spend in rebuilding our
equipment is a dollar that goes back into an -- an American working man and
working woman's pocket to take care of their families. So, thank you again
for what you've done for our -- for our country and I will continue to stand
ready, willing and able to help you.
I yield back.
The gentleman yields back. The gentleman from Connecticut, Mr Courtney is
recognize for five minutes.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. And thank you for holding this hearing and to the
witnesses for -- for spending some time with us here today. And I just --
first of all I guess I just want to ask a question about a very specific
issue, which is the C-27 cargo aircraft, which it appears that a full
production sort of plan has sort of been sort of put on hold or at least
partially delayed and, you know, obviously for the Army that's a big issue
in terms of having that lift capacity because it's a pretty old group of
Sherpas that are left there.
I just wondered if somebody can give me an update in terms of where that
decision stands, whether it's related to the $465 billion or is it -- are
there other issues that are at work here? And I don't know whether either
General wants that comment, but.
Sir I'll be -- I'll be first to comment on that. I cannot speak specifically
to what you mention about the decision on full scale production. We'll take
that for the record and get back to you. As far as the C-27 and the -- and
the mission of supporting the Army in it's -- what -- what would probably be
called the last portion of the delivery of goods to our ground forces, both
Marine and Army, the Air Force has a full commitment to that mission.
We will not back off of the requirement that -- for the Air Force to -- to
meet that mission. If that mission is to be done with C-27s or C-130s is a
decision that is still pending and is a part of this ongoing budget review.
But that will be worked out in the next few months.
Thank you. General if you wanted to comment?
Well the Army is -- is very committed to the C- 27. We feel it -- it fills a
gap. Right now my rotary wing aviators are at about a 1:1 BOG dwell, that
means boots on the ground for 12 months and they're coming home from
anywhere from 12 to 14 months. Rotary wing is the coin of the realm down
range today and a lot of it is moving from airfield to airfield where the
C-27 could fill in a gap that we think is absolutely critical.
Even in Afghanistan, but if you take it to other places in the world I -- I
-- I think it -- it -- it is even more convincing. Plus it provides a
tremendous capability for homeland defense and that is -- is one of the
things that was critical about the C-27 and its ability to -- to get into
air fields here in the United States that other aircraft can't get into in
the event of homeland defense kinds of missions. We -- we're totally
committed to it.
And again if we can get that follow up, that would be great. A number of us
are definitely interested in helping, you know, push that along if there's a
way that we can. Admiral you -- I think the chairman in his opening remarks
talked about some of the shortfalls in the repair and maintenance account
and now in many respects this should be sort of a -- a milestone year for
the Navy and at least in one aspect, one that probably did for me add nausea
around here about which is the submarine fleet, but, you know, we're allowed
to a year of production for the first time in 22 years, you know?
We're doing again full startup of R&D for the Ohio Replacement Program, but
obviously, you know, this is a -- progress that could be challenged if the
sequestration goes into effect and I guess, you know, maybe if you could
talk a little bit more about Mr. Forbes' comment regarding the repair and
maintenance account, in particular in terms of the impact on the fleet size
and capability and...
Sure. It's a -- it's an important point because the Navy we reset in stride.
And so we deploy and, in fact, over half our forces are under way, ships and
submarines on a given day and about 40 percent are forward deployed.
The demand for those forces is going up. So we don't have the luxury of
taking them offline for prolonged periods of time. And so the maintenance
funding that we have when we bring them home for their turnaround is
absolutely essential to sustain that force, to reset it and then prepare to
go both the amphibious lift for the Marines as well as aircraft carriers,
submarines and surface ships.
And so we have watched the trend in readiness over time. We're operating
with inacceptable levels, but as Admiral Greener (ph) testified previously,
there's a negative trend over the long-term as we shrink those maintenance
And so as we go forward, we are actually committed to keeping the force
whole and ensuring that those forces that are operating are well-maintained
and equipped and go forward, but it does present a challenge to us in an
Thank you. I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Alabama, Mr. Rogers, you're
recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank all of you for being here. The DOD in this
current year budget had projected fuel costs for a barrel of oil to be $131
and DLA has recently pegged it now at $166 a barrel and is projecting that
level will be sustained throughout the balance of this fiscal year.
How are you all going to deal with that? General Breedlove, let's start with
you and let's go down the other...
Sir, thank you for the opportunity to talk to it. We do have an aggressive
program in our fuel savings and are looking at numerous opportunities both
existing technologies and new technologies to get after it.
A good example is re-coring of our C-130 engines. If we can get to a new
core of those aircraft on those aircraft engines running cooler and running
more efficiently, the fuel savings is quite important.
Simple things that we're doing across our aircraft fleet like winglets on
our larger aircraft and changing as we buy new aircraft, some of the
exterior hull designs cuts down on a little bit of fuel.
You would think that that is not significant, but we understand that as you
do as well, sir, that the Air Force is the number one user of fuel in the
United States. And so every little bit that we can cut saves money to
rollback into things that are really needed in our force.
So we are attacking this because it is the most important thing to get at
for Air Force savings and energy.
Congressman, thanks so much for the question. We share your concern about
that what I perceive to be a critical vulnerability, a rise in fuel not only
from a cost-perspective, but also from a strained line of logistics as we've
seen in Afghanistan, the criticality of getting fuel to our forces and what
that -- what that does in terms of putting people in harm's way to deliver
All of our units that are on the ground right now in Afghanistan have been
fielded with renewable energy sources that started as an experiment and
within about 14 months, it has now become every unit that goes over there
has renewable energy and that includes not only solar panels, it includes
tent liners, it includes low energy or energy efficient lighting.
As we look at our requirements as we acquire new equipment, fuel efficiency
is a critical part of our requirements documents as we seek to add new
equipment in the future. And then as a whole within the department and maybe
the Secretary of the Navy has led a very aggressive effort to replace our
fossil fuels with some alternative fuel sources and other initiatives in
developing technologies that might be available to release us from the --
from truly the shackles of fossil fuels, again, not only from a cost
perspective, but from a challenge in delivering that to the battlefield.
Well, the -- I guess I'm hearing from both of you all that there's 25
percent increase in cost that was not budgeted for something you think
you're going to be able to adequately deal with?
Congressman, what we're doing is we're making choices. I mean, there's other
ways that we can -- we can -- you know, we increase (inaudible) simulation,
as an example, to develop proficiency for both our pilots and for our ground
We'll make tradeoffs within our operational maintenance accounts to ensure
that we can maintain a high state of readiness and still -- and still -- and
still pay all of our bills.
I'm not going to say it's not going to be difficult. It's going to be a
challenge. This does exacerbate an already stressed operations and
maintenance account, but right now, we're trying to work within the
resources that we have, again, to ensure that our folks maintain proper
training before they deploy, but -- and we have no issue with delivering
fuel obviously to our forces that are forward deployed as a our number one
We are also a part in -- of a very aggressive energy efforts led by the
Secretary for all our basing, but I think more to your point is the
challenge in this fiscal year that we're facing.
And should the current prices be sustained and lately we've seen them start
to come down a bit, but if they were sustained for the entire year for the
Department of the Navy, the shortfall would be around $1.1 billion that we
would face in fuel costs.
We would have to offset those by reductions in other areas of the operations
and maintenance account to pay for that or seek or reprogramming or other
action from the Congress to address it.
And because it is an execution here, the horizon of many of our efficiency
initiatives won't generate those savings in order to generate them this
year, but we won't do is reduce the commitment of those operating forces to
the combatant commanders and be able to sustain what we need to train and
I have little to add except for the fact that the Army is working in three
specific areas in operational energy where our forces deploy and, again,
we'll do whatever we have to do and bounce whatever accounts we have to to
ensure that they have what they need, but we're looking at ways to reduce
One of them is replacing all our generators with new fuel efficient
generators and the fuel savings loan down ranges is huge.
Both the request for proposals for the ground combat vehicle, the infantry
fighting vehicle and the JLTV, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, include
energy savings and I think that is a big selling point when you look at the
total lifecycle cost of those vehicles once we bring them onboard.
And at post camps and stations, we're working with a net zero pilot at at
least three installations. We're using solar at the National Training Center
and other locations to help with our energy needs and also we're -- the
Human Resource Command, the new personnel command of the Army out of Fort
Knox, Kentucky, use geothermal to produce both it's heating and cooling in
Thank you all.
The gentlelady from Hawaii, Miss Hanabusa, is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair. My question is first directed at General
Dunford. By the way, I think we owe you a happy birthday to the Marine Corps
and you guys are all celebrating in the next couple of days or so.
Let me first begin with statements that you've made in your statement. I'm
curious about the fact that you said that our nation needs an expeditionary
force that can respond to today's crisis with today's force today.
Now, first I'd like you to explain what you meant by the expeditionary force
and also then tell me you're talking about today's crisis with today's force
today, but I think what we're looking at as we look forward at a 10-year
budget, what is the force to look like in the year 2020? And those are, of
course, the discussions that we've been having with Secretary Panetta as
well as General -- the new chief. So if you could, proceed accordingly.
Congresswoman, the first question concerned expeditionary and what that
means is a couple of things. Number one is we wouldn't be reliant on
political access being provided by somebody else. If we needed to go
someplace, Naval forces are uniquely capable of being able to do that.
We're capable of operating in an austere environment. So when we come
someplace, we come with the water, the fuel, the supplies that our Marines
and sailors need to accomplish the mission.
And so that's in general terms what we mean by expeditionary. With regard to
today's forces today, you know, as I eluded to in my opening statement,
physical presence matters and physical presence matters for a couple of
reasons, you know?
Number one, it absolutely shows a sign of our economic and our military
commitment to a particular region. It matures potential adversaries. It
assures our friends. And as you start moving up the range of military
operations, it also allows you to respond in a timely manner to crises.
Many times you have hours, if not minutes, to provide the -- to respond to a
crisis and you certainly can't do that from the continental United States
and Naval forces are there on the scene able to be able to do that.
The other thing that it does is it allows you to buy time and space for
decision makers. When you have some forces there, they can contain a crisis
as the rest of the joint force gets prepared to respond to something that
may be a bit larger than the crisis that's being dealt with on the scene.
So from my perspective when you look at expeditionary forces, when you talk
about responding to today's crisis today, what you really have with four
deployed Naval forces, which is what I was talking about, is the ability to
turn the (inaudible) up from day-to- day shaping operating, day-to-day
engagement with our allies, and the sticker price of that same force, you
can then respond to a crisis and the sticker price of that same force you
can then enable a joint force to respond to something larger on the seismic
Now, you also went on to say about -- regarding to Secretary Panetta's
announcement that he directed the department to cut in half the time it
takes to achieve readiness.
Now, I assume that that's one of the reasons what you're speaking to here;
however, isn't the underlying assumption that we all have is that we know
where we're going to be?
So isn't there also have to be some kind of analysis that if you're going to
be ready to go within a couple of hours or whatever it is that we know where
we would most likely be, that your services are most likely going to be
For example, I'm from Hawaii. So have (Inaudible). I mean, you know, if
you're going to be deployed in Afghanistan, it's not going to be a couple of
So what is the, I guess, perceived theater as far as your concern as to
where -- and we have to make these choices because of the fact that we just
don't have money for everybody.
So where is it that we're going to put our resources or where you've had
your magic wand you would put your resources?
Congresswoman, it's pretty clear, I think, to all of us and it certainly has
been stated by the Secretary of Defense that the Pacific is the future of
our country from both an economic and a military perspective. That's a
number one priority.
We will still for the foreseeable future for many, many years to come have
security challenges in the United States central command from Egypt to
Pakistan. And so that's another area where we would expect to see
significant military presence.
But I would offer to you that if there's one thing that -- that we're not
very good at is predicting the future. And so as sure as we talk about the
priority of the pacific in the -- and in the challenges that exist in the
United States Central Command, some place else will cause us to respond, and
we don't know where that will be.
And so when the combatant commander is asked for four deployed naval forces
to be out there on a routine basis, each of them ask for that. And ask for
that as a mitigation to the risk of the unknown. And that's what -- that's
what I believe we provide. So again, from the priority perspective,
certainly we'll see the preponderance or effort in our commitment to be in
the Pacific Command, in the Central Command. But -- but priority can't be
And we're still going to have to satisfy the requirements of the other
combatant commanders again to do not only the day to day shaping. But as
importantly as a -- as a hedge against the -- the risk of the unknown.
I'm out of time. But if you could respond to me in writing, I'm curious as
to what an expeditionary force would be comprised of. And I'm talking about
ships, helicopters, amphibious vehicles. Whatever that -- if you could give
me an idea so that when we vote on what are the things are no longer
necessary, I have an idea whether or not we know what we're talking about.
Congresswoman, I'll be -- I'll be glad to do that. And the good news for you
is that there is expeditionary capabilities on the islands of Hawaii. And --
and are available in the Pacific in time of crisis. But I'd be happy to get
back to you in the detailed organization of Marine expeditionary forces as
well as the Naval forces that are absolutely critical to our ability to do
Thank you very much.
And I'd be glad to do the same for the Army.
And the Air Force. And if you call it something other than "expeditionary
force," you can tell me that too. Thank you very much.
I -- I just have to underline something that was said. We just don't know.
We have been 100 percent right in -- in something. And that's never getting
General Dempsey said the same thing.
It -- it is true. It is true. And all you have to do is look at history. And
-- and when we don't have a balanced force that can meet wherever U.S.
national interests are threatened where the national command authority says
that -- that we must provide military force, that's when we get ourselves
And I think that's very important to look at the history of -- of how we
have done. We -- we're repeating a cycle here that is -- is something that
has happened many, many times in our history.
Thank you very much.
Thank you Mr. Chair.
And (inaudible) I want to thank you for your patience. We've got just a few
more questions. But I know that General Breedlove has a hard stop that he
has to make. I'm going to ask the gentle lady from Guam if she can ask a
quick question of him. And then I just have one if you have the time before
you have to leave.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
This is for you, General Breedlove. What shortages in critical skill sets in
your respective services -- well, actually question for all of you. Are you
already experiencing because of vampire reductions already taken? And what
impact would you anticipate from further reductions? How are these affecting
your war fighting capability?
And General, why don't you go first since we know that the Air Force has
experienced shortages in more than a dozen enlisted NCO and officer skill
sets, especially in the aircraft maintenance area.
And I'm going to ask General Breedlove if he'd address that, and then we'll
come back to you gentleman after General Breedlove has left if that's OK.
Ma'am, thank you for the question. And you're absolutely right. There are
several skill sets both in our officer, and enlisted corps that have come
under pressure. And I think it talks to capacity, much as General Dunford
talked to capacity earlier.
In our Air Force some portions of our Air Force such as our lift in others
have a good capacity to handle the first fight. And then we'll be stretched
a little bit on the second fight. But already in a scenario where we have
one full up war fight, or where we're engaged just like we are now in
Afghanistan and Iraq. We're already stressed in some very key areas. And you
mentioned several of them.
In our enlisted corps, our crypto linguists, we're growing so fast in
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance that we're struggling to keep
abreast of the requirement. For those people who take the data that is
coming into the system, and break it down for use by our ground forces in
Our battlefield airmen that were built for a certain model during the colder
war, we're catching up to the requirements. For our battlefield airmen, all
of the units on the ground are supported by those TACPs (ph), those EOD,
those air combat control folks. CCT meaning our special tactics folks, and
our pararescue. And those are all under pressure now in a one war scenario,
and we have to work on those.
Special operations, weather, and our security forces as we have picked up
more and more of the responsibility of defense around bases are all under
pressure. In our -- and our officer crew field some of the things that we
would have never thought about just simply because of the way that the
services do differently.
We have a lot of senior contracting NCOs and officers. The other services
typically do these with civilians. And so our expeditionary officers in some
of these critical career fields like airfield ops contracting, and some of
our specific airfield civil engineering sets are all under pressure. And
there are things that we need to move forward on.
As we constrict our force, and we will across these budget battles, we're
going to be keeping our eye on growing those. So the Air Force will come
under pressure I think in other areas. But we will have to keep an eye on
those very critical ones that I mentioned so that we can grow to a better
and more acceptable level of risk in those areas.
Thank you very much, General.
And we'll come back to that question as soon as the general has just
answered one more question.
General, since the Korean war it's my understanding that there has not been
a single soldier or Marine who lost his life in combat due to a threat from
the air. That's 58 years. And I may be inaccurate, but that's -- statement
that was given to me. Often times we -- we call that air dominance. If we
were to move to those cuts that sequestration could bring about, would that
put into question our continued ability to have that kind of air dominance?
Mr. Chairman, I would never -- we never beg to correct. But I would just
correct in one way. We -- we have since the Korean war suffered an air
attack by scuds, and some others who have -- who have taken the lives of our
soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines on the ground. So just with that
I think the point that you make is the one that is -- is often talked about.
And that is to fix wing air to -- to our opponents, air forces, our Naval
air forces, we have not lost -- been under attack since the latter part of
the Korean war. And that is something that our -- our Air Forces, centered
on our Air Force. But certainly our Marine air and Naval air, and to some
degree even the rotary ring of the Army.
We have put together what you call, "Air dominance," across the years to
give our ground forces the ability to -- to react and to fight under that
protection. I give you one small example that my -- my friend from the Army
will chuckle about. And that is when I was an arrow (ph) in the -- in Europe
during the late '80s, and we would practice for the big war on the plains of
northern German, we would go out in our brigade formation when I was a
And -- and when we came under attack from supposedly Soviet force air, we
would do herring bone maneuvers and all kinds of things to react to so that
the air defenders could set up and defend us and so forth. And we have now
come to an age where we are so use to, and so enabled by that air dominance
that the joint team brings to the battlefield that I can't remember even
talking about herring bone maneuver I the last few years.
Our situation on the -- on the ground and on the scene would change
drastically were it not for the joint air forces that bring this capability.
Certainly we will all be under pressure under the new budget regimes, and
especially if we go through a sequester. And I would just say that I think
that without starting a long conversation about areas of the world where we
talk about the paradigm of area A2AD -- Anti Access Area Denial Events. So
that our opponents build an area that is so constrictive to our ability to
enter the area or fight in the area due to their ability to put up air
defenses, sea defenses, ship defenses that keep us at range.
That the future budget scenario which would severely constrict our ability
to approach those requirements, those weapons, those new aircraft or other
weapons that would give us a capability in this A2A2 -- or A2AD anti access
sort of environment. I think that's where the pressure will be. And quite
frankly in some portions of the world if we are not able to break that A2AD
in environment, I believe that we will be in the position where we will not
be able to guarantee that air dominance, or air supremacy to our sea and
land forces as we operate over them.
Yes. General, thank you so much for being here. I know you have to go, and
we are excusing you from the hearing now. And -- and please know how proud
we are of your service, and the men and women who serve under you in the
United States Air Force. And -- and thank you for -- for being with us
Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for the opportunity.
Thank you. And General, we're not going to hold you very much longer. But
just a couple things that we'd like to get for the record so that we can get
to other members. I want to yield back to Ms. Bordallo so we can finish her
question that she had for the -- for the generals to answer.
We'll start with the generals.
Congresswoman, getting back to our current shortfalls, and then the impact
of future reductions. I mentioned in my opening statement that our
forward-deployed Marines have all that they need with regard to training,
equipment, and leadership to accomplish the mission. That -- that's our
absolute number one priority.
The cost of ensuring that they have all that they need has been felt by
those units back at home station. In fact, about two thirds of our units
that are back at home station are currently in a -- in a state of degraded
readiness. And that of course impacts on our ability to deal with another
contingency or certainly the unexpected.
There is also a cost when we come back out of Afghanistan to reset the
force. To address those equipment shortfalls, and -- and to refresh the
equipment that will be coming out of Afghanistan. And we currently estimate
that bill at about $3 billion. In -- in some ways that's a good news story,
because a couple years ago that bill was in excess of $15 billion. And with
the help of Congress over the last couple of years we have been able to do
some resetting, even as we continue to support operations both in Iraq, and
So as we look to the future, I'd be concerned about two things. One I'd be
concerned that we actually do reset the force. We actually do address those
deficiencies and replace that equipments that -- that is worn out from
operations in Afghanistan as we move to the future.
The second thing I'd be concerned about is our ability to continue to
modernize and keep pace with modern threats. And -- and over and above the
reset cost which really gets us back to the force that we had before we went
to Afghanistan, replacing that equipment, we need to keep a pace in -- in --
modernize our -- our equipment.
And I'd be concerned that further reductions would preclude our ability to
modernize. And over time we would get back to that same state we were in in
the 1970s where our equipment was antiquated, and -- and worn out. And
that's exactly what we want to try to avoid. And again, that's one of the
key aspects of hollowness.
Thank you very much.
As we look at the manpower issues, the force is under pressure. Our average
deployments, as I alluded to earlier, 50 percent of our ships under way are
stretching out to about 7 months. Some ships are doing longer in order to do
operational commitments overseas. And so, they're under stress.
And within that area we have a group of very critical specialists. And I'm
thinking of our nuclear operators, our linguists, our cryptologists, those
involved in highly technical fields like acoustics and aviation maintenance
and electronics, where, because the outside economy is presently not hiring
to the level where they could, you could, think about leaving.
And my concern as we go forward into this environment, which echoes my
fellow vice-chiefs, is concerning this element of keeping faith with the
force that we have. And ensuring that we sustain their compensation in an
area under high stress, so that should the economy -- and hopefully it turns
soon -- gets better, we might lose those individuals for retention in the
future. So the retention element is one that we watch very carefully.
We're enjoying great recruiting right now from the nation with the highest
quality force we've ever had and we're very appreciate of that. But I think
in the long term manpower, it's our highly skilled critical specialties that
we're most concerned about for the future.
From the Army, General?
Recruiting and retention has never been stronger. It's just absolutely
amazing, and if you would have told me this 10 years ago before we got into
this fight, I would have said there's no way we could hold this together for
10 years and have it be as strong as it is today. It is absolutely amazing.
But at the same time, again, as the guy who gets the pay to worry things, I
also believe it's fragile. I worry about rotary wing aviators. That is an
area, as I indicated earlier, that my folks are spending 12 months in
theater, coming home for 12 to 14, maybe 15 months right now, and then right
back down. I've got aviators that have got six and seven deployments. We are
increasing our contracting, uniformed contracting corps.
The secretary of the Army has made a decision to add additional uniformed
contracting specialists, officers and senior non- commissioned officers and
warrants, to the United States Army even as we downsize the force even as we
realize it's absolutely critical. And electronic warfare is also an area
where we're adding to our rolls, even as we downsize.
I would like to pile onto what General Dunford said. What really concerns me
is in the modernization area. I will tell you the ground combat vehicle, the
infantry fighting vehicle, is absolutely critical for the United States
Army. We are not talking about going into full rate production at this
particular time on the ground combat vehicle.
All we're trying to do is get from milestone A to milestone B to see what
industry can give us at a point where we can make a decision two to two and
a half years from now whether to go to a new build that industry brings, or
at the same time in that two and-a-half year period, we're going to look at
some off-the-shelf solutions to an infantry fighting vehicle. And there are
And then, when those two lines of effort converge, two to two and-a-half
years from now, we'll make a cost-informed decision on what we can afford.
But to cut that off now, to not provide us the ability to do that, will only
put us two years behind a modernization program that is absolutely critical
to the Army.
I would argue I think we're doing the same thing with the JLTV, the Joint
Light Tactical-Wheeled Vehicle. We are looking at the possibility of
recapping Humvees and what that would cost. At the same time, we have
entered into a partnership with the Marines, and really driven down the
requirements on JLTV so that we believe we can buy this vehicle for
somewhere between 200 and $240,000 a vehicle.
We've done that in partnership to drive down those requirements, but that
too will enter to what they call a technical development phase, and it will
come together with what's being looked at with the recap of Humvees. And
there will come a point down the road, not probably more than two years or
shorter than two years, where we will be able to make a decision on what's
smarter? Do we recap Humvees, or do we go with a new JLTV?
I just think it's absolutely essential that we be allowed to continue that
critical work or we will end up with a force that is not modernized is an
unbalanced force, and in the end, it will cost us lives.
Thank you very much. That's been very informative.
Gentlemen, one of the things that all three of you have talked about -- and
first of all, I compliment you. All three of your services have done a great
job in retaining your troops and recruiting. And I've looked and I've seen
the pride in each of your eyes as you look at the products that you're able
to train and turn out.
But I also hear you using a phrase that I don't think the public always
understands, which is keeping faith with those troops. And part of that
keeping faith is the compensation package.
And each of you told me privately it's kind of a holistic approach. It's
more than just the dollars. It's everything. It's the commissaries that they
go to. It's the schools that they use. It's the programs that they have as
an overall package when someone sits down and determines whether or not
they're going to re-up, or whether they're going to sign up in the first
But the question I have for you is if you could elaborate for me a little
bit your concerns with this keeping faith? And specifically, I want to ask
you this. When we had a major policy change recently in the military with
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and I'm not asking you weigh in on for that or
against that, either one. But we did not in- depth study, surveys, focus
groups, that were done too, before we implemented that policy.
I wonder if you cold elaborate a little bit what the Army did, the Navy did
and the Marine Corps did in terms of that policy, focus groups, survey, and
et cetera? And then compare that to what we have done with the compensation
packages? Have we done any similar types of analysis of that?
And General Chiarelli, why don't we start with you?
Well, we haven't, because the proposals have been coming from every
direction. And you are so correct that this is a holistic review. It needs
to include those benefits that you're going to have for medical care,
retirement, educational benefits. They all have to be looked at in a
holistic package, and not looked at as individual programs, because they're
We need to do those focus groups. We need to know what the educational
benefits mean to the 19 year-old kid coming out of high school, coming in
the United States Army. What role did that play in his decision to sign up
during a time of war? It is very interesting, when the Defense Business
Board published their plan for looking at military retirement, the secretary
of the Army and the chief of staff went out and talked to soldiers.
And they were expecting to get questions based on the Army Times article
from captains, majors, lieutenant-Colonels, and colonels, and senior
non-commissioned officers. That wasn't it. They got it from a 19 year-old
kid who said, "Mr. Secretary, what are you doing to my retirement?"
Now, we know the numbers. Less than 70 percent of those will never reach
retirement. But it leads one to believe that that retirement package had a
role in this individual making a decision to join us during a time of war.
And if we go back to what we just talked about recruiting and retention,
these are huge in our ability to be able to maintain this force over time.
So I would only echo what you say, Chairman. We really need to take the time
to look at this. We understand it needs to be looked at; yes. But please,
let's do it holistically, and let's take time to put together a total
package and understand where that's going to take u.
General, I know, but for the record how many years have you served in the
Just short of 40.
I don't look it, do I?
No, you don't.
I would have thought 19.
But with all of those years experience, would you say that it would be
foolish, at least unpredictable for us, to begin to launch off of some of
these compensation patches before we've done an analysis to what it's going
to do to the force.
I would echo General Chiarelli's comments, and say that when I go out and I
travel to the force and I visit, it is the number one question that I get.
And part of the benefit of the review process that happened under the study
for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was that we not only did focus
groups, but we allowed a very methodical review of the policy issues.
A very -- an ability to socialize discussions with the force that allowed
people to work through and air the questions and things that they had about
that policy development. And it was a pretty thorough process of both
surveys, policy development and analysis, and communication.
I think in an issue that's as important as retirement to our force, and for
their decision about retention, that a similar type review of that
thoroughness and nature would be important, as well as the ability to have
the force be communicated with on the elements that are under consideration.
I just think that's essential for the long term viability of the force.
Chairman, thank you for that question and I would agree with the
characterization that you laid out with regard to compensation, General
Chiarelli and Admiral Ferguson. And just summarize with a key point, and
that is this. There's been many proposals about compensation that are out
there that talk about how much money we'll save. I've not seen a single
proposal that provides the analysis on what the effect on the force would
And at the end of the day, what compensation is about, it's about our
ability to recruit and retain the high quality force that we have had in
harm's way over the past 10 years. And if you play it forward, I mean, it
really is about a conversation that some young sergeant may have with his
spouse a couple of years from now.
And the spouse will say, hey, you're four years are up, what are you going
to do? You've been deployed two or three times. You've been away from home
180 days out of every 365 days. This is really hard. You're missing many of
the key milestones of your children's lives. Are we going to stay in or are
we going to get out?
And at that point, the family is going to look holistically at the housing,
the education for their children. They're going to look at medical support,
they're going to look at behavioral health support that exists. They're
going to look at some of the intangibles like is their service valued? Do
they have respect in the community? Do their leaders treat them with trust?
If so, all of that is really the intangible and the tangible aspects that
cause people to serve.
And when we talk about compensation, we need to talk about it in that light.
It needs to be a holistic approach to ensure that at the end of the day,
when a sergeant has that conversation, that the compensation for his service
and the value that we place on his service exceeds the challenges and the
risks that we ask him to endure.
General, I'm going to ask you the same question I asked General Chiarelli.
And despite your young, youthful looks, how many years have you served in
the United States Marine Corps?
I have served, Chairman, a mere 35 years in active duty.
And in that 35 years with all of your experience and the capacity, how
detrimental do you think it would be to your force if we launch out changing
these compensation packages before we've done these kinds of reviews?
Chairman, I think it would be reckless to make changes in our compensation
packages right now without an understanding of the effect. And I think that
each of the gentleman that sit at this table and most of us all remember the
quality of force we had in the late 1970's. And that's exactly what we don't
want to go back to.
As long as our nation has made a decision that we're going to have an all
volunteer force, than the critical aspect is that we have to make sure that
the compensation meets the requirements of the all volunteer force. And so
whether it's expensive or not really is relative to what you get from it.
And how much it costs may or may not be expensive when you think about it in
And from my perspective, again the chairman has said, we should look at
compensation. We should study compensation. I'm not for a minute suggesting
that there may not be rational and good changes that we might make in
compensation. But again at the end of the day it has to -- we have to do
that in a way that ensures that we continue to recruit and retain that high
And folks who lose sight of that I think are actually heading down a path
they have no idea what's on the other end.
I'd like to shift gears just a little bit. We hear a lot of discussions,
both in Congress and across the country today if we were to not be forward
deployed. If we would pull all of our troops, all of our assets from across
the globe and bring them all back into the United States that that would be
a more inexpensive way for us to conduct our national defense and our
General Dunford can you tell us how that would impact the Marines if that
was done? And whether or not you think that would be a good policy for us to
I could, Chairman. First of all, as I mentioned when the Congresswoman from
Hawaii asked me you know, our forward deployed and foreign based forces, you
know, provide an unmistakable sign of our commitment, both economically and
militarily in the region. And they contribute to regional stability. Being
forward deployed and forward engaged again allows us to shape the
environment as opposed to reacting to the environment.
Being forward deployed and forward engaged allows us to respond to crises in
a timely manner and being forward deployed and forward engaged certainly
deters, you know, our potential adversaries. To give you an example from a
time and space perspective of the impact of going back to the Continental
United States, if you took the Third Marine Expeditionary Force that is
currently located on Mainland Japan and in Okinawa and soon to have elements
on Guam, if you took that force and moved it back to the Continental United
States, in the event of a crisis or contingency, Chairman it would take
months to move that force to the Western Pacific and seven consecutive
miracles in terms of synchronizing the planes, trains and automobiles
associated with moving that force.
Just a little over a week ago we had an International Sea Powers Symposium
in Newport, Rhode Island. Over 100 Navy's were represented around the globe
and nearly all were chiefs of their Navy that came to talk. An issue that
they raised repeatedly was, will you still be here with us? Are you going to
be forward and operate? And each of them in the various regions of the world
articulated the need for stability against piracy.
To provide missile defense ships, to provide a shield for our allies in
Europe. A nuclear deterrent that's forward to -- to be able to operate with
our partners, the Marine Corps to be able to project power both from a
carrier air wing, from a submarine and SSG and -- or from the amphibious
forces. But the primary element is that's stability and surety to our allies
and the ability to be forward and to respond quickly.
The demand for naval forces forward from the combatant commanders has never
been higher, both in central command and in the Western Pacific, but also in
other regions, be it counter drug or in Africa where humanitarian assistance
is needed. Or to support Special Forces from international waters. So we see
that -- that pulling back those forces and their presence would abdicate the
nation's maritime leadership in the world.
And would really reduce our ability to influence, shape events around the
globe and provide stability.
We understand that adjustments are going to have to be made to forward
deployed Army forces. But at the same time, we think it's absolutely
critical. We think it's absolutely critical from an engagement standpoint.
The relationships that are made when a young captain meets another captain
from a -- from -- from another service and they grow up together in their
own services and have those connections back and forth are absolutely
Particularly in a strategy that is going to rely on the ability of allies to
assist us. Without that forward engagement, that living and working and
training with those forces, we lose so much. So I -- I would be very - very
careful at taking a look at just what the green eye shade people would look
at when they look at forward deployed and stationed forces.
I would look at some of the second and third order effects and the
intangibles of the relationships that are built and how critical those
relationships are in a time of crisis. It's always good to have someone on
the other side you can call. And -- and many of these engagements provide
that to us.
The -- one of the other discussions we've had up here from a lot of people
we -- we sometimes get lost in the nomenclature and the syntax and people
will say, well if we make all these cuts we just simply have to come back
and redo our strategy so that we can't do as many missions. The chairman was
kind enough to have -- or smart enough to have the three former chairmen
testify before our full committee a couple weeks ago I guess it was. We had
former chairman Hunter and Skelton and also former Chairman John Warner from
I asked each of them what warning would you want to give to our committee,
or to the Congress from all of your years of experience. And Congressman
Skelton said that throughout his tenure in Congress there were 13
contingencies. Twelve of those were not predicted. Only one of them was
No matter what we do with our strategy in terms of changing that, do any of
you know of a time when any of your services were asked by the President of
the United States to go perform the mission that you said, no we can't do it
because it's not in our strategy? General Chiarelli?
And I will give you an example from my own career. When I was a division
commander, I spent a year in -- in Iraq. I came back and went into a reset
phase. I was back for three months when Katrina hit the continental United
States. I -- I was told at a time when I was at the lowest readiness level
of probably any unit in the United States Army, to pick up a brigade and
send it to New Orleans from Fort Hood, Texas within 24 hours.
What -- when I asked the question, are you kidding me? We just got back from
Iraq, I was told, you don't understand. You pick up your brigade, you be in
New Orleans in 24 hours. You -- we will never fail you. We will always do
it. But if we're not trained, if we're not equipped, if we don't have the
proper force structure, the results will not be good. They will not be good.
And General Chiarelli, would it be fair to say that when you say the results
would not be good, that includes the number of men and women that come back
And -- and that's exactly what I was trying to show in my historical
examples of the Kasserine Pass and Task Force Smith. No one ever said, no we
-- we're not going to take Task Force Smith into Korea. They said "roger,
we'll do it." But they went in with incomplete infantry battalions, a poorly
equipped and trained force and they took 40 percent causalities.
That -- that's what happens. We'll never say no. That I think we all will
promise you. But the key is the results when we do that mission.
I would echo that. In the history of the nation we have never said no and we
won't say no into the future and so, you know, our forces forward they will
be as ready as we can make them and we will operate forward. We'll be ready
and we will take risk at home rather than -- than in any way keep the forces
that we have able to achieve the mission.
Would you agree that if that risk is increased, that risk means the risk of
the number of men and women that may come back from that mission if we send
them in unprepared and unready?
I think all of us in the service accept that risk as part of the -- the
business of wearing this uniform and serving the nation. And we accept that
as part of the calculus and that our mission as leaders is to make them as
ready, to give them the equipment and minimize that as much as possible.
Chairman saying no to the commander in chief is not -- not in our DNA. We'll
never do that, we never have. I would agree with the -- with what you and
general Chiarelli and Admiral Ferguson said. We'll never say no but if we do
go into harm's way without adequate equipment, without adequate training,
without adequate leadership the cost of going into harm's way without being
ready, which is what we've articulated here today is the requirement to keep
our forces at a high state of readiness, not to have hollow forces, to be
prepared for the unexpected.
But the cost of going in harm's way without having been attentive to
balanced readiness is absolutely the cost of young Americans.
And one of the things that I mentioned that we asked the former chairman was
if you could give us one warning about these cuts that are coming down, the
things that would happen. What would the warning be that you'd give to this
subcommittee that we could give to the full committee that we could give to
Congress from all of your years of experience? What concerns you most? And
-- and with that, please feel free at this time to -- to tell us anything
that we've left out that you feel you want to get on this record so that we
can give you that opportunity to do that.
And then I'm going to wrap up by letting the chairman and Ms. Bordallo have
any final comments that they might want to make. Anybody want to start?
My biggest fear is that we will not be able to -- and we understand we're
going to have to downsize the Army. We already know we're going to 520 --
520,000, that -- that is in the books, 27,000 in force structure and 22,000
in a temporary end strength increase. I am concerned about losing the entire
temporary end strength increase because I have such a high number of
individuals who are in the disability evaluation system and it's taking me
way too long to get through that.
I won't go into any great detail but I would hope someday we'll look at the
disability evaluation system and look to design a system built for an all
volunteer force rather than a system that currently is built for a conscript
force. I think that's a huge issue out there when it comes to readiness that
we have to look at.
But my fear is we won't do this in a balanced way. Whatever size force we
have at the end, has got to be modernized, it has to be well trained and
maintained. That is absolutely critical. And besides shrinking our force,
the -- the real mistake we have made in the past is to take some kind of
solace in the fact that from the Army's standpoint we maintain a force
structure of X, you name it. After World War II, it was 530,000 folks. But
it wasn't the size of the force that got Task Force Smith into trouble. It
was the modernization of that force and the training of the force that got
it into trouble. That's what caused the problem. That's what caused the 40
percent casualty rate.
So I just ask, as we look at this, that we do it with those three resets
that I talked about earlier on, that we look at force structure, we look at
modernization, and we look at training and maintaining that force and ensure
that whatever size the Army is at the end of this thing, that it is a
well-trained, modernized force that can do what the nation asks it to do.
I firmly believe America is a maritime nation faced by two oceans, and we --
our prosperity and our standing in the world in many ways is -- is ensured
by the naval forces that we're able to deploy forward.
Around the globe, potential competitors are working to negate that advantage
through anti-access area denial capabilities, and we have to be able to pace
that in the modernization of our forces as we go forward.
Our allies and our friends look to us to provide stability in the global
common that is the sea. And we've assured them that we're committed to do
so. And -- and I think that's an important point of our security as we go
As I think about the future, the element of balance within the naval
portfolio is important. It is about ensuring the forces that we have,
whatever level that we set on those from the strategy and the fiscal
environment, are extraordinarily capable to meet that threat, they're able
to be forward, they're ready with adequate weapons, people, training, such
that it delivers to the president and to the nation options that he can use
forward, away from our shores.
As I leave you with, you know, thoughts or things that really affect me, I
had the occasion to attend the memorial service for the SEALs who were
killed in that crash in Afghanistan. And the -- the strength of their
families and the commitment of those individuals who are operating on a
700-day cycle, and they're gone for about 500 days of fit, they've been
doing this for 10 years of war, that core of people in the United States who
are willing to raise their right hand and serve, to me, we can never lose
that. And that's the most essential element. Thank you.
Chairman, what concerns me is really what I opened up with, and that is that
we'll make these cuts without an adequate appreciation of the strategic
implications, the implications on our readiness, or the implications of
breaking faith, as Admiral Ferguson talked about.
And also, what concerns me is that folks would think that if we get it
wrong, well, we can just simply fix it in a year or two. That's not
possible, particularly in the latter category. And if we break the trust of
our Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen today, it will be decades before
we get it back.
And so some of the decisions that we make both from an industrial base
perspective, but as importantly from a human factors perspective, the
decisions we can't possibly get wrong. We're not going to get it exactly
right, but we can't afford to get it wrong. And so I'm concerned about those
two things, and I think probably the last thing is that -- that people would
assume that, if the United States of America reduces in capability, well,
someone else will just be out there to pick up the slack.
Chairman, I don't know who that would be. And I think who will pick up the
slack are people who do not have interests that are consistent with the
United States of America, and I think we'll assume extreme risk in regions
that are critical to the United States, if we're not there, we're not
forward deployed, we're not forward engaged, we're not assuring our allies,
and we're not deterring our potential foes. Those are the things that
Thank you, General.
And we've been joined again by our chairman. I'd just like to ask if he has
any follow-on final questions or comments he'd like to offer.
Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Not to drag this out, but I had a call several weeks ago from a young man
that I watched grow up. His dad is a good friend of mine, and he's an Air
Force officer. He's a physician stationed down in San Antonio. And I guess
he'd been talking to his dad, and his dad told him to call me. And he said
he's been -- in 12 years, he's looking at re-enlisting, and he wanted to
know, what can I expect? What is my future? What will be my retirement? He's
enjoying the service, but he's very concerned.
And I couldn't tell him. You know, I don't know what his future is, because
I don't know where all of this that we're going through -- and I was down at
Camp Lejeune a couple of weeks ago, and I was visiting with some Marines and
their wives. The wives spoke up. And they're very concerned. Same questions.
You know, what happens on -- can we look forward to a career?
I've seen this -- I've seen this movie before. When I was pretty new in the
Congress, I was going up to visit West Point, and I had a lieutenant colonel
with me, they don't let us go anywhere alone. And his dad had been the chief
of the Army. No, his grandpa had been the chief of the Army. His dad had
been the youngest brigadier in the Army. And then he suffered a stroke, and
that ended his career. And this lieutenant colonel, his whole life, that was
all he ever wanted to do was serve in the military, and he was being REP'd
(ph), because his class at West Point -- there were about three year class
(ph) -- this was the drawdown under Bush and Clinton earlier in the '90s.
And he didn't want to leave. And he didn't have a choice.
And when we got to West Point, we were greeted by a lieutenant colonel
there, and he was also being REP'd (ph). It didn't matter as much -- I mean,
he didn't want to leave, but it -- to the first guy, it meant a lot. And,
you know, I thought, that does break faith, as far as I'm concerned. You
start somebody out on a career, you send them to West Point or Annapolis or,
you know, Force Academy, and you make certain promises, and then you break
those promises, that's basically what's happened.
And then I think about these young men that are going outside the wire over
in Afghanistan every day on patrol and that they're having to think about
what's happening about my future instead of concentrating on IEDs or on
snipers or on ambushes -- or just not being able to be totally focused on
their job, that puts them at risk today, needlessly.
And I just -- I...
Mr. Chairman, we thank you for those comments and for that passion that you
have for our men and women who serve in our military.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank General Dunford for his comments about the Pacific area and
how important it is that we continue to increase our force structure. This
is a troubled area. And, Mr. Chairman, Mr. McKeon, and our chairman of our
subcommittee, I live there. That's my home. And I want to know that we
Americans living in Guam and other islands surrounding us are protected.
I am -- and to all of you who gave us information this afternoon, I found it
very valuable and how important it is to keep up the strength of our
military forces. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, too, all three of you, we thank you for your service to our
country, for the men and women who serve under you. And I think you can tell
-- from listening to your testimony, you can tell from listening to the
comments up here, this is not just about procurement. It's not just about
aircraft carriers. It all does come down to individuals and those men and
women who serve under you.
All of us have those stories, stories that make this very, very real. Mine
was a young Marine, Colby Childers (ph). Colby (ph), all he wanted to do
from the time he was 11 was serve in the Marine Corps. When he was 18, he
became a Marine. When he was 19, I was speaking at his funeral.
And Colby (ph) had two tattoos. One of them was an American flag, red, while
and blue, and one of them was a family. And I was thinking at that funeral,
as I looked, this is the absolute best that America has to give.
And one of the things that we've got to make certain of -- General
Chiarelli, you mentioned it -- we don't break that faith, that we continue
that, because, Admiral Ferguson, as you mentioned, if we lose those people,
if we lose those families, this country has a tough, tough road for us to
And so I think you can tell from this subcommittee we don't plan to go
quietly in the night. We plan to fight as much as we can to make sure you
guys never have a fair fight. We don't want you to have a fair fight. And we
want to make sure the men and women who serve under you, who raise their
hand, that we're keeping that faith with them and that we're making sure
they're the best-trained, best- prepared, best-equipped military in the
And thank you for your careers and helping to make that happen. And thank
you for giving us a record that we can share with other members of Congress
to help make that a reality. So thank you.