Hearing of the House Armed Services Committee - Air Force Strategic Initiatives
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REP. JIM MARSHALL (D-GA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate -- am I on, here?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your leadership for our Air Force and the job that you do and the job that the Air Force does.
The chairman encouraged you to think strategically or at least to make more strategic presentations to us. And just on the C-5, C-17 continuing debate that's been going on for, gosh, at least 10 years now -- we've got the recent news concerning -- (inaudible) -- the dispute concerning the anticipated costs between the Air Force and the contractor, and then IDA stepping in and splitting the difference between the two contestants here and the possibility of a -- (inaudible) -- breach.
It seems to me that that's -- and it's necessary for you to do this in the day-to-day management of the Air Force, but that's getting down into the weeds a little bit more than we ought to. And the reason I say that is because I continue to be convinced -- and I think an awful lot of other people are also -- that 300 is not the number and that the minimum need is probably a good bit more than that; that the Air Mobility Study was fundamentally flawed with the assumptions that were required to be made and with the absence of any real study of the inter-theater use of C-17s specifically. And we've got to be above 300, and to get above 300 it may well be that we wind up concluding it's wisest for us to keep those C-5s or at least an awful lot more C-5s and to add more C-17s.
And if the Air Force is -- are we going through another -- or an update to the Air Mobility Study? I know when it was --
GEN. MOSELEY: Yes, sir, I understand we are going through another. It's called MCS-08, which is I guess Mobility Capability Study FY '08, which I think is underway.
SEC. WYNNE: It is.
REP. MARSHALL: Back to the Mobility Capability Study concept of this?
GEN. MOSELEY: Yes.
REP. MARSHALL: That'd be great. I really think that it's foolish for us to make some dramatic move with regard to the C-5/C-17 choice before we hear what our real strategic need is.
JCA Representative Courtney mentioned that it's probably inappropriate for us to take any dramatic steps to change the present course as part of the conference committee given what the Senate has done. My reaction, Chief, is to agree with you -- this is a roles and missions issue. It's an Air Force kind of deal; Air Force ought to be taking the lead with regard to -- this is lift, and ought to be taking the lead with regard to lift and all aspects -- training, maintenance, et cetera.
And you know, part of whether or not we change clearly would be whether or not there are going to be substantial delays. Senator Levin sent a letter. Question six in the letter specifically raised the question of delay. Air Force gave one response; Army gave another response. It would be very helpful, Chief, if General McNabb perhaps could take the lead -- I don't know who you would direct to do that -- in responding to the Army's response. Army clearly contemplates that there will be substantial delays. General McNabb's comment was pretty brief -- simply says, "No, we don't anticipate there will be any delays." But then Army got into the details concerning why there would be delays.
So obviously we're not going to move forward in the -- in conference here to make some dramatic change unless Senator Levin's question concerning number six is answered. And if maybe you guys could get that done, I'd --
GEN. MOSELEY: Sir, please let us take that for the record, and we'll get General McNabb to provide that for you.
REP. MARSHALL: UAVs -- I guess I could get you to speak for a while on that subject. It's got to be a sore point at this point. Back to roles and missions again, I hope that the deputy secretary's recent decision is a temporary decision and that DOD will be complying with our directive and committee report, that some clear statement is given to us by DOD concerning roles and missions effectively by March 31st of next year.
GEN. MOSELEY: One thing we know for sure, sir, is that -- and from a strategic basis, there would be no argument over UAVs if we didn't have air dominance.
REP. MARSHALL: Absolutely.
GEN. MOSELEY: Because we own the skies, we can talk about it.
REP. MARSHALL: Okay.
SEC. WYNNE: Congressman Marshall, this is another one of those topics that George and I are going to spend some time with, because as you would imagine as service chiefs, we see this pretty mostly the same, about competencies and about providing at the strategic level, the operational level and the tactical level where those demarcations are.
REP. MARSHALL: Before my time is expired, Chief, I am so tired of this particular subject -- I know you are as well -- it's the Air Force personnel reorganization that -- you know, frankly my impression is that AFPC is designing a test to prove that it works, and that's not a real test. You know, if AFPC considers that there needs to be one standard for all of the Air Force concerning (fill ?), look at San Antonio's progress with regard to (fill ?) -- it's pitiful, frankly, compared to what the large civilian centers are capable of doing.
GEN. MOSELEY: True.
REP. MARSHALL: I'm just tired of brining this up. I wish we could get some resolution that makes sense.
GEN. MOSELEY: Agree, sir.
REP. MARSHALL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
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