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SEN. LIEBERMAN: Subcommittee on Airland will come to order. Good afternoon.
Let me first say since this is our first subcommittee hearing this year, how much I look forward to working with my colleague and friend, Senator John Thune, in his capacity as ranking member of the committee.
We've had a very good line of partners in this committee -- I go back to Senator Santorum, Senator McCain, Senator Cornyn. And always worked in a bipartisan way on behalf of our military and I know we will here as well.
The Subcommittee on Airline meets this afternoon in the first of two hearings intended to broadly explore the nation's current and future roles and requirements for military land and air power. This afternoon we focus on land power. We're going to follow with an additional hearing next month on air power.
It's the intent of these hearings to identify requirements for our land and air power as part of our annual responsibility and really primary responsibility to authorize funding for the programs for air and land power that we conclude are necessary to provide for the common defense.
But we also do so this year to anticipate the administration's reassessment of the national security strategy, the national military strategy, and the quadrennial defense review. Over nearly eight years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan we've watched with pride and gratitude the magnificent performance of America's land forces, our soldiers and our Marines.
They have repeatedly shown that they can rise to the challenge on battlefields on which they have not fought before. They have adapted through major combat operations, counterinsurgency, and irregular warfare in response to evolving challenges that they have faced in battle. But I believe that we have not done enough to support our ground forces' transformation or to prepare them to meet future threats.
That's why at today's hearing I hope our witnesses will help us answer three basic questions. What threats are American ground forces likely to face in the foreseeable future? Is American land power now sized, organized, and equipped to defeat those threats? And if not, what changes do we need to make in the size, organization, and equipping of American land power?
It is encouraging that the Army and Marine Corps have achieved the targets for end strength growth that members on both sides of this committee and in the Senate have worked hard to set three years ago. But I don't believe that this growth is sufficient to meet current and future land power requirements.
I'm concerned that in the near term the Army will not be able to finish building all of its remaining 48 active-duty brigade combat teams or the critically necessary enablers they require, and that this growth will be insufficient in the long run for the Army to stand up any additional specialized units that it needs. We've got to organize the force to do the missions we ask of it, and provide the force with the personnel it requires.
The Obama administration is also reassessing the department's previous strategy for modernizing our land forces. Although the FY 2010 defense budget request has not been delivered yet in detail to Congress, there are reports that defense procurement funds will probably be redirected from the Army's most technologically sophisticated programs toward capabilities that target counterinsurgency, or irregular warfare.
I'm very interested and concerned about the administration's plans for the Army's major modernization program, the Future Combat Systems program. We invested a lot of money into the FCS, and some of the results are already helping our war fighters. But we've got to ask now, in this particular environment, what is the future of the Future Combat Systems program, should it be modified, terminated, or continued on the course it's on now.
The defense budget will also face pressure because of the need to reset the equipment that has been used in our ongoing wars while also shifting new resources to support the fight in Afghanistan. In short, this is a time when we really have a responsibility to conduct an examination of our nation's land power and its needs.
To help us with that examination today, we're fortunate to welcome a panel of really extraordinary witnesses whose testimony will provide, I think, a range of views with respect to the current state and future roles and requirements for our ground forces, and help us answer the questions that I have posed.
With that, Senator Thune, I would welcome an opening statement.
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I too look forward to working with you. You've outlasted a number of our colleagues on the committee -- on this subcommittee -- (laughs) -- but I'm very -- you've been a great leader on these issues. And I'm certainly honored to have the opportunity to work with you on what are going to be important national security issues to come before this subcommittee and the full committee in the days ahead.
And I think this is an important hearing. I want to join you in welcoming our witnesses. In the next few months, the subcommittee may be called upon to make some very consequential budget decisions on a number of major defense acquisition programs, and none of these decisions are going to be easy. These decisions will require this subcommittee and the entire Congress to make careful assessments of the risks and tradeoffs associated with each program.
This hearing will help informal assessment, and sharpen our thoughts about the character of future land warfare specifically, but want to hear the witnesses' views on whether or not land forces acquisition programs along with the roles and missions assigned to our land forces and the force' size, organization, and training are suitable or at least sufficiently agile.
I believe it's reasonable to assess the precise requirements for land forces will continue to evolve for the first quarter of this century, and that the geopolitical implications of the current economic crisis on our national security and the security of our allies have not been fully realized. This makes the future character of land power all the more complex.
The range of diverse threats and trends our land forces must be prepared to address, will likely escalate. While some have called this an "era of persistent conflict," I submit it may certainly be persistent, but I'm concerned that the future will be more uncertain and more unstable. Accordingly, I sense the character of the era of persistent conflict will be more irregular than conventional.
The subcommittee will want to hear and learn the witnesses' views on the difficult threats and rising trends we will face in the decades to come and the implications for our land forces. In January, the Department of Defense released the 2009 Quadrennial Roles and Missions or QRM review report.
Within the 2009 QRM review, the DOD defined its core missions as missions for which DOD is uniquely responsible, provides the preponderance of capabilities, or is the U.S. government lead as established by national policy.
The QRM review found that DOD's core mission areas are homeland defense and civilian support; deterrence operations; major combat operations; irregular warfare; military support to stabilization, security, transition and reconstruction operations; and military contribution to cooperative security.
This is clearly a full spectrum of operations, and each has a sizeable land force component. Do we have land forces that are designed and organized to rapidly adapt across the entire spectrum of operations? Do the Army's modular organizations give us versatile capability? Is the size and projected goal for our land forces sufficient? Is the education of our military leaders adequate?
Subcommittee will want to learn the witnesses' thoughts on these important issues. Our soldiers and Marines have been deployed almost continually since 2001 performing courageously against adaptive enemies. The strain on our forces and their families has been significant.
The state of the Army, as General Casey testified, is out of balance. General Casey has also said we're not able to build depth for other things, we're running the all-volunteer force at a pace that is not sustainable.
Subcommittee will want to hear the witnesses' opinions on the principle of balancing our force, the future of the all-volunteer force, the utility of the Army Force Generation or ARFORGEN model that is used to build readiness, and the future roles and missions of the reserve component land forces.
In closing, the subcommittee will benefit from the witnesses' opinions on the utility of some major acquisition program; specifically we will ask their views on the Army's Future Combat System or FCS program. The FCS is the centerpiece of the Army's modernization effort, and it's intended to make the Army lighter, more agile, and more capable combat force.
In recent weeks, the Government Accountability Office cast doubt about FCS. The GAO found the FCS' critical technologies were not currently at a minimum acceptable level of maturity, and that the FCS acquisition strategy isn't likely to be executed within the current $159 billion cost estimate. Our witnesses will be asked their views on the FCS program, and whether or not there are other modernization routes for the Army.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you.
And I look forward to hearing the testimony of our witnesses today.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Senator Thune, for that very thoughtful statement.
I want to welcome Senator Hagan, Senator Begich, and Senator Burris to the subcommittee. We're honored to have you here. And I don't want to not welcome back Senator Inhofe.
We have three really great witnesses today. And I asked the staff how they decided on the order. And the good news -- bad news for you, Andy, is that you're first because they've decided you're most senior.
Okay. Andrew Krepinevich is president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments here in Washington. He's appeared before the Armed Services Committee on many occasions before. His most recent study is "An Army at the Crossroads," one of the CSBA studies intended to contribute to the new administration's defense strategy review.
I just finished reading -- and I really did read it -- his "7 deadly Scenarios" book which is really riveting and a thought- provoking reading. And I'd recommend it to all my colleagues. I don't get any commissions on the sales, so that's really said from the bottom of my head.
Dr. Krepinevich, please proceed.
MR. KREPINEVICH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll summarize the remarks in my testimony.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: We'll include your testimony and all the others' which is very -- you know, you each did a lot of work, and I appreciate it. We'll include them all in the record as if read in full.
MR. KREPINEVICH: I think the question what kind of an army do we need, was the question that was fairly easily answered for much of the 20th century. First half of the 20th century, the answer was we need an army to beat the German Army -- World War I, World War II. Second half of the 20th century, we need an army to beat the Soviet Army. Now, these were armies that looked a lot like ours.
When you ask that question today, what kind of an army do we need, there is no other army out there like our own. And both General Casey and the secretary of Defense have said we are in an era of persistent conflict. I would insert one word into that phrase. We are in an era of persistent irregular conflict. The wars we've been waging for the last eight years -- what we're engaged in now and what we are likely to be engaged in for the foreseeable future, are irregular wars.
And when you begin to address the question of what kind of an army, I think you need to take that fundamental shift into account. We need an army that is expert at irregular warfare. A business, in a sense, we got out of after the Vietnam War and recently got back into. But we also need an army that can hedge against other kinds of conflicts, specifically conventional conflicts.
The problem that the Army has had is that the Army has a limit on its size both in terms of the human resources that it can reasonably attract at an acceptable cost, and the force that it can modernize over time. As a consequence of that, the Army has said, look, because we can only be so large and because the number of contingencies are great both at the high end and low end, we need to have a full- spectrum army.
We need an army where our brigades are fully capable of operating both at the high end of the conflict spectrum and at the low end with high levels of proficiency and on short notice. And the question that concerns me is while this may be desirable, it's not at all clear that it's possible.
It's not clear that you can rapidly switch from the skill set that is required, as General Caldwell said of strategic corporals in irregular warfare to participate in what I call the FCS ballet, the highly networked aggregation of 14 different systems waging high- intensity warfare.
And the point I think also is that not only re-asking more of our soldiers, but if you look at the quality in terms of the way the Army measures quality of the officer corps, the NCO Corps, and the enlisted force. That quality has gone down, which I think is another reason why it's really a bit risky to say that we can have a full-spectrum army that can seamlessly shift gears from one form of war to another.
Moreover, even if we have an army that is 48 brigades that can handle these kinds of missions, even if you grant the Army that assumption, the problem is a lot of the contingencies that we anticipate today or concern ourselves with today, what happens if there is a conflict in Iran and you have post-conflict operations? What happens if Pakistan comes apart at the seams, Nigeria, Indonesia -- you know, there are any one of a number of planning scenarios that by themselves would overwhelm even a 48-brigade army with a 28-brigade reserve component.
You see the wisdom in the strategy that was developed in 2006, but which really hasn't been embraced. And the strategy is the strategy of the indirect approach or building partner capacity. Now, the source of our advantage isn't in large quantity of manpower, it's in the quality of manpower that we have, the skills of the relatively small numbers of soldiers that are in the Army.
And so the idea is to leverage that quality by, over time, building up indigenous forces in other countries that are threatened by instability, threatened by state failure. And my point of view has been that as a consequence of that, when the chief of the staff of the Army talks about rebalancing the force, what you really need is a force that's balanced between conventional high-end operations and irregular warfare or stability operations.
Essentially, an army that has two wings to it, not an army with divisions that only fight conventional war and brigades that only wage irregular warfare, but an army that has brigades that are oriented, although not optimized for irregular warfare, and an army that also has brigades that are oriented but not optimized for conventional warfare.
Right now, we have an active force where the plan is to have 19 of 48 active brigades be heavy brigades. Forty percent of the active force is going to be oriented on conventional war. There are zero brigades that are oriented specifically on stability cooperation operations.
Also, what I find ironic is that while 40 percent of the active force is oriented on high-intensity warfare, only 25 percent of the reserve force is. This, despite the fact that the active force can be deployed more frequently in protracted irregular warfare operations. So I do believe that there is this imbalance.
And I do believe that when the secretary of Defense worries about the Army not institutionalizing what it's learned in the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq and in the global war on terrorism, he is concerned that the center of gravity is going to pull the Army back toward its traditional comfort zone, which is high-end conventional conflict.
So if you had a balanced force, you'd be looking at brigade combat teams that were oriented on irregular warfare, a more formal training and advisory capacity, and also a governance capacity, because the Army is signed up to the task of showing up and providing governance support in the event if the interagency team failed to show up.
This has significant implications for modernization. The Future Combat Systems were originally designed with a vision toward open battle and conventional warfare operations. Having said that, I think there are four areas of risk associated with the Future Combat Systems. One is physical risk as the chairman pointed out. A second is technical risk as the GAO study pointed out. A third is temporal risk, and a fourth is operational risk.
To the extent that we overrate our investments toward FCS and accept these kinds of risks, I think we jeopardize our ability to properly reset the force. And also we ignore the issue of the need, prospectively, for what I would call war reserve stocks.
If we are going to be in the business of building partner capacity, and if we are going to be in the business of doing that rapidly, we are going to have to have stockpiles of equipment so that we can, in the future, help build up military forces that can provide for their own security.
Or as the case indicates now, building up the Afghan National Army, for example, and equipping them in ways that will enable them to take on more of the responsibility from our forces there. I'll mention one final thing, and that's what I would call the G-RAMM threat. This is guided rockets, artillery, mortars, and missiles. Some people call it hybrid warfare.
I think the clear example here is the second Lebanon war of 2006 where Hezbollah fired roughly 4,000 projectiles into Israel. Several hundred thousand Israeli citizens had to be evacuated. The Israelis had to shut down their oil refining and distribution system for fear that a lucky hit would cause untold damage.
I think the Army has a real mission here in terms of looking at how air missile defenses counter-battery fires and things hunter- killer teams can begin to deal with this nascent threat that I think over the next decade will become a more direct threat to us.
So in summary, what I see is a fundamental shift, a very difficult question that was an easy question to answer in the 20th century, and an important question to address at this time not just because the threat has changed, but also because you can only reset the force once.
You know, Congress has generously offered to write that big check, but once you write that big check for that equipment that's supposed to be in the field for 10 or 20 or 25 years, particularly in this fiscal environment, it becomes a very difficult task to accept a response five years down the road -- gee, we made a mistake, please, we need to reset again.
So again, my belief is that chief is right. What we need is a rebalanced army. But the kind of army that we're looking at right now is, in my estimation, far too rebalanced and oriented on traditional or conventional military operations.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Dr. Krepinevich. You got us off to a good start.
Our next witness is Tom Donnelly, who I would describe as a recovering journalist. He was a professional staff member of the House Armed Services Committee, editor of the Armed Forces Journal, and now is a research scholar with the American Enterprise Institute here in Washington. Mr. Donnelly and coauthor Fred Kagan recently published the study "Ground Truth: The Future of U.S. Land Power." So he is again ready to be a helpful witness today. Thanks for being here.
MR. DONNELLY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. At least you didn't describe me as a recovering House guy. So -- I have a lot of persistent diseases.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: I'm going to hold my tongue at this point.
MR. DONNELLY: Okay. (Laughs.)
I see very much a similar world to the world that Andy sees. And that's always the case in these circumstances where the opening testimony becomes the standard, and everything else becomes a commentary upon that.
So I see very much a similar world to the world that Andy sees, but I think Andy goes wrong in general terms and in crude terms by trying to fit the strategic requirement of the land forces to the size of the force and the shape of the force, rather than sizing the force and shaping the force based upon American strategic goals and -- (off mike).
And I would also say that those strategic goals have been remarkably consistent and are much clearer than people have almost been willing to accept over the last decade in this regard. Administrations of both parties have wanted to preserve American leadership in a global sense, and have done -- taken the necessary steps, not often with perfect foresight or with perfect understanding, to maintain that position.
And so I think we can see, in that regard, that the future for American land forces is not all that dissimilar from our recent post- Cold War experience or particularly from our post 9/11 experience.
The war, the so-called long war that we are now engaged in in the Middle East, meaning the attempt to build a Middle East, a greater Middle East, an Islamic world that we can live with, that the rest of the world can live with, is a mission that's been ongoing since the establishment of U.S. central command a generation ago.
And if we look at the operation of U.S. forces in that region, over the course of time, it's been very much a growth industry and has transitioned from a maritime and aerospace presence to an onshore land presence. So we may not be able to tell precisely where our forces will be operating and what the tactical nature of engagement will be for the future.
But I think we delude ourselves if we don't think that the outcome of this war is critical to us, and that the primary instrument that we have to achieve that success is our land forces, our Army and our Marine Corps. We have come ashore, so to speak, in the region. And if we withdraw, that will be a huge setback for the United States.
And therefore, we do have enough information to conduct intelligent force planning, in particular, land force planning going forward. Now, my testimony sort of describes the general characteristics of the land force that we need. But in the interest of brevity and in response to some of the subjects that already -- that have been raised, I just want to make a couple of more precise remarks.
And I think it's worth beginning, first of all, with the size of the force. Numbers really matter. If you want to have a force that's versatile, that's flexible, that's genuinely expansible, where the reserve components are a strategic reserve, not just a part of the operational conveyer belt, not just a substitute for the active force that we already have, the key to that -- to solving that puzzle is expanding the size of the active force, and particularly the size of the Army, because the Army is America's long war force, meaning conducting sustained operations.
The fact that we are having insufficient Army not only has consequences for the reserve components, but as I said, consequences for the Marine Corps. We have transformed -- particularly in the last five years -- the Marine Corps from being an expeditionary force, a force in readiness as they would say, to yet another link in this conveyer belt of deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.
And if we want the Marines to do the things that are uniquely Marine, again, the answer in my mind is to have enough army to be able to do what we need to do on a day-in day-out basis. So 547,000 active duty soldiers is not enough. We've been mobilizing more than 100,000 reserve and national guardsmen every day since 9/11. And so we have a pretty good idea of what the requirement going forward to upgrade at this pace is.
And I for one think it's a rebuttable proposition that we will not continue to operate at this pace going forward. So when you kind of put really ballpark numbers on it or do, you know, the kind of troop-to-task analysis that force planners do, the answer should be to have an active duty army that's somewhere about the size that it was at the end of the Cold War -- that is, about 780,000. Now, where would be --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Seven hundred and?
MR. DONNELLY: Seven hundred and eighty thousand.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Eighty? Okay.
MR. DONNELLY: That was the size of the active duty army in 1991 before the post-Cold War drawdown. And we had maintained the force of that size ever since the early 1980s when the Army chose to -- rather than expanding itself when the Reagan buildup began -- to do accelerated modernization resulting in the big five programs that are -- still remain frontline fighting systems of U.S. Army today.
So we ought to return to something like that level which we maintained for a generation back then. That would essentially make the size of America's land forces in total, meaning active, Army and Marine Corps, something like a million people. That would be 1/3 of 1 percent of the American population -- not something that's not sustainable, but a force of an adequate size to maintain the kind of pace of operation that we have seen persistently since 9/11.
Couple of quick final points because I know we're pressed for time. I regard our stance as not being just simply one of a regular warfare. The term "hybrid warfare" -- and particularly when you take the experience as a whole and add in things like the Israeli experience in Southern Lebanon in 2006, essentially means that all aspects of land forces have been stressed, I would say, to the maximum extent that it's reasonable to imagine.
And so the need for mounted forces, be they middleweight forces like Stryker Brigades or Marine mounted forces, and even heavy forces have performed remarkably well in a variety of roles. So as we go forward, I would certainly agree with Andy that as the Army grows, I would prefer to buy lighter forces and more middleweight Stryker-like forces, although the FCS would make for lighter units.
So as -- in the shape of the correct size land force, I would agree that the balance between very heavy and lighter forces needs to be adjusted. But again, I think the first question is whether the force is large enough. Final point about size is that we expect a -- our land forces, as Andy suggested, do many more non-combat kinds of missions and tasks than we thought they were going to be required to do a decade ago.
That means that we do have to have people who are trained advisers to do the partnership role. It also means that we need our leaders to go to school, our NCOs to go to basic and advanced and Sergeant Major Academy courses, and are officers to Command and General Staff College and War College, and in fact to make the rigor of our professional military education even higher than it has been.
So we need to have a force that's as well educated if not better educated, that has time to participate in the kind of quality of American life that all American citizens expect; that means they can't be getting off a plane for Iraq and then boarding another one for Afghanistan or wherever else they're going to go.
So all these things -- all the qualities that we want to inculcate and maintain in the force, are dependent on having a force that's of adequate size. And what we have done over the last five years is use a too small force too often. And we are not going to walk away from the mission without paying a huge price. So the question becomes are we going to pay the price to execute the mission successfully.
I want to conclude with a few remarks about FCS, because I regard that as a program that's profoundly misunderstood in no small measure, because the Army doesn't do a very good job of explaining what the requirement is. I believe that this will bring much greater flexibility to the force.
We will have smaller tracked combat vehicles that are more applicable to a wider variety of missions. They will be much more capable and adaptable to the kind of environment that we find ourselves in.
That means they will have not only lighter chassis, but chassis that are ballistically better protected against improvised explosive devices and threats that attack them not only from the direct front, the way the M1 and Bradley are designed to do, but from underneath, from the top, and from the sides as modern weapons suggest.
Networking is an essential feature of a small force in an irregular warfare environment or hybrid warfare environment. And finally, there's a whole host of things that are just necessary to do, because the -- simply extending the life of our current vehicles wouldn't solve some of the problems that we face.
Just to take one final example -- the FCS will have an engine that generates much more electricity than the current fleet of vehicle does. Soldiers now have to turn off the many computers and widgets and electronic devices that are part of their world, that are part of the way that they fight and operate, because they don't have enough electricity to keep them on all the time.
So a vehicle that not only generates more electrical power onboard, but can power many other kinds of devices, particularly the individual soldier devices that will be so essential to maintaining the effectiveness of dismounted infantrymen and other individual soldiers in a complex irregular warfare environment, is absolutely essential.
And I could certainly continue in this vein. I look forward to answering your questions. But in my mind, the question is both simpler and harder than many people are willing to acknowledge. I don't believe that we can reform or find a clever solution to our problems that will be sufficient.
We simply need to have a larger and more modern land force, and FCS is probably the best alternative to go back to a different form of modernization that modernizes in a stovepipe individual platform way would be to repeat the mistakes of the past.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thanks very much, Tom; very interesting. It strikes me as we're talking today, that what we are assuming the centrality of our land forces in persistent irregular conflict -- and of course we should. But it seemed not so long ago that there were some feelings, certainly during the '90s, that maybe we could deal with irregular conflict from the air.
Obviously, air power is very important. But I think everybody now agrees from our experience, that land power is the key.
Our final witness, Dr. Pete Mansoor has really been at the heart of the transformation of our land forces. A real scholar, soldier, Raymond Mason, Jr. chair in military history at Ohio State University. Last year he retired from the Army after commanding a brigade of the 1st Armored Division in Iraq, and later served as a special advisor to General David Petraeus in an FI (ph) in Baghdad in which capacity many of us had the pleasure to meet him.
Dr. Mansoor's experiences I think will add a valuable perspective on today's discussion, and for that reason and many others, I thank you for being here.
MR. MANSOOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Thune, members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear today to discuss the ongoing development of our nation's land power.
Due in no small measure to the remarkable capabilities of the other components of our armed forces, I believe that land power will be the deciding factor in our nation's wars in the early 21st century. The United States remains the pre-eminent global power in conventional warfare, a fact well-understood by our opponents.
It is far easier for the enemy to challenge the capabilities of American forces in an asymmetric fashion. In short, our enemies will most likely avoid fighting the type of wars the United States has organized and trained its armed forces to fight.
In the 1990's, various military officers and defense analysts posited a coming revolution in military affairs based on information dominance coupled with precision-guided munitions. Concepts such as network-centric warfare envisioned near-perfect intelligence from manned and unmanned sensors, satellites, and other intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets.
Accurate and timely information would lead to battlespace dominance, prompt attacks on targets from extended ranges, and the execution of rapid, decisive operations that would quickly and precisely collapse an enemy armed force or regime at its center of gravity.
Advanced sensors and precision guided munitions, however, are tactical and operational capabilities, they are not a strategy. Those leaders who staked the outcome of the Iraq War on rapid, decisive operations misread the nature of war, and not just the nature of war in the post-Cold War era, but the nature of warfare in any era.
Despite our high-tech capabilities, uncertainty and the interplay of friction and chance on military operations will remain integral to war for the indefinite future.
There is a larger point here. The emphasis on technology over an understanding of the realities of war and conflict reflect the a- historicism not only of too much of the officer corps but of the American educational system as well.
Our mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan have come through a pervasive failure to understand the historical framework within which insurgencies take place, to appreciate the cultural and political factors of other nations and people, and to encourage the learning of other languages.
In other words, we managed to repeat many of the mistakes that we made in Vietnam, because America's political and military leaders managed to forget nearly every lesson of that conflict.
As appealing as high-tech warfare with standoff weapons may seem, those who advocate it in the current environment are guilty of mirror- imaging our opponents. State and non-state actors are using proxy forces and insurgencies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to advance their political goals along with their social and religious agendas.
We cannot rely on high tech weaponry to check these groups. High tech weapons designed for combat at stand-off ranges are ill suited for combating insurgents in urban strongholds. Sensors are a poor substitute for personal interaction.
Therefore, we must closely examine expensive, high-tech programs such as the Army's Future Combat System to determine if they are useful in the current operational environment, where the typical engagement range is less than 500 meters and the need to engage the population is the paramount priority.
History has underlined again and again that counterinsurgency warfare can only be won on the ground -- as you noted Mr. Chairman -- and only by applying all elements of national power to the struggle. These struggles are troop intensive, for the counterinsurgent must secure and control the population, deliver essential services, and provide a basic quality of life. These requirements take energy, resources, and above all, time.
Although the requirement to sustain counterinsurgency forces for extended periods suggests the need for considerable expansion of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps -- as my colleague has noted -- the best way to provide more ground forces is to procure them from the host nation. This realization mandates a significant focus on advisory duty and foreign internal defense, along with the creation of an institutional home for these activities in the armed forces.
We must further design our military forces with a balanced set of capabilities, but it is essential that they be capable of operating effectively in a counterinsurgency environment. During the 1990s, U.S. Army leaders believed that units trained for major combat operations could easily adjust to take on other missions, such as peacekeeping or humanitarian assistance.
In Iraq and Afghanistan we have learned that counterinsurgency warfare actually requires a long list of added capabilities that training for conventional, high-end combat does not address. In short, counterinsurgency is a thinking soldier's war.
Military intelligence must also change or risk irrelevance. High tech intelligence capabilities are no substitute for human intelligence and cultural understanding. One cannot divine tribal structures, insurgent networks, sectarian divisions, and ethnic mosaics through technological means.
As the United States ramped up its math and science education following the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957, so must it now pursue excellence in humanities programs such as history, cultural anthropology, regional studies, and languages. Our nation's universities, to include my home at the Ohio State University, stand ready to assist in this endeavor.
The transformation of American land power for the wars of the 21st century remains incomplete. Although bulky divisions have given way to smaller, modular, more easily deployable brigade combat teams, these units remain largely configured for conventional combat and imperfectly at that.
Brigades that are tailored for counterinsurgency operations would include more infantry; a full engineer battalion; augmented staff capabilities and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets, particularly armed reconnaissance units that can engage the people and fight for information.
The need for more infantry and engineers is especially critical, so much so that the Army should forgo the creation of additional brigade combat teams until existing units are reconfigured with the addition of a third maneuver battalion. And if this seems like a small matter, if you did that across the force it would take about 45,000 soldiers to add another maneuver battalion and a -- fuel a engineer battalion.
The paucity of the current brigade combat team structure has forced brigade commanders to attach armor and infantry companies to the reconnaissance squadron, which is otherwise too lightly armed to act as a combat force. A triangular organization would be more effective not just in counterinsurgency warfare, but would give our maneuver commanders the resources they need to fight more effectively in conventional conflicts as well.
Finally, the culture of the U.S. Army must continue to change, or the organization will be unprepared to fight and win the wars of the 21st century. While retaining the capability to conduct major combat operations, the Army must continue to embrace missions other than conventional land force combat.
We must adapt the current personnel system, with its emphasis on rewarding technical and tactical expertise at the expense of intellectual understanding and a broader, deeper grasp of the world in which we live, to promote those leaders with the skill sets and education needed for the wars America will fight in the decades ahead.
In other words, to win the fight against 21st century opponents, we must first adapt the organizational culture of our military forces to the realities of 21st century warfare.
Thank you. And I look forward to your questions.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: That was excellent. Thank you.
Unfortunately, a series of three votes went off at around 2:30. So if we hustle over now we'll get to the end of the first vote. We'll try to get back as soon after 3:00 as we can. But I'm glad we got the opening statements in, so please stand at ease for a while. The hearing will be recessed.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Okay. The hearing will come back to order. Unfortunately, we're going to do a kind of round-robin here, but thanks for your patience in this. I thought rather than just linger and snooze with my colleagues, as enjoyable as that is, during the -- between the votes, it was good to come back.
Senator Thune will follow. He has an amendment on the floor now, so he may take a while. And then one of us will take turns going back for the last of the three votes.
Your opening statements were really excellent and responsive to what we were talking about.
Let me focus for a minute on the future combat systems and just try to draw you out in a little more detail, and then I will come back to the Army personnel questions which are very important, and some provocative ideas were presented.
Future Combat System, as you all know, features a tactical network, eight-manned ground vehicles, two classes of unmanned aerial vehicles, and other robotic ground vehicles. The Army says it plans to build 15 FCS brigade teams, and also plans to spinout certain FCS technologies and systems to the modular infantry brigades or the current forces they become available.
It's obvious that pursuant to what the president has said, what secretary of Defense has said, that FCS is under review now. Each of you touched on the program in some ways, I suppose in the most direct way, and probably too simplistic. I want to ask you what you think.
If you were -- some of you do this, so I shouldn't pose the hypothetical. If you were advising the president -- I'll state it that way, since I don't think you've advised the president -- on FCS -- well, generally speaking to frame three options would you recommended that it continue on the course it's on now, be modified, or be terminated?
Pete, why don't we start with you?
MR. MANSOOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to go back to military innovation in general to -- so that we understand why FCS exists, or if we can get the Army to tell us exactly what it's aimed at.
If you go back to military innovation in the interwar period -- between World War I and World War II for instance -- what you see is that the best innovation, such as carrier aviation, armored warfare, the British integrated air defense system that won the Battle of Britain, are focused tactical, technical, and operational solutions to specific problems and specific challenges that unfocused modernization, that looks out at creating a kind of capability that has no historical antecedent usually creates the wrong type of capabilities and ends up being non-viable capability in the next war.
This is the issue with FCS. It's a system that's been built around unproven theories that are aimed at creating a kind of capability that really doesn't meet a specific strategic challenge. If you look out over the range of possible enemies the United States faces today, the number of possibilities of the Unites States engaging in mobile armored warfare on the ground with massed armies is pretty limited.
On the other hand, if you look at the possibilities for irregular warfare -- we're already fighting two, Iraq and Afghanistan -- if you look at the possibilities in Pakistan or Mexico, or any number of other areas in the world today, I would argue that the Army should be creating capabilities to meet those specific strategic challenges that exist.
And therefore, I think that FCS -- you should look at it with a view to modifying it to make sure that it meets those current challenges.
My issue with the system is it's really intended to fight at long ranges with a very networked sensor-heavy system where you see first, act first, hit targets very precisely. But when you look at targets in counterinsurgency warfare, they wear civilian clothes, they hide among people. They are in dense urban areas.
I don't think FCS is really configured to fight that kind of war. And therefore, if we're going to equip 19 active Army brigades and maybe a number of other reserve brigades with the system, you're creating the kind of capability that really isn't tuned to the kind of war that we're going to be facing for the next two, three decades at a minimum. So I would think that the system would have to be modified.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Okay. And I want to hear the other two. But I will come back and ask you some questions. It was very helpful.
Andy, what would you say?
MR. KREPINEVICH: I'd say major modification.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Yeah.
MR. KREPINEVICH: For four reasons. One, I think there is a lot of, as I said, fiscal risk. The program is at about $160 billion. Independent estimates put it closer to $200 billion. Originally started out as 18 systems, to keep the cost under control they had to reduce it down to 14 systems. Now there is discussion they are going to reduce it down to 10 systems, 10 new systems.
Technical risk, only as -- according to GAO report, only three of the 44 critical technologies have reached the point where best business practices would say, yes, this is a high -- an acceptable risk in terms of moving forward with an entire program.
You've got an F-35 that's got 20 million lines of code. The FCS network is now up to 95 million lines of code. Now, the Army has told me that about 70 million lines of this code are sort of code that's already been written for other purposes that we're going to pull together.
My one concern is that you could also say that Windows Vista was built on lot of established lines of code, and we were just adding code to it. I just think it -- when you're adding as much code as it's going to be in the F-35 that's a real significant issue.
There is temporal risk. General Shinseki, when FCS started said if we don't fuel the system by 2010 the Army risks becoming strategically irrelevant. Obviously, we're not going to get there. It's not going to be 2012. It's not going to be 2015. Now we're talking 2017.
At some point the assumptions you make about, okay, we're going to get rid of our oldest equipment because this is coming on. If that stuff doesn't come on at a certain point then you incur another risk. You either have to start paying much higher O&M cost for the stuff that you can't get rid of. Or you have to start recapitalizing the stuff that you already have. And I don't think that's been given sufficient weight.
And then finally, as Dr. Mansoor points out, this system was revolutionary for a form of warfare that I fear is passing into history; see first, understand first, act first, finish decisively. The idea was that unlike the Army I grew up in where you closed with and destroyed the enemy, you maneuvered and then closed with him then in close combat and defeated him. The idea here was you would see enemy armored forces at a distance, and the decisive battle would occur at a distance.
Well, first of all we can already do that if the Army and the Air Force work together. We showed that in the second Gulf War. But secondly, as Dr. Mansoor pointed out, our enemies don't fight that way anymore. And they have almost no incentive to go back to fighting that way.
I'm also concerned in terms of operational effectiveness about a system whose effectiveness in terms of public pronouncements is very much a product of simulations. And, you know, simulations about what's very effective. In this environment that's very effective. Well, that's if everything works as assumed, because a simulation in many respects is only as good as the assumptions you put into it.
My feeling is that the big advantage that was supposed to be offered by the FCS was the network, a network that would enable you to violate the military principle of mass and disperse your forces making them far less vulnerable. In an irregular warfare environment that kind of network may be highly useful.
But we should build a network, number one. We should determine what kind of network we need. And I think principally it's a network for irregular warfare primarily. Third, we should see whether it's possible to build that kind of network before we really take big steps in terms of these are the kinds of ground combat vehicles that best suit, you know, this particular modernization program for the Army.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thanks. That's very interesting. Good discussion.
My time is up. I wonder if you want to try a short answer, Mr. Donnelly, or wait for the second round.
MR. DONNELLY: Well, I'll try to be quick. And then if it's inadequate, if you want me to submit --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Okay. Good.
MR. DONNELLY: I would accelerate the program actually. I think Pete's historical example is in apropos to the current moment. That was a period of strategic pause between two global conflicts. We are now, as everybody agrees, in an era of persistent conflict. And we have a need to continue to fuel the force on a day in and day out basis.
The -- I would agree with Andy that the value of the network is really the key to the system. But just -- we shouldn't measure it by the old data transformation rhetoric of 2000 and previous. The value of a network in a regular warfare environment is something that we should test, and that's what the Army is doing at Fort Bliss. And I think we should have an open mind about whether it's going to work, or whether it is worth the money.
The other part of the program that I think is critical is the radio part of it. The value of a network is, I think, particularly in a dispersed operational environment, is one that is self generating.
And there are a lot of questions about the JTRS Radio. I mean, I'm not an engineer. But I think that's really an engineering question as to whether it can be solved. But we need a network that doesn't -- it doesn't go blind or become useless when satellites are not available or when other, you know, nodes outside the ground network are unavailable.
So I take -- finally, the individual soldier gear, the revival of what used to be called the land warfare -- warrior program --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Right.
MR. DONNELLY: -- is really -- again, particularly an irregular warfare environment and the rightful (ph) radio, as it was called. Those kinds of small things don't get the headlines. And we're going to need some new vehicles. The ones that we have are old, and have reached the point where they can't really be modified to do what they need to do. And Stryker is only a little bit better than Bradley and Abrams in that regard.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: So bottom line, you would continue on the current course and really try to accelerate it.
MR. DONNELLY: Particularly the individual soldier gear --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: That's it.
MR. DONNELLY: -- the radio, and making the network work, which again I think are kind of software engineering challenges that are solvable.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thank you.
SEN. THUNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you all very much for your testimony.
Mr. Donnelly, you had mentioned that the force isn't large enough. You mentioned 780,000 in 1991. And I'm just curious, perhaps from each of you, what you might think the optimal force size is for the modern Army?
MR. DONNELLY: Well, again in order to maintain the pace of operations that I think is reasonable to expect, to be able to give people time to train, to be educated the way we want them to be, to have a decent quality of family life so they stay in the Army. So the (compact ?) between America and its soldiers is not violated.
And I go through the arithmetic in the book in a pretty wonky kind of a way, but plus or minus, I would say somewhere in the 750 (thousand) to 800,000 ballpark for the Army is what I would keep coming back to.
SEN. THUNE: Okay.
MR. KREPINEVICH: I guess it's -- in an ideal world I would like Tom Donnelly's army. In the real world what I see is an Army leadership that is asking more of its soldiers and its officers.
General Caldwell says, you know, it's not strategic corporals anymore. I need strategic privates. I need even the most junior soldiers to be able to operate at a very high level of competence and across the full spectrum of conflict, so high end low end almost seamlessly.
What we're also seeing though is, despite the fact that we keep demanding more, the quality is going down. In terms of the quality of the enlistees in terms of the quality of the NCOs now it's -- now automatic promotion to E5 and E6.
That brings back memories of the Vietnam era Army that I served in, the shake and bake NCOs. You know, these are people -- you know, some of whom should not be junior NCOs; the increased stress on senior NCOs, the accelerated promotion rates for officers. So what we have is a situation where the demands go up, the quality goes down.
And oh, by the way, the cost per soldier has increased nearly 50 percent in real terms since 9/11. We can say we want a 781,000- soldier Army. The fact of the matter is we can't afford it. If we try to get it, I think the quality would go down even further.
Strategy is about playing to your advantages. You know, our advantage is not large quantities of manpower. Our advantage is technology and high quality manpower. And I think the Defense Department has it right. You know, the way we leverage technology, the way we leverage our quality manpower is to train, organize, advise, and equip the indigenous forces of other counties, both to prevent from descending into instability and becoming failsafe.
And also, obviously, to be able -- you know, to have a sufficient force, which I think we can do with roughly the numbers we have now, to be able to plug the gap in cases where we haven't been successful and where the failure of a state or the loss of a region would be unacceptable to us in terms of our interest.
So again our advantages, quality personnel, technology, equipment, and also allies. You know, we have more allies than any other country in the world. Leverage them, train them, equip them to the extent that we can, you know, rely on diplomacy to help them get more in the game. But I think the notion that somehow you can have a much bigger Army and retain quality and not suffer unacceptable cost in terms of trying to pay and equip that Army, I think, is an illusion.
MR. MANSOOR: Thank you, Senator.
I think with 48 active brigade combat teams, if you want to be able to deploy one-third of them on a continual basis, we're able to do -- deploy 16 at any given time. And if you add the capabilities that I called for in my testimony, I think you get up to a figure somewhere short of 600,000.
But I'd like to add on to what Dr. Krepinevich had to say, because I think it goes to something that's really crucial. And that is, it's just not total numbers of soldiers. We need to substantially increase the number of officers that we have, and for several reasons.
The ability of this nation to provide advisors to foreign militaries is a crucial component, I think, of our military strategy going forward. Those advisors cannot be trained quickly. They have to be officers and even senior non-commissioned officers with years of experience in the force.
Where our Army used to get these officers, non-commissioned officers during the Cold War was from Training and Doctrine Command. But what we have done in the 1990s is we've gutted Training and Doctrine Command, moved those active officers into active units, and instead staffed those positions with contractors.
So we've taken out all of the fat in the system, if you will. But we've made it almost impossible to find the number of advisors that we need for the kind of requirements that we have.
The other thing I would say about increasing officer corps is, it would give our officers time for increased professional military education in the future years, because this is what is going to be really, really crucial to our Army and Marine Corps and the other services as well going forward.
We have to have officers who understand the way the world works, well beyond just the kind of professional military education they get at Fort Leavenworth or the War College. And I think it calls for additional years of education in the mid-grade period. But that's going to require a bigger officer corps to make sure that we can provide the time for them to do that.
SEN. THUNE: Okay. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, I think we got to -- run over and vote and try and come back. Do you want to keep going, or do you want to --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Yeah, I think we probably -- are you prepared to come back, or do you want to go forward a little bit?
SEN. ROLAND W. BURRIS (D-IL): I -- Mr. Chairman, mine is quick --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Go ahead. Go right ahead.
Senator Burris, thanks for being here.
SEN. BURRIS: My pleasure, Mr. Chairman.
You know, let me just present this to especially Dr. Krepinevich. Is that the correct pronunciation, doctor?
MR. KREPINEVICH: Yes, senator.
SEN. BURRIS: Okay. I want to make sure that I get --
MR. KREPINEVICH: Not too many get it right on the first try.
SEN. BURRIS: In your statements you said that the Army has understandably felt compelled to pursue the full-spectrum approach owing to the need to cover a range of mission within the limitations on its size imposed by fiscal constraints, and its all-volunteer character.
You then go on to imply that this approach is not viable. But to counter the Army's shortcomings, the U.S. defense strategy is based upon the Army's focusing on building up the military capabilities of threatened states. Then you state that the Army must give greater attention to supporting this strategy.
Recently we have been briefed by the 10 Unified Combat Commands. I noted that each mentioned their military-to-military activities, that they decided to increase these activities. And Dr. Krepinevich, are the military-to-military activities specifically what you are addressing? Is it in your statements?
MR. KREPINEVICH: In part. I mean, military-to-military activities, you know, might be joint exercises or combined exercises with other military. They might be officers attending our staff colleges and war colleges, our officers going and attending theirs.
So -- but it might also extend, in my estimation, to things like training, organizing, equipping, and, you know, operating with their military units depending upon the situation in the field, and in combat if it's a street that's threatened by disorder, by terrorism, by insurgents. So it's much more expansive than just, you know, formal meetings, and exchanges of students and staff in war colleges.
I would see, you know, certain Army brigades that are oriented in this way as being available to support requests from other countries for that kind of support. You know, for support in enabling them to defend themselves from internal insurrection or external subversion.
SEN. BURRIS: Another question doctor. Now, do you have evidence or instances where the combat commanders are not supporting current U.S. defense strategies? Could you please help me put this into context if those combat commanders are not?
MR. KREPINEVICH: No, I don't have any evidence that they are not supporting U.S. strategy.
It's -- in the case of the Army, as an institution, not a combatant commander, my concern is that their approach in supporting the strategy places too much emphasis on dealing with the risk of conventional war, which I think is relatively low compared to irregular war.
And not enough attention on creating the capability and the capacity to execute what is the defense department's strategy which emphasizes building up -- you know, not deploying our forces to fight their wars for them, but helping these people, you know, build up their own forces, train their own forces, advise them when they go into military operations, and so they learn to, you know, stand on their own two feet.
You know, that is where we have the advantage. We don't have a huge army. We don't have a large population that we can draw upon. You know, we have relatively small army for the tasks that it's been asked to address, and the way -- but the way to leverage our advantages. Our advantages are we have very high quality soldiers that can train, that can advise.
We have a large defense budget that can help us buy equipments to equip others, so we don't have to do the fighting ourselves. And we do have allies that if hopefully we engage properly, we can get help -- you know, get them to help participate in this kind of an endeavor.
You know, at the end of the day, you know, the best force to impose security in a country, in a society are the indigenous forces, not external forces.
SEN. BURRIS: Sure.
MR. DONNELLY: I'm sorry, do you -- same question. Sorry I forgot this, I'm sorry.
SEN. BURRIS: Yeah, this is -- no, this is not the question for you, because I'm trying to deal with your 1 million for -- your 800,000 force Army.
Now, given the fact that we don't have a draft, how do you think we can maintain to get that number up when it's all-volunteer?
MR. DONNELLY: First of all. The professional force, all- volunteer force, the original all-volunteer force that we raised, trained, and equipped for the cold war was that size, with 780,000 men. It was all-volunteer. It was highly professional.
Senator Lieberman noted at the beginning of this hearing that the Army had already reached the increased size of 547,000 that originated with the -- originated with the Bush administration that President Obama has indicated his support for. The Army has reached that number early before it was planned to reach that number. I would think, you know, sort of -- I meant to say this in some ways, that in difficult economic times the task of recruiting is going to be a little bit easier.
Also it would -- one of the big failings of President Bush was his failure to appeal to Americans to serve their country in uniform, specifically. And I would certainly think that President Obama has unique moral authority to make that kind of appeal to Americans.
So I think actually getting the force size up is quite an achievable goal. And maintaining the quality is also quite good. We shouldn't measure quality by inputs per se, but rather by the performance of the force in the field.
And all of us have said, and all of -- including the committee has noted really the quite remarkable performance of soldiers and Marines over the last couple of years in responding to challenges that they did not anticipate, and in fighting a different kind of war than they were originally organized, trained, and equipped for.
So actually I feel quite confident in the Army's and the Marine Corps' ability as institutions to shape young Americans to perform superbly under very stressful conditions. I just think we need to give them the means to execute the range of tasks that we have asked for.
SEN. BURRIS: Is there any conflict between you and Dr. Krepinevich, because he just said that the quality of the soldiers when expanded is going down.
MR. DONNELLY: First of all, the measures that we're referring to are things like scores on aptitude -- Army aptitude test, and high school graduates and things like that. And there has been a marginal diminution in that quality in the last couple of years.
On the other hand, when we -- again look at the performance of the force in the field we haven't seen a -- much repeat of things like the Abu Ghraib scandal or the Hadifa killings for example.
So in my judgment -- again, performance of the force as we see it, and how it operates on a day-in, day-out basis really exceeds what I think any of us would have just sort of guessed on September 10th. If you had told us on September 10, 2001, what was coming down the pike we would all have said, oh, my gosh, this is really -- probably going to break the Army.
And for all the stress the Army and Marine Corps has taken on, they have performed remarkably well in my judgment. So when we measure quality as output, I'm quite impressed.
SEN. BURRIS: Chairman, I see that my time has expired. But I --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Go ahead. Only the two of us here. Take all the time you want.
SEN. BURRIS: I think I got to go vote.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: You haven't voted yet?
SEN. BURRIS: You're right. I've not.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: You better go vote.
SEN. BURRIS: I better go vote. So I have something about the technology. And I want to know whether or not batteries, which is now the capability we're going to be able to use in the battlefields, because I hear these technologies are improving the life of those -- abilities for those electronic weapons to work if you get those correct batteries, so --
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R-OK): Thank you. You bet.
Gentlemen, thank you very much for your testimony. I -- it's kind of good that you don't all agree with each other. And that helps me out a little bit. We can always find someone who agrees with me, and then I can concentrate on them.
You know, he was pursuing this force strength and then -- and the capabilities and can we sustain those numbers. And I have to tell you I was dead wrong. I was a product of the draft, you know, before most of these guys were born. And I never believed prior to the 9/11 and seeing the performance that I saw that we would have the quality that we have.
And I -- in terms of your retention, it has been very good. The recruitment has been good. And generally that's -- it helps a little bit when you are in combat to have those results.
Do you think we can sustain that kind of retention and recruitment that we've been enjoying here recently?
MR. : I'll volunteer. I would never take that for granted.
SEN. INHOFE: No, I know that.
MR. : I think we have -- and again, the thing that really worries me is that we don't know where the cliff is until we've taken the one step too far. I think the force has responded in ways that far exceed our -- whatever our expectations would've been, but we're continuing to put them under a huge amount of stress.
And a lot of that, again, just has -- goes to the fundamental question of asking small amount of people to do a whole lot of work. And we ought to spread the load a little bit more by -- (off mike) -- force.
SEN. INHOFE: I -- you know, I agree with that. And I think I've probably made more trips to over there than any other member has, and I do take it very seriously, but let me just give -- the other line of questioning.
And Dr. Krepinevich, I heard your testimony and I know that a lot of the decisions that are made today in terms of force strength and modernization are made in conjunction with expectations, what our need is going to be. And I think that you guys are smart, we have a lot of smart generals, and if you're asked -- we're going to have to have 10 years from now, you're going to come out with some real good answers and you are probably going to be wrong.
And I have mentioned several times, my last year in the House on the House Armed Services Committee, we had someone testify and said 10 years from now we won't need ground troops. And so as needs change and times change, I have come to the conclusion that even though I know that others are in different positions than I am, that we really should have the best of everything, for all possibly contingencies.
We don't know how asymmetric the threats that are out there, or maybe the conventional threats. But in terms of strike vehicles, for example, I was very proud of John Jumper, this was before he was chief of the Air Force, back in the late '90s, talking about the fact that other countries, and this -- he's referring to Russia.
At that time, the SU series are cranking out strike vehicles, better than the best we had, which at that time was the F-15s, the F- 16s. To me, I find that just unacceptable.
And the same thing is true in this. We've had quite a bit of discussion here about FCS. My feeling varies that if you take any element that's on the ground that our troops are using in the defense of themselves and of America, I think that should be the best of everything.
And when you see some elements of FCS, well, what we're using right now, the Paladin, the non-line-of-sight cannon, we when through this thing, we were going to get to the Crusader (ph) and correct that thing. And then when that was asked -- and the fact that was asked, I'm a Republican. And of course, Bush was a Republican. He did that with almost no warning -- then I thought that was a blessing in disguise as the months and years went by because that kind of led us into the FCS mentality of just doing something where we could be superior in every way.
I can remember telling this committee that the Paladin is our best candidate at that time. We had to actually get out and swab the breach after every shot with World War II technology. Five countries including South Africa had a better cannon than we did. So I found that to be unacceptable.
And I remember at the first -- I think it's the first confirmation hearing of Rumsfeld when I gave the same thing, you know, I think our kids should have the best of everything. And I said, how do we get there if you would agree with me.
He said, well, it has to do with the overall funding. We went through the entire 20th Century with 5.7 percent of GDP to support our -- the military, and we went down to as low as just under 3 percent at the end of the '90s, and where should we be. Well, he gave me his opinion of where we should be.
And let me just ask you all. You've given a lot of thought to this. Where do you think we should be in terms of overall funding to defend America?
MR. DONNELLY: I will always -- you know, to a quiet microphone, but I defer to Andy or Pete to confirm --
SEN. INHOFE: I think I'm going to like your answer better than I get from those --
MR. DONNELLY: Can I -- let me just make -- Andy, I think, has rightly suggested that United States should employ its competitive advantages, the things that we have that our adversaries or potential adversaries don't have. One of the things that we have is money.
Even allowing for our current economic distress, we're a very rich society. And you're quite right, we were able to sustain during the Cold War, you know, on, on a 50-year basis, a 5 or 6 or 7 percent of GDP on defense.
So I think we are quite capable of paying at a level of 4.5 or 5 percent absolutely indefinitely until the end of time. So we can afford the military power that we need. And to constrain our strategy to a budget number rather than, again, to build a force that will support our strategic requirement, seems to me, to be looking through the telescope from the wrong end.
SEN. INHOFE: No, I -- and I agree with that. Any thoughts on that?
MR. KREPINEVICH: A couple, Senator, I think perhaps even more than money, the best thing we can do right now, particularly at the beginning of a new administration, the first new administration since 9/11, is to engage in some detailed in-depth strategic thinking.
We don't have an unlimited amount of resources. So whatever we chose to spend, we want to ensure that we spend it the most effective way possible.
President Eisenhower, in conducting the -- probably the best strategic review of any president since the end of World War II, gave three pieces of guidance to the people who would be conducting his review for him. And he actively participated in it.
And the three pieces were, one, I will not support any strategy that undermines the economic foundation of this country, because he saw that as the way of preserving what Tom Donnelly says is an enduring source of American competitive advantage, the ability to, in a sense, compete on a scale that is impossible for others.
Second, Eisenhower said -- and I think that repairing our economic foundation, I think, needs to be a major consideration. We talk about tradeoffs and where we're going to allocate resources.
Second, he said, I will not support any strategy that cannot be supported by those countries we deem to be key allies of the United States. And here, again, an important part of strategy, you can outsource certain things. You know, cultivating allies, I realize it's difficult; it's not easy to do.
But the point is, to the extent that we can do that, we create an advantage for ourselves, and we have resources either to build the bigger Army that Tom Donnelly wants or to do other things that are important to us in terms of national priorities.
The third piece of guidance was that the president said you should not assume that we will be in an improved situation after a general war. And essentially, he was ruling out preventive war against the Soviet Union that had a small nuclear capacity at the time.
So I think, you know, you -- the ability to craft a strategy that plays to your advantages. And so, for example, what I've been talking about is our advantages do not lie in building an ever bigger Army at ever greater expense.
Manpower is not an advantage for us unless -- in so many ways what is an advantage is the manpower we have is very technically capable, very well educated relative to most of the rest of the world. And as Tom said, we do -- we still can compete in terms of scale. We still have a lot of equipment and we can buy a lot of equipment.
So our advantage is in trying to say if Pakistan were to fail tomorrow, stabilizing Pakistan according to the levels of forces that we have deployed to Iraq, for example, would require over a hundred American brigades on a consistent basis. Well, that is a real problem, but that is not a real solution.
And again, I do think the solution that was developed in the latter part of the Bush administration, that I hope will be sustained by the Obama administration is, look, we can provide the trainers, we can provide the advisers, we can equip these people with combat vehicles, with artillery -- whatever is needed, helicopters. That's our strong suit.
We should play to our strong suit. We should get the manpower of other countries engaged, not our own. Our manpower can be used far more productively in other ways.
SEN. INHOFE: Yeah, and I understand that. And I agree with that. I know that probably all three of you would be very strong supporters of 1206, 1207, and certain programs CCIF, IMET, and all of those. We want to do that. And we want to be prepared to do that.
My only point is this, and I find it something, in my own mind, perhaps my narrow mind, almost un-American, that we would have a soldier on the battlefield or in the air or in the water, that would be up against something that is better than we have. And that's my goal. I'd like to get there sometime during my lifetime, where we wouldn't have that problem.
MR. KREPINEVICH: Well, the --
SEN. INHOFE: I'm sorry.
MR. KREPINEVICH: I'm sorry. I think that certainly was a major concern, as you pointed out, during the Cold War. We were in a race with the Soviets. We build a tank, they tried to build a better tank; we build a plane, they tried to build a better plane. There really isn't anyone out there right now that's trying to build a better version of the Abrams tank or the F-22 fighter or the --
SEN. INHOFE: Well, no, no, but that -- if you take the clock back 10-15 years, there was somebody out there. I mean, the Russia was actually making something that would -- was competitive to, and I can go into the details, and you already know those as to how that would compare to our strike vehicles that we first started talking about this.
And I just don't think -- and my own opinion is that we don't know what our need is going to be in the future. It could be that we're not going to have the ground capability or the need for it, but I don't want to take that risk. And then the only way I see to make this happen is to have the best of everything.
And I agree with you. There's no -- they are not out there right now. I think that's because we have gotten beyond that point. And we are talking about the F-22; we are talking about the Joint Strike Fighter. But for a while, that was kind of impaired.
MR. KREPINEVICH: Well, I would just say that -- and I may be feeling Dr. Mansoor's thunder, but the way I've always tried to look at these situations is from the point of view of what are the major problems that the U.S. military has to be able to solve. And getting a little bit off track, but I think right now we have a problem in that we are being progressively locked out of our ability to project power to the Far East and to the Persian Gulf.
With the advent of the kind of capability that Hezbollah showed in the second Lebanon war, we are going to be progressively finding it difficult when we can project power to defend those things that we see is forward because of the growth of these extended range rockets, artillery, missiles, and motors. We are going to be confronted with irregular warfare on a persistent basis, and we are already being challenged in what the military calls the Global Comment, which is space and cyberspace by the Chinese, and progressively the seas and the undersea, most likely by the Chinese as well.
And that is a wide array of problems that I think are clear, that are unambiguous. There may be others that surprise us, but I think these are definite. And I think when Secretary Gates talks about a balanced defense, he means you have to cover all these bases. And when I talk about a balanced Army, I talk about an Army that I think is overly balanced in favor of traditional conventional war and not sufficiently focused on irregular war.
SEN. INHOFE: Yeah, but I would only respond in -- well, actually you're supposed to respond. I mean, but --
I don't have the faith in the accuracy of our crystal ball right now. And that's my major concern. Thank you all for your testimony and for your comments. It's been -- I've abused the time a little bit, but you guys --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: That's okay, it was interesting. Thanks, Senator Inhofe.
Let me come back to Dr. Mansoor and ask you a question about future Combat Systems. Based on what you said, and to sort of put it maybe more simply than I should, the choice here is between developing or investing in systems equipment hardware that is responsive to actual strategic challenges that the Army faces.
And on the other hand -- and I'm going to spin it a little bit, modernizing for the sake of modernizing. So -- and I understand that that's your generally critical comment about FCS.
So let me ask you if you had your druthers, what would you be investing in now in terms of better equipping the Army to face the challenges that it will face in the future? And as part of that answer, are there any components of FCS that you particularly would continue to develop?
MR. MANSOOR: Thank you, Senator. Actually, I think that we're on the right track in terms of equipping our force for counterinsurgency operations. We spent about $20 billion equipping our Army with MRAP vehicles, the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles that have proven very, very valuable, the Stryker vehicle has also proven very valuable.
Abrams tanks and Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, when properly modernized and added with added applique armor and so forth, have been proven very effective. And these are the kind of things that we can continue to provide our forces with as they reset and continue to fight these kind of wars.
Meanwhile, we can continue to conduct the research and development to reduce that tactical and technical risk that Dr. Krepinevich talked about rather than pushing FCS quickly into the hands of our forces, because it is designed really for high-end combat that no one at this table, I think, believes is going to happen in the next decade or two. And therefore, we have some time to get it right.
In terms of the pieces of the system, because it is being spiraled out bit by bit into the field, there are pieces of the system that are really useful. I think the network, once it's proved viable, is a very, very valuable tool no matter what platforms it's used on.
The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, especially if they are armed, have been proven very, very useful, both in counterinsurgency warfare and in high-end combat. So those are two examples of systems that I would continue to push forward into the hands of our troops.
There are undoubtedly others. We need to replace our -- as Senator Inhofe said, we definitely need to replace our artillery systems because they are aging beyond the useful life of the system. So pieces at FCS are really, really, crucial, but we don't necessarily need the entire system of systems all at the same time.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Okay, that's very helpful.
Tom, did you want to add something?
MR. DONNELLY: Yeah, it's going to be really hard to pick FCS apart. That's both the blessing and the curse of the system.
The network, which I think all of us think is probably the signal attribute of the FCS system, is not going to be as valuable absent the JTRS radio or on an M-1, M-2 platform.
So it would be really difficult to go back to the old system of our remodernization when we did it in a piecemeal fashion and retained the value of the network. The network will be mended by the most constraining aspect of the things that plug into it.
So if, you know, you can do it, and if you're in a budgetarily constrained situation, you may have to do it. But you're going to end up getting less return on your investment if you start picking FCS apart in that way.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Okay, thanks for that addition. Let me turn the discussion quickly to the question of the size of the Army. Mr. Donnelly has put out a number, but -- basically a concept too, but -- you just said, go back to the 780,000 we were before -- to get -- to meet the -- both the conflicts we're going to face, but also to go back to a rotation, which a lot more time here or at base and also to allow for more time for individual members in the Army to be -- to go into the kind of educational opportunities that you talked about, better training.
I wanted to ask Dr. Krepinevich and Dr. Mansoor to give us your thoughts about the ideal size of the Army, and whether if you reject Mr. Donnelly's, you do for reasons of sort of what you consider to be reality, which is we're not going to pay for that kind of -- that size Army, or whether you think really it's more than we need.
To some extent, I hear you, Andy, saying maybe it is more than we need. Even if we could afford it, we'd be better with a smaller force than that, but one that's highly trained, high quality.
MR. KREPINEVICH: Well, Mr. Chairman, Tom spoke about the Army that I had served in, the 781,000 soldier Army. That was a garrison army. The working environment was very different from the working environment of soldiers today. You know, that's one of the reasons why the real cost of a soldier has gone up 45 percent in real terms over the last decade.
And so it's -- you know, getting soldiers, even soldiers that according to the Army's own metrics are of lower quality, that cost has gone up substantially. The cost to -- on an annual basis, where the 92,000 soldier Marine plus up is estimated somewhere around $13 billion to $15 billion. That's $13 billion to $15 billion every year. That's in a defense budget that is already, according to CBO estimates, short an average of $25 billion to $50 billion a year as far as the eye can see.
Adding another 200,000 soldiers to the Army, 200,000 plus, just doing a linear extrapolation is going to cost you about ($)30 billion on top of the ($)14 billion or ($)15 billion we're already paying. So that's ($)45 billion a year, every year.
Now, would I like to have a larger high-quality Army? Yes. But I think we've all had a wakeup call in recent months of just how difficult our financial situation is. You know, once we get done spending however many trillion we're going to spend, we're going to be working like the devil according to rosy estimates to get deficits down to what only a year or 2 ago, $500 billion -- 600 -- we considered entirely intolerable.
My thinking is that this is not a realistic option however desirable it might be. And again, even if you could create that Army, there are contingencies that can happen before we go home this evening; a Pakistan that unravels.
Well, Pakistan, the population is about 180 million. Population of Iraq is about 27 million. You know, the equivalent number of brigades we would have to send in to try and begin to stabilize Pakistan is well over 100. You can't build an Army big enough to deal with some of these contingencies.
And that's why I keep going back to the path to salvation, if you will, is using our strengths, you know, training, advising, equipping indigenous forces, allied forces. You know, we do have allies. They do realize they live in tough neighborhoods.
And that's why I think Pete's point, Dr. Mansoor's point, I would gladly give back a good portion of that 65,000 increase if I could thicken up the officer in NCO corps because I want those people to be available to do that training and advising while I keep my current brigade force as sort of the surge emergency force.
And again, not orient more of the active brigades on being able to do that well as opposed to being deployed and having to kind of play Mr. Potato Head, you know, pulling all this off and plugging all that in, to see if we can get a unit that can operate at a fairly high level of effectiveness in that environment.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: If -- would you give us a number for -- I presume, would you go up some, if you could, from the 547?
MR. KREPINEVICH: If I -- if it was a no-cost option, I suspect I would go up. My emphasis wouldn't be on adding six additional brigade combat teams. It would be on thickening up the institutional Army with officers and NCOs and creating the kinds of support elements that Dr. Mansoor was talking about in terms of engineers, in terms of intelligence elements and so on to make those brigade combat teams much more effective in an irregular warfare environment.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Dr. Mansoor, I'm way over my time. I want to give Senator Thune the opportunity -- can you give me a quick answer to the question or you want to wait until the next round?
MR. MANSOOR: I can do it real quick, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Okay.
MR. MANSOOR: In my testimony I called to restructuring our brigade combat teams to make them more capable in both the counterinsurgency and in a conventional warfare environment, which would include additional infantry, engineers, staff elements. That would cost, I think, about 45,000 troops.
We also need to thicken, increase our officer corps to provide the kind of advisory capability that is really, really crucial to our national security. And we need to create an institutional home for this advisory effort as well. I think when you add all that to the current Army and strength, you get somewhere around 600,000.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Great, thank you.
SEN. THUNE: Mr. Chairman, the -- gentlemen, the Army maintains sets of pre-positioned stocks of combat support vehicles for contingency use. My question is, given the threats that we face in the 21st Century, are these stocks still important. And if so, should the DOD ensure these stocks are maintained at high levels, and expand the program?
MR. : Anybody in particular or --
SEN. THUNE: Nobody in particular.
MR. DONNELLY: Again, I'll respond to you. I think they are less -- the environment has changed. Again, I think those were hedges made against uncertainty, and particularly uncertainty in the Persian Gulf, in the Middle East when you come to land force sets.
Again, my view would be that we pretty clearly see at least for planning purposes the road ahead in the Middle East. That doesn't mean that I don't think that land force equipment sets don't need to be flushed out. I just don't think that they need to be sort of on pre/post sets sitting in Diego Garcia or in warehouses in Kuwait.
Andy suggested that one of our strengths could be equipping new allies like the Iraqi Army or the Afghan National Army, for example, just -- most obvious too. So there would be needs to, again, build up equipment stocks to do that and also to replenish armed equipment stocks. So -- but as to the narrow question of the pre/post sets of the kind that we used to have, I would certainly -- you know, if you gave me more vehicles and more stuff, I'd use them for other things first.
MR. KREPINEVICH: Senator, I think that's a very good question.
One of the things, I think, that our experience in the 1990s led us to believe is that we don't suffer any attrition in combat. We lost very little in the Gulf War, very little in the contingencies in the Balkans, Somalia, other places.
And yet, the Army has really been confronted with a lot of attrition of its equipment in these wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the point where we have brigades coming back to the United States that essentially have to leave a lot of their equipment overseas and they remain generally under equipped as they begin to train up for the next deployment.
So I would say, whether you want to call it more reserve stocks or something along those lines, we need to build up that kind of an inventory because our industrial base can't surge, for example, the way it did during World War II, you know, cranking out enormous quantities of equipment.
I would also say that we also need to think about how would we equip indigenous forces, because I agree with Senator Inhofe, while we might take the approach of wanting the best for our young soldiers and Marines, limits on resources and just other hard factors may say, look, we don't have to give the best of everything to indigenous forces, to our allies. We can give them equipment that is good enough because we do have resource constraints.
And I would like to see some consideration. And actually, I have spoken to a few Army generals who privately admit that this makes a lot of sense. If you're going to have a strategy that says the sooner we equip the Afghan National Army, the sooner we can train them, the sooner we can get them in the field, the sooner we can begin to draw down our commitment there and release our forces for other commitments.
So I think the issue of war reserve stocks makes a lot of sense, both in terms of our own forces in suffering attrition, but also in terms of rapidly being able to equip indigenous and allied forces.
MR. MANSOOR: Senator, the pre-positioned stocks tend to be heavy brigade combat team sets. The issue with Army is that it's got so much different types of equipment that it's almost impossible to find a unit that can fall into that set-specific equipment and use it off the shelf.
In addition, the sets being arrayed in the Middle East and Korea and elsewhere are very vulnerable to first strikes. So if I had to make a choice, I would save the money by getting rid of the stocks and putting more money into fast sealift.
SEN. THUNE: Okay. May I ask you a little bit about the Army. It maintains that by organizing around brigade combat teams and supporting brigades, it'll be better able to meet the challenges of the 21st Century security environment, specifically jointly fight in the win -- the war on global -- or the global war on terrorism. How do you -- how do each of you think that modularity is progressing, and what changes, if any, would you recommend?
MR. DONNELLY: My view would be -- (laughs) -- that I think modularity has gone too far. As Dr. Mansoor has suggested, we redesigned a brigade that is a heck of a lot smaller and took the manpower savings from the FCS being able to perfectly feed the battlefield before we had the technological capabilities to do so. It's not surprising that every time a brigade combat team deploys a theater of operations now, they get plussed up a lot with a lot of the same things or there are some very different things than we took away, such as military intelligence, engineers, military police et cetera, et cetera.
So the brigade organization that we have currently got is a very fragile organization. So -- and in a long war environment, you have to ask yourself, at least above the brigade echelon, whether we are well-configured for long-term sustainment operations.
In Afghanistan, for example, we're going to require a lot more support forces just because of the nature of the disperse and immature nature or, you know, undeveloped nature of the country. So we have designed a perfect little brigade that's a big risk.
SEN. THUNE: Anybody else?
MR. KREPINEVICH: Just two quick observations. One, I think the idea of having brigades that are independently deployable certainly has been a benefit to us, a lot of -- certain amount of flexibility. The second, the Army has, as I mentioned, they are planning to have 19 heavy brigade combat teams, zero brigades that are oriented on irregular warfare.
And there was some discussion in the Army G-8 staff element about security cooperation brigade combat teams. I thought -- well, the Army hasn't followed through on that, I thought some of the ideas in there -- and again, I think they fall along the lines that Dr. Mansoor was talking about, I would like to see about 15 brigades in the active force, 15 brigade in the Guard that are oriented on those kinds of missions.
And the fact that they would be independently deployable, I think would enable them not necessarily even after deployed as a brigade, they might be able to send a battalion to the Philippines for a specific -- you know, to deal with a specific request, a company to Kenya, and so on. To have brigades that in a sense can help keep the lid on things, build partner capacity as opposed to letting things get out of control, us having to do it ourselves and deal with a much more threatening environment.
MR. MANSOOR: Senator, I would have to agree with my colleagues here at the table. The modular brigades is currently organized and equipped to have insufficient staff for the missions they are being called upon to execute. They lack engineers and military police. And most importantly, from both the conventional and irregular warfare standpoint, they don't have enough troops.
They lack a third maneuver unit, which almost historical study would indicate is needed both in conventional warfare. And I would add additional infantry as well for counterinsurgency warfare. So I think the Army made a good decision going to modular brigades and then designed them incorrectly.
SEN. THUNE: Okay -- (laughs.) Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you all very much for your -- I appreciate very much your testimony and your very candid observations.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thanks, Senator Thune. I agree it's been a very productive afternoon. As we mentioned earlier, we have to go over to a briefing with Ambassador Holbrook on Afghanistan and Pakistan, but I want to thank you.
We have some big decisions to make. And may be that we will ultimately not make a big decision about the size of the Army, although I think we should. Maybe we'll be forced to do that by amendment on the floor. But there's no question that the administration's budget will confront us with some big decisions about how to equip the Army.
And I could be mistaken, but I don't think I am. I think there's going to be some recommendations for a change. So I -- really what you said today and what you've written in your very thoughtful prepared statements, which I know took you some time, is very helpful to us.
As a matter of fact, I'm going to give you a request right now that when the president's budget does come in, in detail, I really invite your -- each of you to respond particularly obviously on the -- what it does about equipment systems and offer us some alternatives if you think there are some better ones beyond what we've talked about today. But thank you very much. You've been a real service to the committee, and we hope in turn, to the country. The hearing is adjourned.