Hearing Of The Readiness Subcommittee Of The House Armed Services Committee
Subject: "FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Budget Request For The Military Services' Operation And Maintenance Funding"
Chaired By: Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-Tx)
Witnesses: General Peter Chiarelli, USA, Vice Chief Of Staff Of The Army; Admiral Patrick Walsh, USN, Vice Chief Of Naval Operations; General James Amos, USMC, Assistant Marine Corps Commandant; General William Fraser Iii, USAF, Vice Chief Of Staff Of The Air Force
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REP. ORTIZ: The subcommittee will come to order, but before we move any further, I would like to recognize my good friend from the great state of Georgia for an introduction. He was so impressed that he says, "I got to do it this morning."
Marshall, go ahead.
REP. JIM MARSHALL (D-GA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We have with us members of the German Bundestag. In fact, they're members of the Defense Committee of the German Bundestag and I'd like the chairlady of the Defense Committee to rise, Mrs. Merten.
We all know that Germany is a very, very important ally of ours on a number of different fronts and certainly military is one and to the extent that we can increase our coordination development with our sister country, we're interested in doing that and we appreciate you visiting with us today.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. ORTIZ: Thank you and welcome, and if anything gets out of order, call Mr. Marshall. (Laughs.)
Today the Readiness Subcommittee meets to hear testimony on the military service fiscal year 2010 operation and maintenance budget request.
I want to thank our distinguished witnesses from each of the military services for appearing before this subcommittee today to discuss funding for the services' readiness programs.
The Operation and Maintenance account is the single most largest component of the Department's of Defense (sic) annual budget request. The military services O&M accounts provide funding for such readiness areas as operating forces, mobilization, training and recruiting, and administration and service-wide activities.
For fiscal year 2010, the O&M portion of the budget request comprises of 185.7 billion (dollars) or 35 percent of the Department of Defense's total 533.8 billion (dollars) baseline request. The fiscal year 2010 request increases the O&M account by 3.7 percent, or 6.6 billion (dollars) over fiscal year 2009.
However, increases in the Defense Health account for 3 billion (dollars), or nearly half, or the overall O&M funding increases in fiscal year 2010.
Additionally, the department has requested another 74.1 billion (dollars) for O&M in Overseas Contingency Operations funding for fiscal year 2010. O&M is the largest portion of the OCO request at 57 percent for military operations, subsistence and logistics, including pre-deployment, deployment, and redeployment.
The fiscal year 2010 O&M budget request basically leaves training at a steady state, signaling that the department will remain focused on the counterinsurgency mission vice resourcing full-spectrum training. The fiscal year 2010 budget request relies on the OCO funding to achieve air, ground, and sea training at levels required to maintain military standards.
The fiscal year 2010 budget request decreases tank training miles to 550 from a high of 608 in the fiscal year 2009 budget request but keeps them above the low of 459 in fiscal year 2008. Flying hours slightly increases for the Navy in the base budget from 17.2 in fiscal year 2009 to 19.0 in fiscal year 2010 and with the OCO funding climb to 22.
The Air Force flying-hour program has been reduced in the fiscal year 2010 base budget by 67 million (dollars), but Air Force budget documents state the budget fully funds the flying hour program at 1.4 million hours due to the retirement of roughly about 250 aircraft.
Additionally, the Navy will rely upon the OCO funding to achieve 58 ship steaming days per quarter, compared to a steady-state level of 45 days in the base budget, putting it above the deployed-force goal of 51 days per quarter.
What the subcommittee needs to hear from our witnesses today is where each of your services is taking risk in the budget request and how this budget request improves readiness.
And we're very fortunate of have our witnesses today, distinguished military leaders, General Peter Chiarelli, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army; Admiral Patrick M. Walsh, Vice Chief of Naval Operations; and General James F. Amos, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps; and General William M. Fraser, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
And we want to thank you so much for joining us today and now I would like to recognize the distinguished gentleman from Virginia, the Ranking Member, Mr. Forbes on any remarks that he would like to make.
REP. J. RANDY FORBES (R-VA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate the time today for us to examine the budget requests from the services as it pertains to readiness. I'd like to welcome each of our witnesses and, gentlemen, we first of all thank you all for being here today but also thank you for your service to our nation.
As the chairman mentioned the Operations and Maintenance budget accounts for over a third of the $534 billion Defense budget request and if you factor in an additional 91 billion in Operations and Maintenance requested for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, that percentage rises even further.
The amount of funding in this budget request demonstrates the considerable oversight responsibility this subcommittee has, particularly when our federal government is spending beyond its means and when our economy is struggling. American taxpayers expect that every dollar that we direct towards defense is spent in the most effective way to protect the nation, but the dollars are not the only component in this budget request.
The strategic risk we accept in this proposal are equally important because there's no bail out or stimulus that will help us recover if our nation is tested in battle and we discover that we have not provided the equipment, training, or resources that our men and women in uniform need for victory, so we need you to help us understand what risk we are accepting in the proposed budget, particularly this year, when, one, the budget was formulated in an accelerated manner; two, when the budget proposes major changes to force structure a year before the QDR; three, when the details of the budget were released just a couple of weeks ago; and four, when we have access to only the first year of a five-year budget. Your professional input is critical to understanding the consequences of this budget request.
When Secretary Gates testified last week, he said that everyone who signed the nondisclosure agreement was free of its restrictions and he assured us that we could expect candor in the witnesses that came over to testify on the budget, and we look forward to a robust dialogue between the witnesses and the members of this panel today.
What is particularly concerning to me in this year's budget cycle is this: Over the next few years the federal budget will be in desperate and obvious need of savings because of the current expected cost of the bailout and stimulus packages. In a time when adequate defense investment is most vulnerable, we're receiving less and less information on the status of our forces and the plans for the future from the new administration.
We have not yet been given a thirty-year ship-building plan in this year's budget, even though it's required by law. We have not been given a Naval aviation plan, even though that is also required by law and we cannot discuss the results of Navy ships' readiness reports even though they were unclassified through the entire Cold War. While I understand the Navy's concern that the detailed information contained in those reports could be useful to those wishing to do us harm, I can assure you that the American people would be surprised to know the state of repair of our surface Navy.
The American people rightly expect that when it comes to our national security, members of this committee and officials in the Pentagon will keep them informed of the threats we face and what we're doing to prepare for those threats. And so it's our obligation to share with the American people not only what is in this budget to keep us safe, but what is not in the budget that presents risks that we are assuming as a nation.
As my good friend from Texas, the chairman, Mr. Ortiz likes to say, we want to help you and we can't help you if we don't know what you need.
So, Mr. Chairman, I thank you again for holding this hearing, for your leadership, and I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses.
REP. ORTIZ: Thank you so much.
You know all of us here, we are in the same boat. We work for the same government, and I see ourselves, even though we're sitting up here, we're part of your team, and we appreciate what you have done, not only yourselves, putting yourselves in harms way, but our young men and women who serve our country. So thank you so much and now we will begin with General Chiarelli, your testimony, sir, whenever you're ready to begin.
GENERAL PETER W. CHIARELLI: Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Forbes, distinguished members of the subcommittee, I thank you for the opportunity to appear here today to discuss the current readiness of U.S. ground forces. This is my first occasion to appear before this esteemed subcommittee and I pledge always to provide you with honest and a forthright assessment of my best military advice as requested.
I submitted a statement for the record and I look forward to answering your questions at the conclusion of my opening remarks. As all of you know, it's been a busy time for our nation's military. We are at war. We have been at war for the past seven plus years. During this period demand has continued to grow and the Army's level of responsibility has expanded considerably.
At the same time our force has become smaller in terms of the number of available personnel. The combined affect has been increased deployments, shorter dwell, and insufficient recovery time for our soldiers and sometimes their equipment. Today, as has been previously reported to this subcommittee, the Army remains out of balance and overall we are consuming our readiness as fast as we are building it.
Unfortunately, the Army cannot influence demand and the current level does not appear likely to improve significantly for the foreseeable future. The Army is expecting to gain some savings over the next couple of years as the last of the units deployed for fifteen months as part of the surge return in September 2009 and as we begin a draw down of forces in Iraq in 2010.
If executed as planned, these reductions in demand will help to increase dwell time for many of our soldiers. However, if these plans are delayed or postponed due to unforeseen events or a resurgence of tensions in hot spots around the world, we will have to find other ways to relieve the strain on the force.
In the meantime it remains a top priority for the Army's senior leaders including me to do everything we can to help alleviate some of the stress on soldiers and family members. In particular we are committed to improving and expanding available behavioral health and mental health services. Equally important is removing the prevailing stigma associated with seeking and receiving help. This is going to take time. In the interim we're trying to make it easier for soldiers and family members to take advantage of the resources and services that are available as discretely as they deem necessary.
These are challenging times for our nation and for our military and with the support of Congress we have deployed the best man equipped, trained, and led forces in the history of the United States Army. I am sure of that. It is my personal opinion that if the demand does not go down or if expected savings from Iraq are not realized, we simply cannot continue to meet the current high level of demand and sustain the force, including soldiers and equipment without making some corresponding adjustments.
I assure the members of this subcommittee that is what the Army's senior leaders are focused on right now. We are working through these issues and determining the needs of the Army for the future and we will continue to coordinate with senior DOD officials in Congress to identify both short and long-term solution.
Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I thank you again for your continued and generous support and demonstrated commitment to the outstanding men and women of the United States Army and their families. I look forward to your questions.
REP. ORTIZ: Thank you, General.
The Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Walsh.
ADMIRAL PATRICK M. WALSH: Chairman Ortiz, Congressman Forbes, and distinguished members of the Readiness Subcommittee, I have submitted my remarks and request your consideration to enter them into the record.
It's a privilege to appear before you today, sir, to testify on the readiness of our Naval forces. The talented men and women, sailors and civilians of the United States Navy continue to perform exceptionally well under demanding conditions. Your support has been and continues to be fundamental to their success.
The Navy provides our country a global expeditionary force committed to preserving the security and prosperity of the nation, but today 45 percent of the Navy is underway. Our sailors are operating with the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Coast Guard, and maritime coalition partners. Additionally, over 13,000 serve ashore in the Syncom area of responsibility. Your Navy is agile, it's flexible, it's capable, it's competent to do what no other Navy in the world can do.
Combatant commanders want a full-spectrum and responsive naval force and the demand for those forces remains high. The Navy is in a fore-deployed posture to represent the enduring national interests on the world's stage. It deters aggression, assures allies an,d fosters cooperative relationships to enhance global security. Our charge is to act as the nation directs in whatever role, in whatever place, at whatever time, whether it is to serve as a first responder or as a full-spectrum strategic reserve force.
Our operating assumption is that we must sustain this posture to ensure freedom of access and freedom of action on, under, and above the seas to present true options for national leadership. Therefore we need continual, critical self-assessments to review the balance of issues that affect our ability to sustain a fore-deployed full- spectrum force.
Today we see the risk and war fighting readiness, personnel, and fore-structure programs at increasing which requires our focus, attention, and priority resources. While the FY '10 budget aligns with the goals of our maritime strategy, we are assuming an increasing level of risk because of challenges associated with fleet capacity, increasing operational requirements, and growing manpower, maintenance, and infrastructure costs.
The Fleet Response Plan optimizes our ability to provide forces to support the Maritime strategy by maximizing availability, return on investment, and flexibility of missions. Specifically the plan for FY '10 will enable us to deploy three carrier strike groups continuously, search and additional carrier strike group in thirty days, and if required have another ready for deployment in ninety days.
This year's budget allows us to maintain continued forward presence but as we balance priorities, we've had to adjust the overall capacity of our forces in reserve and their readiness to surge. It is an adjustment from previous force levels, but this adjustment demonstrates the flexibility of the Fleet Response Plan because we can tailor our surge response capacity and timing to the levels of risk acceptable to the combatant commanders consistent with the prevailing threat and geopolitical environment.
A substantial percentage of the future force is in service today, 69 percent. The foundation of the Navy's plan for a forward deployed, surge-ready naval force is our ability to reach the expected service life for each of our ships. CNO is committed to executing the technically determined required maintenance necessary to ensure all platforms reach their expected service life.
We conduct a board of inspection and survey material inspection of our ships. These inspections by the design are rigorous, critical, candid, direct, and conducted to determine the health of our fleet. I would be concerned with the rigor of our inspection regime if we did not see discrepancies identified.
I echo the CNO's commitment to provide this committee the annual report that comes from the Board of Inspection and Survey. Our people continue to deliver on their commitment to the nation. Retention rates continue to rise across the force. In the Officer Corps, we continue to pay special attention to the medical and naval nuclear propulsion communities. While incentives and bonuses have contributed to increased retention, selected subspecialties continue to require attention.
In the enlisted force we are exceeding retention goals and continue to see a significant reduction and attrition. Your Navy remains ready and capable of meeting challenges today, but the stress on the force, our ships, and aircraft is increasing. While we can meet operational demands today, we have pressurized and stretched the respective resource accounts. Achieving the right balance of discipline within our resources is essential otherwise we will not be able to meet our responsibilities, to respond to additional operational demand, take care of our people, conduct essential platform maintenance, ensure our fleet reaches it's full service life, and procure the fleet for tomorrow.
Thank you for your continued to support of our Navy and I look forward to your questions, sir.
REP. ORTIZ: Thank you, Admiral.
Now, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General William M. Fraser. Thank you, sir.
GENERAL WILLIAM M. FRASER: Mr. Chairman, Congressman Forbes, distinguished members of this committee, it is indeed a privilege to appear here this morning and to share with you the state of your Air Force's readiness. In today's national security environment with challenges across the spectrum of conflict, your Air Force has put readiness first.
I'm proud to report this morning that the over 660,000 men and women of America's Air Force are all in. We're ready to do whatever it takes to fight and win America's wars. Despite a continuous high operations tempo and sustained deployments for almost two decades now, our Air Force stands ready to execute its missions with precision and reliability.
Now and into the foreseeable future, we'll continue to face a wide range of threats to our nation's security. These threats require new solutions, innovative military capabilities, and the unwavering resolve of our airmen. From advancing our work in a regular warfare and counterinsurgency operations to sustaining and maintaining our nation's nuclear deterrent capabilities, we've continued to answer the nation's call and yet these challenges have brought new stresses on the readiness of our systems, including our most important weapon system, our airmen.
Prioritization readiness means organizing, training and equipping a force capable of meeting our commitments. Through your support we've been able to recruit and retain the individuals necessary to meet the sustained and emerging missions.
A collective force that is properly developed and trained to execute the mission and one that is providing the support programs that they and their families so richly need and deserve. Our platforms are exhibiting signs of stress. Evidence of the uncertainties we face by operating them beyond their normal service lives.
While we continue to extend the service life and work to better understand the implication of these extensions on the systems, the groundings of multiple aircraft in recent years illustrates the need for both continued recapitalization and modernization programs.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Forbes, members of this committee, we're grateful for your steadfast support of our efforts to organize, train, and equip the total force. We have stood ready throughout our rich history. We proudly stand ready today and through the continued support of this committee and the incredible resilience of America's airmen, we will stand ready in the future to deliver the capabilities in air, space, and cyberspace, that our joint and coalition partners expect and that our nation deserves.
Thank you again for your time this morning and I look forward to your questions.
REP. ORTIZ: Thank you, General.
Now, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Amos.
GENERAL JAMES F. AMOS: Thank you, Chairman Ortiz, Representative Forbes, and distinguished members of this subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you a little bit about the readiness of your Marine Corps.
As we sit in this hearing room today there are more than 30,000 Marines deployed across the globe supporting exercises, security cooperation, activities, and overseas contingency operations. Within the Syncom theater of operations alone there are 16,000 Marines still left in Iraq and another 6,000 going up to 10,000, establishing a presence in Afghanistan.
Despite high operational tempo, your Marines are resilient, they're motivated, they're a happy lot, and they're performing superbly in missions across the globe. For the past seven years they have been fully engaged in winning in combat. This sustained effort and performance has not come without costs to the institution, to our equipment, to our strategic programs, and most importantly to our Marines and their families.
Our forward-deployed units are manned, trained, and equipped to accomplish their assigned missions, and they report the highest levels of readiness. We have taxed, though, our non-deployed forces and strategic programs to be the bill payers for that fore-deployed high readiness. The majority of our non-deployed forces are reporting as a result degraded readiness. Because their equipment, personnel, and training priorities have been necessarily focused on counterinsurgency operations, we have experienced degradation in some of our six traditional core competencies.
Although the current security environment is justified the trade offs, we must maintain a balanced force capable of responding to crisis across the globe and across the full range of military operations. These operations are supported by the fiscal year 2010 baseline and OCO budget requests. The 26.5 million in baseline requests and 5.7 billion of which pays for operation and maintenance activities, supports equipment repair, family support programs and all the day-to-day activities of your Marine Corps.
The 3.8 billion in O&M funding and our FY '10 OCO request will support both our draw down in Iraq and our increasing operations in Afghanistan. It will support transportation costs, repair of equipment, reset, and the day-to-day operating costs. With your continued and consistent support we will no doubt succeed in current operations, take care of our Marines and their families, reset and remodernize our equipment, and train the Marine Air Ground Task Force for the future security operations.
Sir, I look forward to your questions.
REP. ORTIZ: Thank you so much.
One, of my questions this morning is going to be if you-all, the witnesses, could describe the specific areas in your fiscal year 2010 budget requests where you have knowingly taken risk and why you believe it was acceptable to take risk in those areas. Now, we're not here to, you know, point fingers at anybody, but I know that sometimes you have to make some very, very hard decisions, but if you would like to tell us why you had to take those risks, maybe we, the committee and my good friend, Mr. Forbes and I and the rest of the members of the committee could be in a position to, you know, really help you.
If we could start with General Chiarelli.
GEN. CHIARELLI: Mr. Chairman, if I had to look at where I feel we're taking the most risk, I would have to say that it's on the assumption that demand will go down. That is my biggest concern. We are planning on a draw down from Iraq, which if it happens as planned, will take pressure off the force.
I often say that my job is to worry about things, and when I worry about things, what I worry about is that for some reason that will not occur and that might be that we take forces out of Iraq but there maybe something else that occurs, either additional requirement for forces in Afghanistan or some other hot spot, which puts us in a situation where we have to maintain the minimum amount of dwell we are maintaining right now for our forces and that concerns me the most.
REP. ORTIZ: Admiral Walsh.
ADM. WALSH: Sir, the lesson that we learned on 9-11 was that we did not have a fleet that was available to deploy. So the Fleet Response Plan that we put together since then is one that gives this national leadership a construct in which we present forces that are prepared and ready across the full spectrum of capabilities.
The tension that I see is the pressure to drive into the baseline now effectively predictions on something that describes the world that we just can't predict and so the risk that we have to begin with, before I get into the specifics, is shooting behind the target before '10 ever becomes executable. So the challenge that we have is now trying to articulate for national leaders what the operating tempo of the new normal is for the fleet.
In earlier remarks we heard references to steaming days and frankly the steaming days is a construct that we used to have but the Fleet Response Plan really presents to the national leadership an availability of forces that are either deployed or are surge ready.
Where you will see us take risk specifically in the '10 budget is how much capacity we hold in reserve. What we have looked at when we've reviewed the utilization of that construct since 2003 and 2004 when we first introduced it, is that the predominant use of forces is for deployed forces who are already underway.
Now, this doesn't fit into a neat accounting scheme in terms of whether or not we're actually operating in support of the war or not. So trying to describe routine in this kind of world that we're in since 9-11 becomes especially problematic for those who are trying to exert discipline in the baseline as well as trying to define now in the maritime sphere what the wartime overseas contingency operations really involve.
So the accounting can sometimes get in the way of actually being responsive as the construct that we presented at the national leadership. We think when we look at the use of the FRP over time that on several occasions, both Katrina or in NEO operations in support of Lebanon, we've relied on a cold start for ships that were in this surge capacity.
Predominantly we'll use forces that are already underway and extend those forces as required in order to meet new national demand. So what you're seeing now is a reflection of cutting back on some of the surge capacity that we have.
To Representative Forbes' comments earlier about concerns about overall ship maintenance, I see this as an opportunity to give time, which is not very well articulated in any of this other than we have an operating capacity of about 45 percent underway today and I do think this will allow us time to do the deep sort of maintenance work and inspections that are required in order to reassess again where we are today in terms of the overall health of the fleet.
REP. ORTIZ: General Amos.
GEN. AMOS: Mr. Chairman, we have successfully as a nation misjudged what the future holds almost consistently. Our track record for many, many years, not through lack of effort or through lack of skilled Americans trying to determine what the future holds, we have nonetheless misjudged it more often than not.
My point is we don't know what the future holds. Specifically in the Marine Corps we have worked hard in the last couple of years to try to push as much into the baseline and make those hard decisions, for instance manpower costs, cost of manpower and those type of things and we worked hard at that.
So the risk for this year and '10 is -- and really the '09 and '010 (sic) OCO resides in the supplemental and the reset, the reconstitution of your Marine Corps forces. We have a significant amount of money hinged in the OCO requirements for depot level maintenance for all that equipment that is in the process of retrograding out of Iraq now and will continue to be over the next twelve to fifteen months.
That equipment has to be rebuilt. It has to be triaged. It has to be redistributed and that is cost ineffective we'll disregard it, we'll get rid of it. But we have a significant amount of money in the supplemental for '10 and '9 that deals with modernization.
The other point that I'd make that we are taking risk in, sir, is because we are singularly focused as an institution on counterinsurgency operations, we as a Marine Corps for you are taking risk in these other core competencies that you expect and in some cases by law task the Marine Corps to be able to do, forcible entry operations, other operations, what we would call full spectrum.
So all that is kind of tied with this thing called the current fight that we are in. We are not grousing about it and as I said in my opening statement, we're performing well in it, but the reset of the Marine Corps is hinged almost exclusively on the supplementals and we're taking risk there should the supplementals not find its way into our coffers.
REP. ORTIZ: General Fraser.
GEN. FRASER: Thank you, sir.
As an institution, I think the biggest challenge that we've had is trying to come up with the right balance.
The right balance across all the core competencies that we as an institution provide for this nation, and as my colleagues have already stated here is not being able to predict what the future is going to hold is to make sure that we stay focused on today's fight and do everything that we can with the capabilities that we have while brining on new capabilities as we see them evolve, bring them into the baseline, but we can't take our eye off the future and we don't want to sacrifice the future for today. So finding that right balance is something that's very important for us.
The other thing that I would say is we're finding out more and more about our aircraft as the fleet continues to age, and so we've had to do some things that we had not anticipated with our aircraft fleet as they do get closer to a service life extension programs. Establishing a fleet viability board where we can better understand the stresses upon the aircraft that we have and then what is that right balance from a technical standpoint to either go for recapitalization or modernization of a particular fleet.
We think there's an opportunity here that we can take a bit of a strategic pause and some additional risk which is why you'll see in our budget we have recommended for a combat Air Forces reduction so that we can utilize those savings both in dollars and in manpower for both emerging missions but yet setting ourselves on what we think is the right path for the future.
So it's the challenge of striking that right balance across the myriad of missions and our core competencies that we have and then bringing that into the base budget as we look to the future is our biggest challenge right now.
Thank you, sir.
REP. ORTIZ: Thank you so much for being candid with us because this is the only way we can help you, and I know that there's a lot of problems out there, but we want to see what we can do to help you.
Now, I yield to my good friend for questions.
REP. FORBES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank all of you for being here today and for your expertise. I want to begin by telling you something I think you already know and that is the tremendous amount of respect that the members of this subcommittee have for one another, the tremendous amount of respect we have for each of you. But we each have to come here each time we have a meeting and we have to wrestle with the difficulty of asking tough questions and then going back and saying was that question embarrassing? Did I ask it too harshly? Or we walk back and say did I not ask a question that could have impacted the national defense of this country?
So this morning the questions that I ask you -- if I ask anything that catches you off guard or is embarrassing or whatever, you don't have to answer it. Just tell me I don't want to answer it and maybe come back and get it for the record for us because that's not our intention. It's just our intention to try to get at facts that are there.
Admiral Walsh, I want to first of all thank you for your testimony and I want to preface this by saying when Secretary Gates was here he told us that we could rely on you being able to say whatever any of you felt was the correct answer. You didn't have to come in here with the Department position or Service position, that we could ask you all of your opinions and so all of my questions this morning to all four of you are for your opinions because we have enormous confidence in you and your integrity and what you are saying to us.
Admiral, I am concerned because as you know, the law requires that when the budget is sent over to us that the Secretary must send a ship building plan over, and he also then needs to give us certification, and that certification needs to be that the budget that is sent over will meet the plans so that the chairman, and I and other members of Congress can say this is our plan, we've got a plan, and we know that the Secretary believes that this budget will meet the plan.
If it won't meet the plan, he has to submit to us the risks that we are taking for not fully funding that budget that will meet the plan. As you know, the Secretary has not submitted that plan. Based on the testimony that we have, he doesn't intend to submit that plan until next year.
I would like to ask you -- and again if you can't answer today, please come back to the record, what legal right does the statute provide to simply not comply with that statute?
ADM. WALSH: I wouldn't pretend to be a lawyer nor could I be able to offer you a legal interpretation. I'll give you a common sense answer, sir, if that's okay.
REP. FORBES: Sure.
ADM. WALSH: First of all there's a new team on board. The new team has in my view placed greater emphasis on a QDR that is far sooner than I would have expected with the new administration. So in terms of following the Secretary's guidance, it seems to me one of the challenges that we have and the rules set that were given in terms of presentation of a budget is that we don't have an understanding of what the out years look like largely because of the unanswered questions and insights derived from the quadrennial defense review.
It's a priority established by our national leadership and we can simply -- I don't see how we have any room for interpretation on that. The challenge with the thirty-year ship building plan historically has been the lack of stability and predictability for those in the ship building industry. They have some reliable document to refer to so when they make their plans for their labor force for the skills and when they work with sub vendors that they've got an understanding of what the future looks like.
If we were to go forward with a presentation of thirty-year ship building plan without having an understanding of what FY '11, '12, '13, '14 look like, then I run the risk of creating further problems for the industry. So the stability of the industry is part of the covenant that we have in order to be able to come before the committee and I think we would do more harm than good to try and submit something without full understanding of what the administration and the team want to do in the out years for the Department of the Navy.
I simply do not have those insights. I acknowledge the requirement by law. I don't think there's an intent here to work around the law. I do think that there is some practical implications of where we are today with a new team that's on board, that's still trying to find where it wants to go in terms of overall national security strategy, quadrennial defense review, and other documents here that are critically important to the overall alignment of resources in the direction that the country wants to go in.
REP. FORBES: And, Admiral, I would just ask if you would after looking at this, maybe respond back for the record on anything else that comes before you, but if you look at that statute, it covers exactly the situation that you raised. It says until we get a new ship building plan we are to use the existing ship building plan that's in effect.
So what the law required was that the Secretary submit to us the existing ship building plans. If he wants to change it, that's okay. If you're going to say we'll change it down the road, okay, but then at least to say this budget will not meet that ship building plan and hear the risk that we take.
It isn't just for the industry.
It's for us to be able to see it too, because if we don't have a plan and we just hear goals of 313 ships, but we don't have a plan to link it up, we don't have a clue whether we're getting there or not.
So I would ask you as you go back if you could look at that and perhaps give us whatever the Navy's justification is for not submitting that other than just we don't want to do it, and please don't take that offensively because I don't mean it that way. It's just I don't see the option in the statute for the Secretary just to come in and say we're just not going to do it for a year even if he wants to change that.
A second I'd like to ask and then I'll move on. We are told that -- well, not just told. I have a letter here from the Secretary to each of the Chiefs stating that on unfunded requirements for 2010 that he expects them to first inform him of a determination of what they are before they are to meet with Congress and let Congress know.
Are you aware of that letter?
ADM. WALSH: I'm aware of what Navy's unfunded requirements are. Can speak to those. I don't know that I've seen necessarily that letter.
REP. FORBES: Okay. Good.
And I'm going to ask each of y'all the same thing, but the letter was dated -- we have a copy of it from April 30, 2009, and it's basically from the Secretary saying that before you give this to Congress, that he says, "I expect you to first inform me of such a determination so we can schedule the opportunity for you to brief me on the details."
So the question I would ask is on that unfunded mandate's list are you aware of whether any such meeting took place with the Secretary when the Navy carried its unfunded mandate list to him?
ADM. WALSH: My understanding was that CNO had an opportunity to discuss this with the Secretary.
REP. FORBES: Was there a difference between the unfunded mandates list submitted to the Secretary and the one that has been submitted to Congress now?
ADM. WALSH: Yes, sir.
REP. FORBES: Can you tell us what that difference was?
ADM. WALSH: Yes, sir. So back to your previous question, I understand your question and will get back to you, sir, on the thirty- year ship building plan, and to this question in particular what we have found recently is a review of cost estimates associated with the P3 Red stripe. In particular what we have learned is that we had gone with the contractors estimates which was a very conservative estimate that suggested a much more thorough level of maintenance was required for the re-winging of P3's affected by a red stripe issue.
Once we got inside the wings and took another look at it, we did not find the fatigue level or cracks in the wing box that the contractor had previously recommended that we review. So you're seeing a difference of about $465 million between the original request that went into the Office of the Secretary and what actually came out.
There is an internal memo from us to the Secretary that requests to delete that. So that was initiated on our part because we can think we can take care of the P3 maintenance issue through authorized and appropriated funds.
REP. FORBES: And, Admiral, I'll just ask you if you don't mind if you could submit that for the record so we can see the difference and then the last question I'd like to ask you is this: Last year the Navy had a $4.6 billion unfunded mandate request. This year we have a $395 million request, less than a half billion. That's over $4 billion difference. Was that unfunded mandate list changed based on risk assessment or budgetary needs?
ADM. WALSH: I don't know that I witnessed any particular conversation that took place between comparing the unfunded list in '09 to the unfunded list submitted in '10, nor do I get a sense of an effort by outside forces to reduce that list from what the service actually asked for. Instead what I see is a recognition that a substantial amount of the national budget is tied up in debt and that the services are really taking a very disciplined approach about how to sustain themselves.
The idea that we can still go forward in '10 and sill receive aircrafts, ships, submarines is critically important to the future of the Navy. It also recognizes the commitment that this committee and others have given on behalf of us. So I think the effort going in now is to sustain the service life of those accounts, particularly in aviation and ship board maintenance and what you're seeing is an unfunded list that will bring that level to 100 percent funding. If the CNO was given an extra dollar, that's exactly where it would go. It would go under the maintenance accounts rather than for additional procurement at this point, sir.
REP. FORBES: And, Admiral, I'll just close my question with you by just asking if you could submit for the record an explanation of how we got from $4.6 billion of needs last year to $395 million of unfunded needs this year, because I don't think our risk has changed markedly, and secondly I know we didn't fund enough to make up that differentiation, so if you could give us that for the record, I'd appreciate it.
ADM. WALSH: Yes, sir.
REP. FORBES: And, General, same question for you. I know that the Army must have had an unfunded mandate list that it carried into the Secretary. I'm assuming it complied with this letter as well. If you could at some point in time just let us know if there were any differences between what the Army submitted as its unfunded mandates list and what it then submitted to Congress between the meeting with the Secretary and the meeting here, but then the second thing I would ask if you can tell us last year we had $4 billion of unfunded mandate requests -- unfunded list -- I'm sorry -- from the Army, this year less than a billion.
How did we go from 4 billion to a billion?
GEN. CHIARELLI: I guess I would have to agree with General -- I mean, Admiral Walsh on this. I think that all the services are looking very, very hard given the economic situation in the country to see if we can't do our best to make those lists as small as possible. I had the opportunity to be in the meeting with the Secretary of Defense and represent the Chief and I will tell you our list went up.
The list I am told the Chief submitted last night went up by I believe about $600 million.
REP. FORBES: Went up --I'm sorry, General, went up from what?
GEN. CHIARELLI: It went up from the original list that we had submitted which was just over, if I remember right, 300 million. So we went to just short of a billion in the list that was submitted I am told last night.
REP. FORBES: General, did anyone give any direction to reduce those sums down based on budgetary concerns?
GEN. CHIARELLI: No. I think it's just the understanding of all of us that as we watch the economy of the country and see what we as a nation are going through right now, that we, the services need to do everything we possibly can to control those costs.
REP. FORBES: And, General, again, and each of you, please understand that I'm trying to ask these as respectful as I can and just to get the answers and this is nothing with you. I fear that we have shifted from our strategy driving our budget to our budget driving our strategy, and the questions I'm looking at is, last year we had $4 billion of unfunded requests. Undoubtedly that was based on a risk assessment that you were looking at and needs that you felt the Army needed to meet that risk assessment.
My question for you is, is that reduction from $4 billion to less than a billion based on a reduced risk assessment that you feel or was it driven by budgetary concerns?
GEN. CHIARELLI: I believe it was driven by what the Chief thinks is really needed.
I think he's been quite clear in working the Army toward an enterprise approach to everything we're doing that we have got to control costs and this has been a focus of his. It's a focus of all of ours, too, but it's a look at ways we can, in fact, control costs.
REP. FORBES: And the last question I would just ask you then, if you could submit for the record for me why the Army felt they need $4 billion in unfunded requests last year, but have now determined that they really didn't need those requests and submit that for the record so that we can look at that, General, I would appreciate that.
GEN. CHIARELLI: I will do that, sir.
REP. FORBES: And then, General, if I could ask you on the Air Force the same thing. We had $18.4 billion of unfunded requests last year. We're down to 1.9 billion this year. Are you aware of a list that -- of unfunded requests that went to the Secretary that's different from the one coming to Congress?
GEN. FRASER: Sir, I'm aware of the lists that went in, the discussion that was held, and there were no changes based on what I was told that came out of that meeting and what was actually submitted.
REP. FORBES: And if the answer and I'm sure you're telling the absolute truth, can you tell us whether the reduction from $18.4 billion last year to $1.9 billion this year was a result of change in risk assessment or was it budget -- driven by budgetary concerns?
GEN. FRASER: Sir, we looked at the requests that came over for an unfunded list. We wanted to go into that realizing that we needed to be fiscally responsible. We wanted to focus on today's fight and what was under funded and we build the '10 budget.
REP. FORBES: And, General, without interrupting --
GEN. FRASER: Yes, sir.
REP. FORBES: I just need to ask you, I would assume that you had that same concern last year that you wanted to be fiscally responsible last year as well. Wouldn't that be a fair statement to say?
GEN. FRASER: Yes, sir, not being in this position at that time, I am --
REP. FORBES: Whoever was in that position I'm sure would have had that same mandate.
GEN. FRASER: Yes, sir.
REP. FORBES: Do you feel that they were not fiscally responsible last Congress when they submitted the $18.4 billion request?
GEN. FRASER: No, sir, that would be inappropriate for me to comment. I'm not -- I was not a part of that at that particular time and -- but I know the guidance that we gave as we looked at '10, we wanted to fix the items that we felt like were under funded and that we needed to take care of for this fight nowadays. We also wanted to accelerate some capabilities into the fight to have a positive impact. So that was another area that we wanted to focus on which was something that we certainly took a look at.
The other guidance that we had given was no new starts and so that's why I say we wanted to take a look and the guidance we gave to the staff as they were bringing this forward is to fix the things that were under funded and then accelerate capabilities to today's fight, realizing, sir, that as we go to '11, we're going to be informed though by the results of the quadrennial defense review. We have other studies and analyses that are going on and that we'll utilize that to better inform us on what we build in the out years.
REP. FORBES: And, General, last question I have is for you. The same thing with the Marines. We were $3 billion unfunded needs last year. We're $188 million this year. If you could submit for the record the difference between what the Marines submitted to the Secretary and what was ultimately submitted to Congress and also if you could tell us if that reduction was based upon a change in risk assessment or if it was based on budgetary concerns?
GEN. AMOS: Sir, I will do that gladly. If I could make an anecdotal comment?
REP. FORBES: Sure.
GEN. AMOS: I also was present along with General Chiarelli and presented the Marines' unfunded list to Secretary of Defense and it was very enlightening when the Secretary said, and I don't want to -- and I guess I am speaking for him so to speak, but he looked at the Service Chiefs and those of us that were representing our Service Chief and in the thrust of his argument, not argument -- the thrust of his statement was not how much or how little this list can be. Quite honestly it was just the opposite. His intentions were honorable. He looked at all of us and said as you submit these lists, is there -- my question for you as Service Chiefs is there anything that's on this unfunded priority list that you did not know about when you submitted the POM '10 Bill, when we submitted the budget, and you remember, sir, we began building that budget early last summer and really submitted the final up to OSD probably around October, November time frame. So his question was what has happened or is there anything that has happened that now makes these things on the unfunded priority list, in our case the 188.3, more exigent than those things that you submitted in the fiscal year '10 and his thrust was if there are, then maybe we should go back and modify the '10 budget, in other words, let's pay for those things, let's be good stewards of those things.
So to be honest with you, sir, we submitted our list of $188.3 million and didn't even bat an eye but I came away from that meeting thinking boy his intentions were absolutely honorable on this and he wants to make sure that we get what we need.
REP. FORBES: And, General, I just want to close by -- I want to apologize unto the subcommittee for taking this much time, but I think this is one of the most important things we will do this year in asking these questions. Secondly, I want you to know I do not question anybody's intent or their honor in doing any of this and we all know that at some point in time you do have to balance the resources that you have against the risks that you have.
The only thing I would say to all four of you and I open this up for you to submit it to the record, we are trusting you. We trust your integrity that you're going to tell us what the risks are that we are facing because ultimately this committee doesn't challenge at all anybody's integrity or their honor, but we need to know what the risks are, and when we see budgets coming over to us, we are assuming you are telling us this is the risk and we're meeting the risk.
If you tell us the risk is greater and you need more resources and we don't get it, that's on our shoulders, but if you come over here and tell us this is all we need, and we supply that and we find out later on that that was driven by budgets and not by the actual risk assessment then that's something we all have to carry on our shoulders and that's why we are giving you this opportunity to put that in the record so if we come back down here a year from now or whenever, we can say we at least knew the risk and we made the decision not to fund those risks adequately.
But thank you all for again your service and being patient with me in asking the questions.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
REP. ORTIZ: Thank you.
The chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Reyes.
REP. SILVESTRE REYES (D-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen thanks for being here this morning. We welcome you and we thank you for your service and certainly know that you've been wrestling with some very tough issues with the limitation on budget.
General Chiarelli, I wanted to start with you because you and I have talked in the past about the stress on the troops and also their families and the hope that we have that we're seeing the troop levels in Iraq hopefully start coming down, but at the same time we know we've got the challenge in Afghanistan, so we're potentially, if things go according to plan are going to trade deployments in Iraq for deployments in Afghanistan.
There have been a number of incidents, one in my district, at Fort Bliss, and one recently in Iraq where the stress has led to unfortunate incidents. My concern and I would ask you to address this is in the face of these deployments and continuing deployments, I think perhaps for the next decade, and the dwell time limitations on troops coming out of combat theater, how do we justify going from 48 to 45 Army Brigade combat teams and then the second part is what are we doing to help with, because I know this is a personal interest to you, to help with military families coping with the stress of constant deployments.
In my visits to our soldiers there in Fort Bliss, we've got on a pretty common regular basis, we've got troops going back for a fifth deployment, so that is just from my perspective an indicator that we don't have enough troops, that the up tempo is too high and yet we're going from 48 to 45 combat brigades.
GEN. CHIARELLI: Sir, as you well know,we have the soldiers on board to build those brigades today. I think that's important to understand. We have 549 soldiers -- 549,000 soldiers in the active component force. In fact, we've got to take it down to 547,400 to get within our -- (inaudible) -- strength.
The three brigades that were going to be built were going to be built in FY '11 that is after we should see savings from the Iraq draw down and those soldiers that are on board today at 549, that delta of 10,300 soldiers are being used to thicken the formations that are going out today.
I think the Secretary explained that in his decision to go from 48 to 45 and I've got to tell you to me that makes sense. He also indicated that if demand does not go down and we get further into this, he would reconsider the decision to go from 48 to 45, and that's something we're going to look very, very hard at because as you well know that is my biggest concern. If you want me to tell you where I think we're taking risk, that is what concerns me, and that leads into your next question and that's on families and stress.
I recently went on a trip to take a look at seven installations in eight days and I went out to look at suicide prevention programs since the Secretary of the Army has put me in charge of the Army's efforts to try to lower the number of suicides. When I was at my forth installation, I came to the realization that this isn't about suicide prevention programs, this is about helping soldiers and families, and I really emphasize families, improve their mental wellness, their mental health and this has to be a multi-disciplinary program.
We tend to concentrate on mental health care providers and we need more. If you were to ask me how many more we need, I could not tell you. I can't tell you because I am trying to determine after seven years of war with the stress that this force has been put on how many do you really know. What I know now is I don't have enough, but this is bigger than mental health care workers. It's supporting our Chaplin's programs, his Strong Bonds Programs where he takes both deploying and redeploying soldiers' families on a marriage retreat where they talk about some of the issues that they've had or going to have going into that deployment or coming out of that deployment. It's substance abuse counselors.
We've got an issue there that we have to work. I need more substance abuse counselors and we are taking action now to hire more substance abuse counselors. Again, it's hard for me to tell how many more I need, I just know the demand is not being met today. So I am looking at this thing holistically, but the number one thing that I need to get this under control is to increase dwell. I have got to increase dwell. I know that when that happens many of the issues that we're seeing today, not being eliminated, will decrease.
I just leave you with one quick story. I was briefed yesterday on the number of non-deployables that are in upcoming brigades that are going out to the United States Army and I saw those non-deployable numbers up in the vicinity very, very high except for one single brigade which was very, very low. Less than 4 percent of his formation was non-deployable as compared to 12 to 14 percent in some of these other brigades and I asked a question what's this guy doing right that the others aren't and what I found out is that he's on the Global Response Force, has been in the country for two and a half years, has got the longest amount of dwell time of any unit in the United States Army and his non-deployable rate is down under 4 percent.
I think that's illustrative of the fact that time at home is what we need so that both soldiers and families can repair themselves.
REP. REYES: Thank you, General.
Mr. Chairman, as you know we've talked to Chairman Skelton about the issues that the General mentions in terms of doing everything we can to support the family structure as well as the soldier. This may be an issue that we might want to have an additional hearing on.
REP. ORTIZ: And we know that we're facing a lot of decisions that we have to make soon, and I agree with Chairman Reyes, we might be able to maybe have a separate hearing to dwell on the specific issue, but with what you've got we appreciate what you've done, we really have.
And now I yield to my good friend, Mr. Rogers.
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-AL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I want to thank all of you for being here and for your service to our country.
General Chiarelli, in looking at the baseline budget for '10 and the supplemental, I notice there's an $87.4 billion has been requested and that's just a .7 percent increase over FY '09, less than one percent. Can you talk a little bit about how this flat lining of operation and maintenance funding will affect the active Army? It seems inconsistent with the degradation that I know General Amos talked about in his opening comments and I'm sure you've got that in your equipment as a result of this seven years, two theaters of war. It seems like that's an inconsistent number with the growing amount of maintenance that we're having on our equipment.
Can you talk to me about how that is going to affect your ability to maintain your equipment?
GEN. CHIARELLI: Well, if you want to know, sir, our reset amount -- what we're taking to reset the force, which is a critical piece of what we're doing with equipment coming out of the force right now is all in our OCO and that is --
MR. ROGERS: And what -- is your microphone on? I can't hear you very well.
GEN. CHIARELLI: I'm sorry. It's on.
MR. ROGERS: Okay.
GEN. CHIARELLI: It's in the OCO, O-C-O.
MR. ROGERS: Uh-huh.
GEN. CHIARELLI: Overseas Contingency Operations portion of the budget.
MR. ROGERS: Yes, sir.
GEN. CHIARELLI: That's a total of $11 billion. That has gone down. It was a high -- in FY '07 a 16.4. It has gone down to $11 billion, but we see that as the amount of money that we need to reset the forces that are coming back -- that we know are coming back in the FY '10 period. I would expect that portion of the budget to go up in FY '11 and I would because we're going to be -- if we in fact have the forces flow out of Iraq like we are planning on having flow out --
MR. ROGERS: Uh-huh.
GEN. CHIARELLI: -- that reset money will probably go up because of those forces returning to the United States. I will remind you that the Army has been consistent in its position in saying that if hostilities were to end today, we have still got a two year period that we feel that we are going to need to have to reset the force. That will be bills for two additional years in order to reset the force.
MR. ROGERS: Right.
Thank, you sir.
General Fraser, the KCX Program will replace the KC135's hopefully in my lifetime. It's not been looking good so far. They're already an average of 47 year old -- 47 years old. Given the delays in the KCX and the fact that the KC135 will remain in service for maybe thirty more years, keeping these airplanes available to support combat operations around the world is obviously an important objective.
Currently the KC135 Program Depot maintenance is performed organically as well as by outside contractors. I understand that in FY '10 the Air Force is planning to increase the number of aircraft inducted into PDM organically from 48 to 54 and reduce those done by outside contractors from 29 to 23. Can you talk a little bit about how you are going to be able to handle that organic increase in work?
GEN. FRASER: Thank you, sir. I will get back to you on the specifics of that. I know there are some adjustments that are being made within the schedule as we take a look to ensure that those aircraft meet the depot schedule and so I'd like to provide that detail schedule to you and what that actually looks like.
MR. ROGERS: Great.
GEN. FRASER: Now, I know there are some reductions that we had planned on with respect to the depot maintenance, and that is specifically related to the planned retirement and approved retirement of some of the KC135E's. They're not necessary to go into the depot so we're able to take that out, so that's one reason that you see some of the reduction, but the actual specifics of that I'd like to provide that to you.
MR. ROGERS: I would appreciate that.
And then just one statement for the record, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate all of you and as Mr. Forbes said, respect your judgment. We do count on you to give us your unvarnished military opinion when we ask for it. Unfortunately, in the last several terms that I've been here, we saw Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld very heavy- handed with General Officers and they were contouring their comments to this committee to the Secretary in deference to him with concerns over career and this committee and the full committee in my opinion, I was a part of it, we didn't do a good enough job of getting on top of that sooner.
I fear that we're starting to see some from the current Secretary of Defense. I hope that's not the case and if any of you don't want to give an unvarnished opinion when it's asked here, I hope you'll talk to us privately and let us know what you need because as Randy has said, we can't fix it if we don't know about it and you know a whole lot more than we do, so if it's in a private meeting or somewhere else, you know, let us know if you're getting pressure to make cuts or do things separate and apart from what you really believe your military opinion is.
I know that often times when you come before us you've got to click your heels and salute to what your Chief told you to say, but want to hear what you got to say because we do respect you. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. ORTIZ: Mr. Marshall.
REP. MARSHALL: Thank you, Chairman.
Thank you, gentlemen for what you do and for what all of those you lead do on behalf of our country.
General Chiarelli, you know, to sort of add to your list of reasons why the reduction of BCT's might be reconsidered is the fact that a number of different communities have relied upon what in essence is a promise from DOD to prepare for receiving those BCT's, creating schools, building housing, you know all of the other attendant things that are necessary in order to adequately take care of an extra 5000 people and their families is a significant investment for the communities that have been asked to do that.
Fort Stewart, specifically, I think was the community that was going to receive the next BCT, and assuming it does that's fine, but assuming it doesn't, so far today, the investment is in excess of $450 million. That may not be a lot of money from the Department of Defense's perspective. It's a huge sum of money for those communities and governments and etc cetera down in the Fort Stewart area and it's a matter of just sort of abiding by your word. I mean if our word is not good, then what communities in the future are going to rely upon I promise that this is coming, would you please prepare. They just won't prepare and then we'll show up and families won't be served, etc cetera.
So I just add that. You know, everybody knows we enlist the soldier and then we re-enlist the families.
General Fraser, Secretary Young not too long ago suggested that modernization not be taken into account as core work for depot maintenance purposes and that caused a flurry of consternation here because as we've gone through the process year after year after year of considering that question, you know adjusting to 50/50, that sort of thing, we've always contemplated that modernization was part of the mix.
What's Air Force's current view?
GEN. FRASER: Modernization is a part of that and we've got an ongoing study for a new weapon systems that we are bringing online and that we're actually -- that will wind up within the depots. So that is ongoing.
REP. MARSHALL: Because of this little brush with the Secretary's suggestion, perhaps it's not, we might put clarifying language in this year's bill. I'd be happy to work with you on that clarifying language.
GEN. FRASER: Yes, sir, we'd like to work with you.
REP. MARSHALL: JCA Secretary has proposed -- well, actually, by agreement between the two Chiefs, looks like JCA will be transferred to Air Force. I've never been troubled at all by the notion that Air Force would manage acquisitions, sustainment, modernization, maintenance. I suspect thus far the understanding between the contractor and the Army, since Army has sort of led the way in acquisition thus far, hasn't really taken into account the kinds of concerns Air Force would have if Air Force is going to be doing long- term maintenance, sustainment, and modernization, you know data rights acquisition and then some discussion concerning how we're going to transition this stuff from contractor control -- well actually it should be right away Air Force control, but then contractor maintenance, sustainment, modernization, to depot sustainment, modernization.
I'm convinced we are going to acquire more of these things. It's not -- we're not stopping at 38. The IDA analysis that was published on March 13th says that for low intensity conflicts like we're engaged in at the moment and for the foreseeable future seem to be the kind of conflicts we're going to be engaged in and the most cost effective platform -- platform mix includes 98 of these JCA's and so seems to me in -- as we consider further sales as we -- buys, pardon me -- as we prepare for more buys, Air Force really needs to focus on this long- term issue and the deal with the contractor can be modified.
A question is what sort of coordination is going on between Air Force and Army right now on JCA and the needs of the Army? Where the caribou is concerned, something similar was done during the Vietnam era and it didn't work out very well. The Air Force really wasn't able to meet the needs of the Army as far as the actual utilization of the platform, the caribou in this instance was concerned, and I'd be pleased to hear from General Fraser and General Chiarelli, but what sort of things are going on between the two branches in trying to figure out how we're going to actually meet the Army needs.
GEN. FRASER: Sir, thank you. We are committed to this mission of direct support for the Army. We have a team that is put together already that is taking a look at this to ensure that the program of record that we have on track right now stays on track working with the program office to include the development, the testing, and everything else that's going to go with that.
So we are integrating our people in with the Army and with the SPO (ph) right now. The other thing that we're doing is focused with the Air National Guard and the Army National Guard so Joe McKinley (ph) is a part of that and in fact, General Chiarelli, myself, and General McKinley have held several meetings already as we provide direction and guidance to that team of individuals that is taking a look at this entire program, and so we have charged them by the end of the month to take a look at this, to periodically report back, seek guidance.
There was recently a meeting that was held at Air Mobility Command, General Light (ph) out there was the host of that meeting and they had some very good discussions with respect to the program and the mission and how this was going to be accomplished. The other thing that is ongoing is discussions down range and what this would look like as it actually gets employed. So there's a coordination group that is going on right now to ensure that this stays on track.
REP. MARSHALL: Are you heading in the direction of putting in writing what the Army's expectations are, Air Force agreeing to meet those expectations, Army is actually going to develop the list and hopefully it will be a very thorough list and guidance can be taken from the experience with the caribou trying to figure out well where did it break down in the past.
General Chiarelli, I'm sorry to --
GEN. CHIARELLI: That is in fact what General Fraser and I are doing. We just can't talk direct support because direct support is absolutely key and critical for us and the Air Force is fully signed up for direct support. We are down now into the weeds of, you know, when the Army defines direct support for this particular aircraft, what exactly does that mean, and that to us is key and I know it is to General Fraser and the Air Force has said all along that they will provide the Army this aircraft and the capabilities of this aircraft in a direct support role.
We are ensuring that we go into that with our eyes open on exactly what that means to both of us.
REP. MARSHALL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your indulgence.
REP. ORTIZ: The chair recognizes Ms. Fallin from Oklahoma.
REP. MARY FALLIN (R-OK): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I just want to say how much I appreciate the Ranking Member Forbes comments about trusting you with the decisions and what we need to be doing with our military operations and maintenance and we appreciate your service to our nation.
I have a couple of questions. One deals with the memo that we have about the 2010 Air Force operation and maintenance baseline budget and in it we reduce the organic KC135 aircraft program depot maintenance by 68.1 million and it will result in ten fewer depot inductions and I have a very specific question about how will this programming change affect the KC135 depot at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma?
GEN. FRASER: Thank you, ma'am. I appreciate that. I will provide the detailed schedule as I mentioned before with respect to that. I know that that reduction was as a result of the KC135E and not needing to input those aircraft within the depot maintenance because they are approved and scheduled for retirement.
We are still on track to ensure that the KC135R's continue to meet their five-year depot maintenance plan and we're definitely committed to ensuring the 50/50 split as is mandated too. So we'll get you the detailed schedule.
REP. FALLIN: Okay.
And I have another question for General Chiarelli. I'd like to ask you a couple of questions about the artillery capacities of the Army and I know that the Army and Congress are both very committed to developing -- have been committed, I should say in the past for developing an NLOS cannon as part of the future combat systems and there significant developments that were made in that but now we're in a restructuring of the SCS and I want to make sure that the Army and our soldiers have the very best capacity and advantage on the battlefields and my question is with the current Paladin system approaching nearly fifty years of age, can you tell us how the Army will continue to modernize the Army's artillery capacity and is the Army's commitment to the Palladin more critical given the changes in the SCS system programming?
GEN. CHIARELLI: Well, we are totally committed to the Palladin Pin Program, which will go a long ways in extending the life of the Palladin. In addition I know you know that we are working and moving at very, very sharply what we're calling the ground combat vehicle and looking to be able to deliver something in five to seven years. TRADOC (ph) is working through at this time. Whether that will be a single vehicle or a family vehicles, but I can assure you that everyone in the Army is committed toward some type of capability to provide indirect fires. We think the Palladin Pin Program in the interim will do an excellent job of upgrading the Palladin.
REP. FALLIN: Well, in light of the Army working towards modernizing the artillery capacities how will you use those developments that have already been accomplished through the work up of the production of the NLOS cannon?
GEN. CHIARELLI: Well, that's absolutely critical to us. There's a lot to be gained from the MGV program, not just the NLOS C but also the entire MGV Program and our plan is to harvest those technologies, those things that we are able to use and apply -- if they apply to this new ground combat vehicle. So we see this as an investment that is not wasted but one that will allow us to look at those technologies that have matured and consider them for incorporation into our new ground combat vehicle.
REP. FALLIN: And the other thing, Mr. Chairman, that I just want to mention, I know there's been a tremendous amount of investment put into these technologies and now the program is changing so I want to make sure that the investments that we spent are going to be used wisely in whatever type of systems that we put forth in the future with that technology.
GEN. CHIARELLI: We are committed to that.
REP. FALLIN: Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. ORTIZ: Mr. Heinrich.
REP. MARTIN HEINRICH (D-NM): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would certainly want to thank the four of your for joining us here today. I also want to commend the work of our service members for all that they do. I know we're asking a great deal of them at the current time and I want to direct my question today to General Fraser.
General, it was good to hear you in Albuquerque a couple of weeks ago. I very much enjoyed your speech and I know the audience enjoyed your interest in our city. In the last two hearings with Secretary Gates and Secretary Donnelly, I made no secret of my concerns for the proposed accelerated retirements of fighter aircraft and with the quadrennial defense review under way, I believe that any decision to shut down entire fighter wings is premature, but what's incredibly troubling to me is that the combat Air Force restructuring report that was released on May 15th lists 23 bases across the country, all having future missions declared, with the exception of one, that being the 150th at Kirtland Air Force Base and which has been selected to lose its entire flying force without a follow up mission being determined.
General Fraser, yesterday I asked about the specific criteria that were used in determining which wings were selected for retirement.
General Schwartz said that a business case analysis was used. To me it's still a little bit unclear as to what the specific criteria of that analysis were and I was hoping that you might be able to elaborate on the criteria that were used to select these wings for retirement, specifically the 150th Fighter Wing in Kirtland.
GEN. FRASER: Thank you, sir. We see the opportunities there with other activities that go on in the Kirtland area as opportunities for a total force initiative. So as we were looking across the entire spectrum of our combat Air Forces and trying to find that right balance and where opportunities presented themselves for total force initiatives, that was one of the areas that we felt like was certainly prime to participate in one of those total force initiatives with, say, the 150th. In fact we're in negotiations and discussions with them about potential opportunities. We've got Special Forces training that go on right there as you know, sir, at Kirtland, which is something that is a particular area of great interest to us as we continue to increase that capacity and capability to provide it to the joint fight.
There's other opportunities that we've also talked about with other emerging weapon systems as they come online because as we provide other capabilities such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to today's fight, we need other units there that are willing to participate and want to participate in those total force initiatives and so we've had great opportunities in a number of the other States too where they have taken on these new missions and so we felt like that was one area as we modernized and upgraded across the CAF (ph) and took this particular step with the CAF redux to look at those units where there were other opportunities and we felt like that that was one of those units that was certainly viable because there are needs out there for our Air Force which would add great capability to the joint fight.
REP. HEINRICH: Well, I hope you understand my trepidation regarding a report where that mission has not yet been designated or determined for the 150th. Would you be willing to comment a little bit once again on the criteria that were used in terms of figuring out who is going to be retired where and what and specifically whether or not some of the things that we're taking into account such as I know ten of the twenty-one aircraft in the 150th had already just recently gone through the upgrades that extend their service life for another 8000 hours on top of their remaining service -- oh, I'm sorry -- 2000 hours on top of their remaining service life.
GEN. FRASER: Sir, we'd be happy to come over and hold some discussions and get into further details. As we looked at all the different units and as we went across that, we'd love to come over and spend some time and talk to you about that.
REP. HEINRICH: Do you -- are you able to comment at all on what the cost difference is between an active duty F16 wing and a guard unit? I know I've seen some figures thrown around that suggest that the Air National Guard units maintain combat ready status at approximately the third of a cost of the equivalent active duty force. Is that an accurate statement or do you know what the ratio there is?
GEN. FRASER: I'll get the specifics, but I too have seen these same figures.
REP. HEINRICH: Okay. Thank you very much.
REP. ORTIZ: Ms. Shea-Porter.
REP. CAROL SHEA-PORTER (D-NH): Thank you very much.
These questions are for Admiral Walsh, please, and General Fraser. I've read reports that the Navy and the Air Force have cut back on the flying hours for pilots to train, which could produce a problem proficiency and leave an impact on readiness. In fact, according to the Navy Times' article entitled P3 Mishap, Two Pilots Short on Flight Hours, the Navy Judge Advocate General manual investigation of the mishap found that lack of flying hours was a contributing factor.
Two of the pilots failed to meet their proficiency minimums. Instead of there required ten hours per month, one pilot had 3.8 hours and the other one had 3.3 hours, less than a third of the requirement. Some of the reduction can be replaced by flight simulators, but surely not all.
How concerned are you both about the impact of these flying hour reductions on readiness and what steps have you taken to deal with this problem, if you see it as one?
ADM. WALSH: I can start. I'm not familiar with the JAG investigation on the P3. I suspect this is an investigation of a mishap that look place in Afghanistan a while ago and involved proficiency issues associated with the crew and the question that would come up right to mind is whether or not we mandated that minimum in terms of flying hour proficiency or was that something that was determined by local commanders as adequate enough and I don't have the answer to that, but in terms of resourcing FY '10 and how we look at the flight hour program. We continue to work towards a T rating of 2.5 which is proven adequate in combat. In fact, we are over executing our flying hour program and central command area responsibility today and it's forcing some mitigations in FY '09 that affect the rest of the fleet in terms of operating costs and steps that we're having to take in execution, but the plan for FY '10 is to continue to fund this.
This is an area that we don't take for granted, that we continue to self assess and we do have statistical data that will prove out that when we have less than a certain minimum flight hours per month, we will in fact, see a causal relationship to accidents. That's something at the headquarters level were very much aware of it and we're trying to avoid with resources but I can dig further and find out in fact whether or not those were local decisions or were the decisions that they inherited from us.
REP. SHEA-PORTER: Okay.
I also would like to say that -- well, we'll let that go and I'll let General Fraser answer and then I'll make a comment.
GEN. FRASER: Yes, ma'am, our flying hour program for '10 is fully funded. What you're seeing with respect to the reductions that are in there are directly related to a restructure and some changes with respect to our undergraduate pilot training program and the syllabus changes that have been made there. The other place that we've managed to have some savings within the flying hour program and therefore a reduction this time that you're specifically talking about is directly associated with the CAF redux (ph). By removing 250 of the older aircraft as we modernize and change that fore structure there we get some savings.
We ensure that the experienced and inexperienced level of our aviators continues to stay up and ensure that that's wholly funded. The other thing that we've done with the flying hour program is that we've ensured that we have brought the air sovereignty mission into the baseline. This is a change. We see it as an enduring mission and so that has also negated any further reductions with respect to that. So as we continue to do that to support the combatant commander of the air sovereignty mission we ensure that that was also brought in there, so that's what you're seeing as far as our changes go.
REP. SHEA-PORTER: Okay. Thank you. And I was referencing the article in the Navy Times and it was Sunday, March 1st, 2009, if anybody wants to read this. PC Mishap, Two Pilots Short on Flight Hours. So --
GEN. FRASER: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.
REP. SHEA-PORTER: Thank you.
And my other question has to do with whistle blowers. This is a big issue for me and I want to thank the DOD Inspector General's for their efforts to protect whistle blowers, but I did want to talk about the hotline that they've been using. I understand that fewer than 2000, to be exact, 1956 calls out of more than 13,000 resulted in an investigation and I just wanted to ask why such a low rate? Do you have enough resources? What steps are being taken to improve this so that whistle blowers who call will feel comfortable utilizing this service and knowing that there will be some kind of a response?
GEN. CHIARELLI: I'm going to have to take that one for the record and get back to you on that, Ma'am.
REP. SHEA-PORTER: Okay. Thank you. I mean I really admire the work that they're doing and I know its critical and I appreciate the fact that there is a hotline but it is important to actually be able to follow up on the calls once they come in. So thank you.
And I yield back.
REP. ORTIZ: Thank you.
You know one of the things that I'm very concerned with and when we talk about dwelling, dwelling, dwell time, equipment age, getting old, the losses that we've had on the equipment on the battlefield, I always worry about another conflict, and if there was to be another conflict how are we going to be able to sustain those troops if we were to send -- and I ask that question because I was in Korea and when I asked the question of sustainment they told me that it would only be a few days. And because of the pre-positioning stock and a lot of issues that we have how are we going to respond?
I know we're involved in two conflicts now, two wars, but if there was to be another conflict how are we going to be able to sustain those troops? I mean can we manage it somehow to be able to sustain in case we have to deploy troops to another conflict some place else? I mean we've got our hands full but this always worries me.
Any one of you who would like to respond to that question?
ADM. WALSH: This is precisely what we're concerned about, why we present ourselves as full-spectrum force because in large measure in our history we've been caught by surprise and so when we're fore- deployed and really in many respects alone operating at sea we have to take a very suspect approach in terms of how we approach our concept of operation so that as we approach traffic in the area we have no idea whether these are vessels in distress, legitimate traffic, or another USS Cole that is about to happen.
So our experience has taught us and that's one of the reasons why the full-spectrum capability has been a redline for my service for many years and why we argued before the Supreme Court how important it was to be able to have that full-spectrum training to include undersea warfare.
The committee support for our readiness and our ranges is critically important to us and one of the reviews that's underway right now is how valuable and how appropriate is simulation training because it cannot replace the hands-on execution and experience whether it's in the flight hour program or the actual execution of undersea warfare operations. That cannot be simulated to the point that we can do away with training ranges. The continued support in that area is very valuable to us and that's exactly the reason why we approach our business the way we do and why we've described redlines and training the way we have.
Thank you, sir.
GEN. CHIARELLI: I would add that our operational ready rates quite frankly astound me every time I look at them both in theater and back here. I think nowhere do you see it more than Army aviation and the ability of our logisticians through use of subcontract maintenance for sure have provided us unparallel operational readiness rates not only across our aircraft but even the MRAPS (ph) where we took in our attempt to try to get them to the field as early as we did and as quickly as we did we took some risk with the sustainment packages, but both in Iraq and Afghanistan we've seen those numbers extremely high, over 90 percent.
There's no doubt that what we call the enablers, the logisticians that are conducting this work brilliantly, are stressed. They are a big portion of our forces stressed today. However, their ability to support us as they have in two theaters I think is unparallel in modern warfare and I suspect there's still capability left to do that should another contingency require us to do so as long as it was not too large.
REP. ORTIZ: Anybody else?
GEN. AMOS: Chairman, right now with 30,000 Marines tied up and the balance shifting from the left foot in Iraq to the right foot into Afghanistan, there's no question that as I said in my opening statement that not only is the readiness fore-deployed very high, but the readiness at home station has been the bill payer for that and that gets to the crux of your question of if we assume that we are going to be tied up in the theater that we are in two fronts, what else could we do around the world and the answer from the Marine Corps' perspective is we would -- it would be difficult.
We would cobble together the equipment that we have back at home station. We would empty out our Maritime Pre-Position Squadrons. As you and I talked yesterday, we're running -- we've got three squadrons worth of ships, each one roughly five ships and some of those are sitting at about 100 percent. Some are sitting at about 80 percent. We've got caves in Norway that are just a little over 50 percent of that pre-position equipment. We would empty that out to go fight some place else in the world, that we would cobble together the Marines just as we did in Korea and when we brought 5th Marines together from almost a cadre status and flowed them in for the landing at Inchon, so it would be difficult, it would be challenging. It can be done.
The sustainment piece, though is -- it would be the hard part -- it would be -- it would fall on the shoulders of industry and this Congress to help put that together for us to be able to sustain a fight some place else in the world. I don't think there's any question it would end up with some give and take in both theaters.
REP. ORTIZ: General Fraser.
GEN. FRASER: Sir, I echo a number of those remarks too in that in order to maintain the full spectrum, it takes time to come back and then get those individuals who have been deployed in theater back up to their full-spectrum capability. So it takes additional training. It takes additional time to reset themselves because we have seen as time has gone on that our deployment rates have gone up while yet the time has gone up that the individuals are deployed.
Back in 2004, 120 day less deployment so we were only in the 12 to 14 percent of the force. Now we're upwards of 54 percent of our deployers are over 120 days and we have even larger numbers that are picking up the 365, so naturally that adds stress back to those home units to ensure that they maintain the capabilities should something else arise some place else. The other thing that we see that we're able to do is continue to deploy in other areas. While there's nearly 40,000 airmen that are deployed -- that may be deployed forward, but yet we have over 200,000 that engaged in the day to day fight. Because of the way that we're able to do business back here with our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets, the head piece for the processing exploitation and dissemination of the intelligence, a lot of people are able to do that back here.
So we've got a lot of people that are deployed in garrison -- in place and actually performing the mission today and providing a valuable contribution so it's all of that that is stress out there that we need to take a look at. We also have several specialty codes that are stressed. The leveling off of the manpower at 330,000, 332,000 is going to help us but we have focused that additional manpower into, yes, some of those stress career fields but into those added capabilities that we continue to bring on to provide for today's fight.
We're still doing other deployments in the Pacific. Today we have F22's that are deployed at Andersen and Guam and we're going to do another deployment to Kadena here, so there's other weapon systems that are still picking up in other areas of the world that continue to be able to deter, dissuade, and assure our allies and friends that we will be there, but it will be stressful.
REP. ORTIZ: When I came to the Congress back in the eighties, I can remember the reduction of the forces and I can remember young men and women calling that had been in the military twelve, fourteen years, but they were being forced out because we had to reduce the force and I guess when I came here we had Army something like 900,000 troops and it was reduced drastically, not only the Army but all branches of the military, and I hope we can learn from the lessons that has transpired in the past and now, of course recruitment is doing fine at this moment, but we've lost Sergeants, we've lost a lot of key personnel and I know that all of you are doing your best and you're trying hard otherwise you wouldn't be where you are at and your loyalty and your dedication to our country, we appreciate that and when we say -- Mr. Forbes and I, members of the committee, -- we really want to help and we do not mean to harass anybody or to point fingers at anybody. We just want to know so that we can be in a position to help you.
REP. FORBES: Chairman, just one question.
First of all, General, thank you for your comment about logistics. I think really that probably when all the stories are ultimately written, they're the true unsung heroes of everything we've seen and what they've done has been just simply fantastic and we owe them a great deal in all four areas. But there was an article on May 14th in the USA Today that highlighted a number of soldiers in the Army, some 30,000 to 35,000 were not available for deployment because they're recovering from wounds or injuries or because they are supporting the Wounded Warrior program.
I also understand from the data provided by the committee -- to the committee by the Army that up to an additional 50,000 military personnel in the active Army, Army Guard, and Army Reserve may be non- deployable because they have permanent profiles of three and four as a result of medical or other conditions. According to what the Army provided us the number of people with these permanent P3 and P4 profiles in the active Army was 19,300; in the Army Guard, 20,770; and in the Army Reserve, 11,150.
My question for you is what effect are these large number of non- deployable personnel having on the Army's ability to fully man deploying units and none of us are advocating a decrease in the support for the Wounded Warrior program, but what's the Army doing to address the numbers of non-deployables in that program and among the personnel with P3 and P4 profiles? Particularly what can Congress do to assist the Army in increasing the number of soldiers who are deployable? For example, would temporarily exempting the numbers of people in the Warrior Transition units from counting against Army in- strength assist the Army to increase the number of deployable personnel?
GEN. CHIARELLI: There's no doubt that this unavailable force creates a problem for us and that's the problem we're faced today. In the active component force I'm in the vicinity of -- I saw a report yesterday of 21,000 folks who were non-deployable. I have just over 9,100 who are NWTU's, Warrior Transition Units and the rest are non- deployables who reside in the units. We're seeing an increase in how many soldiers we're having to assign to units before they deploy in order to get them out the door at an acceptable strength of over 90 percent. We're seeing that number go up from 9 percent to over 12 percent and we're concerned because this is cumulative over time. We've seen an increase in the number of soldiers who have mental health profiles.
There's no surprise, I don't think for anybody that that would be the case, and when you don't have the required dwell time back home to allow folks to heal from muscular skeletal issues that they have humping a rug sack at 10 to 12,000 feet in Afghanistan, you'll see those numbers growing -- we're seeing those numbers grow. What it requires us to do is it requires us to take units down to a lower percentage than we would like to when they go through reset and build them up over time, but the problem you have there is that as we get ready for our Capstone (ph) exercise in the train and ready portion of that train up to go, many times we don't have upwards of 70 to 80 percent of the unit available for that training exercise at that particular time.
So it's creating some great challenges for us, but at the same time I can tell you when those forces go into country they are trained and ready and the best fighting force that we've ever had.
REP. FORBES: And you all do a wonderful job in dealing with the resources you have but if there is anything that you can see that we can do to assist you with that concern please let us know because we understand it's a difficulty.
GEN. CHIARELLI: I appreciate that.
REP. FORBES: Mr. Chairman, I just thank our witnesses and yield back.
REP. ORTIZ: Mr. Marshall.
REP. MARSHALL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to return to the C27 and the coordination between Army and Air Force. I was in Afghanistan a year and a half ago and from my perspective fortunately Army couldn't get me out of Chamkani, so I stayed there for about three days and it wound up being a better trip as a result of that. The reason Army couldn't is because Army didn't have the air assets that it needed in order to deal with the tempo and also move some Congressmen, so I just said, I'm last in line here. I can't have soldiers be last in line and so I wonder what the range of possible options might be with regard to the coordination between Air Force and Army?
General Fraser, for example, is it conceivable that you could wind up with Air Force simply providing the platform to the Army and everything else is relatively the same from the Army's perspective, Army -- Warrant Officers, Army chain of command, Army complete control, although Army would not be saying here's how we're going to be maintaining this, sustaining it, etc cetera? That would be one extreme and I suppose the other extreme, General Chiarelli, would be that Air Force is providing absolutely everything and is totally in control and Army has to actually go through Air Force channels in order to access the asset hour by hour, day by day and then somehow there's something that's in between that maybe works. From Army's perspective obviously, you'd rather have the asset and then all your people, chain of command, etc cetera and I'm not sure what Air Force would prefer to have.
Are both of those extremes at this point possible or are you much narrower than that?
GEN. FRASER: That's why we have a group that involves the Guard, the active duty Army, and active duty Air Force that are coordinating on this and working with the theater, working with everyone involved to ensure that we understand the concept of employment. And as we mentioned earlier, that we will get that down in writing. We see this as -- as we step into this, this is not going to be all and all one day turned over, let's say to the Air Force. There will be a transition period and that's why we're working together with respect to the acquisition program to make sure that there is a smooth transition. So there's a number of items that are on the table. We have a task to due out to report back and we will do so in the time frame that's allotted to us. There's a number of things that are being talked about.
REP. FORBES: Well, with respect, sir, is the outer range that I described possible? This group, this task force that's meeting, could this task force conclude that the best way to go about this is to simply give the asset to the Army and let Army National Guard, Army whoever manage the asset?
GEN. FRASER: Sir, we're looking at this as the mission has been given to the Air Force and --
REP. FORBES: Okay.
GEN. FRASER: -- and we're going to pick up this mission and that's how we're approaching this and to ensure that we get this capability to the theater as fast as we can.
REP. FORBES: Would Army personnel migrate -- the Army personnel perhaps who would otherwise have been accomplishing the mission, would they migrate to the Air Force somehow? Would Air Force take Army Warrant Officer pilots, for example, or will Air Force be providing its own pilots?
GEN. FRASER: Sir, I think here in the beginning what you're going to see is there is certainly a mix and I would not discount any of that.
REP. FORBES: Okay.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. ORTIZ: Thank you so much. This has been a very productive hearing that we've had and our country and us we appreciate your service and we're grateful for what you have done, putting you, yourself in harms way and sacrifices -- not only you, but that your families go through. We're very appreciative.
Hearing all the questions, this hearing stands adjourned and again thank you so much.