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SEN. LEVIN: Good morning, everybody. The committee meets today to consider the nominations of Gordon Heddell to be DOD Inspector General, Michael Gilmore to be director of Operational Test and Evaluation, and Zachary Lemnios to be director of Defense Research and Engineering.
Dennis McCarthy to be assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, Jamie Morin to be assistant secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller, and Daniel Ginsberg to be assistant secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
We welcome our nominees and their families to today's hearing. Senior Defense Department officials put in long hours every day. We appreciate the sacrifices that they and their families are willing to make to serve our country. Each of our nominees has a distinguished background.
Gordon Haddell has served in law enforcement positions since he completed his service as an Army helicopter pilot in 1970. In 2001 Mr. Heddell was confirmed as inspector general of the Department of Labor, and in 2008 he became acting inspector general of the Department of Defense. The DOD inspector general plays a vital role in ensuring the integrity and efficiency of DOD programs and activities, and if confirmed Mr. Heddell will continue the job of restoring the reputation of this important office which has been shaken in recent years. We need an inspector general that we can rely upon to dig into the department's problems and to tell the truth about what he finds.
Michael Gilmore has served in national security positions for the last 20 years, first in the Department of Defense's Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation, known as PA&E, where he rose to be deputy director in 2001 and more recently at the congressional budget Office where he has served for the past eight years as assistant director for National Security. The director of Operational Tests and Evaluation plays a key role in ensuring that our weapons systems perform as intended. The director of OT&E, like the DOD inspector general, must be able to tell the truth to power. If confirmed, it will be Mr. Gilmore's job to tell DOD and Congress whether we have gotten what we paid for in our major defense acquisition programs. The successful director of OT&E will not be popular within the Department of Defense; he plays a vitally important role in protecting both the troops and the taxpayers.
Zachary Lemnios is a scientist, an engineer, who has spent most of the last two decades in various positions at MIT's Lincoln Lab where he now serves as chief technology officer. His qualifications are only enhanced by his status. I may say very proudly he's a graduate of the University of Michigan. If confirmed as director of Defense Research and Engineering, Mr. Lemnios will be the top science and technology officer of the Department of Defense responsible for guiding the advanced research that will keep our military ahead of its competitors for the next generation. In addition, the Weapons System Acquisition Reform Act which we enacted just last month gives the DDR the important new responsibility of assessing the technological maturity of key technologies to be used in major defense acquisition programs to ensure that we won't try to build systems that we haven't sufficiently tested.
Now I'm going to save my brief comments about the nominees on the second panel until we finish questioning the first panel. We do have one senator, one of our colleagues who's here to introduce one of the nominees on the second panel. And we expect a second senator to be here, Senator Leahy, at any moment, to make an introduction for a panel for the second panel as well. Both our colleagues, who are a great friend as well as colleagues, have other obligations, and so we're going to take care of the introductions by those senators of our nominees on both panels as soon as soon as Senator McCain finishes his only statement.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I join you in welcoming our nominees this morning, and I welcome their families as well who they will adequately attest to the important role they've played in achieving the positions over which they are nominated and, as far as I can tell, will certainly be confirmed by the United States Senate.
They possess impressive backgrounds in both the public and private sectors. I consider all the nominees today to be well- qualified for the positions for which they are being considered, and I thank them for their willingness to serve the nation in these difficult times in the new administration.
Without question, the position of director of Defense Research and Engineering and director of Operational Tests and Evaluation are key to maintaining superiority in technology, wisely spending billions of defense dollars for vital scientific research, and most importantly in protecting and empowering our combat forces in the current fight.
Mr. Gilmore and Mr. Lemnios, I look forward to hearing how you intend to make positive contributions in achieving these goals and in helping to correct the department's dismal record in weapons systems development. General McCarthy and Mr. Ginsberg, I know you appreciate that our national security has never been more dependent on the willingness of patriotic young men and women to voluntarily serve in the armed forces. It depends on the willingness of combat tested NCOs, officers, and their families to choose careers and continue serving. This is as true for active duty personnel as it is for members of the National Guard and Reserve. I look forward to hearing how you intend to improve the lives of our military personnel and their families.
Mr. Heddell, there are very few positions in DOD that I consider to be more important than that of inspector general. Regrettably for several years the office of the DOD Inspector General has been lacking in resources and talented leadership with predictable problems emerging in performance and morale. This has to change. I've expressed on numerous occasions my concern about corruption in government and in the Department of Defense in particular. Contracting and procurement scandals in Iraq are one manifestation of this problem. The department's troubled acquisition programs and the incentives that exist for individuals who know better to abandon their principles to achieve an end are well-known.
The manner in which Congress in a regrettable bipartisan fashion has allowed the appropriations process to evolve has contributed greatly to these problems and presents one reason why Congress has such low grades in public opinion.
The American people are fed up with a system that breeds corruption and will not continue to tolerate it. Transparency and knowledge of the truth are the antidotes to the corruption that is bred by earmarks and abuse of authority. The inspector general of the Department of Defense must be an independent leader in providing for that transparency and knowledge, and we expect and I know we will receive that leadership from you.
Mr. Morin, I view the DOD and the service comptrollers as individuals who can facilitate business as usual or make a very positive difference in the programs and policies of the department. We face a number of challenges including enhancing the transparency of Air Force financial management activities and improving acquisition processes. I trust you will advise Air Force leadership accordingly to ensure that these issues are apparently addressed. I again welcome the witnesses and congratulate them and look forward to working with them in the future.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you so much, Senator McCain.
Senator Kennedy, if he were here, would have been introducing Mr. Lemnios. He obviously is not with us, but he has asked that his statement of introduction be placed in the record.
But we are joined by two of our dear friends and colleagues. Senator Leahy, you're here I believe to introduce Mr. Ginsberg. And so we'll start with you, and then Senator Conrad to introduce Mr. Morin.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-CT): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, Senator McCain. It's somewhat unusual to be on this side of the table, but I'm glad to see so many friends here. I just wanted to be here to express my strong support for Daniel Ginsberg. He's been nominated by the president to be assistant secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. And I welcome he and his wife Jessica, his parents Ronna (sp) and Jerry, and other family members who are here with him today.
Daniel had worked for Sam Nunn, and for the past nine years has served as my defense policy advisor. He's been fantastic in that area. We've had an emphasis on the Guard and the Reserves because as the two of you know better than anyone in this room they had become our keystone for military operations, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the Guard and Reserves support for homeland duties have been at an all-time high, everything from natural disasters such as Katrina, floods and fires and so on.
And Homeland Security, we've done some updated policies for them. We have a 95 member U.S. Senate and National Guard Caucus. I co-chair that with Senator Kit Bond of Missouri. It has worked in, I was going to say a bipartisan fashion -- actually, a nonpartisan fashion.
And as my senior advisor, Daniel Ginsberg helped coordinate the caucus. He helped develop detailed legislation and far-reaching strategies that enacted strong changes expeditiously. And with the time we've had increasing inter-party rank on the Hill, he forged a bipartisan, bicameral consensus on the need to better support the efforts of the Guard and in turn the Reserves and worked with the adjutants general, the governors of the state.
So I'll put my full statement in the record praising him, but I just want to say that it's a bittersweet moment for me. I have benefited so much from Daniel's work in my office. I joked a couple weeks ago when I was in Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan, something the two of you have done so many times. I joked I was going to put a hold on his nomination until that trip was over because I so vitally needed him, and it was just emphasized one more time as he met with generals, ambassadors, leaders of Coalition forces, his depth of knowledge, his breadth of knowledge, and his caring for the United States of America.
Mr. Chairman, I can't think of a better person. With that, I'll put my full statement in the record.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you so much, Senator Leahy. We really appreciate your getting here today for that introduction. I know that Mr. Ginsberg does as well.
Now for Jamie Morin. I think I pronounced his name finally correctly. We'll call upon Senator Conrad.
SEN. KENT CONRAD (D-ND): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And Ranking Member McCain, thank you so much for your very positive statement. We appreciate that very much. Senator Hagan, Senator Begich.
I am here to strongly support the nomination of Dr. Jamie Morin to be the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management. Many of you know Jamie because he's been the senior defense analyst on the Budget Committee since 2003, very well regarded on both sides of the aisle. He really is an exceptional nominee, an absolutely encyclopedic knowledge of military affairs.
His mom Bridget who's with us here today told me this morning that at age 4 Jamie was looking in the encyclopedia reading about the military services. And he has had an interest and a devotion to military matters ever since. That's probably why he has such an extraordinary knowledge of military affairs, an intense interest in that subject.
More than that, he has good judgment, a really exceptional judgment. And that will serve him well in this position. He's also got a very strong academic background, Ph.D. from Yale, MS from the London School of Economics. He's got a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown, really a very good background for the position he'll be moving into.
He also I might add has a strong devotion and interest in the United States Air Force. I know members of this committee aware that we have two major Air Force bases in North Dakota and he has followed the Air Force very closely during his entire career.
I believe the Obama administration is extremely fortunate to be able to attract somebody of Dr. Morin's character and quality. He is absolutely first rate. He served the Committee on Budget well. I believe he's served the country well. And I believe we're fortunate to have people of his ability come forward and be willing to serve in public service.
With that, I'll put my full statement in the record. And I thank you very, very much for listening.
SEN. LEVIN: Well, thank you very much, Senator Conrad. And thank you for leaving for me the choice tidbit that Mr. Morin went to high school in Detroit. (audience laughter) Graduated from Detroit High School, is a Michigan native. I appreciate you allowing me to make that important significant addition.
SEN. CONRAD: As you know, Mr. Chairman, as a Senator from North Dakota, I've not spent a lot of time talking to my constituents about his checkered background. (audience laughter)
SEN. LEVIN: Yeah. In that case you're not excused. I think you'll need to stay here for the additional questions. Thank you so much for coming.
Okay. We now will call our first panel forward please. Let me ask you first, each of you, to answer the following questions.
These are standard questions we ask of all nominees that come before us.
Have you adhered to applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest?
SEN. LEVIN: Have you assumed any duties or undertaken any actions which would appear to presume the outcome of the confirmation process?
SEN. LEVIN: Will you ensure your staff complies with deadlines established for requested communications including questions for the record in hearings?
SEN. LEVIN: Will you cooperate in providing witnesses and briefers in response to congressional requests?
SEN. LEVIN: Will those witnesses be protected from reprisal for their testimony or briefings?
SEN. LEVIN: Do you agree if confirmed to appear and testify upon request before this committee?
SEN. LEVIN: Do you agree to provide documents including copies of electronic forms of communication in a timely manner when requested by a duly constituted committee or to consult with a committee regarding the basis for any good faith delay or denial in providing such documents?
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much. I think we'll call first on Mr. Heddell and the other witnesses. The nominees can of course be free to introduce any family or guest that you might have if they are with you.
MR. HEDDELL: Thank you, sir. I have an opening statement.
SEN. LEVIN: Please proceed.
MR. HEDDELL: Chairman Levin, Senator McCain, distinguished members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am honored to appear before you today as the nominee to serve as the Department of Defense Inspector General. Being nominated for this position is a remarkable opportunity, and I am prepared to meet the challenges ahead, if confirmed. The responsibility of this position is of great importance to ensure the health, the safety, and the welfare of the Department of Defense personnel and to make sure that the taxpayer receives a good return on their investment.
As an inspector general with over eight years experience I know that the DOD inspector general has exceptional responsibility. I am committed to ensuring that this Office of Inspector General serves as a model of integrity and dedicated service as well as a highly respected organization. If confirmed, I will accept the duties of the office with appreciation, humility, and a commitment to doing what is right while always honoring the principle of independence.
I am truly grateful for the support and partnership of this committee and Secretary Gates in ensuring that there is effective oversight of the department. On a personal note, I want to acknowledge the love and support of my family who have truly been the inspiration behind any successes that I have had in my life or in my career. I thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, for your time and attention. I look forward to answering your questions.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Mr. Heddell.
DR. GILMORE: Mr. Chairman, Senator McCain, members of the committee, it's an honor to appear here today. I thank President Obama for having the confidence in me to nominate me to be director of Operational Tests and Evaluation in the Defense Department, and I thank Secretary Gates for supporting that nomination.
My wife, Ichi Lou (sp), is here today. And suffice it so say that without her support and encouragement I would not be here today.
Mr. Chairman, I believe that the weapons system Acquisition Reform Act that the president recently signed into law demonstrates his commitment as well as the Defense Department's to working with the Congress and in particular with this committee to solve the many problems that have arisen in developing, producing and fielding weapons systems.
If I am confirmed, I pledge that I will do my best to help that important effort, and I will do that by providing this committee and the secretary and the Congress with independent, objective evaluations of the effectiveness, suitability and survivability of weapons systems based on realistic operational testing. My goal would be to ensure that the men and women in uniform are provided weapons that they can be confident will work.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you so much, Dr. Gilmore.
And finally, Zachary Lemnios. Mr. Lemnios.
MR. LEMNIOS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator McCain, and members of the committee.
I'm honored by the opportunity to appear before you today as the President's nominee for the position of director of Defense Research and Engineering. I'd like to thank my wife Stephanie (sp) who's with me today, my children Melanie (sp), Grace, Sara (sp) and Jonathan (sp), and my parents William and Angelina, all of whom are watching on the committee's webcast. They are my foundation, and I could not have considered this opportunity without their love and support.
In fact, public service is deeply rooted in our family. My wife Stephanie works at a nonprofit organization, Science Club for Girls, inspiring young girls to gain an appreciation of science and technology. My brother Phil was in the Peace Corps for several years in Africa, later became the town manager of Hoe, Massachusetts. My daughter Grace is a special education teacher in Woodbridge, Virginia, not too far from here.
And I'd like to recognize my father's service to the nation. As an 18-year-old PFC and later sergeant in the 20th Armored Division, his unit fought across Europe during WWII. On April 29, 1945, his was one of three U.S. Army divisions that took part in the liberation of the DeKalb (ph) Concentration Camp.
My career has focused on opening new technology frontiers to guarantee our nation's advantage over those who would threaten us. I have seen the power of invention and innovation first-hand and have had the opportunity to participate in opening new fields of study in industry, academia and the federal government. Rapidly evolving technology such as robotics, cognitive, bio- and nanotechnologies will have profound implications for our country that go well beyond our understanding today. We simply must lead in these and other critical areas to ensure our national security.
The department's science and technology investments are of three critical functions in my view. First they preserve the technological edge of our current forces by extending the capabilities of our current war-fighting systems. They offer the opportunity for break- through capabilities, allowing us to choose those capabilities on our timelines. Finally, they provide a hedge against the uncertain future with a set of scientific and engineering options to counter strategic surprise.
For the 21st century the most critical capabilities that defense science and technology can deliver to the war-fighter and to the American taxpayer will be systems that can adapt to changing applications and environments, systems that scale flexibly with demand and capabilities that react faster than our adversaries' with minimal support and logistics. We simply owe it to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines to rapidly accelerate those breakthroughs from the laboratory to the field.
I fully support the important acquisition elements outlined in the Weapons System Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 drafted by this committee and recently signed by the president. A renewed focus on systems engineering and more frequent technology assessments will significantly reduce program risk and the cost of major defense acquisition programs. If confirmed, I look forward to working across the department, and with this committee and others, to strengthen our core competencies to deliver state of the art capabilities to our forces on time and within budget.
In closing, I'd want to thank again the president for nominating me, the secretary of Defense for his support, and to this committee for your time today. I'm honored to be before you, and if confirmed I look forward to working with this committee and your staff, and I look forward to your questions.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you so much, Mr. Lemnios.
Why don't we try an eight-minute first round for this panel? We do have two panels. First, Mr. Heddell, let me ask you about the DODIG report on the use of retired military officers as surrogates to make the former administration's case in the media. The report is totally inadequate, and four months after it was released the IG withdrew this report noting that the report was using inaccurate and incomplete data, did not meet the accepted quality standards for an inspector general work product. But you as the acting IG also stated that the additional investigative work will not be taken to reissue a new report, and that raises the question: Given all the flaws in the withdrawn report, why not redo it?
MR. HEDDELL: Sir, I do currently have a review ongoing, and, two, the points in that review is determined what findings we can in fact report back to you and this committee on. And also for the future, what judgments that we could make about such a program. So in spite of the feeling that we may not be able to redo that investigation of people that manage that program are no longer in positions at the department and because certain members of the retired military analysts group would not allow themselves to be interviewed, as well as other former DOD officials, it's difficult if not impossible to provide the answers that you have asked for.
However, I'm committed to meeting the requests that you have made of me to determine what I can determine from that report. I think it's an important review, and I will and I have committed to you to get back to you on that and to tell you what I think we can about that program.
SEN. LEVIN: Well, I appreciate that answer. First of all, you have certain limits, obviously. You don't have subpoena powers, the IG, and that is a limitation which needs to be addressed. And we're going to use this situation where you are not getting the cooperation of people who you must talk to as the example that we're going to take, one of them, to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where I also serve, that has the responsibility generally relative to the powers of inspectors general -- because we can't permit an inspector general to be thwarted by the failure to have access to documents and to people.
And so is the lack of subpoena power apply both to documents and people, or just to people?
MR. HEDDELL: No, the inspector general has the authority to subpoena documents.
SEN. LEVIN: And not the individuals.
MR. HEDDELL: But not testimony.
SEN. LEVIN: All right. So we're going to take this shortfall to the other committee that has jurisdiction. But in the meantime, this committee has power to subpoena, and we are going to support our inspector general. And so if there are people who need to be subpoenaed for testimony in order to get their information who refuse to show up voluntarily, we would appreciate your notifying them that you again request their testimony and if not that you would make a request to this committee to hold a hearing where we would subpoena them to a hearing of the committee, hopefully if the committee will issue the subpoena which I hope it would, in support of our inspector general.
Will you do that?
MR. HEDDELL: You have my commitment to do that, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you.
Now, there's another report which is due -- overdue, actually, for three years now -- and that's the inspector general's review of allegations that senior Air Force officials had improperly steered contracts for publicity in connection with Thunderbird air shows and that they had allegedly steered those contracts to friends and insiders.
The DOD IG concluded this investigation; issued a report early last year. The report raised serious questions about the role played by senior Air Force officials. But the report avoided making any findings or recommendations with regard to the conduct of the senior officials.
And so Senator McCain and I sent a letter to the then-IG more than a year ago asking that he review the conduct of current and former senior Air Force officials named in the report, not only as to possible improper conduct -- criminal conduct, theoretically or possibly -- but also for possible ethical violations and failures of leadership, and to provide specific findings and recommendations to the secretary of the Air Force and to the committee.
Now, this is -- these allegations have been out there for three years. The review has still not been completed, apparently. And my question, Mr. Heddell, is who can we expect to see a completed report on this matter.
MR. HEDDELL: Yes, sir. That's one of the top senior official investigations that I am reviewing. I believe that we can give you relatively good assurance that within four weeks that we will have a report to you.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you.
Dr. Gilmore, let me ask you a question relative to the independence of the office to which you've been nominated, which is so critical, and you made reference to it in your opening statement. How will you ensure the independence of that office, particularly if you're challenged by DOD officials or contractors?
MR. GILMORE: By exercising leadership, Senator. I think that the key to maintaining independence is having a director who is willing to be straightforward in their assessments to both the secretary and the Congress, and that is what I would be. I would provide you the best information that I could, if I were confirmed, about the performance of these systems.
SEN. LEVIN: One question relative to the test and evaluation that's occurred of the ground-based mid-course defense system, which is a missile defense, as you know; you're very familiar with this.
The director of Operational Test & Evaluation reported to us last December that, in his words, the ground-based mid-course defense system, the flight testing to date, the flight testing to date, will not support a high degree of confidence in its limited capabilities.
Do you believe that it's important that our ballistic missile defense systems and its elements, like other systems, should undergo operational test and evaluation and that any elements to be deployed should be operationally effective, suitable and survivable?
MR. GILMORE: Yes, sir, I do. I think the information on that is required for operational decision-makers to make proper decisions about how to employ those systems.
SEN. LEVIN: Mr. Lemnios, I believe you're a graduate of the University of Michigan.
And I'm tempted to ask you how that training and experience qualifies you for the office to which you've been nominated, but I'm going to resist temptation, because I may assure my vote but lose a few others around here. (Laughter.) So I'm not going to do that.
But you've been appointed or nominated to an extraordinarily important position. You're going to have responsibility for the department's science and technology programs, which play such a critical role in helping the United States maintain the advantage over competitors and adversaries, current and potential adversaries around the world.
But the department's 2010 budget request reduces funding for these accounts by nearly 10 percent relative to the 2009 request. And I'm just wondering whether that concerns you as to whether we are adequately investing in the research and engineering programs that are essential to develop new capabilities and to help train the next generation of scientists and systems engineers to work on our problems.
MR. LEMNIOS: Mr. Chairman, first of all, it was a delight to go to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. I'm now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. It's a different institution. But, in fact, these schools and many others have an enormous impact in training scientists and engineers and a whole cadre of people who will serve our nation in very important areas.
I fully support the president's 2010 budget as submitted. And certainly, in my role, if confirmed, a critical part of that is shaping a science and technology portfolio that is shaped over the near-term and long-term requirements of the department and takes in opportunities to invest in leveraged technologies that come out of universities and many other areas to support our war-fighting needs.
SEN. LEVIN: Okay, my time is up.
SEN. KAY HAGAN (D-NC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And I want to welcome all of you gentlemen here today. And I certainly want to say a welcome to your families, and especially your wives for being here, because I know how critical and important your support is. So I thank each and every one of you.
Mr. Lemnios, I had one question for you. I'm impressed with your credentials and I think that it's a very important role that you bring to the Department of Defense. And I think that science and cutting- edge technology is absolutely critical in our weapon systems and our security. And I think that in your comments you stated that research and engineering is the first step in the overall acquisition process.
I'm concerned about two particular issues. One is the continued threat of IEDs that are killing and maiming our troops. And I wanted to know your comments and what you think, from a technological standpoint, we can do to -- I know we've done a lot, but I think that it's obviously still a huge threat -- what you see in the future about that. And then, taking it another step, I think cyberspace and cyber protection (are ?) a very critical element in the country -- (inaudible) -- some comments that you might have.
MR. LEMNIOS: Senator, those are two very important -- (inaudible) -- that are very high -- (inaudible). As you know, the IED threat has been a particularly troublesome one. To date, the number of military folks that have been killed or wounded is enormous, and it concerns all of us.
The initial response was to try to build a set of capabilities to improve force protection. There are technologies involved in that, and those have found their way into the field. The next response was to try to build systems that would help counter the triggering mechanisms of the IED. And those have also found their way into the field, but at a tempo perhaps not at the same rate that they're being developed, and that's a concern as well.
But the third piece, the one that's really sort of in the science and technology regime, is to try to understand the entire chain of events that occurs not just in building the IED and deploying it, but what are the precursors up front that could be detected? And, in fact, there's a rich research community that's working through that to try to identify those and transition those. And, in fact, organizations like the Joint IED Defeat Office, the Army Rapid Equipping Force, the Air Force Rapid Capability Office, all of those are working to quickly transition those concepts to field.
With regard to cyberspace, I read the cyber policy review that was issued by the White House about two weeks ago. It was a policy review, and there's a compendium of technology underpinnings that support those policy positions.
That's an area that I think we're going to need to learn a lot. There's a community that's understanding what the threat is. DARPA is standing up a national cyber test range, ranges that exist that will allow us to test -- (inaudible) -- and protect information on those networks. And I see both of those areas, both the IED threat as it emerges and -- (inaudible) -- threat, as we're better understanding that threat, are both important areas to couple with the research community.
SEN. LEVIN: Senator, I wonder if I could just interrupt you for a minute because of your interest in the IED and your question. I just happened last night to be -- it didn't happen; I was -- (inaudible) -- National Guardsmen. And there was a colonel there who actually was in Iraq with his unit, deployed, out in a vehicle, and they thought they saw an IED in the road, and they actually thought they saw the people who were trying to control it that were on top of a -- (inaudible) -- robot to that IED, and watched the robot actually dismantle an IED. So we talk a lot about science and new technologies, and that was an example where he actually saw it, was in the vehicle that would have been hit by that robot.
I want to thank you for raising this question. It's been a major concern, and I appreciate it. And your time will not be deducted by my intrusion here.
SEN. HAGAN: You certainly have that pleasure. (Laughs.) Thank you.
Mr. Heddell, I had a question for you concerning the contracting companies.
A few weeks ago I attended a Policy Committee hearing that was chaired by Senator Dorgan, who was just in here examining -- no, I'm sorry, Senator Dorgan, examining $83 million in bonuses that was paid by the Department of Defense to the contractor KBR in 2007 and '08, despite this company's poor electrical work in Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of at least three U.S. soldiers killed by electrocution while showering, and then others who've been injured or killed in other electrical incidents.
Witnesses at the hearing described how KBR failed to hire qualified personnel; how they performed electrical work in a manner that continues to place our troops in danger; and failed to make repairs once the hazards were identified. Moreover, an electrical inspector that was hired by the U.S. Army to review the U.S.-run facilities in Iraq indicated that 90 percent of KBR's wiring in the newly constructed buildings in Iraq was not properly done.
But, despite all these concerns, KBR was awarded a $35 million contract earlier this year for a project in Iraq that included electrical work.
My question is, can you comment on the status of this investigation, as well as explain how you propose to work with the Department of the Army and other departments to ensure that they have qualified personnel to oversee the contract management, especially regarding the services performed in-theatre in support of our troops?
MR. HEDDELL: Yes, Senator Hagan. I appreciate that question. It's an extremely important issue to the office of inspector general.
We've been working on the issue of accidental electrocution since April, May of last year. In the case -- the most prominent case that you're referring to involved Sergeant Ryan Maseth, who died of a -- while taking a shower on January 2, of 2000. And that was the catalyst, really, for beginning to take a look at this entire concern.
We are very close to completing our work regarding review of how that could have happened to Sergeant Maseth, as well as an additional 17 other accidental electrocutions that have occurred.
We have had teams working in Southwest Asia -- both Iraq and also in Afghanistan, to work with the commanders to determine whether or not the lessons that we have learned are being passed on to them.
We don't believe that this is an area that anyone should wait for a final report. It's too critical. And so we, in fact, sent a team to Afghanistan just a few months ago to see what was happening over there to hopefully preempt any kinds of issues. So, we're getting ahead of the game.
We're finding that the commanders are responding. They are taking great steps to conduct inspections for safety, both from electrical and fire hazards. But, there's a lot more to do.
And so the report that you're asking about should be out within four weeks. We have actually three reports: One is on Sergeant Maseth's death; the other is on -- the other 17 electrical accidents; and the third one is on electrical status and safety in Afghanistan.
SEN. HAGAN: Do you feel that it is more secure today than it was in recent past?
MR. HEDDELL: We see improvements, Senator Hagan, but there is still a long way to go, and you can -- I, personally, visited the building in the Rawaniyah (sic) Palace complex where Sergeant Maseth died. I looked at the shower. I went up on the roof to see where the generator was that had not been properly grounded.
And the reason I point that out is because it made it clear to me that this is a tremendous challenge -- tremendous challenge for our commanders. These are buildings that were in existence before 2003. They were wired using different electrical codes and standards than we use in this country. And so, we are in a very dangerous, very hazardous environment.
But, commanders are taking steps to conduct inspections. In one case in Afghanistan they bought 300 housing containers -- I'm sorry, containers to house 300 troops because they were in hazardous housing at the time.
It's a hazardous environment no matter how you look at it. But, I think it's certainly improved over the last six to nine months.
SEN. HAGAN: It's definitely hazardous, but you certainly hope nobody is electrocuted while taking a shower. Obviously --
MR. HEDDELL: Well, of course --
SEN. HAGAN: -- that's right.
MR. HEDDELL: -- we hope that. But, we still have -- we still have a ways to go to give assurance --
SEN. HAGAN: Wow.
MR. HEDDELL: -- to this committee, or to anyone that our troops are 100 percent safe from those kinds of hazards.
SEN. HAGAN: Well, I'm sure you'll get right on that.
MR. HEDDELL: Yes, ma'am.
SEN. HAGAN: Thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Hagan.
SEN. MARK BEGICH (D-AK): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate the opportunity to ask you all a few questions. And I do want to echo the other comments by the other senators that thank you for your willingness to serve, but also thank you to the families and the support team that you have to support you through this process, as well as in your service. So, thank you for doing that.
My questions are for Dr. Gilmore. I just want to -- I want to read something from your testimony just to reiterate a point to make sure it's, you know, consistent here. And let me just read it if I could, and it's:
"Modeling and simulation can contribute to the assessment of system performance, particularly to explore the full-range system operations where live open-air testing would be unsafe or impractical. M/S is also -- again, model/simulation is also useful as a tool to help plan the test programming. However, M/S should be utilized to complement rather than replace operational testing in a realistic environment. Additionally, sufficient operational testing should be -- still be performed to adequately validate and accreditate (sic) any models used."
I'm assuming you still -- that was in your written testimony, you still agree with that and --
MR. GILMORE: Yes, sir.
SEN. BEGICH: -- acknowledge that?
MR. GILMORE: I wouldn't have written it if I didn't think it was correct.
SEN. BEGICH: Just wanted to make sure.
I appreciate the chairman's question regarding operational testing, especially on the ground-based -- ground missile defense system, and that's where I kind of want to go here. The reason I wanted to restate that -- and, again, I appreciate the chairman's question because you emphasized the point operational testing is important in order to make this -- make any system reliable.
In regards to the GMD, the Ground Missile Defense system (sic), from the information and the discussions that we've had with the Missile Defense Agency, the briefings that we have had, based on the budget and what their proposing, in four years the actual live testing will cease and they will move to simulation as a way, they believe -- or at least they've stated to us that they will maintain readiness and reliability.
But, that seems inconsistent with your comments -- the two should complement each other. Can you comment on that?
MR. GILMORE: I'm not aware of the specifics of this plan that they're developing, and I hadn't heard what you just said. But, I would reiterate that modeling and simulation are important as a complement to actual testing.
And in the case of the ground-based missile defense system, it's clear that modeling and simulation will be needed because live testing isn't going to be able to explore all of the potential modes of operation of the system in real -- in the real world.
But, again, those models and those simulations have to be verified, validated and accredited by using operational tests that explore as much of that environment as is possible.
SEN. BEGICH: I appreciate that, because that's -- to be frank with you, I think anyone who comes in front of this committee I've brought up the ground missile defense system, and, you know, simulation by itself, and modeling -- you've reconfirmed it, is not the only way you do testing or the only way you consider reliability, but to complement each other. And you have, kind of, emphasized it again.
Let me ask, again, in your advance questions you state: "Rigorous testing and robust program flight testing, ground testing should be conducted on the GMD system." How do you describe that? Because right now they have planned two missiles -- two tests a year. And the question that I have, is that enough?
If it's enough, is it because we have limitations in the capacity to do the testing beyond two a year? Or is the system just designed to do no more than two, and that's adequate for testing of this system to ensure its reliability and improving its efficiency -- which I know, I was in Fairbanks about 10 days ago, or so, with Secretary Gates reviewing the GMD. And he made the comment that he believes the system is fairly accurate, but robust testing is necessary.
So, how do you define robust testing?
MR. GILMORE: Robust testing is the testing that's needed to provide operators with the, you know, high confidence that they understand what the system will do and will not do. And exactly what that means is something that I would expect to be involved in, if I'm confirmed, in the context of GMD.
But, there needs to be a sufficient number of tests -- open-air tests, live tests, as well as the use of verified, validated and accredited models in order to generate high confidence that if you use the system, you understand what it will do; and if you rely on it, that's an appropriate thing to do.
SEN. BEGICH: If I can just probe a little bit further.
Is the two per year -- and you may not be able to answer this right now, and maybe a little more time might give you some thought on it, but is two tests a year, live tests, adequate, based on what you're --
MR. GILMORE: That is obviously something that I would -- I would look into.
SEN. BEGICH: Okay.
MR. GILMORE: There would be a total number of tests that are required, accomplished over whatever period of time they can be accomplished over. I think that another ingredient here is what's realistic, in terms of accomplishing testing, given the problems that they've had, particularly with the targets.
But, to look at what the total number of tests are that would be required, and to determine what a reasonable schedule is for conducting those tests -- given, you know, the situation that exists with respect to the targets program, as well as all the other ingredients that flow into the test program, is something I would obviously be very involved in if I were confirmed.
SEN. BEGICH: I appreciate that.
Let me maybe ask one more -- and I apologize to the other two that -- maybe you appreciate that I'm not asking you questions, I don't know -- (laughs), but how will you, if appointed to this position, and, again operational testing and evaluation is very important to these systems that we have, how will you deal with the conflicts that might occur when a budget constraint is put on you in regards to testing, but from your experience and professionalism and knowledge of -- as some of the comments I've read of your testimony, the necessity of testing, live testing, is important to ensure the reliability of the systems.
How will you deal with that conflict internally?
MR. GILMORE: I would inform the undersecretary for acquisition, and if -- and the secretary and the Congress, in testimony, if it was requested, what my view was regarding the adequacy of the test program and what budget constraints would mean with regard to the adequacy of the test program.
SEN. BEGICH: I appreciate that. That -- I know sometimes, as a former mayor and executive, we always had folks, as we moved up the budgets and as it got to OMB, OMB was its own world and decided certain things. And then something would pop out and operationally sometimes it would not be exactly what the operational people would want.
And so I appreciate your candor there, and I'm looking forward to, as -- especially to your confirmation, but also, as we deal with the GMD, how we ensure that we continually have the robust testing, but also have the inventory to do it.
My concern is that, based on the current budget we have presented to us, that that robust testing will be very limited because of the production line and the budget constraints that are now in place with regards to additional missiles that will be utilized for testing.
So I will look forward to your candor in that arena, in Committee or in meetings. And so, again, thank you for your willingness to answer the questions.
And to the other two, I have no questions for you, so you are relieved of any list I might have created while I was sitting here thinking. (Laughter.)
But thank you very much for your testimony. I appreciate your candor.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Begich. And if you have second thoughts about questions for the other two witnesses, you can provide those for the record so you don't leave them out. I know they have a sense of loss in not being asked questions by any of us. (Laughter.)
SEN. ROLAND BURRIS (D-IL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And I express my sentiments as well as my colleagues' to these three distinguished Americans who are willing to serve. And certainly I expressed my thanks to their families for going along with them in serving.
And to our -- Mr. Heddell, who is currently in the position as acting IG, are any of you other gentlemen familiar with the responsibility -- Mr. Lemnios (pronounces "Leonis") or Mr. Gilmore, that you're going into now? Do you have any experience in the position that you're going to right now?
MR. LEMNIOS: Senator Burris, I certainly don't have any experience in the position. I certainly have been -- have had discussions with the former directors of Defense Research and Engineering and many technology leaders across the Defense science and technology activities.
SEN. BURRIS: Has one of you been doing -- are you still in your current position now, or are you in limbo now, waiting to get confirmed?
MR. LEMNIOS: Well, Senator, I'm currently the chief technology officer of MIT Lincoln Laboratory. We are a federally funded research and development center.
And in that role, I interact with many universities, including the University of Michigan --
SEN. BURRIS: (Inaudible) -- University of Illinois.
MR. LEMNIOS: And the University of Illinois. I know the Illini very well.
SEN. BURRIS: Okay. (Laughs.)
MR. LEMNIOS: In fact, they have a very strong double-E department.
SEN. BURRIS: (Inaudible) -- your colleague to the right is also -- attended the University of Illinois at Springfield.
How about you, Mr. Gilmore?
MR. GILMORE: No, I have not served in this position before, but I believe that my previous experience in government and the things that I have done and my technical training prepare me well for it.
And yes, I agree it will be a very challenging position.
SEN. BURRIS: Now, Mr. Heddell, you're currently in the position now as acting IG. I'm just trying to -- (inaudible). So how long have you been in there -- for over a year, or -- there's no -- you didn't come up for confirmation in the previous administration? And what were the circumstances surrounding that?
MR. HEDDELL: The previous inspector general, who was Senate- confirmed, left that position unexpectedly. And this was in -- on July the 13th. And I became the acting inspector general on July 14th to serve in an interim capacity.
And during that process, I was asked to consider staying longer in that position.
SEN. BURRIS: And to Mr. Lemnios (pronounces "Leonis"), could you explain to me in terms of the research and engineering, now, are you overseeing outsourcing contracts with universities in all the research, or do you have a staff that's also doing the research and engineering over these weapons systems? Just give me a brief explanation on how that works.
MR. LEMNIOS: Sir, in my current position, or if confirmed?
SEN. BURRIS: If confirmed.
MR. LEMNIOS: Sir, in the -- as director of Defense Research and Engineering, my critical role would be to work technology strategy across the Department of Defense; to identify those key areas where the Department needs to strengthen and drive its technology strategies, technology efforts; to work with the services in their laboratories to foster a broad set of --
SEN. BURRIS: Excuse me. You're saying that there is -- services have their own research laboratories going, with research military personnel, or outside contracting personnel?
MR. LEMNIOS: Sir, I've seen combinations of both. Some examples include the Naval Research Laboratory, not too far from here, which includes certainly government employees as well as some contractors on site; include the Air Force Wright-Patterson Laboratory which, again, include many government researchers and outside contractors.
SEN. BURRIS: So you would be in charge of -- all those persons there would report into you. Is that correct?
MR. LEMNIOS: Sir, the laboratories report up through the service structure, and the director of Defense Research and Engineering establishes a technology portfolio across the Department in concert with the service executives across the Department.
SEN. BURRIS: And is there any outside contracting that is done -- (inaudible)? Do you have to oversee awarding a contract for this project, or the Defense Department will be taking bids on that?
MR. LEMNIOS: Sir, my understanding -- Senator, my understanding is that the director of Defense Research and Engineering would not be in direct -- is a direct source -- a source selection authority for those contracts.
But there would certainly be activities across the Department that rely upon the technical strategies that we put in place.
SEN. BURRIS: But to your knowledge, there are contracts that are awarded, but you would not have jurisdiction or -- (word inaudible) -- over those contracts?
MR. LEMNIOS: I wouldn't have direct jurisdiction, direct source selection authority.
SEN. BURRIS: Okay. Now --
And the same to you, Mr. Gilmore. In terms of tests and evaluations, do you know whether or not the testing is done primarily with military and staff personnel, or is there testing of some of these weapons systems and all of the various devices awarded out for testing where there are contract awards?
MR. GILMORE: Operational testing is done in an operationally realistic environment by government personnel with the -- using people who would actually have to use the equipment in the field.
SEN. BURRIS: I'm sorry?
MR. GILMORE: The testing that is done, the operational testing that is done, is done by government personnel using government facilities, and using military people -- the military people who would actually have to use the equipment in the field. Otherwise, it would not be operationally realistic --
SEN. BURRIS: Right. So you're not using outside contractors to --
MR. GILMORE: Not for operational testing, no.
SEN. BURRIS: Not for operational testing.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate it. Thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Burris.
Just another question or two for you, Mr. Lemnios.
First, we worked hard to increase the Department's participation in the development of new energy technologies, as well as making the Department an early adopter of new technologies such as solar cells, biofuels, hybrid engines.
What is your view of the role that the Department of Defense should play in energy research and the adoption of new energy technologies?
MR. LEMNIOS: Senator, there are broad challenges across the Department and elsewhere to quickly drive innovations that are coming out of the private sector and out of the research community into problem sets that the Department could quickly adapt.
I've seen early examples of this that have worked very well.
The Army recently completed with DDR&E a challenge problem that brought many small businesses together to try to identify new technologies for providing power to the dismounted soldier in very small form-factor.
This would have an enormous impact in the logistic supply, in providing power for soldiers without increased weight.
The private sector has a big role in this area, and I think one of the ways that the Department can leverage this is to strengthen those interactions with the private sector.
Certainly the NASA research laboratories, in particular the laboratory in the -- the laboratory in Cleveland has a strong research base in solar and in high-performance energy systems.
And the Department should -- and, in fact, does -- couple with these other laboratories.
SEN. LEVIN: The DOD labs are precious resources for us. One of those labs, world-class labs or facilities, is at TARDEC, outside of Detroit -- the Tank and Automotive Command research and development facility, the vehicle R&D for the military.
It is focused at that facility. It's part of the Tank and Automotive Command of the Detroit Arsenal.
And we'd like to get you out there to visit, and a good time to do that would be soon after your confirmation when we expect the groundbreaking on the new energy lab that is going to be opening up at TARDEC.
But this is -- our military vehicles and research, where they're developed, where energy for them is involved and tested, new energy sources.
In your reference to the private sector, in terms of working with the private sector, there's a real synergy between military vehicle research and the research on commercial vehicles in the private sector nearby, where -- the General Motors tech center is nearby; Ford's research facility, Chrysler's research facility.
And there's a lot of joint development of technologies going on, not just between TARDEC and those three entities and those three institutions, but also at a lot of other places around Michigan and the country they work with.
So we will be trying, after you're confirmed, to get you out there for -- (inaudible) -- that particular important moment, when that energy lab is -- has the ground broken for it or for some other purpose.
And I assume that getting back to Michigan would be something you would look forward to.
MR. LEMNIOS: Sir, I would. And I'd also point out that I visited TARDEC about a month ago to try to build -- in fact, we were building a robotics activity through TARDEC as an implementer.
I'd previously, earlier in my career, had spent a lot of time at the Ford Research Laboratories in Dearborn. I know that facility very well.
So I'd look forward to that.
SEN. LEVIN: Yeah. That'd be great.
Any other questions that we have? Senator Burris? You all set?
Okay. We will excuse you. We thank you again, you and your families and your support teams, for getting you here and supporting you in the future, which they will be called upon to do.
And we congratulate you, look forward to a speedy confirmation.
WITNESSES: Thank you.