tv [untitled] May 25, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm EDT
of america's navy, a global force for good. as an example of this work, the navy reserve has assumed 100% of the navy's individual august men tee permitment to the overseas operations for fiscal year '13 and beyond. i believe the reserve components, all of us in the national guard, must be asked and even required to do those missions we are able to do so that the active component can focus on the missions that they must do for our national security. as you know, this is my fourth and final year appearing before your committee. i'm proud of the accomplishments of our sailors in the navy reserve and the navy and truly thankful for the support of this congress providing our quest to become a true, total force. on behalf of our sailors and their families and civilians of our navy reserve, thank you for your continued support and your commitment to our navy reserve. >> thank you, admiral. general stults? >> mr. chairman, senator
cochran, first of all, it's an honor to be here. and thank you for all the support that you've continued to give our soldiers and our families and our nation. on behalf of the 205,000 soldiers in the army reserve that are serving our nation, that are -- what i refer to as a national treasure. and i think what epitomizes what those soldiers are all about is a young soldier that i brought with me today. so instead of being very eloquent in an opening statement and everything, i just wanted to introduce him to you. seated to my left is sergeant daniel burgess and his wife, janette. sergeant burgess is from twinsburg, ohio, or up in the cleveland area, belongs to a psychological operations unit up there. sergeant burgess last year was in afghanistan, and he was in southern afghanistan attached to the marines. out on a mission as a psyops sergeant, helping work with the
local afghans to get them to show the marines locations of ieds and other dangers to protect him. while doing that, he himself stemmed on an ied and he lost his leg, severe wounds to the rest of his body, mild tbi, and janette said the first thing he said when she contacted him when he got to germany was, "i'm not getting out. i'm staying in." and today he is down in ft. sam houston at the warrior training brigade rehabbing so he can get back in the force. that epitomizes what -- why we're here. we're here because of them. and we're here to say we've got to make sure we're doing everything within our power in an era where we are looking to save money and reduce debt, but we cannot afford to shortchange these great soldiers because
they are protecting our nation and are our first line of defense. and as the admiral said, they are indispensable because our army can't do what it does without our army reserve. we are an indispensable force for them. and so i just use him as the symbol of why i'm here. i look forward to your questions, sir. >> thank you for your service to our nation. just want to tell you we are very proud of you. so please be recognized. >> a very important part is your wife.
may i know call upon the marines general hummer. >> thanks you very much. in a way, vice chairman cochran, and members of this committee, it's an honor and privilege to speak with you here today on behalf of your united states marine corps reserve. mr. chairman, we welcome your leadership and your support. the subcommittee's continued unwavering support for marine corps reserve and its associated programs enables marines and sailors to professionally and competently perform in an operational capacity and is greatly appreciated. with me today and i'd ask them to stand up are my two enlisted senior leaders, sergeant major james e. booker and command master chief eric e.kuzan. these gentlemen epitomize the navy/marine corps team and proudly represent our service's
enlisted marine corps and sailors who collectively form the backbone of the marine corps reserve. the marine score as strong today as ever in its 236-year history. our marines have been doing what they have done best since 1775, standing shoulder to shoulder to fight our nation's battles. i'm pleased to report to you today that today's marine corps attends to its commitments as a total force, and as such, the marine corps reserve is integrated in all areas of the marine corps as never before. since 2001, this great nation required the marine corps reserve to be continuously engaged in combat operations in iraq and afghanistan as well as in regional security cooperation and crisis prevention activities in support of various geographical combatant
commanders. almost 80,000 reservists have been activated or mobilized since september 11th. this operational tempo has built a momentum among our war fighters and a depth of experience throughout our ranks that is unprecedented in generations of marine corps reservists. this operational tempo has enabled the marine force's reserve to evolve from a strategic cold-war reserve to an operational force capable of simultaneously filling both roles, both the strategic and the operational role. in the operational role, marine corps reserve has sourced, preplanned, rotational, and routine combatnant commander an service requirements across a variety of military operations. marine corps reserve continues to perform its strategic role with combatant commander exercise involvement and focused readiness that coherently enables a rapid transition to
operational roles or support to major contingency operations. as i sit here today, we have almost 1,500 marines and sailors deployed on five continents in support of six geographic combatant commanders, which includes conducting come bat operations in afghanistan to theater security activities by a special marine air, ground task force in eastern africa. as the active component marine corps reshapes from 2,100 marines to a force of approximately 182-1, the depth of the marine corps reserve will be leveraged to mitigate risk and maximize opportunities where available. i am highly confident that the authorized marine corps reserve end strength of 39,600 is appropriate for providing us with the personnel required to support the total force during active component built-down.
accordingly, our manpower bonus and incentive programs are essential too manies in achieving 100% of our authorized end strength and the continued use of these programs is critically important as we rebalance the total force. it's a privilege to serve during these very important and challenging times in our nation's defense, especially as a leader of our all-volunteer reserve component force. with your continued support, i'm highly confident that your marine corps reserve will remain a ready, relevant, and responsive force that continues to be fully vested in a total force. >> thank you for the opportunity
to appear here before you today. and i'd like to introduce my newest command chief of the air force reserve and have her stand, please, chief master sergeant kathleen buckner. sir, i strongly believe today's air force reserve is an essential component of the total force because of our came, capacity, and accessibility as a title x resource. air force reserve airmen are seamlessly and --
the challenge we've got, sir, is how do we keep them. and it's critical that we have the right training, the right equipping to make sure that we retain that force and keep them ready because we're not very good at predicting the future. we don't know where the next conflict will be, but there will be one, and the army is going to have to call upon us on short notice to get there and to get into the theater of operations and to sustain combat operations. and that's why things like the ngrea that you give us is so critical to me. that allows me flexibility to buy equipment that i need now that is not programmed yet, that allows me to go and buy simulations equipment that i can use to train our soldiers to maintain that edge and keep them ready. so the ngrea, the o.co to base
money that we're transferring about $250 million to provide extra training days for these soldiers in their fourth and flift year of that rotation cycle is critical. but i can report to you today, sir, the army reserve is an operational force, and it's heaguely successful and it's successful because of soldiers like sergeant burgess and others. >> we've been advised that you've had equipment shortfalls. how is that impacting the missions? >> the -- what i can tell you, sir, is that if you look at the figures it says equipment on hand for the army reserve, we're better than we've ever been, 86%. however, we're 66% modernized. the equipment we have as was discussed earlier with the national guard in a lot of cases is old equipment that is substitute for the modern
equipment. now, as far as our soldiers being able to do their job in afghanistan, iraq, and other places, not an issue because we make sure they're using mods earnized equipment in those theaters. we give them the best training, the best equipping before we put them in harm's way. where it impacts me is back home. it impacts me back home because now, and especially now that we've drawn out of iraq and we're going to start drawing down out of afghanistan, i'm focusing on home station training, how do i keep these soldiers trained at home so they're ready to go when i need them. and i need that modernized equipment back here. it's a morale factor. if you're a young soldier and you've been trained and equipped to the best standards and you come home and you go to your weekend drill in your army reserve unit and there's a piece of old equipment that you know we don't use anymore in a war-time environment, it does have an impact on the soldiers saying why aren't we training with what we just had in afghanistan? and so to me the modernization
of that equipment is critical for our retention and it's critical for our readiness because to be ready i've got to train on the right equipment. >> are you satisfied that the pace of modernization is sufficient? >> say it again? >> are you satisfied that the modernization program as we have now is adequate? >> i have some concerns, sir. and my concern i guess would be that as the army is going through a restructuring and as the army has already announced they're drawing down their end strength over a period of years. i think that's going to lead us to make some equipping decisions for the future that might say we can delay some modernization until we decide what the force structure looks like. and i can't afford to wait because my soldiers need equipment today. and it's probably a smart thing
which gives you an opportunity to get active duty people transitioning to reserves. do you have any plans to bring this about? >> chairman inouye, we certainly do in the navy. our primary office we set up a couple years ago, a career transition office in millington, is handling all of these transitions. we are also very proud of the work that they have done to reduce the time it takes to make the transition. what used to literally be four to six months down to somewhere two or three days by analyzing the process and making it smoother. we believe as we look forward here in the next couple of years that the active component lane that's been so full and stayed full starts to transition we'll have an opportunity to bring those sailors into the resert. we want to make that transition as seamless as possible. most of that we've discovered
has been our regulations and policies within the department. there have been several things over the last several years you have been helpful with in making that happen. i would say the most important thing we need to do, i mentioned earlier, we have to call meaningful work for the soldiers, sailors, marines, air men to do when they get to the reserved component and that's why assured access and other provisions well be very important to us moving forward. >> what about the marines? >> thank you, mr. chairman. the commandant has recently since he's taken over as commandant, general amos has revamped the transition assistance program from the active component. and he has various aspects, used to be it would be bring the marines together for a couple days. give them some fast and furious education and training, and then they'd be out the door. now there's a couple times in their transition, a year before they get out, right before they get out, and then all of this
information is put on the web so that they can get access to it for that legendary marine who wants to get out and go surfing in mexico for six months before he wants to get a job or go to school. in the meantime, along that, there's four tracks that are provided. one is an educational track. so it's focused and customized for them. a trade skill track, if they're going to go to school for a trade school. a business track, if they want to get into business or if they want to start a business, there's an entrepreneurial track. with regard to the reserves, we have room for them in our 396 with our latitude. we do see the individual ready reserve increasing. right now we're about 57,000, and an estimate would be up to, perhaps, 75,000. those are marines that we also pay attention to, and take care of as much as we can, even
though they're not drilling reservists. there is a plan. we are in that continuum in that marine for life program, that brings them in, trains them and then gives them the opportunity to join the reserves, if they want to, and then continue to be valuable citizens throughout their life. thank you. >> how about the air force? >> we, too, have a robust program. are you hearing me? we, too, have a robust program, and we have worked very closely with our active component over the last couple of years as they have worked aggressively to downsize. the critical skills that we're short in are the ones that we're focusing on, and we have in-service recruiters that interview every single person that is leaving the active force and offer them the opportunity to continue to serve in those particular areas where we have the needs.
we try to match the critical skills to where the needs are. we also offer cross-training to the folks that might be interested in continuing to participate in a different career field. just as importantly, i think the active force has used very significant tools to include voluntary early retirement and some of the other kinds of options to depart the active force, which does, in fact, put some folks into what general hummer mentioned in the irr. also we're working inside those irr members one a year at several locations targeting the skills we need and mustering folks in, because we found within that first year after somebody leaves, they may not be just as satisfied as they thought they were going to be and we have found a lucrative recruiting ground from some of those folks who come back to us in the reserve component out of the irr. we're working aggressively to keep critical skills trained. we can't afford to retrain and we must keep that capacity and capability.
>> you're satisfied with your program? >> yes, sir, we are. >> general stultz? >> yes, it is a critical part of our strategy for the future. our human capital strategy. and we have learned from my good friend here in the marine corps that the marine for life mentality needs to be in the army as well. soldier for life mentality. i am putting manpower on the active duty installations. to start working more aggressively with the transition process, much further out than we have in the past. that soldier that decides to leave the army in an active status, we're telling him he's not getting out. he's transitioning into reserve status. whether active or inactive reserve status, he's still going to be a soldier. we need to start talking to him six to nine months before he leaves, not two weeks.
we need to talk to him first, what he's going to do for a civilian work. we need to help him get a job. so one of the cornerstones of our program is our employer support program that we've developed over the last four years where we now have over 3,000 employers across america that have partnered with us. we have 700,000 jobs on the web portal that are available out there and those employers, and we have program support managers on the ground, contractors that we've hired to help facilitate between the employer and that soldier, and we want to facilitate that before he ever leaves active service. we want to have a smooth transition where he can come off of active duty, go right into a civilian job, if that's what he chooses to do, and we can also facilitate him coming into the reserve, whether he comes in as active reserve status or whether he says i just want to take a break for a while and be in the irr. okay, fine. you're still going to belong to us.
when you're ready to come back and start drilling with us, we'll bring you back. but it's that employer piece that's critical, because if i bring a soldier into the reserve and he doesn't have a job, i'm at risk. because he's got to pay his mortgage. he's got to pay for the kids to go to college. he needs civilian employment and needs a good, comfortable career. so we're putting forces on the installations, putting forces out with employers and we're going to make that a cornerstone of our program. i can tell you today, it's working. in the past couple of years we've already put at least 1,000 soldiers that we know into civilian jobs in our force. there's many thousands of others we know have already used the portal on the web have gotten jobs and employers are telling us, and we didn't even know the soldier because the soldier used the technology themselves to do it, but the program is working. soldiers are happy. employers are happy. we've got a good force. >> thank you very much. i'll be submitting a few other questions for your consideration.
so expect that. >> mr. chairman, thank you. general stenner and i have given to your staff some questions about reassigning aircraft that now based as keesler air force base biloxi, and i hope you can take a look at those and address a response to the committee as soon as reasonably possible. what we're concerned about is the readiness, of course, of an operational reserve and how that may be affected by the air force's restructure decisions. do you have any comments that you can make as a way of introduction to what you're -- your thoughts are on that subject? >> senator cochran i can do that. let me refer to the previous