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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 22, 2015 11:00pm-12:01am EDT

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and what the risk levels are. and so as general bogdon said, there are certain risks there. we've accepted it, except the low end beneath 136 pounds. >> well, there's been some report that there's been a memo that you accepted general bogdon, that accepted a 1 in 4 risk of death with a problem with the ejection system as being a risk that is worth taking, i guess. is that correct? >> ma'am, that is incorrect. the data that you have came from a reporter who got a copy of an official use only internal dod document that my team put together to assess the risks of a lightweight pilot and a pilot between 136 and 165 pounds. that document should have never
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been publicly released. i have an investigation ongoing to figure out how that reporter got it. but the worse part of this is, the reporter did not know how to read the report, ma'am. so let me give you the actual facts. today a pilot that weighs less than 136 pounds, if he steps to the airplane, he or she, has a 1 in 50,000 chance of hurting their neck from an ejection. a pilot between 136 pounds and 165 pounds has a 1 in 200,000 probability of having neck injury from ejection. the individual who reported on this is not an expert in system safety. >> okay. let me -- my time is running out. as i understand it, the test was done under ideal circumstances.
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is there any reason to feel that the results would be any different in circumstances where it was going not at ideal speeds but -- and not going straight but going up? >> your time has expired? generals, i want to thank you for being here. you have continued to provide the information as required by this committee. and we will continue to hold this program accountable and provide oversight. not just because there are issues or problems that have arisen, which there are, but because this program is so incredibly important. it needs to be safe for our pilots. it needs to be safe for our country. and it needs to be able to perform at the level that it has been asked to perform because the gap that this plane is going to fill is incredibly important. so with that, i thank you both for your service. i that you both know that we will continue to work both through the hearing committee structure and throughout the
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calendar year to both inquire and to work with you to ensure this plane can deliver. thank you. friday's washington journal will be dedicated entirely to your reaction to hillary clinton's testimony before the house benghazi committee. we'll have two hours of your phone call, tweets, and facebook
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posts beginning at 7:00 a.m. eastern time on c-span. an update on fraud attempts that target the elderly friday morning from a house energy and commerce subcommittee. we'll bring this to you live at 9:15 a.m. eastern on c-span3. >> c-span provides the best access for cover ran of former secretary of state hillary clinton testifying before the house select committee on benghazi. >> there was no credible actionable threat known to our intelligence community against our compound. >> our hearing coverage without commercials or commentary will air in its entirety saturday and sunday at noon eastern on c-span. former defense secretary robert gates testified before the senate armed services committee on current u.s. defense policy and strategic posture. he discussed budget challenges,
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defense department, veterans affairs coordination, troop morale and on going missions including those in the middle east. this is just under 2 hours and 30 minutes. good morning.
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the senate armed services committee meets today to begin a major oversight initiative on the future of defense reform. this will be the first in a series of dozen hearings that will proceed from a consideration of the strategic context in global challenging -- challenges facing the united states to alternative defense strategies and the future of warfare to the civilian and military organizations of the department of defense, as well as its acquisition, personnel, and management systems, much of which is the legacy of the goldwater nichols reformed enacted in 1986. there is no one, in my view, in america that is better to help us begin this effort than our distinguished witness, the former secretary of defense robert gates. we welcome him back for his first testimony to congress since leaving the department. dr. gates, we know that you have
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eagerly awaited this day with all of the anticipation of a root canal. few defense, in my few, none, defense leaders can match dr. gates' record as a reformer. he directed more than $100 billion in internal efficiencies in the department of defense. he eliminated dozens of failing or unnecessary acquisition programs. he held people accountable. he even fired a few. and yet by his own account dr. gates left overwhelmed by the scope and scale of the problems at the defense department. this is the purpose of the oversight effort we are beginning today, to define these problems clearly and rigorously and only then to consider what reforms may be necessary. there is profound urgency to this effort. the worldwide threats confronting our nation now and in the future have never been more complex, uncertain, and counting. america will not succeed in the
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21st century with anything less than the most innovative, agile, and efficient, and effect i defense organization. i have not met a senior civilian or military leader who thinks we have that today. in no way is this a criticism of the many patriotic mission-focused public servants, both in and out of uniform, who sacrifice every day and here at home and around the world to keep us safe. to the contrary, it's because we have such outstanding people that we must strive to remove impediments in our defense organizations that would squander the talents of our troops and civil servants. and now some would argue that the main problems facing the department of defense come from the white house, national security council staff, interagency, and, yes, the congress. you will find no argument here, especially about the dysfunction of congress. we must be find mul of these big bigger problems but addressing many of them is outside of this committee's jurisdiction.
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americans hold our military in the highest regard, as we should. at the same time, our witness will explain the problems that he encountered at the defense department are real and serious. just consider chart one here. in constant dollars our nation is spending almost the same amount on defense as we were 30 years ago. but for this money today, we are getting 35% fewer combat brigades, 53% fewer ships, 63% fewer combat air squadrons, and significantly more overhead. how much is difficult to establish because the department of defense does not even have complete and reliable data as gao has repeatedly found. of course our forces are more capable now than 30 years ago but our adversaries are also more capable. at the same time, many of the weapons in our arsenal today, our care craft, ship, tank shs and fighting vehicle, rifle, and
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missiles and strategic forces are the products of the military modernization of the 1980s. and no matter how much more capable our troops and weapons are today, they are not capable of being in two places at once. our declining combat capacity cannot be divorced from the problems in our defense acquisition system which one high level study summed up as follows. quote, the defense acquisition system has basic problems that must be corrected. these problems are deeply entrerchled and have developed over several decades from an increasingly bureaucratic and over regulated process. as a result, all too many of our weapons systems cost too much, take too long to develop, and by the time they are fielded, incorporate obsolete technology. sounds right. but that was the packard in 1986. and since then, since 1986, as this chart shows, cost overruns and schedule delays on major
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defense acquisitions have only gotten worse. defense programs are now nearly 50% over budget and, on average, over two years delayed. it's telling that perhaps the most significant defense procurement success story, the mrat which dr. gates himself led was produced by going around the acquisition system, not through it. the rising cost of our defense personnel system is also part of the problem. as chart three show, over the past 30 years the average fully burden dned cost per service member, all of the pays and lifetime benefits that military service now entails has increased 270%. and yet all too often the department of defense has sought to control these personnel costs by cutting operating forces while civilian and military headquarter staff has not changed and even grown, indeed. since 1985 the instrength of the
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joint force has decreased by 38% but the percentage of four-star officers in that force has increased by 65%. these reductions in combat power have occurred while the department's overhead elements, especially its contractor workforce, have exploded. nearly 1.1 million personnel now perform overhead activities in the defense agencies, military departments and service staffs in washington headquarters services. an analysis by mckenzie and company found less than one quarter of active duty troops were in combat roles with majority instead performing overhead activities. recent studies by the defense business board and others confirmed that little as changed in this regard. the u.s. tooth detail ratio was well below the global ampl including such countries as russia, india, and ba zil. for years, decades in some wayses, gao identified the
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administrative functions of department of defense at being at high risk of waste, fraud, abuse, and duplication of effort. perhaps none of this should be surprising when you consider the judgment of jim locker, the lead staffer on this committee during the defense reorganization efforts three decades ago, quote, the remedies applied by goldwater nichols to defense management in administration have largely been ineffective. they were never a priority for the drafters and troubling trends remain. the pentagon is choking on bureaucra bureaucracy. he wrote that 14 years ago and the problem has only gotten worse. ultimately we must ask whether the defense department is succeeding in its development and execution of strategy policy and plans. the office of the secretary of defense, the service secretaries and service staffs, joint staff, and the combatant commands are all bigger than ever. but is the quality of civilian oversight and control of the
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military better? has the quality of military advice to civilian leaders improved? are the joint duty assignments or military officers must perform producing a more unified fighting force? in short, is the department of defense more successful at planning for war, waging war, and winning war? goldwater nichols was perhaps the most consequential defense reform since the creation of the department of defense. and while the world has changed profoundly since 1986, the basic organization of the department of defense, as well as the roles and missions of its major civilian and military actors, has not changed all that much since goldwater nichols. it must be asked, is a 30-year-old defense organization equal to our present and future national security challenges? i want to be clear. this is a forward looking effort. our task is to determine whether the department of defense and our armed forces are set up to be maximally successful and our
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current and future national security challenges. we will be guided in this effort by the same principles that inspired past defense reform efforts including goldwater nichols, enhancing civilian control of the military, improving military advice, operational effectiveness, and joint officer management, and providing for a better use of defense resources among others. this oversight initiative is not a set of solutions in search of problems. we will neither jump to conclusions nor tilt at the symptoms of problems. we will take the time to look deeply for the incentive and root causes that drive behavior. and we will always, always be guided by that all important principle, first do no harm. finally, this must and will be a bipartisan endeavor. defense reform is not a republican or democratic issue. and we will keep it that way. these are vital national security issues and we must seek
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to build a consensus about how to improve the organization, operation of the department and defense that can and will be advanced by whomever wins next year's elections. that is in keeping with the best traditions of this committee. and it is how dr. gates has always approached this important work across administrations of both parties. we thank dr. gates for his decades of service to our nation, for generousry offering us the benefit of your insights and experiences today. and i'd like to apologize for the long statement, dr. gates. but i take -- i believe that this hearing must set the predicate for a number of future hearings that we will be having in order to carry out, achieve the objectives that i just outlined. senator reid? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and dr. gates, welcome back to the senate armed services committee. let me join the chairman in thanking you for your willingness to testify today. and also underscore how
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thoughtful and how appropriate the chairman's remarks are with respect to the need for a careful bipartisan review of policy and defense department and change in the defense party. i must also apologize as i've told you before, i have 200 or so rhode island business leaders that i must inform all day long today so i won't be here for the whole hearing. i apologize to the chairman, also. it's no accident that the chairman has asked you, dr. gates, to testify today on -- as the first witness in a major effort to look at the department of defense. you have more than 1500 days as secretary of defense, decades serving the united states government, roles that range of national security council to central intelligence agency and then, of course, the department of defense. in your vast experience with dod and interagency process, especially in post september 11th context, will be important to the committee's study of
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these issues as we go forward. and while you are secretary of defense you were an outspoken critic of your own department and its ability to manage critical competing priority, funding military modernization and ensuring forces are supported appropriately. in a speech before the american enterprise institute you said the department is, in your words, a semi futile system, amall gor, allocate resource, track expenditures and manage as a result of department's overall priorities. as a policy making in the legislative branch, this kind of assessment is deeply concerning but also very helpful in terms of giving us a direction if i look forward to hearing your ideas and thinking about the changes that you recommend to us for addressing these issues. congress has tried to help address some of these problems as you have rightly noted in creating the deputy chief management officer, but one person is not enough to create a compel systemic change in the
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largest organization on earth. and during your tenure you created two ad hoc entities in the department, the chairman mentioned, to address rapidly dangerous issues to our troops. the mine ambush protected, mrat and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance. both of these endeavors were very successful but they are just an indication of the kind of more holistic and comprehensive change that we need to undertake in the department of defense. also in your american enterprise institute speech you made a critical point. since 2001 we have seen a near doubling of the pentagon's modernization accounts that has resulted in relatively modest gains and actual military capability. this should be of a concern to all of us. and we welcome your recommendations on how to bring changes necessary to ensure that we're getting what we're paying for. in fact, getting more, we hope, bang for our buck. you've also spoken about the need for defense to be stable
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and predictable in the importance of the role of congress in ensuring that such stability is provided. former dod comptroller bob heal who served with you in the pentagon wrote recently about the budget turmoil he experienced during his tenure, including sequestration, a government shutdown and continued resolutions. specifically he wrote this budget turmoil imposed a high price on the dod and the nation it serves. the price is not measured on dollars since dod certainly didn't get any extra findings to pay the cost but rather the price at the efficiency and effectiveness of the department's issues and we are still confronting those issues today. finally, during your tenure, dr. galts, you were strong advocate not only for our military but also funding the soft power, tools of state craft, our diplomacy, developmental efforts and our ability to communicate, goals and values that rest of the world. as we consider steps to making d of,d more effective i would also be interested in your thoughts and porngs of our national
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security in enhancing civilian elements of national power and also the impact that sequestration has on these elements. again, thank you, dr. gates, for your service. i look forward to your testimony. >> dr. gates? >> chairman mccain, senator reed, probably the least sincere sentence in the english language is, mr. chairman, it's a pleasure to be here with you today. frankly short of a subpoena i never thought i would be in a congressional hearing gab and some of the things i wrote in a book, i'm rather surprised to be invited back. thank you for your kind introductory remarks and for the invitation to address the important topic of defense reform. i also commend you, mr. chairman, for attempting to transcend the deadly headlines and crises of the moment to focus this committee and hopefully the rest of the congress on institutional challenges. while i've stayed in touch with my successors periodically and
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have followed developments from afar, very afar, my testimony today is based predominantly on my experience as defense secretary between december 2006 and july 2011. and being engaged in two wars, every single day during that period. so my comments this morning may not necessarily account for all of the changes that have taken place over the last four years. i joined cia to do my bit in the defense of our country 50 years ago next year. i've served eight presidents. with the advantage of that half century perspective i'd like to open with two broad points. first, while it is tempting and conventional wisdom to assert that the challenges facing the united states internationally have never been more numerous or compl complex, reality is that turbulent, unstable, and unpredictable times have recurred to challenge u.s. leaders regularly since world
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war ii. soviets tighten their grip on western europe and surprise western leaders and intelligence agencies by detonating their first atomic device. frequent crises during the '50s, korean war, china over taiwan, pressures from the joint chiefs of staff to help france by using nuclear weapons in indochina. war in the middle east, uprisings in eastern europe, and revolution in cuba. during the '60s, war in vietnam, another era of israeli war and confrontations with the soviets from berlin to cuba. in the '70s, soviet assertively in africa and invasion of afghanistan and yet another arab/israeli war and oil i'm barba goes. p '80s brought surrogate crises in lebanon and sfwer vengs in panama. and in the '90s we had the first gulf war, military action in the bull can, somalia, haiti,
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missile at tacts in iraq, and first al qaeda attacks on the united states. the point of recounting these historical examples is that americans, including all too often our leaders, regard international crises and military conflict as aberrations when, in fact, and sad to say, they are the norm. convinced time and again that a new era of tranquility is at hand, especially after major conflicts, presidents and congresses tend to believe they have a choice when it comes to the priority given national security. and correspondingly significantly reduce the resources provided to defense, the state department, and cia. in the short term at least, until the next crisis arrives, they do have a choice. and the budget cutters and deficit hocks have their way. but in the longer term, there really is no choice. while we may not be interested in aggressor, terrorists revounch and expansionists half a world away, they ultimately are always interested in us or
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in our interest or our allies and friends. and we always discover then that we went too far in cutting and need to rearm. that the cost in treasure and in the blood of our young men and women are always far higher than if we had remained strong and prepared all along. the primary question right now before the congress and the president is the priority you give to defense which at roughly 15% of federal expenditures is the lowest percentage of the federal budget since before world war ii. without proper and predictable funding no amount of reform or clever reorganization will provide america with a military capable of accomplishing the missions assigned to it. m the second and related point i think highly germane to your deliberations is that our record since vietnam in predicting where we will use military force next, even a few months out, is perfect. we have never once gotten it right.
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just think about it. grenada, lebanon, libya twice, iraq now three times, afghanistan, the balkans, panama, somalia, haiti, and most recently west africa to combat ebola. because we cannot predict the place and future engagement we must provide premium on requiring equipmentnd training to give our forces the most versatile possible capabilities across the broadest possible spectrum of conflict. these two lessons on funding and flexibility must underpin any defense reform effort whether the focus is on bureaucratic organization, command structures, acquisition, or budgets. all that said, it is completely legitimate to ask whether our defense structures and processes are giving us the best possible return on taxpayer dollars spent on our military. and the answer in too many cases is no. in this context the questions
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the committee are considering are in my view the correct ones. namely, whether any countries institutions and national defense are organized, manned, equipped, and manged in ways that can deal with the security challenges of the 21st century and that efficiency and effectively spend defense dollars. as chairman over the next 15 minutes or so make observations object goldwater anything kols, acquisition policy, the interagency process and budget. we can then delve into these and other matters as the committee sees fit. first, goldwater nichols at 30 years and question whether the ambition of the original legislation has been fulfilled or is additional legislation of similar magnitude needed in light of all the changes that have taken place over the last three decades. my perspectives on the current structure of the defense department is shaped primarily by my experience as secretary overseeing a military fighting two wars. i discovered early on that i led a department designed to plan
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for war but not to wage war, at least for the long term. the swift victory of the 1991 persian gulf conflict seemed to validate all post-vietnam changes to our military including the landmark 1986 legislation. but the pentagon clearly was not organized to deal with protracted conflicts like iraq and afghanistan, which contrary to the wishes of most americans, most assuredly will not be the last sustained ground campaigns waged by our military. in this respect, goldwater nichols succeeded all too well by turning services fors for and equipment providering walled off from operational responsibilities. now the exclusive domain of combatant commanders. this became especially problematic in unconventional conflicts, requiring capabilities usually immediately that was significantly different than what was in prewar procurement pipeline.
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just one illustrative example. while there was and is a joint process to deal with the on going needs of battlefield commanders it was left up to the designated military service to reprioritize the budget to find the funding for those needs. it will come as no surprise to you that with some regularity the designated service decided that ur jant battlefield need did not have as high a priority for funding as its long-term programs of record. these were mostly advanced weapons systems designed for future conflicts and had near sacrosanct status making it difficult to generate much enthusiasm for other nearer term initiatives that might compete for funds. i soon learned that the only way i could get significant new or additional equipment to commanders in the field in weeks or months, not years, was to take control of the problem myself through special task forces and odd hope processes. this would be the case with the
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mrap vehicles, additional intelligence, surveil answer, shortened medevac times, counter ied equipment, and even the care of wounded warriors. i learned that if the secretary made it a personal priority, set tight deadlines, and held people accountable, it was actually possible to get a lot done even quickly, even in a massive bureaucracy like the pentagon. but satisfying critical operational and battlefield needs cannot depend solely on the intense personal involvement of the secretary. that is not sustainable. the challenge is how to institutionalize a culture and an incentive structure that encourages wartime urgency simultaneous with long-term planning and acquisition as a matter of course. a final thought relative to defense organizations and authorities. through my tenure i was privileged to work with two superb chairman of the joint
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chiefs of staff, pete pace and mike mullen, who were true partners while providing independent, occasionally disse dissenting, professional military advice. the chairman along with the vice chairman is the one senior military officer with a stake in both current needs and future requirements. one of the great achievements of goldwater nichols was strengthening the position of the operational commanders and the chairman relative to the service chiefs. i believe that as a general principle this must be sustained. service chiefs have a tenure of four years, combatant commanders nom ali three years. yet the chairman and vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff have a two-year renewable terms. i believe their service vis-a-vis would be strengthened by also giving them four-year terms. this would not diminish their accountability to the president, defense secretary, and congress.
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second, a subject for years have been a focus of this committee, the acquisition process. not onlys a goldwater nichols hit the 30-year mark so, too, as the office of the secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics. at and l was established because service-driven acquisition system was yielding too many over designed, over budget, and over scheduled programs. the theory was that by giving acquisition responsibility for major programs to a senior osd official removed from parochial service interest, wiser and more disciplined decisions would ens ensue. so what can we say 30 years on? we've succeeded in building a new layer of burk crass eaucrac thousands more employees and thousands to feed it. but when it comes to output the results have been quite mixed. as secretary i found that despite all of the osd and joint oversight mechanisms, far too many major weapons and equipment
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programs were ridiculously overdue, overcost, or no longer relevant to the highest priority definance needs. to the chagrin to many inside the pentagon and probably here on the hill i canceled or capped more than 30 major programs in 2009 that have built out fully would have cost the taxpayers $330 billion. so where does that leaf us today as congress considers reforms for the future? problems with the service is running acquisitions led to greater centralization and oversight through at and l but that led to another set of problems in the form of sizable central bureaucracy that adds delays and related costs without discernible benefit. so now there's pressure and legislation to return significantly more acquisition authority back to the services. my sense is the right answer lies with finding a better balance between centralization and dea centralization than we now have. but a strong word of caution.
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you must not weaken the authority of the secretary of defense and his ultimate decision making power on acquisition. i cannot imagine a service chief or service secretary able to overcome intense internal pressures and voluntarily do away with, for example, programs like the army future combat system, the airborne laser, the zoom wall destroyer, or dozens of other troubled and needlessly exquisite systems that built up a loyal service constituency. the simple fact is that such decisions are not just programatic but political. and only the secretary of defense with the strong support of the president, has the clout, the power, inside the pentagon, with industry, and here on the hill to make such decisions and make them stick. a couple of other observations seem obvious, as you and the secretary of defense addressed this issue, nothing will work without rigorously applied
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accountability. within the services, by at and l, and by the secretary. and then there is the importance of basic blocking and tackling on the acquisitions process. to high level rigorous control of requirements and limiting changes beyond a certain point, competitive prototyping wherever probable before program initiation, more realistic cost estimates, and revising contract incentives to better reward success and penalize failure. also promising a year legislative efforts of mr. chairman to streamline acquisition processes, encourage more use of commercial products and pricing, and attract more non-traditional vendors to defense markets. that said, at the end of the day, redrawing the organization chart or enacting new acquisition laws and rules will matter less than leaders skilled
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enough to execute programs effectively, willing to take tough usually unpopular choices, and establish strong measures of accountability. and willing to get rid of those not performing well, whether people or programs. in terms of being better stewards of taxpayer dollars more broadly, the effort i began in 2010 to reduce overhead costs and continued by my successors must be renewed and sus stabed. it was telling that in just four months in 2010 we found some $180 billion over a multi-year period we could cut in overhead. there is as deputy secretary gordon liked to say, a river of money flowing under the pentagon, primarily funded through catch-all operations and maintenance accounts. now, there's no line item in the defense budget called waste, so getting ats unnecessary overhead spending without harming important functions is extremely
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hard work. it's kind of like a huge easter egg hunt but it can and must be done. a brief word here on resisting the usual approach of reducing budgets with across the board cuts. i have seen countless washington reform efforts over the years result in mindless salami slicing of programs and organizations. that is not reform. it is managerial and political cowardness. true reform requires making trades and choices and tough decisions, recognize that some activities are more important than others. it's hard to do but it's essential if you are to reshape any organization into a more effective and efficient enterprise. further the congress must contain its own bad behavior. such as insisting on continuing unneeded programs because of parochial interest, preventing the closure of roughly one quarter of all facilities deemed access, burdening the department with excessive and frequently
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expensive rules and reporting requirements and more. my third broad point with regard to the interagency process, from time to time the idea arises to reorganize the u.s. national security apparatus put together in 1947 to better integrate defense, diplomacy, and development. a goldwater nichols for the interagency, if you will. goldwater nichols has mostly worked at the defense department because when push comes to shove as it often does there, everyone in and out of uniform ultimately works for one person, the secretary of defense. and he or she has the last word and can tell everyone to get in line. when multiple cabinet departments are involved however there is only one person with that kind of authority, the president. the national security council and its staff were created to provide the president with organizational mechanism to coordinate and integrate their efforts. how well that works depends entirely on the personal
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relationships among the principles and the talents and skills of the national security adviser. even this structure headquartered just down the hall from the oval office works poorly if the secretary of state and the secretary of defense can't stand one another, as was a case for a good part of my time in the government or if the national security adviser isn't an honest broker. how well the planning activities and efforts of state, defense, and others are coordinated and integrated is a responsibility of one person, the president. and there is nothing anybody else, including the congress, can do about it. i'll conclude with three other reasons the nation is paying more for defense in real dollars today than 30 years ago and getting less, and getting less. one is that men and women in uniform today drive, fly, or sail platform which are vastly more capable and technologically advanced than a generation ago. that edtechnology and capabilit
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comes with a hefty price tag. a second reason for the higher cost is the exploding personnel costs of the department. a very real problem on which i know this committee and others are at least beginning to make some inroads after years futility. the third factor contributing to increased costs and one of immense importance is the role of congress itself. here i am talking about the years long budgetary impasse on the hill and between the congress and the president. the department of defense a had an enacted appropriations bill to start the fiscal year only twice in the last ten years. the last seven years, all began under a continuing resolution. during the first six full fiscal years of the obama administration the defense department has operated under continuing resolutions for a third of the time. a cumulative total of two years. department leaders also have had to deal with a threat and in one year the imposition of
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sequestration, a completely mindless and cowardly mechanism for budget cutting. because of the inability of the congress and the president to find a budget compromise in 2013 defense spending was reduced mid year by $37 billion. all of these cuts applied equally and percentage terms to 2500 line items of the defense budget and requiring precise management of each cut to comply with the antideficiency act with its criminal penalties for violations. sequestration effectively cut about 30% of day-to-day operating funds in the second half of fy '13. but then add to this mess the fact that the department probably the largest organization on the planet in recent years has had to plan for five different potential government shut downs. in the fall of 2013 with sequestration still ongoing the pentagon actually had to implement one of the those shutdowns for 16 days affecting
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640,000 employees or 85% of the civilian workforce. it is hard to quantify the cost of the budgetary turmoil of the past five years. the cuts, the continuing resolutions, sequestration, gimmicks, furloughs, shutdowns, unpredictability and more. during continuing resolutions in particular, the inability to execute programs on schedule, limits on being able to ramp up production or start new programs or to take full advantage of savings offered by multi-year purchases, the time consuming and unpredictable process of reprogramming even small amounts of money to higher all of these tre mund douse cost on the taxpayer. these don't even begin to account for the cost involved in the hundreds of thousands of man-hours required with the managerial nightmare. moreover, reimposition of full
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scale sequestration looms in january absent of a bipartisan budget agreement. given the harm all of the politically driven madness inflicts on the u.s. military, rhetoric from members of congress about looking out for our men and women in uniform rings very hollow to me. further, the legislatidggislati dysfunction is embarrassing in the eyes of the world at a time when allies and friends are looking to us for leadership and reassurance. all the reforms you can come up with will be of little use if the military is unable to plan, to set priorities and to manage its resources in a sensible and strategic way. the failure of the congress in recent years because of the partisan divide to pass timely and predictable defense budgets and its continuing parochialism when it comes to failing programs and unneeded facilities has not only greatly increased the cost of defense, it has contributed to weakening our military capabilities and it has
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broken faith with our men and women in uniform. this committee with its counterpart in the house has long supported on a bipartisan basis a strong defense and protecting those in uniform. as you consider needed me forms in the pentagon, i fervently hope you will also urge your colleagues in congress to break with the recent past and place the national interest and our national security ahead of ideological purity or achaefing partisan advantage. because as you know as well as i, our system of government has designed by the founders who wrote and negotiated the provisions of the constitution is depended on compromise to function. to do so is not selling out, it is called governing. thank you. >> well, thank you, mr. secretary. dr. gates, thank you. those are very strong words and i wish that all 535 members of
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congress could hear the -- your closing remarks. i will quote them quite often and quite liberally. it is, frankly, a damning but accurate indictment about our failure to the men and women in the military, the 300 million americans, and the security of our nation. we are also looking at a debt limit showdown, mr. secretary. we all know that debt limits have to be raised because of spending practices, yet we now have a substantial number of members of congress that, by god, we're not going to vote to increase the debt limit and anybody that does is, of course, a traitor and doesn't care about fiscal responsibility. the rhetoric has been very
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interesting. so we're now looking at sequestration and we're also looking at the debt limit and we're also looking at a president and secretary of defense -- with the secretary of defense's support, of ve vet towing a bill that is not a money bill, it's a policy bill. so the president is threatening to veto because of the issue of not increasing nondefense spending when there is nothing that this committee nor the authorizing process can do to change that. i'm sorry to say that members of this committee will be voting to sustain a presidential veto on an issue that we have nothing that we can change. well, could i just ask, again, on sequestration, i also would
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ask a specific question, in your remarks it was interesting to me that you didn't make a single comment about the service secretaries and their role. do you think we ought to do away with the service secretary, dr. gates? >> i thought about that -- i've thought about that. thanks to your staff providing me with some of the issues that you all might want to discuss today. and i think that -- i think i would say no to that question. and i would say it primarily because i think that having a civilian service secretary does strengthen the civilian leadership and civilian dominance of our military. if there is -- and they are able to do so on a day -to-day basis
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in decision making that a single person like a secretary of defense could not do. i mean, i couldn't -- the secretary can sort of reiterate that and make it clear in his actions that civilian control is important but i think that the symbolism to members of the services that there is a civilian at the head of their own service, who is responsible for them and accountable for them, i think is important. >> let me go back over this relationship between at and l, the uniform service chiefs, secretary of defense, and you cited a couple of cases whereby going around the entire process as an mrap you mentioned and other cases, where -- go over for the benefit of the committee again, where is the balance?
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we're trying to, in this legislation, give some more authority and responsibility to the service chiefs who right now, as i understand it, have none and yet, at the same time, as you said, not return too much to the service chiefs because of their advocacy and their view of sacrisanct programs they believe is important to their services. i don't quite get that balance there. >> i wish i would give you a precise and very specific answer. it seems to me that -- i mean, the irony is that, for example, when it came to the mraps, i made the we the situation but it was the leadership of at and l that executed the programs and signed the contracts and actually implemented then by the
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marine corps actually had the responsibility because they had originated -- the mraps were originally their idea and it was their success in anbar that led me to expand it. but the problem that i ran into in the defense department is that any problem, whether it's an acquisition or anything else, affects multiple parts of the department, none of which can tell the other what to do. so -- so if the comptroller has a problem, he can't tell at and l what to do. if cost assessment and program evaluation has a problem, they can't tell at and l or anybody else what to do. they only report to me or to the secretary. and so the reason i found myself chairing these meetings was
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because there were enough. different parts of the department who were involved in almost any decision that no one below the secretary could actually get everybody in the room and say this is what you have to do. so how you fix that institutionally, and i will tell you when ash carter was at and l, the undersecretary, and particularly by last six or eight months, ash and i talked all the time. ash, how do we institutionalize this, how do we institutionalize meeting these urgent needs along with the long-range kind of planning and acquisition that we have? and, frankly, when i left, we hadn't solved that problem. but it has to -- the services do have authority. they do have procurement or acquisition authority and they do have senior people in those positions. and frankly, my sense is that there are a couple that i dealt
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with seemed to me to be quite capable. but how you -- how you realign the roles of at and l and the service procurement or ak acquisition officers i don't have an easy solution for you. all i can suggest is that there be a dialogue between this committee and secretary carter and the services in at and l. in terms of how you adjust the balance, it is clear to me that the balance has shifted too far to at and l. and therefore there needs to be some strengthening of the role of the services. but central to that will be forcing the service leaders, the chief of staff and the secretary, to hold people accountable and to hold those
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two people accountable for the service. i know mark millie was up here testifying and said, give me the authority. if i don't do it right, fire me. that's kind of extreme. but at a certain point, accountability is a big piece of this and i just -- i don't have for you a line drawing or even a paragraph where i could tell you here's where you redraw the balance because i'm not sure right where that line goes. >> thank you, senator reed? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you, dr. gates, for insightful syst fuful testimony. not only giving us advice but pointing to the questions which you are still thinking through. helps me. we plan very well for the initial phase i, phase two, phase three operations with our
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equipment, with our personnel. it's the -- usually the phase four of how we sort of conduct, pro tract, or that you predicted will be the likely face of conflict in the future. so of much of that depends on capacity building in the local nations. and so much of that depends upon non-dod elements, state department, police trainers, public health systems. i think we've seen that so many times in iraq and afghanistan. and this comes back to the point i think you've also made about, you know, if these agencies are not properly funded, are not properly integrated, then we could succeed in initial phase of the battle but fail ultimately. is that a fair assessment? >> i can only remind this committee how many times you heard from our commanding generals in both iraq and afghanistan about the desperate need for more civilians, both in
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iraq and afghanistan. and the value that they brought. secretary rice used to chide me occasionally reminding me we had more people in military bands than she had in the entire foreign service. i'll give you another example though. and it's an action that frankly where both the executive branch and the congress are responsible. when i left government in 1993 the agency for international development had 16,000 employees. they were dedicated, professionals. they were acustomed to working in dangerous and difficult circumstances in developing countries, and they brought extraordinary not only skill but passion. when i returned to government 13 years later, in 2006, aid was down to 3,000 employees and they were mostly contractors. and that is a measure of what's
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happened in the development part of our broader strategy. and i would say that, you know, for those of us of a certain age who can remember usia in its hay day, what we have in the way of strategic communications in our government today is a very pale reflection of that. so those -- that whole civilian side has -- has been neglected for a very long time. >> and that neglect will be exacerbated by sequestration and they will not -- these agencies don't have a way to provide at least short-term funding as dod does through the overseas contingency accounts. they're just stuck. and because they don't function well, i think that's the conclusion you draw, our overall national security, overall responsiveness is impaired dramatically. is that fair? >> i believe so, yes, sir. >> it raises the issue, too,
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because this is the ub subjesuba lot of our discussions is we have tried to find the money for the department of defense and the account that's bearing the bulk of the differences both budgetary and political is the overseas contingency account. as a means of funding defense on a long-term basis, in your view is that an adequate approach or should we raise the regular budget caps and do it as we thought we used to do it? >> well, first of all, my approach when i was secretary was to take every dollar i could get wherever i could get it. >> i know. >> it's a terrible way to budget. i mean, it's -- it's a -- it is a gimmick. it is a -- it does provide the resources, but it's hard to disagree with -- i mean, the way
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that things ought to operate is that -- is that if there is a sense on the hill, a majority view that the budget needs to be cut to reduce the deficit, you go through regular order of business and you, like i did when i was secretary of defense, you make tough decisions. what are you going to fund, what are you not going to fund? but you make choices. that's what leadership and political life is all about, it seems to me. and then you vote a budget and money flows, whether there's more or less of it. you know, in the current paralyzed state, maybe there's no alternative right now to getting the money this way. but it is, as the saying used to go, it's a hell of a way to run a railroad. >> well, thank you very much,
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dr. gates, for your extraordinary service to the nation. thank you. >> general sessions. >> thank you, dr. gates. thank you for your service. i would add my compliments to those of predecessor -- prior speakers that i believe you represent one of the best defense secretaries the nation's ever had. i know you served with dedication, put the nation's interest first, you put the defense department first. some of your former cabinet colleagues put secretary of health first and education first and roads first, so we got pleased from every department agency and we don't have as much money as we like. so the crisis we've entered on the budget process is essentially that the president of the united states has said, you republicans care about defense. you're not getting any more money for defence unless i get more money for nondefense.
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that's a big conflict. so the process we move forward met the defense department's request and president's request for defense but has not met nondefense increases, all of which on defense and nondefense are barred. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 captioning performed by vitac

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