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tv   Admirals Testify on Naval Warship Accidents  CSPAN  September 7, 2017 3:09pm-6:09pm EDT

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programs outdated, that have been determined to be inefficient and ineffective. there are probably a lot of programs we want to be spending more on because we realize they should be higher priorities. this is especially a problem for the defense department because they're in charge of protecting the national security and their posture needs to change on a regular basis but if they need the same amount of money for the same part of the organization, the services and their equipment and planes, ships, then they can't make the adjustments necessary. >> the government is running on a continuing resolution and could be until december, the house and the senate are trying to work on spending bills for the different agent sicieagenci. a mini omnibus. >> it packages the appropriations bills into one piece of legislation. if you do the appropriations bills one at a time, it's an
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extended period to get. >> i call this joint hearing of the power projection forces of the house armed services committee to order. we are here in honor and memory of the 7 "uss fitzgerald" sailors, shiancoe douglas, xavia martin, hsubien and the ten "uss
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john s. mccain sailors." jacob drake, timothy echols, john, cory ingram, abraham lopez, kenneth smith and logan palmer. and we are very grateful that today we have miss rachel. miss echols, we send our deepest sympathies and profound sorrow for your loss and appreciation for your son's service to our nation. i want to welcome members to today's hearing. i want to especially recognize that we have with us the committee chairman, thornberry, part of ongoing efforts to eliminate our military readiness challenges and thank him for
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leadership and being here today to hear about the challenges illuminated by the tragic collisions in the pacific. i also want to have a warm welcome to elizabeth from connecticut and congressman rodney davis from illinois. i ask unanimous consent, not a member of the committee on the armed services allowed to participate in today's hearing after all subcommittee members and then full committee members have had an opportunity to ask questions. is there an objection? with that objection, such recognized that the appropriate time for five minutes as we begin today and classified hearings on navy readiness and the "uss fitzgerald" and "uss john s. mccain." i have no doubt the navy is the most powerful in the world but these tragic events reinforce the committee's concern about
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the readiness challenges the navy faces and the short falls in the structure and whether the sustained tempo of the reduced 277 ship navy may have contributed to these events. i also believe that the first responsibility of the national government is to provide for the national security for our citizens. to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. and that is especially true of our sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines. to continue to better understand the readiness situation and underlying problems of the united states navy and then for us to chart a course which best assists at the correcting deficiencies with short falls. we now ask the senior leaders of the government accountability office here with us today to be candidate with the underlying
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problems associated with the uss fitzgerald and "uss john s. mccain" with how to recover from the tragic events. this afternoon, honored to have with us admiral bill moran, the vice chief of naval operations, admiral robert who was the director of surface warfare and mr. john, the director of the defense structure readiness issues and the u.s. accountability office. i'd like to now turn to our ranking member, congresswoman of guam for any remarks she may have. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and chairman whitman to the navy readiness, particularly with regard to the seven fleet operations in the endo asia and we recently returned from japan where we met with vice admiral sawyer and saw the damage to the
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"uss fitzgerald" first hand. thank you to our witnesses for joining us today. admiral moran and boxel. i appreciated our meeting earlier this week and look forward to continuing our discussion. thank you as well for your time. and your work on this subject as it's critical in aiding our oversight mission on this committee. the recent mishaps with the "uss fitzgerald" and "uss john s. mccain" not only resulted in the missiles but the tragic los of life of 17 american sailors. involving surface ships assigned to the seventh fleet. investigations and two comprehensive reviews of service
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fleet operations, i am interested to learn of the initial findings and the foundational challenges that need to be addressed to reverse the concerning trend that we are seeing with the readiness of our forward deployed naval forces. specifically, i am interested to hear what steps may be taken to ensure appropriate time is allocated for training and ship maintenance in the forward deploy naval and how the chain of command is accountable to ensure steps are being met. in addition to the training and maintenance time, i will be interested to hear how the navy is investing in and utilizing next generation training systems to maximize the fishefficiency effectiveness of the time. the navy military and civilian leadership owe it to our sailors to learn from these incidents
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and take appropriate actions to ensure the contributing factors are properly addressed. points have been raised about how the forward to stress, existing resources and demanding of our vessels. the training of our sailors and maintenance of the fleet. understanding that a balance needs to be struck and a review of posture in the region is under way. let me note that i believe maintaining a forward presence in the endoe asia pacific is critical to security in the region. whether it's for deterrents, power projection, humanitarian assistance and multilateral, exercises, or my rate of other critical missions. only with forward deployed forces. however, these missions and our
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credibility are undermined if we are not able to effectively manage and operate the fleet. the navy's deployment of significant capabilities overseas didn't occur overnight and the pacific did not become a heavy traffic theater overnight. so i'm concerned that the request for resources and the strategic prior toization of where to spend these resources has not properly reflected the operations, the maintenance and the training needs of the fleet. finally, i'll conclude by stating today's hearing and the navy's ongoing investigations and reviews should be viewed as just the starting point. i hope that we will have a continuous dialogue between this committee and the navy on the issues. the lessons learned and specific actions that need to be taken to ensure the readiness of the service fleet. i want to thank you, the witnesses and i look forward to
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the discussion and mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, ranking member. we'll return to the gentleman from virginia and the subcommittee, rob whitman for any remarks he may have. >> thank you, chairman wilson. i want to welcome moran and boxel and thank you for attending our hearing on the tremendously important issue. chairman wilson for offering to hold joint sub committee hearing today and it's of essence we get to the bottom of this in the interest of our nation. i believe that we may arrive at some conclusions that require a joint effort of both of our subcommittees and look forward to working with the gentleman from south carolina to expeditiously resolve these potentially egregious underlying issues to the surface navy forces. before i proceed further, i want to recognize our special guest in the audience today.
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miss rachel echols. miss echols' son, petty officer timothy echols jr. lost his life aboard the uss mccain a few weeks ago. miss echols, thank you for being here with us today and for the enormous sacrifice that you and your family had made for this country. we are here today to ensure that the navy. yes. [ applause ] >> we are here today to ensure that the navy and congress learns from these tragedies and makes the necessary changes. i want you to be assured that your son's life given on behalf of this nation was not given in vain. naval warfare is inherently dangerous. the collisions associated with "uss fitzgerald" and "uss john s. mccain," it's important to note even in a benign
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environment, we send our sailors into precarious and oftentimes deadly situations. our nation asks much of our service members and they never fail to deliver. i hope that today's hearing provides some positive steps forward to ensure that our sailors are provided the best training and the best ships to sustain their daily lives and in time of war, prevail over our enemy. i think we could all agree our nation failed these 17 sailors and their family with these tragic collisions. last week, i led a bipartisan congressional delegation to visit the seven fleet commander of vice admiral sawyer and the sailor's home port in japan. i was encouraged that the zeal and the overall tenacity of the fleet, even in the face of these difficult events, nevertheless, i look forward to turning our attention to assess whether
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there are procedural issues that may have contributed to a degraded material and training readiness of the forces in the seventh fleet. as the committee reviews the degraded state of the seventh fleet, two things are painfully obvious. the material condition and operational readiness of the ships are significantly degraded and not acceptable. of our large service combatants, the majority of the ships are not properly ready to perform their primary warfare areas. overall, the negative trend lines associated with the operational readiness of the four deployed ships are deeply troubling. these negative training trends clearly contributed to the lack of seamanship evident on board the uss john mccain and the uss fitzgerald. after the ships themselves, the material condition of the four deployed ships suffer as navy prioritizes operational deployments over maintenance and
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modernization. this maintenance and training model places sailors at risk and most likely contributed in part to the incidents that we have witnessed with the seventh fleet. it's equally problematic that the navy intends to increase the number of four deployed ships over the next four years with no increase to the maintenance capacity in yukuska. increased reliance on deployed naval forces is a model not sustainable and needs to be significantly modified. we have also learned that many of the destroyers based out of yukuska supposed to be deployed for no more than 7 to 10 years. we know has been deployed to japan for over 20 years. further, the "uss fitzgerald"
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have each been well over 10 years. the navy has proven it cannot manage the requirements for deployed ship in the seven fleet with 277 ships. the ships have been outside of the continental united states for too long and consequently, the material condition is unacceptable state. i remain convinced that one of the long-term fixes is to increase the overall force structure and build the navy that our nation needs. a larger fleet would allow the navy to place less strain on each available ship and reduce the chance that any sailor is placed in a high risk environment. in the short-term, i fully support the need to adequately fund training and most importantly, provide the fleet the time it needs to complete required maintenance and training. a number of contributing factors that should be explored including navy training models, impacts with the cannibalization
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of ship parts and ship maintenance and the incredibly high operational tempo endured by the fleet and the operational failures occurred with the service fleet. each deserves additional assessment. four deployed model ripe with ris risk and this will increase in the future. offer an alternative model that meets the nation's need and reduce risk to sailors. i think chairman wilson with the important issue and i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you, chairman rob whittman and now for the gentleman from connecticut and ranking member of the forces subcommittee, his remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you to admiral moran and boxel and recognize miss
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echols for putting a human face on the subject that we're talking about here today and really representing the other families. that's an important contribution that's being made here today, so thank you, miss echols. the circumstances that bring us to today's hearing are painful and tragic. as lead witness today admiral pointed out with the fleet forces dated august 24, 2017 in the span of 65 days, 17 sailors were lost in ship collisions and accidents on naval vessels. these were not limited occurrences but part of a disturbing trend of mishaps in the asia pacific region since january involved the "uss ante dem" and fitzgerald and the mccain. to put that into perspective, these heartbreaking casualties are more than the number of service members in the afghanistan war zone.
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congresswoman estes with us here today and electronics technician from suv fiefield, connecticut. mourning the loss of these two patriots and intensely watching the response of the navy to fix this disturbing trend. several reviews by the navy and the secretary of the navy are under way right now to dig deep into this disturbing trend. i applaud those efforts and i know i think i speak for all of my colleagues today that we expect the navy to be fully transparent with our panels as these efforts move forward and we will convene again as many times as needed to provide support to fix this problem. indeed, article one, section a, clause 13 of the u.s. constitution is very clear. it's congress's duty to, quote, provide and maintain a navy which certainly means a navy
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well i quequipped and adequatel manned. what does seem to be clear at this early stage is these are a clearing manifestation of the forward deployed navy vessels in the asia pacific region and the declining readiness of the forces. we ask these forward deployed ships to do difficult work not well understood by the public at large. prior to collision, the uss mccain is in the south china sea and likewise, the fitzgerald was a pivotal player in response to kim jong-un's recent threats and missile tests. these are not the kind of ships and crews to preventable mishaps. as my colleague mr. whittman correctly pointed out, an obvious response to the high operational tempo is to grow our fleet and shorten the backlog of repair and maintenance for the existing fleet to take the pressure of heel to toe operations for the forward deployed ships like japan and
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spain. these two committees, i would note, pushed more aggressively on a bipartisan basis to add funding to ship construction and readiness than any other entity in the congress. plussed up significantly with the white house budget with the biggest bipartisan vote since 2008. we have more work to do and i'm sure this hearing increases the member to termination to get the best outcome possible but today is not just about resources. it's also whether navy systems and policies improve readiness and fortunately, concerns about systems and policies are not new. as the g.a.l. repeatedly reported over the last few years, a growing number of forward deployed vessels without the ve certifications heading out to deployment. it's worsened since the last report in 2015 and needs to be
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corrected. similarly, in 2010, a review by vice admiral phillip belisle that outlined short falls and concerns about service force readiness and looking in the larger state of readiness. one includes clarifying who specifically has the ultimate say in whether a ship is manned, trained and equipped to the level needed to safely do their job before being sent out on deployment. to put it another way, the certification process which covers key competencies and surface warfare and just to name a few need to be reviewed and approved by an accountable decision makerment . unfortunately, it's not been addressed. we've expected a lot from the navy for good reason. sailors are best in the world and site in a foreign port in
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international waters sends a powerful message for protection in the maritime domain. those sailors do what they need to do to keep the peace in the world's great oceans free and open. in return, our sailors and families should expect their leaders who send them out to sea have done all they can to provide the resources they need to return safely. i hope today's hearing will focus on the steps that the navy will take to fulfill that expectation and what it means from us here in the congress to get it done. thank you, i yield back my time. >> thank you, ranking remember joe. and we go to you for your opening remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will be short. i want to be very clear that no matter the circumstances, the operating environment, or how strained our force might be, we should not and cannot have collisions at sea.
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fundamental professional seamanship is the foundation for safe operations around the fleet. and all of the marvelous technology, the magnificent hardware we put together in these ships, and the power of our weapons systems are meaningless without well trained skilled patriotic and experienced sailors who are well led. we'll leave no stone unturned, be accountable to you, to our sailors, and to the american public. like you, our navy stands with miss rachel echols with the navy families and with hearts broken. but determined to investigate thoroughly all the facts to get
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at the root causes and address contributing factors and to learn so that you'll become a better navy at the end of this. we have an absolute responsibility to keep sailors safe from harm in peacetime. even as they prepare for war. mr. chairman, although we're 20 feet apart, there is no gap between what we need to do from here on out. admiral boxel and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much. we turn to john from the accountability office for your opening comments. >> chairman whitman. chairman thornberry. >> thank you very much for having me here to sum up navy readiness. unfortunately, grim circumstances do bring us together.
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i don't know what specifically caused the accident but operational demand and a limited supply of ships. the navy has been warning for some time that they've been keeping a pace that is unsustainable. our work confirmed the difficulties and the reports have shown it but the body of work spotlighted risk associated with the way the navy has managed demands on it. some of the risk presents significant challenges in the building blocks of readiness. training, maintenance. we published a report about increased reliance of overseas basing of ships and that report, we found that ships based in japan did not have dedicated training periods like u.s. base ships. their aggressive deployment
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schedule gave more presence, true, but came at a cost including detrimental effects on ship readiness. in fact, we were told that the overseas base ships were so busy that they had to train on the margins. a term i'd not heard before and it was explained to me that meant that they had to squeeze training in when they could. given the concerns, we recommended to the navy to carefully analyze the risks mounting. especially given the plan to increase overseas basing in the future to meet the demands. i think it's important to note that the department of defense on behalf of the navy wrote the response to the report and current recommendation for the most part and i think there are responses instructed and i'll read a short passage, please. we assess the navy as well aware of risk association with increased reliance and the decision to accept these risks was ultimately based on the operational decision providing
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increased presence to meet combatant commander requirements. mr. chairman, i figure this was a bad gamble in retrospect. we learned things that concerned us. first, the navy told us they planned to implement a deployment schedule for overseas ships that would allow dedicated training. as of this hearing, they have not yet done that. they have an idea but not yet implemented. the second thing is training certifications. this is the way the navy periodically determines that its crews are proficient in everything from seaman ship to warfare areas. we're being allowed to expire frankly an army and 2015, looking just at the cruisers and destroyers. all of the certification areas. about 7% of those were expired by late june of this year, that number was up to 37% expired.
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more than five fold increase. manning has been a persistent challenge for the navy. navy had a study in 2014 that indicated that sailors on average were working well over 108 hours a week. the navy included that's unsustainable and could contribute to a poor safety culture. maintenance is also taking longer and costing more due to the pace of operations. ship deployments often delayed and told me before the hearing, we have been keeping deployments shorter lately but they have been extended and then the ships have more problems when you bring them in and the shipyards have trouble keeping pace for a number of reasons which i think many of you are aware of. at this point, the lost operational days because of the maintenance delays, in the thousands and having two destroyers due to the recent mishaps is not going to help rebuild readiness and i think the navy's treading water in
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terms of readiness to rebuild it. mr. chairman, there's been 11 practical recommendations to the department of defense to guide the navy and all towards improved rereadiness. but today, they've partially implemented only one. several recommendations are focused on crafting a readiness rebuilding plan to balance resources with demands and transparent about what it will cost and how long it will take. we've also made recommendations specific to the navy directly relevant particularly in analyzing the risk of overseas basing and reassessing the work load that sailors actually face and using that to decide how many people to put on the crew. in closing, mr. chairman, i should acknowledge we did all of this work because this committee requested we do so. thank you for your foresight and we're honored to assist the committee in oversight going
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forward. thank you very much. happy to take any questions. >> thank you very much and mr. pendleton, we all appreciate the government accountability office for independent professionalism. particularly important to me personally, i have a son serving in the u.s. navy and your recommendations are so important for the health and safety and protection of the people. additionally, i particularly appreciate that a report was presented as a report to the congressional on june the 14th, which highlighted the issues of readiness just four days before the fitzgerald incident. so your efforts just could not and your organization's efforts could not be more timely and they're greatly appreciated by all of us.
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provided by the training group and the cruisers and destroyers in japan. and the 15 report from 7% expired to 37% expired in june of this year. again, in the month of the incident. mr. pendleton, can you explain the short trend of the training certifications sent your report or the gao's observations and what's happening with the forward deployed forces. >> we updated the information and preparation for this hearing and not been back out to talk to the fleet about them? we did gather that information when we did the work a couple of years ago and we ask for it to be updated and the navy provided it. and when we looked at it, we saw that, again, if you imagine all 11 ships in japan. 8 cruisers and 3 destroyers and the certification areas.
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the ones that were red, they were expired, it had grown to 37% of all of those little blocks if you can imagine them being red and another concern is that there were specific areas that were even higher than 37% and one of those was seamanship. 8 of the 11 ships had expired and some other areas as well that they were sharply lly low than you would hope to see. >> i would to commend you. the analysis that you did is going to be so helpful to us and then the actions needed to address the mission challenges, a real world and just, again, reassuring as a member of congress but a parent, thank you for what you're doing. >> if i may, the report that you held up is a compilation report and it is designed to identify what we believe is the major challenges facing the department of defense. i think that's significant is we led with readiness rebuilding.
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that really, we think is one of the priority areas that the department needs to focus on. >> you also provided extraordinary insight in regard to health care being provided to the military personnel and urged all members of both subcommittees and the full committee gto get a copy. really very helpful. the trend is significant and i appreciate your heartfelt statement earlier. can you help the subcommittees better understand the issues? i'm trying to figure out how most, are most deployed ships apparently not being held to the same standards as the rest of the apply? who certifies the ship's home port in japan? >> mr. chairman, vertification is done locally by the operational commanders in japan. so it starts with a commanding officer of the ship that makes requests for waivers or to
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extend their certification and goes to his direct, in the chain of command, and that's worked out above his level with the one star, two star commander of the task force in japan as well as the seventh fleet commander, ultimately, makes that decision. so if i could, when someone is expiring on certification, they are required to put a risk mitigation plan in place and request the waiver. and once the risk mitigation plan is approved in the chain of command, then they're allowed to operate along those se certifications. while expired, there's a risk for each one of them and to your point, and to the point of the gao has thoughtfully put out here is the trend of the number that we're asking for waivers is increasing at an alarming rate.
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one in which ought to give us all pause with how hard we're driving the fleet and delayed maintenance and additional missions they've been asked to perform are making it more difficult to get the ship and the command which is called the training group in japan in westback on board the ship to do the certification at the right time before it expires. it's not an indication necessarily that they're not qualified to do those missions or those certifications. >> and what is the role of the training group? and what certifications? >> i'll let admiral boxel do it. direct comes with the group. >> it's how we, the senior sailors usually enlisted level who go out and experts in each area of the specialties, the 21, 22 mission areas that the go
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mentiao mentioned. they need time to go do that, so these sailors will go out and observe operations. there's a series and for each one of those certifications, you know, zero might be making sure the training is there. step one might be make sure that the team knows how to do a basic assessment. if they don't meet those phases, they do not get the certification. >> and what would be their professional skills and training? >> so they're usually assigned atg, afloat training group. they're the best of the fleet. one may be for deck or a porter master for navigation or electrician for engineering. those types of sailors.
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>> these are extraordinarily important people. are they fully staffed to perform their duties? >> the answer is they're not fully staffed. there's two float training group areas. one in japan and the two together work together help ships to meet their qualifications. we have put a lot of money into buying the manpower, buying the people we need to get those. we've increased from 120 up to 180. unfortunately, they're only managed, not quite that level. actually, they're missing about 30 to 40 folks on that team due to the fact it takes many years to generate an e-7 or e-8 senior enlisted specialist and priority to specialists and then out to the apgs. >> as i understand it, they have 22 areas of certification.
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again, sufficient personnel with skills to really determine the level of certification. >> in a perfect planning world, we would. if we had the time to do it, we would but the reality we're seeing because of these compr s compressed timelines, they have to train in smaller and smaller periods meaning we have to send the evaluators. >> in line with that, is it normal to have a single mission area certification waived prior to deployment? >> so we use the term, we create this risk area, mitigation plan. before a certification goes out, because of all of these challenges, the time to do it. sometimes, there's a specific piece of equipment, sometimes it's an exercise that can't get done. and so those ramps have to be
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put in place for every certification. they're put in place by the commanding officer of the ship through the commander and back to the surface force commander and reviewed as the operational chain of command. >> is this the same standard that's used in norfolk? >> the difference in norfolk is that ships from the mainland united states and east and west coast work up with an aircraft carrier and the answer is no. they work a plan that gives a 36 month period to get those qualifications done but it's a very regimented piece. all the ships come out and go into a training period. for about 6 months, basic, intermediate and advanced and then they start the sierk l aga again. >> the number of waivers being provided say, per ship, when does it become dangerous for
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personnel to be serving on that particular ship? >> sir, i think that's exactly one of the things we're going to look very closely at in the comprehensive reviews. those ships forward in yukuska are closer to the operational areas that we deploy ships to. so the trade-off of where is the operational risk too great is exactly something that the fleet commander's interest is focused on today and we're looking at the comprehensive review to make a permanent process change. >> and who in the chain of navy command grants the waivers? >> in the chain of command for a risk area of mitigation plan is the, all of those plans are approved by the surface force commander. the man equipped person and they review all of those to ensure they can do everything they can to make the ship meet what it can do given the constraints of
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time and exercise or the equipment that's not available to help them achieve the certification. >> finally, was the navy leadership aware of the forward deployed ships, certifications being to the fleet on this one. admiral davidson will get to this as the united states fleet forces commander. this is an area we have to get to the bottom of. where is the right amount of risk given our overfocus on trying to achieve the mission. >> thank you very much. i now will -- i refer to the ranking member of guam. and of course, the american people are so appreciative of the very patriotic, dedicated citizens of that very vital american territory. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i want to take this opportunity to thank the military for providing the great security that they did for guam during this exchange with north
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korea. so thank you very much. it is definitely apparent that training and certification issues have been building for years within the forward deployed fleet. i have this question for both admiral moran and boxall. i am concerned there is a critical deficiency in the feedback loop. are ship captains voicing their concerns regarding the readiness of their crews and the condition of their ships? if they are voicing those concerns, who is assuming that risk? and do you feel they have an adequate understanding of the risks they are assuming and how that impacts the sailors that are forward deployed? i'll start with you. mr. moran. >> it's a great question. first of all, the -- it is the obligation of any commanding officer to voice concerns if they have them with respect to
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the responsibility that they have, the obligations they have to protect the safety and well-being of their crew. it is not unusual for a c.o. to express their concerns when there are manning issues, training issues, resourcing issues. those conversations happen on the waterfront all the time. what has i think happened here, though, to chairman whitman's point is that we have allowed our standards of the numbers of certifications to grow -- our standards to drop as the number of certification waivers have grown, while not against the rules, they are below the standard that we should accept. and to admiral boxall's point, these are the kinds of thing that the admiral davidson will undertake to look at. where is the acceptable standard for the number of certifications and then how are those concerns
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by commanding officers being transmitted up the chain of command and what are they doing in response. once the commander's senior approves the waiver, they are, in a sense, accepting that risk. they are allowing the ship to move with a greater number of waivers and a number of expired certifications. and so, the responsibility of our fleet commanders and our commanders in the operational environment is to wake up every day, assess the environment and assess the risk that they are taking from unit to unit across the waterfront. and so i think we've got a lot of learning to do on that front, to your very good question. >> well, thank you, admiral. i think what i really would like to know, have these captains or commanders ever come to you with risks? is there a list somewhere? or have they never said anything? >> that's what i would like to know. >> are you talking specifically fitzgerald and mccain?
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>> yes. >> yes. so that's -- >> or any ship for that matter, but especially. so you have never received any complaints or -- >> at our level we would not necessarily receive direct from a commanding officer. there is a chain of command that runs through the operational chain to the surface force commander. it would come to us if it were something they needed additional resourcing that they couldn't provide for themselves. >> i understand the protocol that the commanders should do this. are they doing it? or are they avoiding some of these things. >> i think as admiral boxall described they are following the process that requires the chain of command to get involved and the steps to mitigate any certification that's about to expire. they are all taking on the -- that risk by mitigating it with very specific steps that are outlined that they have to follow through on. >> admiral boxall, have you -- do you have a list of some of
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these risks? >> i can give you an example of the type of -- the mitigations that are in place. for example, as i described to chairman wilson the individual steps that it takes. they may have four or five steps in a process of one particular qual. they may need to go out, for a seamanship they've achieved the basic, second part. they get to the point where they meet something they didn't have an opportunity to moor to a buoy. so they say, the risk of that is probably not an issue so it's been addressed operationally by the commander. to your question whether or not the cos will tell us. when train them to do that. we go through a lot of workups with our command put our cos in a bad position to ensure they have to tell leadership when
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they don't feel they can meet the demands. that's what we train them to do. the question -- if they're going to do an operational mission, our sailors are kind of conflicted because they want to do that mission. and so the question is, do they feel it? do they want to do that mission? do they feel -- that's something i think the comprehensive review will get to. do we have systems in place that accurately measure the risk, independently, and the operational fleet commander ensures that due diligence has been done to the level of risk for the level of operation that they will be doing. and that's what i think we're getting to. >> thank you. i feel that, you know, if maintenance and training and all of this is lacking, the commanders -- the captains of these ships should be, you know, letting everyone know about it, and certainly maybe we wouldn't be in this fix. the other question i have is admiral moran, the need to grow the size of the fleet has often
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been a point raised when we talk about the navy readiness. however, the navy's proposal to grow to 355 ships would take decades to be realized, which means we have to make do with the size of the fleet that we have in the near term. with that in mind what near and mid-term measures are being considered with respect to now we crew, train and maintain the ships that we have today to rebuild and sustain readiness? how will the navy prioritize missions or in some cases turn down missions so we don't put sailors at risk by running the fleet ragged without being properly trained and maintained? >> yes. it's a key question for admiral davidson's team is to assess how much operational tempo in places like japan, bahrain where we have four deployed forces is --
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reaches a point where we can't do the maintenance and the training and have the appropriate amount of time left to do the operations. on four deployed forces -- afford deployed forces like in japan the training is done while you are at sea operating on deployment for the most part. there is not dedicated time, as the gao pointed out like we have back here. that's an issue that both chairmen have raised as a serious point that we have to study to make sure that, when we build the model for how we maintain and operate ships in the forward deployed naval forces, we have sufficient time to do those things. the size of the force, of course, as i testified last february and march, does matter. but wholeness of the force matters just as much. because you could have a large force that is not whole, and you're going to run into these problems. if maintenance takes longer, it
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disrupts the schedule. if the schedule is disrupted it disrupts the ability to train. if training is disrupted you end up in these places you've described with expired certifications and so on. we do have to look at this model from the ground up. but we also recognize part of the reason why we have the forces is because we get four times the presence with those forces than we would if we had them all in conus. the fact that we have one carrier in iakuska gives us roughly equal to 16 carriers when we only operate 10. that's a big difference. having four destroyers in rhoda, spain, operating off bmd stations is -- was the principle reason we wanted to put the forces forward was to get more out of those ships and not have to rotate as many from conus to
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do those missions. all these things culminate with the notion that we aren't big enough to do everything we're being tasked to do. and our culture is, we're going to get it done because that's what the navy is all about. and sometimes our culture works against us. and i think we ask the sailors to do an awful lot, to your earlier point. perhaps we've asked them to do too much. that's what the comprehensive review will look at. >> thank you. i have one, quick, final question for any one of you who want to answer, would you say sequestration might have had something to do with the lack of maintenance and the training and so forth? funding not being there? >> i am on record, ma'am, that that is absolutely the case. that along with nine consecutive, continuing resolutions, and we are about to hit another one. those budget uncertainties drive
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uncertainty into schedules, drive uncertainty into maintenance. our private yards, our public yards. this is an issue across the board. so the most useful thing we could have out of congress right now in terms of addressing a lot of our readiness concerns is stability in the budget. >> thank you. and i am looking forward to the report, and i do want to say i had a nice conversation with rachel before the hearing today. she is one brave woman. thank you, rachel, for being here with us. i yield back. >> thank you, ranking member bordello. we proceed to chairman richardson. >> thank you for coming before us today, thank you for your service, candor and frankness. it's critical for us to get to the bottom of this. in terms of the material and training readiness hof our ship
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home ported in japan versus the ships home ported in the united states is there a difference in levels of readiness in terms of which group of ships are more ready than another? >> the information we have in the 2015 report that we were not able to update shows trends -- the navy calls them equipment casualties. it's broken stuff. had basically been upward for both u.s. based and overseas based ships. the overseas based ships' casualty reports were -- again, that's equipment -- was more steeply upward. we weren't able to update that trend line since then. so i can't answer since 2014 when our data ended. >> the recent data, lower state of readiness for forward deployed versus those in the united states? >> we saw a more steep increase in breakdowns for the overseas based ships. >> admiral moran do you agree
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with the assessment? >> i do. mr. chairman, there is -- i think this speaks to what you -- what you raised earlier in terms of the -- if we're not rotating those ships back, the older they get, the more care they're going to need. and that might be an indication, as part of what we're looking at in the comprehensive review is the extended periods having a detrimental effect on their material condition the longer they go. is the ship's force, maintenance force in japan, have enough capacity to deal with the increased numbers we have put in fdnf japan the last three years. >> following up on that. in order to maintain overseas presence, will the navy increase or decrease forward deployed forces japan and elsewhere? >> i think we have all taken a pause here, for all the right
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reasons, to figure out whether our current plan is the right plan. and we're looking forward to admiral davidson's report in 60 days to let us know whether we need to make adjustments to that plan. >> was the plan prior to this to increase or decrease that in the future? >> the current plan -- we just completed the third ddg ship in japan that was added to that force. i am not iaware of additional ones. >> as we bring in lcs in station and rotate them forward will increase the presence. that's with the existing strategic lay-down plan. we'll look at that as part of the review. how we do that is -- a double-edged sword. it's harder and more expensive to maintain but we need ships forward to be there especially given the number of ships we have. >> mr. pendleton, from a financial perspective is it more cost effective to home port ships to the united states or to
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forward deploy the ships? >> it's a hard question to answer. if you look at it on the margin, it's marginally a little more expensive to have ships overseas. we did analysis to show that. i would caution against the rule of thumb not to differ with admiral moran because i have heard it many times that you get four times more presence. that's true from a four ship structure. but that's mainly because of the way they are deployed. essentially, the -- the u.s. based -- ofrp model. optimized fleet response plan model has them going out seven months out of every 36. fdnf ships are scheduled 16 months off ut every 24. there is a graph in the report that describes this. that's difficult to quantify the impact of that, sir. >> very good. thank you, mr. pendleton. admiral moran, do you agree that, if we had more ships in our navy fleet, we could spread the workload more evenly, we wouldn't be pushed up against
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the demands and stresses that happen when you have ships forward deployed for more than the planned number of years, extended maintenance periods, truncated training periods? give me your perspective about how the number of ships we have today -- let me put it in perspective. if you go back to the 1980s when we had a navy of 600 ships. we had 100 ships forward deployed. today we have 277 ships and we have 100 ships forward deployed. give me your perspective about the size of the fleet in relation to where we are today with forward deployed naval worses. >> you just gave the answer for me, chairman. i mean, that math is pretty hard to argue with. and while mr. pendleton and i have had this discussion, you can argue over the factors, you know, it's four times or three times, but the fact is, even with that, those ships are a lot
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closer to where we might have to fight by being there. that's a value you can't put a times anything on. it's clearly -- and the message that sends to our allies and partners in the region is vitally important. that said, i think you made the point about, if we are still operating 100 ships deployed today at a force that's 40-plus percent smaller than it was in the 1980s, it's actually -- '80s and '90s. it is going to be a bigger stressor on that force. >> the admiral makes a great point. it's important to emphasize that the navy doesn't create the demands. the navy responds to the demands. they are being asked by the combatant commanders and department of defense to fulfill the demands. it's important to make that distinction. >> very good.
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>> admiral boxall. in order to get ships ready today to deploy, you spoke earlier about what they do for material readiness and what we see is them to going to other ships, can ballizing parts to get things to maintain the readiness. is that a systemic problem and is the root cause sufficient money to procure new parts or stocks of parts to make sure you have them on hand to keep up with routine maintenance or expected problems with wearing of parts and wearing of systems? >> sir, the can banibalization parts off ships is something we try to avoid but there are many reasons to do it. sometimes it's the availability of the part. sometimes it's the -- even when we have the money to buy the parts, we have had a lot of money restored in the last year, especially the 17 raa, but it takes time to go buy the part.
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some of these are made by very unique vendors, so there are pent up spare parts radness challenges out there. we are seeing some cannibalization increases. we're seeing an increase in c-2, c-3. c-2 is where it becomes an operational attention getter and c-3 means there is a maintenance issue we need to get to quickly. one reason for that is the actual material readiness is degrading and we need to bring it to the leader's attention. the other reason is, in places where we are having a difficult time getting work done to repair them, the commanders are trying to boost the priority of the jobs to get them in because it's the best way they know now. that's a signal to us saying we have to get it report. we don't want commanding officers -- we challenge them
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with telling us when things are wrong. when they do, they send the flare and we expect them to do it. if they're doing it because that's the only way they can get the response that's a different issues. >> i yield back. >> thank you, chairman wittman. we proceed to ranking mem joe courtney. >> thank you, mr. chairman. one thing that might be helpful is walk through the investigative and reporting process, what it will look like over the next, you know, 60 to 90 to 120 days. >> yes, sir. >> in terms of the various efforts that are under way. >> so immediately after both collisions, any mishap, we stand up an investigative team. in the case of these two collisions in japan we put a dual purpose investigation
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together that includes the normal safety investigation and the jag man investigation. those are privileged investigations. we do not share that information publicly so we can protect folks from being very open with us and giving us as much information as possible to determine the root cause. so those investigations are stood up immediately upon -- by the convening authority. the convening authority for fitzgerald was the commander of the seventh fleet. the convening authority for mccain was admiral swift because of the other investigation going on and because we relieved the seventh fleet commander in the interim. so those investigative officers are usually, in this case, are both flag officers. they take a team to the site, to where the collision occurred or where the in this case both ships were brought back to appear. and they go through every aspect
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of an investigation. it's a checklist of things you do. we added cyber to that checklist because of obvious concerns with the fact that everything we operate has a cyber component to it. networks, gear, radios, everything. and so we want to make sure we understand that that is not -- we want to eliminate that as a potential causal factor to a mishap. those investigations can take a week, two, three weeks, and a report is then passed to the convening authority. the investigation is not complete at that point. that convening authority then gets to endorse the report, ask additional questions, go review the following things. i am not satisfied with x, y or z. the investigating officer has to go back, look at those things and provide an addendum to the report. and then when commander of seventh fleet is complete with his endorsement it gets passed
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to pac fleet. in the case of fitzgerald, that's where the current report and investigation reside, with admiral swift. he then has a responsibility to look at the report for completeness, and any findings of fact that he is unsatisfied with and wants further investigation, he can direct it in that endorsement. ultimately it comes to me. both -- both of those investigations. so a lot of people think that once the investigating officer has submitted a report, the investigation is done, we should share that information. but i appreciate the opportunity to explain that the endorsement process is still part of the investigation because we could ask for additional investigations. so that's on the investigation side. that's the very tactical level. what happened to that ship. what caused that particular incident. the comprehensive review that we directed, admiral davidson's standup, 60 days to look at all the manned, trained and
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equipment. with specific focus on japan because of the four mishaps that have occurred in the last year out there. to look for things like career path management. are we doing the right training. is the model for how we employ forces in fdnf the right model. is the maintenance model the right model. all the things we've already talked about in this hearing. above that level, the secretary is doing a strategic readiness review where he'll look across the department at things that are policy related, resourcing related. are we making the right choices, do we need more guidance. it will be a nice complement to the comprehensive review because it will look above where admiral davidson is looking. we will get a strategic operational and tactical understanding of what has occurred, why it occurred, and then what are the things we'll do to fix those issues. does that help? >> it is. thank you. i think it's important just for the public and obviously the
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families to understand, again, the different steps and i am sure, you know, the committees will be following it in terms of asking questions. in your written testimony, which i know you summarized, and we appreciate that, you did make, i thought, a very powerful statement, which is as follows. no matter how tough our operating environment or how strained our budget we shouldn't and cannot be colliding with other ships and running aground. this is not about resourcing. it's about safety and it's about leadership at sea. again, just to go back to the process we're in right now. that's really with the 60-day comprehensive report is aimed at in terms of just, you know, why is this a recurring event in this particular area of the world. is that right? >> yes, sir. i would also compliment gao in this regard. i think they offer a pretty nice blue print for some of the things we need to look at in
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terms of trends. what are the macro trends, what do they imply about the force readiness in fdnf japan and across the fleet. we'll get at some of those as well inside the comprehensive review. it is -- a key part of it is do we have the rate training in place for our commanding officers? are they getting enough of what they should have to operate in waters that have become highly congested and contested in that region. and it's a lot busier than it was just eight years ago. so we need to review that, and we need to review the training and the career paths for our officers, junior officers and make sure that we understand that we have the right manning models in place, and gao calls this out in their report about how we establish the work week and how do we respond to the manning profiles for those ships. >> thank you. again, i think to sort of follow up on what gao was asking for
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over the last couple of years as well. one sort of footnote. i was wondering what you would think about this in terms of that statement which is that it is about leadership at sea but it's also about leadership i think ashore as well in terms of just the way, you know, decisions are being made. and i have to say, going back to the blough report which i assume most of the witnesses are familiar with. that was a key critique that admiral blough had. that the lines are blurred in terms of some of the issues we're talking about today. ultimately we're trying to figure out who decides. when you have the certification issues that mr. pendleton described, you know, who -- who calls, you know, time-out and just says, you know, no, that -- as persistent as the impacombat commander's requests are, where does it reach the point when someone says, that's just not going to be deployed because
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it's not safe and it's not ready? so i am assuming that that's also part of the comprehensive review. >> i believe the secretary will look at that in the strategic review as well. for organizational c-2. command and control. who is responsible precisely for readiness and man, train and equip and operational demand in the pacific fleet. and how does that get balanced against the larger fleet that admiral davidson is managing out of fleet forces. >> even today i have been a little confused about who is the -- the decision-maker. is it the operational commander, is it the forces demander. i think, again. admiral blough really, i think, nailed that pretty well in terms of just not being an issue that's got to be cleaned up. mr. pendleton, you described the trend of the increasing lack of
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certifications which was kind of a top line in terms of the number of ships that are out there. can you give us more specific information regarding the fitzgerald and mccain, to what extent did they lack certifications? >> i would rather defer specific questions about the fitzgerald and mccain. they did have missing certifications, as did most ships. i would like to talk about the key warfare mission areas and give the add millers a chance to comment on the ongoing investigations i am uneasy about. certification of 8 of the 11 in the ships in japan were expired. others had fairly significant expirations, seven of 11 ships for fire support, service warfare. undersea warfare, 8 of 11 ships had expired certifications. some were several months overdue. when we looked at the -- some of the basic certifications, things
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you have to do to -- keep track of maintenance. communication, those kinds of things. those things weren't great but they were better. seamanship stood out as a problem area. into the warfare mission areas, i presume those are more complicated certifications to obtain, honestly. i haven't been able to talk to them about it. those had higher percentage of ships that had expired certifications. >> thank you. again, i am sure the -- my question is going to be asked at some point in this process. >> yes. >> frankly, it's a question that needs to be fleshed out. >> yes, sir. >> thank you. yield back. >> thank you, ranking member courtney. truly an indication of how important this hearing is. our love and affection for the 17 sailors that we have lost and others who were injured. we've been joined today and now turn to the full chairman of the
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armed services committee, mike thornberry. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for being here. i just want to say i really appreciate the work of gao as well as the work of these committee members and our staff on these issues. the leadership of the department in the last administration denied we had a readiness problem. they said we were just making it up. and i appreciate the persistence, members on both sides of the aisle, in getting the facts. certainly gao has helped with that. admiral moran, i very much appreciate you and admiral richardson's commitment to get to the bottom of this matter. i looked a little earlier at your testimony from earlier in the year, and you highlighted the stresses and strains on the force that, based on the operational tempo, et cetera. you also testified that you thought that the deployed fleet was in pretty good shape, the
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ships here in the united states were really suffering. based on what you know today, would you revise that assessment? >> mr. chairman, so i promised i would be frank and i will be. i personally made the assumption -- have made the assumption for many years that our forward deployed naval force in japan was the most efficient, most well trained force we had because they're operating all the time. i made the assumption. it was a wrong assumption in hindsight. so, obviously at this point i would tell you that what we have sent from conus to deploy, i would maintain my position in the hearing last february. clearly, because the models are different, and because the strain on the force in japan is so evident to us today, we're
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going to have to get after that question. i don't know precisely. and i -- you know, i am also very anxious to remind the committee that the committees, that we have to get to the root cause of both mishaps before we can make a determination. but the trends that the gao has pointed out, the trends that we are seeing in our reporting stats, are concerning. they do demonstrate a fraying of the readiness on the edges that we need to address. >> yeah. i would just comment. i don't think we can look at this too narrowly. this is looking at the surface fleet, but we know we cannibalize submarines, we have these problems in a variety of other -- other services have it too, by the way. which is a more widespread problem. we talk about the stresses and strains on the people. how come the navy has not asked for more people?
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increase instream? >> man power, as you know. three years as a chief of naval personnel. i have dealt a lot with man power issues. it requires you to project two years ahead to know if you're get to go the right numbers. i don't want to bring this back to uncertainty in budgeting and resourcing, but it impacts our ability to assess the right number of people when we can't predict or project that we're going to be in two years. so it has an impact. we are always trying to catch up with manpower. i think that's part of what admiral boxall described. in the training group, we bought the billets. it takes time to fill them because it takes time to find the experienced folks to operate them and understand the challenges in building and
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attaining certifications. so manpower is a bit more challenging to get precise. and, as you know well, manpower also costs an extraordinary amount of money so we're always trying to dial it right. we are not getting it exactly right but we're doing the best we can with the inability to project precisely where we would like to be in two years. >> if you're going to be frank, you have to be frank with us and tell us where we complicate your lives. with crs and the budget control act. you did that earlier. and i appreciate it. don't hesitate to say where we're deficient. let me ask this. it goes right back to something mr. courtney was talking about. seems to me the hard issue is -- and you talked about it for a commander and a ship saying, okay, i've got these problems. i have to ask for a waiver. i have a risk mitigation plan. you and mr. courtney talked about it a little bigger.
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but what i -- what's going through my mind is when do you and admiral richardson basically say to the secretary of defense or the president, we cannot do what you expect us to do? and to us. >> you said earlier the culture works against us. it's true in every service. you salute and say, you give us a mission, we'll do it. i don't know. if you have any comments on this. what's going through my mind is, when does a service chief or vice chief say, we cannot do what you expect us to do with what you have given us? >> sir. there is one very good example of where we have done that in the past few years. you will recall where we got carrier presence in the gulf, for several months. we have done that twice. and that was a recognition that we were going to overstress the force and were not able -- we were concerned about sticking to
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our plan in optimized fleet response plan which was seven-month deployment. we wanted to get there and we wanted to maintain that. the world gets a vote. a lot of pressure came up. we argued why we thought we needed to stick to those deployments. the joint force accepted those gaps. it was painful. it was a difficult message to send to the region. it was necessary to be able to continue to try to reset the navy. >> we're going to stay after this. i yield back. >> thank you mr. thornberry. we proceed to congresswoman susan davis of california. >> thank you. i thank all the chairs up here today who have provided a lot of good leadership of walking us through these issues. thank you to all of you for
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being here. rachel eckels. thank you for being here on behalf of 17 shattered navy families who are grieving today. we appreciate that. and helps us to think about your son as well. i know that we have been talking a lot about all the problems that have been encountered, how tragic they are. one of the things i wanted to ask quickly was really about the heroism that was demonstrated on the ships as well. and i know, in having read almost that minute by minute account of what happened on the fitzgerald that there were specifically two sailors who were mentioned repeatedly for their heroism. are they up for awards? have those been submitted for recognition? what are we doing to really acknowledge the heroism as well. >> i appreciate you asking that question. they're -- there is a difference
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between heroic and valorous. people are often confused by that. and you are not. i appreciate the fact that the question revolves around our sailors who operated that night, some who lost their lives, who gave their lives for others. it is -- it is the command's responsibility to initiate the recommendation for awards, in any circumstance. so, as you might imagine, right now their focus might be elsewhere. we will get to those. and when they come forward, we'll do the appropriate recognition that comes from those recommendations. in addition to that, though, i think you also know that we posthumously advanced all 17 sailors to the next pay grade. in recognition of who they could have been. so, thank you for the question. >> sure. thank you. i wonder as well, we have been talking about whether or not the
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forward deployed model is sustainable. and the fact that it is used so much. i wonder, as your -- have looked at a whole host of different areas, if you are feeling comfortable yet kind of ordering those in terms of priority. is it the training for sure that has to be different? one of the things that i -- we recall reading with this is, i guess at one time it sounds like the initial training, sort of the foundational training, if you will, was much longer. and so that our sailors really, you know, were intimate in many ways with the apparatus, with everything that they are asked to do differently. and i -- maybe you can speak to that. people who know how to build computers obviously can respond
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to the needs of a computer a lot faster than those of us who just, you know, use it to get our job done. and so, is that true? is there a real difference in the time that's spent helping to familiarize our sailors with the ship, with what they work with? and on the other hand, then, it's driving under -- under, you know, sub -- sub, you know, decent conditions that they also have to be aware of. >> yes, ma'am. >> where does that fit? >> as we look -- we are continually modifying our training methodologies, new technologies. i since you heard since the report we had taken a lot of our initial training away for our new commissioned officers. we used to have, up at service
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warfare officer school in newport a very long 16-week course. since that time we've restored 15 of the 16 weeks in either predivision officer training when they first graduate and another five, six-week period afterwards. we have restored a lot of that. we have got a lot of the same pqs -- personnel qualification standards that we require every person on every ship to go through. i believe we should be open to looking at all this as part of the comprehensive review. admiral davidson is a surface warfare officer himself. we have focused on handling. we want to handle them close to a pier, where we need to be. we put a lot of money and time into bridge resource management. the team piece. the combat and bridge team working together. going forward we'll look and
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say, do we need to do more of that type training, individual training. i don't know the right answer yet. i am open to the fact that we may have it wrong. >> all right. thank you, i believe my time is up. >> thank you. we now proceed to congressman duncan hunter of california. >> thank you to the chairman and ranking members for having the hearing. gentlemen, thank you for being here and your service. i'll get down to brass tacks quickly. you had seven bmd ships forward deployed. you lost two. what are you going to do in the meantime for the -- for those two? what's going to fill the gap while they are getting repaired? >> admiral swift has moved ship deployments and ships around within pacific fleet, which is our largest contingent of naval power. i can't talk about who and what and when, for obvious reasons. he has what he needs to replace
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the bmd capability that he thinks he needs to have at this crucial stage. >> we know you had seven. seven minus two equals five. are you planning on going back to seven? >> are we replacing the capability we need to do the operations we have been tasked to. the answer is yes. >> are you going back to seven ships. >> the seven ships will be -- yes, sir. we'll stay with seven ships. >> okay. you'll have seven ships there. >> seven ships, some are in maintenance and some are -- they're not always all at sea. so we're able to move some of those around to accommodate admiral swift's demand signal. >> you'll be replacing those two ships -- you'll be replacing the capability of those two ships. you'll have the same capability you had beforehand. >> yes. >> how long does that take, until that capability gap is filled? >> i don't have a specific date.
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i can get back to you on that. >> next, i have been seeing some articles that said that surface warfare officer training was canceled. i haven't gotten to the veracity of this. it used to be a six or seven-month slow school. there is not. now it's dvds and on-the-job training. is that correct or no? >> it is true at one point. back in 2003 we initiated what we call computer based training. that lasted about five years. six years. and then it was -- it was removed as a bad idea. for all the reasons, it still sounds like a bad idea. >> we have a virtual trainer in san diego for one of the lcs variants i went to four or five years ago. it's like basically being in a -- like an f-35 trainer but it's the ocean, and the whole bridge. is that what you call computer training? >> absolutely not. the computer-based training i am speaking of are -- think powerpoints on the cd. that's what was given to them
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because we took away the school. we said go to the ships. do all your training there. as i mentioned to miss davis we've restored almost all of that timing. we do it in the fleet concentration centers instead of in newport right now at the division officer level and all other training is similar. you bring up a great point. our training for lcs that we do in san diego and mayport we'll be doing -- is the best there exists that i have seen in surface warfare. i believe we'll look forward to, as part of this review, looking at where we can better use -- and we already do use -- >> let me interject. there are two things. one is called the immersive virtual ship environment, right. that's the lcs trainer that we were -- where you're on the actual barrage. there is a live virtual constructive training which is like an xbox game. you can have the ship blow up in places and do things and see the
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outcomes and effect the outcomes with an xbox controller. my point is, after you say it's great, the navy has only fulfilled 40% of that contract. that's a semi parochial thing because it's in san diego. i would think you would have these virtual trainers for every bridge and deck because they're so inexpensive. so much easier to train the guys and have them fall in immediately as opposed to on the deck training. >> we use it for advanced training when we integrate ships, submarines -- we don't want to know if it's live or not. for the specific technologies, we already have that in other areas, not just lcs. i do believe that we are getting some economy with it in that we are getting better quality fidelity training and are doing it at a better price. if you go back and look at the folks -- the same trainers that criticized computer based training, the same types of
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folks who are leading this other virtual training that we are doing, are like, this is the best of both worlds. very happy with that. >> i appreciate that. one last thing. i think we -- max said -- the chairman said he didn't want to get too narrow on this. i think there are a lot of things we're blaming from forward deployed model. fleet size, maintenance schedule. this wasn't a complex -- like a suppression of enemy air defense or something crazy. these are ships hitting other ships and running aground. it's easy to obfuscate and say there are all these other problems but not seeing the ship with your binoculars out the window. >> now to don norcross of new jersey. >> thank you, chairman. and very humbling day, when we go to review something like
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this. but, having been on a job three times in my lifetime when somebody was killed, it immediately took me back to the thoughts that people -- that i worked with, immediately reviewed what it is that they are doing and how can they prevent something from happening. so there was the first collision with the fishing trawler. then there was the fitzgerald when seven people were killed. and i would think that every commanding officer on every ship would immediately look to see how they are performing so it didn't happen to them. and then the mccain happened. so i ask you, what's preventing the next one from happening? what is being done different today that was being done different from before the mccain accident and before the
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fitzgerald? >> sir, it's a very appropriate question that, as you -- i think you are aware, we conducted an operational pause around the entire fleet. >> mm-hmm. >> sudden operational pause is not something we take lightly. this happens in every region on the globe where we've got ships operating. and those that tied up at the pier back home. it's an opportunity for commanding officers to do just what you said, to also review what they -- lessons learned from other similar mishaps so that we give them a chance to decide is our training where we need it to be, are our standards as high as they should be. what do we need to do as a team to operate better as a team. because driving ships around is incredibly team oriented. and that's one of the things we are looking closely at, at both of these investigations. >> the pause happened after the mccain, correct?
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>> yes, it did. >> why didn't that happen after the first collision? second collision. >> sir, it should have. >> as individual cos on the ships, wouldn't they go through a self-evaluation almost immediately to say, what am i doing and how do i prevent before somebody has to tell me that? >> absolutely. >> do you know if that happened on the mccain? >> i do not know exactly. we are waiting on the results of the operational pause. we asked every fleet commander to provide input back on what did they learn from that operational pause. talked about these things, who -- who actually took some action, what kind of additional training. the commander of surface warfare sent out additional types of training for every commanding officer to use in that, with their respective crews. but i do not have a list for you. i am not sure if admiral boxall
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does. >> no. >> we'll get you one when we have it. >> finally, what is happening today differently other than the operational pause? is there anything during the operation that you have sent out to all the commanders to say you need to do this immediately? >> yes, sir. so admiral swift has already initiated several steps, several actions. to include a zero based review of the material condition of every ship in fdnf to find out where they have issues both in the physical plant but also perhaps with training and certification. they're going to zero base certifications and make sure all of those get recertified across the force in fdnf and then expand it into the entire pac fleet. he is doing a zero based review of the atg manning. float training group. that's the group that goes out to the ships as an independent
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team to look at whether that crew is operating to our standards. and so he is going to probably ask for more resources for all of those things. >> has any of this immediate review, in turn, caused any ship to be returned home? or to cease operating because they were in such violation? >> not to my knowledge. >> thank you. i yield back my time. >> thank you very much, congressman nor cross. now to congresswoman vicky housler. >> i, like many others here, heard the news of the first accident, and i was just -- i couldn't believe it. how can this happen. then to have it happen a second time, it's both disheartening and disturbing at the same time. and i wanted to follow up with some of the things -- line of questioning of my colleague mr.
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norcross and ask, what are we doing now. one thing you said. we knew there was a pause. but did you say you haven't gotten the results of the pause yet, where we had the "uss fitzgerald" in june had the accident. you haven't received that yet? >> the operational pause, ma'am, was taken after the mccain, not after fitzgerald. >> okay. but you haven't received those results? >> no, ma'am. not all of them. >> i want to talk about the number of hours. mr. pendleton, you touched on that. how much are sailors expected to work right now? is over 100 hours out of line for that? how do you think the navy should address this? >> i will defer to the admirals to talk about how much they're working now. in 2014 a naval internal study kae indicated the average was
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working 108 hours a week. they had 60 off. that's about 15 and a half hours a day. the standard work week, which is founded on a 70-hour base work week and ultimately when they add other duties is 81, it's fairly grueling in and of itself. if the navy was to the standard it has, the sailor would have 81 hours off and roughly -- excuse me, 81 hours on and 87 off. just over 11 hours a day is what is sort of programmed in. >> admiral moran, is that something you all are striving to get to? those type of numbers? >> we are examining that. we have an organization in tennessee that is used to go look at all sea duty to determine what the right work week levels ought to be. we have done this for decades. we have been pretty consistent with it. but i think, based on the trend lines we are seeing in fdnf that
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we referred to earlier it's time to look at whether the maintenance backload the workload going on in japan today by sailors on the waterfront is reaching a point where that work week needs to be modified. >> what about -- when i first heard about this, i had the thought that maybe it was cyber. now, i have read some reports saying that perhaps that has been ruled out. but you did mention that you have been in this study and in the review they'll make sure it's eliminated. what can you tell us about that? how do you go about eliminating that somebody took over your systems? >> it's relatively new ground for us. this is the first time we have sent a team from our cyber command here in washington, commander of tenth fleet. sent a team over there to pull as much data from that ship as possible that records data, to see if there were any interruptions or disruptions that were abnormal.
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i would also offer to you that just about every three-letter agency in washington, d.c., has looked to see if there were indications of an intent or a potential acknowledgement of a cyber attack. we have seen -- i have personally not seen any evidence of that. but we are not stopping there. the team is in place in singapore today. has been for several days. capturing all of the computer and network information to see if they can find any abnormalities or disruptions. >> i am glad to hear that. in some ways it would be easier if you could blame somebody else. rather than taking a hard look at maybe it's just that we need more training and it's our own policies and procedures that need to be addressed. the last thing is that, you know, i take very serious, as all the other fellow members, of appointing our young men and women to your service academies. the naval academy is exemplary.
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it's always a sobering and inspiring as well event when i have the parents and young men and women come who are going to have this opportunity. it's sobering to the fact that i look into the eyes of those parents and while they're very proud, many times i see a little bit of fear in the back too. what's going to happen to my son or daughter. this is a tough question, but admiral. on a scale of one to ten with ten being 100% confident that when we send this young man or woman out to sea that they'll have the resources they need to come home safe not from an enemy but from our own equipment and readiness. how confident are you that you would tell me so i can go home to my parents and look them in the eye and say, they're going to be okay? >> tough question to answer. how i will answer it is that i have incredible confidence in this team to learn from this and to get it right.
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i would share that with any person who has a son or daughter who is considering the naval academy or enlisted in the service. we are not perfect. but we need to strive to be that. and that's part of what this review is all about. to make sure we understand what went wrong and fix those things to the best of our ability, to regain the confidence of not only our parents and their families but our sailors as well. >> absolutely. they deserve that. we all stand ready to partner with you to do whatever we need to do to get this right so our sailors come home safe. thank you. >> thank you congress woman. we proceed to congresswoman senabusa. >> thank you. admiral moran, one of the things that you said is troubling to
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me. as you know, the gao report in 2015 had a certification -- looked at about 22 areas. 11 were found to be, i guess, 2. 11 were found to be, i guess, expired. and the one that seems to be appropriate for what happened is the mobility seamen ship where eight certification out of 11 has expired for 73%. what i'm curious about is we have to look at these two collisions and they are really with commercial vessels, large commercial vessels. the tanker for mccain and then of course the container ship for the fitzgerald. i'm curious as to whether part of the training that they receive, and you said it yourself in your testimony, it is very congested in these areas
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there were two years ago, just the amount of traffic. and we all know the asia pacific area has just grown and the amount of commercial traffic we're dealing with is different and it is sort of the tension between commercial plus military, and i'm pretty sure our ships don't two out and advertise that they're going out. so what is it that is done in terms of the training of our sailors as to how to prepare when they're -- you know, tt not whether you can aim the missile correctly or anything like that, this is different. this is just being like on the freeway. how are you going to manage that? is that something that we have sort of overlooked? we're so busy training them on cyber security and radar and everything else that we miss the fundamental type of issues like how to navigate.
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>> we're asking the same question and i know the admiral is going to look very hard at that on this come presennive review. we have moved from a country road to 395 going south right now in places like the singapore straits and the red sea and other areas where we need to be as a navy. but it is -- i'd offer maybe the admiral could comment on that as well. >> absolutely. the regions has gotten much more difficult to navigate. there is no question. but to your point of we ought to be able to be there all the time. we have -- to your question on the certification specifically, there is two certifications that i think come most to mind when you look at our ability to safely navigate. one is mob-n, mobile navigation
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and the second is mobility seamanship. that looks at mostly deck evolutions, how do you tie up the ship, use boats and things like that. the navigation one is absolutely critical. we have a concept now that focuses on those skill sets and he will let you know that the tier one are less expired than the tier two war fighting. we probably need to look more closely. there might be a tier zero, ones that never go out and these are the types of things that we need to look more closely. i have been in those waters, but i have done it off the singapore strait and i'm shocked at the difference between those two worlds. so we are preparing for a lot of other missions, but if nothing else reminds us of our absolute imperative to get mariner's skills right, we are committed
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100% to doing that and we will whatever it takes and admiral davidson will make that a part of his investigation. >> i guess i'm almost out of time, but how do you prepare for that? it's like learning how to drive, right? you have to be on the road and learning how to do that. there is no replacement for that. so is there an idea how you are going to train your sailors to do that? >> absolutely. my teen driver next month will be able to drive anywhere in the state, not according to his dad. there is the same type of proce process. we have to give them the right tools and someone has to ensure that they meet a standard, not just that officer but the team to keep that team safe. it is not just that radar operator. it is not just the look-out or the person driving the ship. it is the team, the ability to dmun kate that data, to keep situational awareness and keep
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that ship out of danger. we owe nothing else to those sailors. >> thank you. i yield back. >> and thank you, congresswoman. we now proceed to congressman bradley burn of alabama. >> i was listening to you, admiral, about the difficulties presented to you when we pass a continuum resolution. last july, july of this year, the house of representatives passed an appropriations bill. last year in the appropriations bill, we appropriated -- the navy asked an increase this year and we plussed it up another $500 million above your request. so the house of representatives appropriated the money for fiscal year '18 that you need for your readiness. the response we've gotten back today from the united states senate is a 90 day continuing resolution. let me read from your prepared
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testimony and ask you to respond to that in light of your statement. funding at prior year levels through a continuing resolution, not only disrupts the gains, it begins to reburst them. are you telling us that a continuing resolution actually reverses the gains you are attempting to make in readiness for the united states navy? >> what i mean by that, congressman, is that when we cannot put ships on contract and we are on a recovery path and we no longer can stay on that recovery path, we're reverting back to a different plan, a different ramp. >> but that's as a result of a continuing resolution as opposed to actually appropriating? >> yes, sir. that's correct. >> so explain in a little more detail exactly how does a continuing resolution disrupt that or reverse it?
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what is it in your process that causes a problem with. >> well, if you can't put in avoil that you have told the yard they are going to get on contract because there is the limits of our continuing resolution rules do not allow us to put those new contracts in place until we have a budget, then that yard has got to do something with its workforce. and when we do get the money and go back to contract in the next quarter, it's going to be less effort and more expensive because they have had to make adjustments and had to work around. they maybe had to let people go and hire them back. >> so those are some of the impacts in disrupting the yards that are trying their hardest to help the navy get better in terms of eating away at that mountain of backlog maintenance that we all know is out there and they have done a terrific
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job over the last year. and thanks to congress's support in the raa in '17, we were able to put $1.6 billion immediately on contract to bring avails back into '17, which we were planning now to have to defer into '18 only to have them deferred again. that's the disruption i was talking about. he's the guy that pays the money when you appropriate it, so it's important. >> we appreciate what you both do. let me go back to the administration's request for fiscal year '18. the administration asked a construction of nine new ships for fiscal year '18 and the house passed earlier this summer, authorized a construction in our appropriations bill followed this, the construction of 13 ships. so i think listening to your prior answers to mr. whitman's questions, i think you would agree with me it is better for us to be finding the money to
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buy those extra ships than to stick with what was the original request was. >> i would agree we need a larger navy, sir. >> yes. but to get there, we have to spend more money. >> yes, sir, because the trade-offs we're having to make i think are pretty apparent and most of those trade-offs include readiness and manpower. when you buy ships or prioritize ships, those are the trade-offs you have to make inside a limited control on your top line. >> there was a lot of talk about what is your responsibility on all this. congress bears a responsibility in all this. if these accidents tell us anything, it is that we can't wait to build up our fleet. we need to start now. and, so, i was proud to vote for that appropriations bill and our authorization bill earlier this year. i'm disappointed the senate has chosen to send this continuing resolution instead of make an appropriations bill, but i
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believe you can count on the members of this committee continuing to do everything we can to provide you with everything you need not only to defend america but to keep our sailors safe in doing so. thank you. i yield back. >> we now proceed to congressman anthony brown of maryland. >> i, too, believe that congress has a responsibility to fully resource our armed services. in fact, i'll go so far as to adopt and associate myself with the general's comments and i paraphrase that continuing resolutions and i'll add sequestration is comparable to legislative malpractice. i want to thank you for acknowledging and mr. courtney pointed out and i'm reading from your statement this is not about resourcing. it is about safety and leadership at sea. something is wrong. in a few months, two cruisers,
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two destroyers, 17 lives. i represent the fourth congressional district in maryland. three of those 17 young men were marylanders. one of whose mother was here today. something is definitely wrong. in my nine months as a member of the house of armed services committee, i think i have lost count at the number of times that senior leaders from all services have come to this committee and said that we are ready to fight tonight. i don't think that these collisions are consistent with that claim. and regardless of the tempo or the resource come strants. whether you have a 250 or 300 ship fleet, whether the defense budget is $550 or $650 billion,
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we all have a responsibility. and yours is to manage those resources in a way where readiness is not exclusive or mutually exclusive with safety. i thank you for your leadership, and i understand and i acknowledge that you get that. so here is my question. and it's been touched on earlier. admiral moran, in your written testimony, you identified cyber security afloat and ashore as a significant readiness short fall that was helped by the fiscal year '17 additional appropriations. so that's good. you have identified it as a short fall. you came to congress and congress helped. can you elaborate on the progress that the navy has made to improve cyber security on our deployed naval forces and are the cruisers and destroyers and
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their control systems currently equipped to defeat cyber threats? >> congressman, i would appreciate an opportunity to come and bring that to you in a more classified setting. it deserves that kind of detail. otherwise, i'm just going to gloss over it here and it won't be satisfying. >> and i approach quite that and i would hope that we can do that because, look, i was on the uss nimitz four or five months ago. there is a lot of floating technology. there is a lot of networking, ship to ship, ship to air, ship to shore. it's not a floating city. it is a floating state. tremendous technological assets. and the first thing that came to me mind when i read about the first incident of two large vessels colliding with one other
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is how does that happen. and i think as my colleague from california said, you know, sure, we talked about certification and training and maintenance. we're talking about men and women on a bridge with equipment and technology on the open seas. how does that happen? i would like to have a better understanding of the cyber vulnerabilities, our defense, our security when it comes to our floating, you know, vessels. because i've got to believe, and i'm glad to hear that you're including that in the investigation, that your surface vessels, your aircraft are just as vulnerable to cyber attacks that are going to be disruptive in combat and noncombat operations. i welcome the opportunity to hear more. >> thank you very much. and we now proceed to the
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congresswoman from new york. >> i want to associate my -- thank you, mr. chairman. i want to associate my questions with a follow up to my colleague, mr. brown. i too think it is incredibly important that we receive a briefing in a classified setting regarding the cyber threats to our naval ships. but i want to ask you specifically. you mentioned that we are integrating cyber and network vulnerabilities as part of our ongoing investigation. how is that happening specifically, even if it is to rule out cyber as a potential cause? >> specifically, admiral, our fleet cyber command, has a team that he's formed. they're a team of experts. very, very talented young men and women that will -- that are in place and will use their knowledge of how they would attack to determine whether we've been attacked, and they
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will know where to go look. this is the first time we have done this. and we're not stopping. this is to try to institutionalize doing cyber as part of any mishap, aviation, submarine, you name it. we need to go look at it as an order of business and not hand wave it to its cyber. >> i agree with that and that leads to its next question. you are institutionizing this process. is that service-wide? is that going to be a part of any future investigation? >> absolutely. >> can you describe other activities the navy is institutionalizing to up our game when it comes to protecting our platforms from cyber threats? >> can you repeat the question? >> what other activities is the navy institutionalizing, such as task force cyber awakening and cyber safe to increase our cyber
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security when it comes to protecting our tactical platforms? >> yes. great question. so those efforts weren't started and completed. we continue to work through several of the discoveries during tests for cyber atakening as an example. one of the journeys we're on right now that our cno john richardson has really brought forward is this notion of understanding all of the digital connections that are in -- that are resident within every testimony we have out there today and they're not connected as well and we are not able to operate them as effectively as we should. that's also driving -- when you dive into it that deeply, you also realize that there is a cyber component to trying to make the navy more digitized because it could become vulnerable more quickly unless you protect those digital databases and the ability to do
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analytics and those sorts of things. so again when we come over to brief you on the classified level, we will show you what we did with the money that congress gave us at the end of this year in fiscal year '17, where we applied it, to what defensive systems and protections that we needed to do and it in some cases is fundamentally basic things like shifting to the new windows across the board where we are getting commercial protection that comes with that product as opposed to living off of old erwe erwier windows vers >> there is a sense of urgency to this. technology is changing. if an example is making sure that you have the updated version of windows, we need to do better in terms of addressing this. >> and the department of defense has mandated that across the services. all of us are responding to this. we have a deadline.
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it is coming up and i can only speak for the navy, but we are on track to meet that deadline on things as basic as what you just described. >> thank you very much, admiral and i yield back. >> thank you very much. we now proceed to the congressman from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i want to thank my colleagues for delving into this issue of cyber security. admiral, admirals, and we thank you for all of your service and for being on top of this. the loss of life is of great concern to all of us and our hearts go out to all the families. the question of cyber is much more than hacking. the single point of failure of most everything is gps. i assume you'll be looking at the downgrading of gps that can occur rather easily, particularly in those areas where there happen to be other folks around.
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so i'd like to have that as part of that review. also the electronic equipment, not specifically with regard to hacking or cyber, but rather its validation that it is actually working as it is supposed to, navigation equipment, all of the radar and so on. i assume that the review will be in that area as well as this cyber area. is that correct? >> yes, sir. that is correct. and i would suggest that the companies that built that equipment not be the ones responsible for certifying it is actually working. might think about that. also the commanders, the commanding officers of the ship, how often are they moved from one ship to another. what is the length of time they spend on any one ship. >> as a commanding officer?
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>> yeah. the top three officers. >> the executive officer on the destroyers right now we're on a model that has the executive officer fleeting up to be the commanding officer. the intent was to build continuity to ensure there is a clean turnover so that's about a -- that tour is about 18 months. there is a short break in the middle to kind of get them a little bit of head clearing and they go back to the same -- >> on the same ship or to a new ship. >> on the same ship. >> and the commanding officer? >> the commanding officer after they leave will go ashore usually or to another at sea job and then up for a major command job on a cruiser, for example, or a big deck am fib or a major command level ship. >> i have a general concern about the way in which the military moves people from one job to another within very short periods of time. the concern is that it was the previous guy that's responsible
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and left the problem and it is not really solved. i have seen this in other areas. i'd like to have a fuller discussion about whether that cycle is too fast and nobody is around long enough. i'm pleased to hear that the executive officer stays with the ship or not. >> the executive officer usually stays with the same ship. sometimes there is an anomaly, but for the most part we are looking at the whole training model. also at the division officer level, we do rotate ships. there is advantages to doing it. there is also disadvantages in that you lose continuity on this ship. this is something we believe the admiral will address as he looks at the training paths of those that ultimately command those ships. command of those ships is critical and obviously they want to make sure they have the best qualifications they can have. >> when the final reports come back, i assume we will have another final hearing on the reports and that will be
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informative. my final question really goes to a piece of testimony earlier having to do with virtual training facilities. you specified the lcs has a successful virtual training program. i assume that's a bridge. that's virtual. could you go into that for the next minute and talk more about that and how that might be expanded if in fact it's as good as you say it was. >> again. we're looking at the feed back from people using it and from the fleet. so this is not all done virtually. we still do real live, just similar to how a pilot will get simulator time and what's different is that we can create a virtual environment. we don't have to have the level of feel and touch that an aviation helicopter or fixed wing aircraft will have to use. so this technology is out there. the sailors are comfortable with it. they understand it and perhaps we can use that to continue to improve these skills where we
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may not have the dedicated at sea time to do so while the force is working very hard to meet its commitments. >> those virtual experiences proven to be very successful in the airframe operations and further discussion on that would be useful in your report i suppose will deal with that as a potential training asset. with that, i yield back. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, congressman. we now proceed to the congressman of wisconsin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen thank you for joining us today. i want to revisit two lining of questions hopefully without being repetitive. i think one of my colleagues mentioned the 2015 gao study that found the navy was only able to meet 44% of requests to meet operational requirements. at the time the navy indicated that it would liar over 150 more ships to fully meet all co-com demands. my question is that has that
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number changed? if so, what is the number now? and what fleet size would that correspond to? >> sir, i do not know whether the number has changed. it's probably gone up, not down. so i will do some research and get back to you if that's okay. >> sure. yeah, i just think obviously the reviews are underway and we really appreciate your commitment to getting a thor review of what's happening. we placed an enormous amount of stress on the fleet. so i think the question we need answered is what is the right number of ships you need in order to avoid placing that stress on the force and avoid tragic accidents like that? and i think you have a variety of people here on this committee that are committed to making the argument for that number. and i think we forget that the 355 number that we throw out so often is indeed a minimum based
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on the requirements that the co-coms are seeing out there. separately, there was talk about the ten-year hiatus for warfare officers and training. i want to dig into the surface warfare in the navy. it's been about ten years since. isn't the navy policy to rotate these commands so the standard are upheld among the aviation communities? >> at this level, at the three and four star level, we pay less attention to what's -- what community device you're in and what community you're from than we do at experience level, judgment and in very simple terms best athletes for the job. it is of course would be ideal
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if we had an even spread all the time, but that often gets disrupted by some of the other issues we have been dealing with here for the last several years i think you have read about that have put a real squeeze on the talent level that's available because of ongoing investigations. so hopefully that ends here real soon and we'll be back to a more steady state. >> so it would be fair to say that if we have concerns that there is no qualified surface warfare officers available to relieve the vice admiral -- forget the last name. apologize. that's less of a concern because the particular heritage of that officer, their community, matters less than their overall fitness? >> yes, sir. admiral sawier, who we put into seventh fleet, it was already designated to do there. this is clearly near the end of his predecessor's tour.
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here is a submarine officer that operated extensively as not only a commander but as a junior flag officer but also at the deputy fleet commander in packed fleet. so enormous experience and credibility in that region. we looked at that much more than we did the fact he was a submariner. >> is it not true, though, that if you look at more broadly at that vi leadership from historical perspective, there is a relative dirth at the highest levels of service? >> well, we have admiral davidson and admiral howard has two four stars leading our navy in critical places around the force. we have three stars in very important places throughout the navy. so i wouldn't call it a dirth, congressman, but i would call it maybe less than our average for this point in time. >> got it.
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and finally, i just would like to echo what my colleague from alabama said, to provide you with the funds that you need in order to do your job. and, you know, in light of the job that we're asking your sailors to do every single day, and, you know, a lot of this goes unnoticed, right, because the majority of what you do in uniform is not high-end combat. it is waging peace. i think we need to step up to the plate and do a better job to end defense sequester and begin the process of rebuilding navy. >> if i could just for the record, admiral. >> thank you very much, congressman gallagher. we now proceed to the congressman from rhode island. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and gentlemen, i want to thank you for your testimony today.
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the instances involving the uss fitzgerald and mccain were tragic events and i wish we had never gotten to this point. and my thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who are lost and those who are injured and we're all anxious to get to the bottom of what happened. but this appears to be a symptom of a larger problem. i know we've touched on several different capacities today, but the u.s. navy has moved training out of the schoolhouses and instead embraced an on the job training level which left sailors to operate with little sleep and without a singular focus on learning. so the attempt to meet a high up tempo, we've made structural choices that have left us with insufficient shore side training infrastructure and hindering our
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ability to keep our sailors safe, in my view. would you agree with this assessment and how do you believe we can reinvigorate training initiatives to make sure that any incidents such as these are not of our own making? and i guess -- >> yes, sir. i'll take that, if you don't mind. the school in the great state of rhode island is an absolute core place where we achieve our competencies from division officer all the way up to major command and further. we have -- we are going to look at that training, as i said before. we did take the schoolhouse training for division officers out of surface warfare officer school and move them to a surface school in the home ports where they are going. so we took that 16 weeks of training when i was there versus the 16 weeks we do it at nine
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plus five and six model we're on right now. so i think to your point of what else can we do, i think that the review will look at that. whether we need more and improved and a more capacity of training in the schoolhouse, whether it be on the waterfront or up in surface warfare officer school and, you know, again, i think we'll have more information when we see the outcome. >> do you have anything to add? >> not really, sir. that's not something we looked at specifically, the schoolhouse training. what we pointed out with respect to the naval force was that they were so busy they didn't have dedicated training time. to most folks arrived. we heard when we went on ships and did focus groups the fact that sailors would arrive green and untrained put a burden on the sailors that were already there and we heard that
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consistently. >> thank you. admiral moran, i also fear that the current tempo is not sustainable. but that we seek to sustain it to the detriment of training and certification requirements. there is a large margin of separation when it comes to training and certification between u.s. based cruisersened destroyers. so were there any indications or warnings that forward deployed naval forces was leading to a training on the margins scenario and not meeting qualifications or certification standards for key surface warfare systems. >> i'm sure it's a great question and one that admiral david will look at in his review. what should we have seen earlier to address them in order to prevent the trends that were
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already starting earlier with ante tum, for example, in lake cham plain that preceded fitzgerald and mccain. we have to get out of this question as to why didn't we see these trends earlier. why didn't we take action earlier than now, for example. it is a fair question and one admiral davidson will look at. >> i know that the review is also looking at any potential cyber vulnerabilities. i had an opportunity to speak with the admiral about this from the tenth fleet, something that first came to mind when i heard of the incident. i hope that that is not the case, but i also think that we will get to the bottom of the training issue. so i appreciate your due diligence on the review and we're going to continue to focus on this as well. thank you and i yield back.
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>> thank you, congressman. we now proceed to the congressman rodney davis of illinois. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thanks to all the members, especially wilson and thornberry for allowing a noncommittee member to be here today. and i want to say a special thank you to the staff. they helped connect my office in a very difficult time for one of the families in my district of the loss of petty officer logan palmer, one of the sailors on the john s. mccain. that's why i'm here today. i'm here because i appreciate what my colleagues on this committee are doing to urge the navy and urge our military to investigate what caused these tragic accidents other what caused the tragic accident of my constitue
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constituent mr. palmer. we will never forget the service or the sacrifice and we are praying for all their families and friends during this time. it is up to us as congress to allow you the opportunity and resources to fully investigate why these accidents have occurred. i really -- getting here at the end of the hearing, i have been able to listen to so much and so many questions that i would have had, be it the issue on the possible cyber attack that my colleague from missouri brought up. the sequestration issue and funding issue that we in congress need to do a better job of addressing so that our military, each one of you who are leading our young sailors have the resources you need to investigate what happened and also ensure that it never happens again to any of us and any of the families that have been affected. so we want to provide you those resources. and we want to do a better job on your end.
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but throughout this process, which was a first for me, to be so engaged with the family who lost one of our heroes. and i want to ask you about what maybe you can do as a military to do a better job of serving those families during those difficult times. i didn't have the best experience working with the navy and again very appreciative of the staff for their intervention. and the families didn't have the best experience. while the personnel was very good at getting answers, it just seemed like it took -- it took a lot longer than what i would have imaged. it was very bureaucratic and getting information on logan took too much time and it involved way too many people. what can be done or is actively being done to help the families have a better more streamlined process when tragedies like this
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occur? because again, my first experience, palmer's first experience, while it was good, could have been a lot better. >> i don't think there is anything that anybody could have said today that would have made us feel any worse than to hear that a family member experienced something less than the sufficient amount of service that we owe these families. so i'll take that on personally. i promise you that we will fix whatever issues came up with the palmer family. but i will tell you that we all appreciate your personal involvement in helping get some of the information for the palmers. we know we felt short on transportation issues. we know we fell short in some cases on announcing that missing sailors had been found before we got to the families. we know that the social media
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environment that we're in works inside of our ability to move information around to those who need it first. our focus has always been ever since both of these tragedies, has always been first and foremost the families. and we thought we were doing a pretty good job, but from time to time we didn't -- we didn't meet our own standard and i'm afraid to say the palmers were one of them. and i regret that. i apologize for it. >> i appreciate your regret. i appreciate your willingness to work together. i don't want to see any family not get any answer. grant it, i know you have a lot of good people working this case. i will tell you i was probably most concerned that an outside organization had to pay for the flights of the family to go see their son's body returned to dover air force base. >> it wasn't that they had to
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pay for it, congressman. it was that we did not get the government to move as fast as we should have. >> so the government does have a process? >> yes, sir, they do. >> that's not a requirement to go to an outside -- >> no, sir, it is not. >> so, yes, thank you for agreeing to do a better job to make sure those families who may not live as close as others so they had the opportunity to get to that point to see their loved one returned for the sacrifice that that entire family has knead. >> and for them to be with the loved ones and crew mates of their fallen sons and husbands in the location where that crew is going to memorialize their fallen and we're doing that. >> i appreciate your service. i appreciate your recognition of the issues and i look forward to looking with you. >> thank you. >> thank you. i yield back. >> and thank you, congressman davis for your compassion for the family. we now proceed to congresswoman
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elizabeth este of connecticut. >> i want to thank the committee for their allowing my colleague, mr. davis and i, to join in today's proceeding. i too lost a constituent, navy son technician on the fitzger d fitzgerald. it was his birthday and the family basically surmised by checking his facebook feed. and when the responses to his birthday wishes stopped coming, they began to get worried. so my focus also as a member of the veterans committee is thinking about what we owe those who serve and so my focus is very much going to be on the human side, not so much the equipment but rather the human side because much of what has been reported today has to do with leadership, training and a culture of safety.
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i say this as a daughter of navy man, it does make me think about what we can do better as so many of my colleagues have said, that we owe it as members of congress to provide you with those resources. we need to ask you so say when we're asking too much with what you have and to be willing and able to say we cannot do what you are asking us to do without putting the lives of men and women at risk. and we need to know that from you. and i understand that's against your culture. but it is required because of the commitment these young people have made to this country. so that is unfair that we put your in that position and sequester and continuing resolutions has made that worse. but it makes it all the more important that you stand up for them and for this country and for this safety. so that's one. >> i look at the safety culture and think about the importance of leadership from the top.
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these incidents seem to have occurred in the wee hours of the morning. i wonder if that's an overreliance on equipment and technology with very young sailors who may be concerned about and not have the experience with how heavy the shipping lanes are. so i think the heaviness of the shipping lanes suggest we maybe need to do different training but also as safety culture of, if you have any doubt whatsoever, anything that seems not right, you must immediately notify right up the chain of command. do not worry you are waking someone up. do not worry you have never seen this before and ifs your second week on the job. i think if you have a safety culture that might empower our young sailors and then go to the training of those young sailors, the motion that they are working 100 hour workweeks is really terrifying for them and for us. and it makes me think about what happened in medicine when we
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looked at the death rates with new interns who are working in hospitals and working very long shifts. it got so bad that states began to pass laws prohibiting longer workweeks. so again i think that's something you need to look at, the capacity of people to operate under pressure with these kinds of hours. it is unfair to them, it is unsafe and it is wrong. and we need to do our job with providing you with the resources but we can learn from other areas like medicine where again you are talking about young people working very long hours and being given enormous responsibility. so i hope we can learn from the checklist manifesto and other areas which could help save lives here. so those are really my thoughts about what we can do. but also what we may all collectively need to do to protect the lives of these young people. i think about this as the aunt of a nephew who's training to be
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a seal and is in process of that right now, of the young men and woman who come to us who we are honored to nominate to the academies, who hope to make their way to the ranks of commanding officers. and we owe it to all of them to do a better job. i hope you heard from all of us, we are not looking to assign blame but we are looking to correct this as rapidly as possible and then be honest with the american public about what those demands are. i want to thank you for your service, but it is urgent that we address this immediately and we owe it to the familiestoday,s unable to join and the traumatized shipmates of those and those who went back into those ships to try to retrieve their friends and cam rads.
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this thanks for their hard work and assisting us not on the committee in trying to do our jobs for our constituents. >> and thank you very much for your positive comments and input today. two brief questions for me and then we'll proceed to my other colleagues here and then we'll be concluding. but mr. pendleton, how will you be able to determine when the services are achieving readiness recovery? >> mr. chairman, we -- we're doing a broader body of work, essentially monitoring the recovery efforts. we made a series of recommendations in september of last year. basically saying that the department of defense needed a readiness rebuilding plan that matched the priority it was claiming that it had, that said what the goals were and when they would be achieved and what it would take in terms of money and time and that need to be
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agreement on it from the top. because what we saw when we looked at it in depth was all the services were pursuing individual plans in zeal but not necessarily being pulled together in a department-wide plan. so what we're looking for, is it clear what the goals are and how are we going against those goals? in the case of the hey navy, th had a glide path. and our concern was the glide path didn't necessarily constitute exact goals. so he mentioned earlier this is going to knock them off the glide path. so being able to articulate the impacts of the decisions that you make, if you continue with demands and that kind of thing, that that's the way we're going to look at it, sir. >> again, thank you. and i just have to reiterate again how professional and independent your reports have been and so helpful for members
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of congress and our military. and speaking of a plan, admiral moran, do you believe that we have an effective plan for readiness recovery to erase the maintenance max logs to restore the manning short falls to allow the navy to meet the critical operational requirements again without risking the lives of our sailors? >> we do have a plan. we think it's an appropriate plan for recovering all the areas you just talked about, buying down the maintenance backlog, getting our manpower in the right place. we are just -- we must have some stability in the budget so that we can follow through on those plans. if we're constantly changing it year after year, quarter to quarter, it makes it difficult to assess our baseline. so i think we have a much better understanding of what it's going
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to take to recover in conas than clearly we understand what it's going to take to recover in fdnf. >> is the technology available to maintain and determine the perimeter of vehicle -- of vessels so this won't happen again? >> we have a lot of systems that do it, contribute to the information that's available to the team on the bridge in cic and elsewhere. what we have to do is really examine, and admiral has talked about this, the integration of those systems and do we have all of that information being provided to multiple sets of eyes on that bridge at any given time. >> that's so important for navy and military families. chairman whit man. >> thank you. i want to go back to you and get
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some definition about time versus resources. the navy asked for a billion dollars to be reprogrammed into maintenance accounts and now says in 2018 those accounts will be fully funded. we know what happens with acr. let me get to a more fundamental question. that is time versus resources. understanding those situations, are we in a situation of having the proper resources going forward to get all of the modernization and maintenance work done to make sure we have the full capability so that mission certifications can be gained on time and do we have the time to do that? so i just want to get your perspective on time and resources and where you see it going forward to get to where we need to be based on the inadequacies we see today. >> time is critical. if we don't have the time to
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train, we don't have the staff to maintain the ships to the level we need and the maintenance goes longer, the time to train gets shorter. off tempo goes up. we get into this spiral that's not healthy. having said all that, we also need to maintain a good path. those yard periods are for a reason. we are restoring that readiness. we put a lot of capacity there. trying to do them both at the same time is having some of the effects of trimming that time available. so we need to be modernized as well as we look at choices between readiness and floor structure, a key element of that is modernization and year after year we unfortunately have to make the difficult choice to delay modernization, which goes to our capability to stay up with the threats as we see them around the globe. i do worry about that, and that's something that we will continue to press forward as we continue to submit our budgets
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to restore readiness also include keeping up not just the capacity but the capability. >> let me talk about it in a different sense, and that is in the yard capacity and capability. when we talk about time, time is an element for the navy when you have the capacity in the yards to get the work done. then it is a matter of managing where things go. doesn't it get to a point where there is only so much where time is then not manageable by the navy because you don't have enough capacity to get the work done and when that work stacks up there is no way you can pipeline. give me a perspective of where we are today and capability and capacity in our yards. i'm going to ask you in a larger perspective. i know that your duties are there with the surface duty. but that becomes a bigger issue
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when it comes to what we see with submarines. but admiral, give me your perspective from the surface navy standpoint. i will get admiral moran to add because i think it has some reverberations there with surface navy work. >> as you know, we are all surface ship availability and maintenance are done in the private shipyards. they want stability as you know and to get stability you have to have the money there and the commitment to doing that maintenance and modernizations that we -- so right now we have -- we're putting money into that and we're seeing this kind of lag response in delaying building the workforce, delay in having the available private ship workers and, oh, yeah, the quality of the shipyards that are all competing for the same workers. we can't do it quickly enough and we're going to get bogged down, which will put more pressure on those forces. i think that's what you are
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hopefully trying to get at. >> we're starting to see some of that reverberate over into ramping up there also with the public yards. there is a cross over because the public yards and private yards are competing for the same skilled workforce and that complicates your issue in getting throughput through the private yards. >> yes, sir. it is a tough problem, just in the talent that we've got across the yards. but on the public side, it's the only place we can do nuclear work. it is the only place you can build and fix carriers. it is the only place for -- yes, sir. go ahead. >> and i think as far as the whole scope of this goes, one of the things we have seen, both with secretary of the navy's office and within the navy is a roller coaster ride on throughput of work. and if we have that roller coaster ride, we won't be able to maintain capacity and capability to get the work done. even if we do have the will and
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the resources and then we make the time for this to happen, if we don't have the workforce there, if we ask the workforce to spin up and then spin down by spending them out, we're going to be in a very, very difficult situation. so i'm hopeful that as you all look at this, both in admiral davidson's view of what's going on, the internal review, as well as secretary spencer's review, that it also carries over into the courses of action to correct this and seeing what do we do to see there's that capacity there that's sustainable in yards, public and private. >> that's a critical element of these reviews, in doubt. >> let me end with one additional questions. in each of the two collisions for fitzgerald and john mccain, these were happening during routine operations. and what we see around the world today and you all have eluded that, that there are over 50,000
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vessels transiting in the oceans every day. that's a lot of traffic out there. as you point out, too, much of it is necked down into some critical areas. tokyo shipping lanes, all those areas where the navy operates on a daily basis. what we see, too, is we have the ships that we interact with that are much less capable as far as the capability of their sensors, their situational awareness, our warships, the best in the world, lots of sensors, lots of capability. admiral, as you know and going into your background, being the former ship handler of the year, you have got firsthand experience about what it takes to successfully handle a ship. based on your experience, give me your perspective on where we need to go in training within that realm today and what we need to do to make sure we're
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developing the best mariners for our surface force. i know you spoke a little bit about that, but i want to get your experience because you have been there. you were there on the bridge handling that ship, have been recognized if your skill in doing that. you have a unique perspective. i want to get you to share this and then we'll go to mr. courtney, too. >> yes, sir. i honestly when i have heard of these incidents i was frankly shocked. i have observed a lot of strong professionalism in the folks i have dealt with throughout the surface. so i'm not sure what that's going to find and what we're going to do and how we address those things. but to your question of how we get good at our mariners skills, we have to get back to basics. i mean, yes, we have -- we are warships with the best sensors and capabilities in the world. a lot of those aren't used for knave gags, but our tools for navigation are good enough to do
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what we need to do. the question is are we using them the best way we can? i know you are a fisherman in your past and i know you spent a lot of time in the wear, as i do. i believe there is a skill, but we in u.s. navy warships have to make that our core of competency. i have had several discussions with admiral roden about this. he's as adamant as i am. i had command of the ship and every time i see the pictures of the sailors i think the ones that were with me. and i know with have a lot more to do. i'm not sure where we go from here. i want to see what the teams find out and then i'm ready to roll up sleeves and do whatever it takes to include coming back here as we make any changes in those recommendations. >> i appreciate that, appreciate your perspective, too. i know you are well respected, a former employee in my office
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today, commander kevin bosse served under you, learned a lot and is very complimentary of their experience there. i know you will use that experience in what you need to do collectively and gaining the direct and directed navigating skills with all of our officers and crew members on board our ship. >> thank you very much, gentlemen. we now provide to ranking member joe courtney. >> i want to thank all the witnesses for your outstanding testimony here today. you know, i was thinking having -- you know, listened to the whole hearing about admiral moran's first visit to this congress back in january where again there was a lot of excitement over the structure assessment and increasing the size of the fleet and again i think our committee has gotten us off to a good start in terms of the ndaa, but your testimony
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was let's remember first things first. we've got to, you know, focus on the existing fleet to make sure that, you know, during that time that it takes with the shipbuilding game, to get to the higher numbers, that we're still able to perform the missions of the navy, and i think again those words really reverber ate today in the discussions and incidents that we are talking about, focusing on what you told us to focus on is really critical to all the goals we're trying to achieve, which is to do what the navy does in terms of its missions, and also making sure it gets done safely. i guess mr. wilson asked the question about how do we get to that level of adequate readiness, and your comment about the fact that forward
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deployed forces is the tough one here in terms of how do we achieve that. you said you had a pretty good vision, navy has a pretty good vision how to do it with ships that are based in the u.s., and mr. penn dell ton, your graph which showed the difference between training maintenance and deployment and planned schedules for home shows a stark difference and that adds to the level of difficulty, degree of difficulty in terms of trying to solve this problem. so in the meantime, the question which we have been talking about is who is the decision maker for the forward deployed forces while we're trying to figure this out. i know that's probably going to be part of the davidson study in
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terms of trying to get the lines of decision making clear, but one last time, you know, who decides for the forward deployed fleet in terms of men, training, equipment decisions and the final decision to, you know, send these ships to sea. is it the operational admiral or is it the forces commander? >> understandably, congressman, this is not simple. and i think when we talk about man, train and equip, many people are responsible for that. it works its way through the surface force, for example, you talk surface ships, obviously the carrier has components of aviation and so on and so forth, so there are many places and people that are responsible for adequately resourcing the
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manning, training, equipping. the operational tempo, the operations and how often ships and what types of missions they're going on, how to prioritize the training that they do get or that they're required to get for those missions is clearly the local operational commanders in japan. the model that you reflect here on page six is a big navy discussion. the ceo and i and four star fleet commanders, is the model for what we asked them to do, going forward, do we need to make adjustments, that will be title 10, s-1 if you will responsibility to make course corrections based on the recommendations. in the interim period, admiral swift is going after this to make sure as we go through the review he's got a deeper understanding and will adjust where he needs to adjust to
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lower the tension if you will between that off tempo and maintenance training aspects of what he is doing out in japan. >> i thought the answer to general thornberry, the navy made a tough call in terms of carrier deployments, it was driven by external forces that we had to set up a schedule and stick to it, and i think that answering the question that you just did and admiral davidson's report is going to help us sort of make sure that we are not biting off more than we can chew. i think kind of screams out from the report and gao, that's something we have to understand, 100 hours a week, deployment, there's got to be sort of a way
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to decide when to rebalance. thank you, mr. chairman, yield back. >> thank you very much, joe courtney. we want to thank all our witnesses for you being here, but also in particular for your service to the american people to protect american families. also it is an opportunity for us to thank the professional staff who have been here and helpful. armed services committee is just blessed with remarkable people. we are particularly blessed with morgan dean. not only is she a professional staff member but she's a very appreciated member of the navy reserve. so at this time we shall adjourn.
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>> i think what we are getting at the moment is specific to the incidents on board the fitzgerald and mccain. i am interested to learn the breakdown with the assessment, at least in the timelines of what happened on the fitzgerald and what will come out on the mccain. you're right, the overall state of maintenance, modernization, those things are clear in the report and the gao report, it is clear there. those things i don't change, congress will have to act there. what i think is going to be of interest to the committee is what happened operational in the decision making with leadership on board those ships, and what is the navy going to do to
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respond to that just reading the incidents on board the fitzgerald, there are some breakdowns there that are significant. maybe training issues or why aren't people responding the way they're supposed to, is it not emphasizing you have to do this when the training says you have to do them. i think those are the things that are of interest to the committee on what the navy does to respond to that internally. then we have to look at what do we do as members of congress concerning efforts to resource and policy directives on what the navy has to do to make sure they see the things done that have been pointed out need to be done. >> and then when the review is completed, we will with having another joint subcommittee hearing for the benefit of the american public and american
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family. also, something inspiring was to see the government accountability office, how professional they have been, how pressured they were on their review of the issues of readiness. that's been encouraging to me to see their capabilities. >> any sense of timing for the next -- >> as soon as the review comes out. >> months? >> as soon as it comes out. >> let me ask a basic question. you go from this hearing where you and other members grilled witnesses, how satisfied are you with the navy response. are you feeling they're adequately forthcoming, doing what they need to do or they're holding back or something they're overlooking? >> i know personally i'm really concerned about the perimeter of the ships and different technologies that are available
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pau because they're not all properly administered. >> we all are. >> i appreciate pointing out binoculars come to mind. this shouldn't be rocket science, i hope lessons will be learned. >> i am encouraged the navy didn't point to excuses, they said these are things they have to do. they have a timeliness element in mind, too. one of the things they're really going to have to address is what happens currently. they stood down briefly and we questioned them about what are the immediate responses to this. that i think is going to be extraordinarily important. what do they do not after
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reports of finished. what are they doing operationally. they've taken some efforts by relieving admiral kwan of command and other operational changes in the pacific. we met with admiral sawyer in theater with seventh fleet folks, talked to sailors up and down the spectrum, but i think what the sailors are expecting is what are we going to do to change this. some of these things are going to take time, whether catching up with training, whether it's service availabilities, but some can be done immediately, and that's an absolute laser focus on certifications for navigation. those are things they ought to say we're doing that now. that's more of the specificity we need to hear from the navy saying this is so fundamental to who we are and what we do, this has to be done immediately, and what are the time frames not just in the pacific but in all
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areas with deployed naval forces that they're doing these things. >> you say long term you need more ships, and you can't do that overnight. >> right. >> does the navy need to think about doing less as a more immediate solution? >> i think what they need to focus on is doing the job with resources they have, not trying to do too much with those resources. right now, i think they have to look inward, say what can we achieve at the highest level of operation, then prioritize, maybe we change how we do things. that's what they have to ask. that's a timeliness element. their requirements to deploy naval forces have not changed yet. they have to look inward. say do we change what we are requiring of ships there.
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i don't think they need to change the mission certifications or requirements, it is how much of that can you do. as we have heard, i don't think it is sustainable for sailors to work 100 plus hours a week. >> we have challenges facing our country, beginning with north korea and the missile testing there and we have obviously adventurism of the russian navy. maintaining a base in the mediterranean, expanding operations in the caribbean, and that's before you get to the chinese establishing military and naval bases in the south china sea. >> that's that whole element, it is not from the commanders, it is the world having a vote in this. >> thank you all for sticking around. >> thanks again. we appreciate it. >> thanks. thank you. appreciate it.
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great job.
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if you missed any of this hearing, you can find it on our website at cspan.org. type house armed services committee in the search bar. earlier today, president trump hosted the emir of kuwait. meeting in private, they held a

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