tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN March 17, 2015 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT
less. their families deserve no less. we must have an end to sequestration this year. and we must have this budget. so thank you for all of the amazing support that i know personally each and every one of you provide to our men and women in uniform. their families, our civilians. thank you for the work that this great committee has done time and time again on behalf of the nearly 1.3 million men and women of america's
privilege of operating. admiral greenert cannot be here due to a death in his family but i'm joined by the very able vice chief, admiral michelle howard. uniquely, the navy and marine corps provide presence around the globe around the clock. the nation's first line of defense. presence means we respond faster. we remain on station longer. we carry everything we need with us. and we do whatever missions are assigned by our nations leaders without needing anyone else's permission. we have always known america's success depends on exceptional navy and marine corps. article one of the constitution, which you quoted mr. chairman authorizes congress to raise an army when needed. but directs it to provide and maintain a navy.
from the first six frigates to our growing fleet of today from tripoli to afghanistan sailors and the marines have proven the founders wisdom. american leaders across the spectrum have understood the vital significance of the sea power. we deploy in peace just as much as in war and role in securing sea lanes has boogsed ours and the nation's economy. that's why the defense strategy is clearly focused on the maritime domain and while investing in it provides the best for peace prosperity and the security. and i want to join secretary mchugh in thanking this committee. basi because you through your actions have shown that the share the view of a strong defense and naval marine corps and thank you for your support for our sailors, marines and the things they need to get their job cone. the presence this our navy and
marines so uniquely deliver is built on four foundations:people platforms, power and partnerships. our sailors and marines are well known for ability to exercise independent judgment and flexibility to face changing circumstances. we remain committed to providing our sailors our marines and our civilians with the training and support they need to maintain that naval presence. but our people, as good as they are, cannot do their job without platforms. providing presence, being where we are needs when we are needed requires those platforms. on september 11 2001 our fleet stood at 316 ships. by 2008 it had declined to 278 shims. our focus on two ground wars only partly explains the
decline. in the five years before i became secretary our navy contracted for only 27 ships. not enough to stop the slide in the size of the fleet. in my first five years we have contracted for 70 ships and have reversed that decline. by the end of the decade our fleet will once again be above 300 ships. for the past few years, the department of the navy has attempted to minimize the impact of an uncertain budgetary environment marked by numerous continuing resolutions. in position of sequester level funding and the threat of the return of sequestration. in this environment cutting ships is the most damaging and least reversible course of action. i'm committed to preserving our shipbuilding follow the navy's watch word "don't give up the ship." fuelling the platforms of our navy and marine corps is a vital operational concern and enables
global presence. that is why a navy has a long history of energy invasion by employing alternative fuels and being more efficient in fuel usage, we're working to bring competition and lessen the volatility of the fuel prices and decrease the enemy's ability to use fuel as the weapon. our ability to maintain presence and advance global security will also be augmented through partnerships. cooperation makes us more effective. overall fy 16 president's budget balanced current readiness needed to execute the assigned missions of today while rebuilding our highly capable fleet. but it is the minimum that we must have to do that. today's tough fiscal climate demands our most rigorous examination of every dollar that we spend. and we have and will continue to do just that.
but we are at the point where we can no longer do more or even the same with less. with less we will be forced to do less. when america is called, the navy and marine corps have always answered. in order to ensure that we continue to provide the naval force our nation's leaders and the american people expect, we look forward to answering your questions and to working together with this committee and with congress to maintain our great navy and marine corps. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. and now to a former staff member of this committee we'll take credit for all sorts of you folks. secretary james. >> thank you very much mr. chairman congress come sanchez. also an honor to sit here with my colleagues from sister
services and also a pleasure to be with my wingmen general mark welsh. i've now been in this seat 15 months and i'd lyingike to begin telling you my key take aways of the top things i've learned as being the secretary of the air force, the privilege of my professional lifetime. the first thing i learned which was a shock to me when i first got in the seat is that today's united states air force is the smallest we've had since our inception as a separate service in the year 1947. we have literally been building down our air force for the better part of two decades and today we are the smallest we've ever been in terms of people. secondarily, i have learned that our aircraft are the oldest that they have ever been with an average age of 27 years. but of course average is average. and that means quite a few of the fleets are substantially older than that. here is a shocking statistic i think.
more than half of our combat air forces are not sufficiently ready today for a high end fight. meaning a fight where the enemy has the capacity to shoot back at you. to shoot you down to interfere with you through integrated air defenses and the like. more than half are not ready for such a fight. we all know budgets are extremely tight. and i think we also realize that demand for what we do in the united states air force is at an all time high all around the world. and this is certainly the most dangerous and complex and constantly changing world scene than i can ever remember. certainly in the 34 years that i have been an observer on the scene in defense. now, your air force is working very, very hard to meet the combatant commanders's most urgent requirements and needs. but i have to join with my colleagues and say a budgetary trajectory that rumts in sequestration is not going to
allow us to sustain this pace. let me plain speak. i believe sequestration is going to place american lives at greater risk at home and abroad if we ares forred to live with it. if sequestration remains the law of the land we will not in the united states air force seemsly be able to defeat an adversary in one part of the world deny a second adversary the objectives they seek in the second part of the world, as well as defend the homeland. that is our national strategy and we won't be able to do it. mr. chairman, you recently said at aei the problem is whether we have the capability to do what the nation needs and the times demand. it is also about the increased danger that comes to our people. and i couldn't agree with you more. i think you are absolutely correct. and under skres sequestration
the air force cannot guarantee to meet the nation's demands. and this is not acceptable. something has got to give and we thank you and other members of this committee because we know you are pushing hard to try to get sequestration lifted permanently. please please keep it up. as, you know, rather than living with this level of a budget, we are asking for a budget figure in fy 16 which is substantially closer to what we need in the united states air force. for us the additional monies equate to about 10 billion more in fy '16 than what sequestration level funding would provide to the air force. and this $10 billion more would provide both the forces we need to do the most pressing combatant commander requirements and also allow us to invest better, more appropriately in our top priorities which are number one, taking care of people. and there is an awful lot in this budget related to people. but i want to call your attention to the number one
priority that general welsh and i have pinpointed and that is we have got to stop this downsizing. we are the smallest that we've ever been. in my opinion i think we've even gone too far. and that is why this budget proposes a modest up tick for active duty, national guard and reserve elements. we want to go up very slightly. and if we are allowed to do so this will alleviate some operational strain that we are feeling in a number of areas to include our nuclear enterprise, the world of signer ercyber and of maintenance, particularly across combat air forces. turning to second priority which is getting the right balance between our readiness of today and building a modern air force of tomorrow. both general welsh and i consulted very closely as we built our budget. not only with the folks at this table but also with our combatant commanders. and as a result our budget is going to ramp up support to the
most urgent needs that the combatant commanders identified to us. which basically equate to one things. isr. isr, that is what they tell us. they need more air force as the top priority. as a result we've got 60 steady state isr patrols in the budget and extending the life of the u-2 and the awacs programs. we also neat to support space programs. strengthen nuclear enterprise. fund flying hours to max level. invest in sustainment of weapons and ensure combat exercises like red and green flag programs remain strong. all of that is the readiness of today but we also have to modernize for tomorrow. so again we've got decent funding i want to share with you. the nuclear enterprise is number one mission so we have redirected substantial resources towards that element. moreover we have our top three programs, which will remain on
track under this budget. the kc 46 tanker the f-35 and the long range strike bomber. and also making important investments in modernization for space, science and technology budget, as well as other areas. and our third priority, mr. chairman, number three goal is what we call make every dollar count. and this is because with e precisely understand. we get it. that the taxpayer dollars precious. and we can't afford to waste any of it. so we are constantly looking for efficiencies and ways to do things differently, to free up resources and to give back to our people some of their precious time. so for example we took an aggressive 20% reduction in headquarters funding, which includes civilians and contractors and redirecting military personnel. we didn't have to do it in one year but we did. we thought it was the right thing to do and dupreefree up resources more quickly to plow
back into things with e need to do. not only that but we've reduced our service contract workforce by 7 billion. so we've reduced contractors, substantially. and we're going to continue to scrub this as time goes by on the contractor and civilian workforce over the next several ise years. we're also striving in acquisition systems calling it bend the cost curve. keeping webb weapons on track. building affordability in right from the beginning. and looking to maximize energy savings. so all of this i would submit falls very much in line with your acquisition reform thrust, mr. chairman. and i want you to know we are on it. we are on this line as well. now, there's plenty of tough choices in this budget as well. i don't want to paint on overly rosie picture. we had hard choices because we couldn't do everything. for example we are proposing once again to retire the a-10
fleet gradually over time. and also to slow the growth in military compensation. and we know these are not popular decisions, popular choices. but would ask you do keep in mind that if you don't like these choices, hold on to your hats because under sequestration it gets uglier and uglier and uglier. for example, under sequestration, our air force would not only have to retire the a-10 as well as slow growth in military compensation. but in addition we would be facing the following actions. divest the u-2 and the global hawk block 40 and the kc 10 freets. we would have to reduce combat air patrol reapers and predators up to 10 orbits. we would defer 14 f-35s which would drive up costs and cancel the adaptive engine program.
and across the board in some fashion we would also have to reduce investments in space and cyber and nuclear and science and technology and readiness and people. in other words i think everything is threatened, mr. chairman under sequestration. and most of all i fear american lives would be at risk. so i ask you again please continue your leadership to get sequestration lifted permanently. please keep on pushing. thank you very much and we all look forward to your questions. >> thank you. i'm going to ask the staff to put me on the clock because i have really one question directed to each of the service chiefs. at our restreet general dempsey said and he said we could quote him. that the budget request was the lower ragged edge of what it takes to defend the country. so if you were talking to my constituents or some of our colleagues who don't deal in this air every day and had one minute to describe what the consequences to the country
would be for not approving the amount that the administration has asked for and for department of defense or for your service how would you do that? again, in one minute in plain language. general. >> chairman, i'd say unpreparedness inability to react to the unknown. contingencies. and stress on the force would be increased significantly. >> admiral. >> thank you mr. secretary. i am more of a rookie than secretary james. strategic deterrence remains our number one priority so we would focus on that. but that the impact on the rest of the conventional force, our ships and submarines, would be tremendous. you are talking about impact on ready vns, our ability to train people and our ability to ford
deploy and be where he we need to be. all would shrink. our ability to respond to the nation's needs would be greatly diminished. it would be devastating. >> general. >> chairman, i think i would use an anecdote. what you would out of the marine corps is wor forward deployed ready to respond at a moments notice. there are two models. the model we've seen over the past year where marines have immediately responded to the evacuation operations in south sudan, libya and yemen. we haven't heard much in those cases. there was a case a few years ago when marines weren't forward postured and ready to respond on a moment's notice and we heard about that for years. i think that is the difference between funding the budget in support of marines and not. there's two lines of the response and i'd outline those for your constituents. >> i would agree with what the
commandant said and i believe the fundamental issue is going to be that the american people cannot expect their military to do what we've been asked in the past if we stay at these funding levels. >> new. also y'all were talking i was thinking to some comments made by a committee member earlier today. that basically it means that lives are at greater risk and more lives are lost. because that is what the bottom line to what we ask you and those who serve under you to do. ms. sanchez. >> thank you mr. chairman. i actually have two questions. first for general odierno and for the admiral admiral howard. please feel free answer the best you can. i have a letter both from odierno and admiral gren ert sent to secretary hagel november last year. indicating your concerns with essentially how much we are investing in missile defense and the growing changes you see in
terms of capacity to continue to invest in missile defense at the current rate considering the fiscal environment that we're in. the letter state ours present acquisition-based strategy is unsustainable in the current fiscal environment and faces forward in lieu of the options to meet contingency demands. now is the opportunity to develop a long-term approach that addresses homeland missile defense and regional missile defense priorities. a holistic approach that is more sustainable and cost effective, incorporating left launch and other non kinetic means of the defense. this is from your letter general odierno. can you expand on this letter because i believe it's important. and addressing the various threats that face us. and as indicated in your letter could you expand please. >> so the basis of the letter was that we cannot sustain the rate of deployment of the
current missile defense capability that we have. we simply are overstressing the force. we don't have enough. we're not meeting all of the requirements. so in our mind we have to come one a new concept that allows us to use an integrated air and missile defense capability that is shared among the services that allows us to deal with this growing threat. because the threat is growing. so what we want is a study that enables us to come up with new technique, new procedures, new capabilities that are able for us to provide the proper defense for this nation using a variety of capabilities, to include current missile defense assets but other capabilities. cyber and other things that have to be integrated into this that enables us to deal with these problems. we're on a path that we can't sustain. and the threat, missile defense threat is growing. so we've got to come one a for cost-effective means of dealing with this issue. >> so you would like a study.
general, can we wait to put that in the ndaa and go through the whole funding process for a year? or would you prefer we try to get a study up on that as soon as possible. >> i think we need to doo it as as soon as possible, man. >> my second question is regards to services in fully integrating women into the military. you know this is a big deal from my standpoint for a long time. there's been about 15% of the military comprised of women. over 200,000 have dedicated their lives to serve their country and have died while serving on the front line's. it's woman's history month and it extends to theem military. by september of this year all gender neutral occupation standards are to be set and by next year all positions should be open unless an exception to the policy is requested. are all the services on track to meeting those deadlines? and if not, why? and for what i can see on the current schedule many
occupations and units won't be open by january 1, 2016 deadline. so what is osd doing ensure service and compliance with the original directive? and why are women in open specialties like communications intelligence and logistics still barred from serving in marine corps infantry battalions in any capacity? even though, for example a male public affairs officer assigned to an infantry unit requires no infantry training beyond what all officers receive at the basic school and women in these open speshltdcialties are not allowed in any capacity in infantry battalions. can you address where we are, where we are going, are we going to meet what we need to do? >> ma'am if i could. we're on track. we have to make our recommendation to the secretary.
this year we are continuing to finish up the testing for all of our moss. currently infantry engineer, artillery and armor that are currently not yet open. we are running tests with women in these positions now. we've sent a note forward to congress recommending the opening of combat engineers already. so we finished that. we expect artillery to be done within next month and we expect armor and infantry will be prepared to be provide a recommendation september/october. and that is the time line we're on. we're comfortable with where we are in assessing. i think you are aware we're also doing a test in ranger school where for the first time females will participate in ranger school. >> if y'all could just -- in fairness to her i did not alert ms. sanchez i was going to put us under the clock too. if the other services have a
really brief answer and i'm sure we can expand. >> the navy and the marine corps are absolutely track to meet the deadlines. in the navy we have opened every single occupation and billet to women, including submarines, riverine. and the only that remains closed are the trigger pullers for the seals. all the support things like intel and communications for the seals are open. i'll let general dunford give you an update exactly where the marines are. the one thing i would ask this committee, we don't have enough women in our service. and one of the reasons that we're having problems is we do not have enough flexibility in how we manage our force. and more women leave than men. and we have legislative proposals in to address that. >> congresswoman. thank you.
in the secretary outlined where we are. but i will go back to your examples of the public affairs officer. due to the secretary defense lifting the co-location policy there's no difference today how we would assign a male and female public affairs officer to include support of a infantry unit. today there is no restrictions. the commander can assign women anywhere in the battlefield where he or she believes necessary. and that's been in effect since secretary signed his letter. >> and the vast majority of our positions in the air force are open. we have seven closed afscs at present we are on track to meet the deadlines and i personally have received kind of an interim update about how it is all going. and i feel pretty good about it. as you pointed out ms. sanchez we do need to work closely with the special operations command. our seven afscs pretty much relate to the world of special operations and we're working through that now. >> thank you for your indulgence.
i think it is an incredibly important issue. and i hope our personnel committee in particular will continue to be on top of this. i just think it is so important. >> they are on top of everything. they are good. mr. forbes. >> thank you mr. chairman. general dunford. going back to the chairman's line of questions about the impact of budgets. you stated about as articulately as i've heard it stated a few weeks ago. as i understood you to state, you said this. that even if we were to get the full amount in the president's budget, that the best that could do for us would be to reset us to where the military was a decade ago. that it still would not enable us to begin to reconstitute to where we need to be to fight tomorrow's wars. and that if we did not get the amount in the president's budget, we couldn't even reset
to where we were a decade ago, fighting wars a decade ago. is that an accurate statement? >> congressman it is in many functional areas and briefly why i say that is we have learned that today we must operate in a greatly distributed manner broetoth at sea and shore. that has implications for command and control. implications for fliers and organizational constructs and equipping as whole. and currently even at the president's budget we're not making the changes to facilitate and optimize distributed operations in a manner necessary for the current fight as well as the future fight. and 23 you look at the examples of the marine air/ground task forces they're spread across six countries. and when i was a lieutenant i was trained in a unit of that size would defend on a 3,000 meter frontage and attack on a 6,000 meter frontage. so you can get a sense how time
and space has changed over time. and i don't think we're making the kind of changes to facilitate that as quickly as necessary. so fundamentally we are building capabilities more applicable to yesterday than tomorrow right now as a result of the budgetary constraints. >> admiral howard i won't ask sow to comment for the cno. but i can say after general dunford made that statement he agreed with it. i ask you do same question general odierno. and i think you agreed as well but i'd like your thoughts. >> for the army we don't even get reset for five more years. so it takes us to 2020 even to reset. so so for us the next four five years we have significant issues in terms of readiness. >> general welsh. i haven't had opportunity to ask you but what would you feel about the statement that general dunford made? >> congressman the problem we have is if we don't invest in
readiness today we risk losing the fight today. if we don't invest in readiness and capability for the future we risk losing ten to twenty years from now. it will take the air force eight to ten years to recover full spectrum readiness. we haven't been investing in the infrastructure over the last ten years that gives us mission capability. training range space launch capabilities. samelation infrastructure. black and white world test. those kind of things. the entire nuclear infrastructure issue that you are familiar with. those must be persistent consistent investment for us. or we'll fail down the road. that is what we're lacking inging right now. >> and you gave a very good statement where the air force is in your comments. as you know the budget the president sent over however even if we passed would not become law unless we also have legislation doing away with sequestration. are you aware of any proposal the president has sent to do
away with sequestration for national defense? and if not, if we were to pass such a piece of legislation, do you have any indication that the white house would sign that legislation? >> mr. chairman, it had at least been my impression but i want to go back and double check what i'm about to say here. is that the overall plan that the president set forth would involve the lifting of sequestration. not only for defense but for the whole of government. so my belief was that the president's plan did include the lifting of sequestration for all of us -- >> what i'd -- >> allow he me to check. >> i'd ask for all secretaries. if you could give any indication that the president would be willing to sign with a piece of legislation that would do away with sequestration at least for national definitionense. i take your statement that we can't defend in one part of the
bold and hold another and defend the homeland. so with that mr. chairman i yield back. >> appreciate. ms. davis. >> thank you mr. chairman, thank you all very much for being here of course for your service. secretary mabus, you mentioned just briefly and you don't have to respond right now, that there are some authorities that you need in order to do a better job hiring women into the navy particularly. and if you could -- i look forward to seeing that. so that we can work on that in the upcoming ndaa. i wanted to ask you, secretary mabus, and certainly to general dunford. we know that sequestration will decrease readiness and place personnel at risk. i wonder if you could speak more directoryly though to the fact that marines 60% are first enlistments. and as we move forward with the environment we have the up
tempo environment, the changes to future benefits perhaps, what are we doing to ensure the quality and the high standards of the marine corps? do you see that that could be effected by the way that we move forward today? >> congresswoman thank you. today 60% as you pointed out of our force is first timers. in terms of quality we are absolutely where he kruting and lyly recruiting and retaining high quality marines. however i also believe the demographics need to change to account for the increasingly complex security environment. today maybe a 60% first term forest but i don't believe it should be that the in the future. we're in the process of increasing the number of sergeant staff sergeant, funry sergeants. those are the middle grade enlisteds and reducing the lance corporals and the privates, the bottom three. and that is in line with the
technological developments and cyber capabilities as well as infantry squad leaders who today have capabilities probably more in line with a lieutenant 15 or 20 years ago. now on the showeders of the sergeant and also requires changes in the demographic and construct of the marine corps. >> so skill sets are important in terms of how you do that. part of my question. and it's been raised in the last few questions is, you know maybe it is not your area of responsibility to look at non-defense impacts of sequestration. but when we talk about the young people that we're recruiting today, certainly our domestic budget has an impact on that as well. and i know that in the past admiral mullin specifically comes to mind. but others have really spoken to the needs of whether it's in education, whether it's in fitness, whether it's in health. all of those areas.
so do you feel comfortable saying that in fact it does matter what we do in terms of sequestration and the non defense budget as well? does that impact on our military? does it impact on the young people who are going to be recruit recruited? >> congresswoman, i'll give you a very specific example how it has a tremendous impact on us. 75% of young americans 18-25 years old do not qualify to join the american military. it is either for the lack of educational requirements that we have. they have a health problem. usually obesity. or they have a criminal record. so if you want to help us continue to recruit the very best, that we believe we are recruiting today. but we are drawing from a very small pool of americans. you have to pay attention to education. you have to pay attention to health. you have to pay attention to the
domestic side. >> thank you. anybody else want to comment briefly? >> i'd be happy to, ms. davis. obviously the army all the services are laboring under the same 1 and 4 constraint thatmabus mentioned. i can tell you, both in talking to new recruits but also those who served some time in the united states army that they are very mindful on the discussion on sequestration. they are also very aware of the cuts that we in the army have already had to take. the loss of training opportunities that they have had to endure in other programs. and while they want to stick with us, it becomes more and more challenging for them to do that. they want to secure a future for their families. and they are very worried about how this may turn out. as for recruiting, similarly
recruits and their fluenceinfluencers, particularly parents, are mind mindful of these discussions. and coupled with the fact of a totally uncertain fiscal future as well as the danger. so it is a difficult challenge right at the moment. >> thank you. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. chairman millar. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to go a little bit further out than the budget that we're discussing today but talk about a audit. one of the things that absolutely shocked me when we started talking about auditing dod a few years ago, we were told it would take years to get the agency into a posture that we in fact could audit them. so we've got a couple of deadlines that are approaching. i think 2017 is the first to get ready. and then 2019 when the results have to be given to congress. but i want to talk a little pit about risk allocation or hear
from you that may come from the dod audit. two quick questions. one is i understand that the leadership is supporting the audit. but i'm a little concerned about the ses level and commitment to making this happen. so i want to know your feeling on the commitment from the senior level. and then any tweaks that you may have done since the november report that congress received on the financial improvement and audit readiness plan. >> i could start, mr. miller. as to the larger question of the army's posture in achieving the mile stones that you described i feel we are on track. we've gone through -- pardon me. we've gone through a series of both mock audits and outside examinations that have proven
very very positive on qualified findsings of a number of areas but identified a number of areas s where we need to do better. on the sess, i think we have buy in. what we're challenged is having people operate under the new paradigm and getting away from business as usual. so what swewe have done in response where we witness it through the mock audits and other examinations is to go back in and reemphasize training. and to the extent we've been able to measure that to this point, we think we are on the right path. but this is an incredibly complex endeavor, as you noted particularly for the united states army. but we've made great progress and we feel we are moving forward as you would want us to. >> one dmoent that. the vice chief of staff to the army and undersecretary to the
army quarterly are doing specifically on this issue so they all understand the importance they play in moving forward with this and it is helping move this a along. >> as a former state auditor, i don't take anything more seriously. as, you know, the marine corps got a clean audit on their statement of budgetary accounts for fy '12. they ever almost finish with the fy '13 audit. navy has its first contract under audit now. and moving forward. and in popular ses, understand the importance of it and moving forward. the concern that i have, very frankly, is that there is at least one area that we don't control that could have an impact on whether we get the audit. the defense finance and accounting service that write ours checks, that we pay the navy and marine corps $300
million to last year to write those checks. nine out of their ten internal controls have been found to be inadequate. the numbers we received from them that we are dependent on cannot be validated. and so the navy and marine corps are absolutely on track to do it again. i'm concerned that. that's outside of our control. >> and congressman miller, i first want to agree with my colleague ray mabus on that last point. but on behalf of the air force we're fully committed to the audit. i mention that in my opening statement. i come out of business world so i personally am devoting time to this as well. i do monthly meetings to keep my finger on the pulse of how we're doing. we're under way of the schedule with budgetary activity which is the precursor to doing the
audit. and we have a new accounting department which we call deems in the air force. a year it was messy but doing much better now and it is goings to help us get there from here. on balance i'm cautiously optimistic but with several of these caveats that you heard that we're on track to meet the goals laid out in the law now september 2017 specifically to reach the full financial statement audit. >> thank you the gentlemen. >> thank you. i want to thank all of our witnesses for being here today your testimony and of course your enduring service to our nation. secretary mabus, if i could start with you. first i want to a thank you. recently you were in rhode island for the keeling ceremony for the u.s.s. colorado. along with your daughter ship sponsor and your family. you wanted our state as well as the state of colorado and the workforce men and women of --
for your presence there. and i thank you for that. on the virginia class program along with the virginia payload module and the ohio replacement as we faced significant budget challenges, secretary, can you tell us how is your ability to keep those programs on track at the president's budget level or if we have to drop back to bca levels or even worse, how is it impacted if sequestration goes into effect to keep those programs on track? especially gichbl the challenges we face with the submarine forces declining if we don't keep those on track just at the same time our adversaries in china especially are increasing their size of their fleets. >> the virginia class program is a model program.
as you know we signed a ten boat multiyear. where we got sen submarines for the price of nine because of this committee's support in allowing us to do the multi year. to break a multi year because of lack of funds that is possible with sequestration means you would pay more money and get fewer ships which is bizarre. on the virginia payload module the first is scheduled to go into one boat in 2019. we are looking to see if we can move that up because of the need we have for that strike capability that will go away when our ssgns, our guided missile submarines retire in the mid 2020s. and finally the ohio class replacement program the first
boat will have to begin in 20u21. >> >>. this is the most survivable leg of our deterrents triad. we ant extend the life of thecan't extend the life of the ohio class any longer. and this is a program that if navy ship building is asked to bear the entire burden of it would take more than half of our shipbuilding budget for 12 years. which would have serious implications to our submarine fleet and all of the rest of our fleet and to the entire navy. so i appreciate congress setting up the fund for the oh class replacement. and i think that this debate has to continue as to how we -- how we fund this. because it is a national program and needs national support for
it. and there is history behind it in the first time we did deterrent submarines 41 for freedom in the late '50s, early '60s and in the oh class both times significant amounts were added to navy shipbuilding to allow that deterrent to be met. >> thank you. and i'd like to point out a sentence that resident nated ed resume nated ed resonate resonated. and the those that perform most often far from home. would a reduced budget negatively effect the current ratios of the morale and efficiency of the army navy and marine corps. >> our marine corps right now is a little less than one to two dwell to deployment. we today have 30,000 marines on
deployment around the world. and one to two is the ragged edge of how much you can ask someone to deploy without their effectiveness suffering. on the navy side our deployments are getting longer. they are getting less predictable. and we are trying to get into a thing called the optimized fleet response plan which make deployments more predictable which will make maintenance more predictable. and which will make training more predictable. all of that will be seriously jeopardized and scuttled by sequestration. >> thank you. mr. wilson. >> thank you. i'd like to thank each of you for being here today. i know firsthand how you commitment your military members, service members, veterans family, truly appreciate your service. i cover each of you. thanks to my wife, i give her all the credit. we have three sons in the army
national guard. a son in the navy. a nephew in the air force. my late a brother-in-law and father-in-law were proud marines. so firsthand i know of your commitment and how military families are putting so much trust in you. i also want to point out the context to where we are today. somebody that we all respect i believe it is universal bipartisan dr. henry kissinger testified, the united states has not faced more diversity crises since the end of the second world war. and i appreciate in particular you pointed out how the reduction of air capability is putting the american people at risk and we want to work with you. additionally though we need to recognize according to bob woodward in his book "the price of politics" that it was the president who came up with defense sequestration. i'm very grateful that house
republicans have voted twice to replace defense sequestration. sadly neither of our initiatives were taken up by the former senate. but hope springs eternal this can be addressed. in regard to a question, general odierno. i will be always very grateful visiting you in baghdad. i've had two sons serve in iraq. so i know, again of your insight. and i'd like your insight into what mile stones we would be looking at in afghanistan before there is a further draw down. >> congressmen, i would say that the important thing in afghanistan is two fold. one, we have to make sure that the afghan security forces continue to improve. they continue to be able to do the institutional things that are necessary for long-term sustainment of their military. and i think that is critical. so in order for that to happen i believe we have to stay the
course with them. and we have to continue to them as they continue to fight the challenges they face. and they are doing an incredible job doing that. but it is important we stay with them. and that we have a conditions-based with a commander over there that allows him to make judgments in order to make sure that we continue the supports necessary for them to have sustainable outcome that will last a long time. >> and i share the concern of the president one of my sons served also in afghanistan, and that is that the stability of afghanistan is important for the stability of nuclear equipped pc i thank the president for recognizing that an issue that has really come before us is a cyberer threat to our country. in particular i'm interested in
regard to cyberer demand, how will we be facing and if other branchs would like to address this is such a key issue to the american people. >> it is, and as many are smarter than i, it is clearly a critical challenge of the future and the threat to not just the military, but to the homeland at large. like all of the services we're working through, swieber command as a joint commander to ensure that we're coordinated across all of the military departments in a way that provides the wost robust. 24 of those are currently at the initial operation capability and by the end of 16 we expect all
41 to be up and operating. we're very mindful of the fact that particularly in the guard and reserve there is a wealth of experience. many of these individuals have employment outside of their mill their jobs that have much to do with cyber systems. as such, the guard is setting up 11 cyber protection teams. we are working hard to coordinate that at large. we have instituted that in a series of benefits, programs and bonuses to try to compete for the highly technical individuals. and through the army center of excellence at ft. gordon, i think we are making progress. i think any expert would admit
there are challenges. >> the service secretaries and chiefs. i want to commend all of you for speaking of the dangers and the dangerous impact it could have on our military readiness and i hope congress will have the political will to eliminate sequestration entirely. i urge you to continue your efforts. in 2012, the u.s. and japanese government agreed to delink from okinawa. you stated, and i quote, we have to have the facility in order for us to leave our current air station and back the re
redeployment to guam as well. i'm concerned that we may have given the impression that they are again linked. can you clarify this point and quickly can you talk about the distributed lay down in the region. >> thank you for the chance to clarify. i was speaking in response to the question that said what are the issues that congress can pay attention to. we have the move to. we have funds for training ranges and we're proceeding a pace for the move to guam in 2021 and 2022. that is absolutely on track. so just overall our progress our progress is on path.
one of the effects would be a sustained plain that we have now if we were to go below the president's budget. >> thank you for clarifying that. admiral howard. i have a three-point question here. if you could be brief in your answers. pacific fleet stated a restoration of a dry docking ability on guam remains a tra teejic requirement and a necessity. that's year a tender was kent from guam back to the west coast for overall that was costly. what are the cost of the backs of fleet readyness from their wirn pacific area responsibilities back to the u.s. mainland for dry docking. further, they would pursue dry docking abilities.
i reluctantly agreed to this strategy and expected the navy to follow through on their commitment. to date that has not occurred so can you get a update on this situation and when will a request for information be released for chartering a dry dock on guam. >> thank you for that question. and obviously the repair and maintenance of our ships in guam is a priority for us and at ability to be deployed particularly with a pacific free balance. in regards to the specific cost of sending ships back, i would have to get to you the dollar cost. clearly sending ships back state side has a responsiveness cost for our forces. we are still looking at the economic feasibility of getting a dry dock into guam and we owe you an answer shortly on that.
>> thank you. admiral. >> thank you, congresswoman of guam. >> i join with my colleagues in thanking all of you for being here in service to your country. what are the air force's plans to address the urgent operational need for radar upgrades for currently conducted the air space control alert mission? >> congressman we need to develop an f-16 conducting home hand homeland. the money we have in the budget for this year, hopefully we would move forward with this effort. it is about $25 million to do
it. we would prefer to spend about $75 million to build a fully integrated radar. the cost of one verse the other is relatively close it is about 2.8 million for the nonsbe -- nonintegrated radar. part of the problem is that the capes program to develop f-16 upgrades for the bca cuts when we cut our programs. so we have to solve this problem for a lot of reasons operationally. >> do you have any plans to revisit the cape's program? >> we simply just don't have enough money. >> i'm sure you know the
arguments laid out with the tight budget constraints that you're working under that all of us are working under. what the air guard provides in terms of bang for the buck is really incredible. the statistics are staggering in a positive way. and not to have these f-16 air guard units be able to fully integrate i think would be a terrible tragedy and i appreciate all you're doing to make that happen. >> thank you we now proceed to congressman courtney of connecticut. >> thank you, i want to thank all of the witnesses for being here. it is a critical week for the budget resolution being put together, and frankly, you know we're forewarned by you all being here and that is very important. secretary mavis i want to again, acknowledge the fact that your testimony on page 16 points out that during your tenure, the
ship building trajectory is on a upward angle contrary to some of the noise that is out there and also we want to make sure to note that you're doing this with every public forum. compared to 2009 we have turned the direction in terms of militarishipy ship building under your leadership. it will have a benefit for decades to come. the question is sequestration. and if you could just briefly talk about if the department is left with the bca caps, what does that mean in terms of trying to grow the size of the fleet. >> thank you congressman.
if we go back to bca, the sequester, however you want to phrase it, i would say that i'm going to protectship building as much as humanly possible. my phrase was i will protect ship building until the last dog dies. if we do that something else is going to break. because our maintenance, we're already behind on our maintenance because of sequestration in 2013. it will take us until 2018 to catch up on our maintenance on our ships. it will take us until 2020 to catch up on the maintenance of our aircraft. our bases were already falling below the sustainment rate that we believe we need. our training, the last sequestration we had air wings
that had to go down to a hard deck which meant the very minimum training. our marines training, the ones next to deploy and those after that. all of them have suffered under the irs sequestration and it would be i think a fair word would be devastating, in terms of the military's navy's ability to meet a crisis, to meet a peer adversary. to do the things that america has come to expect and should expect from it's navy and marine core. >> thank you, we ghouo to mike turner of ohio. >> thank you for your articulation of the issue of the threat of sequestration. as you're all aware today the
house budget committee will unveil it's budget and it will be funding at the sequestration number which i oppose and i think most people in the room oppose and i think your articulation of what happens. i had this conversation with most of you that the more we talk in this room about the affects of sequestration than the less we win because we're all on the same page. we have to get the mess out of this room. we unfrnlly use words like readiness, risk capability, mission. ly ask you to help give us clarity beyond these words. when our sustained readiness rate should be closer to 70%. this number is disturbing because of it's significance to our military and the affects of
it. when a brigade combat team is not ready, and the army is not ready to fight, but they go to fight, doesn't this mean that more people get injured our killed? it's not just readiness, risk capability, or mission. more people will get injured or killed? >> that is right, it will take longer to do our mission, it will cost us in lives in injuries, and potentially it could cost us in achieving the goats we're attempting to achieve as well. >> referee: so people could die and be injured. >> that's correct. >> if we go to the full sequestration for fiscal year 16, and that is an issue that is beyond what the budget is were your goal of taking our brigades
to 70% of readiness how do you accomplish that? >> we will not, as i said with 33% ready now, that will go down. we have to focus our resources on a small part of the force. the rest will go untrained and that means if they're needed we cannot have them do what we need them to do. without the proper training or readiness of their equipment. >> that means more people will be injured or killed. there is only 430,000 troops
remaining. the world is not a safer place today than it was then. could you please describe how that loss of manpower translates into risk to our troops of injury and people being killed? >> it means as the chief said that with fewer -- pardon me fewer soldiers to do missions, we run the risk of sending an unprepared soldier into a dangerous environment. we're doing everything we can to try to minimize that. at 420,000 our judgment is very clearly that we would not be able to meet the defense strategic guidance. that would leave us no room to respond to the kinds of contingencies we have seen in the past 18 months from russia and ukraine, ebola in west africa, or isil in syria and
iraq. i don't think the american people are really postured to accept a united states military that cannot answer the bell where the challenge may arise. it comes back to risk means people dieing. it means greater injuries, it means people don't come home. >> secretary james, if sequestration level funding goes into effect, what's the most difficult strategic decision you have to make? >> i worry that we have airman that will be injured and die, i believe that we will be slower to respond right now. our hallmark is that we're ready to fight. as you heard my colleagues say ultimately we could lose in trying to reach our objectives. we require that we be able to do three very important things in a near simultaneous fashion. we cannot do them in that sort of fashion under sequestration. that's our best military advice.
>> thank you, mr. johnson? >> thank you mr. chairman. sequestration assumes that the nation's debt is out of control and so therefore we must cut spending. we cannot increase tax revenues, we must cut spending. if that is true i'm glad that both defense and nondefense spending are included in sequestration. i myself do not accept that premise. but if i'm wrong and if it is true then i'm glad that defense and nondefense spending are covered by sequestration. that is one point i wanted to make. the other point i want to make is that sequestration is the wrong way to cut spending. both in the defense and in the nondefense sectors of our
budget. why? because sequestration is just a blunt force instrument cutting across the board regardless of whether or not it is sensible enough to do so. it is true that fraud waste and abuse exists in both the defense and nondefense sectors. it is true. but it is also true that there are some sectors that we're doing some excellent cutting edge, necessary spending that does not need to be cut. and that's why sequestration needs to go away, it needs to go away for both defense and nondefense. more over, i think we need to come off of the attitude that we can never increase taxes, some
folks, some corporations don't pay in taxes. we know that middle class, middle income, and working people pay taxes. we know the tax code is riddled with tax loopholes that enables who can afford to pay not to pay. to they're getting a free ride, talking about entitlement. talking about an entitlement mentality. we have so many folks that can afford to pay that are not paying and i think it is obscene that they would create the conditions under which we are here today which is a hollowing out of our defense spending, providing and protecting and promoting the common defense of this country. it is something that we must do. and we have had a lot of
unforeseen incidents or unforeseen developments that have occurred and you have all related to them. isil russian aggression. just if -- if each one of you,ly ask anyone who wants to respond describe the key security environment challenges and threats that you're most concerned about and the ability of your service to address them. what challenges have emerged in the last year that the defense strategy of your services budget request does not adequately address and similarly in what areas have you recommended reduced funding level and for the secretaries, i'll ask that question. >> congressman johnson i guess i can start. as i mentioned just previously we can't pick and choose the
things that we worry about most. we have to be equally prepared to respond to where ever our national command authority sends us. where ever the commanders believe there is a need whether it is isil, where we have army forces in iraq or whether it was in west africa with ebola, army special operation forces throughout africa responding to a variety of emerging terrorist threats there. we have again as i mentioned our opening comment forces in estonia, lithuania forces in poland teaming with those nations. and they're very important part of our new posture in the european continent. we have some 20,000 soldiers which we view as a longstanding mission on the korean peninsula. certainly with the threat of
nuclear weapons there that is a critical challenge and i could go on and on as i'm sure the other services could as well. >> thank you my time is expired. >> thank you chairman cline. >> thank you ladies and gentlemen for being here and for your service. i think we picked up the thread here that all of you and the witnesses would like to see us spend more than the sequestration level of the president's budget or greater and i think all of us know we're trying to find a way here in congress to make sure we get to a number like that. i share your concerns about readiness. general, i know we're very clear about it. i have personal concerns about the army readyiness, and sometimes we have issues that are not about money. i know that we had a discussion on the phone the other day, and general i'm sorry i'm going back there to that issue. secretary mccue, you talked
about we send our young men and women into quote a very dangerous environment. some couple weeks ago we had apparently a very dangerous environment in yemen. so dangerous that we sent extra marines in there. and then it was so dangerous we evacuated all of the americans. and in that process even though we were on stand by not off shore, somebody made a decision to destroy all of the weapons and have the marines there to provide protection in this very dangerous environment turn over their weapons. their individual weapons. it is my opinion that that is an intolerable position for our americans, our men and women in uniform in particular, to be in
a very dangerous situation and depend upon trusting the very people that put us in that dangerous situation to not do us any harm while we turn over all of our weapons. so, general dunbar. is my account of that roughly what happened. when they got on that contract aircraft, were totally unarmed, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> somebody made that -- who for the record who gave the senior marine there the order tore do that? >> the senior marine was under the united states central chain of command. >> so they gave the order to the senior marine. >> the senior cent com officer on the ground gave that order. >> the decision as well as you can relay for the record, was
made by whom. >> the ambassador and the commander of centcom and approved the command. >> also for the record i think it is not classified that there were navy marine corps assets off of the shore. >> i think that is intolerable. if that can happen to marines, if that can happen to anyone being order to turn in their weapons while they're still in a very dangerous place to be there as part of the armsed forces. i would hope that senior leaders at the table, we could do everything in our power to make sure that does not happen again nap is a outrageous situation.
thank you, general. i just wanted to get that on the record. we had people on the ground in a very dangerous place and they were disarmed put on civilian airplanes and sent home. i yield back. >> thank you, i would like more clarification on the type of role that sequestration is playing in terms of us wanting to i discuss stain our superiority that we have when it comes to areas like readiness, technology, combat gear versus other powers also trying to stay ahead when it comes to these areas. >> i'll speak for the navy and marine corps. we have to stay ahead in terms of platforms, in terms of
weapons, ordinance, systems in terms of surveillance, in terms of any number of things. the danger that sequestration poses is that we will not be able to surge navy ships because they will not be maintained and we will not have the train -- we will not have done the training to get them ready to go. same thing with the marines. we will have navy ships forward, we will have marines forward. it is the next to go the ability to surge. looking further out to the future, our technological edge is crucial for science and technology, and bringing those scientific advances to the war fighter in the field. those things are at risk,
particularly on any access or denial, that adversaries may push us out and try to push us further and further up field. the weapons that we need the ordinance that we need the numbers that we need to do that will be at risk. the new technologies to meet some of the threats that we're facing now and that we're going to be facing in the not too distant future, they go -- that research goes down. that science and technology goes down as much as we try to protect it. we simply cannot do that. so to use the language that other service secretaries in the service chiefs have used, the risk that we take is that we will get there later than we should, more americans will die,
or be wounded and we take a chance at losing. >> congressman, if i might add, for the army and i'm sure the marine corps does so well is the young man or woman that picks up a rifle and goes into those situations. it is because of that young warrior that we need to make sure the weaponry and the platforms that support them have a superiority edge over whomever is our competitor at the moment. and as secretary mavis just very accurately noted that for all services especially the army, the research and develop so necessary to develop the weapons, systems, protection programs that has been cut
since 2012 by a third, overall, our ability to look into the future and ensure that over ten years that generally takes to develop some of these next generation platforms we have available. and with this funding level, we will not. the army will not have a major develop mental modernization program until the next decade. so sequestration only makes that worse. sfwlrchlt we have other countries who have seen it. and the capability gap is clearly closing no question about that. and the trick over time is how you manage that gap. i use a nascar analogy a lot when i talk to airman.
that is what we worry about and try to manage this balance. when you hear about high risk or significant risk from a military leader, you should translate that as not guaranteed success. >> thank you for being here and for service to our country. i wanted to ask you, again i'm staying on sequestration and it's impact on our military. the members of this committee understand it's implications and how adversely it is affecting our readiness and our ability to meet our challenges. and in fact, i can talk about specific parochial examples.
i have army depos playing off 190 workers right now. i have part of ft. bennings they could talk about specific examples and that is just parochial. our colleagues don't understand. and you uniquely have been here and you understand how difficult it is for us to convey to members focused on tax policy, medicare, or telecommunications what we're concerned about. so we really count on y'all we count on you to help us help us communicate that mess an. i shared with chairman dempsey that we have a need for members to understand. in fact some in our leadership think this is working out well for the military. they're not hearing squealing or
the sky is falling from some of y'all. so why do you think it has been difficult for those of you in the leadership to convey specific examples of how this is very detrimental to our ability to protect this country? >> are you asking me? >> we'll start with you, please. >> well, part of the reason and why i think this opportunity, this in a moment is important, is we tend to talk in code. risk and other such words that don't convey to the average citizen, understandably, what that really means. loss of life et cetera. the other is frankly one of opportunity. all of us go out and give speeches, talk to think tanks and try to engage in a way that gets the word out as to the reality of the challenges that we're facing. but obviously we have to do a lot more. the last point i would make before i turn over to my college
colleagues, i have said that we are victims of our own success. we came here before it passed and predicted the affects. there after, most of those affects were not seen or felt because i think against the odds all of the services managed the unmanageable. we moved money, we put off necessary programs we delayed modernization, but those cuts and delays have run out. and why the return of sequestration added already to the cuts we have taken will be such a back breaker for this united states military. >> i define it as we're mortgaging the future to barely meet needs. we're doing everything we can to just barely meet commitments, basic commitments to sustain
normal security. yes we have an operation in iraq. we have a small operation in afghanistan. yes we're doing small things but those are not big operations. that is just day today commitments and we're mortgaging our organization and readiness to meet these. we will not be able to respond the that we're not used to people responding. >> what i am after is giving specific examples. that is a very good example that is platforms you may have to give up, instilllations you may have to close, whatever so you can help understand. we have a short time where we have their attention on the floor. that is a challenge.
>> so congressman rogers, we have a list of specific things to include. we would have to reduce our combat air patrols, we would divest. so all of these things would go away and we would have to touch literally every part of our air force to come up with that differential in money. we would have to set something up with leadership to give some of these threat breepings. things we know but perhaps they don't know. and i just hope and pray it doesn't take a catastrophe in this country to wake up. >> so do we all. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to begin by thanking each of you for your service, and i would like to
thank the men and win under you for their service to the county. i would like to begin and ask you the following series of questions. as i understand it today, the ground forces raiding against isis, the army iranian sponsored shiite militias, and to the degree they exist, moderate syrian oppositional forces which we're helping to train and equip. will those ground forces be sufficient to meet the presence objective of degrading, defeating, and destroying isis? >> what i would say is depending on how well the iraqi security forces do they're performing incredibly well. the iraqi security force still being trained, not sure.
i'm not sure who they're loyal to, i have concerns about their participation. we're working to train the moderate syrian opposition. i think we halted the movement of isil. i think we had some with the great work of the air force navy and the marine corps air, and i think we have to wait and see how well these ground forces do. >> has any other country anywhere in the world pledged ground forces to this effort. in as well as we begin to train the sunni moderates. >> including those forces on the ground and pledge for the
future, is it too soon to tell -- >> that is correct. >> i would assume that if we're going to achieve the present state of defeating isis it is possible that we will need additional ground forces, but it is only that we will have to make a decision about funding and supporting ground forces in one of those two countries. does your budget have have sufficient resources to ensure that we are training our soldiers, that the readiness is at the level necessary and that we can support them through the following budget year to the degree that we need to so they can prevail and that we don't unnecessarily put them in harm's way. >> if we had to the president's
budget allows us to sustain where we are at in readiness. if we get into a sustained conflict, for years we need more dollars to develop the proper readiness for us to properly redeploy our soldiers into harm's way. >> >>. >> i would fully agree. i can't imagine what that would be, but short of a very dramatic dramatic -- we would probably not be able to meet that. >> secretary james talked about
more difficult choices if we continue with the budget caps and the sequester. i think that should extend, we have deployed forces to poland and latvia. when you look at their defense budgets, what they spend in connection with what we spend is unsufficient. >> what more do we need to do to make difficult decision that's are more on their -- >> that is a big challenge and a moving target and one that secretaries of defense and going back to my time secretary gates have tried to press upon. only four of the 28 nato nations
currently meet the 32% requirement. when it comes to russia and the concern that's we see arrive coming out of ukraine, all of us would like to work more closely with our european allies. >> thank you. >> mr. conway. >> thank you, chairman, and thank you folks for being here today, i'm encouraged it has been my experience that when a question rises to the top level of the committee up there we're gaining some traction. i want to follow up on mr. miller's comments about auditing. one quick anecdote. i was on uss texas having an impromptu town hall meeting and one of the kids asked me show that audit thing coming with auditing the department of defense. i don't know.
>> fred: that was a plant or -- >> how about those sailors. >> or if they're just sucking up to a member of the house and armed services committee. and each of you respond does the president's budget fully fund or properly fund the continues efforts at reaching the goal that all of us want to get to which is an audit and financial statements. >> referee: we do what is sufficient to carry us forward and meet those milestones. >> for the navy and marine core to meet the milestones, i would like to circle back around that there are things we don't control that worry me a lot about whether we will meet this audit and not in terms of funding, but in terms of assurance of numbers.
>> and yes, for the air force, but with that save caveat. >> i think you guys led the way on auditing. we moved from getting ready to audit to awe it ditinguditing, and the marine core lead the way again so i think you're making reference to other agencies that are part of your financial services. in the sense that the commitment at the -- whoever is in charge of that effort whether it rivals your own, or do we need to rest more. >> one of the sentiments that we're sharing, to use a military term, in a robust way with those -- with particularly with defense finance and accounting
service. that is the one that concerns us. that is the one that does not have the internal controls that we need to have some assurances about the numbers they give us. >> likewise we have communicated with the top leaders of the department of defense, they're aware that we're concerned about this. the comptroller, so i think everyone is working slabtively to try to get there-- working collaboratively to try to get there from here. >> i think they have equally extended our concerns to the appropriate departmental authorities. part of the problem that they face quite frankly is that like the rest of us the customer base is coming down. they're going to write fewer checks. their business flow will decrease and i know you
understand the realities of that kind of a trend line perhaps more than anyone else in this room but i have not seen or can measure an amount of response to accommodate what seems to most of us to be an inescapable reality. as my colleagues have said, it will affect our ability to receive a clean audit, to give -- given the relationship amongst all of us with that organization. >> let me just finish up by telling you thank you for your service across -- all of your responsibilities, but thank you for what i perceive to be your full throated attempt to get this deal done. the american taxpayer would love to have the seal of approval that is out there, and i appreciate each of your commitments to doing that.
i thank you for your efforts on getting that done and now i yield back. thank you. we're going to have the comptroller here with us tomorrow and there will be another opportunity to raise this question. this is really important. if we're going to make the case to increase defense spending there has to be accountability that goes with. this carries big implications. >> thank you this question is directed at secretary james. i'm a beneficiary of close air support from 810 so i'm disturbed to hear it is back on the chopping block. i would like to point out and comment on this, too, that in an era where we seem to be more engaged in the type of combat where it would be more useful, is it really wise to be putting it on the chopping block. and if it is what is the weapon system platform that will be replacing it that will provide
close air support to our infantry men? >> congressman let me start and then i want general walsh to chip in. he is a former a-10 pilot. the a-10 ended up on the list to reduce with the greatest reluctance. it literally after reviewing all of the alternatives of coming up with the budgetary savingsavings, this one because of the single purpose nature, that is how we got to where we are today. in terms of the next aircraft that will bridge the gap so to speak, we have overs that are flying these missions to include the f-16s and so forth. they will be with us for years to come as well will come into play the f-35. that one is of course on the horizon. it's not with us yet but it will be coming online in the
next few years. >> to that point before we move on, the platform you just mentioned, what type of rotary gun do they have in there? is it 30 millimeter guns, and are they as capable in terms of support? >> it depends on the scenario. none of them carry a 50 millimeter it is a 25 millimeter. the issue is not the a-10. it is the budget control act causing us to make very tough decisions. when we ask where they prefer we take the cuts and where they prefer that we prioritize their funding. we have done the operational analysis on this. we would love to show you the impact on the battle space. this is just the front age of a lot very ugly decisions. now the fleet has been the f-16
not the a-10. are there scenarios where you prefer an a-10 to be there? absolutely. some you prefer an ac-130. my marine infantry prefer a f- f-18. the issue here is not -- we're going to be casts 10 20 50 years from now and the a-10 will not be doing it then. we need to look to moving to a future capability on a low threat and high threat battlefield and that is what we're trying to do. we're working this in terms of weapons systems weapons we can put on different platforms there is no question about our commitment to this mission and we have about 140,000 data
points from the last seven years to prove it. >> mr. chair i apologize, i lost track of your name, sir what was your name again? i would love to see the studies because my understanding from past efforts to relace the a-10 in the 80s and 90s were duds and did not have the same effectiveness that the a-10 did. if you could share any of those studies to put me add ease it really did save me in a pinch and i think a lot of us infantry men would love to still have that assurance that that close air support would be available. >> so would us pilots, but unfortunately money precludes that. thank you mr. chairman ladies and gentlemen of the panel, thank you for your service to our nation, we deeply appreciate that especially your commitment in these challenging
times. i want to follow up comments made earlier. we know the devastates effects of sequestration. we look at efficiencies from the pentagon. some of them about the acquisition and procurement process. the chairman and others of us have looked at how to fix that to empower decision making in the pentagon so that we are indeed spending those dollars that are precious the as best as possible. is there a need for additional acquisition authorities and what can duo to fik and reform the process to make sure it is as efficient as possible and that we can demonstrate that every penny that goes to the pentagon is getting to the right place. >> i'll start very briefly.
here is a chart with what we have to do to buy anything. but particularly major weapons systems. it takes forever. it's costly. what you could do for us is cut out a lot of this and we're happy to give you details. i think all of the services agree that the current system, it is requirement after requirement after requirement. many of which don't add anything to the end of the day. it just needs to be proven. >> i would like to see an increase role in service chiefs that was reduced in 1986. i think it is important to have their persons and we're going through this with some authority. i would also tell you that i think there are, i agree with the bureaucracy.
the number of people that can say no to our systems is significant and that increases the time sometimes that it takes. in the army specifically i would tell you the army has a lot of small programs and i would like to see the limit raised from $10 billion. i would like to see the army have the responsibility and accountability to ensure that those programs are capable. and i think that would enable us to speed up the process and i think there are many others that we could do. >> if i could add a little math to the chartology. i will give you one example of the complex bureaucracy, our new artillery system the milestone decision reached by the army in october of 2013. that one milestone required 3185 pages of primary documentation
and took 1742 calendar days just to develop the documents and to get through the process. 1800 days to approve it. not all of that is bad. all of that is -- in part i think necessary, but there is overlap as chairman mccain in the other house, and has many of you are focused upon, i think we could save a lot of time and acquisition means money without giving up the kinds of assurance assurances that we believe is port. >> we don't have a cool prop. that was slick. i certainly agree with trying to, as best as you can, streamlining the requirements. i know the tendency is to put more process and more oversight. the less in this case the better. and in terms of the service
chief involvement, i'm not sure hour everybody else handles it across the board. we do pretty much everything together. we're heavily doing program reviews. >> thanks, congressman. today, we're responsible for the requirements and resources and outcome. and i think that is the service chief's responsibility for outcome as well. >> >>. >> besides the simplification there is agility for this. as programs change and requirements change in terms of cost and scheduling and what is property to keep and what is appropriate to enhance, i think they would appreciate an
opportunity to have a voice in that process. >> thank you, admiral, i think that agility opponent is a key one that we don't spend enough time talking about in a volatile world that we live in. >> thank you for the service to our country. first i would like to offer our condolences to the families of the seven marines and the four soldiers that lost their lives in the training and the exercise in the gulf of mexico. anything that i can do to help you all, please to not hesitate to call upon me or anyone on my team. my first question is for secretary mccue, secretary mavis, and secretary james.
one of my priorities is knowing that should we engage in current or future military conflicts our service members go into the fight with confidence that our country will take care of then when they return home. in 2007, the commission recommended the establishment of recovery care coordinators. at both d.o.d. and the v.a. to care for wounded warriors. if, god forbid service members should become injured or ill serving our country i want to make sure they will do everything in our power to get them the care they need when they get home. so i would like to learn what are your service branchs doing to ensure from active service to the v.a. for our most wounded, injured, and ill service members. and what can we do to make sure we identify every member that qualifies for the federal recovery care. and i have one more question following this one, i appreciate
your answers. if i may start, it is a critically important question, and one that i try to at least elude to in my opening comments. we have, i think, a legal responsibility, a moral responsibility to ensure that those who return home and the first instance get the medical care they deserve. all of us set up wounded warrior care and facilities. we are configuring ours now to respond to the diminishing budgets, also the phasing out of wartime activities that we endure for the last few years. the story of transitioning from active service over to va care has been one of challenges and successes and thanks in no small measure to the congress and their focus on that. all of us have come a long way
toward ensuring through what's known as the process by which the medically retired or moved over to the va has improved for the army a much different story today than it was in recent years where we're meeting all the current time frames as to the development of the case file, the scheduling of the physicals and such. we provide a dashboard where they can see where they are. we provided that visibility. we're meeting as i said, all the standards that dod has. there are still challenges between the va and the united states military, dod. and we're supporting the va to help them meet those objectives as well. it's been something of a moving target. but i understand the va now
thinks they'll be in compliance with the processing. hopefully i believe it's by the start of next year. >> thank you. >> what secretary mchugh said, we have no higher greater responsibility than to care for those who have born the battle. through the experience we've had. secretary mchugh described some of the things -- the marines have the wounded warrior battalions. it is to aid in the medical care, the reintegration, either back into the military or into civilian life of those who have been wounded and to give each of them an advocate to help them through the process. to make appointments for them to tell them what benefits are
available and to do it for them and their caregivers, for their family members or friends who have assumed the burden of caring for them. and we are also meeting and exceeding the requirements in terms of time. i would say that even though we're doing that, we can do better. >> i look forward to reading whatever you have to add. thank you. >> the last -- one more question question. your time has expired. >> thank you dr. fleming. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to thank and congratulate our panel of service chiefs and
secretaries today. thank you for your service at this critical time in history and all the great work you're doing. i want to site secretary james and general -- chairman walsh as well, because -- welsh, i'm sorry. because you have put our nuclear triad and our nuclear enterprise at such a high priority level that's so important, and i'm very concerned about our bombers, our b-52s, and the fact that you have the long range strike bomber in your sights. i really appreciate that. that's so important. i'm going to ask a general question, and i'm not sure who is best qualified to answer this, this really may be -- may more be a chairman question for the budget committee. we're talking about oco used to supplement and get beyond those
caps. the question many of us have is, in what way can that be used in useful ways, beyond just the underlying purpose of oko? >> i don't claim any particular expertise, but i can provide a response at least from the army perspective based on some of the articles i've read and discussions i've been in. i believe for the army, the committees are looking at placing the cost of our end strength above 450 into oko. which by most standards would be an allowable utilization. that would provide the army a rough estimate here about $4.2 billion in relief of the $6 billion that the president's budget would provide over sequestration. that's a far better outcome than
sequestration, there's no argument about that. we have about $5.5 billion in our current accounts that should be in the base. that's the factor of many things that happened in recent years in theater. we've got to move that money over at some point. to add to that it's just i think, important for everyone to understand, we'll add to the challenge of getting into the base budget at some point in the future those unsuspect -- unsupportable funds that are currently reside inging. >> i appreciate your answer, you're saying in terms of in strength. it's useful for that purchase. there's been huge amounts of investments. we've grown the training area about 40,000 acres.
there's been huge investments in military construction. and yet we can see the strength go from 10,000 down to as low as 2,000 troops. that would be a huge waste of money going-forward, and you know just how key that base is for training for overseas operations. for the air force, how does that affect what you do? are there some limitations in how you can use that usefully? >> i would say that under the rules of what is allowable to go into oko we too have constraints, similar to what you heard secretary mchugh talk about. i don't intend to be an expert in all of this the basic rule is that the overseas operations are what are funded through oko. i'm sure that we i couldn't quote you the figures we also have at present certain things in oko, which probably more specifically belong rightfully belong in the base budget. my plea to you would simply be
i don't know how to fix this if the use of oko, if it's allowable or you can find a way to make it allowable, or this gets us over the hump, i'm in favor of getting us over the hump. >> i would just add the real issue for us because we are really in a dire place as far as needing to recap tallize and modernize the air force. the problem is that you can't count on it over time, for long term investment or modernization, which is one of the problems we have. anything is better than nothing, however. >> and i appreciate that fact. the problem is if we take those caps off, the other caps come off, and then, you know, we begin a downward spiral in our budget. this is being creative by using oko fund ss for our military, but considering all the parties involved, it seems the best approach to take. with that, i yield back, thank you.
>> thank you mr. chairman. one of the things that comes up in the midst of these challenging budget discussions, we have to make trade offs are some of the political obstacles that members of this committee or even the larger of the congress put in front of you, and i would like to just take a minute to try to bring some of those to the surface. we heard talks about cuts you want to make, that are painful, cutting the a-10. but if each of you could complicate for us a few of greater detail a few of these challenges you see from us, when you were trying to make sure that you do your jobs under the constraints that we put before you. >> if you want specific examples, we've taken 80,000 out of the component. even under the president's
budget, it will be a total of 120,000. we've significantly reduced our size and ability to respond. in addition to that, we still have about a four to five year readiness problem. we still don't have enough money even as we go down to those levels until about 2020. we have about a five-year significant risk. we've already cancelled our infantry fighting vehicle, which we desperately need. >> i'm not asking for examples of cuts you don't want to make. i'm asking for examples of cuts you do want to make, but for reasons within the congress you're not able to make them. >> what i would say is brac, we have a billion dollars half a billion dollars a year in infrastructure in the army. we have to address that issue, if we don't, we're goi