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tv   Admirals Testify on Naval Warship Accidents  CSPAN  September 11, 2017 5:14am-5:53am EDT

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ontinue timove these skills where we y 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 oraons and further discussion on that would be useful in your report suppose will deal with that as a potential training ast. with that, i yie back. thank you, m chairman. >> thank you, congressman. we now proceed to the conessman f wisconsin. > thank you, mr. chaian. gentlemen thank you for joining us today. i want to revisit two lining of uestions hopefully wiout eing repetitive. i think one
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of my colleagues mentioned the 015 gao studyhat found e navy was only able to meet4% f requests to meet operational requirements. at the time the equirements. at the time the na indicated that it wou iar over 150 more ships to lly me all co-co demands.
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my question is that has that umber changed? if so, what is the number now? and what fleetize would that correspond to? correspond to?
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>> 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 wreally 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 wneed answered is wh is the right number of ships you need in order to avoid placing that stress on the force and avoid tragic accidents ke that?
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»¿ >> thankou. i have one, quick, final question for any one of you who want to answer, would you say sequestration might ha had something to 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 nsecutive, continuing resolutions, and we are about to hit another one. those budget uncertainties drive
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 i yield back. >> thank you, congressman. we now proceed to t congressman rodney davis of illinois. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thanks to all the members, especially wilson and thornberry for alling a noncommittee member to be here today. and i want to say a special thank you to the sta. they helped connect my office in a very difficult time for o of the families in my district of the loss of petty officer logan palmer, one of the sailors on
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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 the tragic accidents other what caused the tragic accident of my constituent constituent mr. palmer. we will never rget the service orhe sacrifice and we are praying for all their families and friends duringhis time. it is up to us as congress to allow you the opportunity and resources to fully investiga why these accidents have occurred. i really -- getting here at the end of the hearing, i have been able to lien to so much anso many questions that i would have had, be it the issuon the possible cyber attack that my colleague from missouri brought up. t sequestration issue and funding issue that we in congress nd to do a betterob 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 thatt never happens again to any of us and y of the families that have been affected. so we want to provide you those resources. and we want to do a better job
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on your end. b throughout this process, which was a first for me, to be so engaged with the family who lost one of our heroes. and i wanto 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 ve 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 st seemed like it took -- it took a lot longer than what i would have imaged. it was verbureaucratic and getting information on lan took too much time and it inlved way too many people. hat can be done or is actively
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being done to help the families have a better more streamlined process when tragedies like this occur? because again, my first experience, palmer's first experience, while it was good, ould have bn a lot better. >> i don't think there is eing done to help the families anything that anybody could have said today that would he made us feel anyorse than to hear that a family member experienced something less than the sufficient amount of ervice that we owe ese families. so i'll take that on personally. i promise you that we will fix whatever issues came up with the palmefamily. 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.
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we know that the social media envinment that we're in works inside of our ability to move information around to those who we know that the social media ne 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, ut 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 l of good pple working this case. i will tell you i was probably most concerned that an outside organization had to pay r the flights of the family to go see their son's body returned to dover air force base.
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>> it wasn't that they had to pay for it, congressman. it was that we did not get the government tmove as fa as we should have. >> so the government does have process? >> yes, sir, they do. >> that's not a requiremt 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 familiesho may not live as close as others they had the opportunity to get to that pointo see their loved one turned forhe crifice that that entire family has need. >> and for them to be with the loved ones and crew mates of their fallen sons and husbands in the location wherth crew is going to memorialize their fallen and we're doing that. > i appreciate your service. i appreciate your recoition of the issues and i look forwd to looking wityo >> thank you. >> thank you. yield back. >> and thank you, congressman davis for your compassion fo
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the family. we now proceed to congresswoman elizabeth este of connecticut. >> want to thank the committee for their allowing my colleague, mr. davis and ito oin in today's proceeding. i too lost a constituent, navy son technician on the fitzgerald fitzgerald. it was his birthday and the family basically surmised by checking s facebook feed. and when the responses to his birthday wishes stopped coming, they began to get woied. so my cus 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 huema side because much of what has een reportetoday has to do
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with leadership, training ana culture of safety. 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 yoso say when we're asking too much with what you havand 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 ainst your culture. but it is required because of the commment 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 tt worse. but it makes it allhe more imptant that you stand up for them and for this country and for this safety.o that's one. >> i look at the safety culture and think about the imrtance of leadership from the top.
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these incidents seemo have occurred in the wee hours of the morning. i wonder if that's an overreliance on equipment and technology with very you sailors who may be concerned about and not have the experience with how heavy the shipping lanes are. so i think e heaviness of the shiing lanes suggest we maybe need to do different training t also as safety culture of, if you have any doubt whatsoever, anything that seems not right, you must immediately notify right up thchain 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 jo i think if you have a safety culture that might mpower our young sails and then go to the training of those young sailors, the motion that ty are working 100 hour
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workweeks is really teifying for them and for us. and it makes me think about what happened in medicine when we looked at the death rates with new interns who are working hospitals and working very long shifts. it got so bad that states beg to paslaws prohibiting longer rkweek so agn i think that's sometng you need to look at, the capacity of peopl to operate under pressure with these kinds of hours. it is unfair to them, it is unsafe and it is wrong. and we ed 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 vy long hours and being given enormous responsibility. so i hope we can learn from the checklismanifesto and other areas which could help save
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lives here. so those are really my thoughts about what wcan do. but also what we may all collectively nd to dto protect e lives of these young ople. i think about this as the aunt of a nephew who's traini to be 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 w 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 assign blame but we are looking to corct 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 e address this immediately and e owe it to the familiestod, he familiar lis unable to join and the traumatized shipmates f those and those who went back into those ships to try to retrieve their friends and camrades. this thanks for their hard work
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and assisting us not on the committee in trying to do our jobs for our constituents. >> and thank you very much for ur 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 conclung. but mr. pendleton, how will you be able to determine when the services are ceving readiness recovery? >> mr. chairman, we -- we're doing a broader body of work, sentially 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 atched the priority it was aiming that it had, that said what the goals were and when hey would be achieved and what
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it would take in ter omoney and time and that need to be agreement on it from the top. because what we saw when we looked at it in depth was all h rvices were pursuing individual plans izeal but not necessarily being pull together in a department-wide plan. so what we're looking for, is it clear what the goals are d how are we going against those goals? in the case of the hey vinavy, they had a glide path. and our concern was the glide path idn'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 makeif 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 ave to reiterate ain how professional and independent your reports have been and so helpful for members of congress d our military. and speaking of a plan, admiral moran, do you believe that we have an
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effective plan for readiness recovery to erase the intenance max logs to restore the manning short falls to allow the navy to meet the critical operational requirements again without them off the glide path. so risking the lives of our ilors? >> we do have a plan. we think it's an appropriate plan for recovering all the areas you just talked out, buying down the maintenance backlog, getting our manpower in the right place. we are just -- we must have some stabili in the budget so thate can follow through on those plans. if we're constantly changing it year after year, quarter to quarter, it makes it difficult
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to assess our baseline. i think we have a mu better understanding of what it's going to take to recover in conas than clearly understand what it's going to take to recover in fdnf. >> is the technology available to maintain and determine the perimeter of vehicle -- vessels so this won't happen again? e have a lot of systemshat do it, conibute to the information that's available to he team on the bridge in cic and elsewhere. what we have to o is really examine, and admiral hatalked about this, the integration of those systems and we have all of that information being provided to multiple sets of
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eyes on that bridge at any given time. >> that's so impornt for navy and military families. chairman whit man. >> thank you. i want to go back to you and get some definition about time versus resoces. the navy asked for a billion ollars 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 fundamenl question. that is time versus resources. understanding those ituations, are we in a situation of having the proper resources going forward to get all of the modnization and maintenance work done to make sure we have the full capability so that mission certifications can be gaed on time and do we have the time to do that? so just want to get your
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perspectivon 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'have the time to train, we don't have the staff to matain the ships to the level we need and the maintenance goes longer, the time to train gets shorter. off tempgoes up. we get into this spiral that's not healthy. havi said all that, we also need to intain a good path. those yard perio are for a reason. we are restoring that readins. 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 choic 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 oucapability to stay up with the threats as we
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see them around the globe. io worry about that, and that's something th we will continue to press forward as we continue to submit our budgets to store readiness also include keeping up not just the capacity but the capability. >> let me talk about it in a ierent 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 wherthe is only so much where time is then not manageable by the navyecause you don't have enough capacity to get the work done and when that work stacks up there is no way you can pipeline. givee 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 thatour duties are there with the surface duty. but that becomes bigger issue wn it comes to
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what we see with submarines. but admiral, give me your perspective from the surface navy standpoint. i will get admiral ran to add because i nk it has some reverberations there with surface navy work. >> as you know, we are all surface ship availability and aintenance are done in the private shipyards. they want stability as y know and to get stability you have to have the money ere and the commitment to doing that maintenance and modernizations thate -- so right now we have -- we're putting money into hat and we're seeing this kind of lag response in daying building the workforce, delay in having the available prive ship workers and, oh, yeah, the quality of the shipyards that are all competing r the same workers. wcat do it quickly enough
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and we're going toet bogged down, which ll put more pressure on those forces. i think that's what you are opefully trying to get at. > we're starting toee some of that reverberate overnto 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 cplicates your issue in getting throughput through the private yards. >> yessir. iis a tough oblem, just in thealent that we've got acrs the yards. but on the public side, it's the only place we can do nuclear work. it is the only place you can 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, bo with secretary of the navy's oice and within the navy is a roller coaster ride
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on throughput of work. and if have that roller coaster ride, we won't be able to maintain capacity and capabity to get the work do. even if do have the will a the resources and then we make the time for this to happen, ife 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 vw of wt's going on, e internal review,s well as secretary spencer's revi, that it also carries over into the courses of action to correct this and seeinghat do we doo see thers that apacity there that's sustainable in yds, public and prive. >> that's a critical element of
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these reviews, in doubt. >> let me end with one additional questions. in each of t two collisions for fitzgerald and john mccain, these were happening during routine operations. and what we see aroundhe world today and you all have eluded that, that there are over 50,000 vessels transiting in the oceans eve day. that's a lot of traffic out there. as you point out, too, much of it isecked down into some crital areas. toky shipping lanes, all those areas where the navy operates on a daily basis. what we see, o, is we have the ships thawe interact with that are much less capable as far as the capability of their sensors, their situational awareness, our warships, the bestn the world, lots of sensors, ts of capability. admiral, as you knownd going into your background, being the former ship handler of the year, yo have got firsthand expience about what it takes to successfully handle a ship. based on your experience, give e your perspective on where we
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eed to go in training within that realm today andhat we eed to to make sure we're developing the best mariners developing t best mariners for our rface force. i know you spoke a little bit about that, but i want to get your experience becse you have been tre. you were there on have been recognized if your skill in doing that. you have a unique perspective. i want to t you to share this and then we'll go to mr. courtney, too. >> yes, r. i honestly when i have heard of these incidents i was frankly shocked. i have observed a lot
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of strong profsionalism in the folks i have dea with throho 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 the folki have dealt with throughout the surface. so i'm hings. but to your question of how we get good at our mariners skls, we have to get back to basics. i mean, yes, we have -- we are warships with the best sensors and capabilitiesn the
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world. a lot of those aren't used for knave gags, but our tools for navigation are good enougho do what we need to do. the question is are we sing them the best way we can? i know you are a fisherman in your past and i know you spent i know you are a fisherman in
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 i yield back. >> thank you, congressman. we now oceed to the congressman roey 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 tohe staff. they helped connect my office in a very difficult time for one of the families imy district of the loss of petty officer logan almer, one of the sailors on
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thjohn s. mcin. that's why i'here today. i'm here because i appreciate what my colleagues on this committee are ing to urge the navy and urge our military to investigate what caused these ragic accidents other what caused the tragic accident of caused the tragic accident of my constituent constituent mr. palmer. we will never foet the service or the sacrifice and we are pying for all thr families
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 i knowhat's probably going to be part of the davidson study in terms of trying to get the lines of decion 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 t 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 responsiblfor that. it works its way through the surface force, for example, you talk surfe ships, obviously the carriehas components of viation and so on and so
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forth, so there are many places and pele that are responsible for adequately resourcing the manning, training, equipping. the erational 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 issions is clearly the local operational commanders in japan. the model tt 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 wille titl 10, s-1 if you will responsility to make cours erational commanders in apan. the model that you corrections based on the commentions. in the interim period, admiral swift is going after thiso make sure as we go through the review he's got deeper understanding a will
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adjust where he needs to adjust to lower the tension if you will between that off tempo and maintenance training aspects of what he is doing out in japan. >> i thought t answer to general thornberry, the navy made a tough cl in terms of carrier deployments, it was driven by external forces that we had to set up a schede 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 n chew. i think kind of screams out from t report and gao, hat's somethi we have to
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understand, 0 hours a week, deployment, there's got be sort of a way to decide when to rebalance. thank you, mr. chairman, yield ck. >> 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 sta who have been here and helpfu 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 thi what we are getting at the moment is specific to the incidents on board the fitzrald and mccain. i am interested to learn the breakdown with the assessment, at least in the timelines of


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