|We Must Bring Into Balance Our Strategy and Our Force Structure |
We Must Bring Into Balance Our Strategy and Our Force Structure
Testimony before the House Appropriations Committee: Fiscal Year 2002 Defense Budget Request As Given by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton, and Comptroller Dov Zakheim, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC, Monday, July 16, 2001.
Rep. Lewis: If the committee will come to order -- (pause) -- good morning, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Mr. Chairman, nice to see you.
Rep. Lewis: Let me begin the meeting by expressing my appreciation for those of you who were so responsive to adjusting your schedule last week. My bride and I had to spend a little time in California on a special family matter that had nothing to do with me, but on the other hand, we want you to know that everything is going fine, and we're happy to be with you.
Most appreciative of your readjusting today, Mr. Secretary, General Shelton, Dr. Zakheim.
I wanted to mention, just as an aside, Mr. Secretary, to give you a sense of the committee's concern about our schedule -- I believe you know very well that the committee has been very supportive of the review that you're about. But to put it in some perspective in terms of our challenges, it was one year ago tomorrow that we were filing the conference report for the '01 bill. Generally speaking, it suggested that it's very advisable to have defense matters move well ahead of the pack, if we possibly can, because there are people in the place who do believe that there are other priorities beside defense, no matter what this subcommittee might think.
So this year, because of a number of circumstances, we're going to be in the midst of that very competitive environment. And so the committee is going to have rather intensive work to do in the months ahead.
We are appreciative of your scheduling problems, but frankly, this is my first go-round with a new administration that happens to be my administration, where they want to review the way we've been spending dollars -- appropriately so. But in the meantime, it's created some problems and challenges that we will be asking you to help us with as we go forward.
As the committee comes to order, today the committee is pleased to welcome the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, secretary of Defense, second time around; General Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Dr. Dov Zakheim, the comptroller of the Defense Department.
General Shelton, this may be your last appearance before the committee, and we want you to know that the committee is very proud of the some thirty-eight years of dedicated service you've given to our military forces. And particularly your service over these last years has been just -- to talk about capping off a career, you have made a fantastic contribution to the nation's strength, and we want you to know the committee appreciates that work.
General Shelton: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Rep. Lewis: Our witnesses are here to testify on the president's amended defense budget request for fiscal year 2002. It's taken more than a usual amount of time, as I suggested, to put this package together, Mr. Secretary, but we can appreciate the challenges you've been facing.
While the department's budget request for the fiscal year that's ahead of us is $328.9 billion, that is a reflection of 32.6 billion over last year's enacted level. This represents an increase of 7 percent, taking inflation into account, the largest proposed single- year increase for defense since the mid-1980s.
Mr. Secretary, for a good many years now, members of this committee have been pointing out the need for significant funding increases in support of our national security effort, and there is no question that with this budget you and the president have recognized this as well. And I would ask those who would question the size of this increase to carefully examine where these additional funds would go. Of the $33 billion increase, some three-quarters, or nearly 25 billion, is in direct support of our men and women in uniform for increases in pay and medical care, for housing and installations and for training and operational support. That is the vast majority of the additional funds you're requesting, and it's really by way of taking care of the basics. They put our people first, and for that, Mr. Secretary, I commend you.
Another area of emphasis in this budget lies in the area of missile defense. I must say that General Kadish had to be doing a dance over the weekend -- (laughter) -- as we began to face a series of tests, as he's described it, but a very, very successful development in terms of the prospect of asking for additional funding for missile defense. In this area, the administration is bringing forward a series of proposals which, in terms of policy, priority and process have already generated debate and no small degree of controversy. This involves not just questions about the ABM Treaty, but also over funding priorities within our defense program and whether and how we can redesign the process for developing and fielding new technologies to meet new threats. I hope we are able to engage with you today on these issues involving missile defense, Mr. Secretary, for they are not only important in and of themselves, but they speak to a larger challenge we all must confront; that is, what are the real threats of the future?
Where should we be putting our priorities, and how best can we move forward once we decide to meet those priorities, for as we all know, the threat of ballistic missiles is just one of many challenges that confront our nation and its allies as we move into the years ahead.
These are hard questions, and as we consider this budget, Mr. Secretary, many fundamental questions still remain unanswered. This budget does not address changes to war-fighting strategies, the size and composition of future force structures, nor how to transform our forces for the future.
We realize that these are issues for the Quadrennial Defense Review that will be completed later this year, but they're still vital inputs to the defense appropriations process. And especially where appropriations are concerned, a major question is: Can we afford, and how do we best balance the costs of adequately supporting today's forces, modernizing that force in the near term, and beginning the process of transformation that force for the demands of the 21st century? This is a question the committee must grapple with now, and as we consider the fiscal year 2002 defense budget, we urge you, Mr. Secretary, to work with us closely and make results from the QDR available to the committee as soon as possible.
You have rightly noted in your written testimony that the United States armed forces are the best trained, best equipped, most powerful military force on the face of the earth. We want you to know that this committee is proud of that force and the exceptional professionalism and dedication of all Defense Department personnel, from the newest recruit, Mr. Secretary, to you and, of course, to General Shelton, who in the months ahead is probably going to have some phenomenal new challenges, and we will miss this fantastic service that has been yours, General.
So, after my good friend, Jack Murtha, has made his remarks, I'd invite you to summarize your statements and then we'll proceed with questioning.
Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, he welcomed you three, but one of the most important people here is Arlene Lewis, who is with us today. Seldom do we get the honor of having her, so we welcome Arlene Lewis to this hearing.
See her back there?
Rep. Lewis: Thank you. (Chuckles.)
Rep. Murtha: All right.
I'm disappointed, Mr. Secretary. We harped, this committee harped with the Clinton administration to either reduce the tempo of operations or increase the budget. We knew that without one or the other we were going to have an inadequate defense budget. We're going through the same drill again where this budget is inadequate, in my estimation.
I'll say this. Where you put the money, as the chairman said, is exactly the right place. The thing I hear when I'm out in the field is problems with health care, the problems with quality of life, the problems with housing, and you have addressed that issue the best you could with the amount of money you have available. But as the tempo of operations stays the same, without reducing that tempo of operations, we're going down a very treacherous slope, in my estimation, and we're going to have a difficult time keeping the quality of the troops at the highest level with this high technology that we address.
The $20 billion, I agree completely with where you distribute it. The supplemental, we made a suggestion in the supplemental and I think, I hope that Dr. Zakheim will pay attention to it. We put $200 million into the installations of health care so that we can get ahead of the curve. Inflation rate is 3 percent in the installations and 13 percent when we buy the care from outside vendors. They need more nurses, they need more administrators, and so forth, and we tried to make that change, and I hope that you'll look at that and see if we can not even do more next year to provide better and more medical care in the military installations themselves.
But I can't argue with the amount of money that was distributed to you. I can't argue with any of the priorities that you have set forward, and look forward to hearing your justification for the budget.
Rep. Lewis: Thank you, Mr. Murtha.
Mr. Secretary, as I have indicated, your entire statement will be included in the record, but you may proceed as you will and we look forward to an open exchange here. I do understand at the beginning that General Shelton and others have schedule pressures and we're going to try to move forward in an expeditious manner and, in the meantime, General Shelton, we're interested very much in your comments as well.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
(Discussion aside about microphone.)
Rep. Lewis: This is the Appropriations Committee. We can't really figure the electronics out -- (laughter).
Secretary Rumsfeld: Apparently that's the mike. Whose is this? (Laughter.)
Rep. Lewis: It's your public, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary Rumsfeld: (Laughs.) Mr. Chairman, I thank you, and members of the committee. I appreciate the tight schedule you're on and assure you we will do everything to cooperate with you as we go forward. And certainly the results of the QDR will be available to this committee as they become available.
Congressman Murtha, with respect to your comment, let me say that we do -- General Shelton has a study underway with respect to the department's engagement approach across the globe, and I am advised that he believes and the chiefs believe that the op tempo issue has been moderated somewhat today relative to, I suppose, a year, year and a half, two years ago.
I do -- rather than reading my statement, I'd just like to save time for some exchange of views. Let me just make a few comments.
This committee knows well the numbers and the situation of the armed forces today probably better than almost everyone in Washington. So you understand the shortfalls that the men and women in uniform have been facing in terms of readiness, operation, procurement, health care, maintenance, infrastructure, modernization, housing, intelligence. We do have the best-trained, best-equipped military force on earth, as the chairman indicated, and peace and prosperity and freedom across the world are underpinned by the stability and the security that these men and women provide.
But there is no question but that years of underfunding and overuse have taken a toll. With the end of the Cold War there was a drawdown, an appropriate peace dividend, but it overshot the mark by a good deal, and as the size of the forces reduced, the men and women in uniform were asked to take on more and more missions. They saluted, they did their best, but at the cost of putting off maintenance, training, procurement and other necessities, and now that bill is staring us in the fact. The cumulative effective of year after year of neglect is catching up.
The budget numbers the chairman mentioned; it's a sizable increase; some $22.8 billion. That's a significant commitment of the taxpayers' dollars, but we need every cent of it, let there be no doubt. We need the funds for pay and housing and health care and quality of life; we need it for the backlog in maintenance, modernization and transformation and research and development, and this budget certainly helps. But let's be clear, it does not get us well. I know that and you know that. The underinvestment and over- use of the force went in far too long; the gap is too great; the hole we're in is too deep; there is no way to spend our way out of it in one year. Again, you know that and I know that.
We're proposing this budget in full recognition that just to keep the department going next year on a straight-line basis, with no improvements, just covering costs and inflation, and honest budget numbers, we'd need a budget of $347 billion -- another $18 billion increase. To get well by 2007, that is to meet current requirements in areas like readiness, proper flying time, training, maintenance and so forth, would cost the American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars more, and that's before calculating the additional investment that will be needed for transformation.
It's an indication of the depth of the hole we're in that the $22.8 billion increase that the president proposes only makes a good dent in the shortfall that the armed forces are facing. So where do we find the money for the rest of the needs? We simply have to match these sizable spending increases with sizable increases in efficiency at DOD. And I've asked the department to come up with reforms and cost savings that we can undertake in the coming months, but we'll need Congress to give us greater freedom to achieve cost savings, so we can assure the taxpayers that we're using their dollars more efficiently, and we can redirect funds to urgent priorities. We simply have got to turn waste into weapons.
Today we're proposing some immediate and significant savings and efficiencies, but we'll need help from the Congress to allow us to do more.
Let me make a comment about the B-1 bomber that's been very much in the news. It's a 20-year-old system. It's not stealthy. It's designed for the Cold War. That has been headed towards expensive obsolescence. Last month, the Air Force proposed to modernize the aging B-1 fleet, turn it into a more potent weapon capable of contributing to 21st century security without requiring new money. It proposed cutting the size of the force from 93 to 60, taking the remaining aircraft and concentrating them in two of the largest B-1 bases rather than the five bases where they're scattered today. The Air Force would then take the savings, use them to modernize the remaining aircraft with new precision weapons, self-protection systems, reliability upgrades, so that they can become viable in a future conflict. They are not viable in a conflict today; they're too vulnerable.
Doing this would add some $1.5 billion of advance combat capability to today's aging B-1 fleet over the next five years without requiring additional dollars. It would make the B-1 force usable so that it could provide America the kind of all-weather, long-range strike capability that will be critical in the 21st century. This is the kind of efficiency we owe the taxpayers.
Congressional support for the plan would send an important signal to all of the services and give them an incentive to find further cost savings by telling them that such efforts will be rewarded with freed- up funds to improve capabilities. Failure of this proposal would send a damaging signal across the defense establishment that finding ways to save money and increasing efficiency is a waste of time and leads to nothing but hostility to the Air Force.
That's not the message we need to send, so a lot is riding on the decision, and we need your support and the support of Congress on this effort to respect the taxpayers' dollars.
Another example, of the Peacekeeper -- I won't go into it. I've mentioned it in my prepared remarks. It's a system that is no longer needed, and the warheads will be needed, and we believe that it is an effective and efficient way to proceed.
There are other cost savings. I have no desire in the world to enter into a round of base closing. When you get up in the morning, that's not the first thing you want to do. It's just a very difficult thing to do. It makes people unhappy. It causes anguish and angst and concern. But we have to do it. Everyone who talks about says we've got 20 to 25 percent more base structure than we need. We simply cannot be respectful of the taxpayers' dollars and sit there toting, year after year, 20 to 25 percent more base structure than is required to operate this department. So we're going to be coming at you -- as little stomach as I have for it, we will be coming at you on base closings.
I could go on, but the point is this: I've never seen an organization, public or private, that could not operate at something like 5 percent greater efficiency, but only if it has the freedom to do it. But it's not possible to do that at DOD, because of the restrictions on the department and the way it currently functions.
So unless the department is given encouragement to turn waste into weapons, we will have to come to you next year asking you to appropriate more of the taxpayers' dollars to still -- meet still more urgent needs, many of which could have been paid for by finding cost savings.
Five percent of the DOD budget is something in excess of $15 billion. We could do a great deal with that saving. We could pay $3 billion needed to annually increase ship procurement from six to nine ships, so we could maintain a steady state, 300-plus ship Navy. We could cover the 1.4 billion needed annually to fund base operation requirements, or we could pay the entire annual cost of procuring the additional aircraft necessary to help meet the steady state requirements for Navy, Air Force, and Army aircraft. These are all important priorities that need to be funded, and I would certainly prefer to come to you next year and tell you that we've found ways to fund certain programs by operating more efficiently.
Mr. Chairman, we need the support of the committee for the president's budget. We need every dime. We need your support for the proposed increases in pay and housing, the quality of life for our men and women in uniform. We need your support to fund the increased flying hours that are needed. We need your support to reduce the backlog of facilities, maintenance, and repair, and weapon system maintenance and repair for modernization, and for transformational research and development. But we also need your support to give us the freedom to move dollars from waste into more effective capabilities for this country.
As I said at the outset, after a decade of underfunding and overworking our force, we're in a hole.
Getting out of it will require significant, sustained investment. I'll feel a lot better about it coming before this committee next year to ask for those funds if I can tell you and the president and the American people that we're treating the taxpayers' monies responsibly; and today we are not.
Rep. Lewis: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. We appreciate your candor. I'm glad that there was nothing provocative in your remarks.
Secretary Rumsfeld: (Laughs.)
Rep. Lewis: General Shelton, I have not been to India since 1965, but in my youth, I had a chance to spend a good deal of time in that subcontinent shortly after 1947, when it became the world's largest democracy, a country that continues to expand and grow. I was astonished, upon first having the opportunity to have this job, to learn that we'd had almost no significant high-level contact with the military in India.
It was my understanding that you may be headed in that direction here shortly, presuming our schedules work out. But in the meantime, frankly, I've got to tell you that I'm very pleased with the fact that you are making that effort. I hope to follow sometime later in the year on a return visit myself, so I'd really appreciate your spending some time with me after you have a chance to return from that contact.
So with that, General Shelton, we are very pleased to hear whatever you might want to present to the committee.
General Shelton: Well, thanks, Mr. Chairman. I'll look forward to it and I will get with you as soon as I get back.
Chairman Lewis and Congressman Murtha and other distinguished members of this committee, it really is an honor to be with you here again today and to report to you on the state of America's armed forces. I'd like to highlight just a few key priorities and concerns from my written statement, which I've submitted for the record, and then we'll move right into your questions.
First let me thank the Congress, and this committee in particular, for your significant and sustained support of our men and women in uniform. And let me thank you, Chairman Lewis, for your very kind words this morning. Thank you.
With your help, we've made considerable progress in a lot of areas that directly impact the overall health and welfare of our troops, from the increased pay and allowances to pay table reforms, to TriCare reform and expanded health care coverage, to additional funding to provide adequate housing for our military families, and finally, the budget plus-ups that have enabled us to arrest the decline in readiness for many of our front-line and first-to-fight units.
But let me also say that we need to sustain this momentum if we are preserve the long-term health and readiness of the force in the years to come. Together as we consider new budgets, new national security strategies, it's important that we also remember that the quality of people in our military is what is extremely important because they, in essence, are the critical enablers for all that we hope to accomplish.
Since my last testimony before this committee, we have been reminded of the human element of our national security in several profound ways.
Last October, the USS Cole was savagely attacked by terrorists in the port of Aden and 17 sailors died in that attack. Some have asked why would we put a ship in harm's way in such a dangerous part of the world? Well, that's what we do; we go into harm's way to protect America's interests around the globe. The sailors of the USS Cole were en route to the Gulf to establish our presence and to protect America's vital interests.
And last December we had two U.S. Army helicopters that crashed during a training exercise in Hawaii. Nine soldiers died in that crash. And some asked, why would the Army put its soldiers into harm's way during a dangerous training mission in the black of night? Well, that's what we do, we train for the most difficult missions that we'll face. We must know that when America's interests are threatened, we'll be ready to go, day or night, because failure is not an option. We minimize the risks to our great men and women in uniform, but we have to train like we anticipate having to fight.
A few months ago, as we all know, an unarmed EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft flying in the airspace over the China Sea was struck by a Chinese fighter and, of course, for a while we had 24 of our great personnel detained. Some ask why are we conducting surveillance against another nation? My answer to that is, "That's what we do." We are vigilant, we are watchful because we know that our interests and those of our allies in the region may be challenged and we must be ready.
I'm very proud of the performance of these great men and women and the thousands of others who very proudly wear the uniform of our country. They have been and always will be our decisive edge. Indeed, they're so good at what they do, unless there's an incident or an accident, we rarely take notice of the contributions that they make to national security. They sail our ships, they fly our aircraft, they go on patrols quietly and professionally, and America is safe and enjoying great prosperity in part because of them.
However, today our people and our forces are experiencing some significant challenges, a number of which I'd like to bring to your attention today.
To begin with, although our first-to-fight forces are trained and ready to meet any emergent requirement, we find that many other operational units are not as ready. These include our strategic airlift fleet; our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft; our combat service support units; and our training bases, all of which provide critical capabilities to our war-fighting forces. These units are in some cases suffering the consequences of high-op tempo and the diversion of resources to sustain the near-term readiness of the first-to-fight forces.
In fact, since 1995, DOD has experienced a 133 percent increase in the number of military personnel committed to joint operations. I mean real-world events, not exercises, and we are doing it with 9 percent fewer people. This high operational tempo on segments of the force has placed an increased strain on our people.
I believe that the fundamental cause of the situation is the imbalance between our national security strategy and the post-1997 QDR force. Fixing this imbalance during -- it's one of the key goals of this year's QDR and one of the top priorities for Secretary Rumsfeld and all the Joint Chiefs, because the challenge will only increase over time, and we owe it to our people to get it right.
In fact, today we are struggling to reconcile a multitude of competing demands, including near-term readiness imperatives, long- term modernization and recapitalization of some of our aging systems, and infrastructure investments essential to preserve the world's best war-fighting capability.
And as I've mentioned in previous testimony, we made a conscious decision to cut procurement accounts in the 1990s and to live off the investments of the 1980s. This marked reduction in procurement means that the average age of most of our major weapons systems continues to increase, as highlighted by the secretary. Many of them have experienced or exceeded, rather, their planned service life or are fast approaching it.
Let me provide you with just a few examples. Our front-line air superiority fighter, the F-15, averages 17 years, and it's only three years away from the end of its original designed service life. Our airborne tanker fleet and B-52 bomber force are nearly 40 years old. ISR, our intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft and electronic warfare aircraft platform, such as the RC-135, Rivet Joint, our EP-3s, our P-3s, and our EA-6Bs, all average between 19 and 38 years of service. And finally, there are numerous helicopter platforms within the department, in all the services, and they have either passed or are fast approaching the end of their original designed service lives. In fact, most of the war-fighting platforms I've just mentioned meet with 25-year rule required by the great state of Virginia to qualify for an antique license plate.
Our force is not aging gracefully. Today we spend significantly more each year to maintain our aging equipment in repair parts and maintenance down time and in maintenance support. And the operational environment and current pace of operations requires us to keep this equipment ready to go. But to do that, as you know, we've been draining resources from the very same modernization accounts that we should be using to buy replacement systems. If we don't replace these systems soon, either the force structure will shrink further, or we'll have to continue to maintain the same systems, which results -- is resulting in spiraling operations cost and maintenance cost, and also reduced combat capability. In my opinion, these are unacceptable options. The bottom line is, I don't believe that we'll be able to sustain our long-term readiness under these conditions.
So what do we do? Two things. We must bring into balance our strategy and our force structure, and we must significantly increase our efforts in procurement to modernize and recapitalize the force. The QDR should produce a strategic blueprint and investment profile to help us shape our force and to carry out the new strategy.
Another related concern is the fact that our vital infrastructure is decaying at an alarming rate. Budget constraints have forced us to make hard choices. We've had to redirect funds from military facilities and infrastructure accounts to support current readiness requirements.
A quality force deserves quality facilities; therefore, I think it's essential that we provide the resources to reverse the deterioration of our post camps and stations. One way that Congress can directly help is to authorize a process to dispose of excess bases and facilities. According to a 1998 DOD BRAC report, we currently have 23 percent excess base capacity.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to focus onwhat I referred to earlier as the decisive edge, and that's our men and women in uniform. President Bush stated that "A volunteer military has two paths; it can lower its standards to fill its ranks, or it can inspire the best and the brightest to join and stay -- and this starts with better pay, better treatment, and better training," end of quote. The president, I believe, has it exactly right.
We must continue to close the significant pay gap that still exists between the military and the private sector. This will allow us to attract and retain the best and the brightest to meet our future needs, and we must make continued investments in health care, in housing and other quality-of-life programs that are essential to sustain a quality force.
One of the most valued recruiting and retention tools that any corporation can offer its potential employees or its current workforce is a comprehensive medical package and, in this regard, DOD is no exception. For that reason, the chiefs and I strongly urge Congress to fully fund the Defense Health Program and all health care costs as a strong signal that we are truly committed to providing quality health care for our troops. I can't think of a better way to renew the bonds of trust between Uncle Sam and our service members and retirees than this commitment to quality health care.
Additionally, I would ask your support to help ensure that all of our men and women in uniform, single, married and unaccompanied, are provided with adequate housing. Unfortunately, this is not the case today. Currently, almost 62 percent of our family housing units are classified as inadequate. Correcting this situation is essential if we are to improve the quality of life for our service members and their families, and as we have learned over the years, we recruit the service members, but we retain the family.
Mr. Chairman, if we are able to achieve success in the initiatives that I have listed, I believe we can sustain our quality force and ensure that America's best and brightest continue to answer the call to serve America.
To sum up, I firmly believe that America has the best military in the world today, but let me also point out that our greatest adversary today, as I have said so many times in the past, is complacency. It's imperative that we take action today to ensure that our men and women in uniform are properly equipped, trained and led, and if we do so, I'm confident that we will prevail in the challenges ahead.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to appear before this committee, Mr. Chairman, and now we look forward to your questions.
Rep. Lewis: Thank you, General Shelton.
Mr. Zakheim: I don't have a prepared statement, sir.
Rep. Lewis: Thank you all very much for being with us this morning. Mr. Secretary, we will follow on with a good deal of discussion regarding what we're doing to attract and retain those fine men and women that General Shelton was referring to. I feel it's kind of my responsibility, though, to join one of the key issues that's a part of your budget at the outset.
Mr. Secretary, the budget proposes spending $8.3 billion on the full range of ballistic missile defense programs. This is an increase over last year of nearly 60 percent, or $3 billion. This is an increase over last year of nearly 60 percent; in addition to this funding increase, the administration is proposing significant changes in policy as well as the acquisition process as it applies to the potential fielding of national and theater missile defense programs.
It's clear that this new program is much more aggressive and complex than earlier efforts. For both national and theater missile defense, you are proposing multiple development programs, carried out in parallel with no firm commitment to any one system or approach. In addition, you are seeking a degree of flexibility in managing the development and potential acquisition of these programs, including broad discretion over how appropriated funds are allocated towards different systems. This is unprecedented in recent memory for any defense program.
Finally, this missile defense program poses many challenging policy questions. These include, first, the need to consider modifying or withdrawing from the ABM Treaty, and second, the relative priority and value of missile defense programs are measured against other pressing demands, such as the department's aging infrastructure equipment, et cetera.
So with that, Mr. Secretary, what is the threat that justifies making these changes? And we'd be very interested in your commentary regarding the significant increases in funding. Mr. Secretary?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman. The intelligence community is unanimous in recognizing the reality that with the end of the Cold War and the relaxation of tension, we have seen the spread of ballistic missile technologies and technologies relating to weapons of mass destruction in many unusual places across the globe, including countries that -- where people are starving, countries that seem to have very little resources. And as a result, they have identified ballistic missiles, as well as other asymmetric threats, including cruise missiles and terrorism, and prospectively cyberattacks, as the kind of threats and problems that the Unite States will be facing in the decades ahead.
Certainly the Gulf War persuaded people that competing with Western armies, navies, and air forces wasn't very wise. And as a result, it is an awful lot cheaper and relatively easy for these countries to attempt to and in fact succeed in gaining ballistic missiles and cruise missiles and weapons of mass destruction.
So the threat is real. It's growing. The numbers of countries with ballistic missiles is increasing every year. The numbers of total ballistic missiles on the face of the Earth are increasing every year. And the destructive power of these weapons is increasing.
The United States some years ago was the target of a ballistic missile, and a number of Americans were killed and wounded in Saudi Arabia, at Dhahran.
Now as to the size of the missile defense budget, it is a research and development and testing budget. It is not a deployment budget.
It is a lot of the taxpayers' money. On the other hand, the Defense Department currently is receiving something less than 3 percent of the gross national product of the United States, and the missile defense budget is, in total, less than 2.5 percent of the defense budget. And the non-theater ballistic missile portion of it is about 1-1/2 percent of the defense budget. So while any numbers of billions of dollars are large in terms of the taxpayers' money, as a percentage, it is a very small fraction of what the Department of Defense is spending.
Rep. Lewis: Mr. Secretary, it's my intention to stay very close to the five-minute rule, because of everybody's schedule today. You did not bring yourself to address, however, the question of the ABM Treaty.
It would appear --
Secretary Rumsfeld: Oh, my apologies. Yes, indeed.
The treaty exists. The United States does not make a practice of violating treaties, and we certainly don't intend to here. The president and President Putin have agreed that there will be discussions between our two countries in the weeks and months immediately ahead. The president has announced publicly, unambiguously and repeatedly that he intends to find and establish some sort of a framework beyond the ABM Treaty, which is a 30-year old treaty that prohibits ballistic missile defense. The president intends to have ballistic missile defense to protect the population centers of the United States as well as of our friends and allies and deployed forces.
The treaty was designed explicitly to prohibit ballistic missile defense. Needless to say, if you want to have ballistic missile defense, you're going to have to find a way to get beyond that treaty. And that is what those discussions are about. That is what the president opened with his counterpart from Russia. I've met with the minister of defense of Russia, Secretary Powell has met with the foreign minister of Russia on these subjects, and we intend to be in close discussion with them in the weeks and months immediately ahead.
Rep. Lewis: Mr. Secretary, I appreciate very much your response.
Let me mention to you that I've spent a little time reviewing in some depth the work of the commission that you chaired so ably that dealt with this subject area. I personally feel strongly that you are addressing a subject forthrightly here that's critical to America's interests, and the committee looks forward to working with you in connection with that.
Rep. Murtha: Thank you.
Mr. Secretary, I'm one of the strongest supporters of missile defense. What I caution you, and I know that you understand, that research is the key to the success of the program. I went over to -- the committee went over to Korea a couple years ago. We rushed THAD to failure. We put so much money in they couldn't spend it, and they rushed the program and it didn't work out A couple years ago, we slowed down the F-22 program because we felt like they were rushing it to failure. The V-22 program, we've had to do the same thing. So I appreciate what you're saying about putting the money in research before we start to deploy the program.
One of the things you said about general provisions -- which we call general provisions, you call restrictions on the Defense Department. (Laughter.)
Secretary Rumsfeld: (Laughs.) Where you stand depends on where you sit.
Rep. Murtha: The vice president, when he was secretary of Defense, called the committee. He said, "We've got to get rid of these general provisions" Staff went over them and I think we eliminated about 65 percent. Well, he called me back. He says, "The lawyers say we have to have them." So I hope we can work closely together because an awful lot of these general provisions are necessary for you to do business.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Right.
Rep. Murtha: And so when I talk about general provisions, we're trying to help you, not hurt you.
One of the other things that we keep failing to mention, tempo of operations, the exercise tempo of operations is as important as anything else we do. These folks come off a -- or come off a deployment, and they come back and then they go on an exercise. The same people do it over and over and over again. And one of the things we have to try is to reduce that exercise tempo of operation at the same time.
Health care. I appreciate what you're saying about funding health care. I just hope the department doesn't come up with a plan that really is inadequate as far as health care for our retirees. And I know we'ave had some discussions about that in the past.
I want to mention that when Vice President Cheney was secretary of Defense, he said that the defense budget should never get below 4 percent of the gross domestic product. Well, of course, we're well below 4 percent. And the threat has changed some, but still, we're struggling with the amount of money we have available.
One other thing I just want to mention is the DD-21. I worry that there's not enough people on that. I've heard General Shelton say that he's trying to reduce the number of people, but when you look at the Cole and the accident we had in the Cole -- the incident we had in the Cole, it wasn't an accident, the terrorist attack, and the fact that if we hadn't had the number of people -- I don't know what the right number is, but I just worry that 95, if 35 of them were killed in an incident, we'd need more people on that ship. So I think you have to look at that when you make the decision about what is going to happen with the 21.
And I appreciate what General Shelton said about pay, because every place I've gone, General, that's the thing they talk about the most. We did make some changes in redux because of complaints. This committee was in the forefront on pay and always has been. So I appreciate -- I know how painful it is to come and -- not waste your time testifying before the Congress, but I know how many times you testify and how impatient you get testifying before us. But we look forward to working with you on all these very, very delicate issues.
Secretary Rumsfeld: If I may, Mr. Chairman.
Congressman Murtha, thank you so much. We'll be delighted to work with you on the general provisions and see if we can't find the right ones that can enable us to have some more flexibility.
With respect to health care, one of the problems we have is we have made every effort to arrange to see that this budget is going to fully fund that. The problem is there is no experience in the world with anybody doing what we're proposing to do here, so there are not actuarial tables that can help us.
With respect to the 4 percent of GDP, when I came to Washington it was 10 percent during the Eisenhower and Kennedy period. And then it was about 5 percent when I was secretary of Defense 25 years ago. Four percent made a lot of sense when Dick was -- Vice President Cheney was there. We're dropping below 3 percent. And there's no question but that we have to get ourselves arranged so that we are taking proper care of the force and so that the force is being fashioned to fit the 21st century.
Rep. Murtha: Mr. Secretary, I just want to add that the direction you're going is absolutely right. The two-front strategy hadn't been in effect for 15 years. We couldn't fight a two-front war unless it was Haiti and a big war. (Laughter.) So you're going in exactly the right direction, and I appreciate the difficulties and decisions you're trying to make.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Thank you very much, I appreciate that. I wish it were more unanimous! (Laughs.)
Rep. J. Lewis: You don't have that problem within this committee, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary Rumsfeld: No, sir!
Rep. J. Lewis: Mr. Skeen?
Rep. Joe Skeen (R-NM): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We've got the burner going on this thing so somebody's covering this group of people up here. We've got the line here.
Mr. Secretary, the KEA SAT will be ready for flight test and experiment next year. Does OSD support conducting the flight experiment?
Secretary Rumsfeld: I'd have to get back to you for the record on that.
Rep. Skeen: Well, we're presenting this to you so you won't have anything to do when you're sleeping at night or anything, we've got all this stuff. But thank you.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Thank you.
Rep. Skeen: Cruise missile detection. Last month, ABC News and several newspapers reported on the European progress with passive radar to detect stealthy cruise missiles. Would you support having our Army, Air Force, our air defense experts to experiment on the potential for this technology?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Mr. Congressman, I think I'd rather talk in a closed session on the subject of cruise missiles.
Rep. Skeen: That's fine. We can do that. I just wanted you to be aware of it. I have Holloman on my agenda and they're very interested in it.
Mr. Secretary, the civilian computer networks that are critical to the economy are subject to information warfare. Are the DOD and NSA and our university researchers being coordinated effectively to address this?
Secretary Rumsfeld: I wish I could say confidently and affirmatively yes, but the reality is that we have a good distance to go on information -- our information capabilities and our networks and the protection of those networks. And there are elements in the department that are reviewing that, and as a matter of fact, I received a briefing on it within the last week -- (to General Shelton) -- didn't we, General? --
General Shelton: Yes, sir.
Secretary Rumsfeld: -- and we have a distance to go.
Rep. Skeen: Mr. Secretary, tracking mobile targets is the most difficult problem that we have. And the enemy's very long-range anti- aircraft missiles will make our architectures obsolete that use large airplanes.
When will UAV and space-based counterparts to these aircraft needs be deployed?
Secretary Rumsfeld: We have, in this budget, in the R&D and the S&T sections, proposed to accelerate some work with respect to UAVs. There is no question but that despite the fact that they're a relatively recent entry into the inventory, UAVs are in enormous demand. And they're what we call the high-demand/low-density assets, and we've got several categories of them that we need to fund considerably better than we have in the recent years.
General Shelton: If I might add, though, Congressman Skeen, we also have recognized the importance of being able to detect and track mobile targets, and that has been one of Joint Forces Command's first large experiments that they have ongoing at this time; with some payoff, I might add.
Rep. Skeen: We appreciate you being at White Sands, there.
General Shelton: Thank you, sir.
Rep. Skeen: Let me just cite this part of it. Mr. Secretary, the F-117 Stealth fighters from Holloman Air Force Base are dependent on tankers to rapidly deploy. How will we meet the greatly increased demands on our tanker fleet to support our new strategy for rapid deployment and long-range strike?
Secretary Rumsfeld: The tanker question is one that's under review in the QDR at the present -- excuse me for using that jargon -- in the Quadrennial Defense Review which was mandated by Congress -- and we are currently looking at the tanker issue. And there is no question but that it, along with airlift, will have to be addressed as we develop the 2003 budget in this fall.
Rep. Skeen: (Inaudible.)
General Shelton: If I could just add, Congressman Skeen, as you probably noticed on Desert Fox and Allied Force, the operation in Kosovo, the air bridge and the support of the tankers were critical to that throughout both operations, and they did a magnificent job even though, as I indicated, they are old and aging and, as the secretary said, we're having to go back and relook at the program for them. But they perform magnificently on a daily basis, even if they are old aircraft.
Rep. Skeen: Well, I appreciate the concentration that you've had on it.
Mr. Chairman, that's --
Rep. Lewis: Mr. Dicks?
Rep. Norman Dicks (D-WA): Thank you. Mr. Secretary and General Shelton, I want to go back to this question about the money. "Jerry McGuire" said, "Show me the money."
You know, we've had some studies that were done by very prominent people. I think Jack -- (inaudible) -- was on one group that said we -- what was it --
Rep. : And Warner.
Rep. : Yeah. So was I on it.
Rep. : Yeah.
Rep. Dicks: -- we needed $60 billion a year more. And Harold Brown (sp) and Schlesinger called for an increase of $50 billion annually. Now, Mr. Secretary, the other day you had us over, and we appreciated that very much, and you went through and kind of added up what was necessary to really do this budget correctly, and it was significantly more than the $18 billion that we're talking about in the increase in '02 budget. I mean, I think it's important for you to tell the American people in your own personal and professional opinion, you and General Shelton, what you think we need to have in order to deal with not only the very important quality- of-life issues, but transformation and modernization. I mean, what do you think that the number is that would help us deal with the problems that really face the country in terms of transformation and modernization?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Well, Congressman Dicks, in my prepared statement I discussed some of that, and in my statement before the Armed Services Committee I have laid out a whole series of areas that have been underfunded year after year after year by the United States government.
Rep. Dicks: Right.
Secretary Rumsfeld: There is no way on the face of the Earth we're going to dig out of the hole we're in, in one year. It will take a series of years. And it is unambiguous that they overshot the peace dividend by a significant margin.
We are currently recapitalizing infrastructure in the Pentagon at 192 years. The private sector appropriate rate is something like 57 to 67 years' recapitalization. Now you don't get that right fast. It takes some time.
Our shipbuilding budget is headed down to 130 -- 230 ships. It's currently at 310 or so.
Rep. Dicks: But let's --
Secretary Rumsfeld: And year after year of not building sufficient ships has put us on a trajectory that is clearly unacceptable for this country.
Rep. Dicks: But you know, here's a great article in the Weekly Standard, "No defense." "Here's some unsolicited advice for two old friends, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz: resign."
I mean, in other words, I think you've tried to do your best to go down to the White House and ask for the money that's necessary to get this job done, but you've been turned down. And they have said they will not give you the money.
As we're told, you asked for like $38 billion, and they give -- and OMB said you'll only get 15 (billion), and you wound up with 18 (billion). And we appreciate the fact that you got the 18 (billion).
But what I worry about is, if you, as secretary of Defense, and General Shelton know that the country is underfunding the defense budget, then why can't we convince the president and OMB, which seems to be running this government, that we've got to have a significant increase, or we're going to let America's military capability deteriorate? That is unacceptable.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Mr. Congressman, the country has known we've been underfunding the defense budget year after year after year. This is nothing new. I just arrived. I walk in, walk in the front door, turn around, look under every rock, and every one of them says, "We need 3 billion more. We need 6 billion more here. We need 5 billion more there." You can't do it all in one year. It is not possible.
Rep. Dicks: I understand, but -- okay, I understand that. But would $38 billion have been a more realistic number for '02 than 18 (billion), in terms of the problems that we're facing?
I'm with you. I agree with what you're trying to tell the country -- that we're significantly underfunding defense.
Now I've been here for 21 years on this committee. Maybe it's even longer than that. And I'll tell you, I've heard everybody say we're going to do it by -- oh, by improving procurement and doing all that, and I'm with you on that. I agree with you. But I don't think we're going to solve this problem without a significant increase in funding. I think you've said that. I think your statement says that. I mean, you just didn't add it up.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Mr. Congressman, this is a significant increase. It's the biggest increase since the mid-1980s. It is --
Rep. Dicks: But if it isn't enough to get the job done, Mr. Secretary, what -- we're not fooling each other --
Secretary Rumsfeld: You can't do it all in one year. It is not physically possible. Second --
Rep. Dicks: But you got to start with a single step that's significant. And the thing that frustrates us here --
Secretary Rumsfeld: This is a single step.
Rep. Dicks: -- and I'm a good Democrat, but when I heard Mr. Cheney say, properly, during the campaign, that we needed to do more on defense, that help was on the way, I thought we were going to see something significant, like when Ronald Reagan was elected president, Ronald Reagan increased the defense budget. And we did it significantly, and it addressed the problems.
And in 1991, when this -- when Cheney and Powell had to go to the war, we had a military capability that was sufficient to get the job done.
Now, what we're seeing here today is we're allowing the deterioration of America's military capability, because we're not doing transformation right, we're not doing modernization right. And I say this with all due respect. I hope that you would be successful in your dealings with the administration, but apparently that isn't happening. And I think we have to be honest.
General Shelton, what do you think?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Wait a second. You're not going to lay that on me and not let me answer, are you? (Laughter.)
Rep. Dicks: Oh, of course not.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Look. This budget does not continue the deterioration. This budget reverses the deterioration that's been going on for year after year after year. It is a significant step forward.
Rep. Dicks: But not in transformation and not in modernization, Mr. Secretary. You say it in your -- you go through every category and say what we're short of. We didn't get it! We didn't get the help we needed we needed in transformation. We didn't get the help we needed in modernization.
Secretary Rumsfeld: When you say let's be honest, that testimony you received from me is as honest as anyone can be. I have laid it right out there.
Rep. Dicks: Exactly. And that's why I'm saying, if you've laid it out, why doesn't the White House get it?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Well, they do, and they gave us the biggest increase in 16 years, and a 7 percent increase, and walking away the largest increase of any department or agency. And we are completing our quadrennial -- congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review. The conclusions out of that will have additional recommendations for transformation. There are transformation aspects in this budget. And when we come out with that, as the chairman indicated, it will be arriving at a tine when we're developing that '03 budget. And you will see a number of things.
Frankly, I don't want to fix all the infrastructure in the defense establishment, because as I said, we've got 20 to 25 percent more infrastructure than we need. It would make no sense to go out there and try and fix all of it.
Rep. Dicks: General Shelton?
General Shelton: Congressman Dicks, first of all let me say that I think that today our armed forces, which help define America as a global power and help protect our national interests around the globe, I think are one of the greatest investments that Americans have. Three cents on the dollar. That's what we're paying for everything in DOD. When you put it in terms of $320 billion, it sounds like a lot. It's still three cents on the dollar in this economy that we have today, at the lowest point of any time since before World War II.
We have some very significant challenges that the secretary and I have addressed and as I talked about today, with aging force structure, with aging infrastructure, deteriorating infrastructure. We all know that we're not going to be able to make significant inroads into fixing the modernization and the transformation and the infrastructure at three cents on the dollar. Exactly how much it's going to take, I think, we've all seen the CBO, Congressional Budget reports. We've seen the independent studies that have been looked at, that range from $50 (billion) to $100 billion. I'm not sure what the right number is, but I do know that it's going to take significantly more as we look out over the next five to 10 years to be able to fix that infrastructure that we know is deteriorating and to be able to transform the force.
When we come out of the QDR, and by September, we should be able to -- then we know what the strategy's going to be for the next four years, we know what the requirements are going to be, based on the force structure that will be taken to support that, and we know right now that some of our systems -- I talked about ISR and our tanker force, et cetera -- are going to need to be recapitalized. And so how we recapitalize the force, how we fix the infrastructure is part of what we need to come out of the QDR with, and I'm confident that we will. And that should paint a much clearer picture for us. But it's going to be more than three cents on the dollar.
Rep. Dicks: Would the chairman indulge me just for one comment, and then I --
Rep. : (Off mike) -- get back to you.
Rep. Dicks: I understand that.
My comment is this. I think that we need to have a bipartisan effort from the Congress to help support you-all in making this case to the White House. And I just hope that we can do that. I have supported the defense budget throughout my entire career, and I think we need to work together on this.
Rep. Lewis: Mr. Secretary, let me mention that we try to control the time within a five-minute rule here, and we've done very well today. And those colleagues who are beginning to get anxious, if we'll just settle down.
Let me mention that the administration does propose defense budgets. Over recent years, this committee has been in the business, after receiving proposals, of advancing a more sizable number.
In view of the timing I mentioned earlier of this ear's bill, it may not be possible to move in a fashion that this committee would hold as ideal.
But let me mention, not always are we in agreement. In the past, when we looked at UAVs, for example, the Department of Defense was not supportive of that idea as an asset of value. The Congress saw otherwise. In the past, JSTARS was an item that the military was not particularly interested in; now considers it to be one of the most important assets in our force. Indeed, the work of committees like our policy committees, as well as this one, sometimes find ourselves in disagreement, but eventually we dispose in a fashion that we believe helps strengthen in the entire force.
In the last budget, we put in $150 million for a thing called "cyberwar" -- information warfare. I am pleased to see that the president's budget includes approximately a half a billion dollars, $500 million, going further in that direction, helping us find out what the questions are. That's a very helpful step in the right direction.
You will find over time, Mr. Secretary, this committee is trying to help, not do otherwise.
Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX): Thank you, Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, I know you've been in and out of this city for over 30 years now, and I've got to tell you that I have not had the privilege of getting to know you well, but by all accounts you're the right person for this job; you've got that tough, thick skin that we need to have in place at the Pentagon. (Laughter.)
Secretary Rumsfeld: (Laughs.)
Rep. Bonilla: And you need that because I know you're trying to do the right thing, and you're having to listen to a lot of whining and complaining from members of the House and members of the Senate and people at the Pentagon, and there's even some -- apparently some disagreement at the White House. But we need this tough, fi