|USCENTCOM: Ongoing Challenges and Opportunities |
USCENTCOM: Ongoing Challenges and Opportunities
Statement of General Tommy R. Franks, Commander in Chief, US Central Command, Washington, D.C. March 28, 2001. Source: House Armed Services Committee.
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee.
U.S. Central Command's (USCENTCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR) includes 25 nations, extending from Egypt and Jordan to the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan in South Asia, and Central Asian States as far north as Kazakhstan. Included are the waters of the Red Sea, the Northern Indian Ocean, and the Persian Gulf, with maritime choke-points of the Suez Canal, the Bab el Mandeb, and the Strait of Hormuz.
The current National Security Strategy specifies that our core objectives in this vital region are to enhance U.S. security, promote democracy and human rights, and bolster American economic prosperity. To meet these goals, USCENTCOM promotes regional stability, ensures uninterrupted access to resources and markets, maintains freedom of navigation, protects U.S. citizens and property, and promotes the security of regional friends and allies.
As we work with policy makers to define USCENTCOM's approach in the AOR, we address our objectives and goals in light of the political-military dynamics of the region. The Middle East Peace Negotiations (MEPN) and U.S. relationships with Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey influence our relations with Egypt, Jordan, and the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Pakistan is important to the U.S. because of regional tensions and its proximity and relationship to Afghanistan. U.S.-Pakistan relations continue to be influenced by these issues and by progress toward a return to civil, democratic government. Transnational issues including humanitarian disasters, refugees, international crime, drug smuggling and terrorism, and state-to-state conflicts such as the Eritrea-Ethiopia War, will continue to define our tasks in the Horn of Africa. Our relations with the Central Asian States will be influenced by their relationships with Russia, their concern about extremism generated from Afghanistan, and our efforts and commitments to help the Central Asian states in maintaining their independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity through democratic and defense reform.
Natural resource distribution will continue to influence regional dynamics. Control of water sources and uses downstream may heighten existing international tensions, particularly along the Nile, Tigris, Euphrates, and Jordan Rivers. And, competing claims over the control and distribution of energy resources will continue to influence relations between states, particularly around the Caspian Sea.
On a given day, USCENTCOM operates in the region with some 30 naval vessels, 175-200 military aircraft, and between 18,000 and 25,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines. Activities range from missions such as "Operation SOUTHERN WATCH" enforcement of the No-Fly Zone (NFZ) over Southern Iraq, to Maritime Intercept Operations (MIO) in the Northern Persian Gulf, to Security Assistance, to International Military Education and Training (IMET), to Joint and Combined Exercises, and Humanitarian Demining (HD). Our military men and women continue to do a remarkable job across the board in enhancing U.S. relationships in the region, in promoting stability, and in supporting diplomatic efforts aimed at securing America's vital and enduring national interests.
There is, however, a price for America's visibility in pursuit of our interests. Some, opposed to the values for which our country stands, have determined to take direct and violent action against our presence in the region. The terrorist bombing of the Office of Program Management for the Saudi Arabian National Guard (OPM SANG), the Khobar Towers bombing, the attacks on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and last October's attack on USS COLE continue to demonstrate that our opponents are dedicated, determined, and resourceful. Our clear task is to remain resolutely committed to the principles we stand for while we provide the best possible protection for our people. Efforts to counter the terrorist threat are ongoing, but much remains to be done as our men and women in uniform daily go "in harm's way."
I will now describe our AOR in greater detail, highlight our ongoing challenges and opportunities, and identify our essential requirements.
Regional Trends: Overview
The Central Region is of vital interest to the United States. Sixty-eight percent of the world's proven oil reserves are found in the Gulf Region and 43 percent of the world's petroleum exports pass through the Strait of Hormuz. The developing energy sector of the Central Asian States, with the potential for discovery of additional oil reserves, further emphasizes the importance of the Central Region to America and the world.
The words that best describe the AOR are "diversity" and "volatility." The region is home to more than 500 million people, three of the world’s major religions, at least eighteen major ethnic groups, and national economies that produce annual per capita incomes varying from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
Portions of USCENTCOM's AOR are characterized by instability. We find social volatility due to pressures created as governments transition toward democracy, and we find additional social, economic and military stresses from humanitarian crises, the strains of resource depletion or overuse, religious or ethnic conflict, and military power imbalances. While national instability is not uncommon, the volatility of USCENTCOM's AOR is particularly significant because of its geographical and economic importance. The natural resources of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others have provided extraordinary opportunities for these nations, but also have given rise to a range of socio-economic problems and rivalries. States such as Egypt and Jordan have compensated to a large extent for their lack of mineral wealth through positive use of their human resources. Yet, there are nations in the region that have not generated the will, resources, or organization to move ahead. These factors will not be easily overcome, and portend potential regional challenges for the future.
Ten years ago, American leadership produced a coalition that defeated Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Despite victory, we remain engaged in current operations in the Gulf because of Iraq's refusal to abide by the terms of a series of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs).
In the past year, coalition forces flew more than 19,000 sorties in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH (enforcement of the Southern Iraq NFZ), with almost 10,000 of those sorties being in Iraqi airspace. The purpose of these missions in support of United Nations (UN) Resolutions remains the protection of Iraqi civilians (Kurds in the north/Shia in the south) from Saddam Hussein and the prevention of Iraqi aggression against its neighbors. Our forces have been engaged by surface-to-air missiles or anti-aircraft fire more than 500 times during the period, and coalition forces have responded to these provocations on 38 occasions. Enforcement of the NFZ will remain dangerous but necessary business as long as the Iraqi regime continues to threaten its neighbors and its own people. Similarly, our naval forces maintain continuous presence in the Persian Gulf, and have intercepted 610 ships in the past year in support of MIO, enforcing UN sanctions designed to limit Saddam Hussein's ability to smuggle oil out of Iraq. Iraqi oil smuggling provides uncontrolled revenues, which could be used to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and rebuild his conventional forces. Sixty-five of these ships have been diverted to Gulf coalition partners where contraband oil has been confiscated and sold. Again, necessary but dangerous business.
As allied forces continue to enforce the resolutions, Iraq has become more aggressive in attempts to circumvent them. As the second largest producer of oil after Saudi Arabia, Iraq has attempted to manipulate the UN Oil-for-Food (O-F-F) program. Because of Saddam's obstruction, not all revenues and supplies intended for the direct relief of the Iraqi people under the O-F-F program, have found their way to the population. Additionally, by halting and restarting crude oil exports of up to 2.3 million barrels per day, Iraq has attempted to establish leverage that it can use to end sanctions. Saddam's ability to circumvent UN sanctions leaves little incentive for him to accept UNSCR 1284 or permit the resumption of UN inspections. In the absence of inspectors and a long-term monitoring program, we cannot verify that Iraq is not continuing research, development and production of WMD and ballistic missiles.
Despite the overwhelming defeat of Iraq’s conventional military force, it remains a threat to its neighbors and has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to project force as evidenced by significant deployments to western Iraq in October and November/December 2000. Iraq continues to challenge coalition aircraft in the NFZs despite the effects of ten years of sanctions on its air force and continued attrition of its air defense forces. And, despite the degradation of Iraq's military capability, our regional partners do not yet possess the capability to deter Iraqi aggression without our assistance.
Saddam is as secure now as at any time in the past decade. Iraqi participation in the 21-22 October 2000 Arab Summit and the 12-13 November 2000 Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) signals his attempt to reenter the Arab fold, and renewed contacts between Baghdad and a number of moderate Arab countries following the breakdown of the MEPN make the U.S. leadership role critical as we work to rebuild the Gulf War coalition. USCENTCOM operations and military-to-military relationships remain key to this effort.
Iran's future is an enigma in the question of stability in the AOR. Since 1997, President Khatami has attempted to change the image of Iran by initiating diplomatic rapprochement with Europe and the Gulf States. Domestically, moderate legislators have the majority in the parliament and have attempted to reform the system by introducing greater transparency and accountability within government. However, conservative hard-liners have closed Iran’s free press, blocked reform legislation, and intimidated and jailed moderate legislators and popular figures, effectively maintaining an atmosphere of social and political repression.
Iran faces severe internal challenges including domestic political and economic problems, massive unemployment, and increasing drug use. While a majority of Iranians, especially the young, demand change, they find themselves virtually powerless. President Khatami has not succeeded in changing the system while Supreme Leader Khamenei and the ruling conservatives have clearly demonstrated that they will not accept change, nor will they share the principal elements of state power with an increasingly restless population.
Meanwhile, Iran continues to improve its conventional and nonconventional military capabilities. Tehran's ability to interdict the Strait of Hormuz with air, surface, and sub-surface naval units, as well as mines and missiles remains a concern. Additionally, Iran's asymmetrical capabilities are becoming more robust. These include high speed, fast attack patrol ships; anti-ship missiles; unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and hardened facilities for surface-to-surface missiles and command and control. WMD programs and the Shahab-3/4 Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) also continue to receive priority funding. And, although President Khatami is attempting to change Iran's image, sustained hostility of conservative hard-liners is evident as we see continued support of terrorism aimed at derailing efforts for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
As Tehran deals with the stresses of a growing and increasingly discouraged population, internal political volatility could result in diplomatic, military, or asymmetric attacks on Iran's neighbors or American citizens and our interests. If we factor Iran's burgeoning WMD capability into this equation, the risks increase significantly and Iran becomes the greatest long-term threat in our AOR.
Increased revenues from high oil prices have benefited Gulf oil producers. This financial shot in the arm has reduced budget deficits and reactivated previously stalled infrastructure projects. However, socio-economic problems, such as increasing population, high unemployment, declining public services, and a depressed worldwide financial market, have focused the nations on the Arabian Peninsula on economic reforms that are intended to diversify and stimulate their economies.
Regional stability was recently enhanced through the resolution of long-standing Saudi-Yemeni border and Kuwaiti-Saudi maritime boundary disputes. But, unresolved United Arab Emirates (UAE)-Iran and Bahrain-Qatar territorial disputes, and Kuwait-Iran maritime boundary disputes remain.
The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian violence is of continuing concern in the Gulf region. This violence has increased internal pressures on moderate Arab governments who must balance responses to public opinion with the value placed on their relationships with the West. If the Peninsula states begin to distance themselves from the U.S., their inability to face the dual threats of Iran and Iraq will leave them vulnerable to intimidation by these aggressive powers.
Northern Red Sea
The Northern Red Sea sub-region (Egypt and Jordan) is on the front lines of the MEPN and has the most to gain or lose from the process. Peace would usher in the prospect of economic development, a stable financial environment, and social stability. Continued conflict encourages extremism, deters economic investment from outside the region, and inhibits tourism, a major source of income in both Egypt and Jordan. President Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdullah of Jordan have walked a fine line on the issue despite domestic difficulties, calls for breaking diplomatic relations with Israel, and for boycotts of Israeli and U.S. goods.
Economically, Egypt's move toward privatization is hampered by concerns about unemployment and the expected economic downturn that would initially follow. As Egypt's major source of hard currency is tourism, its economy reacts dramatically to advances or setbacks in MEPN.
Jordan suffers from water shortages, high unemployment, deficit spending, and a stagnant economy hampered by sanctions imposed on Iraq, Jordan's largest trading partner and its sole supplier of oil. Jordan's economic prospects are limited by the region's instability, magnified by the fact that 60% of the population of Jordan is Palestinian. King Abdullah has managed to support the Palestinian cause while maintaining ties with Israel, and dealing with the economic impact of sharing borders with Syria and Iraq.
Central and South Asia
Central Asia's primary security concern is the threat posed by religious extremism generated from the continuing conflict in Afghanistan. In response to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) incursion in 1999, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan began developing new tactics and deployed military forces to critical defensive corridors in anticipation of renewed IMU activity. Consequently, and due to increased logistical and training support provided by the U.S., Turkey, Russia, and China, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan anticipated and effectively countered IMU infiltration into their territory in the summer and fall of 2000. But these countries, and the Central Asia region as a whole, will remain vulnerable to renewed IMU attacks in the coming Spring and Summer. USCENTCOM will continue to work with the militaries in Central Asia to enhance their abilities to secure their borders, build multilateral relationships through exercises, and support diplomatic efforts to enhance stability and nurture democracy.
Pakistan remains key to achieving stability in South and Central Asia. Peace initiatives instituted by Pakistan and India have the potential to develop into meaningful dialogue, and dramatically reduce tensions in the region, but both these nuclear states require encouragement to move forward. Pakistan perceives U.S. policy as "tilting" in favor of India which complicates dialogue on the subcontinent. This perception is fueled by our limited military-to-military interaction with Pakistan coupled with the current moratorium on International Military Education and Training (IMET). Historically, the Pakistani military is one of the most influential forces within the country and USCENTCOM's relationships at the military level could create leverage to enhance stability in South Asia.
Afghanistan remains a destabilizing influence in the region. In one way or another, all of Afghanistan's neighbors are affected by Afghanistan's internal war -- either as a supporter of one side or the other, or by proximity to the chaos generated by the war.
The military, economic and social stresses brought on by the Afghan conflict and the continuing tension between India and Pakistan impact each of the Central Asian governments and regional economies as well, and have prompted the Central Asian states to look for increased collective security opportunities. USCENTCOM has effective mil-to-mil programs with Khazakstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgystan, and is interested in beginning engagement with Tajikistan, a country key to the region because of its geostrategic location and close ties to Russia. Tajikistan has submitted paperwork to join the Partnership for Peace Program, and the Department of State is actively working to obtain Cooperative Threat Reduction certification and IMET funding to support their request.
The two and one half-year war between Ethiopia and Eritrea appears to have ended with the 12 December 2000 peace agreement. With the deployment of the United Nations Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), both countries have promised to uphold the principles of the peace agreement. As long as UN peacekeepers are present, renewed fighting is not expected. As these states implement the Peace Agreement, we will reopen military contacts and seek to build on relationships that provide balance and enhance regional stability.
Other countries in the Horn of Africa are still suffering from the impact of a five-year drought that places 20 million in need of aid, about 10 million of whom are facing starvation. Despite donor fatigue, aid agencies remain responsive to this humanitarian disaster, and USCENTCOM will continue to assist with humanitarian programs in every way possible.
Sudan continues to provide support and safe haven to transnational terrorists and opposition groups. President Bashir has been unable to end the civil war in southern Sudan, and factional fighting has caused the UN and other relief agencies to periodically suspend relief efforts.
Despite Djiboutian efforts to revive a national Somali government, there is little prospect that Somalia will emerge as a coherent state in the near future. And, Djibouti itself will continue to face challenges as it struggles to deal with its own economic, political and social problems.
Despite the continuing drought-induced humanitarian crisis described above, economic stagnation, and political turmoil, Kenya remains key to stability in East Africa and is an important friend for the United States. Kenya's apolitical Army remains a source of stability that will be important as Kenyans go to the polls in 2002 to elect their first new president in 23 years. The African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI) will help that Army build capacity to respond to Kenya’s needs.
The threat of terrorist activity remains high throughout the Central Region. Events such as the attack on USS COLE serve as constant reminders of this fact. Despite our counterterrorism successes over the past year, including the disruption of terrorist cells in Jordan and Kuwait, extremist groups continue to recruit, train, and conduct operations. One evolving trend that has helped terrorist organizations rebound from our counterterrorism successes is unprecedented cooperation between known and obscure groups. This cooperation includes moving people and materials, providing safe-havens and money, and training new recruits. The trend is especially disturbing as known organizations gain plausible deniability for operations, while the obscure groups achieve an increased capability from training and financial support.
Terrorists’ persistent interest in larger devices, more lethal tactics, and unconventional (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) weapons points to an even more significant problem in the future. In addition to the use of unconventional weapons, the potential for terrorists to regard unconventional targets (civilians and civilian infrastructure) as practical options for attack seems likely. And, as terrorist networks improve their ability to operate within the global communications environment, we see increased capability to support recruitment, conduct fund-raising, and direct sub-elements worldwide. The complex terrorist threat we face today is less predictable and potentially much more dangerous than we have seen in the past.
Proliferation of WMD
Russia, China and North Korea remain the primary external suppliers of WMD and missile-related technology to countries in the AOR, and some regional states with maturing WMD programs have joined the ranks of potential suppliers. As proliferation in the Central Region accelerates, coalition partners feel mounting pressure to offset the WMD threat with comparable weapons of their own.
As mentioned previously, Iraq's WMD capabilities have been degraded but not eliminated. The reconstitution of key weapons programs may have begun, facilitated by the long absence of UN arms monitors. The two-plus year gap in the UN disarmament presence makes it difficult to verify the current status of biological, chemical and prohibited missile capabilities.
Meanwhile, Iran continues to place a high priority on developing WMD, specifically chemical weapons (CW), ballistic missiles and possibly biological agents. Tehran is aggressively pursuing nuclear technology and is progressing in its development of a large-scale, self-supporting CW infrastructure. Additionally, they have pursued the development of the Shahab-3 medium range ballistic missile (MRBM) to augment existing SCUD-B and SCUD-C systems. Two Shahab-3 flight tests were conducted in 2000 and, despite a failure on the last attempt, this system may now be available for use. Additional programs and capabilities can be expected in the future.
In South Asia, the missile and nuclear race between Pakistan and India continues. Both States are developing and testing a variety of technologies capable of delivering nuclear devices out to ever-greater ranges. Although the Central Asian states neither produce nor store WMD on their territories, given the geopolitical situation, WMD could transit their borders. DoD’s WMD Customs and Law Enforcement programs support nonproliferation efforts in Central Asia.
Environmental Security (Water)
Water will dominate the environmental factors that pose the greatest threat to regional stability. The combination of water scarcity, water contamination, the lack of equitable water-sharing agreements, population growth, and exponentially increasing demand for water will exacerbate an already challenging and volatile situation in the Central Region. While environmental factors can easily trigger conflict, cooperation on these issues can promote regional stability and contribute to the ongoing process of conflict resolution. As such, environmental security remains an important element in shaping a future made complex by competition over natural resources. USCENTCOM-sponsored environmental conferences will continue to provide a valuable forum for the region to discuss environmental issues.
The focus of our day-to-day operations in the Gulf region remains Iraq. Iraq’s long-term intransigence and non-compliance with UNSCRs has resulted in continued NFZ operations in both northern and southern Iraq, and our naval forces continue to conduct maritime intercept operations to limit Iraq’s ability to smuggle oil outside the Oil-for-Food Program. Additionally, we maintain a rotational ground task force in Kuwait to assist with initial defense of Kuwaiti should Iraq attempt aggression.
USCENTCOM’s Joint Task Force – Southwest Asia (JTF-SWA) conducts NFZ enforcement, along with our UK partners, in order to monitor Iraqi compliance with UNSCR 688 and deter enhancement of Iraq’s military capabilities in violation of demarches and UNSCR 949. Despite the resumption of both international civilian flights to Iraq and intra-Iraq flights, JTF-SWA remains capable of effectively enforcing the southern NFZ.
One of the most visible examples of our commitment to the region is the presence of Naval Forces U.S. Central Command (NAVCENT) in Manama, Bahrain, the only component headquartered in our AOR. Operating with other coalition members, NAVCENT enforces UN sanctions against Iraq and protects our interests in the Gulf. Along with containing Iraq and ensuring freedom of navigation in shipping lanes critical to world commerce, NAVCENT operations serve as a constant reminder of U.S. commitment to stability in the Gulf region and Strait of Hormuz.
Since the beginning of Operation DESERT SHIELD (August 1990), Maritime Intercept Operations (MIO) have resulted in the search of almost 13,000 ships bound for or departing from Iraq, with more than 760 diversions. Support for MIO has been significant with ships from Kuwait, Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, New Zealand, Italy, Australia, and the Netherlands, and boarding teams from Argentina and Poland having participated. Additionally, our naval units ensure freedom of navigation, execute maritime rescue missions, and conduct directed contingency operations.
USCENTCOM provides ground presence in Kuwait with Operation DESERT SPRING (ODS). This ongoing operation, under the command and control of Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF)- Kuwait, is built around a mechanized infantry or tank battalion task force, an Apache helicopter company, and a Multiple Rocket Launch System (MLRS) battery. The units which rotate on 120-day tours come from both the active and reserve components with a deployed strength of just over 2500 personnel. This force level has been present in Kuwait since October 1999.
These on-going operations promote stability in this volatile region, acting as a deterrent to potential crises. However, the destabilizing influence of Iraq, Iran and failed states, such as Afghanistan and Somalia, require us also to maintain Operational Plans (OPLANs) and Contingency Plans (CONPLANs) to respond to a variety of crises when directed.
Maintaining our ability to meet the command and control requirements of our OPLANs and CONPLANs is an important mission. This requirement is particularly significant, as USCENTCOM is responsible for a major theater warfighting mission in an AOR 7000 miles away. In view of this, we have initiated the development of a Deployable Command Post (CP) that can be introduced into any country in the AOR early and increase strategic flexibility to respond across the full spectrum of operations. This CP is being designed to be deployable by air (C5/C17) and modular. Depending on the situation, it can range in size from the CINC's aircraft with a small operational staff to a full up headquarters with all the critical command nodes available.
The USCENTCOM Theater Engagement Plan (TEP) provides direction and a common vision for our "shaping" of the security environment. Through theater engagement planning, we integrate the engagement activities of U.S. Central Command with those of other U.S. Government agencies, non-governmental and private volunteer organizations, and our friends and allies. The TEP draws resources from various agencies to include the Department of State, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, and the military Services. We are working closely with the Joint Staff to streamline funding processes and to develop a framework to better align resources with missions.
TEP engagement activities are divided into eight broad categories, including operations addressed above. Significant aspects of the remaining seven engagement categories are summarized below.
Exercises and Combined Training
The Joint and Combined Exercise Program is a key element of our current National Military Strategy, and is coordinated with other agencies’ regional activities through the Theater Engagement Plan. The USCENTCOM exercise plan includes 10 major exercises and 80 smaller exercises for fiscal year (FY) 01. Our aim is to maximize the use of in-theater forces, increase multilateral exercise and simulation opportunities, gain the greatest possible training benefit for our forces, and combine exercises whenever practicable. The program remains a cornerstone o our mil-to-mil relationships and serves to guarantee access and enhance coalition capabilities.
In November of 2000, we executed INTERNAL LOOK 01 (IL01), our premier battlestaff and coalition training exercise, by establishing a Contingency Forward Headquarters and simulating the execution of one of our principal plans. And, during the remainder of this year, we will execute several major sub-regional exercises. In May, EAGLE RESOLVE, a senior-level symposium held in Bahrain will be our principal mechanism for advancing the Cooperative Defense Initiative (CDI) among the GCC states. In early July, we will execute REGIONAL COOPERATION - formerly known as CENTRASBAT - a multinational, peacekeeping command and staff exercise with various Central Asian, NATO and other Newly Independent States (NIS) at the Warrior Prep Center in Germany. In late July, we will execute the GOLDEN SPEAR symposium in Kenya, bringing together the Ministers of Defense (MOD), Chiefs of Defense (CHOD) and Foreign Ministers of 10 East African nations to formulate regional strategies for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. And, this fall, BRIGHT STAR will culminate our exercise program in Egypt when more than 35 participating or observing nations and approximately 65,000 personnel take part in a coalition field training exercise.
Combined Education and International Military Education and Training (IMET)
The Combined Education and IMET programs are pivotal to sustaining U.S. - host nation bilateral military relationships. These programs are relatively low cost, high value investments that support U.S. national interests and help shape the security environment for the future. The programs afford military members of regional states, many of whom are destined to become senior leaders in their respective countries, opportunities to attend courses in our military institutions such as Command and Staff Colleges and Senior Service Schools. Combined Education and IMET support Congressionally mandated democratization initiatives by exposing regional military officers to the concepts of military professionalism, respect for human rights, and civilian control. Some 540 students from our AOR will attend U.S. military courses, schools, colleges, and training this year.
In coordination with our Ambassadors and country teams, we manage security assistance programs to help the countries in the AOR improve their military capabilities and interoperability. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) in the Central Region have accounted for a significant portion of America’s worldwide sales – 38 percent from 1990 through 1999 - while our Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programs have allowed us to assist AOR countries in meeting their legitimate self-defense needs and improving interoperability with U.S. forces.
In the aftermath of DESERT SHIELD/STORM, a primary emphasis of countries in the region, particularly the countries of the Persian Gulf, was modernization of their armed forces through FMS and Direct Commercial Sales of U.S.-built equipment. Saudi Arabia is the largest FMS customer in the world accounting for over $83 billion in FMS sales thru FY00. Combined with the other countries of the GCC, the total for this sub-region is over $94 billion through FY00.
Two significant security assistance highlights of this past year include:
- In March 2000, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a $6.4 billion commercial contract with Lockheed-Martin to purchase 80 F-16 Block 60 aircraft. Associated with this commercial sale is a projected $1.6 billion in FMS. FMS cases will include program support, pilot and maintenance training, and F-16 munitions, which include AMRAAM, AIM-9, HARM, Maverick and Harpoon missiles. Though the F-16 purchase was a Direct Commercial Sale, U.S. Government and industry worked closely together to bring this to fruition. As a result, the sale is a step toward enhanced strategic partnership.
- Similarly, the sale of ATACMS missiles to the Government of Bahrain was finalized on 15 December 2000, as the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) continues to place emphasis on equipping and training their land and air forces with U.S. resources and making them more capable contributors to Gulf collective security.
Humanitarian Assistance (HA)
HA programs provide basic economic and social benefits for the civilian populations of developing countries in the region. These activities in concert with a variety of State Department programs focus on developing indigenous disaster response capabilities. We expect in the coming year to complete projects that include rudimentary construction and water well drilling, disaster preparedness assessments, transportation of DOD excess non-lethal property, and various other medical, dental, and veterinary projects in 7 countries.
Humanitarian Demining (HD)
USCENTCOM currently provides HD training to Yemen, Oman, Djibouti, and Jordan. The purpose of this program is to train host nation military and civilian personnel in demining operations, with the ultimate goal of establishing local, self-sustaining capabilities. U.S. led demining training efforts have helped several countries to develop significant capabilities. Jordan, for example, is developing a regional response team that will be able to assist other regional partners in their own demining efforts--an important step which enhances multi-lateral relationships.
During my comments today, I will discuss the status of many programs. For FY2002, the President’s budget includes funding to cover our most pressing priorities. I should note, however, that the programs I will discuss, and the associated funding levels may change as a result of the Secretary’s strategy review which will guide future decisions on military spending. The Administration will determine final 2002 and outyear funding levels only when the review is complete. I ask that you consider my comments in that light.
USCENTCOM priority requirements are as follows:
With few permanently stationed forces in the region, our vitally important power projection capability depends upon strategic lift and robust land and sea-based prepositioned assets. Our ability to deploy forces and equipment quickly remains the linchpin for conducting rapid response to contingencies in USCENTCOM's AOR. We must continue modernization and maintenance of our strategic deployment triad: airlift, sealift, and prepositioning.
The accelerated retirement of the C-141 fleet and the significant challenges of maintaining readiness levels of the C-5 fleet make continued production of the C-17, progress toward C-5 modernization, and support of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet Program critical to meet major theater war deployment timelines. Our requirements for strategic airlift combined with intratheater airlift are addressed in Mobility Requirements Study 05, which we support.
The procurement of Large, Medium Speed Roll-on Roll-off (LMSR) ships is on track and will significantly enhance our lift capability. Under the current procurement plan, we will meet our force and sustainment deployment timelines with these LMSRs and Ready Reserve Fleet (RRF) assets by the end of FY03.
Prepositioning in the region, the third leg of the strategic deployment triad, helps mitigate our time-distance dilemma, ensures access, demonstrates our commitment to the region, and facilitates sustainment of forces until the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) are established. I will expand on this later.
Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I)
USCENTCOM is responsible for executing a major theater war (MTW) plan without a headquarters located physically within the geographic AOR. As mentioned above, USCENTCOM requires a deployable command and control headquarters that provides the necessary flexibility to direct operations throughout the AOR during a crisis or armed conflict with assured 24-hour communications to the National Command Authorities (NCA), other Combatant Commands, the Services, USCENTCOM staff, our Component Commands, and deployed forces. We request the committee support our initiative to build this capability as provided for in our current funding plan.
Additionally, the strategic environment in our AOR mandates a capable and reliable C4I infrastructure. The C4I infrastructure in place today is a mix of legacy equipment and modern components that have been assembled ad hoc as a contingency system. Intelligence, operations, and support systems increasingly rely on assured communications bandwidth. USCENTCOM must have a robust C4I infrastructure that supports these warfighting requirements. We will bring robust tactical communication systems into the AOR in wartime, but we need a joint theater C4I infrastructure to plug them into, one that takes advantage of fiberoptic cable and commercial satellite services that are now available in the Gulf states. Forces must maintain the ability to rapidly deploy to the theater, immediately access, and operate within our communications infrastructure and the global networks. Investing in our theater infrastructure will give us the tools we need to operate across the full spectrum.
Full Dimensional Protection
USCENTCOM focuses on full dimensional protection for forces and facilities around the clock. Protection begins with timely, high confidence early warning of terrorist planning and targeting. Recent Intelligence Community efforts to improve performance in this area through improved analysis and information sharing are steps in the right direction, but more needs to be done. We need dedicated, long-term effort with access to all terrorist-related information, both intelligence and law enforcement, leveraged by state-of-the-art Information Technology tools, to get in front of the next attack. Timely warning will generate defensive and offensive options that we do not currently have. I view this as our most important initiative to protect forces and facilities. We must concurrently ensure that we are effectively postured in the event timely warning does not come. Improvements are needed in our ability to identify friend or foe (IFF), create standoff, and counter the delivery of explosives (direct or indirect) used against component forces and facilities. Approximately 81% of USCENTCOM’s funding for military construction projects is directed toward force protection requirements. I expect our funding requirements to increase in the near future as we finalize ongoing vulnerability assessments and increase our emphasis on elimination of force protection construction waivers.
Successful execution of USCENTCOM OPLANs/CONPLANs also requires the capability to detect and characterize chemical, biological, radiological or potentially hazardous elements, as well as the ability to decontaminate fixed sites and provide collective protective measures in order to build and sustain forces within the AOR. We intend to retrofit existing structures and incorporate chemical/biological hardening into all new construction.
Finally, integrated theater air and missile defense will remain a priority to provide robust and responsive defense of theater forces and critical assets against the full range of enemy Theater Ballistic Missiles (TBMs) and cruise missiles.
Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR)
We have made progress in bringing shared situational awareness to our components and regional partners, but still have more work to do. USCENTCOM has teamed with national intelligence agencies, other Combatant Commands and components to devise a DoD-wide interoperability strategy employing a common set of analytical tools and security safeguards that will allow us to rapidly share information at multiple security levels and across echelons. USCENTCOM currently serves as the "warfighter proving ground" for several interoperability evaluations, having invested some $3M in this effort in concert with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Joint Battle Center, the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) for C3I, and others.
Synchronizing U.S. and Coalition operations via a secure shared network is an essential USCENTCOM interoperability initiative. Our concept begins with hardware/software installations for the six GCC states plus Egypt and Jordan, to provide our partners with near real time threat data and releasable operational information to support our contingency plans. While Intelligence Community and Commander in Chief (CINC) Initiative Funds have enabled us to make some initial progress, we will need Congressional support to operationalize this capability as provided for in our current funding plan.
Theater airborne ISR remains a critical enabler for effective regional indications and warning. Shortfalls in our current capabilities jeopardize our ability to obtain the warning necessary to execute our OPLANs. Solutions lie in fielding additional modernized airborne reconnaissance systems and next-generation long-dwell unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platforms. Such assets are necessary to fill early warning and mobile target collection gaps and provide a surge capability in the event of crisis.
The health and status of national systems is also of concern to USCENTCOM. A robust national imagery intelligence (IMINT), measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT), and signals intelligence (SIGINT) systems architecture is essential to providing indications and warning and situational awareness to all echelons of command. We will continue to rely on these systems in tandem with the direct threat warning provided by our theater ISR assets. The current mix of platforms and sensors does not provide the full range of collection required for comprehensive threat warning and support to fast-paced combat operations. Continued Congressional support for existing and planned national sensor platforms and upgrades, as provided for in our current out-year funding plan, is essential.
MASINT provides key indications and warning, theater ballistic missile warning and battle damage assessment. However, the current lack of operational sensors and a formal architecture significantly reduces MASINT's ability to support military operations. MASINT has great potential and can provide tremendous support to the warfighter. Your continued support is needed for existing and planned operational sensors and associated architectures to make the system more capable.
It is also essential that we maintain a robust tasking, processing, exploitation, and dissemination (TPED) architecture. This remains a daunting challenge, as current limitations impede our ability to process, exploit and disseminate large imagery files and move this critical data through the "last tactical mile" to our components and their supporting units.
Active duty intelligence personnel manning and systems support also remain challenges at USCENTCOM, given our high operating tempo. That said, our reserve program is thriving. Reserve personnel have been integrated across all functional lines including systems, counterterrorism, analysis, imagery, targeting, and battle damage assessment. We would be unable to accomplish our missions and meet emerging requirements without this Reserve Component contribution.
Working with Regional Forces
As I discussed earlier, key elements of our current national strategy include ensuring continued access for U.S. forces and enhancing the ability of regional states to provide for their own security in concert with us and with each other. To meet these objectives, USCENTCOM has developed a program that includes operations, exercises, security assistance, education, humanitarian demining, and military-to-military contacts.
With few permanently stationed forces in the AOR, a strong mil-to-mil program provides access to our friends and allies. Our engagement program provides not only training to our forces and those of our partners, it also provides an outstanding example of a successful, professional, and apolitical military to nations striving to build their own military traditions. Military-to-military interaction engenders trust and confidence and ultimately translates to greater security for our people. Our combined commitment to aligning resources with these programs will ensure success in achieving our national objectives.
Prepositioning and Forward Presence
Prepositioning in our AOR is the third leg of our strategic deployment triad. The Navy and Marine Corps Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) program, comprised of Maritime Prepositioned Ship Squadrons (MPSRONS) 1, 2, and 3, maintains a high materiel readiness rate. It will become more robust when the MPF Enhancement (MPF(E)) Program, scheduled for completion in March 2002, is fully fielded. Each MPSRON will gain a fleet hospital, a Navy mobile construction battalion, an expeditionary airfield, and additional warfighting equipment. The MPSRON-1 Enhancement ship is already on station.
The Army's prepositioning program, with a goal of placing a heavy division of equipment in the region, is advancing on schedule. The brigade set in Kuwait maintains high operational readiness and is exercised regularly. The prepositioned site in Qatar (Camp As Saliyah) houses the second brigade set and a division base set estimated to be completed before the end of FY03. The afloat combat brigade, APS-3, is complete, and combat ready, and a second afloat brigade is planned to augment APS-3 with an equipment fill of 83% of requirement in the near term. The Army is evaluating other actions which could lead to a fill of 92% of requirement.
The Air Force Harvest Falcon bare based materiel program is also a vital asset to meet our requirements, as these assets support the generation of Air Force combat sorties in the early stages of contingencies. Having these sets positioned in the AOR lets us avoid diverting critical strategic lift assets at the start of a conflict to the movement of bare-base materials, thereby delaying the arrival of warfighting elements. Currently, our on hand Harvest Falcon assets are 45% mission capable.
Our ability to shape the environment and influence the battlespace is linked to transformation efforts by the Services and members of the joint team. In particular, USCENTCOM supports the development of the doctrine, organization, and training that will enable joint, combined operations in the multinational setting. We support further development of a process for integrating coalition members into our transformation efforts.
Across the board, USCENTCOM endorses Service efforts aimed at transformation of existing force structures to modernized, versatile, full spectrum forces. Of special importance to USCENTCOM is Army transformation, which will provide required adaptive, lethal, and survivable forces responsive to the diverse operating continuum in our AOR.
Quality of Life
Finally, the requirements identified above mean little without our most important resource, people. An essential component of force readiness is continued emphasis on improving the quality of life for service members and their families. I applaud the leadership shown by the Congress with passage of the "TRICARE For Life" program for retirees and family members. I ask for your continued support to the Defense Health Program as we fully realize the "TRICARE Promise" for our personnel and families stationed overseas and in remote locations. "Taking care of our own" through medical, pay, and other entitlement programs provides the Services a set of powerful recruitment and retention tools.
In the near-term, Saddam Hussein will continue to challenge our resolve as we rebuild and strengthen the Gulf coalition. In the long-term, Iran's moves toward regional hegemony could be of greater concern. The Central region is as dynamic as it is volatile. Weapons of mass destruction, state-to-state conflict, terrorism, and general instability will continue to place special demands on our people and on our ingenuity.
Interaction and cooperation with regional militaries will remain a vital ingredient in enhancing stability and security in this AOR. This interaction equals access and goes a long way toward building trust and confidence with our friends and allies. Our presence strengthens relations with our hosts and improves our ability to protect ourselves by eliminating suspicion, demystifying intent, opening the door to communication, and denying the closed environment in which terrorists thrive.
The volatility of our region requires that USCENTCOM remain adaptable and agile. Without a large footprint in the region, we must be truly "deployable." Responsive command, control, and communications during peace, crisis, and conflict will remain key to our ability to accomplish the mission. We have the finest Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines in the world. Your steadfast, superb and visible support has made it so and you can count on them to do all we ask of them—and more.
House Armed Services Committee, 2120 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515.