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Personnel Chief Nominee Testifies Before Senate

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 29, 1997 – Personnel tempo and its effect on quality of life and recruiting are main concerns of President Clinton's choice as the next undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

Rudy DeLeon also told senators during his confirmation hearings, July 17, he would look long and hard at tiered readiness.

DeLeon, undersecretary of the Air Force, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that quality of life is essential for military readiness. "Specifically, readiness is the heart and soul of our ability to fight," he said. "The quality of life is the heart and soul of making sure our people approach their duties without any conflicts, without any concerns about whether their families are going to be taken care of. ... I will do all that I can to make sure that both accounts [readiness and quality of life] are fully funded in the budget."

Keeping personnel quality high is going to be a challenge, DeLeon said. He said part of the problem is the military has been going through a drawdown and fewer service members are needed. The military hasn't been spending as much on advertising, and recruiters haven't been going to high schools early enough to speak with potential recruits, he said.

"We need to have a more strategic approach to recruiting, instead of a very short-term, band-aid type approach," DeLeon said. He said the military must increase recruiting money and look at the way recruiters operated in the mid-1980s when the services were vigorously recruiting. "We need to spend much more time, more dollars as appropriate, and I think recognize that with the fiscal 1999 budget ... the drawdown ... will be coming to an end," he said.

Tiered readiness, where the most critical units would receive the most funds, personnel and equipment, is an idea DoD should look at, he told the committee. DeLeon said the department should examine the idea not just as a budget tool but as a philosophy and approach to readiness. But, he said, the department is not ready to embrace the idea.

DeLeon has served as undersecretary of the Air Force since 1994. Before that, he was special assistant to the defense secretary and deputy defense secretary. From 1989 to 1993, he was staff director for the House Armed Services Committee.

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