Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: You have provided our nation with great bipartisan support and strong leadership, and our relationship with the Committee and its staff has truly been outstanding.
Thank you very much for this opportunity to address some of the most important defense challenges before us as we collaborate to continue to protect the United States and advance our security interests in this dangerous era.
U.S. Defense Strategy
Long before September 11th, 2001, the Department’s senior leaders – civilian and military – began an unprecedented degree of debate and discussion about the strategic direction of the Defense Department. In those discussions, we took account of our current and projected circumstances and agreed on the urgent need for significant changes in U.S. Defense Strategy.
Changing circumstances in the world included:
- Increasing asymmetric threats from adversaries seeking to avoid U.S. strengths and target our vulnerabilities;
- Growing challenges from anti-access capabilities, including WMD, missiles, and quiet diesel submarines;
- An "arc of instability" extending from the Western Hemisphere into North Africa and the East Asian Littoral and encompassing ungoverned areas that are breeding grounds for terrorism;
- Threats requiring immediate military response and not limited to a single area;
- The increased importance of knowledge, precision, speed, lethality, and surprise in the conduct of 21st Century military operations; and
- The longer-term potential for a military competitor.
This depiction is strikingly different from that of the Cold War, when large armies faced each other in Central Europe, and when North Korea, Iraq, and others equipped themselves with large armored forces.
Before we published our new Defense Strategy, terrorists attacked the United States. That attack largely confirmed the strategic direction and planning principles that we developed, particularly our emphases on uncertainty and surprise. And it confirmed our focus on preparing for asymmetric threats, and on the consequent need to respond with agility in unfamiliar places around the world.
No one could have anticipated in the summer of 2001 that the United States would be basing forces at Karshi-Khanabad, Uzbekistan, or conducting a major military operation in Afghanistan.
Nevertheless, on October 7, 2001, just twenty days after the President gave the order to start planning, we were at war in Afghanistan, a place for which we had no pre-existing warplan of any kind; just twelve days later, on October 19, 2001, our first Special Operations Forces were deployed in Afghanistan; on November 9, 2001, Mazar-e-Sharif fell to our forces, followed by Kabul on November 13, 2001.
This astounding chain of events amply demonstrates both the unpredictability of this new era and the extraordinary speed with which events can unfold.
The September 11th attacks also highlighted the unprecedented destructive power of terrorists and the vulnerability of the U.S. homeland to 21st Century threats.
The new U.S. Defense Strategy that we outlined in the September 30, 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review Report stipulates four defense policy goals:
- Assure allies and friends.
- Dissuade military competition.
- Deter aggression and coercion forward by increasing capabilities for swift military action within and across critical regions.
- Defeat any adversary, if deterrence fails.
Among the new directions set in the QDR, three stand out.
First, the senior civilian and military leaders agreed that we had to measure risk in multiple dimensions, and that we could not simply judge the defense program on how it addressed near-term warfighting risks. A new framework was required, one that would bring the full range of risks into view.
We identified four categories of risk:
- Force management risks dealing with how we sustain our people, equipment, and infrastructure;
- Operational risks dealing with the ability of our forces to accomplish their warfighting missions in the near-term;
- Future challenges risks dealing with the investments and changes needed today to permit us to deal effectively with military challenges in the future; and
- Institutional risks involving remedying inefficient processes and excessive support requirements that jeopardize our ability to use resources efficiently.
The approach we adopted in light of this framework sought to balance risks in all of these categories, and avoid extreme solutions that would lower risks in some areas while raising other risks to unacceptable levels. While reasonable people may differ on specific decisions regarding our investments and budgetary decisions, it is important that we understand the need to balance among the different risks that we confront.
Second, to confront a world of surprise and uncertainty, we shifted our planning from the "threat-driven" model that has guided our thinking in the past to a "capabilities-based" approach for the future. In this new era, it is very difficult to predict precisely who our adversaries will be and when or where they might threaten us. But we can hope to identify the asymmetric capabilities that an adversary might threaten to use against our vulnerabilities, and to highlight our own asymmetric advantages for defeating whoever chooses to challenge the U.S. militarily.
Third, we shifted from a force planning construct that focused on two major theater wars in two specific regions in the near term to a richer, more detailed, and more productive force planning construct derived from the Defense Strategy that addresses challenges we may face over time.
A New Approach to Planning U.S. Forces
The new force planning construct, elaborated in the 2001 QDR Report, guides the shaping and sizing of U.S. forces to:
- Defend the United States;
- Deter aggression and coercion from a forward posture in critical regions;
- Swiftly defeat aggression in two overlapping major conflicts, while preserving for the President the option to call for a decisive victory in one of those conflicts—including the possibility of regime change or occupation; and
- Conduct a limited number of smaller-scale contingency operations.
In changing from the two Major Theater War approach, we did not go to a one-war, or one-and-a-half war approach, or a strategy of "win-hold-win." What we proposed is something entirely different.
The new approach shifts the focus of planning from optimizing for conflicts in two particular scenarios – Northeast Asia and Southwest Asia – to building a portfolio of capabilities that is robust across the spectrum of possible force requirements.
The old construct envisioned a force that was ready to defeat two adversaries at the same time, marching on their capitals and occupying their countries.
The new approach would still enable the United States to prevail in overlapping conflicts. However, the emphasis is on speed and delivering early combat power to overmatch the enemy, rather than deliberate military responses to enemy aggression built up over time. And speed is a necessary quality of our military capabilities, given the types of challenges we may face.
We do not want our forces in warfighting theaters to have to wait until reinforcements arrive to blunt effectively an enemy’s attack. Rather than trading space for time – with the losses that implies for both ourselves and our allies –and waiting for reinforcements to recover lost ground, we want our forces to have the capabilities to defeat attacks immediately.
By removing the requirement to maintain a second win-decisive force, the new force planning construct gives us more flexibility in planning, both for a wider array of near-term contingencies and for investing in key capabilities for the future that buy us additional speed and early combat power.
This force planning construct is not simple – but the scope and variety of missions that the Armed Forces must prepare for and conduct on a daily basis are not simple either.
In the summer of 2001, during the QDR, we considered options that would have traded force structure for greater investments in future military capabilities.
After much analysis and instructive deliberations in the summer of 2001, we concluded that it would have been a mistake to reduce our force structure. After we outlined our conclusion in the QDR Report that the current force structure would be the baseline from which we would develop a transformed force, we initially were criticized for being too conservative.
We think that events since that time have vindicated our conclusion. As we said in the QDR, the force that we are sustaining is about the right size for the broad range of scenarios that we face.
Our challenge is to re-shape the force, realign its posture, and manage our force—including sustaining the high quality of our personnel, our most valuable asset--in such ways that we maximize the combat power of our existing forces.
If we increase our end-strength, we will not be able to make the investments needed to make our joint force more capable. Without commensurate increases in non-personnel spending, the quality of life and investment per service member would suffer if end-strength alone increased. We thus would put our people needlessly at risk and expose them unnecessarily to vulnerabilities.
Rather, the forces that we have need to be modernized and transformed. We have made great strides to date, as the effects of our recent military operations have made clear. But we have much more to do.
The preliminary lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) suggest that U.S. forces, on a per unit basis, achieved a level of combat power that is at least several multiples greater than even the enormously capable forces that we deployed in Operation Desert Storm a decade ago. Nonetheless, it is my estimation that we have yet to fully realize the potential of what our forces could be in the future.
Our transformation seeks to capitalize on force attributes that we think are the key to 21st Century combat successes: knowledge, speed, precision, and lethality. These attributes were demonstrated anew in the recent major combat operation in Iraq:
Knowledge. The extensive use of small Special Operations units and ISR (for example, three times the number of JSTARS sorties in OIF compared to Desert Storm, and greatly increased satellite capabilities) connected together by new communications links vastly improved our forces’ knowledge of the location and disposition of enemy forces before and during OIF.
Speed. U.S. forces arrived in theater in less than half the time (three months, compared to seven in Desert Storm), shortening the preparatory phase of OIF and generating more velocity for military operations.
Precision. In Desert Storm, around 8% of air-dropped munitions were precision-guided as compared to about 66% in OIF. As a result, we used only one-seventh the number of bombs in OIF that we used in Desert Storm, but 20% more precision bombs. And that understates the increased effectiveness, because a large number of the precision bombs used in OIF were directed at targets that were located with precision by our ground forces.
Lethality. Coupled with an air campaign that emphasized the destruction of Iraqi ground forces to a far greater degree than in Desert Storm, about 25% of the total ground combat forces used in Desert Storm conducted rapid, simultaneous operations in OIF that defeated Iraqi forces across the depth of the battlespace.
In combination, these kinds of advances enabled a force about one-half the size to achieve in about one-half the time using about one-seventh the munitions a far more ambitious objective as compared to Desert Storm.
What are the lessons to be learned from this dramatic operational military success? An experienced, multi-disciplinary joint team stood up by the Commander of Joint Forces Command, Admiral Ed Giambastiani, has been working since even before combat operations commenced to help us understand the lessons to be learned so as to inform our broader decision-making. This team was embedded in the combatant and component headquarters and had unencumbered access and movement within the warfighting theater.
While their analysis of the operation and understanding of its implications is still preliminary, they have made four key observations:
The U.S. military applied "overmatching power" to achieve combat success. Overmatching power uses the element of surprise and swift, focused action to achieve operational military goals. As General Franks has said, "Speed kills – it kills the enemy." In OIF, we determined the time and place of attack, rapidly established air and sea supremacy, and used networked precision fires in unprecedented fashion to enable a lightning fast advance across the depth of operational maneuver. Our military actions exploited a reduced footprint in theater, integrated information operations, rapid strike and maneuver, and economy of force to achieve the rapid collapse of the enemy’s regime. In short, overmatching power focuses on the desired outputs – the goals and military effects we are trying to achieve – rather than the inputs -- marshalling large numbers of forces and personnel that may not be applied at the right time and place.
Similarly, we focused on applying capabilities to achieve operational effects instead of simply flowing additional combat forces into the theater. Leveraging information technologies and extensive use of Special Operations Forces, we achieved a new level of coherence in the application of military capabilities, backed effectively by other instruments of national power. By conducting simultaneous operations on multiple fronts with great speed, focusing on the core combat actions that would contribute to victory, and minimizing in-theater footprint, this capabilities emphasis enabled us to use our forces more effectively.
Our approach to OIF reflected the concept of the "battlespace," replacing the concept of the "battlefield."
On previous battlefields, we massed forces and achieved jointness by deconflicting rather than integrating forces, and conducted relatively symmetrical attrition warfare.
In this joint air, land, sea battlespace – which also includes space and the electromagnetic spectrum -- we massed information and knowledge, used smaller formations that employed both lethal and non-lethal force in rapid and asymmetric ways, and conducted effects-based operations directed by flexible, dynamic command and control relationships. This synergistic battlespace makes each of our military service members more powerful in the effects they can achieve and confers greater protection from the enemy.
Taken together, Admiral Giambastiani’s team is suggesting that the basic building blocks of a transformed force should include:
- Increasingly capable networked command-and-control and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance architectures;
- More numerous and increasingly lethal and survivable small combat formations;
- Precision weapons and precision ISR, including the precision ISR that can sometimes only be provided by brave fighters on the ground who are networked to longer-range strike capabilities;
- Smaller and faster initial footprints with rapid follow-on forces;
- "Pressure" on adversaries applied by all elements of our national power;
- Mutually supporting lethal and non-lethal joint fires;
- Collaborative and virtual information environments;
- Simultaneous military operations; and
- Effects-based operations.
Once completed, we will use Joint Forces Command’s analyses to inform our planning and budget decisions for transformation, the need for which has been reinforced by recent experience. Another order-of-magnitude improvement is needed in the capabilities of our joint force to deal effectively with the many uncertain and dangerous challenges that are in our future.
Applying the Defense Strategy
We in the Department are aligning all of our activities and programs with the new Defense Strategy. One area that I would like to describe in some detail for you is our reexamination of our global military "footprint" – in particular, our forces, bases, and infrastructure abroad.
Recently, we have been focusing significant attention on realigning our global military footprint, an essential component of our broader efforts to underwrite the new Defense Strategy and protect our Nation’s security.
We are seeking to rearrange our military footprint overseas in two key ways:
- Tailoring the mix of our military capabilities stationed or deployed in key regions to the particular conditions of each region; and
- Strengthening our capabilities for prompt global military action anywhere in the world and at any time, to complement our regional military presence.
As we do so, we are trying both to make the most efficient use that we can of the rotation base of military personnel that provides the forces needed for overseas deployments and to reduce the strain on our men and women in uniform caused by long deployments away from home.
Particularly important to our global realignment is the work being done by the U.S. Combatant Commander in Korea, General Laporte, to apply the Defense Strategy to the real-world choices that we face on the Korean peninsula.
The proposals we have been working through with our ally, the Republic of Korea, will provide us with greater immediate deterrent capability and, if deterrence fails, a more robust capability to respond swiftly and more flexibly to an attack. They also will enable us to make more efficient use of our military manpower by better aligning our rotational policies with the circumstances we face.
Our proposed changes include:
- Relocating forces back from the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the two countries;
- Significantly reducing the heavy concentration of U.S. forces in downtown Seoul; and
- Enabling our forces to begin responding effectively immediately, rather than falling back and waiting for reinforcements.
In addition, as General Laporte recently announced in South Korea, we plan to make substantial investments over the next four years to further strengthen deterrence on the Korean peninsula and our warfighting capabilities in East Asia.
Enhancements under this plan will strengthen our capabilities to deter and defeat North Korean aggression through investments in better intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; command and control; operational combat capabilities; and more rapid reinforcement and employment.
Our plans envision over 150 enhancements and include fielding of unmanned aerial vehicles, command and control upgrades, Army aviation deployments, and a range of mobility improvements.
Taken as a whole, these changes will make the forces that we could bring to bear in a Korean contingency more capable, and they will strengthen our ability to employ our forces on very rapid timelines.
No longer will our forces be based near the DMZ as a political "trip wire" as they did throughout the Cold War. They will have far greater flexibility and ability to maneuver.
These changes will reduce the prospect of having to fight to recover initial losses of territory in such a conflict, while putting us in a better position to help protect Korean lives and property.
We also expect our South Korean allies to increase investments in their large and capable ground forces, which would play a crucial role in defeating any North Korean attack.
When all of these changes are implemented, the result will be a more potent military contribution to the combined defense of South Korea.
It is important that the changes we make should be the product of close consultation with our allies and should preserve and reinforce the U.S. ability to meet our alliance commitments. Bilateral discussions on the details and timelines of our proposals are ongoing.
Consonant with our plans to increase our combat power to deter North Korea, we believe that South Korea needs to spend more than its current 2.7% of GDP to strengthen its defense capabilities. South Korea’s substantial economic development over the last few decades has made it capable of sharing even more of the defense burden than it already does.
Given the strength of the Korean economy and the nature of the enemy that it is facing, it would be appropriate for South Korea to increase defense spending significantly and invest those funds in key transformational capabilities.
Current Operations and Military Capabilities
Now, having discussed our new Defense Strategy and how we are applying that new strategy in particular to the dangers on the Korean peninsula, I would like to discuss our current operations in Iraq and our efforts to effectively manage the associated defense risks.
We are devoting military forces and other assets commensurate with the importance of the mission and the conditions on the ground in Iraq. In some ways, winning the peace in Iraq is more challenging than winning the war; but the stakes in success are large as well.
We currently have approximately 146,000 U.S. military personnel operating in Iraq and additional personnel in other countries in the region (for example, the Gulf states) supporting those operations.
We are pleased that the number and capability of coalition forces pledged to contribute to the current operations in Iraq is growing.
Mr. Chairman, today marks only 90 days since the start of major combat operations in Iraq. It is only seven weeks since President Bush announced the end of major combat operations—and I emphasize the word "major." As we expected and planned for, smaller combat operations in Iraq continue, even as we work with Iraqis to establish stable and secure areas throughout Iraq.
It is important to realize that the process of stabilizing Iraq is not a uniform process. We have made great progress in some areas of the country, but we continue to face an adaptive and determined enemy, though conventionally defeated, that is nevertheless intent on killing Americans and Iraqis – and disrupting the establishment of order in Iraqi society and the process of recovery. A regime that employed tens of thousands of thugs and war criminals does not simply disappear overnight. But these are not the typical guerillas: Because they abused, tortured, and killed scores of their own people for decades, in most areas of the country they do not benefit from the support of a sympathetic population. We will continue our work to eliminate these surviving elements of the Saddam regime – and the foreigners who have joined their lost cause. We will eliminate them – but it will take time. How long this phase of the war will last is, of course, difficult to predict.
But, even as smaller combat operations continue in some parts of Iraq, we can chart real progress in stabilizing the country. For example, in the South, the country’s second largest city, Basra, with a population of almost 1.3 million people, most of them Shi’a and overwhelmingly grateful to be free of Saddam’s tyranny, is now stable.
In Northern Iraq, including the two large cities of Mosul and Kirkuk, with a combined population of more than 2.5 million, Major General Dave Petraeus and the 101st Air Assault Division have made significant progress towards a stable situation.
And in Baghdad, there is progress to report. While the security situation still imposes restrictions on our ability to move freely, Baghdad is not a city in anarchy: Shops are open and the city is bustling with traffic. Power and water and other basic services also have been restored.
Our success in rooting out Baathist remnants, disarming them, and preempting any efforts on their part to reorganize will ease the security situation. With the success of these smaller combat operations we will be able to be more successful in the conduct of our overall stability operations. And we are making progress in standing up Iraqi security forces that can deal with more conventional challenges to law and order.
An essential element of our efforts to secure Iraq is the work we are doing to reform and strengthen the Iraqi police as a functional and productive institution in Iraqi civil society. One of our principal challenges is that the old Iraqi police need to be replaced or retrained. Their leadership was corrupted by the old regime, and they were trained to raid people’s homes at night rather than conduct street patrols. We are making progress in this endeavor with each passing day. In Baghdad, for example, there are now some 8,000 police officers back at work and 2,000 on patrol. Eighteen police stations and three police divisions are operating 24 hours a day, and 23 out of 42 police stations are scheduled to reopen by the end of this month. We are seeing similar trends in other major cities in Iraq.
We are also making progress in enlisting other nations, including some who were not members of the original coalition, to contribute to stabilization and peacekeeping operations. The responsibility for helping the Iraqi people to stand on their own feet and build a new and free Iraq needs to be a shared responsibility.
The United Kingdom and Poland have made public their intention to lead peacekeeping divisions staffed by coalition countries, and including some countries that did not join the coalition initially but now think it appropriate to contribute based on the UNSCR and other actions. Among the countries that have publicly indicated their willingness to participate are Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Denmark, Ukraine, and Hungary. We expect a number of other countries similarly to announce their participation in these peacekeeping divisions in the coming days.
In addition to our continuing operations in Iraq, we are sustaining other deployments consistent with U.S. Defense Strategy, including:
- Stability operations in Afghanistan, involving around 10,000 U.S. military personnel;
- A range of other deployments associated with the war on terrorism in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere;
- Defending the United States homeland from attack;
- Maintaining a strong deterrent posture throughout Asia; and,
- Other operations, including continuing rotational deployments in the Balkans and Sinai.
Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers, General Pace, the Secretaries of the Military Departments, the Service Chiefs, and our Combatant Commanders are working together to ensure that we are managing our forces’ deployments in Iraq and elsewhere during this period as effectively as possible, with due regard in particular to both operational and force management risks.
While it is true that our current operations in Iraq constitute a new and important military commitment, the elimination of the threat of aggression posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime has also relieved us of a substantial threat.
Nonetheless, we still must balance the need to recover from the demands of combat in Iraq with the need to continue to meet the many challenges to U.S. interests that confront us in this dangerous era.
Our management focus seeks to ensure that the individual Services’ plans to reset their forces mesh well with one another and with our overall Defense Strategy, policies, and posture needs in the immediate post-combat period.
In addition, as coalition contributions grow, and as we help stand up effective Iraqi security forces, our military level of effort in Iraq will diminish.
Moreover, the Department of Defense, with the help of the Congress, can make progress in key areas -- most importantly, rationalizing our personnel policies so that military personnel are performing core military duties; reducing and realigning our domestic base infrastructure; and changing our overseas military footprint – so that our ability to meet these challenges will be significantly strengthened.
We live in a dangerous and uncertain world, one in which we could be confronted with a crisis or contingency requiring the deployment of U.S. military forces for combat operations on relatively short notice.
For example, while we are striving to seek a diplomatic solution with our allies in the region to the threat presented by North Korea’s program to develop nuclear weapons, it is important that we maintain a strong deterrent capability against possible North Korean aggression.
No one should have any doubts about our capabilities for dealing with such adventurism: If North Korea were to attack South Korea or Japan, the United States and its allies have the military capabilities to defeat North Korea, using all of the means at our disposal, including the enormously improved strike capabilities that the world has just seen in Iraq and earlier in Afghanistan.
A war in Korea would be costly and destructive, but there can be no question of its outcome: We would vanquish the North Korean military and ensure its aggressive rulers could never again threaten their neighbors and the stability of the region.
Managing the Force
Of course, an important element of our ability to deal with such crises while sustaining our current commitments is the mobilization of our Reserve component forces and the other force management measures we have taken.
We currently have about 210,000 Reservists mobilized, about 18% of the Reserve component force of 1.2 million, in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.
Cognizant of the force management risks associated with over-use of the Reserve component, our policies strive to balance those risks against the operational risks presented by threats such as North Korea.
In doing so, we have tried to minimize the burden on families, employers, and communities through a variety of support programs.
Despite such efforts, the recent mobilization has highlighted shortages in some capabilities that stress the Reserve component – intelligence, military and security police, special operations, and other areas.
We are actively exploring possible solutions to redress Active and Reserve force mix imbalances, including:
- Improving volunteerism to provide trained, ready individual reservists and units;
- Expanding the use of "reach-back" to reduce the footprint in theater;Streamlining the mobilization process to improve responsiveness; and
- Redistributing specific capabilities between and within the Active and Reserve components.
Some rebalancing is being addressed in the FY04 defense budget, but more can be done. As we further develop our strategy, we will consult with the Congress on this important issue.
Another tool we have used to help us manage the commitments of our military forces has been stop-loss authority.
As you know, during the national emergency declared by the President in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and extending to Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Military Departments have used stop-loss authority to involuntarily extend the tours of selected Service members beyond their date of separation.
At the high point of the stop-loss program, about 30,000 personnel were affected. Just last month, the Military Departments began implementing plans to phase out their stop-loss programs as operational requirements and force stability allow.
This phase-out period will continue into the first quarter of FY 2004.
Of course, coalition forces are still engaged in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our efforts there constitute an important element of our ability to manage the deployments and operations of U.S. military forces in other parts of the world.
We will be able to reduce our level of effort in Iraq as the coalition completes the work of defeating the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s regime and setting the conditions for reconstruction. Our ability to do so is not calendar-driven but determined in large part by conditions on the ground, including the level and capability of coalition contributions; the time and effort needed to recruit and train effective Iraqi military forces; the level of security in Iraq; and the external threats Iraq may face. In light of these uncertainties, it would be speculative to try to state the precise duration and quantity of our force presence in Iraq. Our forces will be there for as long as they are needed, and not a day longer.
More broadly, we put a lot of effort into getting the balance right between our force structure and end-strength on one hand, and our level of investment in future military capabilities on the other.
We believe this balance enables us to manage the full range of defense risks effectively to provide for our Nation’s security needs. While it is important to reassess this balance as circumstances abroad change and as we gain greater understanding of our capabilities and resources, we must be careful about changing direction too frequently, as there are real costs in moving resources from one area to another.
The Department is planning on continued, substantial increases in real defense spending over the next five years. We will continue to seek to gain maximum efficiency from the resources with which we are provided. Our ability to do so and to continue to strike the critical balance between force structure and investments, a balance that is so central to managing the range of risks that we confront, is contingent upon a few key parameters.
First, we need the flexibility to manage our civilian personnel workforce to achieve the goals that we are seeking.
We appreciate the forward-looking position that the Committee and the House have taken on our proposed National Security Personnel System. The need for the agility that NSPS would provide grows greater every day with real global commitments and retirements by the baby boom generation.
We want to realign our personnel and the functions they perform such that we do not have uniformed military personnel engaged in tasks that are not inherently military.
Once we have successfully achieved that goal, it will free up additional military personnel both to help support our current commitments and to provide us with the capability to deal with unforeseen challenges.
Our civilian personnel have performed extraordinarily in the war on terrorism in spite of the rigidities of the current civil service system. NSPS will remove a good share of that burden – with a more flexible and fairer system for hiring, paying, assigning, advancing, and retaining the right civilians.
We believe that the Committee version provides a full set of flexible tools for employees and managers while protecting fundamental civil service values. We need to get NSPS in place so that transformation to a more agile organization can accelerate.
We also need the Congress to help us move forward with another round of base closures and realignments in 2005.
BRAC, as part of our overall effort to transform our global military posture, is the only means to address comprehensively our infrastructure requirements and to ensure that the bases and facilities we maintain support U.S. Defense Strategy.
Through base realignments and closures, we will reconfigure our current infrastructure into one in which operational capacity maximizes both warfighting capability and efficiency.
BRAC also will help the Department eliminate excess physical capacity – the operation, sustainment, and recapitalization of which diverts scarce resources from needed defense capability.
Finally, we need to rearrange our global military footprint, as discussed earlier, to strengthen our deterrent posture in regions critical to U.S. interests and gain maximum efficiency out of our rotation base.
We have a military that has earned the admiration of the world. It is a product of the bravest and most professional men and women any country could wish for, armed with capabilities that no country has ever before been able to place in the hands of its fighting forces. We need to maintain both of those great strengths into the future as we confront the new and dangerous challenges of the 21st Century. We appreciate the support that this Committee and the U.S. Congress continue to give us in that effort.