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DoD Responds to Roles and Mission Commission Report Findings
News briefing by Deputy Defense Secretary John P. White, Pentagon, Friday, August 25, 1995

Good afternoon. Let me run through a few comments here first, and then I'd be more than happy to take your questions.

First of all, I want to put this in the larger context of the department. We've been through a drawdown. If you look at it, you will recognize that it's been done -- and if, historically, you understand what's been done in the past: -- World War II, Korea, Vietnam -- you will recognize that this has been done differently. It's been done more smoothly, more deliberately. It's been done with refashioning a strategy in terms of the Bottom-up Review. It's been done while maintaining the readiness of the forces. And I think those are significant accomplishments.

Now as we go forward, we now have a situation where we have to emphasize modernization. We have had the luxury over the last few years to not put as much of an emphasis on modernization because we went through the drawdown. That's basically over.

There are a number of things that we need to do in consonance with that, and they have to do with things that we ought to do anyway from efficiency, but take on particular importance because of the need to free up resources for modernization while maintaining our force structure and maintaining our readiness. Hence, you get to acquisition reform -- financial management reforms that need to be done just from a management point of view,: the BRAC [base realignment and closure] process; the privatization process that's related to BRAC as well as to the roles and missions; and the roles and missions activities themselves.

So we have a whole set of initiatives here that are important to us in terms of effectiveness, but also, in some cases, in terms of saving money.

Now let me then put the roles and missions in that context. Recall that the commission said that the principal overarching issue here was making sure that we were enhancing the capabilities with respect to the operators, with respect to the CinCs [commanders in chief], the war fighters. And they broke that then down into three particular areas. One had to do with operations, principally joint operations. One had to do with support, efficiency and effectiveness of support, and structure. And the third one had to do with the decision-making process.

What we have done now is take those, and I'm going to respond to the commission in this context, (which is our formulation of the way we break out and look at what is effectively the same kinds of elements): readiness, force structure, modernization and decision making. And what the secretary instructed was that we go and look carefully at the report, identify the recommendations, go through those recommendations and make a specific judgment in terms of what we ought to do with them.

We've done that. Ted Warner, the assistant secretary for strategy and requirements, is here. He led that team. You end up with basically a couple of senses here of what comes out.

First of all, we have accepted somewhere in the order of about two-thirds or more, thus far, of all of the recommendations. I am not going to get into the detailed numbers because the accounting can get a little slippery in terms of what is exactly a recommendation. There's over 100 recommendations. We've done over 70 where we've said yes.

The yeses fall into two categories. One is yes now; that is to say, we've done it. And the second category says yes, we're doing it, now we have to do some analysis to implement -- not to decide whether we're going to do it, but in fact to implement it. So there's a set of those. That's most of them.

The second, or third category, if you will -- we've got two there: yes, now; yes, later; but yes -- and then you have a set which are complicated, and the question is should you do more or something different than what you're doing? Reserve components. A lot of emphasis in that report on reserve components. So we're looking at that. And I'll go through a series of those. So that's a second, that's a second or third set.

And finally, the ones that have been rejected, which is a very small number, somewhere around eight or 10 or something like that, again, depending on exactly how you count.

So with that, let me go through briefly some ideas in terms of these various categories. And then, as I say, I'd be happy to answer your questions.

Joint training and capabilities. We have accepted a large number of those recommendations. The chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. John M. Shalikashvili] is crafting a joint vision, which the commission said was central to improving joint capabilities and joint war fighting. The chairman and the JCS [Joint Chiefs of Staff] have been assigned responsibility for overarching joint doctrine, which is also an emphasis in the report. We have increased emphasis on joint training, specifically with respect to theater missile defense. We are going to focus on a single C3I [command, control, communications and intelligence] architecture, which, again, was a specific illustration or recommendation in terms of the commission. So there's a whole set of those types, and you will see those in the letter that we sent to the chairman of the armed services committees today.

So the emphasis in the report on jointness is picked up in terms of what it is we are doing. It is very critical, in our judgment, in terms of kind of the next round of Goldwater-Nichols reforms.

Sustaining needed forces. Again, a whole set of issues here, which are important, where we have taken a number of actions. One is in terms of making the Air Force the executive agent on space, which increases the focus and control. The second one is making the Air Force the executive agent on combat search and rescue. A third one is conducting a major review of our deep attack assets, numbers, mix, size, etc. Another one, as I mentioned earlier, is the reserve components. And a [fifth] one is operational support aircraft, where, by ... early next year, January, we will have a report from the chairman with respect to an assessment of what we ought to do in terms of the OSA [operational support aircraft] fleet.

The third element has to do, then, with modernization, efficiency, support structures and so on. There, as many of you know, the big emphasis is on outsourcing. We've accepted that recommendation. We've done it in terms of initial emphasis on the depots, with respect to Kelly [Air Force Base, Texas] and McClellan [Air Force Base, Calif.]. You will see a good deal more of that.

We're looking at outsourcing candidates in a very broad range of activities, from health to education to family housing to finance to accounting and so on. So a broad theme throughout this is, yes, we're going to do a lot more of that sort of thing, and we're also looking at a whole set of recommendations that are there and accepted a number in terms of improving the internal support activities by reducing overhead costs in areas such as central logistics, aviation management and so on.

Fourth category -- decision making. Again, we've adapted a large number of these recommendations. One of them has to do with biennial budgeting. As you'll note in the letter that went to the Hill, we said we're more than prepared to do biennial budgeting, but if you're not going to do biennial budgeting, we would rather stop going through the exercise since it's expensive and we've been at it now for several years, and you've chosen -- that is, the Hill has chosen -- not to do it.

We are also examining, and we'll have reports with respect to, the size of the service staffs, which again is an issue that was recommended by the commission.

And finally, in this area, there are a number of front-end assessments that in terms of the improvement of the planning process we'll recommend, and the secretary has asked the chairman to do that, and we're working together with him on that, and we will have the product of those assessments early next year so that we have them for our next budget and decision cycle.

So again, in summary, we have accepted the lion's share of these recommendations. We have implemented a large number. Some of the bigger, more complicated ones we are still studying. The number rejected outright as not appropriate are particularly small.

We will next give a report on our progress when we send up, early next year, our annual report to the Congress, because we have committed internally to ourselves that we will devote a chapter of that report to the roles and missions activities and where we stand in terms of those activities.

So let me finish up and try to answer any questions that you may have. This fits into the larger context of what we're doing, so it fits in nicely, it's supportive of the other kinds of things we are doing. And my objective here is to make this part of our overall increase in effectiveness and efficiency and begin soon to basically kind of lose track of it as a roles and missions initiative, but just make it part of our ongoing process.

Thank you.


Q. Have you estimated how much you could or would save if you implemented a certain number of recommendations or those you have already adopted?

A. No.

Q. Can you give us a couple more examples of both the third and the fourth category -- that is, the ones that are complicated? Are you going to do more research on them and the ones that you rejected altogether?

A. Sure, let me give you some examples. Detailed complicated issues: deep attack, a question of a mix and number of assets and capabilities of those assets, so that's all-service. Reserve component -- remember in the report they talked about whether or not you have the right mix of reserves, particularly in light of the shortfall of CS and CSS -- combat support and combat service support people -- and the overall size. We're doing that. Operational support aircraft we're doing. Changes in the unified command plan, which the chairman will respond to soon -- that is, this fall -- which are in there, and restructuring the military department staffs. Remember there was a recommendation. I've forgotten exactly how it came out, but it effectively had to do with putting the military and civilian staffs together.

Q. This is the category of things that you are going to do, or are you going to study?

A. That we are studying to see whether we will do. What we will do.

Excuse me, let me go through a number of the rejections.

One rejection was the DoD should take on a role of training Third World constabulatory or police forces. We don't do that now, and in our judgment that should be left with the Justice Department.

The second one is whether or not the vice president ought to be put in charge of an interagency effort in terms of counterproliferation. We've got a lot of other things going on in counterproliferation and have increased that activity, but we rejected that specific recommendation as not being required.

Another one is whether we would combine the program review and the budget review in the PPBS [Planning, Programming, Budgeting System] process. We said we didn't think that was a particularly good idea.

There was also a question of whether or not there ought to be a specific integration element or group in OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] in terms of the PPBS process, and as we looked at it, we thought we didn't really need that. So effectively we said no, we don't think that's a change that's needed.

So that's the flavor of what we did.

Q. Well, why did you reject the suggestion that DoD take on the role of training Third World police?

A. Because we don't think it's an appropriate role for the military. We think it's a civilian responsibility and ought to be left with Justice.

Q. We're looking at maintaining readiness, sustaining force structure, ensuring modernization, which is something that was already an objective, and improving DoD decision making. There's no big surprise in here really. I mean it's more or less a number of objectives that have already been stated outside of this study.

A. No, no, absolutely. These are simply organizing principles. All I'm telling you is that as we organize, when I organize the description of the feedback of what we did, I put them in four buckets. These are the buckets I put them in. There's nothing new here at all. It's not intended to be.

Q. Is there anything new that can be pointed to?

A. I'm sorry, that's just what I went through. That's the whole point. We've got 80-something recommendations in here that we've either accepted or are studying to accept. Privatize -- yes, we're going to do that. We're doing it with the depots, we're going to do it with a whole array -- or look at doing it with a whole array of other issues.

Q. They're being considered ...

A. No. Privatizing is not being considered, we're doing it. I announced it in this room a month ago in terms of McClellan and Kelly.

Q. But I mean separate from this study, though, or is it...

A. It's not separate from this study. It's based on this study.

Q. The privatization of the depots and...

A. Yes. That's where the idea came from. The idea came from the study. OK? So that's what we're doing. C3I architecture integration, we're doing it -- we're going to do it, OK? Increased theater ballistic missile defense, we're doing it, based on the recommendations of the study. Air Force is the executive agent for CSAR [combat search and rescue]; we're doing it based on the study. And so there's a long list in the report.

Q. Particularly with respect to privatization, you mentioned the depots. Is there going to be a move to go to more privatization with the shipyards, and how soon would you see that coming?

A. We have started on the depots. The depots are very important to us. We need support on the Hill in order to get the depot activities done because of the restrictions. We're working on that. We haven't gotten to the shipyards yet in terms of whether we would do anything. So we just haven't addressed that question.

Q. I just wonder if you could elaborate a little bit on why deep attack is such a problem and how you envision it being sorted out? Do you see one service doing deep attack, or is it going to be a joint mission? Or give us a better flavor of what's going to be going on as you study it in the coming months.

A. Clearly, from a war-fighting point of view, to the extent that you can maintain a robust deep-attack capability so that you can either kill the enemy before they get to your ground forces or, certainly if they've already gotten there, in terms of killing their deeper assets -- headquarters, logistics, more strategic weapons, etc. So it's a big target set, very, very important to us.

Second point. As you look across all the assets that you have to do that, you have a lot of them. You have a lot of TAC [tactical] air. You now have bombers, which, because of the changes in the strategic environment, put more of those into the tactical arena -- that is, put more of those into the conventional warfare area, so they put those on top. You have precision-guided munitions, which you didn't have before, which increases the lethality of what you have. You have Tomahawks, you have ATACMs [advanced tactical missile], so you have all of the services with capabilities to deliver weapons and munitions to this particular broad mission.

We spent a lot of money on all of that, so the question is do we have the right mix, and do we have the right size, and are we managing it properly across all the services?

Q. So you don't foresee that there will be one service that's going to take over the whole mission?

A. No. No, it would be inappropriate.

Q. You alluded to the support on the Hill for the privatization of the depots. One key step in that is, I gather, would be repeal of the 60-40 rule?

A. Yes.

Q. If that doesn't happen in the authorization bill this year, will you be able to go through with the privatization, or will that be delayed?

A. Well, it will be -- if it doesn't go through this year, it will be a question of the rate at which we can do the privatization. In the case of McClellan and Kelly, we can clearly do one of them or half of both of them or some such mix. But remember, we have five years to do this as well, so if we don't get it this year, we are going to be back next year.

Q. What did you say about the Air Force and space being the executive ...

A. Air Force is the executive agent for space, for managing the design, etc., for space. Q. What does that mean?

A. It means that instead of having all of the services have their own space capabilities, that you have one service that has primary responsibility, has to listen to the other services but, in fact, has primary responsibility.

Q. Would it help me to understand if you were to say that in the 1950s and we were starting over again in space, it would be not a NASA project but an Air Force?

A. No. This is military only. This is only military. It has nothing to do with NASA.

Q. I know but, I mean, if we were starting the space program over again, would we want to create a civilian agency or would we just give it to the Air Force?

A. Oh, I think you would still need a civilian agency. This only has to do with military applications in space. It does not have to do with civilian exploitation of space, which is what NASA's mission is. This is the question of multiservice competition in terms of building their own as opposed to having some coherent system where we've got one agency in charge.

Q. It just seems to me that if you go back far enough, you'd find the Navy saying, "Well, it's space, and we need spaceships, so it should go to the Navy." And the Army would say, "Well, we're the big service, and we own space." And the Air Force said, "Well, we fly." I mean, it seems that there was a long-time rivalry over this.

A. Exactly. And we're trying to ...

Q. The Air Force has now won that?

A. No, it doesn't mean they won it. It means that in terms of the planning going forward, we're going to be more efficient, we think, in having one service have primary responsibility for it.

Q. Does it mean the Army Space Command will go away?

A. Not that I know of. Each of the services still has requirements. It's just that we're not leaving them all to generate their own requirements and provide their own space systems.

Q. In terms of the depots, do you expect that Congress will lower the limit of how much depot work has to go to the public depots, either 40 percent or...

A. Our hope is that we could have relief from the 60-40 rule and determine what the appropriate mix in the depots and out of the depots is on our operational needs, as opposed to some artificial number, which is what we have today.

Q. A hard question on medical care. Have you decided the size of what the medical corps will be? Will it be the ability to treat just the wartime casualties or be wartime plus peacetime for members of the military only? Or will there be some sort of residual care for family members and retirees?

A. Well, in the first place, let me correct your formulation, if I may. The issue and the recommendation by the commission was as you size your medical capability, you use as your baseline one or the other -- that is, either wartime requirement or peacetime, and then add to that. OK? So it wasn't use that and size to that. It was use that as the baseline, then add to that and make a judgment about how big it ought to be. That's important, because otherwise you're going to have to people saying, "Oh, my God, they're going to size it down to something that's too small for other needs." So that's Point 1.

Point 2 is that's part of what the study is -- the question of which of those or some other, what are the appropriate criteria, and once you go through the appropriate criteria, what's the appropriate sizing? We haven't gotten there yet. It'll be several months.

Q. You said that Congress changing the retirement pay scheme for service members is breaking faith. Would DoD changes to the medical system also be dubbed breaking faith?

A. We're not -- I'm not going to speculate on changes. We're not making any changes. What our issue is here is whether or not we can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the medical system. It's not a question of whether or not we're going to take away somebody's medical benefits. That's not the question.

Q. Will retirees and family members still be getting the same or similar-type services?

A. Right, yes.

Q. Just go to back to the depots one more time. Can you foresee a time when the Defense Department would be out of the depot maintenance business and would be farming all that work out to private handlers?

A. No, I don't see that time. I think you're always going to have a significant residual because you've got -- it's a continuum, right? It's a continuum from -- in where you put it along that continuum from the builder, if you will, from the original equipment manufacturer all the way to the war fighter, and you're always going to have a significant middle that in fact is in the DoD.

Q. Do you anywhere in this tell the Congress or tell the people how many people are going to be in uniform, that you're going to need in uniform in five years or 10 years?

A. No. This study had nothing to do with size. It really had to do with shaping rather than sizing.

Q. Some of the more controversial, tougher recommendations -- things like restructuring military staff support, the reserve components. And yet if you just read the language that you have here, it sounds like you'd like to move in that direction. Why not just put these in the second yes, but category? You've got to figure out how to do it rather than ...

A. Some of it's a question of formulation. But you will note in each of those cases we have a specific deadline of when we're going to deal with it. It's not like, well, yes, we'll have another look at it.

Q. Like on the reserves, this building's been trying for at least five years to try and bring the reserves down. Why not just say yes, we're going to do this, and go ahead with it?

A. Because in that case, we've got a major issue with respect to the Army's "Total Army" analysis. That includes reserves. We have to look at that in terms of the mix between the active force and the reserves. We've got to do both.

Q. I have a question for you on joint training. I think one of the recommendations of the commission was that you create a single command that does nothing but joint training. What are you going to do about that?

A. I mentioned the chairman will have a report up in the fall on the unified command plan. The unified command plan will deal with that issue of whether or not there should be a new CONUS [continental United States]-based combined CinC who would do nothing but joint training. That is, in shorthand, take away USACOM's AOR [U.S. Atlantic Command's area of responsibility].

Q. Where does that fall in your category of yeses and nos? And is that a yes, but or is that ...

A. No. It's a study. It's going to the chairman. He legally has the responsibility to come forward, in any event, in this time frame with recommendations to the secretary and the president on those issues. So we just put it in that category.



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