Wednesday, December 15, 2004 8:03 a.m. EST
To view the slides used in this briefing click here.
STAFF (COL Joe Curtin, OCPA): Good morning, everybody. Thank you for turning out this morning. We're going to have three speakers today, and --
Q You're killing us with this 8:00 a.m.!
STAFF: Well, there are two other events after this, so --
Q I know. It's --
STAFF: -- (I'll go blame others ?).
Q Okay. (Laughs.)
STAFF: But again --
Q (?) You're in the Army. You have been over to theater and you have been with our soldiers.
Q (Off mike) -- (do it at three, Joe ?).
STAFF: Okay. This morning we have Major General Stephen Speakes. Again, you're going to get a press kit. All the bios, everything in there. He's from our force development G8 staff. Brigadier General Jeff Sorenson, deputy for acquisition and system management. Again, that's in his bio. And then there will be one more short briefing by Colonel John Rooney, Army Test and Development Command, to give you all a good rundown on some of the testing that's been ongoing for the past several months out at Aberdeen.
Q Joe, aside from process -- you know, they're talking about general process -- I assume they're going to talk about the current situation -- (inaudible) -- with armor holdings, that kind of thing, and they're going --
STAFF: General Sorenson can address some of that, yes, sir. Yes, sir. I think our intent today is to get as much information to you all about this whole process --
Q Timely. Timely stuff. Not just the process. (Off mike.)
STAFF: (Ask me a ?) question, Charlie. (I think I'll ?) be able to handle --
Q Thank you.
STAFF: Good morning, ma'am.
Q Hi. How are you?
STAFF: We got about an hour and a half plus, so they're going to generate about 45 minutes' worth of discussion, and then the rest of the time -- (inaudible). But at 10:00 we get booted out of here, so without further adieu we'll get started.
Q Did we get -- C-SPAN showed up? Do you know if they called in last night?
STAFF: All right. No, 95 was an absolute disaster, (did you hear ?)?
(Off mike conversations.)
GEN. SPEAKES: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I'm Major General Steve Speakes. I work in force development,G8 Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army. What I'd like to do this morning is give you a quick update on an enduring commitment on the part of all members of the Army, as a part of the Department of Defense, which is the commitment we have to ensure that Soldiers go into harm's way properly protected.
Now, we're going to focus today on up-armoring tactical wheeled vehicles, but what I want to do is remind you also that what we're doing today when we talk about tactical wheeled vehicles is only a part of a very broad strategy that's been in effect for many months now, as all of us work under the Secretary of Defense's direction to ensure that we properly protect Soldiers. So up-armoring is only a part of a comprehensive strategy. And although we won't address these topics today, what we also need to bear in mind is that we have very important efforts that are going on and have been long-standing programs over the course of the last 18 months to ensure that we counter IEDs with an IED task force; that we properly ensure that we give Soldiers more fire power, more armaments so that they can shoot more effectively and with more effect, and then also to protect them, both not only their vehicles but also the personal equipment that they wear on their body.
And so I'd like to begin by reminding you of the broad nature of this strategy even as we focus specifically on one topic that has been newsworthy over the course of the last couple of weeks, which is the ability that we have to up-armor and successfully protect our Soldiers.
So what I'd like to do is just give you a short update before we turn it over to you for questions.
Before we begin, I'd like to introduce some of the experts that we have here today because it's important that you know that we have a lot of expertise that we've assembled to answer your questions. So let me just go ahead and ask each member of our team to introduce themselves so you know who they are when they come up here. Their background will stand as their credentials.
Jeff Sorenson, would you start?
GEN. SORENSON: Jeff Sorenson, and I'm the Deputy for Acquisition and system management for the Army Secretariat.
COL. ROONEY: Colonel John Rooney. I'm up at Aberdeen Proving Ground leading the testing of all the armor solutions for our Army.
GEN. PATRICK O'REILLY: Pat O'Reilly. I'm the program executive officer for combat support, combat service support, in Detroit, Michigan.
GEN. BRIAN GEEHAN: I'm Brian Geehan, Chief of Army Transportation, representing the commander of Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).
GEN. KATHLEEN GAINEY: I'm Brigadier General Kathleen Gainey, and I'm the Director of force protection and distribution for Army G-4.
GARY MOTSEK: I'm Gary Motsek. I'm the deputy director for support at the Army Materiel Command (AMC).
BEN COLLYER (sp): Ben Collyer. I'm in force development for logistics.
TIM CONNELLY (sp): Jim Connelly. I am the director for reset modularity at Tank Automotive Command.
GEN. SPEAKES: Okay. With the introductions complete, now let's get on with our story.
Next slide, please.
What we'll do is give you a quick update of how we see our mission, how we've organized ourselves to execute that mission, and then we'll move into some supporting details in terms of how we're executing it in terms of acquisition and purchase of systems, and then, importantly for you, a critical item for Soldier confidence, which is the assurance that we've adequately tested the systems we're putting out in the field today.
Next slide, please.
This statement is a statement uttered by General Schoomaker, the Army chief of Staff, in his recent congressional testimony. And what he did was express a commitment on the part of the Army to ensure that Soldiers don't go in harm's way without proper protection on their vehicles. And what we'll do today is address how we're going to accomplish that mission and how we have set about to make that happen.
Next slide, please.
Now, this slide is useful because it illustrates the complexity of our challenge. Let me quickly orient you to what it tells us. As you see, from left to right we talk time, May of '03 through December of '04, in time. As we look off to the ordinate here, the vertical ordinate, what we have is a description of the number of systems, armored vehicles, that we have been asked to be prepared to support over the course of this last 18 months. So what you could see is, beginning in the late summer of '03, we began to identify a requirement to up-armor tactical wheeled vehicles.
And then as we began to respond to the first major incidents that we saw of IED attacks in late September, early October, we had the first communication of significant increases in theater requirements.
And so what we do, then, at the Army is, we respond to a theater commander's request for additional support. They're communicated in what we call an operational needs statement (ONS). The operational needs statement that you see here in late October/early November moved up to 15,000 vehicles. And then what it did is climbed slowly but steadily as we moved on through the spring of last year.
As you recollect, spring of last year was the transition point between two OIF rotations, as we transitioned out the first force that had been in Iraq for the second force.
In April we had another surge in violence, and the surge in violence gave rise to another increase in requirements for additional armored wheeled vehicles.
So what we see, then, is a continuous increase. Until now, what we see is an identification that essentially says every vehicle that's going to be operating in Iraq is going to be up-armored, so that we can ensure that the Soldiers who operate those pieces of equipment are properly protected.
So we'll talk later about how we've gone about meeting that requirement. But the point that we'd make here is, this is, in effect, a very long-standing requirement that has changed over time, and we have had to adapt not only how many systems we produce, but the kinds of vehicles that we're actually up-armoring, because the threats have changed and the nature of the systems that the enemy is targeting has changed.
And so it has not been a static battlefield. It's been a constantly evolving requirement. And it's our job not only to meet the requirement but then also to try to anticipate where it is and move our programs to support and anticipate requirements.
Next slide, please.
What I'd like to do is introduce terms that you have heard in a variety of foray over the course of the last several weeks, just to make sure that you're comfortable with the way we describe armored force protection for wheeled vehicles.
First, we begin with what we call Level one. Level one means that the vehicle cab was built in the factory with a much higher level of armor protection. And that's important, because it means from the start that vehicle was designed to operate with many more pounds of armor than the original vehicle may have been designed to operate. So it's essentially an all-encompassing armored solution, and it's our very, very effective solution.
The next thing I'd like to do is move to the level two. Level two force protection says that you have an existing fleet of many thousands of vehicles out there, and what you have to do is put additional protection on vehicles that are already in use out across the Army's inventory. And so that has been the other principal focus that we have. We can't automatically or magically swap out all of the equipment that we have out in the theater, but what we can do is develop programs where we take kits and put them onto existing pieces of equipment.
Now this is not a trivial process. We'll talk to you about the testing that goes into these level two kits, so that we put the right things on pieces of equipment. We'll talk about making sure that the actual system can continue to operate with many thousand more pounds on it, in some cases.
For example, for a humvee, the typical add-on armor kit is just over a thousand pounds. And so you could imagine, if I took and put a thousand pounds more weight on your -- the vehicle you drive back and forth to work, it would have secondary impacts in terms of your suspension and your powertrain. We have to test those things out to make sure that we're giving a soldier something that can endure in combat; it won't just break the minute he starts to operate it. So the level-two kit is a sophisticated requirement and one that we've been very successful in adapting, not just for humvees but, as we'll show you, for a variety of systems. And then level three is locally fabricated armor.
By way of background, I went into Iraq as a member of the 4th Infantry Division. I was reassigned after three months into Kuwait, and I spent 13 months in Kuwait. And so it was my responsibility to ensure that the truckers that were operating in Kuwait supporting operations up in Iraq were properly outfitted. Early on we recognized that we had to help the Army with a local solution. Commanders across Iraq did the same thing. Initially the designs were primitive. We had problems with materials.
But over time now we've grown to a very, very high standard, and when you go, for example, and visit the fabrication facilities that we have in Kuwait today, what you'll see is, first of all, the Defense Logistics Agency-approved steel being used. You'll see actual templates that have been designed in part by the drivers who operate the equipment. And you'll see very, very experienced machinists and welders who are putting this stuff on. And we'll show you some pictures of what high-quality work this is. This is an interim solution, but it's a darn good solution that's been very, very effective as we take a look at what we've done to protect the force.
Let me show you some illustrations. Next slide.
This gives you something behind the surge of acronyms we all too often use. So level one, departmental approved integrated armor -- what that means is that the cab on this medium truck here was designed in the factory and made in the factory and installed on that piece of equipment -- is an armored cab. This is the familiar up-armored humvee that all of us have seen in multiple pictures in trips to the combat zone. Obviously a very heavy piece of equipment but has proven out very, very well, and the design is an integrated solution. In other words, suspension and drivetrain designed to support the heavy weight of that vehicle.
Then these are illustrations of level-two kits. This is the familiar humvee kit, and what you can see here is that you've got materials that have been designed by the department, tested by the department and then moved to installation sites. And you're talking somewhere around 30 or 40 hours is the typical amount of labor it takes to put one of these kits on a humvee. And so this, once again, is a substantial effort and we've executed this operation over about the last 16 months. And during my time in Kuwait, for example, we operated seven days a week, 18 hours a day putting these kits on to humvees to make them safe to operate.
Now there are secondary issues, and Colonel John Rooney will talk to you, for example, about some of the challenges we've got with adequate power and with the challenges you put on the suspension when you make this thing heavier and more capable of resisting the enemy attacks.
You see a similar kind of a kit here on the same kind of a truck, the medium tactical truck, and this once again is additional armor that had been put on the exterior of the cab.
And then we'll talk a little bit about level-three locally fabricated armor in the next slide.
This is pictures of typical level-three efforts that are done in the combat zone. And what you see here, for example, is hardened doors, hardened side posts, additional protection here underneath, on the side of the vehicles, all of it designed to make it more resistant to enemy attacks. So what this does is dramatically decrease the risk of the operator, but it's not the same total encompassing solution as we're able to get, for example, in a level-one kit. So this gives you a vision of some of the typical systems that are in place right now as we look at soldiers who are operating in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
So let me now talk about how we take on the challenge. Over the course of the last 18 months what we have is a consistent challenge, which is a very, very busy force that has a substantial number of combat systems operating across the tactical region. And what we have to do is grab them and up-armor them and recognize that there are different priorities based upon how pieces of equipment are being operated and what capacity we have to up-armor them.
And so what we tried to do was set up a fairly simple system. First of all, right now all of our industrial production -- in other words, every kit or cab we can make is going to the combat zone. And the headquarters that is operating in Kuwait is acting as the -- is the Army Service Command Forward, and it's their job to orchestrate this effort, and they've been doing a magnificent job of it for the last year-and-a-half. And what they will do, then, is they will take everything we give them and respond to the combat commanders, putting kits on where the combat commanders want them, because initially, at least, the effort has been apportioning scarcity; we didn't have enough and we couldn't generate enough initially to meet the total requirement. So we responded to commanders and gave them everything we could get.
Next what we want to do is make sure that as the battlefield changed we were changing the kinds of kits that we were producing. And the message here is that as we take a look at prioritizing kit production, initially our priorities were humvees. Humvees were the force that was being most affected by the early and more primitive kinds of attacks we were seeing a year or so ago. Over the course of the last nine months or so, it's been very obvious that we've needed to respond with additional protection for the rest of the tactical vehicle fleet. What we are going to do today is show you how we've done that and are in the process of doing it. So this is a journey that is not yet complete, but is one that is well underway.
Then the next thing we want to do is we want to anticipate requirements. General Schoomaker uses a term that we all use, it's kind of our mental challenge, it's called "shooting ahead of the ducks." What that means is we shouldn't always be behind, we ought to be anticipatory and proactive. And so the message here is that what we would like to do is make sure that instead of waiting until we get into the combat zone to begin an up-armoring program, we want to support up-armoring efforts at home station.
So what is happening right now essentially is commanders do reconnaissance into the combat zone, they determine what wheeled vehicles they're going to take with them, because increasingly they're drawing their wheeled vehicles into combat zones. But if they're going to take something over there, what we want to do, then, is try to up-armor it at home station.
So for example, right now, if you go to Fort Carson, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is executing up-armoring this week, and they will have that effort complete here in the course of the next several weeks. The goal then being that when they deploy, the majority of the pieces of equipment that they're going to deploy will already have up- armoring added to them. They will then complete that operation with fewer pieces of equipment when they actually get into combat zones. So we will have taken care of the bulk of their requirement at home station.
We have a similar effort under way in U.S. Army Europe. As you're aware, we have forces there that are going to deploy to Afghanistan, and when they deploy to Afghanistan, what we want to try to do once again is get up-armoring solutions to them now instead of waiting till they get to the combat zone.
So those are some simple examples of the armoring concept. Once again, it's a very basic concept of operations designed to meet the needs of the operational commander.
What I'd like to do now is transition.
Next slide, please.
I will now show you this eye-test chart, and the goal here is not to try to overwhelm you with numbers but rather to show you the sophistication of the requirement. To talk us through that, I'd like to introduce Brigadier General Jeff Sorenson. And Jeff is going to talk you through the mechanics of it, because he is the guy who essentially is responsible for explaining our acquisition programs. And the acquisition part of this challenge has been considerable and it's been his mission to take that on.
Q (Off mike.) (Cross talk.)
GEN. SORENSON: Yes. This is not something that you're going to get a test on at the end.
Q This was released by the committee last week, I think --
GEN. SORENSON: Yes. Similar chart, but I will tell you, this chart is an update, okay? So this is latest information in terms of where things stand.
I just want to address, just for purposes of understanding here -- as we've talked about here, we've got a light tactical fleet, which essentially is your humvees. You have the medium tactical fleet, and then you've got a variety of trucks, if you will, in the heavy tactical fleet.
As we understand -- I just want to make sure you understand. This is a break-out of the requirements, as General -- as we heard from the field in terms of theater, these are the requirements that come in from theater. Right now we're postured to project 35,000 vehicles to be up-armored. We have a validated requirement to which we have funded here today from theater. Of that we've got 29,000 that are currently funded. We also have plans. We talk here about additional funding to -- actually is -- it was mentioned shoot ahead of the duck and fund 38,000 vehicles.
Now, where are we today? We've had a discussion here about the level one, level two and level three. This is the status of forces today with respect to what has been armored in theater, okay? As General Speakes mentioned, we're doing everything we can with respect to getting level one and level two there. At this point in time, because of the production requirements, we have actually begun to install level three. And between the two of them combined, today we have about 61 percent of the vehicles taken care of.
I would point out here, though, that with respect to the light tactical vehicles, and that's the vehicles that have been suffering the majority of casualties and the majority of incidents, we're now at 80 percent, and the plan is by March to actually have not only these vehicles taken care of but also the heavy truck fleet, so we'll have those installed in theater.
Go to the next chart, please.
Q Could you break down level one and two for us?
GEN. SORENSON: In terms of?
Q In terms of how many in level one and how many in level two. You have them grouped together.
GEN. SORENSON: Well, the only thing I would point out on level one and level two -- right here, this up-armored humvee, this is the system, as we talk about from the standpoint -- from the factory. You'll see right here that that's the level one, okay?
With respect to the other level one, we have a truck cab that's coming off the factory line to put into the family of medium tactical vehicles, the FMTV. And though this right here is a level two, the level ones will begin to (sharpen ?) there as well.
Q General, is there somewhere we can get that chart right now? I don't think some of us can see those numbers, and you're not discussing numbers, and we can't follow exactly what you're saying. Can we just get that chart now so we can follow along with you?
Q Why don't you buy LASIK?
GEN. SORENSON: I think we can make it available.
Q Why don't I what?
Q Get LASIK --
GEN. SORENSON: But I'll tell you what, let me continue to go on and I'll come back to that chart, if that's okay, because we do have a lot to cover.
Q Yes. Thank you.
GEN. SORENSON: I'll just come right back to it.
Q I'm sorry. By March you said what's going to happen?
GEN. SORENSON: By March we will have 98 percent of the light tactical vehicles -- in others words, the humvees -- armored, and we're going to also have the heavy truck fleet.
Q (Off mike.)
GEN. SORENSON: Yes. As we know the requirements as they stand today as are depicted here on the chart.
Q That 98 percent will include level one, two and three?
GEN. SORENSON: Yes.
GEN. SORENSON: Next chart, please.
As General Speakes was mentioning, the requirement has changed over time, and quite frankly, this -- I'm going to go off through a couple charts here to explain to you the journey we've been on.
Back in August and October, as the theater was making the adjustments with respect to the forces, we had a very small requirement with respect to the need for up-armor humvees. As a series of incidents began to occur with respect to IEDs, the requirement quickly ramped up to close to 3,000. It was made, that determination at that point in time, by the secretary and the chief of staff that because of the production of up-armor humvees, which essentially shows this ramp rate in green -- that was the ramp rate that that particular company was projected to achieve at max capacity -- we were not going to be able to satisfy this requirement until some point in time much later.
So as a result, we took the vehicles, the number of vehicles that have been produced and be distributed to other forces throughout the world, to include CONUS, and begin to ship those into theater such that you see this pink line showing the acceleration of delivery of capability to theater. Now I'll point out here in the June time frame we got to a point where, between shipping vehicles that had already been produced as well as the ramp up of production, we got to the point that we almost met the requirement only until that point in time. The requirement began to jump again, and we are now working to a requirement here of 8,105, which we plan to satisfy in the March time frame.
Okay. Next chart, please.
Q Do you know whether CENTCOM's going to raise this one again in the next month or so?
GEN. SORENSON: I can't really comment on that with respect to whether they're going to raise that. I mean, it all boils back to the requirement and the summation of that, which -- I'll go back to that previous chart if I can to kind of go through some of those numbers.
So if we can go back to that first chart, please? Can we go back one?
Now again, this is the numbers. I'll just walk through again so you can see. This is the requirement as we know it today in OIF and OEF, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. This is the validated requirement to which we have received requirement statements from theater to build up-armored type capability.
We are currently funded for the following amounts, but we have laid in place plans to up-armor an additional requirement. As General Speakes says, we will get to the point where we have armored every vehicle in theater.
What this talks to here is, as of 14 December, the level one and level two, by vehicle type; the level three, by vehicle type; what that means in terms of percentage of the fleet. And then you see here we have some statistics with respect to the end of January, and I've also given you some statistics with respect to the end of March.
Okay. If I could go forward two charts, please.
In a similar manner, this was the add-on kit that we did for the humvees. Again, you'll see here in October there was no requirement for this particular capability in theater. As General Speakes mentioned, when the requirement with respect to IEDs began to materialize much more significantly, the requirement jumped significantly, and we had to go find a capability that we could go ahead and quickly produce, get it produced and get it fitted and get it sent in. Again, in the August time frame, we basically satisfied that requirement, but there was a jump as well.
Now I would tell you that these particular deltas here -- and the previous chart showed a delta -- those deltas were mitigated by the Army staff as there were decisions made to go ahead and as well leave tanks and leave Bradleys, as well as ship vehicles with respect to tanks and Bradleys, from Korea. So it was recognized that we weren't going to leave the theater unarmored, and so decisions were made at the operational level to begin to make adjustments to the fleet mix in terms of armoring in theater.
Next chart, please.
I mentioned to you before that we had gone through a particular process whereby we have to make sure that because of the vehicle constraints and the up-armoring requirements, do we have a mix that we can actually put together such that the vehicle is not overweighted with armor, in that it couldn't even move.
We've taken a very good look at that. Just point out here at the top -- the green identifies those items that we really had a production capability for. We had a production capability for the up- armored humvee, and as I mentioned in the previous two charts, we began to ramp up that capability.
With respect to the other tactical vehicles, the light, the medium and the heavy, the requirements came in, in the November time frame. In some cases, we were able to get a quick solution. In other cases, we had to go back and actually do the design from scratch. We also had to order the steel. In some cases, the steel was 12 to 16 weeks to get that on order. We also had to get the list of glass and number of other components that we had to put together, not the least of which to design the kit, to test it, and to ensure that in some cases we didn't have any quality control issues.
As you see today, all these production capabilities are currently on hand and in process.
Next chart, please.
In a very simple manner, I just kind of walked through a process here. Again, this has been very deliberate. We want to make sure that the vehicles that we had out there had the capable protection that they needed, and that's something that in some cases was going to create other problems. As General Speakes mentioned, when we first got into the level three capability, pieces of armor and types of armor that were being employed by the troops and being put on was essentially creating more casualties and more problems than they had anticipated, because of the threat with respect to the IEDs.
So we go through an operational needs statement, the requirements, the resourcing process, design, development. We do a considerable market survey. And I think Colonel Rooney will explain to you the number of vendors that we have tapped into and the contractors to provide some additional add-armor kits. We go through a very deliberate testing process to get it manufactured, installed and issued to the troops. And this has been the journey that we've been on to try to take care of this particular situation and problem over time.
If I could have the next chart. The next chart.
At this point in time I'd like to introduce Colonel John Rooney, who has been our tester out at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, to explain to you the process that we've gone through to find adequate capability for our soldiers.
COL. ROONEY: Thank you, sir.
Aberdeen Proving Ground is where we conduct the Army's ballistic and automotive testing. And since we received this mission over 14 months ago, we became a 24/7 operation to turn around solutions to be able to outfit and protect our soldiers.
What you see here is 207 different armor proposals have arrived, and we've received calls recently about more proposals that we anticipate coming our way. In front of you on the floor you see what is typified by a proposal. It's sent in to us and we'll put it into testing, and I'll talk to that in detail. From over 40 vendors to date, (and) it covers across the entire tactical vehicle fleet from the light to medium to heavy.
Next chart, please.
This is an example of a proposal we might receive. We call them coupons. They come in to us and we take, based on the intel (intelligence) updates from in theater, we fire the threats that are out there that are causing the casualties with our soldiers. And we can take one of these and turn it around in 24 to 48 hours with the results on how this solution performs against the threats as well as be able to take it and compare it to the other 206 solutions that we fired against. So you have an immediate comparative basis of the level of protection that's afforded to the Soldiers in that.
Once we shoot this against the threats in theater, we can go back and, if it's a solution that provides an acceptable level of protection, then we will ask for a full-up kit that would be integrated onto a vehicle. And then we'll conduct the tests that you see in the bottom portion, conduct how that kit holds up against a mine integrated with the vehicle, how the vehicle impacts, and we'll measure also what kind of forces are imparted on soldiers inside of the vehicles so you can determine whether that will help prevent casualties within the vehicle.
We'll fire a rocket-propelled grenade against it to see what the kit does. We want to make sure the kit does not break up, break into pieces and become an adder to the casualties that take place during particular events. And then we'll conduct an improvised explosive event.
Next chart, please.
This is an actual improvised explosive event test that we conducted up at Aberdeen. And what you see here is the significance of events. Those are the fragments that are pounding against the side of the vehicle, and it's those fragments that have been the major casualty causer within the theater of operations.
We take these events, study what happens, look for the integration of the kit, both how it performs, how seams perform and how it does on the vehicle, and from that we can determine overall how, if you're driving on the road networks in country in Afghanistan or in Iraq, what the likelihood of survival of soldiers inside of those vehicles are with the given kits. And from that we can determine what the level of protection afforded for our soldiers is.
Q How many kits have you tested, and how many have you accepted?
COL. ROONEY: Again, across the fleet -- you already have the chart. Across all of the tactical wheeled vehicle fleets, there are kits that are being fielded today.
Q How many different kinds --
COL. ROONEY: Humvees, for example, there's 12 different kits that we've tested against. All of those are not being fielded. There's three predominant kits that are being fielded at this point in time for humvees.
Q (Off mike) -- go with one of them.
COL. ROONEY: Different humvees have different chassis, different availabilities to carry. I'll talk to that now. Automotive is a significant portion of this. Every one of these kits add significant weight to our vehicle fleet, and every one of them has an impact on those vehicles.
For example, this is a ball joint from a humvee. Normally this would be stiff right here. This ball joint is about to fail, and if it were to come out of the ball joint, then you would have an accident in that vehicle. And so what we have to do is take these kits and run them on a road over a long period of time on the same types of environments that you're going to see in theater to see what's going to wear, what's the break point.
The first heavy humvee kit that we put on a humvee in 10-mile-an- hour brake tests snapped the front drive shaft. It was clear that kit could not be placed on that level of humvee. There are other humvees that have beefier chassis; for example, that are designed to carry shelters and those kinds of things. You can put a larger weighted kit on top of there. And that's where you get into some of the various different kinds of kits. Also, you have troop carrier components for some humvees, and other humvees don't have that as their requirement.
So, in our automotive testing we want to look at, first of all, safety. We want to make sure it does not cause a safety hazard to soldiers. And then second of all, we want to understand what's going to break on the vehicles, get ahead of that bow wave. We changed their daily preventive maintenance checks and services such that there are certain things that they were not required to check on a daily basis previously that now we tell them this is now a daily check, so that you can discover before you get the failure when you have something like this that's gotten loose so you replace it ahead of time. We're replacing these about three times as frequently as we used to, for example, in the humvee fleet from what happened before.
Then we take an endurance test. And again, because of time, and we want to turn this around quickly, we only go 3,000 miles because that's -- we'll get a very good understanding of what happens, and in the first thousand miles we'll make a call as to how risky it is or is not on that kit, and basically, that becomes the decision point to say, okay, this kit looks like it's going to perform well and we can capture it, so you can get on with getting the production squared away, and then we'll keep running the 3,000 miles.
We have subsequently, because the humvee kits have been out there for a number of months, run 12,000 miles on those kits so we can see what the long-term wear and tear is going to be on the vehicles to determine how they will perform in the automotive perspective.
And that's in essence what we've done over the last 14-plus months to be able to ensure that these kits will indeed save lives, as well as allow them to perform their mission automotively within the vehicles.
Q How long does it take to get the 1,000 miles tested?
COL. ROONEY: Generally, we can get to 3,000 miles in two weeks, going 24/7. So about five days or there abouts we get to the thousand-mile point.
Obviously, there have been a number of times during this automotive testing where a part has failed, something has broken down. Cab mounts is a good example, for our medium and heavy trucks. Cab mounts were designed to hold a cab that was much lighter, and when you strap all this armor on top of it, the cab mount now, in many cases, has had to be beefed up because of failure rates on the cab mounts, and that's a significant effort to do those kinds of things.
Q How is the armor affecting the speed on the trucks? We were told this week that the primary defense of truck and convoy operations is speed rather than armor.
COL. ROONEY: That's part of what we test, is whether you can operate speed-wise. With the medium/heavy tactical wheeled-vehicle fleet, generally they perform -- those trucks are designed to carry and haul loads and they perform very well with the kits.
The humvee, your chassis really limits how much weight you can put on it anyways, and you already have an automotive system with the up-armored humvees that's designed to carry that kind of weight.
Q How about fuel consumption?
COL. ROONEY: Fuel consumption was looked at, and as you would anticipate, fuel consumption is indeed a point that has grown -- we have provided the fuel consumption numbers so that anticipation of what the greater fuel consumptions would be.
Q It just adds so significantly to the logistical training in convoys --
COL. ROONEY: It adds a little -- more parts, more fuel, yes, ma'am.
Q Are you also testing the level three stuff?
COL. ROONEY: Yes. In fact, we worked with the material providers to shoot the level-three material so that we would know which level-three materials are bought, and we know predetermined what the level of protection for each of those happens to be.
Q Something that wasn't mentioned in the earlier slides is what's -- basically what does the level three protect against?
COL. ROONEY: I really don't want to get into exactly what it protects against because now we're talking capabilities and limitations, and I don't think that would be appropriate.
Q (Inaudible) -- level one and level two, right?
That -- COL. ROONEY: All three of them can provide a very good level of protection. That -- level one, two and three doesn't mean one is better or worse than the other. Oftentimes they're same levels of protection; it's just one is an integrated kit that's placed on a vehicle, vice what is being manufactured in theater to help augment.
Q Does level three include under cab? COL. ROONEY: It can.
And I'll be followed by General Sorenson.
GEN. SORENSON: Yeah. Let me just reemphasize the point that John made. I want to be very clear about this. Level one, level two and level three only really talks about the source, talks about the source. Where did the source come from?
In other words, a level one is an integrated capability that we've designed, comes off the factory, in terms of the up-armor humvee or the cabs that we're putting on the family of medium tactical vehicles.
The level two is that same armor, but packaged for the humvees, in terms of the force protection.
And the level three is that same armor that is now being fabricated and cut in theater in order to augment the need to increase the capability.
So from a standpoint of armor, whether you got level one, level two and level three, it's almost -- there's no difference. Okay. So I just want to be very clear about that.
Q (Off mike) -- I mean, the doors on level three humvees don't --
GEN. SORENSON: The doors on level three are the same steel that is being put on level two and level one.
Q Right, the same steel, but they're not the same configuration. I mean, they're open at the top, and they have that L- shaped --
GEN. SORENSON: That part of it is true. That part of it is true. They do not have the -- level three does not have the ballistic glass. Okay?
Q Right. Okay.
GEN. SORENSON: But in terms of capability, in terms of steel, it is the same.
Q All right.
GEN. SORENSON: It is the same.
Okay. If I could just kind of go back to -- with respect to what we are doing with the industrial base, as I mentioned before, this requirement began to mushroom. If you go back to August 2003, this was the industrial base that we had in terms of what was producing armored-type systems at that point in time with the U.S. -- a single steel manufacturer, a few manufacturers, et cetera.
Can I have the next chart?
This is what it looks like now, in December of 2004. We have three steel manufacturers with -- which we get the steel from. We have sit depots that are stood up right now, producing the kits that go on the humvees, that go on the trucks and so forth. We have a series of manufacturers that are also producing not only the integrated kits but also designs for the add-on armor kits.
So as you can see, we've significantly increased the capability and taken advantage of all the production facilities that we have here in the U.S.
As an example, we have listed here the types of vehicles, the producers and so forth, to give you an appreciation for it.
I just want to emphasize one more time that the armoring piece of it and the activities that we've gone through for level one, level two and level three is just one part of that story, okay, because the entire effort that we've focused on is a holistic approach, not only the armoring; but we're working on the import in terms of changing the tactics, techniques and procedures by which they conduct convoys and so forth, as well as introducing some other sophisticated systems to pre-detonate or preclude the detonation of those particular explosive devices.
Q The contract that you changed from 450 a month to 550 a month --
GEN. SORENSON: Yes.
Q -- the requirement hasn't changed, and you're still not going to get the whole requirement until March. So what benefit do you get by getting an additional 100 vehicles a month?
GEN. SORENSON: The benefit we get from the added capability is, we were able to actually mod that contract within less than 24 hours. That particular company who was producing the up-armored humvees for the Army was also being tapped to provide up-armored humvees for other agencies and sources and whatever. So they began to look at how could they increase their capacity. As I noted from the previous chart, they basically got to the level of 450 in the November time frame. So they have basically come to that level in terms of capability, in terms of their facility, and they're building 450.
At this point in time, they were beginning to look at how could they introduce excess capacity, added capacity, to satisfy other requirements that were coming in, and the Army now has basically procured that capacity. We'll begin to get those additional vehicles about the February time frame. We'll also start getting more vehicles in March.
Now to answer your question, what does that mean, it could mean the fact that we can save a soldier's life. If we can get some of these vehicles sooner there to theater, whether it's a day, a week or two weeks, any additional -- more capability that we can get there will save more lives. And so from that standpoint, that's what we're focused on.
Q Do you have a sense of how many vehicles you can provide the requirement went up?
GEN. SORENSON: I will tell you right now we are working that -- we are working that with the contractor with respect to his production deliveries. We have told him to ramp up to 550 by March. We have -- he has told us as he gets to that ramp -- in other words, from 450 to 500 to 550 -- we will begin to see some additional vehicles flow out about the early February/March time frame.
Q How about cost, General?
GEN. SORENSON: Sir?
Q How about cost?
GEN. SORENSON: The cost with respect --
Q What's the cost for a vehicle at 550 compared to 450?
GEN. SORENSON: There is no additional cost for those vehicles. We had already planned to buy those vehicles throughout the year. All we've done now is moved that production to the left. So there is no additional cost in that particular mod to the contract.
Q General, did you -- when you were considering ramping up production, did you consider purchasing light armored vehicles from other countries, made by other countries?
GEN. SORENSON: We have taken a look at that from the standpoint of a market survey. In fact, we actually are buying some additional vehicles and different types of vehicles from some countries outside the U.S. to provide the capability that we need in theater.
Q Can you talk about which ones those --
GEN. SORENSON: I can, but I can just at this point in time say it's been a small quantity and they're basically for mine clearing and so forth of IEDs. I'd rather not say the companies and the countries at this point.
Q Funding issue. Can you talk about how much current funding's been approved for the 29,000 and how much planned funding you need to get up to 38,000?
GEN. SORENSON: Right. We're going to get to that in another couple of charts, but I will tell you at this point in time the up-armoring funding is basically about -- the kits I'm talking about now, the add- on armor kits -- is about $2 billion. And right now we plan for the up-armor vehicles themselves to be about 2 billion (dollars). So you'll see it's about $4 billion.
Q The central question -- and it's one I expect you guys are going to have to face from the Senate Armed Services Committee -- is if the company had access to capacity, had the ability to produce more, why wasn't the Army ordering more?
GEN. SORENSON: Again, let me try to go -- be clear about this. We went back -- the secretary, the previous acting secretary, Brownlee, visited that particular company back in about the February time frame as well as AM General, which essentially produces the chassis to give to the other companies so they can put the add-on armor kit on. At that point in time, both companies came to an agreement that they would work to maximize production and capability and ramp to 450. As I mentioned earlier, they only got to 450 in the November time frame. In between that period of time, that particular company has been -- because of incidents occurring in theater and the increase in IEDs, has been asked by several other agencies and other countries, in some case, to provide some up-armored capability.
Q But not the Army?
GEN. SORENSON: Excuse me?
Q When --
GEN. SORENSON: Our contract was that they could only get to 450 --
GEN. SORENSON: Only get to 450.
Q Because that's what they told you was their ability.
GEN. SORENSON: That's correct.
Q But we have been told this week that the reason that they knew they could get to 550 is because the Army asked them to see what they could raise their level to. But it sounds like what you're saying is other agencies asked them for additional capacity.
GEN. SORENSON: We continue to ask every particular provider of capability what can we do to accelerate. I will tell you, with respect to the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, we have now worked with both of those companies, those that provide the kits as well as the integrated cab, to again begin to accelerate that particular capability and production level. So --
Q From what level to what?
GEN. SORENSON: We're going to accelerate the delivery of that systems -- those systems into theater by about 11 months.
Q General, I think more specifically Mecredy told -- Thursday said -- he implied that he told the Army back last February they can get to 550. That became the issue du jour on --
GEN. SORENSON: I'll tell you what, that is not true. That is not true.
Q He told Bloomberg News, my organization, he can get up to 22,000 -- 22 percent more. He implied it could have been done.
GEN. SORENSON: He did not say that in February. He spoke to the secretary. I was there at the meeting.
Q You were?
GEN. SORENSON: I was there with AM General. He spoke at the time that they could get to 450, and that was the path that they were focused on. Now I think in between that period of time we have been looking at and trying to find, is there any excess capacity, could we go farther and could we go faster?
Q You talked about this a little bit yesterday. In a time of mobilization, isn't the onus on the government to say this is what we want, here's the money to get there --
GEN. SORENSON: Yes.
Q -- versus what can you produce for us within your current infrastructure? It sounds to me like that's not the process that occurred here.
GEN. SORENSON: No, it is the process. Money has not been an object. Any time we've asked for money, from either the Department of Defense, the Army or the Hill, it has not been an issue.
Q I mean, this is a hypothetical -- but why not say if you want 8,000 vehicles this month and here's the money --
GEN. SORENSON: Well, sure, but as I mentioned earlier, I mean, this is not Wal-Mart. As we've gone through, this is a very detailed process in terms of trying to get this capability. Steel -- we had, in some cases, to ramp up -- I said it before. We had one steel producer; we had to go out and get two more. In some cases, the steel was 12 to 16 weeks. Ballistic glass. There are a lot of long lead parts.
We have in this particular capability right here -- I've talked about all these contractors. There's a lot of mom and pop shops here. They're working 24/7 -- you know, three shifts -- to provide capability. Many cases, a lot of these contractors are going on-risk to give the Army what it needs. So this has not been something where the Army, nor the contractors, have sat back, have taken a laid-back attitude on this. They have been very forthright and very forthcoming with trying to accelerate the delivery capability.
Q One thing that Senator Carl Levin said yesterday in a teleconference is that he -- and the Senate Armed Services Committee -- (word inaudible) -- are probably going to hold hearings. They were under the impression that the entire line was working 24/7, and Armor Holdings and General both said, "No, we weren't; we did some overtime but it definitely wasn't pumping out 24/7."
Is what you're saying here that the suppliers, to come up with the parts, were going 24/7 and providing them to AM General and Holdings which then produced whatever they could produce with?
GEN. SORENSON: All I'm saying is that everybody has been working as hard as they can, and there are some limitations with respect to some sub-vendors providing product.
Q You mentioned staying ahead of the threat, and then you also mentioned that initially you just decided to up-armor -- or spend most of your effort up-armoring the humvees and didn't really do much with the truck fleet. Why not, when the humvees were getting hit, you know, project that the trucks could be perhaps the next --
GEN. SORENSON: As I pointed out in the previous chart there, when the requirement came in October, there were some of these trucks that we did not have a design for. We actually had to go build that design and manufacture it. You'll see today, as you go out to the courtyard, some of the trucks and the designs that have been put in place, and these trucks with their designs are very sophisticated. As was pointed out by Colonel Rooney, they've gone through some rather rigorous testing. He mentioned the fact that they've tested, in some cases, 12 different kits for the humvee. As well, they've tested multiple kits for the trucks -- in some cases over and over. Until we have got it right, we have not gone to the point of producing it.
Q But that work was then being done, you were testing and evaluating --
GEN. SORENSON: It was being developed. It was being designed. It was being tested. The steel was being ordered. The ballistic glass was being ordered. Everything was being out in place in order to produce those kits. Once we had the design configured correctly and tested properly, we then put it into production.
Q General, you've been talking about threats that exist now and you've built those systems to defend against those threats. You also talked about getting ahead of the curve. What sorts of threats are you thinking about a year or two from now, since the insurgency obviously shifts its tactics?
GEN. SORENSON: Well again, as I mentioned before, we have taken a holistic approach to this. We've talked a little bit about the armor. We've also looked at, as we've learned on armor, there are additional capabilities and uses of materials that we can use in combination to build a better, more survivable kit. And we're right now working to also produce some of those as well.
But the second of piece of it is there's been a major effort in terms of improving the training, the tactics, techniques and procedures by which these convoys or the soldiers, whatever, travel through. We're beginning to use a lot of other sophisticated systems, like change detection from in some cases aerial platforms to determine if anything has moved in the last 24 hours with respect to some disturbance in the roads or whatever, because that would indicate something has happened. We've also deployed a lot of sophisticated systems with respect to countering these particular IEDs before they're able to explode. So it's not just been armoring, it's been a holistic approach to trying to figure out how we can defeat this type of threat.
Q Since the Marines were due to receive the additional 100 up-armored humvees per month, what happens to them now that the Army's getting these?
GEN. SORENSON: Again I'll go back to the theater requirements. We provide the theater requirements. In many cases these are the Army requirements. When those vehicles get into theater, the distribution of those vehicles is dictated by the theater commander. So from that standpoint, the Marines are getting some of our humvees in theater to actually use. I can't quantify that right now, but that is actually happening.
Okay, at this point we still have some remainder of the briefing. I'd like to turn it back over to General Speakes to conclude the briefing.
GEN. SPEAKES: Ladies and gentlemen, obviously some of the questions have focused on funding. What we want to show in this slide is essentially a macro-level view. And the macro-level view says that we've had a base budget which we've used for the fundamental support. But obviously, as this has been an unforeseen and unforecasted requirement as the conditions on the battlefield have changed, what we have been able to do, then, with great support from both the Office of Secretary of Defense and OMB, is to work a variety of other solutions that have all been funded.
The fundamental point that I would like to communicate is that at this point, once the theater commander establishes a requirement, money is not the issue. The challenge, frankly, within the organization that I work with is to synchronize the requirement with a funding solution. And we've received great support, both in current year and then in out-year support, to make surer that whatever it is the theater commander wants, the theater commander gets as fast as we can produce it. So as you just heard from General Sorenson, we've got a variety of vendors that are developing a variety of services or potential capabilities. We then are getting those validated by our testing command. And as soon as we have something that we are confident we can produce and produce an adequate quantity to justify the theater commander's requirement, we're then shipping it to him. And money has not and will not be the issue.
Conversely, of course, this is a very, very expensive proposition. As you look at our forecast both of what we have already spent and what we're immediately forecasting to spend here over the next six or eight months or so, it's several billion dollars; as you can see, 4.1 (billion dollars) to be specific. And so this is an enormously expensive program, but very frankly, the communication from the secretary of Defense has been real clear, which -- when it involves a soldier's life, we're not into the money business. So it's our challenge to make it happen, not our challenge to justify the requirement. The requirement stands and we'll resource it.
Q Can you break down the 4.1 (billion dollars); how much you've spent to date roughly, how much in the six to seven months?
GEN. SPEAKES: I'd prefer not to, and the reason I'd prefer not to is that what we have right now is a variety of contracts that are already obligated. We have some additional requirements right now that we're in the process of validating a specific trajectory of an individual program; in other words, exactly how many are we going to produce from a particular vendor? The fundamental point is it's an expensive program, it's been totally supported, and money has not been my issue. It's simply been a matter of having our budget office figure the solution to get it done and then get the money to do it.
Q It's a safe figure, then, to say $4.1 (billion dollars) will be spent -- will have been spent by the end of next year, roughly?
GEN. SPEAKES: Yes.
Q Starting when?
GEN. SPEAKES: What we are doing right now is we are working back in the course of FY '03, FY '04 and FY '05. Those are -- those are the years that we've had these funding solutions in effect.
Q FY '03 obviously started October 2002, so that was prior to you guys knowing that you were going to have --
GEN. SPEAKES: Absolutely. But if you took a look -- there's the one chart that you have that we've laid out what we've identified as a requirement and then what we've resourced against it, and that's a fairly specific slide. And the point there is that the initial requirements we had communicated from theater were in FY '03. They were the tail end of FY '03. We started to identify requirements. At that point I was at the other end. We were sending requirements forward, and the message was clear: you got it, you're going to ensure that the requirement is going to be fulfilled. And they're, again, part of an overall solution too because at the same time you'll recollect we were also working through body armor, we're also working through substantial increases in weapons allocations, night-vision sighting equipment, all of these designed to be a part of a total comprehensive solution to give us the best we can to provide to theater. And then the other part of it is anticipating the requirement.
Q But, General, you can't give us any figure on how much will be spent between now and over the next seven or eight months, as you put it?
GEN. SPEAKES: At this point I'm not prepared to do that.
Q How much of that -- any -- why not, sir?
GEN. SPEAKES: What we have to do --
Q I mean, the thing is you're ramping this up here. I'd like some idea how much you're ramping it up.
GEN. SPEAKES: We'll have to get back to you with additional facts. I don't have anything more at this point.
Q This doesn't -- does not include body armor and the rest, right?
GEN. SPEAKES: No, it does not.
Q It's just --
GEN. SPEAKES: This is just up-armoring tactical wheeled vehicles. This doesn't include the additional funds that we've spent for all the personal protection for soldiers, and it doesn't include the other combat systems we've brought into the AOR.
Q In terms of the reprogramming funds, does that come just from the Army or from the other services as well?
GEN. SPEAKES: At this point, when we're talking about reprogramming funds, the initial reprogramming has been within the Army, that has been supported at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and also at OMB.
Q So it's -- meaning it's been supported by --
GEN. SPEAKES: In other words, this has been reprogramming of Army funds, but it has been supported at every echelon above us.
Q They've approved it, you mean, or --
GEN. SPEAKES: Yes. We have had -- the support has been absolutely complete. In other words, the Hill has stood behind everything that we've asked for.
GEN. SPEAKES: Yes, ma'am?
Q The overarching criticism of all this is that you guys should have anticipated this requirement before it came out in the theater, that this is the result of people having rosy expectations of what was going to go on in Iraq. Do you think that's a fair criticism?
GEN. SPEAKES: No, ma'am, I don't. I spent 16 months in the theater. The ability to see and understand that battlefield has been the most important challenge any leader has faced. And as we've seen the change in the enemy's tactics, we have tried to communicate requirements. The requirements have been immediately taken by the appropriate defense agency, or in this case the Department of the Army, and worked in an extraordinary responsive manner.
I remember about 14 months ago, when I saw the first actual design for the add-on armor kit that was being at that time tested at Aberdeen. I marveled because we had only begun to see that particular issue two or three months previously. And so the slide that we showed you, which was the identification requirement, the modeling of a particular solution, the testing of that solution, and then moving it into production, I, as a leader forward in theater, was proud, frankly, to tell the good-news story to soldiers. And one of the missions that I had was to try to communicate that not only was the country behind us, but also that we had a very, very important defense establishment behind us that was doing incredible things.
I think soldiers were smart enough to see that what we had was a very responsive support. But they're also smart enough to realize that they weren't going to sit around and wait and they were going to use their own talent. And what American soldiers have done forward to take their own capabilities, their own designs and improve their own force protection or modify their own operating practices has also been pretty remarkable.
So I think the overall term is that you've got a very, very adaptive American fighting force. It's led by its’ Soldiers, as always. And then you've got a very, very responsive defense establishment behind it.
I also do marvel -- we've had corporations that on their own, with the clear insight that we were moving into testing on a particular capability, have gone ahead and built additional production on the anticipation that we were going to go ahead and validate it and then come to them. And so they have spent millions on their own, at their own risk with no guarantees from us. And, frankly, there isn't much demand for armored systems if we're not asking. And so these are the kind of things that I've seen in terms of the effort on the part of the defense establishment that, to me, speaks to patriotism that is beyond just search of profit.
Q General, this is the equivalent of the U.S. responding after Pearl Harbor to the attack. What are your observations about the sophistication of the insurgency, starting in July of '03, and now? I mean, it's caused $4 billion more to be spent than anticipated. We've been told from the podium they're dead-enders, criminals, lacking sophistication, and here we see a response to a threat that's improved in sophistication. What observations have you gleaned about the sophistication of the insurgency over the last year?
GEN. SPEAKES: I think you captured it very well, sir -- a very, very sophisticated enemy; an enemy that does not have a conscience; an enemy that's prepared to use his own followers as the conduit or vehicle to bring the explosive into our midst. I mean, we wall understand this and know this.
So the challenge, then, is what do we do about it?
You heard General Sorenson allude to a very broad-based strategy that is an effort to take on more than just strictly defensive measures. We obviously recognize that when you've got increased protection on a vehicle, that all you're going to do is try to protect the soldier. You're not going to prevent the event.
But the other thing that we've tried to do is prevent the event from happening, and that's a part of some of the other technologies that General Sorenson alluded to, which are obviously, in many cases, very classified but very important. We're trying to move out into a world where we prevent the event from happening, and that's very important, because if we can prevent the event, then, we obviate the need for the armor itself, because we'll never build enough armor to deny the enemy the ability to inflict damage on us.
So I think that as you take a look at the overall theater communication of the threat they see; the need, then, for us to mobilize the defense industry; the various solicitations that we have had in a variety of very, very technical fields; and the fact that this has been a collaborative approach -- recently, for example, I spent several days over in London, and we had some very important talks with some senior British military authorities. We're working very closely with them. We are sharing technology. We've got an integrated effort, which is broader than the United States, because we recognize the importance of this thing to the survival of our force.
Q I'm sorry. I don't mean to keep hitting this, but it is going to be a criticism that we hear from Capitol Hill, and I'd like to get your answer in advance, and this will help prepare you.
GEN. SPEAKES: Yes, ma'am. I need it.
Q The question will be, why didn't you guys foresee this? Why -- you know that you've got 120,000 people-plus on the ground. This is probably an anticipatory -- a tactic you could anticipate from the insurgency. So why wasn't it foreseen? And there is a lot of armchair generalizing going on, with, you know, especially critics of the war saying, "Well, you should have known." But can you explain to us from a military perspective why this wasn't something that you saw?
GEN. SPEAKES: Ma'am, I was a part of the pre-invasion planning. I was in, for example, the 4th Infantry Division. In that force, as we got ready to go, the variety and sophistication of contingency plans that we had was almost mind numbing. We, for example, had experts that deployed as a part of the force that were capable of disabling oil fields so that we wouldn't have oil field fires. We had addressed some of the other humanitarian issues that we saw as likely possibilities. We attempted to study the culture and to understand the ways that a country would be defended. We tried to anticipate the conditions that that country would be in once we actually occupied the country.
Obviously, over the course of the last year we've learned a great deal about that country, about its people, and we have been the beneficiaries of that in the sense that we're now much smarter than we were then. So at this point all I can do is tell you that we as the force providers, the people who train and raise the force, are doing everything we can to make sure that as Soldiers go forward, they go forward with the right equipment, with the right training and with the right preparation.
So I'm not in the "Monday morning quarterbacking" business. My job is to do the best we can with what we know to make sure that soldiers are taken care of. And that's our focus.
Q Sir, may I follow up on that one?
GEN. SPEAKES: Yes.
GEN. SORENSON: Let me give you another perspective too because clearly this has been a lot of lessons learned here and I know this has been a constant question. But let me try to frame it in the following. You can go back to other particular operations with respect to even the Soviet Union in terms of some of their operations that they had in Afghanistan as well as Chechnya, where they came in in a vehicle configuration that was all buttoned up and all isolated, and in many cases that particular formation was destroyed.
Now I think, as has been explained in many points and references, there's an art and science to this. As General Speakes mentioned with the cultural aspect, the whole point of what we're doing there is to win the hearts and minds of that particular population in that country. You don't do that by sitting -- staying in a vehicle, not getting out of the vehicle and not being exposed. So there is an art there from the standpoint of what is the balance in terms of protection that is required to that particular vulnerability where we're unprotected. And it's that art and science that we're actually working with.
On the science piece, you know, we have basically provided levels of protection, add-on armor for the soldier, add-on armor for the vehicles, sophisticated systems to essentially defeat, sophisticated systems to identify; but there's also a part of this that I think, as I mentioned before, we're trying to win the hearts and minds of this population, and you can't do that sitting within a closed vehicle. You can't do that in isolation. You have to get out and essentially engage.
So from that standpoint, there's a little bit of balance here and we're trying to make sure we get that right balance by making sure we provide the right, proper levels of protection as well as what's required.
Q Sir, if I can bring it back to from your perspective, the few months that you had after the war before the IEDs cropped up, you guys were dismounted and trying to win the hearts and minds.
GEN. SORENSON: That's correct.
Q And then this threat cropped up.
GEN. SORENSON: That's correct.
Q And then you responded to it.
GEN. SORENSON: That's correct.
Q Whereas, had you anticipated the IED threat and put everybody in armor, you would've not been able to do whatever it was you did in those first few months.
GEN. SORENSON: If you go back and look at that particular operation, it was clear from the commanders on the ground that they made a determination it just wasn't going to make sense to win the hearts and minds of a people by having tanks and Bradleys and so forth running up and down the streets. So they tried to put people into vehicles that were less obtrusive as well as an ability for them to engage. However, as a consequence of that, we began to find a threat that we had not anticipated, and we then had to respond to that threat with the protection levels and the capabilities that we have provided.
Q Thank you.
GEN. SPEAKES: Yes, ma'am.
Q Yeah, given the fact that, you know, you've ramped up -- you've spent $4.1 billion, and, you know, the Army committed a significant effort towards armoring vehicles, but still 20 percent of Humvees remain unarmored, I'm wondering, you know, until those vehicles get armored, are you considering using other vehicles, like armored personnel carriers or armored security vehicles?
And also, what do you say to National Guard soldiers who are still wondering, you know -- still out there with "hillbilly armor."
GEN. SPEAKES: Well, I think the first thing I'd like to say is this: that we talked yesterday to the forces forward in Multinational Corps Iraq. At this point, despite the fact that we have not up- armored every Humvee, what they are doing at this point is using up- armored Humvees as a vehicle that they're putting on the road in high- threat areas. In other words, what you don't have at this point is un-up-armored vehicles being put in places where commanders aren't confident that they can operate. In other words, the principle location that un-up-armored vehicles right now are being used is within forward operating bases, for example, secured facilities.
What the assurance that was yesterday was that up-armored Humvees are the vehicles that are being used right now when we're traveling with soldiers in areas where they're going to need the force protection given by those up-armored Humvees, whether it's add-on armor or the basic inherent up-armored Humvee.
So that's the first point. The second point is that I think that it's very, very unfair to characterize this as an issue the pits the active Army against, for example, Army guardsmen. Nothing could be more injurious to the pride and the loyalty that we feel in the Army to everybody who's wearing the uniform.
When we first went to the war, there was a clear differentiation between the equipping of Guard units, for example, and the equipping of what were active-component units. Over the course of time, the first thing I'd point out is that when we do relief(s) in place right now, what you have is a unit that is an AC unit that is being relieved by a Guard unit. What that means is, the equipment that remains in place, goes from AC to Guard and vice versa. In other words, it doesn't have a particular color-blindness associated with it. It goes where the requirement is and it stays in the sector that it's in.
And then what we've also done is we haven't tried to play the orchestrator of the distribution of equipment here from Washington. We have provided equipment forward and the commander forward has put the equipment where the risks are greatest. And that essentially is a color-blind choice that adapts, frankly, to where the risk is greatest. And so at this point I don't think we've got any long- standing or serious divergences between the equipping of a Guard unit and the equipping of an active-component unit, and I think it's very important that we understand that that is something that the Army leadership has been very clear about. You'll recollect, for example, that when we initiated what we called the Rapid Fielding Initiative, one of the things that General Schoomaker did is send that to Reserve and Guard units first because we felt that it was very, very important to communicate that in this era we can't afford to have second-class citizens.
So at this point I don't think it'd be fair to characterize this as being a divergence or differentiation in the protection afforded soldiers by component. We regard every soldier as somebody that we've got to protect, and I think you'll find that there's a basic equality in terms of the equipment that's out there.
Q Thank you. I was wondering if we should be thinking about the difference between soldiers who are going to be headed into Iraq and Soldiers who are already there. A lot of the concerns about who did and didn't have were from soldiers who were going in, and I didn't -- I personally didn't get a sense of what the people who are already there are using and what their needs and gaps are.
GEN. SPEAKES: Very, very good question. The first point is that you'll recollect that one of the questions was the status of the 278 ACR; in other words, the date that we had the visit by the secretary of Defense, we had a question about their up-armoring status. When the question was asked, 20 vehicles remained to be up-armored at that point. We completed those 20 vehicles in the next day. And so over 800 vehicles from the 278 ACR were up-armored, and they are a part now of their total force that is operating up in Iraq.
Q When you say they're 100 percent up-armored, does that mean 100 percent of their requirement or 100 percent of their vehicles?
GEN. SPEAKES: Yes, what we did is there was a total of 804 vehicles that were identified as part of our up-armoring strategy. That's the wheeled vehicles that they brought north with them or drew when they got up in country. And so at this point the vehicles that they're operating, that they're driving, are all up-armored. There were a few vehicles that were put on heavy equipment transporters and moved up. The example would be, for example, the shop van, which is a large, essentially static vehicle. And it was taken up by a truck and dropped in position, but it was not operated on the way up there. So at this point, if you're in Kuwait and you're headed north up into Iraq, General Schoomaker's guidance is real clear: you're not going north of the berm, which means north of the border, in a non-up- armored vehicle, and that's our requirement. And so what you now have is an accountability process during the reception, staging and onward movement where every vehicle's accounted for and it gets up-armored or it doesn't go north.
And then the other question was, where are we with people who are operating up in sector right now? What we've been able to do is get enough up-armoring of humvees where, as I mentioned, our telephonic check yesterday with the theater said that when they need an up- armored humvee, they're using it. The estimate, frankly, just to give you an idea of the op tempo, is on any given day, about 50 percent of their humvees are in use. And so by that standard, you could see that we've got plenty of up- armored humvees -- either add-on armor or up-armored humvees -- to be able to operate to meet daily requirements. We're not satisfied with that, and that's why the guarantee is that essentially we're going to go ahead and replace every un-armored vehicle with an add-on armor or up-armored piece of equipment.
Q Are there soldiers who are in the sector right now who are scrounging around looking for extra things who aren't comfortable with what's been provided?
GEN. SPEAKES: Ma'am, I don't know the answer to that question. What I think that ought to be clear to every Soldier, is the Army's commitment to make sure that we provide them everything we can.
Q On the 278th, can you repeat this? At the time the question was asked, the planted question, the unit had 784 of its 804 vehicles armored?
GEN. SPEAKES: Here is the overall solution that you see. And what we've had to do is -- the theater had to take care of 830 total vehicles. So this shows you the calculus that was used. Up north in Iraq, they drew 119 up-armored humvees from what we call stay-behind equipment. That is equipment from a force that was already up there. We went ahead and applied 38 add-on armor kits to piece of equipment they deployed over on a ship. They also had down in Kuwait 214 stay- behind equipment pieces that were add-on armor kits. And then over here they had 459 pieces of equipment that were given level-three protection. And so when you put all this together, that comes up with 830.
Q At the time of the question -- summarize this, now -- that unit that the kid was complaining about was mostly armored?
GEN. SPEAKES: Yes. In other words, we completed all the armoring within 24 hours of the time the question was asked.
Q So it's possible that -- from these numbers -- it's possible that he had a vehicle that had not been armored that was slated to be armored or that had not been armored that was not supposed to be armored, that would be carried on a heavy truck?
GEN. SPEAKES: Both were very possible. And very frankly, if you live out at one of those camps, the level of chaos and confusion as you're going through the final stages of getting a unit ready to go north -- to me the fact that every soldier in that unit didn't have a picture of this is not surprising. This operation took place over about four different locations, widely separated in various locations across Kuwait. And then, of course, he may not have even understood that a part of the solution was waiting for them up in Iraq because the stay-behind equipment that was up in Iraq that had already been add-on armored was never seen by the soldier until he or she got up north and actually drew it in Iraq. And so it's a complex picture. And the bottom line is right now it was successful. We accomplished the missions that General Schoomaker gave us, and it's frankly something that's very, very important that we continue to do.
Q If he hadn't asked that question, would the up-armoring have been accomplished within 24 hours?
GEN. SPEAKES: Yes. This was already an existing program. Remember that when I began this presentation we talked about General Schoomaker in his testimony in front of the HASC in November -- made it real clear. He said all vehicles operating north of the berm will be up-armored, and what that meant in common-sense language is you don't leave Kuwait without either an up-armor or an add-on armor solution. And we understood that, and most importantly the theater did. And so we were in constant dialogue, ensuring that we provided everything that was required to make this happen. And this didn't happen just for the 278th. In other words, the 256th, which was the Army Guard brigade directly in front of it, had the same identical solution; and although different numbers of vehicles, approximately the same solution in terms of percentage of fill.
Q Why do you think they were scrounging for their own armor, then? What was that about?
GEN. SPEAKES: I can't comment on soldiers. One of the things that's the most important, I think, to remember is the level of industry and inventiveness of the part of the American soldier is one of the great characteristics of our Army. And so I certainly don't begrudge the soldier the right to go after whatever he thinks will make him better or safer. But at the point that we're at right now, the Army has got some pretty good solutions that we'll stand behind.
Q You said that there was 50 percent of humvees in use per day. What percentage did you say was up-armored of that 50 percent?
GEN. SPEAKES: At this point right now we're at 80 percent. Eighty percent of our light vehicles, which is the humvee, are armored either with add-on armor or up-armor.
Q And you're going to go to 100 percent?
GEN. SPEAKES: Yes, and we'll be there by March.
GEN. SPEAKES: Yes, ma'am?
Q Sir, I just want to take on this. Can you tell us what kind of metric you're using to show that this armor is actually saving lives? Have you all figured that out? Has there been a reduction in deaths, and could you put some numbers on it?
GEN. SPEAKES: No, I don't have the metrics. The metrics that we have right now is the testing that has been done under controlled conditions at Aberdeen. I've been involved in several questions or initiatives to try to quantify the results of combat, and what you find is the variety of attacks that we're subjected to, the variety of conditions make it extremely difficult to make a statement that says there's an X percentage that you can associate with a particular improvement. So what I'd rather do is refer to what are very scientific quantifiable results that we're getting out of the testing at Aberdeen to say that we can show that there are specific improvements against specific threats.
And obviously the other thing is, over time, the nature of the threat is changing. For example, a year ago the amount of explosive that was being used in an IED was much lower than it is now, and so that's obviously a concern.
STAFF: (Off mike) -- the "road ahead" slide --
GEN. SPEAKES: We'll do that.
STAFF: -- and we'll take just a couple more questions.
GEN. SPEAKES: Okay. "Road ahead," please.
Road ahead, let me just give you a quick vision of where we are because obviously what we're not doing right now is we're not sitting, waiting for the next event. We're trying to anticipate and move out. So we're listening to commanders essentially on a weekly basis. Army commanders are dialoguing at the very senior level to make sure that we get feedback from the theater that tells us where they're going in terms of the perception of the threat.
We are moving off of humvees as our number one priority. A year ago, that was legitimate. That was a threatened force. Now the increased lethality of the battlefield says that we've got to take care of the bigger trucks. We're doing that. We'll continue to accelerate the armoring initiative. As you've seen, we've been able, with industry's help, to make some substantial improvements in terms of the quantity of kits that we're able to produce. We believe right now that by June the current requirement will be met; in other words, what we'll have is we'll have level-one and level-two armor on the force. We are beginning now the process of taking level-three solutions, which have got the locally applied armor, and replacing them with either a level one or level two.
The other thing I'd like to highlight in concluding is the secretary of the Army, Dr. Harvey, has commissioned an up-armoring task force. And the up-armoring task force has got a very clear charter, which is to continue to move this thing forward: active solicitation of industry, active exploration of technology, and every possible way that we can meet theater requirements and anticipate requirements to increase the safety of soldiers.
So, ladies and gentlemen, that's it. I appreciate very, very much your help in trying to communicate what we think is a very, very important message to American Soldiers, their families, and the American citizens.
Q Thank you.
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