Pace Details DoD's Supplemental Funding Needs
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 9, 2006 Reconstructing and replacing equipment, force protection, defeating improvised explosive devices, and "resetting" the Army are among necessities that DoD's emergency supplemental budget request would fund, Marine Gen. Peter Pace said today.
The $91 billion bill would fund military operations in the war on terror and Hurricane Katrina relief, Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Reconstituting equipment is a priority for troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, which the supplemental asks for $10.4 billion to cover, the chairman said. "It goes to replenish Humvees and trucks and helicopters and Bradley fighting vehicles and all the things that we have been using, getting damaged, wearing out in the prosecution of this war," Pace said.
Leaders are not simply replacing equipment one for one. Pace said the government is buying and resetting for the force of the future. "For those things that are in the inventory that we will need for the next 10 to15 years, we are refurbishing those," he said. "But in other cases where there is a better item for the armed forces to be able to use in the future, that's what we will do."
The military will buy V-22 Ospreys, for example, instead of helicopters and 7-ton trucks rather than the current 5-ton models.
The supplemental requests a further $2.6 billion for troop force protection. "When you add that to the $3.8 billion that you have already allocated and we have spent through (fiscal) 2005, you can see that the amount of energy and resources applied to force protection for our troops has been enormous," he said.
The military bought 988,000 sets of individual body armor and 13,000 up-armored Humvees, and up-armored more than 40,000 other wheeled vehicles.
As new items became available that provided better protection, the services bought them. Protective plates for ballistic vests, called small arms protective inserts or SAPI plates, are an example. The services began the war with 2,000 of the experimental SAPI sets. They quickly proved their worth, and every servicemember and civilian in Iraq now has them.
"While that was being done, our industry came up with the enhanced version which is even more protective, and that has been fielded," Pace said. "Side armor that has been developed has been fielded as of this month."
Terrorist-planted improvised explosive devices are the main killer of Americans and Iraqis. DoD is asking for $1.9 billion to combat the threat posed by such devices in the supplemental. "It buys things like jammers and detection devices. It helps us test those," Pace said. "It helps us train with those in the deserts here before we send our troops overseas.
"There is no silver bullet in this regard, but the combination of tactics, techniques and procedures that are taught to our soldiers and Marines based on lessons learned in the field, the technology that is being funded, has been funded and is requested to be funded through this supplemental ... will give us the best opportunity for our forces to succeed against IEDs in the field".
Pace said coalition personnel are finding more IEDs before they explode, and there has been a decrease in the number of casualties per explosion. "That means that (efforts to combat IEDs) are having positive effects, but we have a lot of work to do in this regard, and we appreciate your support," he said.
Finally, DoD is asking for $3.4 billion for Army modularity. The money allows the Army to transform at the same time that it is fighting in combat. The plan takes 33 brigades and, after resetting, builds them up to 42 independently deployable brigades. "It's taking the National Guard, that had 15 enhanced brigades, and building those to 28 fully modularized brigades manned and equipped to be able to enter the battlefield independently as well," he said.
This will not only increase our Army's combat capability but will also decrease the stress on the force, he said. "With the 42 active brigades and a rotation base of one year out and two years back, we can have 14 active brigades in the field indefinitely," he said.
For the National Guard's current rotation policy of one year deployed and five years at home, the military can have four to five divisions in the field at all times if the nation were to need it, he said. "This gives us 18 to 19 brigades that are sustainable for as long into the future as we need to, and the rest of the force available to surge if needed," he said.