Thank you very much. Major General [Robert] Moorhead [Vice Chairman, National Guard & Reserve Affairs, AUSA] and Major General [Ansel] "Buddy" Stroud [former Adjutant General, Louisiana], thank you for the kind introduction and for your service to our country.
This is a very distinguished group. We've already introduced [former Congressman] Sonny Montgomery who is a friend to everyone here. Sonny is a remarkable person, and he shows how much can be accomplished in this town when you put partisanship away and you really focus on how we can work together and accomplish something. So Sonny, as always, thank you for your tireless efforts, for being an institution around Washington, for being an advisor to Presidents on both sides of the aisle and a friend to all.
General [Jay] Hendrix [Commander, U.S. Army Forces Command]. Lieutenant General Russ Davis, National Guard Bureau [Director]. General Davis sits in all of our Defense Resources Board meetings, which is one of the changes that Secretary Cohen has implemented during his tenure. The Chief of the National Guard Bureau -- joined regularly by his colleagues -- now has a seat on the Defense Resources Board, and in my opinion, it's a permanent seat. So General Davis, I want to thank you for your accomplishments and your leadership.
Major General Fred Rees [Vice Chief, National Guard Bureau], [Major General] Tom Plewes [Chief, Army Reserve] and [Major General] Roger Schultz [Director, Army National Guard]. This is really a great team.
Although Gordon Sullivan [President, AUSA] has stepped out, I need to thank him. We were at a critical juncture just a few summers ago, and one of the greatest changes since has been the new and emerging relationship between the Association of the National Guard and the Association of the United States Army. I'm now in the process of working on my 26th defense budget, and there are those of us who knew for years that when these two organizations came together in a single voice, the melody would not only be harmonious, it would be powerful. And I think that the strategic relationship that I've seen between Dick Alexander [Executive Director, National Guard Association of the United States] and Gordon Sullivan has really changed the landscape here in Washington. So to General Sullivan who has departed, and to General Alexander, thank you. This is what leadership is all about.
General Steve Cortright, President of the Adjutants General Association. Steve, if you'd just stand for a second. You're another key part of the leadership here. Thank you.
Major General Ron Harrison [Adjutant General, Florida; president-elect, National Guard Association of the United States].
This has been both a momentous and memorable week for our country in three distinct areas. First, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that have been part of the mission to Bosnia and Kosovo in the Balkans allowed the people of Yugoslavia to have a free election. For weeks there were efforts to manipulate this election, no longer by simply trying to stuff the ballot box, but through a sophisticated attempt to use the computer to rob people of an election.
But when thousands and thousands of people came to vote it was impossible for a dictator to deny that outcome. The Orthodox Church spoke to it. But make no mistake, without the men and women of the armed forces of the United States and our allies there in Bosnia and Kosovo, the revolution that occurred at the ballot box three weeks ago would have been impossible. So I think these changes in the Balkans are not only rooted in the presence of our soldiers and our military men and women, they are a benchmark that may well shape the 21st Century.
So General [Robert] Halverson [Commander, 49th Armored Division, Texas Army National Guard], thank you for all of the sacrifices of the men and women that you led in Bosnia; for all of the children that go to school in Bosnia who have resumed life; and then for people who were able to have a free election. We thank you, your predecessors, and all who have served in that theater. We are in your debt. Thank you. [Applause.]
Second, this past week a delegation came to Washington from the Korean Peninsula. This time, though, it was from Pyongyang. Their discussions with Secretary [of Defense William] Cohen, with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and with President [Clinton] were momentous events. But as one of the op-eds in the New York Times said yesterday, none of that would have been possible without the presence on the Korean Peninsula of the United States Army, the Air Force, our sailors offshore, and our Marines. So that second event of last week, the delegation from North Korea, would also have been impossible without the contribution of the armed forces of the United States.
The third is as fresh and as painful as the headlines and the return home of the sailors from the U.S.S. Cole to the hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia yesterday. There is an investigation in place. There has been great cooperation from the FBI and from Director Louis Freeh. The first call Secretary Cohen made early Thursday morning was to Director Freeh. The FBI is now on the ground [in Yemen].
[The attack on the Cole] is a reminder that the U.S. military will have to be engaged in the most troubled spots in the world, and that the Middle East has been particularly painful. But as General [Anthony] Zinni [former Commander, Central Command] said, it is critical for us to be present and to be consistent with our force protection package, but make no mistake -- no entity is going to push America out of this critical region. So these three events remind us of the significant role that the armed forces of the United States play as we begin this 21st Century.
Many people will speak this week [at the Association’s annual meeting] and will offer their perspective. A new administration and a new Quadrennial Defense Review are just over the horizon, and the ensuing discussions of requirements and resources will be vigorous. So I would like to use my time this morning to step back and paint a wider picture of where the Guard and Reserve stand today, where we have come from in recent years, where we are going in the years ahead, and to offer some thoughts to perhaps guide the discussions of the coming days and months.
I thought I might begin by borrowing from recent headlines. As Generals Moorhead and Stroud mentioned, the 49th Armored Division of the Texas Guard has returned from commanding Task Force Eagle. For months, the nation has been reading a series in the New York Times about General Halverson's leadership and the success of the Lone Star Division, the single largest Guard call-up since the Gulf War. Six hundred and fifty men and women -- teachers, computer executives, lawyers, and ranchers -- averaged 108 days training before deploying last March.
In the eight months of SFOR 7 [Stabilization Force, rotation 7] – in which the 49th teamed with the 1st Cavalry Division -- U.S. forces flew some 14,000 hours and completed 1.25 million miles of patrols with no major accidents or loss of American life. They safely returned more than 8,000 refugees to their homes. They oversaw those critical spring elections. They even persuaded Serb, Muslim, and Croat forces to build bridges together -- both literally and figuratively. And when the division turned over command recently to the 3rd Infantry [Division], a military band from Russia played "The Yellow Rose of Texas." [Laughter.] I think that says a lot about this decade and about where we are.
Yes, this was the first time since the Korean War that the Guard led active duty overseas, and it will not be the last. One year from now the 29th Infantry Division (light) out of Fort Belvoir [Virginia] will take over. Two years from now, if the mission continues, Pennsylvania's Army National Guard 28th Division will do so, at which point the vast majority of U.S. forces in Bosnia will be Guard and Reserve.
During the deployment one member of the 49th told the press, "We felt that we had to make a mark on the wall for the ones that are going to follow us." Well, decades from now [there will be] those who will look back at the 49th as a defining moment in the military history of this nation. So General Halverson, I know that you've already been honored once and we've already applauded the role that U.S. forces had in the Balkans in terms of the revolutionary election in Yugoslavia, but I would ask you to please stand and be recognized one more time. [Applause.] General [Daniel] James [Adjutant General, Texas], if I can acknowledge you as well. [Applause.]
The success of the Lone Star Division – indeed, of the tens of thousands of citizen soldiers who have served in Europe the last five years -- remind us that America needs the Guard and Reserve more than ever. We need you fighting fires out West and standing on the front line of the war against drugs. We need you for the relief effort in Central America after Hurricane Mitch two years ago. We need you in Europe as part of the Partnership for Peace program. We need you in operations like Allied Force and the peacekeeping ever since.
We also need the National Guard Challenge Program, which has had a tremendous impact on the youth of America. It's not a second chance, but it's a fresh start for kids who need it. And anyone who, like me, has the chance to go to these graduation ceremonies knows that we're building new citizens for a new century. So to General Conaway and to all of those who are advocates of the Challenge Program, thank you.
As Secretary Cohen has said, "the U.S. military simply could not undertake a sustained operation anywhere in the world without the Guard and Reserve," and it's particularly true in the Army where you make up more than half of the force and virtually all of the capabilities in areas like civil and public affairs, medical brigades, and psychological operations. Indeed, in the 21st Century America needs you performing relevant missions with the resources to accomplish those missions in ways that contribute to our national security.
Sonny makes sure that I get invitations to those National Guard Challenge graduations. General Schultz and General Plewes make sure I have a chance to see our Guard and Reserve out in the field, whether it's our Guard in Bosnia or our Reserve in the Kuwaiti desert. When I travel with [Congressman] Ike Skelton, I see Major General John Havens [Adjutant General, Missouri].
One of my most memorable Saturdays was visiting the Missouri National Guard with General Havens and Ike Skelton. We knew that things were really moving in the right direction. It was a summer day, so the unit was out working. They were hot, they were sweaty, but they were fully engaged. The enthusiasm, the spirit, and the high morale was all there, reminding us that the guard is really a leader for all of our military units.
In this decade of the 1990s, we've seen many other significant changes. We saw the revolution in global affairs, the fall of the Soviet Union, the breakup of the Warsaw Pact, and critical demands on the United States as the leading superpower in the world.
We've seen a revolution in our domestic financial affairs. The decline in military spending did not start with the end of the Cold War. It started with Gramm-Rudman and other deficit reduction acts in the mid-1980s. I remember that when I was staff director of the [House Armed Services] committee Sonny used to come and have coffee every morning and we would talk about the budget. In those days the deficit really made it impossible for us to do anything other than marginally fund critical programs.
Today with the balanced budget -- the second great revolution of the 1990s -- we've seen a sea change in our financial affairs. Deficits are now surpluses. Surpluses, in turn, allow us to work with the President, with the Secretary and with the Congress to make new investments in defense -- top line increases of over $180 billion in just the last two years. It is the largest sustained increases in defense spending in 15 years.
What has this meant for the Guard and Reserve generally? It's meant an additional $175 million to integrate Guard and Reserve capabilities into our domestic civil support efforts. It meant restoration of near term funding associated with Secretary Cohen's decision to defer a 25,000 reduction of Guard and Reserve end strength.
What does this investment mean specifically for the Army Guard and Reserve? It meant $2.5 billion over the FYDP [Future Years Defense Plan] for Division Redesign. It meant $274 million in Guard and Reserve OPTEMPO [Operations Tempo] funding to increase flying hours and tank training miles. It meant dramatic increases in spending on O&M [Operations & Maintenance] and personnel. Back in 1998 we spent some $9.3 billion. For 2001 we budgeted $11.2 billion. That's an increase of some $1.9 billion -- a 20 percent jump in just three years. So if resources is one measure of readiness, indeed the Guard and the Reserve are making progress.
There is a second [measure of readiness] -- the quality and the quantity of recruiting. It was three weeks ago that Secretary [of the Army, Luis] Caldera raised his hand and gave the oath to the 80,000th Army recruit on the active duty side for this fiscal year. That followed robust recruiting by the Guard, and I know a rather intensive effort by the Army Reserve.
This is a very tight recruiting environment. Never before have kids had as many opportunities in terms of going to college. If you're a high school graduate today you have a chance to automatically go on to some form of college. And with the opportunities that are in the private sector right now, given the transition to an information-based economy, there are more choices than ever. During the fourth quarter of one of the [football] games yesterday I saw an ad. It said, "Our kids are hired by AT&T, by Exxon, and by IBM." And then it said, "The U.S. Army. A great place to start."
Indeed, it is a great place for young Americans to come in, whether they serve four years or six years; whether they serve, Active, Guard or Reserve; whether they serve a full military career. America is looking for those young Americans with their discipline, with their commitment to using their education and training opportunities, and the fact that they are highly disciplined and drug-free.
There is also the fact that their cohort group from 1965 to 1979 -- the so-called Generation X -- is five million smaller than the group that we were recruiting from in the 1980s. In fact, as we shift from Generation X to Generation Y and the demographics of that start to improve in this decade, along with new techniques and the new ways of talking to young people that we're working on right now, and some of the very innovative leadership coming out of the state houses will all help us with our recruiting and retention as well.
We only need look back a few years to see how far we have come in the Army Guard and Reserve relationship. Like General Cortright and General Conaway, I came from the Air Force. It was noted that the relationship between its Guard and Reserve was seamless. General [Ron] Fogleman and General [Merrill] McPeak [former Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Air Force] used to say that the Air Force can't deploy without its Guard. I've heard General Davis repeat that many, many times. In fact, in this decade, and particularly during the last four years, we've worked hard. The reality is that the United States Army couldn't deploy without its Guard and Reserve.
In 1997, Dr. Hamre spoke to the Adjutants General and he said we were a house divided. That led to a memorable session in the Pentagon. We called it the on-site/off-site. [Laughter.] Gordon Sullivan was there as was General [Dennis] Reimer [former Chief of Staff, U.S. Army], Sonny was there, Ron Harrison and Dick Alexander were there, the active [Army] component was there. And it was decided that the only way forward was to come together and to use all of the tremendous capability that existed across the Army -- Active, Guard and Reserve -- to move forward.
So in September of 1997 Secretary Cohen sent the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Joe Ralston, to the NGAUS [National Guard Association of the United States] meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. General Ralston presented Secretary Cohen's view on where we needed to go. Secretary Cohen's directive called for the elimination of all barriers -- structural and cultural -- to effective integration, and outlined four basic principles of achieving a seamless Total Force. I'll repeat them today because they are the guiding stars in the effort in what we've accomplished.
First, "clearly understood responsibility for and ownership of the Total Force by the senior leaders throughout the Total Force."
Second, "clear and mutual understanding of the mission for each unit -- Active, Guard and Reserve -- in service and joint combined operations during war and peace."
Third, "commitment to provide the resources needed to accomplish assigned missions."
Fourth, "leadership by senior commanders -- Active, Guard and Reserve -- to ensure the readiness of the Total Force."
Three years later, we've made tremendous progress in building that Total Force. We now have, as I said, General Davis, along with General Schultz and Plewes and all the Guard and Reserve leaders on the Defense Resources Board in the budget process from the beginning.
We now have two two-star generals advising General Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, on Guard and Reserve matters -- General Bob McIntosh and General Mike Davidson.
We now have ten full-time Guard and Reserve positions -- the so-called Chairman's Ten -- at the CINC headquarters to advise and integrate at the command level.
At DOMS -- Director of Military Support -- we now have a strong Guard presence. The Deputy Director is a guardsman – first General Schultz, and now General Clyde Vaughn -- and up to half the staff comes from the Guard.
We now have standard green identification cards for all military personnel, an end to one of the most insidious cultural barriers. First-rate Guardsmen and Reservists no longer are treated like second-class citizens when they show their badge at the door.
Perhaps because the Army had the furthest to go, it has made, I think, the greatest progress, and I want to commend General [Ric] Shinseki [Chief of Staff, U.S. Army], General Reimer and their Vice Chiefs for their leadership. [We now have] Active Army officers commanding Guard and Reserve battalions and Reserve officers commanding active component battalions. I also want to reaffirm the department's support for two integrated divisions made up of six Army Guard enhanced Separate Brigades under active Army leadership. Never before have we seen so closely integrated an active and Guard and Reserve operation.
Now challenges remain, but this record of progress has been truly remarkable. This would not have happened without the senior people who are in this room and who will be attending this convention.
There are other issues that I could talk about, but in closing I want to say something about the next step for all of us. We have accomplished much these last four years working together. Secretary [Les] Aspin and Secretary [William] Perry [former Secretaries of Defense] had a clear vision of integration between the Guard, the Reserve, and the active component. I remember when Major General [Robert] Ensslin [former Adjutant General, Florida] used to come in and lay out these views.
Secretary Cohen said it is no longer sufficient for us to talk about this generally. We now have to have a plan for implementation. And that was our focus. That was our focus when Dr. Hamre and I convened the Army leadership, the Guard leadership, and the Reserve leadership two springs ago. I think that's where we are today. I think that's why those who were present at that session in the Pentagon would have been so proud to know that a few years later the Guard would perform with such sterling success in Bosnia.
So I'd leave you with the words of one of the men from the Lone Star Division. As I mentioned, one of the men from the 49th was a rancher. Prior to his deployment, a New York Times reporter interviewed that rancher, a 60-year old Army veteran and cattle herder from DeKalb, Texas named Daniel Teafatiller. When duty called, he sold all but two of his 50 Angus bulls and headed out to Bosnia. The Master Sergeant told the Times, "I believe anyone who lives in this country owes something back to it, and every person doesn't get a chance to pay it back."
Now Saturday on the news, Peter Jennings reported on a story in which the master sergeant's words could not have been better spoken. Peter Jennings found a mother and her son, who was a young Army captain serving in Europe. They were talking about the goals and the mindsets of Americans today in the dot-com ethos of the stock market and how everyone wants to get rich.
So here was this mother, and the story was about the exchange between her and her son. The son could have gone to any college in the United States that he wanted to; Ivy League or Stanford. Instead he picked West Point. So Peter Jennings asked, "Why did you select the Army? You have so many choices."
He said, "Because I do things at my age that other people would never accomplish. I don't make a lot, but I make enough for my family, and at the end of the day I can look back at what I've accomplished and at the people that I've worked side by side with, and I can say to my mother and to my family, ‘I have accomplished something.’"
Indeed, for anyone who serves on the public side -- whether it's in a civilian position or like you who honor the country by wearing the uniform -- you have accomplished much. So in a 21st Century that will be dependent upon American leaders, you are singularly the most important leaders that the country can put into the field. In Bosnia, in Kosovo, in Korea, and in the Persian Gulf, the armed forces of the United States are making a remarkable contribution.
So I thank you for the chance to speak. I thank you on behalf of Secretary Cohen for the service that you render to our country every day. Thank you very much. [Applause.]