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Budget Testimony as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Senate Armed Services Committee

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
February 17, 2005 9:30 AM EDT

This Testimony is as delivered by Secretary Rumsfeld

 

 

            Mr. Chairman,  Members of the Committee:

 

            Good morning.

 

            Somewhere in the world, as we speak, young men and women, wearing our country’s uniform, are engaged in the hard work of history.  Their families are concerned about their safety and making the best of their loved ones’ absence. 

 

            Somewhere, a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine is wounded, and determined to get back to duty.  And here in our country, hundreds of thousands of dedicated military and civilian personnel are devoting long hours to America’s defense. 

 

            I know that they are comforted and encouraged by the outpouring of support they receive from the American people and many of you,  as you have met with the wounded in military hospitals. 

 

          Their dedication is inspiring.  We thank them for their valor and their sacrifice. 

 

            Joining me today are General Dick Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Tina Jonas, Comptroller of the Department of Defense.  Also with us is Dr. David Chu, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness.  We are here to discuss the President’s proposed DoD budget. 

 

            With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I will submit for the record my written testimony, which outlines in considerable detail the proposals we are recommending. 

 

            However, before discussing dollars, programs, and weapons, I would like to provide some context for the tasks ahead for our country. 

 

            Consider what has taken place since we met here in early 2001: 

 

·      Two newly free nations  --  Afghanistan and Iraq  --  now reside in two of the world’s most     violent regions; 

  •   Afghan and Iraqis have held historic elections to choose moderate Muslim leadership; 
  • ·  Extremists are under pressure worldwide, their false promises slowly being exposed as another cruel lie of  history; 
  • ·  America’s national security apparatus is seeing historic changes; 
  • ·  NATO is undergoing reforms in both organization and mission, expanding in size and deploying forces outside of its traditional European boundaries; and 
  •    Some 60 nations are freshly engaged in an unprecedented multinational effort to halt the proliferation of the world’s most dangerous weapons. 

           These issues will no doubt require the focus of U.S. security policies in the years to come.  They have and will continue to affect the Department of Defense’s pace and direction. 

 

            When President Bush took office, the country was still savoring victory in the Cold War  --  the culmination of a long struggle that occupied generations of Americans and leaders of both parties. 

 

            There was little appetite to consider the new, lethal threats that lingered on as irritants while the country tackled other challenges. 

 

            The President understood that we were entering an era of the unexpected and the unpredictable  --  and was concerned that our country was not sufficiently prepared. 

 

            We have confronted, and are seeking to meet many challenges, including: 

 

·        The challenge of having to move military forces rapidly around the globe; 

·        The urgency of functioning as a truly joint force, as opposed to simply keeping the various military services out of each other’s way; 

 

  • The need to recognize we are engaged in a war and yet still functioning under peacetime constraints, regulations and requirements, against an enemy unconstrained by laws or bureaucracies; and 

·        The need to adjust to a world where the threat is not from one superpower, but from rogue regimes and extremist cells that can work together, share information and proliferate lethal capabilities. 

 

   The questions many of us wrestled with back then to deal with these challenges are relevant today.  For example: 

 

  • Are the Armed Services properly organized to deal with the uncertainties we face? 

          We realized that the Military Services’ Cold War arrangements were ill-suited for the new warfare of the future. 

 

            So we set about making U.S. forces more agile and more expeditionary.  When we say “agile” some people seem to think it means making the military  “smaller.”  It does not.  It is the shape of the forces, not the size, that is the impetus for making needed changes. 

 

            We are making a major commitment to modernizing the Army  --  adding $35 billion over the next seven years, in addition to the $13 billion in the Army’s baseline budget.  The Army will increase its deployable combat power significantly, expanding from 33 active duty maneuver brigades to 43 more powerful modular Brigade Combat Teams.  These teams can deploy quickly to trouble spots, but will have enough firepower, armor, and logistics support to sustain operations over time. 

            The Navy is also changing.  Our country’s potential foes currently have fleets with regional, not international reach.  The new challenge is to be able to project concentrated naval power more quickly to confront unexpected threats. 

 

              The Navy is developing the joint seabasing concept that will allow expeditionary strike forces to project power quickly from floating platforms without being dependent on land bases. 

 

·         We also asked:  how do we deal with the inevitability of surprise? 

 

      While we cannot be certain who might attack our people, we can reasonably predict how they might attack  --  through terrorism, cyber attack, weapons of mass destruction, and other asymmetric approaches. 

 

  • And, we asked:  how ought we to reassess our plans, operations and force structure in light of the technological advances of the past decade? 

           Technological advances and better organization have allowed the military to generate considerably more combat capability with the same or, in some cases, fewer numbers of weapon platforms. 

 

            Let me describe a few examples.

 

            Where once the Air Force and Navy planned in terms of sorties per target, they now assign targets per sortie.  As late as 1997, the aircraft from a carrier could engage about 200 targets per day.  In Operation Iraqi Freedom, this capability rose to over 600.  And a B-2 bomber can now be configured to attack as many as 80 different targets with 80 precision munitions on one sortie. 

 

            Here’s an example from the Navy.  In the past, the Navy maintained a rigid deployment schedule.  Ships would deploy for six months, overlapping with the ships they relieved, and upon arriving home, become relatively useless.  Training and equipment readiness plummeted into what became known as the “bathtub,” with many, if not most battle groups unavailable for missions. 

 

            The Navy’s new Fleet Response Plan has the capability to surge five or six carrier strike groups in 30 days, with the ability to deploy an additional two in 90 days. 

 

·     We also asked:  with the Cold War over, are our forces positioned in the smartest way to deal with the multiple new challenges? 

 

     The post Cold War environment suggested the need to conduct an audit, in a sense, of where U.S. forces were stationed across the globe.  There seemed to be better ways of deterring aggression overseas than stationing heavy divisions in fixed defensive positions. 

 

            We have advanced the common sense but then novel notion that our troops should be where they are needed, where they are wanted, and where they would be most usable. 

 

            In consultation with Congress and our friends and allies abroad, the Department is making long overdue changes to U.S. global basing, moving away from obsolete Cold War garrisons and placing emphasis on the ability to surge quickly to trouble spots across the globe. 

 

  •   Finally, we asked:  are there changes needed in the ways the Pentagon operates? 

     Four years ago, acquisition policies were 200 pages long on average.  Today they are 34 pages.  The Department has adopted an evolutionary approach to acquisitions, seeking to deliver technology as it is available, rather than waiting for entire systems to be complete. 

 

            This “spiral development” approach has allowed us, for example, to more rapidly field robots to detonate roadside bombs in Iraq. 

 

            Inefficiency is always unfortunate, but in the Department of Defense, it can be deadly.  An idea ignored may be the next threat overlooked.  A person performing a redundant task is a person not contributing to our nation’s defense.  A dollar wasted is a dollar not invested in the warfighter. 

 

            The demands on this Department could not be met effectively until the bureaucracy was pushed, encouraged, and sometimes dragged into the 21st Century. 

 

            The changes I have outlined, and many others, were getting underway before September 11, 2001. 

 

            The military’s skillful campaigns might have been longer and less successful had our country not already begun to adopt needed reforms.  Because we had begun to consider changes to U.S. global posture, we had a head start in contemplating new forward operating sites in territories closer to extremists’ centers of operation. 

 

            With many of these tasks now well underway, President Bush continues to set an ambitious course to prepare for the challenging times ahead.  The United States’ overriding priority will be to continue prosecuting the war and to attack its ideological underpinnings. 

 

            I have been asked why war costs are included in supplemental appropriations, rather than in the annual Defense Department budget. 

 

            Let me explain.  The annual budget process takes up to 12 months for DoD to plan and clear through OMB, then 8 or 9 more months to pass in the Congress, and then 12 months to execute.  That can be a period of some two and one half years. 

 

            In war, circumstances on the ground can change quickly.  What was not an urgent necessity at one point of a conflict might prove to be urgent the next, as the enemies’ strategy shifts or new challenges arise. 

 

            Supplemental appropriations, by contrast, are prepared much closer to the time the funds are needed. 

 

            This allows for somewhat more accurate estimates of costs and, importantly, quicker access to needed funds. 

 

            After more than three years of conflict, two central realities of this war are clear. 

 

            The first is that this struggle cannot be won by military means alone.  The Defense Department must continue to work with other government agencies to successfully employ all instruments of national power. 

 

            While the Defense Department has sent soldiers to distant battlefields, the Department of the Treasury has uncovered financial support lines, the Department of State has helped cultivate new alliances, the Department of Justice has apprehended suspects within our boundaries, and the Department of Homeland Security has helped protect our ports and borders. 

 

            We can no longer think in terms of neat, clear walls between departments and agencies, or even committees of jurisdiction in Congress.  The tasks ahead are far too complex to remain wedded to old divisions. 

 

            A second central reality of this new era is that the United States cannot win a global struggle alone.  It will take cooperation among a great many nations to stop weapons proliferation.

 

            It takes a great many nations working together to locate and dismantle global extremist cells.  It takes a great many nations to gather and share the intelligence crucial to stopping future attacks. 

 

            Our friends and allies are increasingly aware that the danger confronting America is at their doorstep as well, as underscored by attacks in Madrid, Bali, Beslan, Casablanca, Riyadh, Istanbul, and elsewhere. 

 

            We encourage you to support a Global Peace Operations Initiative, to be managed by the State Department, that will help other, less developed countries train to send peacekeeping forces to potential crisis spots.  And we ask Congress to allow the United States to offer more incentives and capabilities to friends and allies battling insurgents and who need help training and equipping their own forces. 

 

            There is no more vivid example of this than the Iraqi security forces.  They demonstrated considerable valor during

 

            When talking about the Iraqi security forces, some seem to want to focus on numbers.  So let’s talk about numbers. 

 

            The Iraqis have gone from zero trained and equipped Iraqi security personnel on duty in 2003 (police, border officers, national guard, etc.) to some 136,000 today.  There are an additional 74,000 site protection forces that are on duty but not included in the 136,000, since they are no longer managed by the Minister of Defense or Interior. 

 

            But beyond numbers, capability is important.  And, capability is a function partly of numbers, to be sure, but also of training, equipment, but also of leadership, mobility, sustainability, access to intelligence, and experience.  One cannot expect that Iraqi security forces coming out of their training pipeline will be battle-hardened veterans like the fine men and women of the U.S. military. 

 

            But, those who continue to unfairly denigrate Iraqi security forces should be reminded that they would not have lost some 1392 police and soldiers killed in action if they had been hunkered down in their barracks. 

 

            A word about the future.  Success will be determined not only by the battles we fight, but by the military capability we leave to our successors and future generations. 

 

            Today, weapon platforms are more lethal and precise, but still not yet flexible enough; force deployments are faster, but not yet fast enough; the Pentagon bureaucracy is more efficient, but not yet efficient enough. 

 

            In constructing a comprehensive strategy for the future, we sought to answer these difficult questions: 

 

·         What must our forces be capable of doing in the next five or ten or twenty years? 

·         What must be done to move us urgently in the directions that will best protect our people?  And, 

·         What lessons have we learned during the past three-plus years of warfare that can lead us to better  calibrate and refine our strategies against our enemies, who, lest we forget, have brains as well? 

 

 

STRESS ON THE FORCE

 

            We know, for example, that there are strains on our forces,  and particularly our ground forces.  By the end of September the size of the Army strength is planned to have increased by more than 29,000 soldiers from the troop levels of four years ago.  That does not include activated National Guard and Reserve forces.  In fact, let me show you how U.S. ground forces compare to where they were in 2001

 

            Additionally, ground forces are transitioning from being a garrison force to an expeditionary force  --  from being fundamentally a peacetime Army preparing for a major conventional conflict, to an Army dealing with dispersed and dangerous thinking enemies who operate in small cells free of democratic constraints and large bureaucracies. 

 

            In this conflict we have used Reserve Component forces at much higher levels than in the past decade.  As you can see, the proportion of the Reserves and National Guard mobilized since 2001, while significant, still represents less than half of all those who have served during that time.  

 

            Further, the Army is enlarging considerably its pool of deployable soldiers and units, so that individual Reservists and Guardsmen in particularly high demand specialties will need to be mobilized less often, for shorter periods of time and with more notice and predictability.  For example, the Army is reducing the number of artillery and air defense units and adding military police, transportation, and Special Forces units  --  those skills that have been increasingly needed in the Global War on Terror. 

 

            Other innovations underway will also contribute to force capability.  Tens of thousands of positions previously held by uniformed military  --  mostly administrative or facilities related  --  are already being converted to civilian and contractor duties, thereby freeing up additional tens of thousands of military personnel for military responsibilities  --  an increased usable military end strength without an increase in overall numbers. 

 

            In addition, because of the substantial and long overdue changes to U.S. global force posture,  some 70,000 troops and 100,000 family members and civilian employees will be leaving oversees bases and returning to the United States, where they and their families will have shorter overseas deployments and considerably less disruption in their lives. 

 

FORCE PROTECTION

 

            We asked what lessons have been learned about the enemy and its tactics.  The enemies have brains.  They watch our actions and change their tactics constantly, as do we.  The current threats posed by the insurgents are roadside bombs and rockets targeting Coalition troops on the ground.  The military has made it a very high priority to accelerate production of body armor and up-armored Humvees. 

 

            Let me show you what this means. 

 

            The Army has stepped up production of armored Humvees by more than 1,000 percent since mid-2003, when its forces began to face the improvised explosive device threat in Iraq – from 35 per month in May 2003 to 450 monthly by December 2004. 

 

            I am told by General Casey that as of this week, with a few exceptions, U.S. military vehicles in Iraq carrying American troops outside of protected areas will have appropriate armor. 

 

            In addition, since March 2003, the military has produced in excess of 400,000 sets of body armor  --  up from 1,200 sets produced per month to over 25,000 produced per month. 

 

            The Department recognizes the critical importance of safeguarding the troops in the field.  So the military has made force protection institutionalized across the Services as part of their core capabilities. 

 

NATIONAL SECURITY PERSONNEL SYSTEM [NSPS]

 

               Another challenge the Department faces is attracting and retaining high-caliber people to serve in key positions.  For decades, the Department has lived with personnel practices that would be totally unacceptable to any business. 

 

               With the support of Congress and other federal agencies, the Department is now instituting a new personnel system that is designed to provide greater flexibility in hiring, assignments and promotions  --  allowing managers to put the right people in the right positions when and where they are needed. 

 

About 60,000 DoD employees, the first spiral in a wave of over 300,000, will transition into the NSPS system as early as July 2005. 

 

GLOBAL POSTURE AND BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE [BRAC]

 

            As I mentioned earlier, over the coming years, with the support of Congress, heavy Cold War garrisons will be replaced by logistical and training facilities that can be accessed quickly and without extensive negotiation or legal constraints. 

 

            The new global security environment drives the approach to our domestic force posture as well.  The Department continues to maintain more military bases and facilities than are needed  --  consuming and diverting valuable personnel and resources. 

 

            Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, will allow the Department to reconfigure its current infrastructure to one that maximizes warfighting capability and efficiency.  And it could provide substantial savings now  --  money that could be used to improve the quality of life for our men and women in uniform, force protection, and investments in needed weapons systems. 

 

            Mr. Chairman,  these are some of the reforms we plan to implement over the coming years, with the help of this Committee and the Congress. 

 

            I know there will be resistance to some of these reforms.  It is always difficult to depart from the known and the comfortable. 

 

            Abraham Lincoln once compared reorganizing the Union Army during the Civil War to “bailing out the Potomac with a teaspoon.”  I hope and trust that what we are proposing and what we must accomplish will not prove to be that difficult, although I know it will be tough. 

 

            But consider the challenges our country faces.  Not only to reorganize the Army, but to better organize all of the military services, plus transform the enormous Defense bureaucracy, and fight two wars at the same time. 

 

            And, if that were not enough,  to be fighting a war, for the first time in history, in an era with so many new realities  --  Think of it  --  24 hour worldwide satellite news coverage, including terrorist attacks, disasters, combat operations, cell phones, digital cameras, global internet, emails, embedded reporters, an increasingly casual regard for the protection of classified documents and information, and a U.S. government still organized for the industrial age,  not the information age. 

 

            And, all of this, not in a conventional conflict for which the U.S. Military had organized,  trained and equipped for decades, but in an unconventional war, against asymmetric threats from enemies totally unburdened by bureaucracies or legal constraints.  The task is daunting. 

 

            I am reminded of a story Ronald Reagan used to tell.  It seems a young GI in Germany once asked the U.S. ambassador if he ever got to see the President.  The ambassador replied that sometimes he did.  The soldier said,  “You tell the President we are proud to be here and we ain’t afraid of anybody.” 

 

            Not too long after that, the GI heard the President speak on Armed Forces Radio.  And as it happened, the President told that story on the air, even repeating the soldier’s words.  The soldier ran out of his barracks and shouted, “The system works!  The system works!” 

 

            And I believe that. 

 

            I believe that despite the daunting tasks we have had to tackle, we can and will get the job done.  Our country seems to always find a way.  The system works.  And it is because the American people have such rooted good common sense. 

 

            That, more than anything, is why America has the finest fighting force on the face of the earth.  And we need to keep it that way. 

 

            Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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