STAFF: Ladies and gentlemen, the secretary of the Army, Dr. Harvey.
SEC. HARVEY: Good morning. I'd like to make a brief opening statement.
Two thousand and five was a year of solid accomplishment for the Army, but in the ongoing discussion and debate about Iraq, some have said the Army is severely stretched. A few have even described it as broken.
I believe these comments are incorrect. To be sure, the Army is facing great challenges, but it is more accurate to describe the Army as a full spectrum force with a portfolio of capabilities that are relevant to the 21st century.
The Army is, without a question, the preeminent land power in the world. Today's Army is the most capable, best-trained, best-equipped and most experienced force our nation has fielded in well over a decade.
I know that you are all well aware of the political, military and economic progress being made in Iraq and Afghanistan. I might note: due in a major way to the efforts of the United States Army. So I'm going to spend a few minutes to discuss some of the other outstanding achievements that our nation's Army has made over the past year.
First, reenlistments in 2005 were the highest in over five years, and this trend remains strong. Over 69,500 soldiers chose to continue to answer the call to duty. This enabled the Army to just about make up for the shortfalls in recruiting.
The 3rd Infantry Division, now finishing its second deployment to Iraq, achieved 136 percent of its fiscal year 2005 goal.
In the area of recruitment, the Army recruited over 73,000 soldiers last fiscal year. We have now made our recruiting objectives for the last seven months, and the future looks promising. The number of recruits who have signed an enlistment contract to date is almost 25 percent higher than it was at the same point last year. So for example, we have already contracted for approximately 40 percent of our July goal of 10,450, which is the largest monthly goal of the year.
And I believe that the new authorities provided by Congress such as the thousand-dollar referral fee, the maximum list-in bonus of $40,000 and the ability to provide new recruits with down payment assistance for their first home will continue this positive trend.
Under our transformation initiatives, the Army stood up four new Modular Brigade Combat Teams and one Stryker Brigade Combat Team, and we completed the transformation of seven existing brigades to the modular design in the past year. We now have 37 combat or support brigades that have either completed transformation to the modular design or a well along in the process. We also realigned over 30,000 of the approximately 125,000 skill-structure changes planned for the Active and Reserve components.
The Army's ability to surge over 50,000 soldiers, including approximately 42,000 members of the National Guard, in just over a week to the Gulf Coast and its response to the Asian tsunami and the disaster in Pakistan clearly demonstrates readiness and growing capability. Especially noteworthy is the contribution of the Army National Guard and the Army Reserves; 2005 re-affirmed that we are truly an Army of one.
Thousands of Army Guardsmen and Reservists rotated in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan. The 42nd Infantry Division completed the first deployment of a Guard Divisional headquarters since the Korean War. And our efforts to win the global war on terrorism would not be possible without the commitment and dedication of our citizen soldiers. Simply put, the Army could not perform full-spectrum operations without the Guard and Reserves' tremendous contribution.
In 2005, the Army continued to reverse the funding shortages of the 1990s. The Army's budget included $2.9 billion for the Future Combat Systems program in which 18 of the critical technologies are now at a technical readiness level of six or higher, meaning a model or prototype has been fielded, tested in a relevant environment. The Army remains totally committed to fully filling this central component of Army modernization. The Army budget also included $10 billion for other research and development; $5 billion for the Army Modular Force Initiative; and $3.2 billion for reset. This latter category enabled the Army to reset over 9,000 pieces of equipment in over 850 aircraft at the depot level.
In the area of force protection, over 4,400 new, Level 1, factory-built, up-armored humvees, and over 16,000 add-on armor kits were fielded in Iraq and Afghanistan last year.
Almost 700,000 sets of intercepter body armor have been fielded since the beginning of the war, and over 170,000 sets of additional protection for shoulder and upper-arm areas have also been fielded.
These are a few of the Army's many accomplishments over the past year. I hope they give you an appreciation for what has been achieved. This is clearly an Army that is highly trained and ready, playing a pivotal role in the global war on terrorism.
I look forward to 2006 as another year of solid progress.
Thank you. And I will now take your questions.
Q Mr. Secretary, Will Dunham with Reuters. In your opening statement you mention that the Army is not broken. But the Army did miss its fiscal 2005 recruiting goal, large overseas deployments continue, and stop-loss remains in place. To what degree do you think the Army is strained, and do you think it's in danger of being broken in the future if the situation doesn't turn around?
SEC. HARVEY: I think the -- first of all, recruiting I don't think is a measure of the strain on the Army. The measure -- I think the best measure of the strain is reenlistment. And as I mentioned, the reenlistment is vastly exceeding our goals. It's the highest it's been in five years. And I think the 3rd Infantry Division's performance of exceeding their goal by 136 percent is an indicator that morale is high; the soldiers in theater know they're making a difference, and the soldiers in theater are proud to be part of this effort.
Q Mr. Secretary, I have four questions; three I'll give you now, one later, if we have time, and they'll be brief.
SEC. HARVEY: I better write these down.
Q No, they're quick. One, what are you doing to stimulate enlistment? Two, who qualifies for the $40,000 enlistment bonus? And three, are you going to keep the slogan, "Army of One" that many people find confusing, or are you going to change it, and if so, to what?
SEC. HARVEY: Let's see, number one, starting -- let me just say, starting last spring, as you recall -- and let's look at 2005. And starting last spring, we started missing our monthly goals, so we started having at that time -- I started personally getting involved in having monthly meetings with Accessions Command, and we came up with a whole basketful of initiatives, from number of recruiters, to incentives, to advertising, to actions such as forming a referral center where we screen potential recruits, to standing up assignment incentive pay, to actually increasing the advertising budget by 65 percent -- so a whole basket of initiatives which I think started paying off later in the summer and early in the fall. So we took a very, very proactive approach to it.
Now, in terms of the -- to the challenge, I should add. And I think so far it's paying off. Again, you know, it's a month-to-month thing. As I said, the rest of the year looks promising, but we're certainly not going to sit on our laurels and we have a whole bunch of other initiatives, including the $1,000 referral bonus, and doubling -- essentially doubling the enlistment bonus.
That will be used selectively for skills that are hard to recruit. That will not be certainly used across the board, and we'll use it judiciously where we need to have it.
Your third question was --
Q The current slogan, "An Army of One" -- are you going to keep it or --
SEC. HARVEY: Yeah. Well, as you know, we just recently made -- changed our advertising agency, and I can tell you, I have no expertise at advertising, so I'm going to leave it up to them if they think that should be changed.
Q Mr. Secretary?
SEC. HARVEY: Yes?
Q No doubt you're aware that the buzz around the building the last couple of weeks has been Army proposals to reduce the size of the National Guard. You're obviously also aware that there's been a robust debate about whether that's a good idea.
SEC. HARVEY: Yeah.
Q Can you explain what the proposal is and what the rationale behind it is because some people --
SEC. HARVEY: Sure. Yeah, let me just say off the top, there is not going to be any reduction in the National Guard. Overall, the Army, as -- the Active, I should say, the Active Guard and Reserve overall -- the military capability will continue to grow.
And let's then talk about specifically the National Guard. Our fundamental principle that we used in developing the budget in our strategy is that we will have a fully resourced and fully ready Army in terms of manning equipment that is supported by a robust and comprehensive modernization program. So that's a fundamental, underlying principle that the chief and I have developed and used when we formulate our programs and our budgets and our strategy.
Now in regards to the Guard specifically, if you look at the current baseline plan -- let's take the baseline plan of 2005. The baseline plan for 2005 called for a total of 106 brigades for the National Guard, a mixture of brigade combat teams which do the war fighting and complemented by a number of multifunctional and functional support brigades. The number in the baseline plan was 106. The number today is 106. There is no change in the number of National Guard brigades.
Now what we did was in both as a result of the QDR and the continuing thinking about the challenges of the 21st century, we decided that we would rebalance the mix of those brigades so that in keeping in mind that the Guard's mission is twofold. They have an overseas operational mission, which, by the way, they performed extremely well in 2005, and they have the homeland defense mission. So they need a capability that's somewhat different than the active component, which is more fighting either conventional or nonconventional, nontraditional, irregular warfare. So we decided that it's appropriate to adjust the number of brigade combat teams. The baseline plan had 34. We decided that we would make that 28, which, by the way, is an increase from the number of enhanced brigades they had in the Guard, which was 15, and we would increase the number of so-called combat support brigades, and these are brigades that have MPs, engineers, chemical, air defense, civil affairs, very appropriate for homeland defense missions.
So we increased those number -- kept the number the same, at 106. So there's no cut in force structure of the Guard at all.
Q What --
SEC. HARVEY: And there's no cut in force structure of the active, and there's no cut in force structure of the Reserves.
Q And just to be clear --
SEC. HARVEY: Yeah.
Q -- I believe the Guard's end strength was 350,000 -- (inaudible). Is the end for the National Guard going to be the same, or will there be a reduction in the end strength?
SEC. HARVEY: Well, let me talk -- you know, "end strength" is a legal term. What's most important is the troop strength.
In 2005, the troop strength of the Guard varied between 330,000 and 340,000, averaged 333,000. And let me just note, in that regard, that I think it's fair to say that 2005 was the busiest year in the Guard since World War II and arguably is the busiest year in its history. They had 10 brigade combat teams deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, one headquarters, as I mentioned, and they also had a division headquarters and a brigade in Kosovo.
And again -- and I'll mention my opening statement -- in little over a week, they surged with over 42,000 people, with average troop strength of 33,000 -- 333,000.
So based on their outstanding performance and based on that reality and the challenge that they have of recruiting, our baseline approach is to fund to their current strength. Whatever that strength may be, we'll fund to it. So if they -- they're now at -- they started the year at 333, 175. They're now at 333, 250. So they haven't changed much. Although they're doing much better in recruiting and retention, their end strength is the same. If they can grow that end strength, we'll fund to that end strength. So it's really a more realistic approach, and I think it reflects -- it's a better -- from my point of view, it's a better way to manage this.
Q How much will you say is cut from 350 to 333, in the Guard?
SEC. HARVEY: You know, I don't know if I know that off the top of my head. You know, you could certainly -- we can get you that number. It's easy to figure out.
Q You say you'll fund them to what they can grow to.
SEC. HARVEY: For what they can -- yeah, they can resource to. Yeah, if they grow to 338, they'll -- we'll fund to 338.
Q If they go to 350?
SEC. HARVEY: We'll fund to 350.
Q And over what span of time? Over this coming year or next year or the FYDP or what?
SEC. HARVEY: Yeah, when they get there. (Chuckles.) I mean, you know, it's a much better way, I think, to approach this. And we'll -- and the same approach to the Reserves, Tom, too.
Q Dr. Harvey, many members of the National Guard have had to leave up-armored vehicles, equipment behind in Iraq. Some lost some in Katrina; it was just destroyed. Arguably, the National Guard should have an increased funding in the next budget to replace equipment.
SEC. HARVEY: Oh, they absolutely do. And let me say -- (chuckles) -- you know, the -- this not only applies -- stay-behind equipment, left- -- not only applies to the Guard; it also applies to the active component.
Remember, during the '90s, not to get into the details, the Army was underfunded in terms of equipment. We are currently still making up for that. So the stay-behind equipment is one way to manage that. It also is a very good -- it's very good management in terms of logistics.
In the FYDP, there is $20 billion for the Guard equipment. So the Guard will be equipped -- the Guard is going to be organized and equipped in the same way the active Army's going to be organized and equipped.
The brigade combat teams, the organizational structure of -- everything in the Guard is the same as it is in the active; the numbers are just different. But they will be fully resourced. Again, the principle that the chief and I developed is fully resourced and ready Army in terms of manning and equipment, again, supported by a very robust and comprehensive modernization program, which for the ground forces is called the Future Combat Systems program.
Q How many years is that $20 billion --
SEC. HARVEY: It's the future year's defense program.
Q For five years?
SEC. HARVEY: Six. Yes. And then --
Yeah? Yes? Yes?
Q Dr. Harvey, Congress recently passed legislation on the inhumane treatment of detainees. In that, they referred to the Army Field Manual as the guiding document. The Army finished -- at least its initial drop last year. Can you talk about what the discussion, the debate is at this point on how to finish that, how to make it agree with the legislation and -- or comply with the legislation, and also how it will address the Guantanamo issue?
SEC. HARVEY: Sure. And I'm not going to get into any details of it, but let me just mention, we do have -- for some reason, unbeknownst to me, nobody reports that we do have an Army Field Manual. Its number is 3452, and so it exists. And it is compliant with all applicable U.S. laws, DoD directives and policies, and it's consistent with the principle of humane treatment, and it certainly prohibits torture. So there is a manual.
What we're doing -- is the process of lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan from a totally different war that we're involved in -- we -- like we do everything else, we continue to improve it. So the current upgraded or improved manual, which goes under the number, as you know, 2-22.3 was being prepared last year, and with the onset of the McCain amendment as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2006, it became clear that this was more than an Army manual; this is a DoD manual now. Therefore, I think to be fair about it we needed to have a coordination and review by all services because it applies to everybody.
So the decision by the secretary of Defense was made that, one, that we in a sense are an executive agent. This is going to be a DoD- wide manual that the whole DoD needed to get involved in the review, which they are -- have and are. The initial review is over. Revisions and suggestions are being incorporated, and it'll go out for final review as -- almost as we speak. And I expect the forecast is for -- to be published within one to two months. So that's where it is.
Q Dr. Harvey, Lisa Meyer from AP Radio. You were talking before about the increase in the combat support brigades. Would it be fair to characterize the increase as a direct reaction to performance on the ground during the hurricanes here at home last year?
SEC. HARVEY: We are clearly, as we do from the regular warfare in Iraq, we clearly take in real time the lessons learned from all our military operations and incorporate those into the force. So one thing we certainly learned in terms of networking which we -- which will be spun out from the Future Combat Systems program, the functionality that I explained in these combat support brigades is very important in terms of security, very important in terms of chemical. The -- and the Guard is also reorganizing in standing up these civil support teams that will provide consequent management. So there's a whole bunch of other affiliated organizations being stood up by the Guard which is in response to that.
Q (Inaudible) --
Q Mr. Secretary, you've heard the controversy over add-on body armor recently. I think Hillary Clinton wrote something in The New York Times today.
SEC. HARVEY: Yes, I just wrote Mrs. Clinton a letter.
Q Could you just tell us do you think that the criticisms of the lack of some of these add-on armor being in the field, is that legitimate at all? And do you think they ought to be mandatory once they're sent to the field?
SEC. HARVEY: Well, you know, John, the -- as you appreciate and I think as everybody has read -- it's a -- what we're trying to do here is balance the mobility with protection. And soldier protection clearly is a key element, and it's very important to the Army in general and me personally. And I've personally spent a lot of time on it.
Now, we have continuously improved the armor that we provide for the soldiers from the beginning, starting with the addition of the so- called SAPI plate, Small Arm Protection Inserts. That was then without really a definite threat. We then changed to an improved material which we call ESAPI.
Then we provided -- which I mentioned -- these deltoid plates.
We're now in the process, based on a request from theater, providing side plates. Even though the evidence shows that this is not a major threat, we have an adaptive enemy that we're trying to get ahead of, so we are going to be fielding, starting next month, side plates.
So it's an evolving thing. That's going to add weight, of course. You've read where certain soldiers aren't happy about that, but we think it's in their best interest to do this, again, keeping in mind that they need the flexibility, they need the mobility and agility to be effective.
So as we've noted, you can have protection, but if you can't move, you may get shot in the leg or something because you can't move that fast. So it's a compromise.
Q Should they be able to opt out, though, if they don't want to --
SEC. HARVEY: No, I don't think so.
Q I have a follow-up on that. The Marines started fielding prototypes of their side SAPI armor in September, in response to this armed forces pathology report. Why did the Army wait until now to put on emergency order these --
SEC. HARVEY: We didn't. We didn't. We didn't wait. The request came in, in September. It was tested -- remember, when you have a request, you just don't go buy something off the shelf. It has to be designed, tested and demonstrated. And we did that in a matter of three months.
Now I can't certainly speak for that, and I won't speak about that, since it's classified, that particular medical examiner's report. But I can tell you this: that we have looked through casualty reports, and approximately 5 percent of the KIA are from gunshot wounds. And we have found -- over the last three years of casualty reports, we've found one gunshot wound to the side, only one. So that's one too many. And again, we think it's prudent to do this because of the adaptive nature of the enemy. So we're going to do it. But there wasn't an overwhelming body of evidence to say that that should be the case.
(Cross talk.) Yes, sir?
Q Hello, Mr. Secretary. Jim Mannion from Agence France- Presse. We're watching a crisis build with Iran. What gives you confidence that the Army is large enough to handle additional major contingencies now?
SEC. HARVEY: Let me just answer that question in general, without getting into any specifics, because that's certainly in the purview of the president and the secretary of Defense. But --
Q That was my fourth question.
SEC. HARVEY: Okay. Good. Oh! Two birds with one stone.
We have a readiness deployment tool which really -- a fundamental tool by which we operate the Army. We call it the Army Force Generation Model, which, God bless you -- which you may be -- it is called -- (inaudible) -- which you may be familiar with. And this is a model in which we take the forces, both in the Reserves and the active, and we rotate them through various stages prior to deployment: a reset, remanufacture stage, recapitalization stage, and then followed by -- part of that training, rest, refreshment, all in the first year. Second year: intense training. Third year: deployment. So -- that's for the active.
So if you have in today's world 18 to 20 brigade combat teams deployed, we can surge, with the Army Force Generation Model, another 18 to 20 brigade combat teams.
So as these forces come around these circles of deployment, these cycles of deployment, they go from low stages of readiness in the first year and to increased readiness, and then, in mid-second year, they're ready to go. And the Reserves -- so one year deployed and two years at home station is our baseline cycle for the active, and one year deployed and five years at home station is the baseline cycle for the National Guard and the Reserves.
So we have the capability -- to answer it straightforward -- to surge to any crisis that the president may ask us to do.
Q Bottom line -- some force structure documents that I saw had showed that the Army plans in 2008 to go back to the 482,000 active end strength numbers? Is that accurate?
SEC. HARVEY: No, no.
Q You don't plan on doing that?
SEC. HARVEY: No. If you want me to talk about in the end strength plan, I can talk about that, Tom, yeah.
We have an end strength that is as follows, and again, as I like to say -- and everything in the Army is a little complicated. It's hard to answer straightforward. But let me try to give you just a second of background, and that is there's three components to the Army. There's the operational Army, which fights the wars. There's the institutional Army that generates the force, and we have this large overhead account -- when you're in neither one of the other, you're in this overhead account called the TTHS, the Transient Trainee Holding Students. It's probably the world's largest overhead account. So those three components add up in FY '04 to approximately 482,400. So that's a baseline that we established in the FY '04.
Our plan -- our strength plan is to grow the operational Army from 315,000 -- which was a subset of the 482,000 -- the 355,000 -- and this is again over the future year defense plan to FY '11 to -- through mil to civ conversion to reduce the number of soldiers in the institutional force by about 30,000 -- from -- which, 110,000 to about 80,000, and then to better manage the TTHS account for about 10,000. So if you look at the bookends, our plan is to start out with 482,400 and in FY '11, because of the dynamics of when you can add and when you can subtract and when you can convert, to end at 482,400. So in the interim years, we're going to grow above the 482,000 because we're going to do the operational Army near term, and we're going to convert the institutional Army long term. So you're going to see an increase and then a slow decrease over the future year's defense. That is the -- so we're going to grow that part of the Army that fights.
Q And you also mentioned about the National Guard brigades will go -- the combat brigades -- from 34 to 28.
SEC. HARVEY: Yeah, but keep in mind when you say that they're really coming from 15 to 28, rather than 15 to 34. So they're increasing, they're damn near doubling, yeah.
Q So you've proposed 34. Now it's 28. The Active, I believe, is 43, now it's maybe 42?
SEC. HARVEY: That's correct.
Q Which will give you 70.
SEC. HARVEY: That's correct.
Q But both you and Dr. Chu told the Hill last fall that you needed 77 --
SEC. HARVEY: That was our baseline plan. But remember, Tom, we're --
Q That was three months ago.
SEC. HARVEY: Yeah -- no, no, no. We're coming out of a QDR, and in the QDR, we just -- you know, out of the QDR, this force structure, we think, is appropriate to the threat.
Q Again, in September, you told the Hill 77 were needed --
SEC. HARVEY: Well, that was our baseline plan. But now -- but the QDR is the QDR, you know -- yes, ma'am?
Q Pam Hess with UPI. I want to clean up a couple of your answers -- well, allow you to elaborate.
SEC. HARVEY: (Laughs.) I thank you for that compliment.
Q Could you explain -- how much weight do the additional new plates add? And why --
SEC. HARVEY: Two and a half pounds apiece.
Q Two and a half pounds. And why don't you think soldiers should be able to opt out on that? A lot of them are saying, "We're already carrying at least 70 pounds."
SEC. HARVEY: Because we think it's in their best interest to wear -- to --
Q So it's everybody, not just gunners are going to be --
SEC. HARVEY: That's right.
Q Right. Okay. And could you tell us about -- you said that the baseline for the forces is one on, two off. How many of your brigade combat teams or divisions or however you're counting it actually are at that baseline right now? Because the ones that I've talked to --
SEC. HARVEY: We're migrating there. We're not exactly at the one and two right now. We're probably one year deployed and maybe -- you know, it depends on the brigades. Some are at 15 months, some are at 22 months. But we're migrating.
Remember, we're growing the number from 33 -- and as Tom mentioned -- to 42, rather than 43. Remember, again, this is all growth. We're growing the combat power; we're growing the capability of the Army to perform non-traditional missions and non-traditional -- it's all growth both in the Active and in the Guard -- it's all growth. It's just -- we're changing the mix because we're balancing capability to fit missions. The National Guard is a dual mission, and then we're superimposing on the threat and the analysis. And we think those numbers are correct.
Q Your surge capability that you talked to Jim about is then predicated on a future force as opposed to the current force, and Iran poses a potential current threat. So -- (inaudible) --
SEC. HARVEY: But then we're talking about not if, it's the numbers, and we still think we can surge with 15 to 20 in the current time.
Q Mr. Secretary --
SEC. HARVEY: Yeah, and then --
Q Rick, you've had plenty.
Q Rick Whittle with the Dallas Morning News. You said earlier that 5 percent of the KIAs have been from gunshot wounds. And what percent have been from IEDs?
SEC. HARVEY: The majority of the other have been from -- I can't give you exact numbers -- but explosions, which is IEDs, mortar, rocket-propelled grenades, that whole --
Q And on the IEDs, what kind of progress has been made, if any, in allowing to kind of counter that threat better --
SEC. HARVEY: Oh, there's tremendous progress.
Q It seems like the number of casualties just keeps --
SEC. HARVEY: No, the number -- the number of incidents, the number of IEDs have gone up, but the effectiveness of those explosions has been cut by 66 percent. And I'm not going to get into anymore detail than that.
And then to follow up on that, Mark, you had --
Q Number five and my last one, I assure you. In the old days -- and by the way I'm Ivan Scott with WTOP and KNX in Los Angeles. But in the old days here, under the old QDR it was -- the Pentagon including the Army had the ability to fight and win two major battles at the same time. Then that was ameliorated somewhat to say you fight and win one and go to the capital of the next one. Can you give us a sneak preview of what lies ahead in February? What's the current strategy? If we have to go to war with Iran, can we win that and Iraq at the same time?
SEC. HARVEY: This is what -- this is the 18 -- is this the 18th? I mean, all you got to do is wait to the 6th of February. The QDR report will be sent along with the budget, and that'll answer all your questions.
Q No sneak preview?
SEC. HARVEY: No sneak preview.
Q Mr. Secretary, on the subject of IEDs. Has the Army been addressing this report of new jumping or flying IEDs that are fired off at aircraft for proximately sort of explosions?
SEC. HARVEY: Yeah, that's an anticipated threat. To my knowledge, we have not -- I don't know if we've seen -- we may have seen one of those. But to my knowledge, we have not seen a lot of those so-called jumping IEDs.
Q Have you got tactics to combat that sort of thing?
SEC. HARVEY: Yeah, we got systems and tactics, and I won't certainly go into that.
Q Could I ask you one question about the milciv conversions?
SEC. HARVEY: Yeah. Go ahead. Go ahead.
Q What sorts of positions are being converted to civilian? Is it -- I think they have under -- I understand that most of the medical corps is going to become civilian.
SEC. HARVEY: I wouldn't say most. No. There are medical corps. There -- you know, it started simply with Guards. It started simply -- and then -- you know administrative positions. I mean, and there's -- certainly, I can't get into the details in this forum, but we've identified over 20,000 positions that we think are -- that can be converted to civilians and soldiers and use those positions, essentially, in the operating force.
So we have an in-depth careful analysis that is going on, and so far it's identified 20,000 positions. Now, in order to convert those, of course, we have to do that very thoughtfully and very methodically and that takes -- it takes time.
Q Yeah, I had a question about -- a follow-up on the National Guard. You said that you were going to fund over 333,000 on an as-needed-basis. Would you do that through supplementals, or how exactly would you fund it?
SEC. HARVEY: Well, remember, there is some flexibility in the budget. I mean, the budget is not exact. You have an exact budget as planned, and when you execute the plan, you have some overages and underages and -- if that's a word -- and there's some things you underspend and some things you overspend.
But we also have reprogramming capability, so if we need to reprogram, we'll reprogram. But we do have flexibility within certain guidelines, and we'll -- again, I think this is an approach to budgeting that -- I come from, as you know, from the private sector. This is kind of how you budget; you budget to the number of people that you have and you think you're going to have.
Q Mr. Secretary, will you release the letter that you sent to Senator Clinton?
SEC. HARVEY: Senator Clinton has it. It was in response to a letter from her.
SEC. HARVEY: She sent me a letter and I responded to it. And --
Q Can you release that to us?
SEC. HARVEY: I'd have to look into it. I'm sure she can.
Q Can you tell us what the main points were?
SEC. HARVEY: It was essentially in response to her concern about -- coming out of the Marine Army -- the Medical Examiner's report. And I told her all the actions that we have taken and were taken over the past to provide soldier protections. And as I indicated, we have made a significant number of steps -- and by the way, we'll continue to do that; we will continue to upgrade and improve, take lessons learned and improve the armor where we can. Also, we'll do the same thing with vehicles. And we're doing the same thing. We have made a number of enhancements, as you know, to the armor that we put on our variety of vehicles, which the most well-known is the humvee, and we'll continue to do that. And we have improvements, as we speak, in progress to do that.
Q Do you think the criticism is off the mark?
SEC. HARVEY: The criticism of who?
Q The criticism of the Army for --
SEC. HARVEY: Yes, I do. I do. I think we've been -- soldier protection is one of the high priorities of the Army and myself, and we -- I think we have a proud record of action, reaction and trying to get ahead of the game. As I said, ESAPI was put in without a threat; there was no threat, apparent threat. We did it to try to get ahead of a very adaptive enemy.
Yes? You haven't talked.
Q Yeah. You said it was based on the KIA gunshots, only one has happened on the side. What about other, you know, IEDs, other explosions? I mean, have there been any other deaths through the side of --
SEC. HARVEY: We looked at casualty reports. We are not -- we're not -- we did not do a medical examiner's report. Just let me say that, you know, you have to leave it up to the experts to do that. But you know, an explosion -- when an explosion which gives you multiple wounds, you know, I'll leave it up to the doctors to assign a specific area of death. I certainly don't have that capability. We just looked at casualty reports.
Q What I'm trying to understand is you have only one KIA to a gunshot to the side, if that threat is that small, why would you --
SEC. HARVEY: Because one, one's too many. Two, because of all the publicity, we've got to be careful of the adaptive enemy. And three, there's injuries, and if we can prevent injuries, that's worth it. I think two and a half pounds is worth it. So we're trying to anticipate and adapt to the enemy, and we're trying to prevent injuries to the soldiers. So I personally think it's worth it.
Q Dr. Harvey, there are some members of the National Guard in this country that have less than 10 percent of their equipment on hand, ready to go in the case of a natural disaster, homeland defense issues. It's a mid-term election year. There are governors that are up for reelection this year. How are you going to respond to those governors when they say we need more equipment --
SEC. HARVEY: I dispute your numbers. You'd have to prove to me that there's 10 percent. We --
Q A member of the Idaho National Guard said that they have less than 10 percent of their equipment on hand.
SEC. HARVEY: Well, I'd have to look at that because that's not the facts that I get. They're not fully -- they're not fully equipped, but -- and they do have shortages. But they have -- I don't think 10 percent is an accurate number.
And they did surge, with 42,000 members, in over a week, to Katrina -- and by all accounts, they did a very, very good job.
STAFF: We have time for one more.
Q But your plan is over five years to re-fund them, sir. So how -- there are natural disasters now, this year. I mean, there are guards that can't respond to them. How do you respond to --
SEC. HARVEY: No, I disagree with your premise. The Guard can respond. We're just talking about a matter of having more radios. And you know soldiers; they -- and I'm with them -- they want to have a hundred percent. But they're adaptive, they're flexible. Their readiness levels for equipment are well beyond 10 percent.
Tony and then --
Q On the budget/equipment/National Guard issue --
SEC. HARVEY: One --
Q -- budget, equipment, National Guard --
SEC. HARVEY: Yeah.
Q -- the same Gordon England memo that approved the Army force structure cuts to 28 brigades -- 42 brigades --
SEC. HARVEY: There's no cuts, Tony.
Q -- well, lays out $11 billion in cuts over the FYDP that the Army's offered that implied -- coming from Army National Guard equipment type cuts and personnel cuts. But where does the 11.1 billion (dollars) come from?
SEC. HARVEY: This is -- (chuckles) -- believe me, this is the only time where growth is a cut. We are growing the Army. The Army -- and I'm not going to get into budget numbers, but the Army budget is very, very acceptable to the Army. So just stand by for --
Q Can you tell us where you're going to make the 11 billion (dollars) in cuts?
SEC. HARVEY: There was the -- that's kind of a virtual -- there is not a cut in the -- there's -- there will be no cut in the Army budget. There will be no cut in the DoD budget. There's no cuts.
Q Reduction from growth, though -- I mean, how much -- that $11 billion reduction -- where is that coming from?
SEC. HARVEY: When -- just wait two weeks, and you'll --
Q Yeah --
Q We're here now. (Laughter.)
SEC. HARVEY: (Laughs.) I'm not going to -- this is the president's budget, and I'm not going to get into the details of the budget.
But you know, the way you described it is not correct. There is going to be growth. There is growth.
You're saying there's not going to be as much growth. So? There's not going to be as much growth. We in the Army are pleased with the proposed budget, as submitted to the president. The president will make the final decision. It's his decision. It's his budget. You know, it's the president's budget. But coming out of our -- coming out of the Pentagon, we were -- out of the DOD, we were pleased with it. And if you just wait two more weeks, Tony, you'll get it.
STAFF: Thank you. We're out of time.
SEC. HARVEY: Thank you very much. Enjoyed it.
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