Skip to main content

tv   Admirals Testify on Naval Warship Accidents  CSPAN  September 12, 2017 3:08pm-5:13pm EDT

3:08 pm
many teachers across the country use these resources so you should, too. two house arms services sub committees held a meeting on the collisions of ships in the navy. this is two hours. >> this joint hearing of the house armed services committee to order. we're here in memory of the seven uss fitzgerald sailors. douglas, hernandez, nok, martin, reim, rigsby, rictor, and
3:09 pm
suvayan. and the uss john mccain sailors. we're very grateful that today, we have ms. rachel echols with us, we send you our deepest simp sympathie sympathies. and i want to especially recognize, we have with us the committee chairman, chairman thornberry. the leader of efforts to
3:10 pm
mitigate the military readiness challenges. and i thank him for being here today. i also want to send a warm welcome to congresswoman elizabeth estes. -- and full committee members have had an opportunity to ask questions. is there an objection? as we begin today's unkplaclassd hearing, i have no doubt that our navy remains the most powerful in the world. but these recent tragic events
3:11 pm
only reinforce our committee's concern about the challenges the navy faces. i'm especially concerned about the shortfalls in the structure and whether the tempo of a reduced 277-ship navy may have contributed to these events. i also believe that the first responsibility of the national government is to provide for the national security for our citizens to do for us what we can't do for ourselves. and that is especially true of our sailors, soldiers, airmen, and marines. it's our responsibility to continue to better understand the readiness situation and underlying problems of the u.s. navy, and correcting any deficiencies and shortfalls. we now ask the senior leaders of the u.s. navy and government
3:12 pm
accountability office to advise us on the underlying problems and how to recover from these tragic events. this afternoon, we're honored to have with us admiral bill moran, rear admiral robert boxall, and mr. john pendleton, the director of the structure issues of the u.s. accountability office. i will now turn to the congresswoman for any remarks she may have. >> thank you for agreeing to convene this hearing on navy readiness, particularly with the seventh fleet operations in the indo-pacific region. we recently returned from japan,
3:13 pm
and saw the damage to the uss fitzgerald firsthand. thank you to our witnesses for joining us today. i appreciated our meeting earlier this week, and i look forward to continuing our discussion. mr. pendleton, thank you as well for your time and work on this subject, as it is critical in our mission on this committee. the recent mishaps resulted not only in significant damage to the vessels, but also the tragic, tragic loss of life of 17 american sailors. earlier in the year, we saw two additional mishaps, avoidable, as i understand it, also involving surface ships assign todassigned to the seventh fleet. and investigations are still
3:14 pm
ongoing, with reviews of surface fleet operations, i'm interested to learn in the initial findings and foundational challenges that need to be reversed. specifically, i am interested to hear what steps may be taken to ensure appropriate time is allocated for crew training and ship maintenance. and how the chain of command will be held accountable to ensure navy standards are being met. in addition to the training and maintenance time, i will be interested to hear how the navy is investing in developing and utilizing next generation training systems to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of this time. this committee and the navy's leadership owe it to our sailors
3:15 pm
to learn from these incidents and take appropriate actions. points have been raised about how the forward deployed forces model has stressed existing resources, and highlighted gaps and deficiencies in the manning of our vessels, the training of sailors, and maintenance of our fleet. understanding that a balance needs to be struck, and a review is under way, let me note i believe that maintaining a forward presence is critical in that region. the navy is able to rapidly react to contingencies with
3:16 pm
forward operations. the navy's deployment of significant capabilities overseas didn't occur noeoverni. so, i'm concerned that the request for resources and the strateg strategic -- finally, i'll conclude by stating that today's hearing, and the navy's ongoing investigations and reviews should be viewed as just the starting point. i hope we'll have a continuous dialogue on the lessons learned and specific actions that need to be taken to ensure the
3:17 pm
readiness of the surface fleet. i want to thank you and the witnesses, and i look forward to the discussion. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> we'll turn to the gentleman from virginia and the chairman of the sub committee for any remarks. >> thank you. i want to thank you all for attending our hearing on this tremendously important issue. i want to thank chairman wilson for offering to hold this hearing today. it's of essence that we get to the bottom of this in the interest of our nation. i believe we may arrive at some conclusions that require the joint efforts of both of our subcommittees, and i look forward to expeditiously resolving these issues. before i proceed, i also want to
3:18 pm
recognize our special guest in the audience today. ms. rachel echols. her son timothy lost his life onboard the uss mccain just a few weeks ago. thank you for being here with us today, and for the enormous sacrifice that you and your family have made for this country. we're here today -- yes. [ applause ] we are here today to ensure that the navy and congress learn from these tragedies and make the necessary changes. i want you to be assured that your son's life, given on behalf of this nation, was not in vain.
3:19 pm
it's important to note that even in a benign environment, we send our sailors into precarious and oftentimes deadly situation. our nation asks much of our service members, and they never fail to deliver. i hope that today's hearing provides some positive steps forward to ensure our sailors are provided the best training and ships to sustain their daily lives. and in time of war, prevail over our enemy. i think we can all agree our nation failed these 17 sailors and their families with these tragic collisions. last week, i led a delegation to visit the seventh fleet commander, vice admiral sawyer in japan. i was encouraged at their zeal,
3:20 pm
even in the face of these events. nevertheless, i want to assess whether there are procedural issues that contributed. as the committee reviews the state of the seventh fleet, two things are painfully obvious. the readiness of the ships are severely degraded and not acceptable. the majority of ships are not ready to perform their primary warfare areas. these negative training trends clearly contributed to the lack of seamanship on these ships. as to the ships themselves, the material condition of the ships suffer as navy prioritizes
3:21 pm
deployments over maintenance and modderizati modernizati modernization. it's equally problematic that the navy intends to increase the number of forward deployed ships with no increase to the maintenance capacity, thereby increasing the risk to our sailors. this is a model that is not sustainable, and needs to be significantly modified. we have also learned that many of the destroyers are only supposed to be forward deployed for more than 7 to 10 years. we know that the uss john mccain has been deployed to japan for over 20 years.
3:22 pm
and other ships have been home ported in japan for over ten years. the ships there have been outside the continental united states for too long, and consequently, their material condition is unacceptable. i remain convinced that one of the long term fixes is to increase the overall structure, and build the navy our nation needs. a larger fleet would have less strain on each individual ship. and in the short-term, i support the need to adequately fund training, and provide the fleet the time it needs to complete required maintenance and training. i think there are a number of
3:23 pm
contributing factors that should be explored. new training models, overall funding requirements, and the high operational tempo endured by the fleet, and the operational failures that have occ occurred, each of these areas deserves additional assessment. the deployment model is rife with risk, and the navy needs to offer an alternative model. i thank chairman wilson for working with us on this important issue. and i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you. and now for the gentleman from connecticut, congressman joe courtney for his remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and
3:24 pm
thank you for your testimony today. and i would also like to recognize ms. echols today, and thank you for representing the other families. that's an important contribution being made today. thank you. the circumstances that bring us to today's hearing are painful and tragic. as our lead witness, admiral moran, pointed out, in the span of 65 days, 17 sailors were lost in ship collisions. these were not limited occurrences, but part of a disturbing trend of mishaps in the asia pacific region. to put that in perspective, these heartbreaking casualties are more than the number of
3:25 pm
service members lost in the afghan war zone in 2017. and electronics technician dustin -- from connecticut, was lost onboard the uss mccain. we're mourning the loss of these patriots, and are watching the response of congress and the navy to fix this disturbing trend. i applaud the efforts to fix this, and we expect the navy to be fully transparent as the efforts move forward. and we will convene again as many times as needed to fix this problem. and the u.s. constitution is
3:26 pm
very clear, it's congress' duty to provide and maintain a navy, one that is well equipped and adequately manned. these incidents are a glaring -- particularly in the asia pacific region, and the declining readiness of these forces. they do difficult work, oftentimes not well understood by the public. and the uss mccain conducted a freedom of navigation operation. simply put, these are not the kinds of ships and crews we can afford to lose to preventable misha mishaps. one solution is to grow the
3:27 pm
fleet to take the stress off of the ships. and we would add funding to ship construction and readiness. we passed it with the biggest bipartisan vote since 1988. i'm sure this hearing will increase the members' determination to get the best outcome possible. but today is not just about resources. it's about whether navy policies need to be realigned. as the gao has repeatedly reported, and as our witnesses today will discuss, a growing number of vessels are operating without the certifications
3:28 pm
requir required. and this needs to be corrected. in 2010, the navy conducted a review which outlined concerns about readiness that are relevant today, looking at the state of navy fleet readiness. including clarifying who has the ultimate say on whether a ship is manned, trained, and equipped to the level needed to do their job before deployment. the certification process needs to be reviewed and approved by an accountable decision maker. unfortunately, this has not been addressed in the seven years since the record came out. we expect a lot from the navy.
3:29 pm
and with good reason, our sailors are the best in the world, and it sends a powerful message. the sailors do what they need to do to keep the peace and the ocean lanes open. in return, the sailors should expect that we've done all we can to provide to tools, resources, and training they need to conduct their work and run return safely. thank you. i yield back my time. >> thank you. admiral moran, we now turn to you for your opening remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will be short. i want to be very clear that no matter the circumstances, the operating environment, or how strained our force might be, we should not and cannot have collisions at sea.
3:30 pm
fundamental professional seamanship is the foundation for safe operations around the fleet. all of the marvelous technology, the hardware we put together on these ships, and the power of our weapons systems are meaningless without well-trained, skilled, patriotic, and experienced sailors who are well led. you have my promise that we will get to the bottom of these mishaps. we will leave no stone unturned. we will be accountable to you, to our sailors, and to the american public. like you, our navy stands with ms. rachel echols, with hearts
3:31 pm
broken. and determined to investigate all the facts, to get at the root causes, to address determining factors, and to learn so we will become a better navy at the end of this. we have an absolute responsibility to keep sailors safe from harm in peacetime, even as they prepare for war. even though we're 20 feet apart, there's no gap between what we need to do from here on out. we look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much. now, mr. john pendleton, your opening comments. >> thank you, chairman. ranking members, thank you for having me here today to summarize the work on navy readine
3:32 pm
readiness. unfortunately, grim circumstances do bring us together. i don't know what specifically caused the accidents. but i do know the navy is caught between unrelenting operational demand, and a limited supply of ships. the navy has been warning for some time they're keeping a pace that is unsustainable. our work has confirmed the difficulties, and reports have shown it. but the risk associated with the way the navy is managing the demands on it. some of these present significant challenges in the building blocks of readiness, training, and manning, and maintenance. two years ago, we published a report that said ships in japan do not have dedicated training
3:33 pm
periods, their aggressive deployment schedule gave the navy more present, but it has its cost. we were told the overseas based ships were so busy, they had to train on the margins. it was explained to me that meant they had to squeeze training in when they could. given the concerns we recommended the navy carefully analyze the risks that were mounting. i think it's important to note that the department of defense, on behalf of the navy, wrote the response and concurred with our recommendations for the most part. i want to read a short passage. we assess the navy is well aware of the increased risk, and the
3:34 pm
decision to accept these risks was ultimately based on the decision for increased presence. i fear this was a bad gamble in retrospect. we followed up and learned a couple of things that concerned us. the navy told us they planned to implement a deployment schedule with more training. as of this hearing, it has not been implemented. the second thing we learned, training certifications, this is the way the navy determines that its crews are proficient, were being allowed to expire at an alarming rate. 2015, looking just at the cruisers and destroyers, all of the certification areas, about 7% of them were expired.
3:35 pm
by late june of this year, that number was up to 37%. a more than fivefold increase. manning has been a persistent challenge for the navy. there was a study in 2014 that indicated sailors were working well over 100 hours per week. maintenance is taking longer and costing more due to the pace of operation. ship deployments have often been delay. but admiral moran said they've been keeping deployments shorter lately. and the ships have problems when they come in, and the shipyards have trouble keeping pace. at this point, the lost operational days because of the maintenance delays number in the thousands. and having two destroyers out of service due to the recent
3:36 pm
mishaps will not help. i think the navy is treading water in terms of readiness rebuilding. gao has made 11 recommendations to help improve readiness. do dod and the navy have concurred, but have only partially implemented one. we've made recommendations directly relevant to reassessing the workload that sailors actually face, and using that to decide how many people to put on a crew. i should acknowledge we did all of this work because this committee requested that we do
3:37 pm
so. thank you for your foresight, and happy to take any questions. >> we all appreciate your independent professionalism. i have a son serving in the u.s. navy, and your recommendations are so important for the health and safety, and the protection of the american people. additionally, i particularly appreciate that a report was presented on june 14th, which highlighted the issues of readiness, just four days before the fitzgerald incident. your efforts and your organization's efforts could not be more timely, and they're greatly appreciated by all of us.
3:38 pm
the statement you provided indicates the expired training certification certification has increased fivefold, to 37% expired in june of this year. again, the month of the incident. can you explain the sharp trend of the training certifications since your report? what are the gao's observations, and what is happening? >> we updated that information in preparation for this hearing. we have not been back out to talk to the fleet about them. we did gather that information a couple of years ago, and asked for it to be updated, and the navy provided it. when we looked at it, we saw, if you imagine, 11 ships based in
3:39 pm
japan, and then 21 or 22 certification areas. the ones that were expired, it had grown to 37% of all the little blocks. another thing that concerned us, specific areas higher than 37%. one of them was seamanship, and some other areas as well that were sharply lower than you would hope to see. >> and again, i want to commend you, the analysis that you did is going to be so helpful to us. and the actions needed to address the mission challenges are real world. and it's just, again, reassuring, as a member of congress, and as a parent, thank you for what you're doing. >> if i may, the report that you held up is a compilation report, designed to identify what we
3:40 pm
believe are the major challenges facing defense. and readiness rebuilding, we believe it's one of the primary areas we need to focus on. >> and health care being provided to our military personnel. i urge all members of this committee to get a copy and it's really very helpful. >> thank you, sir. >> admiral moran, the trend is so significant, i appreciate your heartfelt statement earlier. can you help the subcommittees better understand the issues. i'm trying to figure out how are most forward deployed ships not being held to the same standards as the rest of the fleet? who certifies the home port in japan? >> the certification is done locally, starting with the
3:41 pm
commanding officer of the ship, who makes a request for waivers to extend certification. it goes above his level with the one-star, two-star commander of the task force in japan, as well as the seventh fleet commander ultimately makes that decision. when someone is expiring on a certification, they need to put a risk mitigation plan, and once that's approved in the chain of command, then they're allowed to operate along those certifications. while they are expired, there is a risk mitigation plan for each one. but to your point, and to the point that the gao has thoughtfully put out, the trend of the number that are asking
3:42 pm
for waivers is increasing at an alarming rate. one that ought to give us all pause, changing schedules, delayed maintenance, additional missions they're being asked to perform, are making it more difficult to get the ship and the command, called the training group in japan, onboard the ship to do the certification at the right time before it expires. it's not an indication, necessarily, that they're not qualified to do the missions or the certifications. >> what is the role of the training group? in what certifications? >> i'll let admiral boxall address that. >> the senior sailors at the senior enlisted level, they go out, they're experts in each
3:43 pm
area of the 21, 22 mission areas that the gao mentioned. these sailors that do that work for us, generally need to time to do that. for each area, the certifications, making sure the training is there. making sure the team knows how to make the drills. if they don't meet all phases, they don't get the certification. >> what would be their professional skills and training? >> so, they're usually assigned to atg only after they've demonstrated fleet performance. one may be a quarter master
3:44 pm
for-and-a-hafor navigation or electrician. >> these are extraordinarily important people. are they fully staffed to perform their duties? >> the answer is, they're not fully staffed. for example, there are two training group areas. the two together work together to try to help ships from both home ports meet certifications. we've increased from 120 to 180, but unfortunately, they're not manned quite to that level. they're missing about 30 to 40 folks on that team, it takes many years to generate that senior enlisted specialist. the priority goes to putting
3:45 pm
those specialists first on the ships. >> and 22 areas of certification, is there sufficient personnel with skills to really determine the level of certification? >> so, in a perfect planning world, the answer is, we would. if we had all the people we expected, and had the time to do it, we probably would. but the reality is, because of the compressed timelines, they have to train in smaller and smaller periods. we have to send the evaluators to catch up with the ship. >> and in line with that, is it normal to have a certification issue waived prior to deployment? >> we create the risk area mitigation plan, before a certification goes out of periodicity, there is sometimes a piece of equipment, sometimes
3:46 pm
there's an exercise that can't get done. so, they're put in place by the commanding officer of the ship, through their commander, back to the surface force commander, and it's reviewed through the operational chain of command. >> is this the same used in norfolk? >> the ships work together with an aircraft carrier, the answer is no. they have a 36-month period to get the certifications done. but it's very regimented. they have a training period, basic, intermediate, and advanced, and work up together through the deployment, come back, and prepared to surge if needed, and start the cycle again.
3:47 pm
>> and the number of waivers being provided, when does it become dangerous for personnel to be serving on that ship? >> that's one of the things we're going to look very closely at, because we do have different models. the ships are closer to the operational areas that we deploy ships to. the tradeoff is, where is risk too great, is exactly what we're focused on today, and looking to make a permanent process change. >> who in the chain of command grants the waivers? >> in the chain of command for a risk area mitigation plan, all of those plans are approved by the surface force commander. they review all of those to do
3:48 pm
everything they can to make the ship meet what it can do with the constraints of time and equipment. >> and was the navy leadership aware of so many forward deployed ships' certifications being waived? >> that's something the review will look at. i defer to the fleet on this one. and admiral davidson will certainly get to this, but clearly, this is an area we need to get to the bottom of. where is the risk given the mission? >> and i'll refer to the ranking member, and the american people are so appreciative of the very patriotic, dedicated citizens of that very vital american territory, guam. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i want to thank this
3:49 pm
opportunity to thank the military for providing the great security that they did for guam during this exchange with north korea. thank you very much. it definitely is apparent that training and certification issues have been happening for years in the forward deployed fleet. i have this question, i'm concerned there is a critical deficiency in the feedback loop. are ship captains voicing their concerns regarding the readiness of their crews and conditions of their ships? if they are, who is assuming that risk? and do you feel they have an adequate understanding of the risks they're assuming, and how that impacts the sailors that are forward deployed? >> it's a great question.
3:50 pm
first of all, it is the obligation of any commanding officer to voice concerns with respect to the responsibility that they have. the obligation they have to protect the safety it is not unusual for a c.o. to express their concerns when there are manning issues, training issues, resourcing issues. those conversations happen on the waterfront all the time. what has i think happened here, though, to chairman whitman's point is that we have allowed our standards of the numbers of certifications to grow -- our standards to drop as the number of certification waivers have grown, while not against the rules, they are below the standard that we should accept. and to admiral boxall's point, these are the kinds of thing that the admiral davidson will undertake to look at.
3:51 pm
where is the acceptable standard for the number of certifications and then how are those concerns by commanding officers being transmitted up the chain of command and what are they doing in response. once the commander's senior approves the waiver, they are, in a sense, accepting that risk. they are allowing the ship to move with a greater number of waivers and a number of expired certifications. and so, the responsibility of our fleet commanders and our commanders in the operational environment is to wake up every day, assess the environment and assess the risk that they are taking from unit to unit across the waterfront. and so i think we've got a lot of learning to do on that front, to your very good question. >> well, thank you, admiral. i think what i really would like to know, have these captains or commanders ever come to you with risks? is there a list somewhere? or have they never said anything?
3:52 pm
>> that's what i would like to know. >> are you talking specifically fitzgerald and mccain? >> yes. >> yes. so that's -- >> or any ship for that matter, but especially. so you have never received any complaints or -- >> at our level we would not necessarily receive direct from a commanding officer. there is a chain of command that runs through the operational chain to the surface force commander. it would come to us if it were something they needed additional resourcing that they couldn't provide for themselves. >> i understand the protocol that the commanders should do this. are they doing it? or are they avoiding some of these things. >> i think as admiral boxall described they are following the process that requires the chain of command to get involved and the steps to mitigate any certification that's about to expire. they are all taking on the -- that risk by mitigating it with very specific steps that are
3:53 pm
outlined that they have to follow through on. >> admiral boxall, have you -- do you have a list of some of these risks? >> i can give you an example of the type of -- the mitigations that are in place. for example, as i described to chairman wilson the individual steps that it takes. they may have four or five steps in a process of one particular qual. they may need to go out, for a seamanship they've achieved the basic, second part. they get to the point where they meet something they didn't have an opportunity to moor to a buoy. so they say, the risk of that is probably not an issue so it's been addressed operationally by the commander. to your question whether or not the cos will tell us. when train them to do that. we go through a lot of workups with our command put our cos in
3:54 pm
a bad position to ensure they have to tell leadership when they don't feel they can meet the demands. that's what we train them to do. the question -- if they're going to do an operational mission, our sailors are kind of conflicted because they want to do that mission. and so the question is, do they feel it? do they want to do that mission? do they feel -- that's something i think the comprehensive review will get to. do we have systems in place that accurately measure the risk, independently, and the operational fleet commander ensures that due diligence has been done to the level of risk for the level of operation that they will be doing. and that's what i think we're getting to. >> thank you. i feel that, you know, if maintenance and training and all of this is lacking, the commanders -- the captains of these ships should be, you know, letting everyone know about it, and certainly maybe we wouldn't be in this fix.
3:55 pm
the other question i have is admiral moran, the need to grow the size of the fleet has often been a point raised when we talk about the navy readiness. however, the navy's proposal to grow to 355 ships would take decades to be realized, which means we have to make do with the size of the fleet that we have in the near term. with that in mind what near and mid-term measures are being considered with respect to now we crew, train and maintain the ships that we have today to rebuild and sustain readiness? how will the navy prioritize missions or in some cases turn down missions so we don't put sailors at risk by running the fleet ragged without being properly trained and maintained? >> yes. it's a key question for admiral davidson's team is to assess how much operational tempo in places
3:56 pm
like japan, bahrain where we have four deployed forces is -- reaches a point where we can't do the maintenance and the training and have the appropriate amount of time left to do the operations. on four deployed forces -- like in japan, the training is done while you are at sea operating on deployment. there's not dedicated time, as the gao pointed out like we have here. that's an issue that both chairmen have raised as a serious point that we have to study to make sure that, when we build the model for how we maintain and operate ships in the forward deployed naval forces, we have sufficient time to do those things. the size of the force, of course, as i testified last february and march, does matter. but wholeness of the force matters just as much.
3:57 pm
because you could have a large force that is not whole, and you're going to run into these problems. if maintenance takes longer, it disrupts the schedule. if the schedule is disrupted it disrupts the ability to train. if training is disrupted you end up in these places you've described with expired certifications and so on. we do have to look at this model from the ground up. but we also recognize part of the reason why we have the forces is because we get four times the presence with those forces than we would if we had them all in conus. the fact that we have one carrier in yokosuka gives us roughly equal to 16 carriers when we only operate 10. that's a big difference. having four destroyers in rhoda, spain, operating off bmd stations is -- was the principle reason we wanted to put the
3:58 pm
forces forward was to get more out of those ships and not have to rotate as many from conus to do those missions. all these things culminate with the notion that we aren't big enough to do everything we're being tasked to do. and our culture is, we're going to get it done because that's what the navy is all about. and sometimes our culture works against us. and i think we ask the sailors to do an awful lot, to your earlier point. perhaps we've asked them to do too much. that's what the comprehensive review will look at. >> thank you. i have one, quick, final question for any one of you who want to answer, would you say sequestration might have had something to do with the lack of maintenance and the training and so forth? funding not being there? >> i am on record, ma'am, that that is absolutely the case. that along with nine consecutive, continuing
3:59 pm
resolutions, and we are about to hit another one. those budget uncertainties drive uncertainty into schedules, drive uncertainty into maintenance. our private yards, our public yards. this is an issue across the board. so the most useful thing we could have out of congress right now in terms of addressing a lot of our readiness concerns is stability in the budget. >> thank you. and i am looking forward to the report, and i do want to say i had a nice conversation with rachel before the hearing today. she is one brave woman. thank you, rachel, for being here with us. i yield back. >> thank you, ranking member bordello. we proceed to chairman richardson. >> thank you for coming before us today, thank you for your service, candor and frankness. it's critical for us to get to the bottom of this.
4:00 pm
in terms of the material and training readiness of our ships home ported in japan versus the ships home ported in the united states is there a difference in levels of readiness in terms of which group of ships are more ready than another? >> the information we have in the 2015 report that we were not able to update shows trends -- the navy calls them equipment casualties. it's broken stuff. had basically been upward for both u.s. based and overseas based ships. the overseas based ships' casualty reports were -- again, that's equipment -- was more steeply upward. we weren't able to update that trend line since then. so i can't answer since 2014 when our data ended. >> the recent data, lower state of readiness for forward deployed versus those in the united states?
4:01 pm
>> we saw a more steep increase in breakdowns for the overseas based ships. >> admiral moran do you agree with the assessment? >> i do. mr. chairman, there is -- i think this speaks to what you -- what you raised earlier in terms of the -- if we're not rotating those ships back, the older they get, the more care they're going to need. and that might be an indication, as part of what we're looking at in the comprehensive review is the extended periods having a detrimental effect on their material condition the longer they go. is the ship's force, maintenance force in japan, have enough capacity to deal with the increased numbers we have put in fdnf japan the last three years. >> following up on that. in order to maintain overseas presence, will the navy increase or decrease forward deployed forces japan and elsewhere?
4:02 pm
>> i think we have all taken a pause here, for all the right reasons, to figure out whether our current plan is the right plan. and we're looking forward to admiral davidson's report in 60 days to let us know whether we need to make adjustments to that plan. >> was the plan prior to this to increase or decrease that in the future? >> the current plan -- we just completed the third ddg ship in japan that was added to that force. i am not aware of additional ones. >> as we bring in lcs in station and rotate them forward will increase the presence. that's with the existing strategic lay-down plan. we'll look at that as part of the review. how we do that is -- a double-edged sword. it's harder and more expensive to maintain but we need ships forward to be there especially given the number of ships we have. >> mr. pendleton, from a
4:03 pm
financial perspective is it more cost effective to home port ships to the united states or to forward deploy the ships? >> it's a hard question to answer. if you look at it on the margin, it's marginally a little more expensive to have ships overseas. we did analysis to show that. i would caution against the rule of thumb not to differ with admiral moran because i have heard it many times that you get four times more presence. that's true from a four ship structure. but that's mainly because of the way they are deployed. essentially, the -- the u.s. based -- ofrp model. optimized fleet response plan model has them going out seven months out of every 36. fdnf ships are scheduled 16 months off ut every 24. there is a graph in the report that describes this. that's difficult to quantify the impact of that, sir. >> very good. thank you, mr. pendleton. admiral moran, do you agree that, if we had more ships in
4:04 pm
our navy fleet, we could spread the workload more evenly, we wouldn't be pushed up against the demands and stresses that happen when you have ships forward deployed for more than the planned number of years, extended maintenance periods, truncated training periods? give me your perspective about how the number of ships we have today -- let me put it in perspective. if you go back to the 1980s when we had a navy of 600 ships. we had 100 ships forward deployed. today we have 277 ships and we have 100 ships forward deployed. give me your perspective about the size of the fleet in relation to where we are today with forward deployed naval worses. >> you just gave the answer for me, chairman. i mean, that math is pretty hard to argue with. and while mr. pendleton and i have had this discussion, you can argue over the factors, you
4:05 pm
know, it's four times or three times, but the fact is, even with that, those ships are a lot closer to where we might have to fight by being there. that's a value you can't put a times anything on. it's clearly -- and the message that sends to our allies and partners in the region is vitally important. that said, i think you made the point about, if we are still operating 100 ships deployed today at a force that's 40-plus percent smaller than it was in the 1980s, it's actually -- '80s and '90s. it is going to be a bigger stressor on that force. >> the admiral makes a great point. it's important to emphasize that the navy doesn't create the demands. the navy responds to the demands. they are being asked by the combatant commanders and department of defense to fulfill the demands.
4:06 pm
it's important to make that distinction. >> very good. >> admiral boxall. in order to get ships ready today to deploy, you spoke earlier about what they do for material readiness and what we see is them to going to other ships, cannibalizing parts to get things to maintain the readiness. is that a systemic problem and is the root cause sufficient money to procure new parts or stocks of parts to make sure you have them on hand to keep up with routine maintenance or expected problems with wearing of parts and wearing of systems? >> sir, the cannibalization of parts off ships is something we try to avoid but there are many reasons to do it. sometimes it's the availability of the part. sometimes it's the -- even when we have the money to buy the
4:07 pm
parts, we have had a lot of money restored in the last year, especially the 17 raa, but it takes time to go buy the part. some of these are made by very unique vendors, so there are pent up spare parts readiness challenges out there. contracting time to do those things. so we are seeing some cannibalization increases. we're seeing an increase in c-2, c-3. c-2 is where it becomes an operational attention getter and c-3 means there is a maintenance issue we need to get to quickly. one reason for that is the actual material readiness is degrading and we need to bring it to the leader's attention. the other reason is, in places where we are having a difficult time getting work done to repair them, the commanders are trying to boost the priority of the jobs to get them in because it's the best way they know now. that's a signal to us saying we
4:08 pm
have to get it report. we don't want commanding officers -- we challenge them with telling us when things are wrong. when they do, they send the flare and we expect them to do it. if they're doing it because that's the only way they can get the response that's a different issues. and this goes to the demand that we have specifically in srf, ships prepare facility in yokuska for is the most significant example. >> i yield back. >> thank you, chairman wittman. we proceed to ranking member joe courtney. >> thank you, mr. chairman. one thing that might be helpful is walk through the investigative and reporting process, what it will look like over the next, you know, 60 to 90 to 120 days. >> yes, sir. >> in terms of the various efforts that are under way. >> so immediately after both collisions, any mishap, we stand up an investigative team.
4:09 pm
in the case of these two collisions in japan we put a dual purpose investigation together that includes the normal safety investigation and the jag man investigation. those are privileged investigations. we do not share that information publicly so we can protect folks from being very open with us and giving us as much information as possible to determine the root cause. so those investigations are stood up immediately upon -- by the convening authority. the convening authority for fitzgerald was the commander of the seventh fleet. the convening authority for mccain was admiral swift because of the other investigation going on and because we relieved the seventh fleet commander in the interim. so those investigative officers are usually, in this case, are both flag officers. they take a team to the site, to where the collision occurred or where the in this case both
4:10 pm
ships were brought back to appear. and they go through every aspect of an investigation. it's a checklist of things you do. we added cyber to that checklist because of obvious concerns with the fact that everything we operate has a cyber component to it. networks, gear, radios, everything. and so we want to make sure we understand that that is not -- we want to eliminate that as a potential causal factor to a mishap. those investigations can take a week, two, three weeks, and a report is then passed to the convening authority. the investigation is not complete at that point. that convening authority then gets to endorse the report, ask additional questions, go review the following things. i am not satisfied with x, y or z. the investigating officer has to go back, look at those things and provide an addendum to the report.
4:11 pm
and then when commander of seventh fleet is complete with his endorsement it gets passed to pac fleet. in the case of fitzgerald, that's where the current report and investigation reside, with admiral swift. he then has a responsibility to look at the report for completeness, and any findings of fact that he is unsatisfied with and wants further investigation, he can direct it in that endorsement. ultimately it comes to me. both -- both of those investigations. so a lot of people think that once the investigating officer has submitted a report, the investigation is done, we should share that information. but i appreciate the opportunity to explain that the endorsement process is still part of the investigation because we could ask for additional investigations. so that's on the investigation side. that's the very tactical level. what happened to that ship. what caused that particular incident. the comprehensive review that we directed, admiral davidson's
4:12 pm
standup, 60 days to look at all the manned, trained and equipment. with specific focus on japan because of the four mishaps that have occurred in the last year out there. to look for things like career path management. are we doing the right training. is the model for how we employ forces in fdnf the right model. is the maintenance model the right model. all the things we've already talked about in this hearing. above that level, the secretary is doing a strategic readiness review where he'll look across the department at things that are policy related, resourcing related. are we making the right choices, do we need more guidance. it will be a nice complement to the comprehensive review because it will look above where admiral davidson is looking. we will get a strategic operational and tactical understanding of what has occurred, why it occurred, and then what are the things we'll
4:13 pm
do to fix those issues. does that help? >> it is. thank you. i think it's important just for the public and obviously the families to understand, again, the different steps and i am sure, you know, the committees will be following it in terms of asking questions. in your written testimony, which i know you summarized, and we appreciate that, you did make, i thought, a very powerful statement, which is as follows. no matter how tough our operating environment or how strained our budget we shouldn't and cannot be colliding with other ships and running aground. this is not about resourcing. it's about safety and it's about leadership at sea. again, just to go back to the process we're in right now. that's really with the 60-day comprehensive report is aimed at in terms of just, you know, why is this a recurring event in this particular area of the world. is that right? >> yes, sir. i would also compliment gao in this regard.
4:14 pm
i think they offer a pretty nice blue print for some of the things we need to look at in terms of trends. what are the macro trends, what do they imply about the force readiness in fdnf japan and across the fleet. we'll get at some of those as well inside the comprehensive review. it is -- a key part of it is do we have the rate training in place for our commanding officers? are they getting enough of what they should have to operate in waters that have become highly congested and contested in that region. and it's a lot busier than it was just eight years ago. so we need to review that, and we need to review the training and the career paths for our officers, junior officers and make sure that we understand that we have the right manning models in place, and gao calls this out in their report about how we establish the work week and how do we respond to the manning profiles for those ships.
4:15 pm
>> thank you. again, i think to sort of follow up on what gao was asking for over the last couple of years as well. one sort of footnote. i was wondering what you would think about this in terms of that statement which is that it is about leadership at sea but it's also about leadership i think ashore as well in terms of just the way, you know, decisions are being made. and i have to say, going back to the blaugh report which i assume most of the witnesses are familiar with. that was a key critique that admiral blaugh had. that the lines are blurred in terms of some of the issues we're talking about today. ultimately we're trying to figure out who decides. when you have the certification issues that mr. pendleton described, you know, who -- who calls, you know, time-out and just says, you know, no, that -- as persistent as the combatant commander's requests are, where does it reach the point when
4:16 pm
someone says, that's just not going to be deployed because it's not safe and it's not ready? so i am assuming that that's also part of the comprehensive review. >> i believe the secretary will look at that in the strategic review as well. for organizational c-2. command and control. who is responsible precisely for readiness and man, train and equip and operational demand in the pacific fleet. and how does that get balanced against the larger fleet that admiral davidson is managing out of fleet forces. >> even today i have been a little confused about who is the -- the decision-maker. is it the operational commander, is it the forces demander. i think, again. admiral blaugh really, i think, nailed that pretty well in terms of just not being an issue that's got to be cleaned up.
4:17 pm
mr. pendleton, you described the trend of the increasing lack of certifications which was kind of a top line in terms of the number of ships that are out there. can you give us more specific information regarding the fitzgerald and mccain, to what extent did they lack certifications? >> i would rather defer specific questions about the fitzgerald and mccain. they did have missing certifications, as did most ships. i would like to talk about the key warfare mission areas and give the add millers a chance to comment on the ongoing investigations i am uneasy about. i mentioned earlier that certification of 8 of the 11 in the ships in japan were expired. others had fairly significant expirations, seven of 11 ships for fire support, service warfare. undersea warfare, 8 of 11 ships had expired certifications.
4:18 pm
some of those certifications s some were several months overdue. when we looked at the -- some of the basic certifications, things you have to do to -- keep track of maintenance. communication, those kinds of things. those things weren't great but they were better. seamanship stood out as a problem area. into the warfare mission areas, the kind of thing you have to do together. i presume those are more complicated certifications to obtain, honestly. i haven't been able to talk to them about it. those had higher percentage of ships that had expired certifications. >> thank you. again, i am sure the -- my question is going to be asked at some point in this process. >> yes. >> frankly, it's a question that needs to be fleshed out. >> yes, sir. >> thank you. yield back. >> thank you, ranking member courtney. truly an indication of how important this hearing is. our love and affection for the 17 sailors that we have lost and
4:19 pm
others who were injured. we've been joined today and now turn to the full chairman of the armed services committee, mike thornberry. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for being here. i just want to say i really appreciate the work of gao as well as the work of these committee members and our staff on these issues. the leadership of the department in the last administration denied we had a readiness problem. they said we were just making it up. and i appreciate the persistence, members on both sides of the aisle, in getting the facts. certainly gao has helped with that. admiral moran, i very much appreciate you and admiral richardson's commitment to get to the bottom of this matter. i looked a little earlier at your testimony from earlier in the year, and you highlighted the stresses and strains on the force that, based on the operational tempo, et cetera.
4:20 pm
you also testified that you thought that the deployed fleet was in pretty good shape, the ships here in the united states were really suffering. based on what you know today, would you revise that assessment? >> mr. chairman, so i promised i would be frank and i will be. i personally made the assumption -- have made the assumption for many years that our forward deployed naval force in japan was the most efficient, most well trained force we had because they're operating all the time. i made the assumption. it was a wrong assumption in hindsight. so, obviously at this point i would tell you that what we have sent from conus to deploy, i would maintain my position in the hearing last february.
4:21 pm
clearly, because the models are different, and because the strain on the force in japan is so evident to us today, we're going to have to get after that question. i don't know precisely. and i -- you know, i am also very anxious to remind the committee that the committees, that we have to get to the root cause of both mishaps before we can make a determination. but the trends that the gao has pointed out, the trends that we are seeing in our reporting stats, are concerning. they do demonstrate a fraying of the readiness on the edges that we need to address. >> yeah. i would just comment. i don't think we can look at this too narrowly. this is looking at the surface fleet, but we know we cannibalize submarines, we have these problems in a variety of other -- other services have it too, by the way. which is a more widespread problem. we talk about the stresses and strains on the people. how come the navy has not asked
4:22 pm
for more people? increase instream? >> man power, as you know. three years as a chief of naval personnel. i have dealt a lot with man power issues. it requires you to project two years ahead to know if you're get to go the right numbers. i don't want to bring this back to uncertainty in budgeting and resourcing, but it impacts our ability to assess the right number of people when we can't predict or project that we're going to be in two years. so it has an impact. we are always trying to catch up with manpower. i think that's part of what admiral boxall described. in the training group, we bought the billets. it takes time to fill them because it takes time to find
4:23 pm
the experienced folks to operate them and understand the challenges in building and attaining certifications. so manpower is a bit more challenging to get precise. and, as you know well, manpower also costs an extraordinary amount of money so we're always trying to dial it right. we are not getting it exactly right but we're doing the best we can with the inability to project precisely where we would like to be in two years. >> if you're going to be frank, you have to be frank with us and tell us where we complicate your lives. with crs and the budget control act. you did that earlier. and i appreciate it. don't hesitate to say where we're deficient. let me ask this. it goes right back to something mr. courtney was talking about. seems to me the hard issue is -- and you talked about it for a commander and a ship saying, okay, i've got these problems. i have to ask for a waiver.
4:24 pm
i have a risk mitigation plan. you and mr. courtney talked about it a little bigger. but what i -- what's going through my mind is when do you and admiral richardson basically say to the secretary of defense or the president, we cannot do what you expect us to do? and to us. >> you said earlier the culture works against us. it's true in every service. you salute and say, you give us a mission, we'll do it. i don't know. if you have any comments on this. what's going through my mind is, when does a service chief or vice chief say, we cannot do what you expect us to do with what you have given us? >> sir. there is one very good example of where we have done that in the past few years. you will recall where we got carrier presence in the gulf, for several months. we have done that twice.
4:25 pm
and that was a recognition that we were going to overstress the force and were not able -- we were concerned about sticking to our plan in optimized fleet response plan which was seven-month deployment. we wanted to get there and we wanted to maintain that. the world gets a vote. a lot of pressure came up. we argued why we thought we needed to stick to those deployments. the joint force accepted those gaps. it was painful. it was a difficult message to send to the region. it was necessary to be able to continue to try to reset the navy. >> we're going to stay after this. we're going to stay after this, ma'am. i yield back. >> thank you mr. thornberry. we proceed to congresswoman susan davis of california. >> thank you. i thank all the chairs up here today who have provided a lot of good leadership of walking us
4:26 pm
through these issues. thank you to all of you for being here. rachel eckels. thank you for being here on behalf of 17 shattered navy families who are grieving today. we appreciate that. and helps us to think about your son as well. i know that we have been talking a lot about all the problems that have been encountered, how tragic they are. one of the things i wanted to ask quickly was really about the heroism that was demonstrated on the ships as well. and i know, in having read almost that minute by minute account of what happened on the fitzgerald that there were specifically two sailors who were mentioned repeatedly for their heroism. are they up for awards? have those been submitted for recognition? what are we doing to really acknowledge the heroism as well. >> i appreciate you asking that question.
4:27 pm
they're -- there is a difference between heroic and valorous. people are often confused by that. and you are not. i appreciate the fact that the question revolves around our sailors who operated that night, some who lost their lives, who gave their lives for others. it is -- it is the command's responsibility to initiate the recommendation for awards, in any circumstance. so, as you might imagine, right now their focus might be elsewhere. we will get to those. and when they come forward, we'll do the appropriate recognition that comes from those recommendations. in addition to that, though, i think you also know that we posthumously advanced all 17 sailors to the next pay grade. in recognition of who they could have been. so, thank you for the question.
4:28 pm
>> sure. thank you. i wonder as well, we have been talking about whether or not the forward deployed model is sustainable. and the fact that it is used so much. i wonder, as your -- have looked at a whole host of different areas, if you are feeling comfortable yet kind of ordering those in terms of priority. is it the training for sure that has to be different? one of the things that i -- we recall reading with this is, i guess at one time it sounds like the initial training, sort of the foundational training, if you will, was much longer. and so that our sailors really, you know, were intimate in many ways with the apparatus, with everything that they are asked to do differently. and i -- maybe you can speak to
4:29 pm
that. people who know how to build computers obviously can respond to the needs of a computer a lot faster than those of us who just, you know, use it to get our job done. and so, is that true? is there a real difference in the time that's spent helping to familiarize our sailors with the ship, with what they work with? and on the other hand, then, it's driving under -- under, you know, sub -- sub, you know, decent conditions that they also have to be aware of. >> yes, ma'am. >> where does that fit? >> as we look -- we are continually modifying our training methodologies, new technologies. i since you heard since the report we had taken a lot of our initial training away for our new commissioned officers.
4:30 pm
we used to have, up at service warfare officer school in newport a very long 16-week course. since that time we've restored 15 of the 16 weeks in either predivision officer training when they first graduate and another five, six-week period afterwards. we have restored a lot of that. we have got a lot of the same pqs -- personnel qualification standards that we require every person on every ship to go through. i believe we should be open to looking at all this as part of the comprehensive review. admiral davidson is a surface warfare officer himself. we have focused on handling. we want to handle them close to a pier, where we need to be. we put a lot of money and time into bridge resource management. the team piece.
4:31 pm
the combat and bridge team working together. going forward we'll look and say, do we need to do more of that type training, individual training. i don't know the right answer yet. i am open to the fact that we may have it wrong. >> all right. thank you, i believe my time is up. >> thank you. we now proceed to congressman duncan hunter of california. >> thank you to the chairman and ranking members for having the hearing. gentlemen, thank you for being here and your service. i'll get down to brass tacks quickly. you had seven bmd ships forward deployed. you lost two. what are you going to do in the meantime for the -- for those two? what's going to fill the gap while they are getting repaired? >> admiral swift has moved ship deployments and ships around within pacific fleet, which is our largest contingent of naval power.
4:32 pm
i can't talk about who and what and when, for obvious reasons. he has what he needs to replace the bmd capability that he thinks he needs to have at this crucial stage. >> we know you had seven. seven minus two equals five. are you planning on going back to seven? >> are we replacing the capability we need to do the operations we have been tasked to. the answer is yes. >> are you going back to seven ships. >> the seven ships will be -- yes, sir. we'll stay with seven ships. >> okay. you'll have seven ships there. >> seven ships, some are in maintenance and some are -- they're not always all at sea. so we're able to move some of those around to accommodate admiral swift's demand signal. >> you'll be replacing those two ships -- you'll be replacing the capability of those two ships. you'll have the same capability you had beforehand. >> yes. >> how long does that take, until that capability gap is
4:33 pm
filled? >> i don't have a specific date. i can get back to you on that. >> next, i have been seeing some articles that said that surface warfare officer training was canceled. i haven't gotten to the veracity of this. it used to be a six or seven-month slow school. there is not. now it's dvds and on-the-job training. is that correct or no? >> it is true at one point. back in 2003 we initiated what we call computer based training. that lasted about five years. six years. and then it was -- it was removed as a bad idea. for all the reasons, it still sounds like a bad idea. >> we have a virtual trainer in san diego for one of the lcs variants i went to four or five years ago. it's like basically being in a -- like an f-35 trainer but it's the ocean, and the whole bridge. is that what you call computer training? >> absolutely not.
4:34 pm
the computer-based training i am speaking of are -- think powerpoints on the cd. that's what was given to them because we took away the school. we said go to the ships. do all your training there. as i mentioned to miss davis we've restored almost all of that timing. we do it in the fleet concentration centers instead of in newport right now at the division officer level and all other training is similar. you bring up a great point. our training for lcs that we do in san diego and mayport we'll be doing -- is the best there exists that i have seen in surface warfare. i believe we'll look forward to, as part of this review, looking at where we can better use -- and we already do use -- >> let me interject. there are two things. one is called the immersive virtual ship environment, right. that's the lcs trainer that we were -- where you're on the actual barrage. there is a live virtual constructive training which is
4:35 pm
like an xbox game. you can have the ship blow up in places and do things and see the outcomes and effect the outcomes with an xbox controller. my point is, after you say it's great, the navy has only fulfilled 40% of that contract. that's a semi parochial thing because it's in san diego. i would think you would have these virtual trainers for every bridge and deck because they're so inexpensive. so much easier to train the guys and have them fall in immediately as opposed to on the deck training. >> we use it for advanced training when we integrate ships, submarines -- we don't want to know if it's live or not. for the specific technologies, we already have that in other areas, not just lcs. i do believe that we are getting some economy with it in that we are getting better quality fidelity training and are doing it at a better price. if you go back and look at the
4:36 pm
folks -- the same trainers that criticized computer based training, the same types of folks who are leading this other virtual training that we are doing, are like, this is the best of both worlds. very happy with that. >> i appreciate that. one last thing. i think we -- max said -- the chairman said he didn't want to get too narrow on this. i think there are a lot of things we're blaming from forward deployed model. fleet size, maintenance schedule. this wasn't a complex -- like a suppression of enemy air defense or something crazy. these are ships hitting other ships and running aground. it's easy to obfuscate and say there are all these other problems but not seeing the ship with your binoculars out the window. i think it's easy to get too carried away. i hope we just stay on this. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you very much. we now proceed to congressman don norcross of new jersey.
4:37 pm
>> thank you, chairman. and very humbling day, when we go to review something like this. but, having been on a job three times in my lifetime when somebody was killed, it immediately took me back to the thoughts that people -- that i worked with, immediately reviewed what it is that they are doing and how can they prevent something from happening. so there was the first collision with the fishing trawler. then there was the fitzgerald when seven people were killed. and i would think that every commanding officer on every ship would immediately look to see how they are performing so it didn't happen to them. and then the mccain happened. so i ask you, what's preventing the next one from happening? what is being done different
4:38 pm
today that was being done different from before the mccain accident and before the fitzgerald? >> sir, it's a very appropriate question that, as you -- i think you are aware, we conducted an operational pause around the entire fleet. >> mm-hmm. >> sudden operational pause is not something we take lightly. this happens in every region on the globe where we've got ships operating. and those that tied up at the pier back home. it's an opportunity for commanding officers to do just what you said, to also review what they -- lessons learned from other similar mishaps so that we give them a chance to decide is our training where we need it to be, are our standards as high as they should be. what do we need to do as a team to operate better as a team. because driving ships around is incredibly team oriented. and that's one of the things we
4:39 pm
are looking closely at, at both of these investigations. >> the pause happened after the mccain, correct? >> yes, it did. >> why didn't that happen after the first collision? second collision. >> sir, it should have. >> as individual cos on the ships, wouldn't they go through a self-evaluation almost immediately to say, what am i doing and how do i prevent before somebody has to tell me that? >> absolutely. >> do you know if that happened on the mccain? >> i do not know exactly. we are waiting on the results of the operational pause. we asked every fleet commander to provide input back on what did they learn from that operational pause. talked about these things, who -- who actually took some action, what kind of additional training. the commander of surface warfare sent out additional types of training for every commanding officer to use in that, with their respective crews.
4:40 pm
but i do not have a list for you. i am not sure if admiral boxall does. >> no. >> we'll get you one when we have it. >> finally, what is happening today differently other than the operational pause? is there anything during the operation that you have sent out to all the commanders to say you need to do this immediately? >> yes, sir. so admiral swift has already initiated several steps, several actions. to include a zero based review of the material condition of every ship in fdnf to find out where they have issues both in the physical plant but also perhaps with training and certification. they're going to zero base certifications and make sure all of those get recertified across the force in fdnf and then expand it into the entire pac fleet. he is doing a zero based review
4:41 pm
of the atg manning. i'm not sure you were here when we talked about that. float training group. that's the group that goes out to the ships as an independent team to look at whether that crew is operating to our standards. and so he is going to probably ask for more resources for all of those things. >> has any of this immediate review, in turn, caused any ship to be returned home? or to cease operating because they were in such violation? >> not to my knowledge. >> thank you. i yield back my time. >> thank you very much, congressman nor cross. now to congresswoman vicky housler. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you gentlemen. i like many others here heard the news of the first accident, and i was just -- i couldn't believe it. how can this happen? then to have it happen a second time, it's both disheartening and disturbing at the same time.
4:42 pm
and i wanted to follow up with some of the things -- line of questioning of my colleague mr. norcross and ask, what are we doing now. one thing you said. we knew there was a pause. but did you say you haven't gotten the results of the pause yet, where we had the "uss fitzgerald" in june had the accident. you haven't received that yet? >> the operational pause, ma'am, was taken after the mccain, not after fitzgerald. >> okay. but you haven't received those results? >> no, ma'am. not all of them. >> i want to talk about the number of hours. mr. pendleton, you touched on that. how much are sailors expected to work right now? is over 100 hours out of line for that? how do you think the navy should address this? >> i will defer to the admirals to talk about how much they're working now. in 2014 a naval internal study indicated the average was working 108 hours a week.
4:43 pm
there's 168 hours in a week, so they were working 108 and they had 60 off. that's about 15 and a half hours a day. the standard work week, which is founded on a 70-hour base work week and ultimately when they add other duties is 81, it's fairly grueling in and of itself. if the navy was to the standard it has, the sailor would have 81 hours off and roughly -- excuse me, 81 hours on and 87 off. just over 11 hours a day is what is sort of programmed in. >> admiral moran, is that something you all are striving to get to? those type of numbers? >> we are examining that. we have an organization in tennessee that is used to go look at all sea duty to determine what the right work week levels ought to be. we have done this for decades. we have been pretty consistent
4:44 pm
with it. but i think, based on the trend lines we are seeing in fdnf that we referred to earlier it's time to look at whether the maintenance backload the workload going on in japan today by sailors on the waterfront is reaching a point where that work week needs to be modified. >> what about -- when i first heard about this, i had the thought that maybe it was cyber. now, i have read some reports saying that perhaps that has been ruled out. but you did mention that you have been in this study and in the review they'll make sure it's eliminated. what can you tell us about that? how do you go about eliminating that somebody took over your systems? >> it's relatively new ground for us. this is the first time we have sent a team from our cyber command here in washington, commander of tenth fleet. sent a team over there to pull as much data from that ship as possible that records data, to
4:45 pm
see if there were any interruptions or disruptions that were abnormal. i would also offer to you that just about every three-letter agency in washington, d.c., has looked to see if there were indications of an intent or a potential acknowledgement of a cyber attack. we have seen -- i have personally not seen any evidence of that. but we are not stopping there. the team is in place in singapore today. has been for several days. capturing all of the computer and network information to see if they can find any abnormalities or disruptions. >> i am glad to hear that. in some ways it would be easier if you could blame somebody else. rather than taking a hard look at maybe it's just that we need more training and it's our own policies and procedures that need to be addressed. the last thing is that, you know, i take very serious, as all the other fellow members, of appointing our young men and
4:46 pm
women to your service academies. the naval academy is exemplary. it's always a sobering and inspiring as well event when i have the parents and young men and women come who are going to have this opportunity. it's sobering to the fact that i look into the eyes of those parents and while they're very proud, many times i see a little bit of fear in the back too. what's going to happen to my son or daughter. this is a tough question, but admiral. on a scale of one to ten with ten being 100% confident that when we send this young man or woman out to sea that they'll have the resources they need to come home safe not from an enemy but from our own equipment and readiness. how confident are you that you would tell me so i can go home to my parents and look them in the eye and say, they're going to be okay? >> tough question to answer. how i will answer it is that i have incredible confidence in this team to learn from this and
4:47 pm
to get it right. i would share that with any person who has a son or daughter who is considering the naval academy or enlisted in the service. we are not perfect. but we need to strive to be that. and that's part of what this review is all about. to make sure we understand what went wrong and fix those things to the best of our ability, to regain the confidence of not only our parents and their families but our sailors as well. >> absolutely. they deserve that. we all stand ready to partner with you to do whatever we need to do to get this right so our sailors come home safe. thank you. >> thank you congresswoman. we proceed to congresswoman senabusa. >> thank you.
4:48 pm
admiral moran, one of the things that you said is troubling to me. as you know, the gao report in 2015 had a certification -- looked at about 22 areas. 11 were found to be, i guess, expired. and the one that seems to be appropriate for what happened is the mobility seamanship where eight certifications out of 11 had expired for about 73%. what i'm first curious about is we have to look at these two collisions and they are really what commercial vessels, large commercial vessels, the tanker for mccain and then of course the containership for the fitzgerald. i'm curious as toe whether part of the training that they receive and you said it yourself in your testimony, it is very
4:49 pm
congested in these areas than there were two years ago, just the amount of traffic and we all know. the asia pacific area has just grown in the amount of commercial traffic that we're dealing with is different and it's -- it's sort of the tension between commercial plus military and i'm pretty sure our ships don't go out and advertise that they're going out. so what is it that is done in terms of the training of our sailors as to how to prepare when they're -- it's not whether you can aim the missile correctly or anything like that, this is different. this is just being in like on the freeway. how are you going to manage that? is that something that we have sort of overlooked? we're so busy training them on cybersecurity and radar and everything else that we're not -- we miss the fundamental types of issues like how
4:50 pm
do-to-navigate? >> we're asking the same question and i think admiral, i know admiral davidson is going to look very hard at that in his comprehensive review. we've moved from a country road straits and the red sea and other areas where we need to be as a navy. but it is -- i'd offer maybe the admiral boxall who has been there and driven ships in that regi region, maybe he could comment on that as well. >> absolutely. the regions has gotten much more difficult to navigate. there is no question. but to your point of we ought to be able to be there all the time. we absolutely agree with you there and why we're so committed to getting this right. we have -- to your question on the certification specifically, there is two certifications that i think come most to mind when you look at our ability to safely navigate. one is mob-d -- sorry, mob-n,
4:51 pm
mobility navigation, and the second is mobility seamanship. that looks at mostly deck evolutions, how do you tie up the ship, use boats and things like that. the navigation one is absolutely critical. and why if you look, most of those are done first when the ships come out. we have a tiering concept now that focuses on those skill sets and even in the ngo report, he'll let you know that the tier one are less expired than the tier two war fighting. we probably need to look more closely. there might be a tier zero, ones that never go out and these are the types of things that we need to look more closely. i have been in those waters, but i have done it off the singapore strait and i'm shocked at the difference between those 30 years in my career, like two different worlds. so we are preparing for a lot of other missions as we return to sea control, but if nothing else, this reminds us of our absolute imperative to get
4:52 pm
mariners' skills right. we are committed 100% to doing that, and we'll do whatever it takes. that's what admiral davidson will make that a fundamental part of his investigation. >> i guess i'm almost out of time, but how do you prepare for that? it's like learning how to drive, right? you have to be on the road and you have to do it. there's no, i guess, replacement for that. so is there an idea how you are going to train your sailors to do that? >> absolutely. i have a teen driver also. i use this analogy. my teen driver next month will be able to drive anywhere in a car, according to the state. not according to his dad. so there is the same type of process. we have to give them the basic tools, train them together, and someone, and this is what we'll look at, as to insure they meet a standard, not just that officer, but the team to keep that team safe. it is not just that radar operator. it is not just the look-out or the person driving the ship. it is the team, the ability to communicate that data, to keep situational awareness and keep that ship out of danger.
4:53 pm
we owe nothing less to those sailors. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chair. i yield back. >> thank you. we now proceed to congressman bradley burn yrne of alabama. >> i was listening to you, admiral, about the difficulties presented to you when we pass a continuum resolution. last july, july of this year, the house of representatives passed an appropriations bill. last year in the appropriations bill, we appropriated $38 billion for operation and maintenance in the navy. the navy requested a $7 billion increase this year. and our appropriations bill we passed in july, we plussed it up another $5 million above your request. so the house of representatives appropriated the money for fiscal year '18 that you need for your readiness. the response we've gotten back today from the united states
4:54 pm
senate is a 99 -- 90-day continuing resolution. let me read from your prepared testimony and ask you to respond to that in light of your statement. funding at prior year levels through a continuing resolution, not only disrupts the gains, it begins to reburse them. are you telling us that a continuing resolution actually reverses the gains you are attempting to make in readiness for the united states navy? >> what i mean by that, congressman, is that when we cannot put ships on contract for avails and we're on a recovery path and we can no longer stay on that recovery path, we're reverting back to a different plan, a different ramp. >> but that's as a result of a continuing resolution as opposed to actually appropriating? >> yes, sir. that's correct. >> so explain in a little more detail exactly how does a continuing resolution disrupt that or reverse it?
4:55 pm
what is it in your process that causes a problem with. >> well, if you can't put in avail that you have told the yard they are going to get on contract because there is the limits of our continuing resolution rules do not allow us to put those new contracts in place until we have a budget, then that yard has got to do something with its workforce. and when we do get the money and go back to contract in the next quarter, it's going to be less efficient and it's going to be far more -- well, i won't use that word, but it will be more expensive because they've had to make adjustments. they had to move work around. they maybe had to let people go and hire them back. so those are some of the impacts in disrupting the yards that are trying their hardest to help the navy get better in terms of eating away at that mountain of
4:56 pm
backlog maintenance that we know there's out there, and they have done a terrific job last year, and thanks to congress' support in the raa in '17, we were able to put $1.6 billion immediately on contract to bring avails back into '17, which we were planning now to have to defer into '18 only to have them deferred again. so that's the disruption i'm talking about. i don't know if you wanted to add anything to that. >> no, sir. >> he's the guy who pays the money when you appropriate it. >> we appreciate what you both do. let me go back to the administration's request for fiscal year '18. the administration requested the construction of nine new ships for fiscal year '18 and the house passed ndaa this summer, we authorized the construction in our appropriations bill followed this for the construction of 13 ships. so i think listening to your prior answers to mr. wittman's
4:57 pm
questions, i think you would agree with me, it's better for us to be finding the money to buy those extra ships than to stick with what was the original request. >> i would agree we need a larger navy, sir. >> yes. but to get there, we have to spend more money. >> yes, sir, because the trade-offs we're having to make i think are pretty apparent and most of those trade-offs include readiness, training, and manpower. when you buy ships or prioritize ships, those are the tradeoffs you have to make inside a limited control on your top line. >> there was a lot of talk about what is your responsibility on all this. congress bears a responsibility in all of this. if these accidents tell us anything, it is that we can't wait to build up our fleet. we need to start now. and, so, i was proud to vote for that appropriations bill and our authorization bill earlier this year. i'm disappointed the senate has chosen to send this continuing resolution instead of make an appropriations bill, but i believe you can count on the members of this committee
4:58 pm
continuing to do everything we can to provide you with what you need, not only to defend america, but to keep our sailors safe in doing so. i thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you so much, congressman. we proceed to congressman anthony brown of maryland. >> i, too, believe that congress has a responsibility to fully resource our armed services. in fact, i'll go so far as to adopt and associate myself with the general's comments and i paraphrase that continuing resolutions and i'll add sequestration is comparable to legislative malpractice. also, admiral moran, i want to thank you for acknowledging, and mr. courtney pointed it out, and i'm reading from your statement, this is not about resourcing. it is about safety and leadership at sea. something is wrong. in a few months, two cruisers,
4:59 pm
two destroyers, 17 lives. i represent the fourth congressional district in maryland. 3 of those 17 young men were marylanders. alex martin, kevin bushel, and timothy echols whose mother was here today. something is definitely wrong. in my nine months as a member of the house of armed services committee, i think i have lost count at the number of times that senior leaders from all services have come to this committee and said that we are ready to fight tonight. i don't think that these collisions are consistent with that claim. and regardless of the tempo or the resource constraints. whether you have a 250 or 300 ship fleet, whether the defense
5:00 pm
budget is $550 or $650 billion, we all have a responsibility. and yours is to manage those resources in a way where readiness is not exclusive or mutually exclusive with safety. i thank you for your leadership, and i understand and i acknowledge that you get that. so here is my question. and it's been touched on earlier. admiral moran, in your written testimony, you identified cyber security afloat and ashore as a significant readiness shortfall that was helped by the fiscal year '17 additional appropriations. so that's good. you have identified it as a shortfall. you came to congress and congress helped. can you elaborate on the progress that the navy has made to improve cybersecurity on our deployed naval forces and are the forward deployed naval force
5:01 pm
cruisers and destroyers and their control systems currently equipped to defeat cyber threats? >> congressman, i would appreciate an opportunity to come and bring that to you in a more classified setting. it deserves that kind of detail. otherwise, i'm just going to gloss over it here and it won't be satisfying. >> and i appreciate that, and i would hope through a committee staff and my personal staff that we can do that because, look, i was on the "uss nimitz" four, five months ago. i went to the command information center. i visited the bridge. there's a lot of floating technology. there is a lot of networking, ship to ship, ship to air, ship to shore. it's not a floating city. it is a floating state. tremendous technological assets. and the first thing that came to my mind when i read about the first incident of two large
5:02 pm
vessels colliding with one another is how does that happen. and i think as my colleague from california said, you know, sure, we talked about certification and training and maintenance. we're talking about men and women on a bridge with equipment and technology on the open seas. how does that happen? i would like to have a better understanding of the cyber vulnerabilities, our defense, our security when it comes to our floating, you know, vessels. because i've got to believe, and i'm glad to hear that you're including that in the investigation, that your surface vessels, your aircraft are just as vulnerable to cyber attacks that are going to be disruptive in combat and noncombat operations. i certainly welcome the opportunity to hear more. thank you, mr. chairman.
5:03 pm
i yield back. >> thank you very much, congressman brown. we proceed to congress woman elise stefanik of new york. >> thank you very much. i want to associate my questions with a follow up to my colleague, mr. brown. i too think it is incredibly important that we receive a briefing in a classified setting regarding the cyber threats to our naval ships. but i want to ask you specifically. you mentioned that we are integrating cyber and network vulnerabilities as part of our ongoing investigation. how is that happening specifically, even if it is to rule out cyber as a potential cause? >> specifically, the admiral at tenth fleet is our fleet cyber command. he has a team that he's formed that will go -- they're a team of experts. very, very talented young men and women that will -- that are in place and will use their knowledge of how they would attack to determine whether
5:04 pm
we've been attacked, and they will know where to go look. this is the first time we have done this. and we're not stopping. this is to try to institutionalize doing cyber as part of any mishap, aviation, submarine, you name it. we need to go look at it as an order of business and not hand wave it to its cyber. >> i agree with that and that leads to my next question. you mentioned you're institutionalizing this process. is that service-wide? is that going to be a part of any future investigation? >> absolutely. >> can you describe other activities the navy is institutionalizing like task force and cyber space to protect our platforms from cyber threats? >> can you repeat the question? >> what other activities is the navy institutionalizing, such as task force cyber awakening and cyber safe to increase our cyber
5:05 pm
security when it comes to protecting our tactical platforms? >> yes. great question. so those efforts weren't started and completed. we continue to work through several of the discoveries during tests for cybe cyber awakening, as an example. one of the journeys we're on right now that our cno john richardson has really brought forward is this notion of understanding all of the digital connections that are in -- that are resident within every system we have out there today. and they're not connected as well, and we are not able to operate them as effectively as we should. that's also driving -- when you dive into it that deeply, you also realize that there is a cyber component to trying to make the navy more digitized because it could become vulnerable more quickly unless you protect those digital
5:06 pm
databases and the ability to do analytics and those sorts of things. so again when we come over to brief you on the classified level, we will show you what we did with the money that congress gave us at the end of this year in fiscal year '17, where we applied it, to what defensive systems and protections that we needed to do and it in some cases is fundamentally basic things like shifting to the new windows across the board where we are getting commercial protection that comes with that product as opposed to living off of older windows versions. on older gear that are very vulnerable without that protection. >> sure, just to use that example, there is a sense of urgency to this. technology is changing. if an example is making sure that you have the updated version of windows, we need to do better in terms of addressing this. >> and the department of defense has mandated that across the services. all of us are responding to this. we have a deadline.
5:07 pm
it is coming up and i can only speak for the navy, but we are on track to meet that deadline on things as basic as what you just described. >> thank you very much, admiral and i yield back. >> thank you very much. we now proceed to the congressman john garamendi from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i want to thank my colleagues for delving into this issue of cybersecurity. admiral, admirals, and we thank you for all of your service and for being on top of this. the loss of life is of great concern to all of us and our hearts go out to all the families. the question of cyber is much more than hacking. the single point of failure of most everything is gps. i assume you'll be looking at the downgrading of gps that can occur rather easily, particularly in those areas where there happen to be other folks around.
5:08 pm
so i'd like to have that as part of that review. also the electronic equipment, not specifically with regard to hacking or cyber, but rather its validation that it is actually working as it is supposed to, navigation equipment, all of the radar and so on. i assume that the review will be in that area as well as this cyber area. is that correct? >> yes, sir. that is correct. >> and i would suggest that the companies that built that equipment not be the ones responsible for certifying it is actually working. might think about that. also the commanders, the commanding officers of the ship, how often are they moved from one ship to another? what is the length of time they spend on any one ship? >> as a commanding officer? >> yeah. the top three officers.
5:09 pm
>> the top three officers. the executive officer on the destroyers right now we're on a model that has the executive officer fleeting up to be the commanding officer, which gives an intent was to build continuity to insure there's a clean turnover, so that's about -- that tour is about 18 months. there's a short break in the middle to kind of get them a little bit of head clearing and then they go back to the same. >> on the same ship or to a new ship? >> on the same ship. >> and the commander officer? >> the commanding officers after they leave will go ashore usually or to another at-sea job and they'll be up for another major job on a cruiser, for example, or a big deck am-fib, or a major command level ship. >> i have a general concern about the way in which the military moves people from one job to another within very short periods of time. the concern is that it was the previous guy that's responsible
5:10 pm
and left the problem and it is not really solved. i have seen this in other areas. i'd like to have a fuller discussion about whether that cycle is too fast and nobody is around long enough. i'm pleased to hear that the executive officer stays with the ship, or not? >> the executive officer usually stays with the same ship. sometimes there is an anomaly, but for the most part we are looking at the whole training model. not just the commanding officer level but also at the division officer level, we do rotate ships. there is advantages to doing it. in you get different perspectives. there is also disadvantages in that you lose continuity on this ship. this is something that admiral davidson we believe will address as he looks at the training paths of those that ultimately command those ships. command of those ships is critical and obviously they want to make sure they have the best qualifications they can have. >> when the final reports come back, i assume we will have
5:11 pm
another hearish onni the final reports and that will be informative. my final question really goes to a piece of testimony earlier having to do with virtual training facilities. you specified the lcs has a successful virtual training program. i assume that's a bridge. that's virtual. could you go into that for the next minute and talk more about that and how that might be expanded if in fact it's as good as you say it was. >> again. we're looking at the feed back from people using it and from the fleet. so this is not all done virtually. we still do real live, just similar to how a pilot will get simulator time and what's different is that we can create a virtual environment. we don't have to have the level of feel and touch that an aviation helicopter or fixed wing aircraft will have to use. so this technology is out there. the sailors are comfortable with it. they understand it and perhaps we can use that to continue to
5:12 pm
improve these skills where we may not have the dedicated at sea time to do so while the force is working very hard to meet its commitments. >> those virtual experiences have proven to be very successful in the airframe operations, and further discussion on that would be useful in your report, i suppose we'll deal with that as a potential training asset. with that, i yield back. thank you, mr. chairman. >> in light of the job we're asking your sailors to do every single day, and you know, a lot of this goes unnoticed because the majority of what you do in uniform is not high-end combat. it's waging peace. i feel we need to step up to the plate and do a better job here in congress to end defense and sayer sequester and begin this process of rebuilding the navy. >> if i could for the record,


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on