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tv   Military Officials Testify on the State of the Armed Forces  CSPAN  February 7, 2017 10:41am-12:01pm EST

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don't teach to the test but to the students. and our kids deserve no less. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until noo 80 teachers.air declares the house she cares about education but she's -- you know, and a live look now at the floor of the u.s. senate where lawmakers have been debating the nomination of betsy devos to be the next education secretary. senator brown on the floor right now. they are winding down an all-night session that started yesterday afternoon with mostly democrats coming to the floor to speak against the nomination
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of betsy devos. we know at least two republican senators intend to vote against the nominee, meaning that vice president mike pence would need to come to capitol hill to cast the tie-breaking vote and that would be the first time that vice president broke a tie in a cabinet confirmation. president trump tweeted about the devos nomination earlier today saying, senate dems protest keep the failed status quo. betsy devos is a reformer. she will be a great education secretary for our kids. that senate confirmation vote will take place at noon eastern time today and you can watch it live on our companion network c-span2. and from here we go to house armed services committee with a state on the military. this started just a short time ago. they watched our fighting and they're preparing their forces. we need to me pair to fight any adversary. we're extremely good today and are ready to fight in the
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middle east. against violent extremists but we need to fight against any adversary. we need more flying hours but to get more flying hours we need more bottom. we bottomed out at 311,000 people. thanks to your help, we're up to 317,000. at the end of this past fiscal year. we want to grow to 321,000 people here in the next coming year. if we do that, that brings us to about 90% manning. as anybody knows 90% effective manning, because you have people employed or can't do the job or in training leaves but 75% effective manning. mr. kelly: let me stop because i have another question that i want to get to. when we talk about b.c.t.'s or we talk about muse or we talk about fighter wings or the number of ships or carry groups, those things are important and i think a lot of america don't understand, we're rotating the fresh equipment
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out of units to make combat ready units and that by doing that it decreases the future deployments. have you guys in writing, i would ask each of you let me know how many b.c.t.'s you need and what the personnel in-strength that the army needs and not only that but the number of m-1, new m-1 systems so we are not rotating equipment. they used to -- they wanted a crew on his tank because you get a familiarity with that piece of equipment and we're having to hotbed everything we have in the military today. a hotbed means a crew uses another crew's equipment because it's newer and up to date. so do you guys have an idea what your in-strength do you hink we need to be to meet the day's mission and equipment, both in modernization and replacing the old stuff and if you could address that and i'll start with you, general walters. general walters: yes, sir. the number of marines we need -- in my written statement i
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said we need a minimum of 194. it's interesting, you hit on the point. why are we hot in equipment? why are we moving the equipment around? because for eight or 10 years we have modernization programs in place. replace our old equipment. but they're delivering over a 30-year time frame and we're buying them at a minimum level. the example for us, the prime ample is we have a 40-year-old amphibious vehicle and we're putting an upgrade on it on a third of them because we won't deliver the new ones yet. jltv, i have a need for light tactical vehicles. we're buying it at a shallow rate. it will take us 20 years to get there. probably the poster child for us is i have a light armored vehicle that's 34 years old and because of the fiscal straints we have been under we never even thought about replacing it
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obsolescense use on there and the marines deserve new equipment for the threat. mr. kelly: o.c.o. doesn't allow them to modernize top line funding and i yield back, mr. chairman. mr. thornberry: and if others would like to respond to mr. kelly's questions that would be great. we have to stay reasonably on time. as mr. cooper said, we have lots of folks on this committee. mr. cash hal. -- mr. carbajal. mr. carbajal: thank you for your service to your country. as a former marine, i am very honored to be part of this committee and to address you today. it is quite clear from your tms today and from our previous hearings that our military faces incredibly diverse threats some of which are well prepared for and some of which remain to be a work in
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progress. there is no question we must continue to maintain a strong military force and congress must do its part to provide the necessary resources to ensure readiness. however, as all of you will probably agree sequestration is not the answer. it will neither balance our budget nor improve our military readiness. many, if not all of you, have indicated that the number one risk to readiness is sequestration. i believe the question we must ask ourselves is, what are we trying to protect? as we continue to impose arbitrary cuts to our country's education and health systems and not take steps to protect our environment. i believe we will be left with the hallow nation with nothing more for the most superior
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armed forces to protect. i believe in order to develop an effective strategy we must decide what our desired end state is for each of the threats and priorities our military leaders identify and then look at what resources are needed to meet those desired goals. better oversight and accountability systems must be put in place to ensure not only an effective but an efficient military. i believe it is a disservice to our -- to the american people for congress to be funding cost overruns. to this end, my question to all of you is what steps has each service taken in order to increase oversight and accountability to its various programs and operations in order to eliminate wasteful spending? can you provide us with some examples of savings your
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service has identified? and i say this because no surprise to you that on occasion there are many articles in the media that identify this wasteful spending and yet we have so many priorities that we are being asked to consider. i'd like to hear from each one of you, if possible. >> thank you, congressman, and thank you for your service. searcher fidelis. we love the united states marine corps too, even the united states army so we appreciate your service. general allyn: i would first highlight the fact that you spoke of two significant challenges. first of all, the threats that we face and this uncertain environment we operate and the savings that we must continue to be pursuing as good stewards of the resources that you, the congress, provide to us. on the first piece, the other
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significant challenge to us in addition to sequestration is continuing resolutions. continuing resolutions deny us the opportunity to implement new programs like the ability to upgrade our opposing force capability at our combat training centers as we identify capabilities our adversaries are using that we are likely to face. we must train against those. we must upgrade our capability to do that. we cannot do that under continuing resolution conditions. so we would also appreciate the passage of an appropriations bill, obviously, in the very near future. in terms of savings, a couple critical initiatives the united states army is under way with, to continue to be good stewards of the resources that you provide, we have a strategic portfolio review process that looks at all of our acquisition
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domains and ss all identifies the highest priority programs and ensures that we're moving money away from those that are less important and funding those that we must deliver as fast as possible to ensure that we can equip our forces in the future. the second thing is to ensure we achieve auditability which is a critical requirement that we must deliver to the nation. and that is well under way. we have made progress year over year. we estimate we will probably still have work to do at the end of this year to get to full auditability, but we are progressing as rapidly as we can. one of the programs that allows s to do that is our g-febs software program that enables us to see ourselves accurately across all our funding systems.
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we need to upgrade that program based on the findings of prior year audits. we cannot do that in a continuing resolution environment. so, again, a couple of points to your very accurate questions. mr. carbajal: and i hope the gentleman will work with those in the next two years -- mr. thornberry: and i hope the gentleman will work with those in the next two years. >> thank you for offering this opportunity. thank you to the witnesses for your extraordinary service to our nation and the extraordinary sacrifices you have each made mr. khanna: my question concerns cybersecurity. one of the things i often hear from companies is the burden that they actually have to have cybersecurity. and you never would expect our companies to have private
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defense forces against conventional attacks but a large portion of their budgets are going to defend against cyberattacks. and we know that there are about 240,000 cybersecurity jobs that are unfilled because folks don't have the skills. many people in the private sector will say the best folks are those who've been trained either pi the military or the government and there are just not enough of them for them to come into the private sector. so my question for all the branches and i don't know which one is most relevant is what can we in congress do to help you better prepare in training folks, equip in cybersecurity, what do you need for the military and what do you think you can do to help get more trained folks who can then go into the private sector? >> i'll start, congressman. and thank you for that question. incredibly important area for
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all of us operating in the cyberdomain each and every day. general allyn: i would offer one very important authorization that you could provide to us is increased flexibility in cyberprogram funding. the adversary is moving at light speed in their attacks of our infrastructure and our capabilities and we have to be able to develop counters and offensive capabilities at the speed of light. and our current systems are not designed that way. so authorizing some funding flexibility, specifically for our cyberprograms so we can be more agile, responsive and capable both on offense and defense would be critical. >> sir, i would add to those very important points that flexibility is also needed in how we manage the people that
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we have. your point about the number of vacancies in the civilian market force, cyberprofessionals and the draw that it takes off of the services who do produce incredible talented folks in this world is there, and so we are looking at every opportunity to allow for our sailors who are trained and experienced in this to have opportunities to work inside and outside the navy. admiral moran: and the flexibility to draw between the active and reserve and civilian and back. i think that's how the nation can solve this problem because we can't keep throwing money at people to try to keep them in. that said, our training and the way we're organized has increased significantly. all of the services have invested a substantial amount of money in the past years. but cyberwarfare is like others subject to readiness cuts and the cuts are being able to upgrade from windows x to
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windows y and we have to take some cuts to those readiness accounts as well as all the other ones as we see a reduced top line. thanks for the question. >> i just add, a communication centered focus to a cybersecurities focused. there are some acquisition reforms that i think can help keep up with the speed that the industry is going with as well as we made great progress on our civilian hiring and how we can do that general wilson: but i think there's more work to be done there. we are in a competition for talent. we need to bring in the best and brightest. we have fantastic training programs and we can help our nation moving forward but there's still work to be done and how we bring on civilians into our work force. general walters: sir, i'm with all my colleagues here. we need to recruit, train and maintain that work force and we are short and i think we're short globally. i think it's a problem that's
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not just replicated in the military but it's really for the entire country. mr. khanna: thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. thornberry: thank you. mr. wilson. mr. wilson: thank you for your work with president trump. secretary mattis, this issue has been raised and what a great team we have here with the vice chiefs, too, to work on the issue of readiness. it's very important for me. i am very grateful to be the chairman of the readiness subcommittee. it gives me an opportunity to work with ranking member madeleine bordallo and we will be there to back you up in every way we can to promote our promote our troops, protect our country, protect military families. with that in mind, general wilson, i appreciate in south carolina we have joint base charleston air force back, mcintyre joint air force base and north auxiliary field. comments or concerns have been raised by prior persons serving
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in the military. secretary james stated, quote, less than half of our combat forces are ready for a high-end fight, end of quote. and also air force chief of staff stated, combat operations and reductions in our total force coupled with budgetary instability and lower than planned funding levels have resulted in the smallest, oldest and least ready forces across the full spectrum of operations in our history. these are deeply troubling comments for american families. two questions. general, have these shortfalls affected the air force's ability to meet mission requirements? and secondly, do these shortages still exist and if so, how does the air force plan to address them? general wilson: thank you, congressman wilson. the short answer is, yes, these still exists. today, we find ourselves less than 50% ready across the air force and we have pockets that are below that. in particular, some of the
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bases that you mentioned in south carolina between charlotte and mcintyre and others, we find, again, not flying enough with enough hours. we know how to fix this. we did this in the late 1970's as we dug out from there. we can do this again. it starts with as we talked before stapeable, predictable funding that we can in our case we need to increase our manpower to 350,000 airmen. that mans 100% of the -- of the positions on our books today. and we do that over the next five to seven years. while we bring on the manpower and we make sure we have the training behind the manpower. then, we can increase our weapon system support to all of our support and our parts and our supply. on top of that then we can increase our flying hours and then we can bring down our ops tempo and get our readiness back. we also at the same time have to modernize the force and we're doing so as we bring on
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f-35's, kc-456, we need to keep those programs on track. today we have 75 less f-35 than we planned in 2012. we have 95 less mq-9's than we planned because of sequestration. . today's modernization has a readiness impact in the future. we need to focus on that going forward in the future. with those steps we can dig out of our readiness challenges we have today and bring it up to full spectrum readiness of about 80%. mr. wilson: thank you for your commitment. general walters, i'm grateful south carolina has marine corps air station buford and parris island. we're grateful for such extraordinary facilities giving young people extraordinary opportunity to serve our country and achieve to their highest ability. i am concerned that it was reported last year that we have tactical 41 pliable
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aircraft that additionally we had zpents that have been unprecedented. and from that situation of danger to our pilots and communities, what is the current state of marine aviation? is there a correlation between aviation mishaps and the ability of a ready basic aircraft? and how do you plan to address this? general walters: we're addressing the aircraft issue. we have been doing it for two years with the help of congress. we need to get up to 589 ready base aircraft. that gives us enough to train with. we're not there yet. we're 439. we're 100-some short. but we're 50 more than we were two years ago. that's positive. your last question about correlation to accidents. there is no direct correlation. i have reviewed every accident we had in the last two years. those pilots have had the
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adequate time. but i think it's an overall systemic shortfall in readiness in our aviation units. mr. wilson: thank youal for your service. we appreciate it sow. thank you. >> ms. bordallo. ms. bordallo: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for the witnesses being here today. i appreciate the opportunity to continue to highlight the very serious challenges that we face. we have brought ourselves to this point largely by fighting two decade-long wars, paid for with a credit card. while deferring investments in our people, our equipment, and our facilities. this has been further strained by self-imposed fiscal constraints and our national security apparatus will continue to be hampered without an end to across-the-board sequestration. in the meantime, we must continue to focus our resources on individual operations and maintenance accounts. i have a question for you,
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admiral moran. as we discussed yesterday in my office, there are significant readiness needs facing the navy and our ship maintenance infrastructure has limited apacity. the recent unfunded priorities list indicates as much with ship depot maintenance at the top. however that conflicts the recent unfunded priorities administration that has indicated a desire to focus instead on construction. in an ideal world the navy would be able to modernize while shrinking the readiness deficit, but the reality is that we do not have a blank check. so i -- my question to you, admiral, is how does the navy intend to prioritize these competing needs? in other words, with additional resources, will it focus on immediate actions such as addressing deferred ship maintenance or aviation depot throughout? or instead on building new
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vessels? admiral moran: if additional resources come avateable in fiscal 2017, we'll natt money toward ship depot maintenance, cybersecurity, the things, readiness shortfalls we talked about this morning. as i stated in my opening, if we don't take care of the foundation of the navy, which is the 275 ships we have today, it doesn't do us much good to continue to buy new. it is somewhat of a false choice to choose between the future size of the navy and the current condition of the navy. to your point, the resources are where they are. if additional funds come available in 2017, we'll absolutely put them in the readiness accounts. ms. bordallo: thank you very much, admiral. my second question is opened for any of the witnesses. the department of defense has been asking for the authority to have another round of brack for years -- [-- braac for
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years. and ultimately affecting readiness. so do you breeve the department needs another brac, and if a new round were authorized, how would you reallocate the resources currently being used to maintain excess capacity? any one of you. just need one answer. my time is running out. general wilson: we think we have about 25% excess capacity at our bases. we think that in today's budget environment it makes sense to invest wisely. brac would help us to do smart investment on the basis preparing for the future. we could taket money we're spending on the excess infrastructure and put that back into solving some of our fiscal problems. ms. bordallo: you are supporting brac closures? general wilson: yes, ma'am. a i'll pile on. we're in a similar situation.
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depending what size force you describe for 490,000 soler active force, which is about 25,000 more than we are today. general allyn: we have 21% excess facilities to need. we save year over year, annually, $1 billion from the 2005 brac that took place. so it's real money that we really need to reinvest into the deferred maintenance and infrastructure, backlog that we have for the army. it's $11 million in deferred infrastructure and modernization. general wilson: for the air force that number is $25 billion we need to put back into our bases of deferred maintenance. general walters: we think we're about right. but we'll participate in any brac. ms. bordallo: thank you very much.
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i submit the rest of my time to the chairman. chairman thornberry: thank you, ma'am. the jofment colorado, mr. coffman. mr. coffman: thank you, mr. chairman. all of you have an aviation component to your branch of service. there is a growing concern about a pilot shortage in the united states military. i think that that is also reflected in the fact that we have a growing demand in civil aviation for pilots. so what is your approach if you could all reflect on your approaches in terms of how to deal with that issue, whether it's a retention bonus structure, an enhancement of some sort. but also the fact is that we've got experienced pilots in the united states military leaving for jobs in civilian airlines. who we would probably still like to affiliate in some way.
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so then the question is should e shift, then, some of those fine billets from the active duty to the guard and reserve so maybe we'll start with the united states army and work our way down. maybe. helicopter pilots. general allyn: we have no problem retaining our helicopter pilots. i will defer to the other services. admiral moran: we'd like some of your helicopter pilots. sir, it's a great quefment one we do focus on a lot as we manage our force. i would tell you that the thing that keeps pilots in our services, speak for the navy, but i'm sure general wilson would agree because we have both flown, is to fly. if you don't have the adequate resources of airplanes and money to resource flying hours, that dissatisfaction will show up with people walking out the
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door. we're all facing that shortage today. not enough airplanes. we're not fixing them fast enough. we don't have the spare parts we need. young men and women are not flying nearly enough to keep the job satisfaction at a level they would like. mr. coffman: it is a morale issue based on the ability of flying hours? admiral moran: absolutely. general wilson: today we find ourselves producing about 2,000 pilots year. the airlines are hiring 4,000 pilots a year. so i think this is bigger than just a service problem. this is a national problem we have to be able to get at and work with industry with how we do that. certainly the guard and reserves are a big part of this. certainly the whole team on how we go forward on this. we can recruit lots of people to fly. we don't have a problem there. retaining them is a problem. today for the last five years our retention of pilots has
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declined. we need to keep about 65% after the 10-year point. today we're doing less than half of that. quality of life and quality of service. as the admiral said, we're doing everything we can to improve to reduce the additional duties. all the other burdens. on our pilots and let them do their job. to build that culture that most military pilots, the war fighting culture ethos you see in the squadrons, that will keep people in the service. there is certainly a cultural aspect of this. but also to reduce the quality -- improve the quality of life and reduce administrative burdens on our kruse and let them fly. this is a national problem. it's not just a service problem. mr. coffman: the guard and reserve have pilots on active duty that transfer into the guard and reserve and are flying in civilian airlines. so are you looking at all at restructuring?
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general wilson: absolutely. we're engage with all the corporate airline leaders on how do we do this together, how do we do this smarter. right now we have a math problem that doesn't close because we produce 2,000. the nation needs about 4,000. mr. coffman: general boughters. general walters: sir, we have a meeting with the commandant tomorrow to discuss this issue and all the levers you just described. the reserves, how we keep them once we get them. i'll add one more, how long we sign them up for when we sign them up. all those will be part of it. we might end up having to pay a bonus for those select people to keep them around and to make it so we can get them a draw. in the end, it's the willingness to serve and their value that they put on service that i think will be the biggest magnet. i don't think we can bum dump enough money on them to keep them there just with the money. r. coffman: thank you.
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>> excellent testimony this morning. admiral moran, i'd like to go back to your very frank advice that we really need to focus on maintenance and repair in terms of just getting to meet the operation demand. shipbuilding will be an exciting year with the f.s.a. that came out. mr. courtney: having said that, that's a long gain. we're not going to seat fruits of that for 2017 action for years to come. so your description about the fact that there is this backlog building up of work that's not getting performed, i was wondering if you could be more scripive how that looks in terms of whether it's carriers or surface ships or submarines. what's happening out there in terms of that backlog that's building up. >> thanks for the question. first of all in 17 alone if we do not see some kind of
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complell come for this career, without a c.r., within a month we're going to have to shut down air wings. admiral moran: we're going to have to defer maintenance on several availabilities for our surface ships and submarine maintenance facilities. we're just flat out out of money to be able to do that. i think everyone here knows that in 2017 the navy took a $5 billion cut in its top line. in effect comes to fruition it's $2 billion of readiness cuts we had to take, which is immediately applied to the things like ships. we have had cases in the past, recent past, where we have had to decertify a submarine from being able to dive because we cannot get it into nuclear maintenance that it's needed. the crew on the u.s.s. albany for example, went over 48 months before getting out of the yard because several delay, at least four different delays
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because of other priorities. those other priorities start with our ssbn force which is our nuclear strategic deterrent submarine force, carriers, and then ssn's, if any of those get disrupted. a carrier goes along in one of our public yards, we'll bump things like s.s.n. the crew of albany the c.o. that took over at the start, gave up command before the end of that maintenance, and the crew, the entire crew, did not deploy. to someone's point here earlier, you cannot buy back that experience. so those are the kinds of real impacts we're seeing in the yards because of the shortage of resources and the continuing rating of the readiness accounts in order to keep the rest of the navy whole. mr. courtney: that story of the albany resonates. in this room we have heard from admiral harris, they need more
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submarines. now. and to the extent that we're not going to build a virginia class now because it takes five years, but if we can get the albany and boise and others out and under way, we can respond to those commanders. so let's assume we fully fund -- we deal with the resource issue and also deal with the funding certainty issue, which your testimony pointed out is another big problem. there is still, i think, our issue, though, in terms of allocation of work and the shipyards, your testimony said for a variety of reasons our shipyards are struggling to get our ships through maintenance periods on time. so the -- again, let's assume that we take care of some of the resource questions. how can we deal with that? is there -- can we call on the private yards to help take on some of the work? and can congress help with that progress? admiral moran: yes, sir. you're absolutely correct.
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obviously we try to maximize our public yard workload. but we try to smooth out those god awful sand charts we're looking at, we're used to staring at, to try to smooth out the work across those yards. where we need that extra capacity we do use the private yards to do t month pealier is a -- montpelier is a good example. the problem is the late, the very late determination that we no longer have the capacity in a public yard. when we turn to the private yards at that moment, it becomes a very expensive proposition. the degree which we can take advantage of your support and working with our private yards to try to drive down the costs, it makes it easier for us to have to surge to those private yards when public yards become -- the capacity -- work exceeds the capacity because of delays that are already there.
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if that makes sense. mr. courtney: i think kevin mccoy said one shipyard. that should be our philosophy. chairman thornberry: the story of the albany is amazing. mr. franks. mr. franks: thank you, mr. chairman. thank all of the witnesses for your noble service to america. mr. chairman, i have what's probably somewhat of a redundant question but it seems important to emphasize. on march 22 of last year, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general joseph dunsford said, quote, absorbing significant cuts of the last five years has resulted in our underinvesting in critical capabilities. and unless we reverse sequestration, we will be unable to execute the current defense strategy, close quote. so general walters, might ask a follow up by general allyn. if you can keep the responses
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fairly concise n your professional military opinion, is your service able to execute our current defense strategy with our current force levels? general walters: if your definition of the strategy is to due do two things simultaneously, the answer is no. general allyn: if the united states army, the general has testified before this committee as have i in prior years, only at high risk. mr. franks: so maybe to give you a real world example when you talked about two scenarios. in your professional military opinion at its current force level, would your service -- begin with the army again first, general walters, would your service be capable of executing a korea scenario while maintaining your current commitments around the world? general walters: sir, we would be able to execute a korea scenario but have to draw from other commitments in the world
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to make it on the timeline required. general allyn: like wise for the united states army, we would both draw from -- drawdown committed forces elsewhere, as well as have forces arriving late to need based on current readiness levels as we talked about at he outset with the chairman. mr. franks: with your -- i'll broaden it to the committee whoever would like to take a shot at it. your current planned end strength levels, can you meet construct laid out in the 2014 had quadrennial defense review, to quote, defeat a regional adversary and deny another aggressor in another region? maybe general -- admiral moran, maybe take a shot. admiral moran: my answer would be consistent with my brothers here and that is we will be able to employ our force but at great risk to being there late and at higher casualties. we would expect.
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general wilson: i would second that. mr. franks: no disagreement on the panel. so final question, mr. chairman, and i address it to all of you. in your professional military opinions is your service, your respective services, too small given current and emerging ission requirements? >> yes we're. the secretary of defense has directed a new strategic review that could result in a revised force construct requirement. general allyn: but we will undergo that process and provide our recommendations on what the size of the army must be. but today it is too small. admiral moran: i agree with general allyn for the i navy as well. general wilson: same for the air force. general walters: same for the marine corps. mr. franks: mr. chairman, they say sometimes there is nothing more encouraging than to hear your own convictions fall from another's lips. but in this case i think i'm
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more alarmed by that than anything else. yet it does seem to be a consistent circumstance. i just hope the committee and country and the new administration is considering the responses of these gentlemen carefully. with that i yield back. thank you-all. chairman thornberry: thank you. ms. tsongas. ms. tsongas: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you-all for being here today as we have this very important discussion. last week, this has been in the context of a number of hearings that we have had to sort of discuss this, the global situation that we have to deal with and deal with appropriately and successfully. last week this committee had opportunity to hear from general petraeus and john mclaughlin about some of the pressing threats and challenges facing our nation. in their testimony i was struck by the focus they both placed on the shifting global balance of power and the need for the united states to maintain its technological superiority in relation to both russia and
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china. and just last week "the new york times" reported on chinese advances in computer science and engineering in relation to declining u.s. investments in these areas. historically our nation's national labs and ffrdc's have led the way in advancing new technology for our nation's military, but today private firms, many located overseas, are increasingly taking the lead, making investments in those technologies that have both consumer and military applications. so they see a dual benefit to it. and robotics and artificial intelligence are just two examples of where the private sector has been increasingly successful. so as we're talking today about the many challenges we face and many of the emphasis is on end strength and the need for more people, it seems to me that as we're thinking about how we maintain our competitive advantage that it's not just about end strength, but it's about how we use cutting-edge
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technologies to leverage fiscally thoughtful investments, whether they be in people or other areas. so to that end general wilson, and this certainly comes as i am a representative from massachusetts, we have great labs and ffrdc's in our state that have done such great work. what is the air force doing to modernize its labs and defense focus ffrdc's to make sure we're able to keep the air force at the cutting edge of technology? and how much of a priority is it for you given that the many competing demands for investment? general wilson: we have investments going into the labs to help improve the infrastructure there. i have been out to visit them and can i tell you they are absolutely world class. and there are some technologies that they are working on. you mentioned a.i.er and robotics. also working on directed energy. some things that can truly
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change the game. that's an important focus of our air force as we modernize our force, we need to modernize smartly across the area, specific areas. as you mentioned industry, many areas, is leading us in that way. so we're collaborating with industry. whether we work with folks like darpa, our air force research lab, the strategic capabilities office, dr. roper and his team. all the national labs, and also reaching out with all the private sector to make sure we can stay up to date with them. i look at this as almost like the ffrd -- the fsrm, facilities, restoration, modernization accounts. we have to invest so much today in our technology that's going to get us to tomorrow. right now our r&d is about 2%. we need to keep it at that or even grow that. because otherwise our
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adversaries will outpace us. but we have great collaboration with all the national labs. they are truly national treasures. we need to leverage those to help us stay ahead. mi tsongas: those national treasures don't remain national treasures without the significant investment that needs to be made in them. and i know given the constrained resources, i just want to be reassured that we don't -- we're not shortsighted and that we -- in making those tough choices we're not putting what we need to because technology has a long timeline, yet it also can move very quickly. we don't want to be behind the eight ball because we have just been too shortsighted in some of our near-term investments. to that send end also, general allyn, i wanted to ask you, how your prioritizing your investments. massachusetts has a great facility that really focuses on the soldier and how to best protect the soldier to make them as ready as possible, but,
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again, fully equipped and thinking thoughtfully, what kind of investments the army is making. general allyn: thank you, congresswoman, i'm sorry you are missing the championship parade. ms. tsongas: i'm very sorry myself. general allyn: a great sacrifice on your part. we likewise fully leverage not only the labs but lincoln labs. i have been there in the last two months on several programs that are critical to us to be able to continue to dominate in the multidomain environment of the future. we will continue to leverage both the great soldier enhancement initiatives that come from nadic as well as the technology that is critical. you highlighted the importance of technology to readiness. it is the right balance of capability and capacity that makes a ready force. and all of our trying to ensure that we maintain that balance as we move forward. ms. tsongas: thank you.
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i yield back. chairman thornberry: mrs. hartzler. mrs. hartzler: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for being here today for this very important hearing. pretty sobering testimony but i think we all need to hear it. general wilson, i appreciate your highlighting the recent missions that went over to liba. we're so proud. your testimony, it was right along with the question i wanted to ask, where you talked about how you feel like that our training is -- makes us capable for middle eastern conflict. but we need to have peer adversary training. i know with your 35 years in the air force as a pilot and flying b-1 and your participation and red flag over the years, i wanted to did you about the capability of that training exercise to meet our near meer competitors -- peer competitors that we're facing
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today. is the air force training with a fight tonight mentality against a high-end threat like china and russia? what i mean by this is are you confident in the air force's ability to accurately train against a near peer adversary? can you give our young men and women a glimpse of what night one would look like. can you prepare them and put their families' mind at ease such that a flare-up in the south china seas would look routine? general wilson: we're putting significant investment in our ranges and infrastructure in places like nellis air force base. the red flag that i started flying with in the 1980's, we chaved it -- changed it considerably how we incorporate space and cyberinto t the range infrastructure, the threats, the way we can replicate threats, hasn't improved to a significant degree until recently. we put significant investments into the range infrastructure to give us the right thread
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emitters. the ability to give us an environment with high-end threats and allow our crews to train in that. we're not there yet. we started that investment to improve our ranges and infrastructure. but that will be critical going forward. it's also critical that we invest in what we call live virtual constrictive chain training. in the future i'm not going to have the flying hours or money to be able to train an f-35 pilot and give them all the training outdoors in the live environment. i'll have to do some that in the virtual or constructive environment. we're putting money into that so that our folks can be at home station and we can replicate a red flag like environment or high-end training scenario to give thement most realistic training possible. it's important that we continue that investment of our ranges our infrastructure and live virtual constructive environment going forward. mrs. hartzler: so if 100 -- number for feeling very, very
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confident that you would be able to go up against the training -- the training was adequate for fifth jen. what would be the number where you feel like that we would be able to go up against the adversary? general wilson: if you go to one of our red flag exercises, it is absolutely fantastic training. the problem is not enough people get to go to it, and we don't do those frequently enough. so the average crew would be 50% ready against the high-end threat and certain parts of our air force that number is considerably below that. so again it takes all those resources we talked about. i could have the people, the training, the weapons systems support, training ranges, flying hours, and i got to be in time to do that to build up that high-end readiness. today we're not near where we need to be. 50%. mrs. hartzler: all right. look forward to working with you to help get that up to 100. so everyone can meet the threats that we're facing. thank you.
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i yield back. chairman thornberry: mr. garamendi. mr. garamendi: thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, thank you so much for your service. i don't know how many of these hearings we have gone to and all this comes down to more money. then somebody mentions sequestration. it seems to me that with the unified control of congress and the administration that if sequestration is a problem then perhaps it could be solved. quickly. nonetheless the money problem is likely to persist. a couple of questions just to follow up on the question about the airmen and the pilots that are necessary. i understand that the air force is now moving to provide or to allow pilots that are not officers to fly certain missions. general wilson, if you could comment on that briefly. is it going to help solve this problem? general wilson: congressman, we think so.
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we have the initial group of enlisted aviators into our rq-4 global hawk program. we think over the next few years we'll be able to grow it so that a majority of the pilots in the global hawk will be enlisted. we'll learn from that, we'll see if we can take that chample and do that in other areas like our mq-9 and others. that's to be determined. we think that will help alleviate some of the shortages right now. it's in the first stages. we have the second class in training. we only have a handful of enlisted operators going through that program right now. mr. garamendi: the question really comes to this committee and whether we're -- this committee anti-senate, whether we're going to force this faster or not. it seems to me we ought to threat go in a way that is wise. not necessarily slow but at least thoughtfully done. the next question if i might, general wilson, has to do with, i guess we want to have everything, and we want to have
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everything now. long discussion is about the aircraft and about the personnel, but not much discussion about the ground based strategic deterrent. that will tibillions be spent on that. the question arises in my mind and i hope the committee's about the necessity of rebuilding the entire nuclear mission, all of the bombs, all of the delivery systems, from naval to air force, and general, if you could comment on this issue. can we afford all of it? general wilson: congressman, think we can. look at the investment across the nuclear enterprise going forward on all the modernization programs, it will peak at about 5.5% of our defense budget. so it's matter of priorities. foundationally what our nation
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provides, the nuclear deterrent provides our nation is incalculable. it's provided 70-plus years of no conflict between major powers. as i look across the globe and the landscape you talk about changing, as we see what our adversaries are doing across their force, we have no option other than to modernize. our forces were built, many of them in the 1960's. modeshized early in the 1970's. still maintaining today. there comes a time where we have to modernize and we have reached that. we have delayed the modendization of these programs for far too long. specifically the ground base strategic deterrent. if we look at today's minuteman threes, put in the ground, actually have one parts on them, the designed in the 1950's, put in place in the earthly 1960's. minuteman three is in the 1970's. we're now having 50-year life cycles of these missiles.
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the strategic stability that they afford our nation is well worth their cost in investment going forward. we welcome that discussion about the importance of the nuclear triade. mr. garamendi: we need to have that discussion. we need to have it in detay. it's not just about the icbm's in the ground. whether they need to be renewed. it's about the naval and new submarines and new bombs that go with the new missiles, as well as the new f-21 long-range bomber, and the cruise missiles. and the question for all of us is the trillion dollar question over the next 25 years or sow. with the bough wave occurring within the next five to seven years. and the army needs more men. and women. as does the marine corps. and you need more fighter pilots. and more aircraft. and the navy needs new submarines and another 55 ships on top of what you already have. and where's the money?
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and the president is suggesting a tax cut of more than $1 trillion. so we better have a big credit card. i think that's called the deficit. thank you, mr. chairman. chairman thornberry: mr. scott. mr. scott: general walters, marine corps district base in georgia getting hit pretty hard with the storms. i'll be there this coming friday. that's not technically my district, but i live about 30 minutes away from that base. certainly important to us. could you give me any estimate of when that base will be back fully operational status if that has not already occurred? and how and why is this particular base critical to the marine corps? general walters: congressman, thanks for the question. we're tracking that daily. i know what damage has been done to the infrastructure. we think by the end of this week we'll have all of that collapsed building and wear houses off so we can take a
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look and analyze what damage is done to the equipment that was inside of it so i can understand the full cost in our ongoing efforts in 2017 we have identified at least the first cost of that. your second question is when are we going to get it back up. they are operating at a minimal capacity now on areas that weren't affected. but it's critical. hat's where our tanks, our light armored vehicles, and artillery go through depot. i don't have an estimate for you now whether it's going to start up again. we do other components. we only have two depots. one on the east coast and one on the west coast in bar stow. it's good we have two because if it's going to be a long period of time we'll have to make a decision on what we do out at barstow and what we don't do to take the critical things and move them out there. my preference would be to rap
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bidly get albany back up run -- rapidly back up -- rapidly get albany back up running. mr. scott: it is important we be able to deploy from both the east coast and west coast? general walters: absolutely, sir. we're a global nation. mr. scott: general wilson, david in february i'll quote him, 25 years of continuous combat operations and reductions our total force, cuppled with budget stability and lower than planned funding levels has resulted in one of the smallest forces across the full spectrum of our operations in our history. your testimony was pretty close to that. general welsh, who i think is a wonderful leader, prior to 1992 the air force procured an average of 200 fighter aircraft per year. the 2 1/2 decades since, curtailed modernization has resulted in procurement of less than 25 fighters yearly. in short the technology and
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capability gaps between america and our adversaries are closely dangerously fast. general wilson, it's clear there are not enough fighter aircraft to sustain readiness, through both pilot flight hours and line aircraft. yet the air force is contemplating to reduce the work force to include the depose. can you explain how this squares up? general wilson: depots are critical to going forward in the future. general welsh, i also agree is a remarkable airman. a real visionary. what we need to do with our force. chief 21 as you talked about outlined the problem we have at hand. we used to procure about 200 fighter airplanes a year. today we're producing less than 20. that's why 21 of our 39 fleets of airplane are older than 27 years old. to maintain those airplanes takes a loft work. the heroic efforts by lots of maintainers and our depots.
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we have to actually get more out of them because each time we bring in a new d.n.a. old airplane, today, they are finding things they never found before. whether it be an f-16, b-1, they are finding things that they have never seen. they are real artyance how they fix the airplanes. -- arty zans on how they fix the airplanes -- artisans on how they fix the airplanes. mr. scott: i represent robin air force base. a lot of those men eam women work there. they are very skilled and talented. without them planes wouldn't be able to fly today. when can we expect guidance issued down to the base level on the work force? general wilson: we hope the guidance will come out this week. what's exempted and categories to allow our work force to tifpblet as you know we're still just digging out of the
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sequestration and the effects that had. our civilian work force is critical whether it be maintaining our planes, sustaining them, operations across our air force, any reductions of that skilled work force, and 96% of our civilians work outside of washington, d.c. they work in our depots and flight lines. we have to be able to sustain those. mr. scott: thank you for your service. chairman thornberry: mr. o'rourke. mr. rourke: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your leadership and testimony today. i also appreciate the guidance you have given to congress so ar in repealing the budget control act. ending the threat of sequestration. having budgets that are funded and predictable and consistent instead of having continuing
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resolutions. and pointing out the real value in a base realignment and closure process to be able to direct and focus resources where they are going to be most effective for our service members and our missions. so on each of those i would like to be part of working with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to get these things done. i think you made a very good case for why we need to do t why we need to do it now. -- do it and why we need to do it now. for general allyn, the threef 58 brigade combat teams ready to fight tonight, i think one, it says something about our form of government that we would say that publicly in a meeting like this and advertise our state of preparedness or lack of preparedness to the rest of the world, but i understand we say these things to make sure we're making fully informed decisions. i hope that your comments spur us to take the necessary actions to reverse this trend
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and to make sure that we're where we need to be. m guessing that whatever analagous body to task that exists in russia is not talking about these preparedness levels in russia in a public way. but generally speaking could you tell us how we compare, if you can, in a setting like this one? are three at three of 58? >> i have to be honest with you, congressman. don't have access to their unit status reporting. i do get ours every month. general allyn: so i have a fingertip feel where we stand in the united states army. obviously on behalf of the congress, it's our responsibility to deliver the best readiness that we can at the funding levels that we have. and every commander in the field is getting after that as you know from fort bliss, texas. i will offer it is not all doom and gloom. one of the biggest impacts for us in terms of elevating our
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readiness above what it is today is our personnel shortage. it's the first thing we're doing with the increased authorization that you have given us in the ndaa this year is to fill the holes in our current formations so that they can be manned at a level to deploy ready to fight despite some of the medically nondeployable numbers that we have in our force. so we're absolutely committed to getting after that as our top priority. mr. o'rourke: let me ask you another question. what do you need above what was authorized in f.y. 2017 ndaa to meet the gaps that you highlighted today? what's the dollar amount this committee should know about? general allyn: that work is going to happen next week. we got some initial guidance midweek this week from the secretary of defense on how to approach this. as you know from the memo being
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published publicly, the first priority is that which can deliver readiness immediately in 2017 and 2018. then it is achieving a better balanced if force -- balanced force, i.e. fill in the holes. then it's building the joint force that we need for the future. and we're aggressively working with o.s.d. staff to finalize exactly what that figure will look like. and we will be getting that to you as quickly as we can. mr. o'rourke: last question. you may not have enough time to answer and if not we'll take it for the record. the tempo of the last 16 years of combat in afghanistan and iraq have really taken a toll. certainly on our service members, on their units, on their families. i'm really interested on where we're in moving to the army's sustainable readiness model to
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replace the army force generation model that -- probably was appropriate for some our needs at the time, but long-term i think is compromising readiness and unit cohesion. i know you only have 15 seconds. if you want to answer for the record. general allyn: you are absolutely correct. it's a top priority. army forces command is running a pilot now with units across the total force. using this new model. the goal is to be able to sustain readiness of our forces across time regardless of their deployment status. and the goal is to 2/3 of our force ready to deploy at any moment in time. we're absolutely getting after that. mr. o'rourke: thank you. chairman thornberry: mr. byrne. mr. byrne: thank you for your service to our country and time with us today. admiral moran, the preponderance of our current 274-ship navy was constituted as a result of the reagan era
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600-ship navy. these ships were built through the 1980's en1990's, many them have reached or beyond their original service life expectiancy. in your best military judgment, are we building and are we capable of building given our shipyard capacity enough ships to not only maintain this already hazardly low 274-ship navy in the battle force, but to also increase it to the 355 ships as called for in the latest force structure assessment? >> congressman, thank for the question. you are absolutely right. for the last couple decades we have been living off the fat of that rig. admiral moran: it's coming home to roost now. back then we used to build up to five a year. today we're fortunate to get two to three a year. so when you look at the math it doesn't add up over time. as that reagan era buildup starts to decommission because
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they have reached the end of their life. we're not building at a rate to replace them. we have programmed in 17 and 18 as we are beginning that program look now. to arrest the decline in our total numbers. that is why we have come down since 9/11 from 316 ships to 275 today. we just have not been replenishing them at the same rate. we have taken a hard look at whether there is industrial capacity to not only arrest the decline, but to start to climb badge out of it -- back out of it. there is compass to the do it. we have vendors and subvendors that we have to begin to have that conversation with. to general allyn's point, once we get past this year anti-immediate riness needs, we're going to take -- and the immediate readiness needs, we'll take a hard look to determine what the strategy calls for and the size and strapeshape and function of this force in the future. we're prepared and i think we can go to a higher ramp earlier
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than currently programmed. ut the resource clearly is not there. mr. byrne: what effect will this low level of ships have on our commands to safeguard, secure economic shipping lanes,ence cute current missions, and answer the call should a contingent operation arise? admiral moran: today we satisfy about 40% of the combatant commander requests for naval forces. 40%. and that is why the size of the navy we have today is too small. it's also why that small navy's being driven at a high-up tempo here year after year. and that hire up tempo is driving up maintenance requirements, delays in shipyards, and our ability to get that force back at sea. so the -- our ability to satisfy growing combatant commander requirements is not going to be satisfying to anyone in the near future unless we have a larger navy.
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mr. byrne: can you expand upon why the navy is unique compared to other services with regards to eighty navy should invest current readiness funts into shipbuilding and the impact that has on the future readiness of the navy? admiral moran: yes, sir. clearly it takes a long time to build a ship. so when we invest money in current year dollars or near year dollars, it takes several years for that capability to deliver. so we're unique in that -- from that standpoint. the number of years it takes to deliver and aircraft carrier, a ballistic submarine or high-end destroyer is well beyond the fit in cases. it has an impact over long-term readiness. mr. byrne: let me say in closing i was honored to be able to go to the recommend pack exercise in hawaii this past summer and not only to see
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our navy at work but to see other navys at work, because there are 27 other nations that were participating with us. and i was struck by the esprit de corps of the sailors i was with. i was struck by their commitment to the mission. and i was struck by the fact that they are doing a lot more with a lot less. but i worry that there is a time coming when even the great sailors that we have got cannot continue to do more with ever dwindling number of resources we're providing to them. and i was struck by that quote that general wilson gave from general macarthur. that was really -- hit me very hard. i hope that we never, ever get to the point where we're there again where we literally have to say, it's too late. i don't think it's too late. but the clock's ticking. ticking on all of us. i hope that we'll work
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togethering to rebuild all of our armed forces and i appreciate what each of you do. i yield back, mr. chairman. chairman thorn berry: ms. rosen. >> i want to thank all of you for being here today and your thoughtful and certainly enlightening testimony and for your service to our nation. i represent a district in nevada, about a dozen miles from nellis air force base, home to the u.s. air force war air center, largest advanced combat training mission in the world. and our primary mission includes testing of the weapons systems, tactical air training. advanced training on the nevada test and training range, and the largest, the nevada training range is the largest air and ground space available for peacetime military operations. it looks very much like the middle east. in the summertime we're not so lucky, happy about that, but it's good for the military. even though we're a small state, we have the sixth most active duty air force personnel
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in the country and one out of every 300 nevadans is active duty air force. it's very important in our community. you have touched on a lot of issues today, but your testimony really seems to have put into place and emphasize the importance of passing a budget so that we can plan on your side and on the private side. so i'd like to ask about uniform versus contractor. are there responsibilities that contractors are doing now because you don't have the money in your budgets? and conversely, what are service members doing that contractors used to do because we don't have the funds on that ide? general wilson: congresswoman, we have contractors involved in all aspects of our o. so today, for example, at love lan air force base, it's contract maintenance. they are doing alt flight line maintenance. -- all the flight line
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maintenance. we contracted that out and in our balancing of modernization capacity and readiness, we didn't have the funds and that's how parts of that blue suit used to be done by blue suit maintenance now by contractors. and that example would permeate across every unit and every part of our air force. contractors are involved in some aspects of how we do operations. is it too much or too little? i guess i would say that there's -- it's going to depend. there are areas we think should be more, in our case air force blue suit maintenance, our blue suit operations, but we're having to rely on contractors because we don't have the people that we once had to be able to do that. miss rosen: what resources do you need for training to increase the people pipeline? that -- we can have maintenance. we have equipment. but without the people and training to do it. what resources do you need to improve that people both pipeline on both ends? general wilson: we have the infrastructure. to be able to assess and train
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the right people. we need the authorizations for the people anti-funding that goes with it to be able to do that. p ms. rosen: i yield back my time. chairman thornberry: mr. wittman. mr. wittman: thank you so much for joining us today. thanks again for your service. admiral moran, i'd like to start with you and ask you to elaborate on the backlog of maint nance that we're seeing within the navy. i'm going to go right to our aircraft carriers. as you know the c.n.o. said he wants to say on seven-month deployment schedules. there's been delays of c.b.n.'s getting to the yard. when that happens it also has an impact on maint nance availabilities and deployment schedules, training schedules, now we're seeing that reverberate down to our s.s.n., attack submarines, because all of this work has to be done at our public shipyards. give me your perspective in several ways. first of all we're now seeing the impact on s.s.n.'s, with
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boise being tied up at the dock, one of our active attack submarines, tied up at the dock for two years before maintenance will begin. that takes a while before she gets back to the fleet. and another five getting ready to be tied up at the dock awaiting maintenance. again for that two-year period before the first work gets done. you have that. you have carrier gaps now. in the persian gulf. you are seeing that back up with carriers going to the yards and then not just maintenance availability backups, but then that affects training schedules. i want to ask this. are you going to change deployment schedules, lengthen them from seven months? will training times predeployment workups, will they get shortened? how are you going to deal with this to make sure all these ships get to the yard, get maintained, back to the fleet if we're going to get to 355 ships, we have got to do all possible to maintain the ships that we have.
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admiral moran: congressman, thanks for the question. it's a very complex answer. we hit to keep -- when sequestration and furlough back in 2013, we saw several of our civilian sailors in our yards leave who were eligible for retirement, eligible to move on because they were tired of dealing with this kind of uncertainty. in the years since then, when we have been able to hire back, we have hired back in numbers that are fairly substantial. but they are young. they are inexperienced. so today in our public shipyards, roughly 50% of our civilian work force there is -- has less than five years' experience. we're talking operating, or maintaining nuclear capability ships. that's not necessarily a good place to be. what happens with something like that is take bush for example, it came out late.
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141 days fritz availability. 141 days which delayed its ability to get on deployment to relieve the eisenhower. c.n.o. has maintained and will try -- >> the house will be starting its legislative day shortly, but you can continue watching this hearing online at c-span.org click on the link on the top, right top of the homepage, and the entire hearing will be available in the c-span video library later today. before we take you to the house, a live picture from the floor of the u.s. senate today where lawmakers are about to begin voting on the nomination of trump administration education secretary nominee betsy devos. democrats have been holding control of the floor since yesterday afternoon to offer speeches in opposition to her confirmation. you see republican senator tim scott on the floor right there. it's expected to be a close vote. and we will likely see vice president mike pence come to cast his vote to break a possible tie.
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that would be the first time in history that a vice president has ever been called on to break a tie for a cabinet nominee. reporter burgess every yet of "politico" captured this picture of vice president as he arrived at the capitol this afternoon. all of this unfolding on our companion network, c-span2. we also plan to to get your reaction online and on the phones. the house today attempting to roll back three obama administration rules. two dealing with education accountability. and another with public land use. both expected in the 1:00 and in the 5:00 hours. that will be it for the week for the house as democrats begin their policy retreat tomorrow through friday in baltimore. and now live to the floor of the u.s. house here on c-span.
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the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. god of the universe, thank you for giving us another day. as the democratic caucus prepares to leave for its retreat, bless members with skills to fashion pathways in bringing about what is needed for the benefit of our nation. bless the republican conference which remains at the capitol with the same gifts consistent with their own defining skills and vision. in your

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