washingtonpost.com  > Politics > In Congress

Transcript: Rumsfeld Testifies Before House Panel

FDCH E-Media
Wednesday, February 16, 2005; 3:07 PM

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld testified before the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday along with Gen. Richard Meyers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and under secretaries of defense David Chu and Tina Jonas. Here is a transcript.

HUNTER: The committee will come to order.


With the arrival of the president's budget request last week and the supplemental appropriations request on Monday, Washington has officially launched the annual budget ritual.

This year's cycle brings with it a number of important policy and budgetary decisions that will receive considerable debate and attention over the coming few months.

However, it's critical that the coming budget battles, while important, don't overshadow the most compelling policy questions facing our nation: Mainly, we are a nation at war in a complex and rapidly changing security environment.

The daily headlines out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea should be a constant reminder of this fact.

At the same time, our armed forces are experiencing the most severe challenges and demands that have been placed on them in decades.

This critical instrument of American national security policy is undergoing sweeping and fundamental change while simultaneously carrying most of the free world's burden in the global war on terrorism.

We should recognize these circumstances as necessary and in keeping with our nation's interests. However, we must also recognize that these circumstances place policy choices before us of extraordinary importance that will shape the future security of our nation, the long-term effectiveness of our military and the welfare of our men and women in uniform.

And in this regard, I'm concerned that, as a nation, we are gradually shifting focus away from these national security challenges to other pressing concerns with a corresponding shift in policy and resource priorities.

Today, we begin our annual review of the president's proposal on how to best provide for the common defense of this great nation in the year to come.

We do this as hundreds of thousands of brave American men and women are fighting for our interests and security around the world.

We must ensure that we are providing them with all the material and moral support that we can muster so that they can effectively accomplish their mission and return to their loved ones safely.

The legislation that comes out of this process is only part of the solution. And I know that members of this committee will do everything possible to advance this goal.

But this goal also requires a commitment by all of us involved to set aside business as usual, promote innovative solutions, take process risks and begin to move our massive bureaucratic systems in a direction where we can better adapt to the rapidly changing threats facing our forces.

HUNTER: So, Mr. Secretary, as you prepare to assess the strategic direction of the Department of Defense through the quadrennial defense review, I trust that all these matters will be fully addressed. However it is of particular importance that the policy decisions that emerge from this review are based on sound analysis of the defense needs of the nation and not artificial budget constraints or similar political limitations.

So we all look forward to working with you and your team in the year ahead and to your testimony today as you help us understand how the budget process and proposal addresses the many difficult security challenges facing our nation.

And, Mr. Secretary, before you get started and before I turn to my colleague, Mr. Skelton, let me just say that this committee in its oversight role often points out, as Teddy Roosevelt said in his famous man in the arena speech, how the strong man stumbled. We've been the critics. That's an important part of our role.

But I think it's also important to point out that in the national security apparatus, this great team starts with the guys carrying the rifles in those squads in Fallujah and Mosul and other difficult areas, going door to door, right up through the ranks and up to the top of the leadership pyramid into your offices -- that you do and your team does a lot of things right.

And that there's been lots of folks that've laid out what they think was an alternative road map to the occupation of Iraq and I'm reminded that the road that you don't travel is always smoother.

But that no occupations are easy. They've never been easy from the occupations that we engaged in in World War II to the present day. They're always difficult for the occupied nation and the occupying nation.

And through the struggles and efforts and sacrifices of your team of uniformed personnel, we've carried this nation, Iraq, to a position in which people walked down on one day a few days ago and cast ballots in large numbers.

And even those of us who embrace democracy and believe in it and tout it to the world are sometimes surprised, I think, by the enthusiasm with which other people yearn for it and ultimately exercise it when they get a chance.

The fighting forces of the United States carried this election on their shoulders.

HUNTER: And so I think it's appropriate just to give you a nod of commendation and to give all of the people that serve in your team thanks for the fact that we've, in very difficult circumstances, walked this process to the point where the Iraqi people have voted, as have the people in Afghanistan, and that they have a fighting chance of having a nation with a modicum of freedom and an enduring, representative government.

That's an extraordinary thing.

We have lots of challenges in front of us, but I think it's not a bad thing to take a pause in this series of oversight hearings in which a lot of our attention is devoted to things that aren't working, to let you know that we appreciate those things that do work. And that this great success that occurred just a short time ago is, in a very large part, a result of your efforts and the efforts of this great team of men and women who comprise the uniformed forces of the United States.

So thank you.

And thank you, General Myers, and thanks to all of your great personnel.

And before we get started, all formal statements will be taken into the record without objection.

But before we get started, let me turn to my good colleague, the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton, for any remarks he'd like to make.

SKELTON: Mr. Chairman, let me join you in welcoming Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers this morning.

Gentlemen, I thank you at the outset for your leadership and for the men and women that you lead. Every day, they uphold the highest standards of service, professionalism and courage. And we recognize the extraordinary sacrifice that they, as well as their families, make. And we commend their service.

We are so very, very proud of them.

My comments this morning, Mr. Chairman, come about as a result of, I suppose, being the longest-serving member of this committee, of years of studying the military, particularly military history. History doesn't necessarily repeat itself, but it sure rhymes an awful lot. And having mentors that took their time to teach me to ask questions, to raise issues about this very difficult but important subject of war.

I have mentors -- I'm blessed with mentors: Maxwell Thurman, Chuck Boyd, Jack Galvin and others who took their time to visit with me. So as I make my remarks, it's upon that background.

Mr. Chairman, as we approach the two-year mark since the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom, we must recognize the demands placed on our forces. This is particularly due to extended deployments and largely because we've not had an effective post- conflict strategy. We've made some critical errors in the period immediately following major hostilities, and we lack a strategy for success now.

I say this not because the elections weren't successful. They were. And we're very pleased that they were. But the elections are only one step.

Two years into our involvement in Iraq, there should be a strategy for success.

SKELTON: There's a parallel in Iraq to the insurgency that drove the French from Algeria. Iraq has become a come one, come all operation for terrorists. If we don't win there, it could be the tipping point for the Persian Gulf for many, many years.

And I'm not suggesting we withdraw; I'm suggesting that we have a clear plan to succeed.

We must succeed in Iraq. We must succeed there.

Do we understand the insurgency that we and the Iraqis are fighting?

Iraqi intelligence director recently said there are 40,000 hard- core insurgents and 200,000 part-time fighters and volunteers. General Casey estimates that we've either killed or captured 15,000 insurgents in the last seven months.

If we'd lost 15,000 of our own troops in a comparable period, we would see diminished combat capability. And yet our enemy seems to be adapting and increasing his attacks.

The chart that is placed over here -- which is a Department of Defense chart -- using publicly available information, shows that the attacks have on the average increased over the period of time of his losses.

What does this tell us about our understanding of the insurgency?

Even if we don't have a good handle on the size of the insurgency, we must still have an effective strategy for success.

What is a success strategy that will allow us to leave a strong and sufficient Iraq in the hands of Iraqis and to bring our troops home to their families or onward to other missions?

How is economic reconstruction money being used to weaken the insurgency and strengthen support for the Iraqi government?

How will we support and help secure the next steps in the Iraqi political process?

Assuming the insurgency stays at current levels, how many Iraqi security forces will be needed specifically to counter that threat?

Putting a number on this I know can be difficult. But we size our forces against a range of other threats all the time. We put a number on the divisions, air wings, the carrier battle groups. We must be able to put a figure on the capabilities of the Iraqis if we are to succeed.

We must finish the job in Iraq but, of course, we can't stay forever. We could win the war in Iraq and emerge the weaker for it. We need a plan because we know that history will not wait for us or other situations will demand our attention.

Mr. Chairman, just in the time I've been in Congress, we've deployed to more places than I can really easily recall: Grenada, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, as well as the current conflicts.

The Army's own estimate tells us if operations ended today, it would still take two years to get the force ready to take on another conflict.

SKELTON: We continue to lose partner countries from Operation Iraqi Freedom. Poland is decreasing its forces by a third. Others like Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Hungary, Portugal are either out or pulling out. This trend raises questions about our friends' capability and their willingness to fight with us in future operations.

We have a potential crises on several fronts from Iran, North Korea, to the simmering tensions in the Taiwan Straits. And some people say that's the most dangerous place on Earth.

We must have the capability to deter or, if need, to respond to aggressive action from those quarters. As importantly we must have the respect of our allies and friends to work toward common solutions to their challenges. I'm concerned that our current action in Iraq put both at risk. Global leadership requires both managing short-term crises and making long-term strategic choices.

And, Mr. Secretary, you're in the process now of undertaking the quadrennial defense review and reexamining the strategy, the capabilities of a variety of issues that flow from that and all of the threats I mentioned just a few moments ago.

This review does not happen in a vacuum. That's why we have to have a strategy and why we have war colleges with the nation's best strategic thinkers.

The national military strategy drafted by Chairman Myers, but delivered to the secretary's office, was due exactly one year ago, February 15, 2004. And it has not been submitted to Congress.

At a time when we're deployed in numerous contingencies, this committee should have the benefit of General Myers and other senior military officers thinking about our strategy and the forces we need to execute it. Why have we not received this document?

The forces we need to execute our ongoing missions have been a matter of great debate in this committee and last year, as you know, we increased end strength in the defense authorization bill and I'm pleased to see you maintain that increased end strength level. But I do not believe it should be paid for from supplemental funds; why is it not being paid for as we recommended by law in the regular budget?

In general, I must tell you I'm pleased with the increased level of funding by the bill. It does many good things for our troops and we should be paying for ongoing expenses like end strength and cost of Army modularity in the base budget, rather than the supplemental.

And, Mr. Secretary, we must deal with the crisis in shipbuilding. With a plan in this year's budget to build only four ships, the Navy's service force will dip to 289. What happened to Ronald Reagan's 600- ship Navy? Or even the last quadrennial defense review's 310-ship Navy?

SKELTON: Our ships may be getting more capable, but the oceans aren't getting any smaller.

Mr. Secretary, thank you for your service.

General Myers, thank you for your service. Appreciate you being with us.

We look forward to your answers, for all of us are on the same team to do the very, very best we can for those young men, young women in uniform who make us so very proud.

Thank you.

HUNTER: I thank the gentleman.

And, Mr. Secretary, before you begin, I neglected to say one other thing. And that is that the gentleman sitting next to you, General Myers, your chief adviser and chief military adviser for the president, also has an obligation to give his unvarnished position and opinion and his best advice to the Congress -- the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

I just wanted to say to you that you have in that gentleman, and we have in that gentleman, a real chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

And during this last debate and work-up and passage of the intel bill, we asked General Myers to give his position, which is his statutory obligation to do.

And while that position, when he gave it to us and then made it available to the Senate, he received some criticism from the Senate for giving his best recommendation and his best advice as we worked up that critical piece of legislation.

And I just wanted to say publicly what I've told him privately, which is that he not only contributed to that process but that his advice, his best opinion on that legislation was not only important, it was critical that we have his input as we put together this fairly massive piece of legislation.

HUNTER: He did exactly what he's obligated to do under the Constitution and under our laws and under his obligation to the committee and to the Congress and to the president.

And, General Myers, you've always given us your very best unvarnished and candid position on matters military. We appreciate that and we thank you for it.

And that's allowed us to do lots of things in this last several years, in terms of serving not only the uniformed personnel of this country, but the security apparatus of the country and the American people.

So thank you, General Myers, for your service also.

MYERS: Yes, sir. Mr. Chairman?

HUNTER: Yes?

MYERS: I must point out, you can't go wrong with a good country boy from Kansas.

(LAUGHTER)

HUNTER: You know, that's very true, General Myers.

Let me say to my colleagues, too, we had a number of -- I fell down on the job the last two hearings ago, when we had -- we got a big committee and everybody has questions and I disserved the more junior members of the committee by pontificating for long periods of time myself and by allowing folks to go far beyond the five-minute rule on the first couple of rows. And because of that, we didn't get to about half the members of the committee for questions.

I'm going to try to reform myself and offer a modicum of discipline to the committee on this, because everybody's got a question, I know, for the secretary and for the chief.

And so we're going to have the five-minute rule. We're going to adhere to the five-minute rule.

And, Mr. Secretary and General Myers, we're going to need your cooperation, too, because I want five minutes per member. And I've always been the master of being able to ask five questions during my time and then ask all three witnesses to answer them, which means you get 15 answers. And that takes a lot of time.

But I would ask, when you -- to try to wrap up your answers to your questions within the five minutes. So you'll see that light. Please watch it and try to keep -- if you can, in your response, keep us in our five-minute boxes, we'll try to get through our entire committee in this hearing.

HUNTER: So having said that, having laid out the impossible dream, Mr. Secretary, thank you for being with us. Thanks for your service to the country. The floor is yours, sir.

RUMSFELD: Mr. Chairman, just for a little clarity here, does the five minutes include the questions and the answers or is it five minutes for the questions and five minutes for the answers?

HUNTER: Five minutes, questions and answers. So I'm asking -- and all the members, that means you're going to be able to ask one good question or make one good speech, but not several.

(LAUGHTER)

RUMSFELD: In which case there's no answer.

HUNTER: That's right.

RUMSFELD: Mr. Chairman, thank you for your comments.

And Congressman Skelton, members of the committee, good morning.

I also have with me besides the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Dick Myers, we have Tina Jonas, who's the undersecretary of the Department of Defense and comptroller. And behind us is Dr. David Chu, who's an undersecretary for personnel and readiness.

Somewhere in the world as we speak, young men and women wearing our country's uniform are engaged in the very hard work of history. Their families are concerned about their safety and they're making the best of their absence. Somewhere a soldier or sailor, an airman or Marine is wounded, determined to get back to duty. And here in the United States hundreds of thousands of dedicated military and civilian personnel are devoting long hours to our country's defense.

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

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

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

HUNTER: Without objection.

RUMSFELD: However, before discussing dollars, programs and weapons, I'd like to provide some context for the task ahead.

Consider what has taken place since we met here in early 2001. Two newly free nations, Afghanistan and Iraq, now reside in two of the world's most violent regions. Afghans and Iraqis have held historic elections to choose moderate, Muslim leadership.

Extremists are under pressure worldwide; their false promises slowly being exposed as another cruel lie of history.

America's national security apparatus is seeing historic changes. NATO is undergoing reforms in both organization and mission, expanding its size and deploying forces outside of the traditional European boundaries. And some 60 nations are freshly engaged in an unprecedented multinational effort to halt proliferation of the world's most dangerous weapons.

RUMSFELD: These issues will no doubt require the focus of U.S. security policies in the years to come. They have and will continue to affect the department's pace and direction.

There was little appetite to consider the new lethal threats that lingered on as irritants while the country tackled other challenges. The president understood we were entering an era of the unexpected and unpredictable, and was concerned that our country was not sufficiently prepared.

We've confronted and are seeking to meet many challenges, including the challenge of having to move military forces rapidly across the globe; the urgency of functioning as a truly joint force, as opposed to simply keeping various military services out of each other's way; the need to recognize that we're engaged in a war and yet still functioning under peacetime constraints, regulations, requirements, and we're against an enemy that is unconstrained by law or a bureaucracy; and, finally, the need to adjust to a world where the threat is not from one superpower but from rogue regimes and extremist cells that can work together, share information and proliferate lethal capabilities.

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

For example, are the armed services properly organized to deal with the uncertainties we face? We realized that the military services' Cold War-arrangements were ill-suited for the new warfare of the future, so we set about making U.S. forces more agile and more expeditionary.

When we say “agile, “ some people seem to think it means making the military smaller; it does not. It's the shape of the forces, not the size, that it refers to. And that is the impetus for making the needed changes.

We're making major commitments to the modernizing the Army, adding $35 billion over the next seven years in addition to the $13 billion in the Army's baseline budget.

The Army will increase its deployable combat power significantly, expanding from 33 active duty maneuverable brigades to 43 considerably more powerful brigade combat teams. These teams can deeply quickly to trouble spots and will have enough firepower, armor and logistics to sustain operations over time.

I think there's a chart up there that points out that with 33 active brigades, the time at home is about 1.2 years per year deployed.

RUMSFELD: When going to 43 active brigades, we get a 50 percent increase, up to 1.8 years time at home between deployments.

The Navy's also changing. Our country's potential foes currently have fleets that are regional, not international. The new challenge is to be able to protect concentrated naval power more quickly to confront unexpected threats.

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

We also asked, “How do we deal with the inevitability of surprise? “

Well, we can be certain who might attack our people -- we can't be certain. We can reasonably predict, however, how they might attack: through terrorism, cyberattack, weapons of mass destruction and other asymmetric approaches.

And we asked, “How ought we to reassess our plans, operations and force structure in light of the technological advances of the past decades? “

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

The chart -- I'm afraid it's being hidden, so I can't see it, behind the lady doing the -- that chart indicates roughly that there are -- in 1982 and during Desert Storm, we had the ability for multiple aircraft per target of about 200 targets per day. And during Operation Iraqi Freedom, we're up to about 700 targets per day. So you get a sense of the changes that technology have provided.

Let me describe a few examples. Where once the Air Force and Navy planned in terms of sorties per target, they now assign targets per sortie.

As late as 1997, aircraft from a carrier could engage, as I say, about 200 targets per day. Now it's well over 600.

A B-2 bomber can now be configured to attack as many as 80 different targets with 80 precision munitions on one sortie.

Here's an example from the Navy. In the past, the Navy maintained a rigid deployment schedule.

RUMSFELD: Ships would deploy for six months, overlapping with ships that they relieved. Upon arriving home they became relatively useless. Training and equipment readiness plummeted to what became known as the bath tub, with many, if not most, battle groups unavailable for missions.

Assuming you had 12 battleships, it was like having nine of them inactive at any given time. You had three, with the capability of surging for two. If you're in business, it'd be like having 12 manufacturing facilities and only using three of them with the ability of bringing two of them, additional ones on-line.

The Navy's new fleet response plan has the capability to surge five or six carrier strike groups in 30 days, with the ability to deploy an additional two in 90 days. That's an enormous change in combat capability for the United States of America.

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

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

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

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

And finally we asked, “Are there changes needed in the way the Pentagon operated? “

Four years ago, acquisition policies were 200 pages long on the average. Today they're about 34 pages. The department has adopted an evolutionary approach to acquisitions, seeking to deliver technology as it's available, rather than waiting for entire systems to be complete. This spiral development approach has allowed us, for example, to more rapidly field robots to detonate roadside bombs in Iraq.

Inefficiency is always unfortunate.

RUMSFELD: In the Department of Defense, however, it can be deadly.

An idea ignored may be the next threat overlooked. A person performing a redundant task is a person not contributing to our defense. A dollar wasted is a dollar not invested in the war-fighter.

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

The changes I have outlined, and many others, were getting under way somewhat before September 11th of 2001.

The military's skillful campaigns might have been longer and less successful had the country not already begun to adopt needed reform.

Because we have begun to consider changes to U.S. global posture, we had a head start in contemplating new forward operating sites in territories closer to the extremist centers of operation.

With many of these task now well under way, President Bush continues to set an ambitious course to prepare for the challenging times ahead.

The United States' overriding priority will be to continue prosecuting the war and to attack its ideological underpinning.

I've been asked why war costs are included in supplemental appropriations rather than in annual Defense Department budgets. Let me explain.

The annual budget process takes up to 12 months for the Department of Defense to plan our budget. We're already started on the next year's budget for the year after the coming year.

And then we have to clear it through OMB, and then it takes eight or nine or ten months to pass it through the Congress, and then it takes 12 months after that to execute it.

That can be a period of some two and a half years.

In war, circumstances on the ground can change quickly, and what was not an urgent necessity at one point of a conflict might well prove to be urgent in the next as the enemy's strategy shifts and as new challenges arrive.

Supplemental appropriations are prepared much closer to the time the funds are needed, as this chart shows.

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

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

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

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

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

A second reality of the new era is that the United States can't win this global struggle alone. Clearly, it will take cooperation among a great many nations to stop weapons proliferation, for example.

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

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

We encourage you in Congress to support a global peace operations initiative, to be managed by the State Department, that will help other, less developed countries train to send peacekeeping forces and stabilization forces to potential crisis spots.

And we ask Congress to allow the United States to offer more incentives and capabilities to friends and allies battling insurgents who need help in training and equipping their own forces.

There's no more vivid example of this than the Iraqi security forces. They demonstrated considerable valor during the operations to liberate Fallujah and in providing security for Iraq's successful recent democratic election.

When talking about the Iraqi security forces, some people seem to want to focus on numbers, so let's talk a bit about the numbers here.

The Iraqis have gone from zero trained and equipped new Iraqi security personnel on duty in 2003. They currently have -- if you add up police, border officials, national guard, et cetera, army, they have 136,000. And there are an additional 74,000 site protection people who we no longer count in the 136,000 because they were transferred out of the Ministry of Interior of Iraq.

But beyond numbers, capability is important. And capability is a function partly of numbers to be sure, but also of training equipment, leadership, mobility, sustainability, access to intelligence and experience.

Now, one can't expect that an Iraqi security force coming out of their training pipeline will be a battle-hardened veteran like the fine men and women of the U.S. military. But those who continue to unfairly denigrate Iraqi security forces should be reminded that they would not have lost, killed in action, 1,392 police and soldiers if they had been hunkered down hiding in their barracks. They haven't been.

They provided the inner and outer perimeter protection for 5,000 polling places in Iraq on election day.

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

And in constructing a comprehensive strategy for the future, we sought to answer these difficult questions.

What must our forces be capable of doing in the next five, 10, 20 years?

What must be done to move us urgently in the directions that will best protect the American people?

What lessons have we learned during the past three plus years of warfare that can lead us to better calibrate and refine our strategies against the enemies who, lest we forget, have brains? They watch what we do. They adapt to what we do, just as we watch what they do and adapt to what they do.

Stress on the force has been mentioned in the opening remarks. We know, for example, that there are strains on our forces, and particularly on the ground forces.

By the end of September, the size of the Army's strength is planned to have increased by more than 29,000 soldiers from the troop levels four years ago. That does not include the activated National Guard and Reserve forces.

In fact, let me show you how U.S. ground forces compare to where they were in 2001. The chart indicates that our end strength, under the emergency powers, is considerably higher and has been considerably higher than the so-called statutory end strength.

We have been able to do that, as I say, under emergency powers.

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

In this conflict, we've used reserve component forces at a much higher level than in past decades. A chart that's up on the easel at the moment shows that we have -- the proportion of Reserves and National Guards that we mobilized since 2001 is significant, but it is somewhat less than 50 percent.

I should emphasize that this reflects individuals mobilized and not mobilized and it is not designed to portray the units mobilized.

RUMSFELD: Further, the Army is enlarging considerably its pool of deployable soldiers and units, so that individual reservists and guardsmen in particularly high-demand specialty will need to be mobilized less often and for shorter periods and with more notice and predictability.

For example, the Army is reducing the number of artillery and air defense units and adding military police, transportation, special forces; skills that have been increasingly needed in the global war on terror.

Other innovations under way will also contribute to force capability.

Tens of thousands of positions previously held by uniformed military personnel, mostly administrative and facilities-related, are already being converted to civilian and contractor duties, thereby freeing up additional tens of thousands of military personnel for military responsibilities. Those add end strength in terms of combat capability, even though the institutional size of the military may stay the same.

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

You asked what lessons had been learned about the enemy and its tactics. The enemies have brains. They watch our actions and change constantly.

The current threats posed by the insurgents are roadside bombs and rockets targeting coalition troops on the ground. The military has made it a very high priority to accelerate production of body army and up-armored Humvees.

Let me show you what that means. The Army has stepped up production of armored Humvees by more than 1,000 percent since mid- 2003, when its forces began to face the improvised explosive device threat in Iraq, going from 35 per month in May of '03 to 450 monthly by December '04.

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

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

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

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

With the support of Congress and other federal agencies, the department is now instituting a new personnel system designed to provide greater flexibility in hiring, assignments and promotions, and allowing managers to put the right people in the right position where they're needed.

About 60,000 DOD employees, the first spiral in a wave of over 300,000, will transition to the National Security Personnel System as early as July of this year.

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

The new global security environment drives the approach to our domestic force posture, as well.

The department continues to maintain more military bases and facilities than are needed, consuming and diverting valuable personnel and resources.

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

Mr. Chairman, these are some of the reforms we planned to implement over the coming years with the help of your committee and the Congress. We know there will be a resistance to some of these reforms. It's always difficult to depart from the known and the comfortable.

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


CONTINUED    1 2 3 4 5    Next >

© 2005 FDCH E-Media