The Senate Armed Services Committee is holding a previously scheduled hearing on the Army, with Army Secretary John McHugh and Chief of Staff Ray Odierno. The hearing was scheduled to be on the Defense Authorization Request for fiscal 2015, but much of the testimony focused on the fatal shooting at Fort Hood. Here is a transcript courtesy of Federal News Service.
SENATOR CARL LEVIN (D-MI): (Sounds gavel.) Good morning, everybody. The committee meets today to hear testimony from Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Chief of Staff of the Army General Ray Odierno. Our hearing on the Army’s fiscal year 2015 budget request and current posture.
We meet with heavy hearts. Once again, our Army must recover from an act of unspeakable violence here at home. Much remains unknown about the shooting incident yesterday evening at Fort Hood, including the question of what prompted this horrible attack. All that is certain is that lives have been lost and that families are grieving, and we all share in their grief. Secretary McHugh and General Odierno, please convey this committee’s condolences to the men and women of Fort Hood and the Army, and please be assured that this committee will fully support your efforts to care for those were affected.
For more than a decade the men and women of the Army had the burden of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have done all that we have asked, and more, to succeed and remain resilient through repeated combat deployments.
Last year the sequestration required by the Budget Control Act, along with a higher than expected operating tempo in Afghanistan, led to a $12 billion shortfall in Army operation and maintenance accounts, resulting in the cancellation of major training exercises and the deferral of required equipment maintenance and repair.
Last year’s Bipartisan Budget Act has begun to relieve those readiness problems by providing added funding to reduce somewhat the impact of sequestration in fiscal years 2014 and 2015. But the budget caps and sequestration will apply again with full force in 2016 and beyond.
The administration has proposed we increase the -- increase revenues so that we can raise the defense budget caps by $26 billion in fiscal year 2015, the budget before us. Whether by additional revenues or by other means, raising the budget caps to reduce their impact is essential and is contingent on bipartisan congressional agreement. I believe we must pursue just that continuously and with determination in the months ahead.
Under existing strategic guidance, the active Army will cut its end strength by approximately 82,000 soldiers, with a planned force of 450,000 by the end of fiscal year 2017. If the budget caps remain unchanged, however, the Army would shrink to an end strength of 420,000, a force size which General Odierno has publicly said is inadequate to support our national defense strategy. End strength and force structure reductions of this magnitude must be managed carefully to avoid the risk that the Army could become a hollow force, a force with inadequate training levels and insufficient equipment to accomplish its missions.
I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses on how the Army will reorganize to make the reductions required by the budget caps now in law; how the Army would spend additional money if Congress were to raise the caps, as proposed by the administration; how it will decide which installations will lose combat brigades; whether additional reductions can be borne by units based overseas; what the impact of reductions required by the statutory budget caps is likely to be on military and civilian personnel, families, readiness, modernization and our defense posture around the world.
In developing a plan to address the statutory budget caps, the Army has also had to make difficult decisions about distribution of proposed cuts between the active force and the reserve force. The department’s planned end strength reductions would at the end of fiscal year 2017 provide an active Army of 450,000, or 20 percent less from its wartime high of 569,000; an Army National Guard of 335,000, or 6 percent less than its wartime high of 354,000; and the U.S. Army Reserve at 180,000, or 10 percent less than its high of 205,000. The Army’s decisions on the allocation of aviation assets between active and reserve units have been particularly controversial. And we’ll hold a hearing next Tuesday, April 8th focusing on the Army’s plans for change in active and reserve component force mix due to end strength reductions over the next several years.
The Army has repeatedly canceled the equipment modernization programs due to problems with cost or performance or with budget.
This year’s budget request proposed to cancel the Army’s ground combat vehicle, the GCV. The Army has three remaining new vehicle programs -- the joint light tactical vehicle, the paladin integrated management self-propelled howitzer and the armied -- the armored multipurpose vehicle. Upgrades for the M1 tanks and M2 Bradley are scheduled, but remain a year or two down the road.
The cancellation of the GCV, the gap in the Abrams and Bradley programs and the slowing of other vehicle programs combine to raise serious questions about risks to the Army’s ground vehicle industrial base. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses how they plan to manage those risks.
Finally, the Army has been devoted to addressing the physical and emotional toll that 12 years of war have taken on our soldiers and their families. While there are numerous programs now and significant resources dedicated to support our soldiers and their families before, during and after their deployment and service, we know there is more to do.
We remain concerned with the incidents of suicides and sexual assaults, and the continuing problems faced by many of our soldiers as they return from deployment to war zones, leave the military, seek new jobs and transition to civilian life. The committee’s interested to hear updates from Secretary McHugh and General Odierno on their assessment of the steps they have already been taken to address these problems and the steps that remain to be taken.
I invite them -- and I invite you both -- to begin their testimony by updating us on yesterday’s events at Fort Hood. Again, the committee’s grateful for your great contributions to our nation. And I call on Senator Inhofe.
SENATOR JAMES INHOFE (R-OK): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me just identify with your deep-felt remarks about what happened yesterday. And it happened at -- coincidentally, I was with Secretary McHugh when the news came and we both got it at the same time, of the tragedy at Fort Hood. And I can pretty much identify with the rest of your remarks too. Given the deterioration of military readiness and capabilities over the last five years and the significant end-strength cuts planned for the Army, we’re all concerned that we can’t meet the missions outlined in the defense strategic guidance without unacceptable risk to the force in our country. and we have to remind ourselves and others that when risk goes up, you’re talking about lives.
We’ve been wrong before in the past when it comes to assumptions regarding the size of our ground forces. In fact, Secretary McHugh, you and I sat next to each other on the -- back in 1993 -- on the House Armed Services Committee when we heard testimony, in 1993, that -- by some expert that in 10 years we would no longer need ground forces. So we’ve been wrong before on where we are.
Today, the greatest risk our military faces is becoming a hollow force. And we’ll have some questions concerning that. General Dempsey said the risk we face today is we have a significant near-term readiness risk that has been accruing. We’re digging ourselves a readiness hole, out of which it will take us several years to climb.
Not only does the budget underfund current readiness, it mortgages future readiness. The bipartisan budget agreement gave minor budgetary relief. The Chairman’s already covered the effects that would have in ‘14, ‘15 and, of course, the devastating effects that I’m sure that, General, you’re going to want to talk about, should things happen this way and continue to 2016.
Yesterday -- I don’t see her here now -- but it was kind of prophetic because -- and I used this this morning on a show -- that I -- Senator Ayotte asked the question -- I want to go ahead and repeat what she asked yesterday at the hearing: What steps are you taking to prepare for, prevent, and respond to threats to personnel and facilities in light of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting.
That was just yesterday morning, before the Readiness Committee. And then, of course, the disaster happened shortly after that. So we’ll have some questions concerning that and where we go from here, what the future’s going to look like and the security that we’re going to have to offer.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Inhofe. Secretary McHugh.
SECRETARY JOHN MCHUGH: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, let me express my appreciation to you, the ranking member, in individual discussions before the hearing to the other members of the committee for their heartfelt expressions of sorry and support.
It’s deeply appreciated.
Obviously, as you noted, Mr. Chairman, this longstanding posture hearing is being held now under a shadow of the tragic events that happened just yesterday afternoon at Fort Hood. As I know you all understand, any time the Army loses a soldier, we all mourn. When that loss comes at the hands of another soldier, and indeed when that event occurs at the very place that suffered so much pain, so much anguish just four and a half years ago, it only adds to the sorrow and the all-consuming sense of loss the Army is feeling this day.
Our first responsibility, as I know you share, is to the families of the fallen, also to those of course who have been wounded and those close to them, their family, their loved ones, as they make their way hopefully on a road to full recovery. Our thoughts and prayers but most importantly our actions and our every effort will be with those families, will be with those survivors, whatever the struggle. We have ordered all possible means of medical and investigatory support as well as added behavioral health counselors. I want to give a tip of the hat to VA Secretary Rick Shinseki who immediately reached out and offered any support from the Veterans Administration in respect to needed personnel. And in speaking, as both the chief and I did late last evening to Lieutenant General Mark Milley, for the moment the immediate needs seem to be met, but we’re going to monitor that very carefully.
As I know all of you recognize, this is an ongoing investigation and one that occurred just 15 or so hours ago. And even at this point, the circumstances remain very fluid, but we recognize we owe this committee particularly, but also this Congress, the facts, what we know and when we know it. And I want to promise all of the members here this morning that we will work with you as we go forward together so that we can effectively -- you can effectively discharge your oversight responsibilities.
If I may, Mr. Chairman, I’d also like to take a brief opportunity to say to the Fort Hood community and to the Army family worldwide, this is a time once again to come together, to stand as one as they had so many times before, drawing strength from each other. As this committee knows so well, the past 13 years have been fraught with much loss, with much pain, much suffering. But through it all, men and women of the United States Army, their families, the civilians who support them have come through the storm together, and I know, as we have in the past, will come out the other side of this tempest poorer for the losses but stronger through our resolve.
Mr. Chairman, I can take a moment now to give you the updates that you’ve requested and then defer to the chief for the purpose of the posture statement, if you’d like.
SEN. LEVIN: That’d be fine, thank you.
SEC. MCHUGH: Based on our discussions last evening with Lieutenant General Mark Nilley and a subsequent conversation I had about 10:45 with the secretary of defense, these are the facts as we understand them. But again, things are changing at this moment. The specialist, the alleged shooter involved joined the United States Army in June of 2008. When he first enlisted in the Army, he was an 11 Bravo; that’s an infantry soldier, as most of you know. He later, upon reupping, transferred his MOS to an 88 mike, a truck driver. We are tracking at the moment that he did have two deployments, including one four-month -- approximately four-month deployment to Iraq. As a truck driver, his records show no wounds, no involvement -- direct involvement in combat; as General Milley, said no record of Purple Heart or any injury that might lead us to further investigate a battle-related TBI or such. He was undergoing a variety of treatment and diagnoses for mental health conditions ranging from depression to anxiety to some sleep disturbance.
He was prescribed a number of drugs to address those, including Ambien. He was seen just last month by a psychiatrist. He was fully examined. And as of this morning, we had no indication on the record of that examination that there was any sign of likely violence, either to himself or to other, no suicidal ideation. So the plan forward was to just continue to monitor and to treat him as deemed appropriate.
The alleged weapon was a 45 caliber that the soldier had recently purchased. He lived off post. We tried to do everything we can to encourage soldiers to register their personal weapons. Even when they live off post, we are not legally able to compel them to register weapons when they reside off post. But the minute that soldier brought that weapon on to the post, it was not registered, and it under our rules and regs being utilized obviously illegally and with not proper clearance or foreknowledge by the command. He is married. His wife was being questioned. The last I was informed last evening, they’re natives to Puerto Rico.
Again, the background checks we’ve done thus far show no involvement with extremist organizations or any kind. But as General Milley said to me last evening, and I know the chief and I fully support, we’re not making any assumptions by that. We’re going to keep an open mind and an open investigation, and we will go where the facts lead us, and possible extremist involvement is still being looked at very, very carefully. He had a clean record in terms of his behavioral -- no outstanding bad marks for any kinds of major misbehaviors that we’re yet aware of.
So you know the conditions of those who were involved in the incident. There were three victims who have tragically lost their lives. The other killed in action in that -- in that moment was the shooter, who took his own life when confronted by a military police officer, a female -- 16 others wounded, three that were considered critical, the others of varying severity but considered by and large stable. But we obviously are going to continue to make sure they get the best of care because we want to ensure absolutely that no bad thing comes out of this more than it already has. So that is pretty much what we know at this moment, chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Secretary.
SEC. MCHUGH: And it it’s appropriate, I’ll yield to the chief or -- for the posture comments.
SEN. LEVIN: General?
GENERAL RAYMOND ODIERNO: Chairman, if I could just add a few comments. First, once again, we talk a lot in the Army that we have an Army family, and we’ve lost young people who are part of our Army family, and we take incredibly serious.
For me, this is close to home. I’ve spent a lot of time at Fort Hood personally. I was a brigade commander, division commander and a corps commander at Fort Hood. I understand the resilience of that community, the resilience of the people there, how proud the soldiers are of what they do. And we will do everything we can to ensure they continue to move forward.
I would just say that I believe that some of the procedures that have been put in place following the incident 4 1/2 years ago did help us yesterday. The alert procedures that were in place, the response, the training that has gone into the response forces that responded I think contributed to making this something that could have been much, much worse.
So we will continue to monitor the force of the Army, and the resources of the Army will be behind Fort Hood. We are very confident in the leadership of Mark Milley, who is -- I think as many of you know just returned from Afghanistan as the commander of the corps over there and is a very experienced commander, and we will continue to support them.
The only thing I would add to the facts that the secretary provided, that this was an experienced soldier. He spent actually nine years in the Puerto Rico National Guard before coming on active duty. So he’s a very experienced soldier, had a -- had a one-year deployment to the Sinai with the National Guard and then had a four- month deployment in Iraq.
It was the last four months at the end of 2011, from August to December, 2011. We will continue to work and work through this issue and continue to investigate. And as we do that, we will provide information to all.
The only other thing I'll say is there's great interagency cooperation. The FBI has provided significant assistance, as well as the State of Texas, as well as the Veterans Affairs, as the secretary pointed out. So we will continue to work this. We have an incredibly talented, resilient Army. We'll be incredibly -- we'll continue to be incredibly resilient and move forward, but we are also -- reach out to our family -- the victims and the families of our victims of this tragic incident.
And that's all I have. If you want me to continue, I will continue with my statement.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. I think that would be appropriate, to give us now your posture statement.
GEN. ODIERNO: Chairman Levin, Ranking Member Inhofe, other members, thank you so much for allowing me to speak with you this morning. I first want to thank you, Chairman, for your 36 years of service and all you have done for us as the chairman of this committee and your leadership -- your bipartisan leadership in always supporting our soldiers and families and also holding us accountable for doing what's right for our soldiers and for our national security. I want to thank you, sir, for that.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. I very much appreciate that. Thank you.
GEN. ODIERNO: Despite declining resources, the demand for Army forces actually continues to increase. More than 70,000 soldiers are deployed today on contingency operations and about 85,000 soldiers are forward-stationed in nearly 150 countries, including nearly 20,000 on the Korean Peninsula. Our soldiers, civilians and family members continue to serve with the competence, commitment and character that our great nation deserves.
A typical day for our soldiers includes patrolling alongside our Afghan National Army partners, standing watch on the Demilitarized Zone in Korea, providing security for an embassy in South Sudan, manning missile batteries in Turkey and Guam and assisting recovery efforts from the devastating mudslide in the state of Washington. As we consider the future roles and missions of our Army, it's imperative we consider the world as it exists, not as one we wish it to be.
The recent headlines on Russia's annexation of Crimea or the intractable Syrian civil war, artillery exchanges between North Korea and South Korea, just to name a few, remind us of the complexity and uncertainty inherent in the international security environment. It demands that we make prudent decisions about the future capability and capacity that we need within our Army.
Therefore, we must ensure our Army has the ability to rapidly respond, to conduct the entire range of military operations -- from humanitarian assistance and stability operations to general war. We certainly appreciate the short-term predictability in FY '14 and FY '15 afforded by budget levels in the bipartisan budget agreement.
The bipartisan budget agreement supports an FY '15 Army funding level of 120.5 billion (dollars), but in reality it is still 12.7 billion (dollars) short of our request. The budget agreement will allow us to begin to buy back some short-term readiness by funding additional combat maneuver rotations, thereby increasing the amount of forces trained and ready for decisive combat operations.
However, we still are required to make tough choices and had to reduce our modernization efforts by ending four programs, restructuring 30 and delaying 50 programs. We continue to take significant risk in our facilities, sustainment and home station training.
The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review builds on the defense priorities outlined in the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance. Last year, I testified that we can implement the defense guidance at moderate risk with an end strength of 490,000 in the active Army, 350,000 in the National Guard and 202,000 in the U.S. Army Reserve. And I stand by that assessment.
However, sequestration is the law of the land. And it will return in fiscal year '16 without immediate congressional action. The readiness gains achieved in FY '15 will quickly atrophy as we are forced to reduce future planned rotations and other planned training activities in order to fund immediate operational requirements. Sustained readiness requires sustained training dollars and investment.
Our modernization accounts will receive a 25 percent reduction with no program unaffected. Major weapon programs will be delayed, severely impact in the industrial base, both in and near and long-term.
Under sequestration for next three or four years, we will continue to reduce end strength as quickly as possible while still meeting operational commitments. As we continue to draw down and restructure into a smaller force, the Army will continue to have significantly degraded readiness and extensive modernization shortfalls.
At the end of FY '19, we will begin to establish the appropriate balance between end strength, readiness and modernization but for an Army that is much smaller. From FY '20 to '23, we begin to achieve our readiness goals and reinvest in our modernization programs. We will have no choice but to slash end strength levels if sequestration continues in order to obtain that proper balance.
As I said earlier, we'll be required to further reduce the active Army to 420,000, the National Guard to 315,000, the U.S. Army Reserve to 185,000. At these end strength fundings levels, we will not be able to execute the defense strategy. In my -- in my opinion, this will call into question our ability to execute even one prolonged multiphase major contingency operation.
I also have deep concerns that our Army at these end strength levels will not have sufficient capacity to meet ongoing operational commitments and simultaneously train to sustain the appropriate readiness levels. The president's budget submission supports end strengthen levels at 440(,000) to 450,000 in the active Army, 335,000 in the Army National Guard and 195,000 in the U.S. Army Reserve. I believe this should be the absolute floor for end strength reductions.
To execute the end strength strategy, it's important to note that as we continue to lose end strength, our flexibility deteriorates, as does our ability to react to strategic surprise. My experience tells me that our assumptions about the duration and size of future conflicts, allied contributions, and the need to conduct post-conflict stability operations are optimistic. If these assumptions are proven wrong, our risk will grow significantly. Under the president's budget, we'll achieve a balance between end strength, readiness and modernization three to five years earlier than under sequestration, and that would occur around fiscal year '18 and at greater total force levels.
In order to meet ongoing and future budget reductions, we have developed a total force policy and close collaboration within the Army and Department of Defense. The secretary of defense directed that the Army not retain structure at the expense of readiness. Additionally, the secretary of the Army and I directed that cuts should come disproportionately from the active force before reducing the National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve. Our total force policy was informed by the lessons learned during the last 13 years of war. We considered operational commitments, readiness levels, future requirements as well as costs. The result is a plan that recognize the unique attributes, responsibilities and complimentary nature of each component while ensuring our Guard and Reserves are maintained as an operational and not a strategic reserve.
Ongoing reductions coupled with sequestration level cuts over the next seven years will result in a total reduction of 150,000 soldiers and 687 aircraft and up to 46 percent of our brigade combat teams from the active Army. The National Guard will be reduced by 43,000 soldiers, 111 aircraft and up to 22 percent of the brigade combat teams it currently has. The U.S. Army reserve will be reduced by 20,000 soldiers.
The end strength cuts to the active Army will represent 70 percent of the total end strength reductions, compared with 20 percent from the National Guard and 10 percent from the U.S. Army Reserve. This will result in the Guard and Reserve's comprising 54 percent of the total Army end strength while the active component will comprise 46 percent. The Army will be the only service in which the reserve outnumbers the active component.
Under sequestration, we cannot afford to maintain our current aviation structure and still sustain modernization while providing trained and ready aviation units across all three components. Therefore, we've developed an innovative concept to restructure our aviation fleet to address these issues. Overall, we believe this plan will generate a total savings of $12.7 billion over the pom (ph).
Of the 798 total aircraft reduced under this plan, 687, or 86 percent, will come out of the active component, and 111 aircraft, or 14 percent, from the National Guard.
We will also transfer about a hundred UH-60s to the National Guard.
As with end strength, we are disproportionately taking cuts from the active component aviation, and in fact we will eliminate three full combat aviation brigades out of the active component, while the National Guard sustains all of its brigade structure.
This plan allows the Army to eliminate the obsolete airframes, modernize the fleet and sustain pilot proficiency across the total force. The result is active and reserve aviation force mix with more capable and prepared formations that are able to respond to contingencies at home and abroad.
Let me be very clear. These are not cuts we want to take but we must take, based on sequestration. I believe our recommendation delivers the best total Army for the budget we have been allocated.
The secretary and I also understand that the American people hold us to a higher standard of character and behavior. Combating sexual assault and harassment remains our top priority. Over the past year the Army has established more stringent screening criteria and background checks for those serving in positions of trust. Army commanders continue to prosecute the most serious sexual assault offenses at a rate more than double that of our civilian jurisdictions, including many cases that civilian authorities refuse to pursue. We appreciate the continued focus of Congress as we implement legislative reforms to enhance the rights of survivors and improve our military justice system. We continue to take this issue very seriously, and I also know how much work remains to be done in this area.
We are also aggressively and comprehensively attacking the issue of ethical leadership, individually, organizationally and through systematic reviews. We've initiated 360-degree assessments on all officers and especially commanders. We've implemented a new officer evaluation report to strengthen accountability. For our general officers, we conduct peer surveys and develop specific ethic-focused -- as part of our senior leader education program. We have also implemented 360-degree assessment for our general officers.
We will also appreciate help with two issues impacting our ability to maintain the right balance for our Army. First is the Base Realignment and Closure process, which is a proven fair, cost- effective means to address excess installation capacity. With the reduction of over 200,000 soldiers from our Army and lower budgets, we need a BRAC to reduced unsustainable infrastructure. Second, we are extremely grateful for the high-quality care and compensation provided to our soldiers. We have endorsed proposals that recognize their incredible service while allowing us to better balance future investments in readiness, modernization and compensation.
We must keep in mind that it is not a matter of if but when we will deploy our Army to defend this great nation. We have done it in every decade since World War II. It is incumbent on all of us to ensure our soldiers are highly trained, equipped and organized. If we do not, they will bear the heavy burden of our miscalculations.
I'm incredibly proud to wear this uniform and represent the soldiers of the active Army, the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve. Their sacrifices have been unprecedented over the last 13 years. We must provide them with the necessary resources for success in the future.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you to the entire committee for allowing me to testify here today, and I look forward to your questions.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you both.
Secretary McHugh, do you have anything to add on the posture statement at this time?
SEC. MCHUGH: Mr. Chairman, I want to be respectful of the committee's time. I obviously have a statement, but by and large it tracks what the chief said. I fully endorse all the comments he made, and if it suits the committee and you, sir, I think I'll just -- if you'd like, I could enter that into the record.
SEN. LEVIN: That would -- that'd be fine. We will enter it into the record.
Let's start with a seven-minute first round. Secretary, first of all, let me -- let me thank you both for those very heartfelt comments about the events at Fort Hood. The Army stands as one, and I hope that everyone in that family knows that the Congress stands with them as one and that any -- as I mentioned, anything that we can do a to help -- be helpful in the aftermath of this, to help the grieving families and the installations, please just call on us.
We will all be there for you and for them.
On the question of sequestration, this is one of the issues which I believe we've got to hit head on. It's going to affect not just this year -- and it already has, despite a bipartisan budget agreement which has reduced somewhat the impact of sequestration -- it's going to have dramatic impacts, as you have just described, General, in 2016.
In the '15 budget, however, the administration has requested -- or not requested so much as opened up the possibility, I guess -- and I guess "requested" is accurate -- an additional $26 billion. Raising the caps by that much for FY '15 and -- as indicated is going to recommend additional revenues to pay for that additional $26 billion in spending above the Budget Control Act caps. I believe that the Army's share of that 26 billion (dollars) would be -- and correct me if I'm wrong on this -- 4.1 billion (dollars) for readiness and 3.4 billion (dollars) for the investment account. Does that sound about right?
SEC. MCHUGH: That sounds correct, Senator, yes.
SEN. LEVIN: All right. Can you indicate what priorities you would spend that share of those funds if, in fact, we authorized and appropriated that additional funding?
SEC. MCHUGH: Well, Senator, briefly -- and then the chief has submitted an unfunded requirements list that embodies the 7.5, and I'd let him detail that. But as you noted, it's basically 60/40, with 60 percent going to try to accelerate our readiness, recapture and also to some efforts with respect to SRM and other modernization programs that we view as vital.
SEN. LEVIN: Could you then submit the highlights, in your judgment, for the record? There is a request that we have already, I think, received now. Is that correct?
SEC. MCHUGH: Correct.
SEN. LEVIN: And then within that, are there highlights that you might want to mention?
GEN. ODIERNO: Yes, Chairman. First, again, about 1.8 billion (dollars) of that will be directly related to operational tempo, which is the training readiness styles which will be invested in all of the components to immediately increase their readiness. We've taken a lot of risk in base operations support, and we've -- about 1.5 billion (dollars) would be invested. What does that mean? That's our training facilities. That is our training ranges, which we've had to reduce the maintenance of and sustainment of and the building of, which impacts our overall training.
We also have not been able to keep up with our installation support structure. We've taken risks here. We're only funding that at 50 percent. So we put about almost a billion dollars back into that to help us sustaining the facilities that are necessary for our soldiers. We're also investing about $200 million in institutional training to continue to ensure that we improve and sustain our ability to train our noncommissioned officers, officers and new soldiers at the rates we think are appropriate to include initial aviation training and other things.
And then finally, we've invested -- it would go to high-priority modernization programs, such as the 864, the U860 (ph), the Gray Eagle's intelligence platforms that we have that are key for the future as well as engineer capability that we have not been able to upgrade and update that we know is essential, based on our experiences over the last 13 years.
In addition to that, I have submitted -- and it will come forward -- an initial $3.1 billion in ufers (ph) that are not included in that number, and most of that is a carryover from the shortfall that we had over the last couple of years, which goes again at more readiness.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you.
Now, the budget request includes numerous personnel-related proposals intended to slow the growth of personnel costs. Among these are a pay raise below the rate of inflation, a one-year pay -- one- year pay freeze for general and flag officers, a reduction in the growth of the housing allowance over time, a phased reduction in the subsidy for military commissaries, a series of changes to the Tricare program. Do you -- and there's further reductions, as you've indicated, in the end strength of the Army and the Marine Corps.
General, first of all, let me ask you, do you personally support these proposals?
GEN. ODIERNO: I do, Senator.
SEN. LEVIN: And were the senior enlisted advisers consulted with -- consulted during this process?
GEN. ODIERNO: We had several meetings that included the senior enlisted advisers.
SEN. LEVIN: Do they agree with these proposals?
GEN. ODIERNO: They do, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: On Army aviation, there's restructuring which has been proposed.And I think you highlighted it in your written statement, and I think you may have made reference to it in the -- in your oral testimony, including the fact that the Army National Guard would transfer low- density, high-demand AH-64 Apache helicopters to the active Army, and the active Army would transfer over a hundred Black Hawk helicopters to the guard. And my question is, do these -- all the service chiefs approve that recommendation? I'm asking you now as a member of the Joint Chiefs. Did all the service chiefs approve that?
GEN. ODIERNO: In the -- in the meetings -- we've had several meetings within Department of Defense, and we've all agreed to the budget allocation and how we would conduct a budget to include ARI in that, Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: And that is included in this?
GEN. ODIERNO: Yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: And did the secretary of defense approve? I'm talking about that specific proposal --
GEN. ODIERNO: Yes --
SEN. LEVIN: -- because that's going to be one of the issues which is going to be very closely debated here and very closely analyzed here. And so I want to know if everybody approved that -- the secretary of defense approved that?
GEN. ODIERNO: Yes, Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: And how about the chief of the National Guard Bureau? Did he approve it, or did he at least have an opportunity to --
GEN. ODIERNO: He was in every meeting that we conducted when we had discussions, both internal and external to the Army, within DOD.
SEN. LEVIN: OK, one quick last question, if I have about six seconds left: I believe it would be helpful if the president would announce a specific troop level number for the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan after 2014 as quickly as possible and not wait for a bilateral security agreement to be signed by the next president. It obviously is not going to be signed by this president of Afghanistan. And I think it would be helpful in terms of steadiness and stability and certainty and confidence about an ongoing presence in Afghanistan if the -- our president would announce a specific troop level for that presence after 2014.
And my question, I guess, would be of you again, General. In your view, would that be helpful for Afghanistan's security through the rest of this year?
GEN. ODIERNO: Senator, I believe that the sooner we can come and provide them information that relays our commitment to them, I think it helps us as we move forward in Afghanistan.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much.
SEN. INHOFE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I -- Secretary McHugh, last night we were together at a -- an event where we had a lot of people from Fort Sill in Oklahoma when you got the phone call of the tragedy that took place. And I know that buzzing around the room there was even though it's happened twice at Fort Hood, it could just as well have happened at Fort Sill and other pieces -- places. Is that right, from what we know now?
SEC. MCHUGH: From what we know now, we're viewing this as a threat across the entire Army.
SEN. INHOFE: Yeah. Yeah.
You know, I think it was kind of prophetic yesterday during that hearing -- I think I mentioned this in my opening statement -- that Senator Ayotte was kind of challenging that we haven't really done enough and expressed a concern. And just coincidentally, hours after that is when this took place. And I know that that was a -- meant a lot to all of us. And since this happened just last night, do you have any just immediate thoughts about this that you'd like to share with us?
SEC. MCHUGH: Well, I think Senator Ayotte is posing a statement that we question ourselves about every day and certainly particularly this day. While I would suggest we have done a great deal since the tragedies at Fort Hood in 2009, both across installation-type measures and to what we're doing to try to track insider threats and what we're trying to do to make sure we can identify those soldiers who may have the kind of behavioral health challenges that could lend them to violence -- we're doing things a lot differently. And as the chief has mentioned, as we watched some of the events unfold yesterday, we saw some of the benefits and gains made out of that Fort Hood -- first Fort Hood experience.
But something happened, something went wrong, and we need to know what that was, and if we failed in some way against our current policies, we need to be honest with ourselves and with you and hold ourselves accountable. But if we identify new challenges, new threats we hadn't recognized before, we have to put into place programs to respond to them.
SEN. INHOFE: Well -- and I appreciate that. General Odierno, I wrote down one of the quotes that you made in your opening statement, is that we could barely sustain one long-term contingency operation. Did I write that down correctly? And were talking about with a force of 450,000?
GEN. ODIERNO: That was with a force of 420(,000). And I said it would be very -- I -- in my opinion, it is doubtful that we'd be able to conduct one prolonged, sustained, multiphase campaign.
SEN. INHOFE: OK, that's a strong statement. And I -- this is the time for strong statements. People have to understand the situation that we're in. Now, with that, you would be -- you're probably assuming that would be with a trained and ready force, is that correct?
GEN. ODIERNO: That's correct, sir.
SEN. INHOFE: And that would be a -- to -- moderate to high risk, or what risk level?
GEN. ODIERNO: It would -- it would -- it would be high risk, sir.
SEN. INHOFE: Already high risk, even with a ready and trained force?
GEN. ODIERNO: Yeah, it has to do with the size. It's about the size, which is -- you know, you've reduced your active component, you've reduced your National Guard, you've reduced your Reserve. And it has to do with assumptions. And if it goes past one year, it will be very difficult for us to sustain that in the long term, based on the capabilities and capacities that we'd have.
SEN. INHOFE: But you know, General, we never talk about this, but there are a lot of people out there that don't like us. And we've got a lot of countries that have great capability relative to ours now. And this is something we haven't really had to live with before.
And I -- and I know that they're aware -- it's not just us in this room that are aware of that statement, that we can just do one. If we're in the middle of one long-term contingency operation, you know, what do you think is going through their minds, potential adversaries out there?
GEN. ODIERNO: Well, the thing we talk about all the time is, you know, one of the things we -- the reason we have an Army and armed force is to prevent conflict, deterrence. And deterrence is a combination of capacity and competence. And it's important for us that we have the capacity and confidence that is interpreted by others that compels them not to miscalculate. And what I worry about is miscalculations that could occur.
SEN. INHOFE: Well, the whole thing back in -- back when -- during the Reagan administration was the deterrent that is offered by our strength and our force. And I think we all agree with that.
I did some checking just this morning. We've gotten back as far as the beginning of World War II. You talked about the fact that we would, if we're -- if we're having to go on down to sequestration, of course, the big problem is going to be the year 2016.
You'd be talking about 420,000 active, 315,000 Army Guard and 185,000 Army Reserve. So the reserve component, when you add those together, is 500,000. And I think -- are we overlooking something? Because we went back as far as World War II and we've never had the reserve component larger than the active component. Do you think that's accurate?
GEN. ODIERNO: I'd have to go back and look. What I would tell you is over the last 10 years that that has been the case, where the reserve component is bigger than -- the active component is bigger --
SEN. INHOFE: Yeah, any thoughts or comments about that?
GEN. ODIERNO: Well, I think -- I think -- it's a -- it's a -- it's a tricky combination. What I would say is it is -- as I say all the time, we are very complementary. We need all three of the components. They're very important to our strategy. However, they bring different attributes. The attributes that the active component brings is a higher level of readiness and responsiveness.
As we reduce the size of the active component, the responsiveness and the ability to do this is significantly degraded. And that's the cause for concern. We still need the Guard and Reserve levels because they provide us the depth and capability in order to execute longer- term strategies. And they also provide us some very unique capabilities that we don't have in the active component.
SEN. INHOFE: Well, let me compliment you. You have been outspoken. You've actually said things that sometimes others don't. One of your quotes was: If we do not have a legislative solution that provides our leaders with the time and the flexibility to shape our force for the future, we will create a hollow force, we'll very quickly go to extremely low levels of readiness in the next six months.
And then, you had made a statement before the House Armed Services Committee that if sequestration were allowed to occur, the Army would begin to grow hollow within months. Are we hollow now?
GEN. ODIERNO: We are in some ways, because we cannot sustain the level of readiness that we think is appropriate. We are rebuilding it this year because of the bipartisan budget agreement. So we'll make some progress in '14 and '15, but in '16, as sequestration comes back in line, readiness will immediately dip again.