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Staff assistants present: Dara R. Alpert, Daniel K. Goldsmith, and Thomas C. Moore.
Committee members' assistants present: B.G. Wright, assistant to Senator Byrd; Frederick M. Downey, assistant to Senator Lieberman; Andrew Vanlandingham, assistant to Senator Cleland; Jeffrey S. Wiener, assistant to Senator Landrieu; Elizabeth King, assistant to Senator Reed; Davelyn Noelani Kalipi, assistant to Senator Akaka; William K. Sutey, assistant to Senator Bill Nelson; Eric Pierce, assistant to Senator Ben Nelson; Neal Orringer, assistant to Senator Carnahan; Brady King, assistant to Senator Dayton; Benjamin L. Cassidy, assistant to Senator Warner; Christopher J. Paul, assistant to Senator McCain; J. Mark Powers, assistant to Senator Inhofe; George M. Bernier III, assistant to Senator Santorum; Robert Alan McCurry and James Beauchamp, assistants to Senator Roberts; Michele A. Traficante, assistant to Senator Hutchinson; Arch Galloway II, assistant to Senator Sessions; Kristine Fauser, assistant to Senator Collins; and Derek Maurer, assistant to Senator Bunning.
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR CARL LEVIN, CHAIRMAN
Chairman Levin. Good morning. The committee meets this morning to receive testimony from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers on the posture of United States Armed Forces and on the President's proposed defense program for fiscal years 2003 to 2007.
We all have known General Myers for many years, but this is his first opportunity to testify before the committee as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We give him a special welcome, and we welcome all of our witnesses today on this very important subject.
As we meet today, America's Armed Forces continue to risk their lives in and around Afghanistan and, of course, in other places around the world. Some have been injured in Afghanistan, others have given their lives. This Nation is forever indebted to them and their families for their sacrifice.
Senator Warner and I traveled to the Afghan theater to visit with our forces over Thanksgiving. Other members of the committee have since traveled to the region, and I know that my colleagues join me when I say that these men and women are nothing short of inspiring. They are performing a complex, challenging mission with extraordinary courage, skill, and determination. They know their mission and they know that America appreciates and supports them.
The success of our forces has been remarkable. Osama bin Laden, if alive, is on the run and hiding. Many of his al Qaeda terrorists have been captured or killed. The Taliban regime that harbored them is no more. The Afghan people have been liberated from tyranny and an interim government is in place in Kabul. Nations around the world have been put on notice America is determined to protect itself from more attacks and to bring terrorists to justice.
The excellence behind that success was not built in months. The success of our forces in Afghanistan is a tribute to our recruitment, training, and investments over many years, and it is a tribute to the leadership of the two witnesses that we have here today. Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers, the country is grateful for your leadership of our Armed Forces during this dangerous time for our Nation.
This committee will look carefully at the conduct of the operations in Afghanistan as we work with the Department of Defense to shape our forces for the future. On Thursday, the committee will receive testimony from the commander of Operation Enduring Freedom, General Tommy Franks, in both open and closed session.
One of the lessons of this operation is that we enhance our security when we make common cause with other nations in pursuit of common goals. The path to a safer world and a more secure America rarely comes from a go-it-alone approach, but rather from working with allies, partners, and other nations, and from remaining engaged in critical regions of the world.
Future success on the battlefield will also depend on success in managing the Department of Defense and in preparing our military for tomorrow's missions. The Department's budget request provides important funding for the war against terrorism and improves the quality of life of our forces and their families by increasing pay and benefits, especially health care. It includes funding for increased purchases of precision munitions and for unmanned aircraft, which proved so critical to the success of our military operations in Afghanistan.
The administration is proposing the largest increase in military spending in two decades. This proposed increase comes without a comprehensive strategy or a detailed plan to guide that spending. The administration has not yet issued a national security strategy, a national military strategy, or a detailed plan for the size, structure, shape, and transformation of our military.
We all appreciate the pressures on the Department while it conducts a war. At the same time, I trust that Secretary Rumsfeld agrees that an overall strategy and clear plans are essential if we are to make wise decisions on the future of our Armed Forces.
We also continue to await a report on the steps that the Department plans to take to ensure that taxpayers' money is spent wisely. The administration is requesting $48 billion above the fiscal year 2002 level. In his last testimony before this committee 7 months ago, Secretary Rumsfeld candidly stated: "I have never seen an organization that could not operate at something like 5 percent more efficiency if it had the freedom to do so." He went on to say that the taxpayers have a right to demand that we spend their money wisely, and further said that he could not tell the American people that we are doing that.
The committee will be interested to hear how much progress has been made on this front. I know that the Secretary is active on many fronts. Waging a war is number one, and some of these other needs and considerations have to be delayed. But I know as soon as the Secretary is able to address these issues that he is going to do so while carrying on the other more pressing and more comprehensive responsibilities.
Finally, we look forward to the Department's plan for carrying out what the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) called the military's highest priority: homeland security. A new combatant command will apparently coordinate the Department's role in homeland security. Congress awaits the decision on how the Pentagon intends to organize itself to oversee this mission. General Myers testified at his confirmation hearing in September that "this whole issue of homeland defense or homeland security needs a lot more thought." The committee looks forward to the specifics which Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers could share with us this morning on that important mission.
America's Armed Forces are performing admirably in their fight against al Qaeda. This committee will do all in its power, as it has done in years before, to ensure that our forces have the resources, tools, and technology they need to prevail in their fights. We are determined to preserve a high quality of life for our forces and their families, sustain readiness, and transform the Armed Forces to meet the threats and challenges of tomorrow. At this point, I would like to submit the statements of Senators Akaka and Landrieu.
[The prepared statements of Senators Landrieu and Akaka follow:]
Prepared Statement By Senator Mary L. Landrieu
Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this invaluable hearing to discuss the Department of Defense's budget posture for fiscal year 2003, the future spending priorities for our Armed Forces beyond 2003, and, of course, America's response to the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
Since September 11, Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has shown deft leadership in guiding his department in the war efforts against those who made a poor decision when they targeted America for their misguided wrath. Secretary Rumsfeld's response to the terrorist attacks has been measured and wholly appropriate. He moved deliberately and with great scrutiny to develop a plan that would increase security. The Secretary has crafted a mission for our Armed Forces and the Nation that will root out terrorist cells around the world and bring them to justice.
General Myers, you are the embodiment of the fact that those who serve in our Nation's military are America's best and brightest. Your guidance and confidence lead every soldier, sailor, airman, and marine to be expertly trained, confident in themselves, and confident in the person next to them. Americans can sleep better tonight knowing that the Joint Chiefs, the commanders in chiefs (CINCs), and other uniformed leaders, with you in the cockpit, are working in unison to create the best methods to defend our shores, ensure liberty, and defeat our enemies.
I want to paraphrase Winston Churchill's words of caution, as we are only at the end of the beginning of this war, but the war is progressing well. In 4 short months since we attacked al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan, those forces have fled and are now in disarray. In a formerly lawless land, an interim government has been established, music is playing in the streets, and despair and destitution have been replaced with hope. Again, our mission is far from over, as Osama bin Laden's presence is unknown and al Qaeda cells exist in 30 or more other countries. But, we will provide justice for those who died as a result of September 11 bombings, and we will win the war on terrorism.
Yesterday, President Bush officially released his budget for fiscal year 2003. I support the President's call for an expanded and more robust defense budget. America is at war, and we must spend whatever is necessary, yet prudent, to protect and secure our citizens and allies and thwart our enemies. As I stated previously, I concur with the President that the war on terrorism will be a long war. It will not end in Afghanistan. Rather, America must be prepared to fight this war for years to come in new and different ways.
Nevertheless, while I applaud the President's goals and his tremendous determination and perseverance as our commander in chief, I am concerned that the President's budget does not most effectively and efficiently provide for the defense of our Nation, our Constitution, and those in uniform who defend our Nation and constitution.
(1) Quality of life and military construction: While the President's budget makes important strides to improve housing on our military bases and gives military personnel a 4.1 percent pay raise, the military construction budget actually represents a $1.6 billion decrease in funding in fiscal year 2003 versus fiscal year 2002. This decrease from $10.6 billion to $9 billion is disheartening in light of the major increases President Bush has endorsed. The budget proposal cautions against widespread repairs to bases that could be closed in the next Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round in fiscal year 2005. There is value in that statement. Yet, we must make necessary repairs to best provide for the men and women in our Armed Forces. We cannot jeopardize the quality of life of our troops.
Despite our superior technology, wars are and always will be won with people. The men and women in our Armed Forces are our most vital asset, and we must dedicate critical resources to them. In fighting a war, a military is only as strong as its weakest link. Soldiers with low morale are poor soldiers. The first step toward creating a sound and lethal fighter is to provide him or her with the necessary tools and support to grow, flourish, and be confident. Those tools include training facilities that are modern, providing a sound education and opportunity for the service man or woman's spouse and children, providing comfortable housing, and providing quality healthcare to the service member and his or her family.
We cannot maintain our greatness if we are not committed to the upkeep of our base communities and robust investment in infrastructure. As General Myers has stated, it would currently take 100 years to make the necessary re-investments in infrastructure to rehabilitate our bases. To wait a century is unfathomable and unacceptable. We cannot house our troops in quonset huts for another 100 years. If we do, our superiority as the pre-eminent military in the world will be jeopardized and our retention and recruitment rates will suffer mightily. It is inexcusable for the administration's commitment to quality of life to decrease at a time when our troops should know that their government places them in high esteem.
(2) DOD must commit to defending the homeland. Prior to World War II, America rarely involved itself in international affairs, and the military was primarily concerned with defending our borders from enemy attack. Since World War II, our military has expanded abroad, and our military now has a reach on every continent. Along the way, the focus became not to defend America at home, but to defend her abroad. I support DOD's need for a global reach and presence, but I fear that along the way, DOD has grown less concerned with the defense of a direct attack on American soil and less concerned about actively participating in homeland defense.
As this reluctance has grown, the American people are more desirous than ever to see the Department of Defense re-establish itself as America's guardian at home, not within Europe or Asia. Since September 11, DOD has grappled with how to best defend the 50 states, but what seems best to DOD as a matter of ease and status quo does not seem best to providing a definitive defense and counter-attack to future invasions at home.
In furtherance, I am pleased to see President Bush commits $9.3 billion for antiterrorism efforts, but the meager $700 million for counter-terrorism only indicates that DOD is not interested in involving our military at home. National Guard units are well-trained and can respond to an attack, but they cannot provide the muscle or the sense of security that the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines can deliver. Our ultimate responsibility is at home. DOD must not be constrained by the notions of "Posse Comitatus." This antiquated law must not stand in the way of providing our Nation with the best self-defense.
I recognize that plans and reforms to the way our military positions itself within the United States cannot materialize overnight. However, such plans must materialize and not fall prey to the status quo. I maintain hope that modifications of the Unified Command Plan will establish a definitive chain of command responsible for homeland security and defense. No idea should be dismissed, including the creation of a CINC for homeland defense. Any new command or revised chain of command must have all the necessary resources and manpower required to defend against and defeat invaders. American citizens expect and deserve such protections.
(3) We must make a commitment to science and technology. The Department's science and technology programs play a key role in our efforts to transform our military to meet the emerging threats of the 21st century. The Quadrennial Defense Review, which was published last year, stated that DOD must invest 3 percent of its funding toward science in technology. The fiscal year 2003 defense budget calls for an 11 percent increase in expenditures, yet the science and technology budget did not receive the funding supported by the QDR. Rather, the science and technology budget was cut by nearly $200 million. In fact, this year's budget falls $1.4 billion short of the 3 percent goal. If the QDR is meant to be a roadmap for the Department of Defense, it should not be so quickly dismissed by those who authored it.
True transformation—a stated goal in the QDR and in the President's budget— will come through the advancement of DOD science and technology programs, so, in essence, transformation has been dealt a blow by the very same budget proposal. The research and industry supported by the science and technology budget enable Americans to quickly bring their innovations into the battlefield. Such innovations save lives In the past, science and technology funding has advanced warfighting and peacemaking at break-neck speed. As a result, our troops now have biological sensors, precision weapons, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and more at their disposal in Afghanistan. Surely our casualties would have mounted without them. Yet, the dedication to science and technology is absent from the President's budget. I hope this departure from the goal of transformation within the President's budget proposal does not pervade the congressional review process of the budget or harm our service members.
I am proud of our the men and women of our Armed Forces for their response to September 11 and the vigor in which they have fought the war on terrorism. No one would have expected any less because they have such a fine leader in General Myers. I am also grateful for the leadership shown by President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld, and the entire Cabinet. President Bush's budget proposal is a good basis from which to fight the war on terrorism, and I agree with the document in large part, including a call to increase spending for fiscal year 2003. Nevertheless, I think there are some fundamental areas of our Nation's defense that are not adequately addressed in this budget proposal. I look forward to working with the President, Secretary Rumsfeld, and General Myers to best provide for our Nation's defense during the coming year.
Prepared Statement By Senator Daniel K. Akaka
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I add my welcome to Secretary Rumsfeld and Chairman Myers this morning, and thank them for taking the time to discuss the fiscal year 2003 budget request with this committee. I am pleased to see the continued emphasis on quality of life for military members as reflected in the military construction amounts in the budget request.
I support the administration's priority on improving the warfighting readiness of our forces through increased training resources and the enhancement of joint training.
I remain concerned, however, about our ability to maintain the superior readiness of the United States military in light of the increased Operations Tempo (OPTEMPO) and potential expansion of the war on terrorism.
I am also concerned about the administration's decision to eliminate pay parity between the Federal workforce and the military. As we are reminded of how indistinguishable personal safety is from national security, it is critical to remember that human expertise is the most important national security resource we have. This expertise is important to the homeland security functions of both the military and the Federal Government.
I look forward to working with the administration to dedicate the necessary resources to ensure national security, maintain the United States military superiority and readiness, and enhance our homeland security.
Chairman Levin. I will now turn to my partner, Secretary—"Secretary"—Senator Warner. Senator Warner. Years ago. Chairman Levin. And proud of it.
STATEMENT OF SENATOR JOHN WARNER
Senator Warner. Mr. Chairman, that was an excellent opening statement and it parallels in large measure the statement that I was going to deliver. Therefore, to save time, I will ask to put my statement in the record and just make a few heartfelt remarks.
First, Mr. Secretary, we are privileged to have your lovely wife with us this morning. I know she does not wish to be singled out, but she does exemplify the spouses who stand behind the men and women of the Armed Forces and indeed those in the civilian service throughout the Department. It has been a tremendous and arduous task for all of you here, particularly since September 11, and I wish to commend her and all in like positions.