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with the DLA and with the secretary as sort of the advocate or spokesman for the CINC. And I would do that.
I must admit, any agency the size of the DLA, I think we should be looking at all the time.
Mr. NICHOLS. Mr. Lally.
Mr. LALLY. Mr. Chairman, one of the criticisms made of the agencies is that there is no accountability or responsibility in the heads of the agencies. The sponsor of the legislation says that he would prefer to see the responsibility in the politically-accountable secretaries of the military departments.
Do you think that is a valid criticism of the management of the agencies?
Admiral CROWE. Well, in a certain sense, of course, the accountability is in the various secretaries who have the responsibility to oversee those agencies now. It may not be as rigorous as the drafter wanted it to be. But I know in the case of the one that we oversee—and that's DIA-he reports directly to me. He gets as much accountability and overseeing as any commander in the services gets. He is literally in the chain of command, so to speak. His product is reviewed by my organization every day. We watch his performance daily. We watched it in the Philippines situation. We watch it in the Mediterranean. We watch it in the Far East. We rely on him. The trouble is, from his standpoint, with us relying on him, that if he doesn't perform, we know it right away.
Mr. LALLY. Each of the other agency heads has a similar chain of command to an assistant secretary?
Admiral CROWE. Yes; most of them do.
OFFICE OF THE CHAIRMAN,
THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF,
Washington, DC, March 12, 1986. Hon. LES ASPIN, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Your Committee will meet soon to consider H.R. 4068, a bill to abolish the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), in addition to your other bills relating to Defense Department reorganization.
During the past weeks, several present and former Defense leaders (both military and civilian) have appeared before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Investigations to state their concerns about the disestablishment of DLA and the necessity for its continued existence as a separate DOD operating agency.
When I testified before the Subcommittee regarding the aspects of Defense Department reorganization, I did not address the DLA issues in any detail. Therefore, I would like to supplement my testimony by taking the opportunity now to emphasize the importance of DLA to both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the combatant commands.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff support the continued operation of PLA. DLA plays a key role in maintaining the readiness of our Armed Forces and providing logistic support of our warfighting requirements. Of the 2.6 million consumable items DLA manages, 98 percent are repair or replacement parts; over 790,000 are used on 973 weapons systems identified by the military Services for intensive management. Its supply availability rate of nearly 90 percent, which is higher than any of the individual Services, attests to its efficient and successful management. Additionally, DLA participates in JCS exercises to ensure that its wartime capabilities satisfy the CINC's mission needs.
From its establishment in 1962, DLA has grown in responsibility and importance. Its success in running a complex business is documented. It has mustered economies of scale that would be lost by fractionalizing its mission back to the Services. H.R. 4068 would return us to the uneconomical methods of the past and would undo over twenty years of progress. I urge your support to ensure this legislation is not enacted. Sincerely,
WILLIAM J. CROWE, Jr.,
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mr. LALLY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. NICHOLS. Mr. Chairman, one of the issues that causes more flap and more concern and more conversation than virtually any one that has been brought up is the deputy chairman.
Admiral CROWE. Never has so much steam been made out of so little water, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. NICHOLS. Well, those are your words. What is the problem, as you see it, in what we are doing here? We created a deputy chairman. Most everybody says they support the need for a deputy chairman, that the chairman ought to have a deputy.
Admiral CROWE. I agree with that wholeheartedly. I think the other Chiefs do.
Mr. NICHOLS. Yet they want to relegate him to the very bottom of the totem pole. They want to make him sixth around that table in rank. They don't want him to be the second-ranking man on it. They don't want him to serve in your absence. They want to continue doing that on a 3-month basis, quarterly basis. The argument is that they become better Chiefs by virtue of the fact that they have had the experience of sitting in your seat when you are not there, and that makes him quite valuable.
Would you discuss not necessarily your views on it but what you see is the apprehension that surfaces among the Chiefs on this particular issue? What's the rationale, what is the reason for their concern on this?
Admiral CROWE. For the concern between two and six, Mr. Chairman?
First, I would like to say that there is a need for a deputy. Just the sheer workload and the representational load and the insistence that somebody at this rank do so many things and be responsible in so many ways has over the years I think, manufactured the need for a deputy. That is my main personal interest in it.
The Chiefs that I have talked this over with agree with that. The question as to whether-really, the only question at issue here is whether, when I am out of town, the deputy would stand in my shoes or whether they would continue to rotate, as they do now, between the chiefs of service.
Mr. NICHOLS. Well, that other issue is there on his rank, also.
Admiral CROWE. Well, that is correct, if he was to be the number two man in rank, he would be my alter ego.
That, of course, is an issue which in itself excites a certain amount of emotion. But in the short time I have been there, I am impressed with the argument that it is important for the Chiefs to have a sense of jointness. It's important for us to develop that and for them to have a sense of participation. Standing in for the Chairman does help in that regard. Really, there is no question about that. The question is how much weight you give to the argument. But it is true, and it's irrefutable, that it helps them as participants in the JCS process. I think it's true, and they make this argument, that it helps them be better Chiefs of service. I believe that. In the time that I have been there, I have changed my own mind and come to the view that they should remain in the rotation, the Chiefs should.
Mr. NICHOLS. Are there any further questions?
Mr. KASICH. Mr. Chairman, I just think he is a great leader for our country. I am glad he is out there heading it up right now.
Admiral CROWE. Thank you.
Mr. BARRETT. Earlier on, in talking about the Chiefs and their relationship to the service secretaries, you indicated that we should be careful to leave an independent sphere for the Chiefs with regard to their Joint Chiefs of Staff duty. It has been recommended, however, that the Chiefs be required to keep the secretaries fully informed of all of their responsibilities, including their JCS responsibilities.
Do you object to that sort of proposal?
Admiral ČROWE. No. And I was not aware it was a problem until I read some of your testimony the other day. If it is a problem, it has not been drawn to my attention in any forceful way. But, no, I do not object to that.
I assume that there are some matters-operational classification, or security classification-that, frankly, I think the same rule should apply to the service secretaries that applies to me. That is, if you don't have a need to know, you don't know it. If there's a need to know, why, of course, they should know it.
Mr. Kasich. If I could make an observation-Admiral, you can respond if you want to. You know, in trying to listen through all the testimony that we have had over the last couple of weeks, I want to tell you that it has been difficult to try to analyze what advice we are getting that is right and what advice that we are getting that is not correct. We have had such tremendous divergence of opinions in many of these areas.
It kind of bothers me. The reason it bothers me is, we are trying to make a decision based on the evidence and based on the facts. What I don't quite understand is how we could have such divergent points of view from people who are presently active and those people who are not presently active or those who operate in different capacities. How am I, as a civilian Representative, supposed to know what is real good advice that comes from those who are giving advice to our President when that advice appears to be so different at each different level of people who come before this committee?
Admiral CROWE. Well, my advice is good, Mr. Congressman. [Laughter.]
My father used to tell a story about the man who was 95 years old. The reporter was interviewing him and said: “Ninety five, you must have seen a lot of changes in your life.” And the old man said: “Yup, and I've been against every one of them.” [Laughter.]
I think there's a lot of that in the testimony here. I do not envy your task, because for some reason this subject seems to excite all kinds of emotions. It also has to do with the distribution of power. When you start redistributing power, people get a little touchy about it.
Your job, which I say I don't envy, is to separate good advice from emotional advice, separate the wheat from the chaff. It is a very tough job. I have been a little surprised at how fervent people hold views on this, but there are a lot of views. It's tough.
Again, I go back to the evolutionary principle, as opposed to revolutionary. I think there are things that should be done to improve our system. But I think we should go slowly and deliberately. I would much rather see the Congress make some changes and revisit this area frequently. I think that's one of the problems today. You really haven't revisited it in a long time, in a big way. Our technology, our bureaucratic arrangements, the complexity of what we are doing is changing every day.
I do not agree with the people who say the JCS system is broke. If you really understood the number of issues they deal with and what they have done over the last 10 or 20 years, I think they have performed very well. But what is happening is just more and more responsibility, more and more issues, more and more things are being thrust upon the whole bureaucracy. That means that some changes are in order. There are improvements that can be made. I know for a fact that the Chiefs agree with that. We think what you are doing is very important, Mr. Chairman. We are interested in improving our ability to carry out our responsibilities. We want to work with
you in doing that. I don't think any of the Chiefs of service or the Chairman himself would contend there are no changes that should be made; it's just not true. There are changes. But I think we should go slowly and deliberately and see how our changes work before we go too far.
Mr. Kasich. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. NICHOLS. Just let me respond to that. I haven't seen any great list of changes that have been recommended by the Chiefs. But I am still waiting for that, Admiral.
I am just kidding you a little bit.
Admiral CROWE. I understand what you are saying. I think some of the changes, though, if you come to me and ask for them, are ones you have already included in your bill. And I am hoping, Mr. Chairman, you are going to see some of this in our review of JCS Pub 2.
I am only one of five, so I better be careful what I am predicting.
Mr. Kasich. Mr. Chairman, if I could follow on to that, I didn't want to say it. Chairman Nichols has been here 22 years. He can say some things that I have to be careful about saying until I get a little more experience under my belt.
But I want to tell you, Admiral, that if we were to write a bill based on the recommendations of the Chiefs that were in here, we would have no bill. I mean, listen to the Chiefs. You would come to the clear conclusion that there is nothing wrong and that all the problems that we had in the past, including resources available to the CINC's, budget-planning across service lines, had all really been pretty much corrected. What we heard from people who are not active has been, to a large degree, different, including the testimony that we received this morning. That bothers me because I worry that I am not getting square answers to the questions, unless their point of view is so dramatically different than everybody else's and it's not a question of them trying to protect their particular turf. They took issuance with the quotes that I made that came from you about a lack of resources. And so did the heads of the Services themselves, the civilian heads. I'll tell you, it gives me a lot of concern about who to believe and when when we face decisions beyond this, like Lebanon, when I have to listen to what they say when they come up on the Hill.
As a young person, who I hope is going to be here for a while, I have to figure out who to listen to and who is legitimate in terms of what they are saying so I can make darn good decisions in my role. And I am doing it for honestly legitimate, deep-down concerns about my country.
Admiral CROWE. Mr. Kasich, I really don't like to recommend my own stuff, although I write very well, but in the statement I made before the Senate Armed Services Committee, I laid out a few philosophical principles, not speaking to specific issues. In that, I said the reason this—and I believe this with all my heart—the reason this is such a tough question is that the issues we deal with are tough. There is no organizational system you are going to devise, no organizational system that is going to make those issues easy. They are tough today, and they are going to be tough tomorrow, no matter what the organizational lines on the diagram look like. Now, certain organizations are better than others, and I agree with that. I think all of these people are testifying from their own lights, their own experience, their own vested interests. I do believe that a lot of people are testifying on the basis of experience they had a few years ago which is not directly relevant today. There have been some changes and improvements made in the last 2 years that are low key but nevertheless substantial, to make our way of doing business easier.
In fact, in every one of these areas that we have discussed, something has been done. If it is any comfort to you-I am not so sure it is—but if it is any comfort to you, the very fact that you are examining this and are serious in your work has had a great impact over in my business.
Mr. NICHOLS. Gentlemen, a member of the committee, Mr. McCurdy from Oklahoma, had a question that he wished to be asked. Let me yield to Mr. Barrett to ask that question.
Mr. BARRETT. Sir, there are several subparts to the question. It deals with net assessment.
As you know, many on the Armed Services Committee have been interested in seeing service program justifications expressed in strategic terms, backed up by thorough and high quality net assessment.
The first question is, should the Chairman of the JCS have a net assessment office, as the House-passed bill recommends?
Second, how can we improve the assessment?
Third, do the CINC's currently express their priorities in net assessment terms?
Fourth, should the CINC's have the capacity to task net assessment capabilities?