tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN February 2, 2016 5:15pm-6:01pm EST
congressional leaders and their staffs. going forward from this point, i suspect we'll see some of you tomorrow at the defense writers group and a think tank session kindly hosted by csis tomorrow, as well. the following week there are commissioners will travel to the united states army sergeants major academy. you might guess who might lead that team. also, to the united states military academy, the command and general staff college and a bit later in the month to the army war college. there are also scheduled sessions with the governors' council, later with the adjutant general schedule and a hearing
house armed services committee on the 10th of february. schedule a hearing as well as we go forward. the commission staff will remain in place. the commission dis exists for 90 days beginning after today after the releases of defense. so with that, again, thank you for your attendance. let me turn to colonel chris dixon who has very ably handled all of our public affairs and media relations over the past many months. she'll be our facilitator. for a period of questions and answers. two rules. if you're a commissioned staff member, you are not allowed to ask any questions. and the second rule is all hard questions go to the sergeant major of the army. >> thank you, sir. thank you, sir. >> secretary lamont just whispered in my ear.
there is, for a small number of you in the room, there's a classified annex that offers the summary of much of the work that we did that underpins several of the recommendations. so those with the requisite security clearance that need to know they have access to that classified annex as well. colonel dixon? >> thank you, sir. before we begin, i would like to go over some expectations or notes to the audience. so you can see we have cameras here in the house. it is c-span and fox. for c-span it's being taped for later tonight. for the press, the press who are here who have registered will be asking the questions. for those press who not preregistered, if you would like to answer a question, we would like to get you accommodated for after we're done here. for the press when i call on you, please restate your name and direct your questions to the chairman, general ham. he will answer those questions
or direct it -- mr. ham, not to me. he will answer those himself or direct them to another commissioner. keep your questions in relation to the report and the activities of the commission. so with that, we'll begin. john donnelly, congressional quarterly. >> can you talk a little bit about some of the feedback you've received and the brief beings you've given so far and a little bit about what kind of pushback you expect going forward, maybe preempt some of the arguments you expect to get. >> as we briefed the various organizations that i have addressed, for the most part they have not had the opportunity to read the report. some of the staff had the opportunity to review the classified annex. so we think that review -- we
know that review is ongoing now. we actually expect a more full discussion in the coming days. so the first discussions were simply to say frankly, we were mostly in transmit, saying here's what we did, here's what we found. and we're expecting here is the dialogue. >> can i add to that? >> sure. >> i expect one area of pushback will be costs. we made a number of recommendations. in the case of the apache transfer, we proposed an offset. many of the other areas, we didn't propose offsets related to the option, but we did propose some broad offsets, like efficiencies. dr. hicks discussed the two combat teams and possible disestablishment. if you tried to do everything in this report, the army would need added funding and i think that's going to be a potential pushback in an area the congress and the
administration will have to deal with. >> do you have any figures what the total additional costs would be? >> we focused on the aviation units for costing. if you did everything with no offsets, it's close to $1 billion a year in added costs and $2 billion in procurement costs. some of that we paid for, or would if they accepted our offsets. but there clearly is some added funding needed if we tried to do all of those things in aviation, and especially with the other short fall, meeting the other short falls that are identified. >> that's for all the aviation recommendation. >> right. the big one is retaining 11 combat aviation brigades in the regular army. that one alone adds $450 million a year in operating costs. and about $2 billion in procurement costs. >> the other thing that we
cannot lose sight of, and that's stated up front in this report, is sustaining the whole volunteer force. we're going to break the force if we're not careful. because we looked at risk in two ways -- risk to force, risk to mission. and we could very well break this force. we're way out of whack, or the equilibrium is not right. when you look at supply and demand. combat and commands are asking for army ground forces. that's what's being requested out there. and that's why we're making these recommendations. one, to help mitigate some of this risk, and, you know, there's one thing about it. when the nation calls and they call up the army, they expect us to deploy and not to ask how long it's going to take, but get there with the best trained
force and the best equipped force there is. and not take days to figure this out. that's what this nation expects us to do. >> austin wright, politico. >> thank you. does the offsets for slowing down blackhawk purchases, does that fully pay for the costs of the additional four apache battalions that the commission is recommending? and can you talk a little bit about that tradeoff? what would be the strategic down sides of slowing down the blackhawk purchases? >> the combination of slowing, reducing the number of blackhawk numbers and modestly slowing the modernization of buying five to ten a year, do fully pay for the added costs of the apache transfer. blackhawks are important.
they're assault helicopters. they carry troops into battle. they carry supplies. so you would have about 3% less of them to do that. our modelling suggests it's a lower risk area but obviously any time you have fewer forces, you are taking some risk. does that help? >> that helps, thank you. corey dixon. appreciate you guys talking with us today. you mentioned in the foreword a little bit of discord between some active duty troops that you've spoken with and national guard troops that you've spoken with. can you elaborate on what the issue might be there, and how do you go about fixing that? i'm sure it might be. you talked about it in the report, but i haven't read it yet. >> sure. i'll give the first shot at it
and others may wish to comment. i think in some cases, we found individuals principally in the regular army and the army national guard who made rather disparaging comments about the other component. some of that is budget driven. some of that is cultural. i think it's also manifested in the fact that over the past couple of years, as secretary lamont has mentioned, some reserve component units who were scheduled for deployment were off ramped and replaced by regular army units while there were budgetary reasons why that happened. it fostered a bit of mistrust, if you will, between the commissions. or between the components. i think the point of the commission is that's got to stop. the nation has one army. again, for sound reasons, three distinct interdependent, but each essential component, and it's when those components are
in proper balance and properly integrated that the nation has the one army that it needs. >> let me jump in here, too. i served in the guard until i was a little over 60 years old. in fact, i had an extension. that was not as long ago as smem of you might think. >> i was thinking about that. >> but back in the day, in the post-vietnam era, there was an issue of the guard not being the kind of force that it is today. beginning with desert storm, and as our equipment in training all dramatically increased in carrying through to the last 12 years, it has dramatically changed. so there's much difference there. those who have trained and worked and fought together, there's not a problem out there. you can't tell the difference between a guardsman and the regular army.
and i thaink our general offices here would certainly confirm that. there is a bit of a generational difference. some of those still go back to the era -- i would suggest some of our more senior folks, in both the guard and the army, some who prefer to see themselves maybe as weekend warriors, but not anymore for the rest of the group. we are not weekend warriors anymore. we are part of a one-army total force concept. and that's the way they want to be viewed. that's the way they want to be used. and we think that will change. it may be a little bit generational, but if you give them the right training and the right resourcing, there's no difference. and i think you'll see it gradually change. i think it has really in many areas already. but there's still vestiges of that cultural concern.
>> i'll pick up where the sergeant major was talking. >> i think it starts on the institutional side. it starts in the training. and you've got to integrate all components under the same training umbrella so that they're going through the same training together, to the same standards, and they understand the cultures they're coming from, but they also say -- the best example i can use, we used to have two drill sergeant schools in the army. you had one for the active army and one for the reserve. and one for the active army, you went and you went a number of weeks and you got certified as a drill sergeant. in the reserve, you went periodically each year during your annual training periods and over a period of time, you got trained as a drill sergeant. we abolished that. and we said if you're going to be a drill sergeant in the army, you go to one school. and you go for that length of time and you become a drill sergeant. what that resulted in is in the training bases, you go down to ft. bening, to ft. jackson,
whatever, you've got drill sergeants. you don't have reserve drill sergeants or active drill sergeants, you've got drill sergeants. they're all working together, and you can't tell what component they're coming from because they all train to the same standard. that to me is one of the key things we've got to do. get that train one-army school system really working. >> just real quickly. when the commission got to travel, and we traveled pretty extensively, i had the privilege to go out and talk to more junior soldiers. there was no argument whatsoever about i'm in the guard, is it regular army, or i'm in the army reserve. none of that. what you did hear was that i am in whatever component i'm in, to help fight and win our nation's wars and do what needs to be done. now, if i'm going to train, especially in the guard reserve extensively, and then not be used, that's going to frustrate me. if i'm going to go through additional training beyond the
39 days, and i'm going to prepare myself, for instance, for an ntc rotation, and then that's it, now let's pack it up and head home, there is a growing frustration out there amongst junior soldiers that hey, why am i doing this? and i think that part goes out to general thurman. we've got to use the garden reserve with what they're asking the army to do. if we don't take advantage of it, we will get to that tipping point where we're unable to get the people we need to do what the nation asks the army to do. >> and this goes to some of our concern when we talk about a 980,000-force one army. you can't just use half the army. the temple, the strain and stress on the active duty components is too much sometimes. particularly in various types of
units. special forces and so on. they're not at that one to two bog dwell. so we have to use the guard and the reserves as they want to be used to allow some of our regular army folks to take a knee on occasion. we need to do that. >> you know, in a few budget cycles, we could see full sequestration again, and a lot of recommendations require extra money and work within the constraints of the fy-16 budget request. so how might there be changes in your recommendations, or what effect will full sequestration or could it have on what you've recommended here that works within this constrained budget? >> our recommendations could not be sustained in an era of s
sequestrati sequestration. one thing that's mentioned early on is for re-examination of strategy to budget. so you can give more money. you can try to come up with extremely innovative ways. we looked hard. we didn't see anything so spectacularly innovative on the horizon that it negates the need for the size of the force that's ready and modernized as we have called for. right now the view is that national ambition is outpacing the budget, and that that condition will not fundamentally change in the near term. that the environment is unpredictable, but doesn't look to be demonstrably decreasing when the guidance was first issued in 2012.
when we're asked to look at the range of acceptable approaches, we had to think about the budget environment. but that is very unclear. we could be going back in two years under the budget caps. we could be going back to sequestration. we could have a different kind of decision at the national level on budget. so we tried to stay within a range of outcomes that we thought were likely, but we can't predict, we're not able to predict the future. >> i agree with everything dr. hicks just said. if you look at the hus history the defense budget, it is clearly cyclical with peaks. the reagan buildup. one of the few periods of relative peace. we're at the average level of a drawdown in terms of real
defense spending. i think if history is a guide, and given the threats this country faces, there's reasonable chance of increases in defense spending. and a new administration, and as dr. hicks said, hopefully a broad budget deal looks at more than defense spending, but entitlements and perhaps taxes as well. >> ellen mitchell, inside the army. >> so what extent did current events factor into the whole process, keeping in mind activities, ukraine with russia and isis and the growing threat of north korea? did you take into account any of these, and to what extent, if so? >> i'll start. one of the things we do address are the current anticipated security challenges that the
nation and the army will face. we do, in fact, talk about each of those threats that you just mentioned. the real challenge is that when these budgets were built and when this army was constructed and planned, those threats were not anticipated. we did not expect there would be a sizable continuing force in afghanistan. we thought there would be a very, very small force if any in iraq. isil was not on the planning horizon. the relationship with russia was envisioned to be very different, as it has developed, certainly the unpredictable nature of north korea. so those factored large. and in our considerations as we were required to do. but to look at our best-estimate of what we thought the future security environment would require of the army, and based our recommendations on that.
>> i think it's important to point out, with some exceptions that would probably have to be discussed, we're confident. we're confident about our capability to win decisively over any given adversary. but the difficulty, the complexities, the number, you know, what kinds of actions might the army be called upon to undertake that are overlapping in nature. that's where i think the department of defense -- that's the kind of work they try to do as well. and that's why we came up with a viewpoint that 980 equipped and ready, with the components used fully, can execute a reasonable combination of actions that we think the united states army might be called upon to execute as part of the joint force.
but we can't exactly predict how those will unfold, and that gives us a lot of pause, because we're right at that edge of confidence in our ability to do so. i just want to rush to say it's not that our army today can't concern. it's about the concern about the complexity of the environment. >> we also reached out to learn from others who are the experts in this field to identify what those risks are so we could make those kind of assessments. >> i think also what we looked at are the shortages we have right now today with this force, which we believe is minimally acceptable. you've got shortages in field artillery. shortages in short range air defense. you've got shortages in water
craft. you've got shortages in tactical mobility, transportation, water pu purification. so even with that force, the army is going to have to do some adjustments to meet some of the future requirements and some of the requirements have become enduring. that's in this chapter that i think if you take a look at it, you'll see there's been pretty good work done on the analytic of what is needed for not only now, but into the future. >> sydney freeburg, breaking defense. >> i'm way in the back in stealth mode. one thing that jumped out at me here, besides obviously the
aviation issues, the other big short fall you mentioned was short range air defense. not something we think about very much. is it the russian drone artillery spotter in ukraine that's bringing that to the fore? what's the specific threat that's driving you to say that's a real short fall, and besides dissolving two brigades, how do you fix that? >> when the army that exists today was planned several years ago, the threat from the enemy or adversary air forces to u.s. army ground forces was considered pretty low. that's changed. as we've seen that play out in syria, certainly in eastern ukraine, in crimea, we see potential adversaries who p
process increased capability. for all kinds of understandable reasons, there are today in the regular army no short range air defense battalions. they all exist in the reserve components, and a large percentage of the national guard's short range air defense is for all the right reasons and completely justifiable, committed to defense of the national capital region. we live under that umbrella right here, and we're thankful for that. but it leaves insufficient capacity for other army forces in other contingencies. >> the one thing i'd just add is yes, of course, the russian threat is critical, but we were extremely mindful, and hopefully you'll see in the chapter we have on the future challenges that those kinds of weapons, and this is true well beyond short range artillery issues, are
exponentially dissipating across the globe. so the russian and chinese arms market is quite extensive. we acknowledge the fact that technology is diffusing much more rapidly than probably was anticipated. and that's one of those threat areas that whether or not there is a specific russian challenge today, we should be anticipating that capability will spread across the globe. >> look at the proliferation of unmanned aerosystems. i can go to best buy right now and buy me a uav. i can go in just about any place and buy a uav and i can probably arm that thing. that is a threat to ground forces. where before we used to say we can mitigate that risk because we believe we've got the best air norse the world and we hadn't had a bomb dropped on us. well, that may not be true in
the future. when you look at this with the proliferation of these technologies. >> scott macion, federal news radio. >> good afternoon. you talk a lot about resententi and recruitment in one of your chapters. and i don't really see -- i see a lot of things about deployment, but not necessarily about defts or trying to kind of change the way that the soldier can kind of live life outside of the army per se.benefits or tryd of change the way that the soldier can kind of live life outside of the army per se. is that because you have faith in the force of the future and the performance that secretary carter is having? or do you feel that the army is already pretty steady in what they're doing now? or do they need changes and you just didn't get a chance to get around to it? >> i think it's perhaps a bit simpler than that. it was not in the law to look at those particular items, and nor did we have the time, energy, or
expertise to replicate the work done by the compensation commission and others. >> i concur with that. did a little more work on that one also. >> yeah, i think what we talked about before, one of the key things that the integrated personnel system -- because i think what you're getting to and what we'd all like to see is a continue washington mutu continuum of service. where someone joins the army. they don't join a component. and the recruiter says right now you're best suited to go into the national guard because you already have a job and you like where you live, whereas you don't have a job and you need a job and you need to go into the active component. but over your career, you may choose to go back and forth, or the army may choose to move you back and forth because your situation, your desires may change. and you may say over here, i've had enough of the active side, i'd like to move over here for a while to the guard or reserve and like wise, this guy wants to come active.
the pay in personnel systems make that very difficult. we need to be able to simplify that so that the individual and the army can manage their personnel across all three components as one army. and then tie in with the employment base out there to have that happening. to me, a great example, cyber. if we had a continuum of service and an agreement with companies like mcafee, microsoft, semantics and others that says we're going to constantly flow people back and forth, and so you're spending three years over here in the active side and now you're going to go to microsoft for several years, and while you're at microsoft, this guy is coming back over here, to maintain cutting edge technology and knowledge and everything. that's what the army of the future needs to look like. >> and we know some people want to do that. one of our visits was at ft. lewis in washington. we talked to a reserve unit.
we said are you able to take advantage of some of the cyber companies, the microsofts in washington? they said sir, yes, we have people who really want to serve. they'd love to come in and out, but they've served in reserves. you should see our parking lot. you should be surprised the kind of cars we have in our parking lot. >> the only thing i'd add is from a soldier perspective, the armies get a lot of different initiatives going on on how to better recruit and retain individuals. i don't think that was really part of our charter. i think our charter was how do we take a look at the total force policy and make recommendations to ensure that we do things more effectively and efficiently at the army national guard and army reserve levels, so we work together as
one team, focused on one team, which is to recruit an individual to be part of the total force. >> christina wong, "the hill." >> thank you. just two questions, one is simple. does that come with any kind of offset or recommendation? i wanted to know how far out in the future you looked, and dr. hicks, you swore you addressed part of this. the recommendation for a total force of 980,000, is that for the foreseeable future, and are the requirements expected to continue, at least throughout sequestration? i just went to look at the horizon the commission was looking at. >> with regard to the cost efforts, secretary hale mentioned.
>> short fall and short range defense capability, as general thurman has mentioned. but we did not make a specific recommendation to how many units that would lead to some cost estimate. that's for the army to make that determination. >> just to finish that piece, i'll go to the overall timeframe. >> in many cases, we recommend the army study them, or that congress tasks studying for them, because we felt as much analysis that we did, we know there's a wealth more that can be done. we felt it needed to be done in order to make those kinds of tradeoffs. we do put forward among the various things we talked about
here, secretary hale mentioned e fish sefficienc efficiencies, things like brac, and we did put on the table this notion of the two ibcts up to the two ibcts as potential trade space. but as secretary hale said, we recognized that even in the reality of what you're likely to get, there's probably more money, because a lot of these things are politically extremely difficult to do. on the timeframe, we looked out on ten years, ten-plus years, but i think ten is safe. you know, i would say strategists never believe that strategy is set. you always are looking and refining, so for tthat's where felt we are today and can comfortably say that for the next sort of two years. as you look ahead through the next cycle, budget cycle.
but that could change based on the environment. our assessment was looking at the world that we see ten years out, assuming all that stays relatively static, that's the size of force. if modernized appropriately and ready, would be appropriate for that future. >> dan parsons, defense daily. >> you envisioned that the report as a whole recommends -- the recommendations would involve a net cost above what's available now. but given that it might be ambitious to achieve all of it, do you have a priority of recommendations that you would like to see accomplished such that you would feel that the commission's work was not done in vain? >> well, in general, i think no
matter what happens. i don't believe the commission's work is done in vain. it is our hope that we inform the discussion in the debate. none of us at this table are decision makers. that rests with the senior leadership in the department of defense, department of the army, the commander in chief of the administration, and with the members of congress and with the governors. so we hope that our report will offer them some food for thought, if you will, and some considerations as they anticipate their future requirements and face the very, very difficult decisions that they will have to make. we did not choose to prioritize -- we think recommendation a, b, c, or d is the most important. it won't surprise you we think all 63 recommendations are important. but they are offered in the spirit to help those who must make those decisions, consider those facts.
>> roxana terone, bloomberg news. >> i do not have a question. thank you. does any other member of the press have any more questions for follow-up? go ahead. >> i'd ask one follow-up. the report is critical of the army's aviation restructuring plan, saying it lacks strategic depth and it violates the total force policy. the fact that the army looked at this and came up with a plan that would take all of the guard's apache helicopters away, does that to you signal a breakdown in the budget process and that it favors -- the way the process works favors too heavily the interests of the active service versus the reserve components? >> i'll try first and then defer to the expert. i don't agree with that premise.
i think as we state in the report we believe the army's restructuring initiative was well-crafted, well-designed. it does in fact cut costs. and that's what it was intended to do, given the budgetary environment that the army faced. it does in fact in our assessment lead to obviously an absence of that capability in the army national guard. we think that's counter to the idea of one army. and in the modeling that we did it did in fact lead to a shortfall in capacity longer term in the case of an operational deployment. you still had the 24, or 20 battalions in the regular army that could meet immediate needs, but then you had nothing behind that. and that's one of the reasons as secretary hale mentioned that we offered the alternative that we did. >> so the army, like all the services, faced some very
difficult budget times. i was there with them and know the kinds of pressures that were put on them. i think they and the other services responded in good faith trying to find ways to meet those budget limits. the air force, for example, trade to retire all the a-10s. that hadn't worked out. we'll have to see what happens with a.r.i. but no, i don't think it's a breakdown, but i think when you step back and take a broader look at the a.r.i. and the decisions on the apaches that at least this commission feels that it would be better to modify -- we'd keep most of it but to modify it to keep a modest number of apaches in the guard for the one army and the other reasons i've mentioned. >> those of you who attended the first couple meetings are open meetings where we had testimony from the army budgetary and aviation leaders. the question was asked too them repeatedly, were it not for budgetary constraints, would you have crafted a.r.i. the way you did?
and the answer is universally no. it was driven by budget. this isn't ideal. they understand that. they did the best they could do under the circumstances and the facts that were given them. and what they were told to do. but it is not ideal. and we realize that it was a budget result frankly. >> all right. again, if i call on you, could you say your full name and your outlet? go ahead. >> roxanna -- i do have a question. you did brief obviously the stakeholders. i don't know if you can be open about this. but how was the report received initially? particularly obviously in the active duty army and on the hill. what's your sense of how the combinations were received? are you getting a sense it's going to be another long fight on the hill between the
stakeholders or did you strike a fine balance? >> i think it's too soon to tell. i will tell you that each of the groups we briefed, the briefing was received politely and respectfully. but in fairness to those we briefed they had not yet had an opportunity to delve into the report and understand its -- the comprehensiveness and in some cases the complexity of the recommendations. so we stand ready to continue the dialogue with those parties but i think it's too soon to tell. >> nor was it our province to make everyone satisfied or happy in this. we couldn't look at it that way. >> remember the motto we're not happy till you're not happy. we kind of followed some of that. >> jen? >> hi. jen johnson with defense news. now, looking at the apache -- potential apache buy for the guard, i'm curious if you dove
deeply into how and when those potential apaches could be fielded. i understand they probably have to be new-build aircraft and boeing would have to sort of ramp up a production line. they have a remanufacturing line but they don't have one for new-builds that's as quick. from my understanding. so it seems like that would be a very future down the road type buy than in the next couple of years. did you look at when you might be able to get guard apaches? >> again, i'll begin by turning to the two experts. it is important to recognize that the recommendations are distinct. the base recommendation that establishes our recommendation would establish 20 -- battalions of 24 aircraft in the regular army. four battalions of 18 aircraft in the army national guard can be paid for in the offsets secretary hale mentioned that
requires no new air frames. it does require as you mentioned the one-time cost to modernize the fleet that would move from apache d models to e models. but that capability exists today. shifting to the larger issue of an 11th combat to retain an 11th combat aviation brigade in the army national guard -- or in the regular army. that would indeed require a new buy of apaches. we did not delve into the specifics of that, particularly the timeline, when might it take a manufacturer to restart that line, retool and be ready to produce. we did have a rough cost estimate as general thurman and secretary hale mentioned, somewhere in the 1.9 to 2 billion range. >> so on the first one, and general hammond has it exactly right. the d to e modernization, 24. unless there's changes made in
corpus christi to speed up the production it's probably several years perhaps outside the fidp before they get -- that doesn't mean the guard wouldn't keep the battalions for four years. they would have d models in some of those. the new-buy as general hamm said, we did not delve into the details but it would be several years off before that could be accomplished. >> yes, dan. >> dan parsons. regarding the brigade in europe general hodges has said over and over again he's had to do with 30,000 troops what his predecessors had 300,000 troops to do. is it the commission's finding that the efforts to increase lethality, the european capability sets, the things that are being done now to build
partnership capacity are not adequate to perform the deterrence mission there? >> for the record i'm one of his predecessors. i don't recall 300,000. but i think -- yeah. but i take the point. we will break away and take to you exetexeter, new hampshir. florida senator marco rubio finishing third last night in the iowa caucuses. tonight in new hampshire wsh ahead of that state first in the nation primary, a week away, a week from tonight. senator rubio in exeter, new hampshire, live on c-span 3.