ADVANCE CONFIRMATION HEARING QUESTIONS
FOR LT GEN CHARLES T. ROBERTSON
More than a decade has passed since the enactment of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 and the Special Operations reforms. You have had an opportunity to observe the implementation and impact of those reforms particularly in your assignment as Vice-Director of the Joint Staff and during your assignment as Plans and Programming Officer, Strategic Forces, Directorate of Programs & Evaluation, Deputy Chief of Staff, Programs & Resources, HQ USAF.
Do you support full implementation of these defense reforms?
Answer: Absolutely. The Goldwater-Nichols Act was a much needed and very timely piece of transition legislation for our military. The issues articulated in the Act were real. Pre Goldwater-Nichols, insufficient JCS review, oversight of contingency planning, unclear chains of command, and inadequate attention to both the quality and training of officers assigned to joint duty hampered the efficient employment of our Armed Forces.
What is your view of the extent to which these defense reforms have been implemented?
Answer: Since 1986, the Joint Staff, the Unified Commands, and the Services have vigorously pursued the intent of the Goldwater-Nichols Act. Today, the corporate advice provided by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is detailed, meaningful, timely, and extremely influential. Our civilian leadership trusts that our armed forces can and will carry out our assigned missions in the most effective and cost efficient manner possible. The strategic planning, contingency planning, theater engagement planning, crisis response activities, programs and budgets of the Unified Commands and the services are in sync with the National Security Strategy and are based upon realistic combat and support force projections. Lastly, there has been an exponential leap in the quality and education of the personnel assigned to the various joint staffs. The Services now realize that joint experience is an absolute necessity in the career progression of its best and brightest officers and are resolutely filling their joint billet allocations with the same.
What do you consider to be the most important aspects of these defense reforms?
Answer: The most important aspect of these defense reforms has been the demonstrated improvement in the joint warfighting capabilities of the United States Armed Forces. Over the past twelve years, the Goldwater-Nichols Act has given us a focus on joint doctrine, joint professional military education, and coordinated military planning . Chains of command have been clarified from the National Command Authority all the way down to individual on-scene commanders. Today, our Combatant Commanders clearly understand their planning, training and execution responsibilities. Equally important, they understand that their ability to articulate their equipment resource needs and priorities weighs heavily in the services’ POM inputs and the overall Department of Defense fiscal planning effort.
The goals of the Congress in enacting these defense reforms, as reflected in section 3 of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act, can be summarized as strengthening civilian control; improving military advice; placing clear responsibility on the combatant commanders for the accomp1ishment of their missions; ensuring the authority of the combatant commanders is commensurate with their responsibility; increasing attention to the formulation of strategy and to contingency planning; providing for more efficient use of defense resources; and enhancing the effectiveness of military operations and improving the management and administration of the Department of Defense.
Do you agree with these goals?
Answer: Yes, I strongly agree with and support these goals. I base this upon the armed forces’ performance in the numerous contingencies that have arisen since passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act…typified by the synchronized strategy and tactical maneuvering which characterized Desert Shield and Desert Storm…and my personal experiences on the Joint Staff and HQ USAF. I also firmly believe that the Department of Defense has aggressively and resolutely stepped up to meet these goals.
Recently, there have been articles which indicate an interest within the Department of Defense in modifying Goldwater-Nichols in light of the changing environment and possible revisions to the national strategy.
Do you anticipate that legislative proposals to amend Goldwater-Nichols may be appropriate? If so, what areas do you believe it might be appropriate to address in these proposals?
Answer: I am aware of a number of proposals, past and present, to realign the current Combatant Command structure and to decrease the number of joint billets on the various staffs. Budgetary constraints, combined with a dynamic world security environment are driving us to look at restructuring as one means of maintaining our global military dominance. Studies such as the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the Defense Reform Initiatives, Management Reform Memoranda and ongoing Joint Staff strategic planning efforts are shaping what the future military will look like, not only in terms of combat capability, but also in terms of force structure, equipment, etc. Based on the outcome of these studies, the Goldwater-Nichols Act may require amending, and some reshaping of the combatant command structure.
Section 162(b) of Title 10 United States Code, requires that the chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense, and from the Secretary of Defense to the commanders of combatant commands. Other sections of law and traditional practice, however, establish important relationships outside the chain of command. P1ease describe your understanding of the relationship of the Commander-in-Chief, United States Transportation Command to the following offices:
The Under Secretaries of Defense.
ANSWER: Under current DOD Directives, Under Secretaries of Defense coordinate and exchange information with DOD components, including combatant commands, having collateral or related functions. In process and in practice, this coordination and exchange is normally communicated through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If confirmed as a combatant commander, I will respond and reciprocate accordingly.
The Assistant Secretaries of Defense.
ANSWER: With the exception of the Assistant Secretaries of Defense for C3I, Public Affairs and Legislative Affairs, all Assistant Secretaries are subordinate to one of the Under Secretaries of Defense. This means that any relationship USTRANSCOM would require with any Assistant Secretary of Defense would be through the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness, or the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology. Since the Assistant Secretaries of Defense for C3I, Public Affairs and Legislative Affairs are SECDEF’s principal deputies for overall supervision of C3I, Public Affairs and Legislative matters respectively, any relations required between USTRANSCOM and ASD(C3I) and ASD(LA) would be conducted along the same lines as those discussed above regarding relations with the various Under Secretaries of Defense.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
ANSWER: The Chairman is clearly established by Title 10 as the principal military advisor to the National Command Authorities (NCA). However, he serves as an advisor and is not, according to the law, in the chain of command that runs from the NCA directly to each combatant commander. The law does allow the President to direct that communications between him or the Secretary of Defense and the combatant commanders be transmitted through the Chairman, and President Clinton has directed this to happen though the Unified Command Plan. This action keeps the Chairman fully involved so that he can execute his other legal responsibilities. Certainly a key responsibility is his role as spokesman for the CINCs, especially on the operational requirements of their respective commands. While the legal duties of the Chairman are many and they require either his representation or personal participation in a wide range of issues, if confirmed as a CINC, I will have an obligation to keep both the Chairman and the Secretary of Defense promptly informed on matters for which they may hold me personally accountable.
The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
ANSWER: When functioning as the acting Chairman, the Vice Chairman's relationship with the CINCs is exactly that of the Chairman. The 103rd Congress amended title 10 to give the Vice Chairman the same right and obligation that other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have to submit an opinion or advice to the President, National Security Council, or Secretary of Defense, if their views disagree with those of the Chairman. As a CINC, I would readily consider the Vice Chairman's thoughts on all defense matters. Finally, because the Vice Chairman also plays a key role on many boards and panels that effect programming and resources, and therefore the preparedness of USTRANSCOM, I believe his insights are extremely valuable, and I would certainly seek his counsel.
The Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
ANSWER: To meet their responsibilities, CINCs must be fully engaged in the interagency process as it considers matters under their purview. I know that the Assistant to the Chairman has an extensive charter to represent the Chairman, both in the interagency process, as well as in a wide variety of other official capacities. While there are no direct lines connecting the Assistant to the Chairman to any combatant commander, what the Assistant knows and can share about the interagency process, especially as it applies to the mission requirements and efficient and effective performance of USTRANSCOM, will be both welcome and sought after.
The Director of the Joint Staff.
ANSWER: This relationship is a very familiar one to me, having served as the Vice Director under both General Powell and General Shalikashvili. The Director of the Joint Staff has many significant responsibilities which require interaction with USTRANSCOM. Most importantly, the Director is generally the point of contact for soliciting information from all the CINCs when the Chairman is developing a position on any important issue.
The Secretaries of the Military Departments.
ANSWER: The Secretaries of Military Departments are responsible under Title 10, for the administration and support of the forces they have assigned to combatant commands. The authority exercised by a combatant commander over Service components assigned to his command is quite clear, but requires a close coordination with each Secretary to ensure there is no infringement upon those lawful responsibilities a Service Secretary alone may discharge.
The Chiefs of Staff of the Services.
ANSWER: The Chiefs of Staff of the Services have two significant roles. First and foremost, they are responsible for the organization, training, and equipping of their respective Service. Without the full support and cooperation of the Service Chiefs, no CINC can hope to ensure the preparedness of his assigned forces for whatever missions the NCA directs. Next, as members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Service Chiefs have a lawful obligation to provide military advice. Individually and collectively, the Joint Chiefs are a source of experience and judgment that every CINC can call upon. If confirmed as Commander-in-Chief, USTRANSCOM, I intend to pursue a full and continuing dialogue with the Chiefs of all four Services, as well as with the Commandant of the US Coast Guard.
The other combatant commanders.
ANSWER: If confirmed, my relationship with the other combatant commanders will be one of mutual support, continued dialogue on key issues, and frequent face-to-face interaction. In today's security environment, an atmosphere of teamwork and complete trust is critical to the successful execution of U.S. national policy.
Strategic mobility requires the coordination of many assets. One of the keys to this coordination is communications.
How will you ensure the assets available to TRANSCOM have the capability to communicate with TRANSCOM and each other?
Answer: USTRANSCOM and its components have an aggressive information systems configuration management process that ensures compliance with applicable DOD joint interoperability regulations and initiatives. USTRANSCOM is exploiting World-Wide Web technology in a variety of ways to improve transportation planning and operations. The warfighter should be able to rapidly access these systems and receive accurate information over the WWW with nothing more than a laptop computer and a telephone line. To ensure that the information on USTRANSCOM systems is always available when needed and that it remains secure and uncorrupted, it also maintains an aggressive security posture. Computer firewalls with real-time intruder alerting features and a reliable Anti-virus program protect the data and ensure decision makers are provided with the proper information at the right time. USTRANSCOM’s Global Transportation Network (GTN) is the Crown Jewel of Defense Transportation Command, Control, Communications, and Computer Systems (C4S). Both DOD and commercial information systems feed GTN which allow it to act as the central information umbrella for all DOD transportation activities and the central DOD platform for intransit visibility (ITV). Effective use of ITV can markedly decrease shipping time, manpower requirements, and acquisition and transportation rehandling costs. It also helps maximize use of common-user lift assets and increase port throughput. The ability of these information systems to communicate with one another and to provide near real-time ITV will be one of the true hallmarks of "focused logistics" as we enter the 21st Century.
How will the projected changes in the threat and the reduction of overseas bases affect the mix of USTRANSCOM’s strategic mobility triad of prepositioned ships, airlift, and sealift?
Answer: While the Mobility Requirements Study (MRS) Bottoms Up Review Update (BURU) assumed sufficient overseas infrastructure, including airfields and seaports, to conduct strategic deployment, several important airfields have closed since the completion of that study. Past and present demands have strained the remaining facilities and raised questions about the sufficiency of the overseas air mobility infrastructure. USTRANSCOM will specifically assess en route sufficiency for air mobility in MRS 05. Meanwhile, USTRANSCOM has focused its most important current infrastructure concerns on recapitalization of runways, ramps, and fuel systems at en route airfields. In keeping with the findings of a recent Joint Staff study, as well as USTRANSCOM’s En Route Studies, USTRANSCOM has worked with USEUCOM, USPACOM, and DLA to develop recapitalization plans. For example, DLA has allocated 80% of their fuels MILCON FY00-05 POM to en route projects.
As to the changing threat, USTRANSCOM must continue its effort to counter the threat from weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological weapons. Such weapons can severely hinder strategic mobility industrial infrastructure and particularly threaten the civilian partners in the CRAF and VISA programs. Consequently, USTRANSCOM has become one of DOD’s strongest proponents for improved detection, protection, and decontamination capability. They are actively engaged in several joint projects intended to address the WMD threat, including the development of national standards for decontamination. Even more importantly, they have published intended procedures for conducting mobility operations in a WMD environment. This should allow their customers, the warfighting CINC’s, to develop alternative plans designed to minimize the threat of such weapons.
Procurement funding shortfalls in the Department of Defense are well documented.
What is the scope of the TRANSCOM modernization shortfall in the FYDP FY 99 through FY 2003?
Answer: USTRANSCOM measures its shortfalls against the requirement as determined by the Mobility Requirements Study (MRS), subsequently validated by the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and the MRS Bottoms Up Review Update (MRS BURU). They are in the process of reviewing requirements once again, and those results will be promulgated as Mobility Requirement Study 05 (MRS 05). The following are the USTRANSCOM modernization shortfalls in the FY 99-03 FYDP:
Sealift Capacity. The MRS BURU requirement for the Surge Sealift Fleet is 10.0M sq. ft. by FY01. There is currently 7.1M sq. ft. of capacity, leaving a 2.9M sq. ft. shortfall. The most critical element in the overall program is the acquisition of the Large Medium Speed Roll-on/Roll-off (LMSR) ship. The LMSRs being fielded to the Surge Fleet will allow USTRANSCOM to retire Ready Reserve Force (RRF) breakbulk vessels, which are both less-capable and more costly to maintain.
Despite the success of the LMSR program, even when it is fully fielded, USTRANSCOM will still be 550K sq. ft. short of the MRS BURU requirement. Examining alternatives, there is the potential to add approximately two ships worth of militarily useful area (200K sq. ft) through the expansion of existing Roll-On/Roll-Off vessels. These expansion projects are funded in the FYDP. However, this still leaves a 350K sq. ft. shortfall of the validated requirement. Acquisition of this remaining capacity remains an issue which USTRANSCOM is actively working.
Airlift Capacity. USTRANSCOM identified Global Air Traffic Management (GATM), KC-135 PACER CRAG avionics modernization, and Material Handling Equipment as modernization shortfalls during the FY 99-03 budget process.
GATM provides required aircraft equipment upgrades and improvements, consisting of advanced communications, navigation, and surveillance (CNS) equipment, to enable aircraft to operate in a new airspace environment which relies more on space-based, vice land-based navigation facilities. USTRANSCOM identified a comprehensive requirement for the air mobility fleet of $2.4B which was only partially funded for some weapon systems for a total of $573.2M. Although they received nearly $1 billion in plus-ups, significant shortfalls remain for the C-5, C-130 and OSA aircraft.
The KC-135 modernization shortfall was fully funded during the FY99-03 FYDP. KC-135 modernization included the installation of PACER CRAG cockpits, providing a state of the art avionics package for these aircraft.
USTRANSCOM attempted to restore funding lost in the FY97 budget process for the 60K Tunner loader. The program’s progress continues to improve; however, the funding shortfall has continued into the current cycle. $40.3M is required in the out years to procure the required loaders.
In addition, since the end of the FY99-03 cycle, a number of modernization shortfalls have surfaced which USTRANSCOM is working in the current cycle, including C-5 airframe and avionics modernization, and aircraft defensive systems.
What will be your priorities in requesting funding for those shortfalls?
Answer: If confirmed, my funding priority for these shortfalls, unchanged from the current CINCTRANS priorities, follows:
- Global Air Traffic Management
- Strategic Sealift Capacity
- C-5 Modernization
- Material Handling Equipment
- Aircraft Defensive Systems
On what will your priorities based?
Answer: My proposed priorities are based on the unique needs of the defense transportation system. Self protection for air mobility units is a top priority, but maintaining access to optimum airspace and airways, sealift capacity, and handling equipment necessary for rapid force deployment worldwide are even more essential.
Are there any changes you would recommend to the present process by which the CINCs provide their input to the budget request system?
Answer: I believe the present process by which CINCTRANS provides input to the budget request system is adequate. Currently, the Services provide an excellent level of scrutiny and review during the Planning, Programming and Budgeting System (PPBS) process, while providing significant advocacy and oversight for key transportation programs. CINCTRANS has the "checkbook" for USTRANSCOM Defense Transportation System (DTS)-related initiatives, which provides him the capability to proactively initiate and fund DTS improvements. .
Integration of Human Resources
What is the biggest challenge you anticipate in integrating active forces, reserve forces and civilian assets in carrying out USTRANSCOM’s primary mission areas?
Answer: Prior to Desert Shield/Desert Storm, USTRANSCOM’s formal mission was wartime only. During Desert Shield, the Command and its components identified a number of problems with the transition from peace to war. Since February 92, TRANSCOM has been the Single Manager for the Defense Transportation System during Peace and War. Today, they are operating as a fully integrated, efficient and effective Transportation system. However, there still are challenges:
Early access to Reserve forces is necessary to begin the strategic flow of manpower and equipment to rapidly deploy combat forces. Reserve forces work every day with their active duty counterparts at both the Headquarters and at the Component level as members of a fully integrated team. Early mobilization of USTRANSCOM reservists is critical to move the force.
In a similar vein, federally employed civilians and civilian contractors make up a significant portion of the USTRANSCOM team (virtually 100% of USTRANSCOM's sealift capability is provided by contract employees). The CINC must be assured that these individuals remain responsive in a wartime scenario. The challenge also is to manage change orders and changes in work conditions, arising out of a shift to a contingency environment, so as to prevent disruption in services or undue cost to the government.
Do you have any plans for improvements in USTRANSCOM’s support of the Army and Marine Corps afloat prepositioned ships strategy?
Answer: USTRANSCOM manages the Army afloat prepositioned ships through a Memorandum of Agreement. Military Sealift Command (MSC), as a component of USTRANSCOM, carries out those management duties. MSC also manages Marine Corps prepositioning, but as a component of the Navy. As such, MSC and USTRANSCOM constantly work with their DOD partners and customers to ensure the highest quality service is provided. And, in fact, several important changes are taking place in afloat prepositioning. Eight Large Medium Speed Roll-on Roll-off (LMSRs) ships are being phased in to the Army prepositioning ships program; USMC is adding 1 ship to each MPSRON, and USAF is moving to containerization of prepositioned ammunition…recently replacing one of their prepo vessels with a container ship.
Port and Airfield Availability
In your opinion, are sufficient port and airfield on-load and off-load assets available in CONUS and in the most likely conflict areas to rapidly move the equipment and supplies that are required over the total range of conflict?
Answer: Assessments of the sufficiency of CONUS and overseas ports and airfields to support strategic mobility are highly "scenario dependent." Overseas, whether mobility supports a small-scale contingency or a major theater war (MTW), our forces require access to host nation ports and airfields. In some cases – particularly for the air mobility en route system – our forces require friendly nation airfield resources at locations that may or may not be directly involved in the contingency (for example, any US response in Southwest Asia will require air mobility en route basing in Europe and will usually require access to peripheral Gulf State airfields as well). USTRANSCOM should continue to work with the geographic CINC’s to ensure the Strategic Mobility requirements for overseas ports and airfields are met in planning for the total range of conflict. The Command should also continue to support the Army and Navy in the development of a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability for those scenarios where fixed port facilities are degraded or denied by enemy forces.
In CONUS, I believe constraints in the availability of ports and airfields for the most demanding MTW requirements are being adequately addressed. The Army Strategic Mobility Program should improve key installations, ammunition depots and ports - -including rail, airfield, and staging area upgrades, West coast containerized ammunition port facility improvements, and other installation-specific projects. Also, the National Port Readiness Network is functioning to dialogue and plan with DOT and the nation’s commercial port industry to ensure wartime requirements can be met in order to minimize our permanent presence at commercial ports.
Finally, the present inventory of aircraft loaders, called Material Handling Equipment (MHE), used at aerial ports for on- and offloading US military and Civil Reserve Airlift Fleet aircraft is currently very old and unreliable. That said, I believe the new Air Force 60K loader and Next Generation Small Loader (NGSL) programs will provide the equipment needed to meet future MHE requirements.
Over the past severa1 months, significant problems have arisen with the readiness of the TF-39 engines on the C-5 aircraft. This problem has reduced the availability of this airframe which has a direct impact upon the ability of our strategic airlift assets to support two major theater wars.
What actions are TRANSCOM and the U.S. Air Force taking to improve the reliability and availability of the C-5 aircraft?
Answer: C-5 reliability, maintainability and availability (RM&A) performance has continued to decline since FY91, despite significant management attention and modification initiatives designed to reverse the trend. Inherent design limitations in C-5 subsystems associated with 1960s’ technology cannot be overcome without a complete modernization effort. In regards to the health of the TF-39 engine, AMC has transitioned to three levels of maintenance by establishing engine regional repair centers at Travis and Dover AFBs, to increase engine overhaul capacity. While these management actions have helped to recover from a critically short spare engine level, they have failed to significantly affect the decline in C-5 performance. In response, AMC has developed a comprehensive plan to both meet GATM requirements and to upgrade RM&A performance on the C-5 to acceptable levels. The plan consists of three major efforts: Upgrade of the C-5 engine’s High Pressure Turbine, modernization of C-5 cockpit avionics, and re-engining of the entire C-5 fleet.
The TF-39 engine High Pressure Turbine (HPT) suffers from turbine blade erosion. It is the leading cause of engine removals and is the leading culprit in an extremely low time on wing (TOW) – less than 1,200 hours, compared to TOW for commercial aircraft of 8,000-12,000 hours. HPT replacement allows increased turbine operating temperatures and will more than double the TOW…not optimum compared to our commercial counterparts, but certainly a tremendous low cost, short term improvement. HPT is a relatively inexpensive, fast-payback program, significantly reducing engine flying hour costs. Current costs are only $256K per engine, and payback occurs in only 3.5 years. In the long term, however, it does not address the majority of the reliability problems in the TF-39. Again, this is almost exclusively a consequence of outdated engine technology.
The Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) includes upgrading avionics to GATM compliance, improving navigation and safety equipment, and installing a new autopilot. This equipment includes upgraded global positioning system (GPS) receivers, a new traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS), and new ground collision avoidance hardware. The AMP also replaces an extremely unreliable autopilot with highly reliable digital technology. This will provide a tenfold increase in reliability.
The third step of this comprehensive C-5 modernization plan is re-engining…a program which includes new engines, pylons, and auxiliary power units, with upgrades to aircraft skin and frame, landing gear, and the pressurization system. Replacing the aging TF-39 engine fleet with a commercial-off-the-shelf engine will substantially increase C-5 reliability. Studies have validated that re-engining will increase RM&A to acceptable levels, with substantial increases in aircraft availability and on-time departure reliability. Additional benefits which accrue with re-engining are a 22% increase in thrust (along with some corresponding increase in wartime mission throughput), a reduction in fuel consumption, and Stage III engine noise compliance.
Are there any similar problems with other airlift assets?
Answer: None of our other aircraft have the magnitude of the problems which currently face the C-5 nor, as a consequence, are there any with the potential for having such a dramatic impact on the Defense Transportation System. That said, we need to address the modernization of our C-130 fleet as it gets older.
Currently, several major problems exist within the C-130 fleet. As the aircraft age, corrosion and structural problems occur more frequently. While these problems are usually reparable, their repair drives increases in both support and maintenance costs while increasing aircraft down time. Studies are ongoing to answer questions about the aircraft’s economic service life; but we expect that within the next 10 years, some aircraft will exceed economic repair guidelines and will be retired. In addition to structural problems, many of the C-130’s components are becoming obsolete and unsupportable-- the radar, autopilot, aircraft displays and gauges across the fleet, and on the older "E" models, the engines and auxiliary power units. The Air Force is developing a comprehensive, multi-phased program to address these C-130 reliability, maintainability and modernization challenges.
Press reports indicate that TRANSCOM decided to wait another year before assessing long-term C-5 modernization solutions. In light of the current state of the fleet, do you agree with this postponement?
Answer: USTRANSCOM is not delaying C-5 modernization. They, through their air component Air Mobility Command (AMC), are following an aggressive three-step program to upgrade the C-5. The HPT upgrade is currently in production with over 60 engines already modified, and they are looking for ways to increase the economic benefit of the program by accelerating the modifications. The Air Force begins C-5 avionics modernization in earnest this year,and has asked industry for bids to accomplish the modification. They expect a contract to be awarded by late summer, on a schedule driven by GATM airspace timelines. To address the third step of comprehensive modernization, AMC has brought forward a C-5 re-engining program in its FY00-05 POM initiative. While the outcome of the POM is still not determined, USTRANSCOM is confident the problem will be addressed consistent with funding availability.
One of the principle shortfalls faced by the United States military is the ability of our lift assets to support two major theater wars. While we have made great efforts to eliminate the deficiency in lift assets, this shortfall continues to emerge as one of the greatest threats to our ability to successfully execute the national security strategy.
If confirmed, what actions will you take to ensure that we have sufficient lift assets to support the combat forces execution of two major theater wars?
Answer: Airlift assets to support combat forces during two major theater wars (MTWs) were identified during the March 1995 Mobility Requirements Study Bottom-Up Review Update (MRS BURU). For airlift, the requirement was determined to be 49.7 Million Ton Miles per Day, (MTM/D), 70% of which is oversized and outsized cargo during the halting phases of the MTWs. Once that requirement was established, AMC and the Air Force took programmatic action to achieve that baseline airlift capability by FY2006. Currently, there is a deficit of about 3.3 MTM/D in outsize and oversize cargo delivery capability. In the near term, to ensure support for the combat forces, the US Air Force has accelerated the procurement of C-17s, increased early availability of CRAF Stage I and II, increased the use of the KC-10 in an airlift role, and made "school house" aircraft available to the warfighter. In the long term, additional C-17s beyond the current buy of 120 will be needed to support the special operations missions and airdrop requirements currently being handled by the retiring C-141. Finally, completion of the C-5 modernization initiatives described earlier will be essential in order to maintain the weapon system as a responsive and reliable airlifter. If confirmed as CINCTRANS, the timely fulfillment of these last two requirements will certainly be among my highest priorities.
The Sealift requirement is for 4.3M square feet of prepositioning and 10M square feet of surge sealift capability. Currently, USTRANSCOM is acquiring 19 Large Medium Speed Roll-on Roll-off (LMSR) ships. By FY00, eight LMSRs will support Army prepositioning and when combined with the USMC MPSRONS, USTRANSCOM will reach their 4.3M square foot prepositioning requirement. The other 11 LMSRs will add approximately 3M square feet to the surge fleet bringing the total surge capability to 9.45M square feet. MARAD has started expansion projects on several of the existing ships to add an additional (approximately) 200K square feet, leaving a 350K square foot shortfall of the 10M square foot requirement. USTRANSCOM is currently looking at ways to solve this shortfall without the acquisition of more vessels. Options include better utilization of the space available on prepositioning LMSRs, possibly changing the mix of LMSRs in prepo and surge to maximize the space available, as well as looking to our commercial partners via the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) to supply part of the surge lift capacity that must be ready to load on day 10.
Do you believe that this can be achieved with the current level of limited procurement budgets?
Answer: Unless corrective measures can be taken to address the C-5 problems, we will face serious challenges in meeting the airlift requirements base-lined in MRS BURU. The MRS BURU assumed a healthy C-5 fleet. Our history with the C-5 has proven it to be much less reliable than forecast in that study, and even that historical reliability continues to decline. However, the command will use the results from MRS-05 to reevaluate all airlift requirements. This upcoming MRS analysis will be different from the previous MRS BURU study in that the assumptions will be far more realistic. The MRS-05 analysis will include weapons of mass destruction, asymmetric threats to the mobility system, and start with a posture of forces already engaged around the globe. There is little doubt that the future requirement will be more demanding with these more realistic assumptions, and it is very likely the mobility procurement budget will have to be increased to meet these future demands.
For example, USTRANSCOM is currently looking at alternatives to get the C-5 fleet healthy. So far, the most cost-effective solution appears to be a comprehensive modernization effort that includes re-engining the C-5 with reliable and commercially available CF-6 turbofan engines. Along with some other component upgrades and modifications, the command believes they can improve the reliability of the C-5 fleet to deliver the MRS BURU levels of moderate risk but they would need to program just over $4.3B over the next decade to realize that goal.
For Sealift, the first 18 (of 19) LMSRs have been funded and the 19th is included in the FY99 budget. The MARAD expansion projects are in the current POM with scheduled completion in FY03. To date the National Defense Sealift Fund has had good support and enjoyed adequate funding. Providing this trend continues and the 350K square foot shortfall is solved, I expect our nation’s sealift requirement will be adequately met.
Movement of Household Goods
As part of H.R. 3616 the House of Representatives recently passed seven provisions requiring the Department of Defense to perform a "demonstration of commercial type practices to improve quality of personal property shipments," or CLASS Demonstration Program. The Committee understands that the Department of Defense is opposed to this program and would prefer to pursue its own pilot program to re-engineer the movement of Service members’ household goods.
Please outline some of the principal concerns of the Department of Defense regarding the CLASS program.
Answer: The current level and quality of service afforded to U.S. service members moving their household goods during Permanent Change of Station moves is unacceptable, impacting the quality of life of our service members and their families. Our service members deserve a quality reformed household goods program. To that end, the Military Traffic Management Command has worked for four years with industry to develop a pilot test which should answer all of the shortcomings of the current system. This test program is ready to go now. Unfortunately, the FY99 House Defense Authorization Bill contains language that threatens to derail this test by mandating an industry counterproposal, known by the name "CLASS."
The CLASS demonstration program, as outlined in H.R. 3616, is significantly lacking in specifics and will take years to fully develop – the potential net effect being continued delay in addressing this major Quality of Life issue, while Service personnel continue to endure the unacceptable "status quo" program.
CLASS is difficult to evaluate because it is silent on so many issues. However, I do have some concerns.
- CLASS does not provide the Department with best value. It awards contracts based on a formula of 70 percent quality, 30 percent price. Obviously, such a system can be gamed by poor performers who will continue doing poor business, providing shoddy service to our people..
- As the industry’s largest customer, service members should be treated as well as their best corporate account customers. That currently isn’t the case and would not improve markedly under CLASS. For example, the claims settlement procedures suggested by CLASS provide for 120 days for settlement. Corporate practice is to settle a claim within 30 days. Another corporate practice we favor requires carriers to make good on customer out-of-pocket expenses resulting from a carrier’s service failure. CLASS does not require this.
- There is reason to be concerned with the emphasis the CLASS demonstration program makes to move significant program responsibility to the installation level, especially at a time when installation resources are minimal and declining.
- I am also concerned about the possible anti-competitive nature of CLASS with its restrictive language on move management companies. These companies would be unable to compete on a level playing field or receive commissions from their suppliers, which is a normal industry practice.
- Finally, I am concerned about the time and cost it will take to resolve CLASS program details, develop the necessary business rules and automation, and implement such a program. The Department has invested much time and effort in developing the MTMC pilot program…and it has passed muster in a number of high level reviews, including one by the GAO. I believe we owe U.S. service members an opportunity to see if the MTMC pilot program can provide them the service they deserve. And in the same manner, I believe the MTMC pilot program deserves a chance to prove that it can significantly improve the quality of that same household goods moving process.
If confirmed, what actions will you take to improve the quality of service provided to our men and women in uniform and the lowest possible cost to the American taxpayer?
Answer: First of all, I need to make clear that the Department of Defense has moved from purchasing "lowest cost" to an acquisition strategy that incorporates "best value". Best value means that, ultimately, it is OK to purchase a service at a somewhat higher cost if, in the end, that service will result in less damage, fewer claims, and satisfied customers. The MTMC Personal Property Pilot solicitation incorporates best value at its heart. I endorse the best value concept and will continue to do so in all my acquisitions. I am confident that the MTMC pilot will result in increased customer satisfaction (an important retention issue) and reduced claims for loss and damage. Other actions I will take, if confirmed, to improve the quality of moving services that service members receive will be to implement performance-based contracting. Recently, OMB endorsed performance-based service contracting as the federal government’s preferred method of acquiring services. They showed in their May 1998 study that performance-based service contracting enables agencies to obtain improved performance and reduced prices. The MTMC pilot is a performance-based contract. It allows the contractor to use his normal corporate business practices and also allows the government to choose the contractor it will use based on past performance. Furthermore, I will insist on receiving those same services that moving companies provide to their best corporate customers: full value protection on lost or damaged goods, customer service enhancements (24 hour, toll free numbers, intransit visibility), direct contact with the mover, payment to the member for inconvenience, etc. I will also ensure that my staff stays abreast of state of the art innovations in the moving industry and incorporates those innovations in our contracts.
Major Challenges and Problems
In your view, what are the major challenges confronting the Commander-in-Chief, United States Transportation Command? Assuming you are confirmed, what plans do you have for addressing these challenges?
Answer: In my view, in order to provide world-class support for the warfighting CINCs as well as meet the DOD’s peacetime transportation needs, we must have robust capability and readiness--now and in the future. While our current national military strategy demands we be able to provide strategic deployment and sustainment support for two near simultaneous major theater wars, we must also prepare ourselves for the future. The United States Transportation Command team plays a critical role in fulfilling the four operational concepts espoused in the Chairman’s Joint Vision 2010: dominant maneuver, precision engagement, full dimensional protection, and focused logistics. The challenges I see on the horizon for the Defense Transportation System (DTS) are:
PEOPLE There is no more precious resource in the DTS than our people. Our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen must enjoy a quality of life that allows them to focus on their military tasks without distraction. We are obliged to keep faith with these self sacrificing individuals and families by providing an adequate standard of living, quality medical care, inflation adjusted retirement benefits, quality household goods moving services, respectable housing accommodations, and caring family support programs. I salute our Congress for its continued support in all these areas and I ask for your continued assistance in championing initiatives that reassure our troops that they are indeed our number one priority.
HIGH OPERATIONAL TEMPO (OPTEMPO) AND READINESS While overall military end strength numbers continue to drop, the requirements and demands of today’s contemporary international security environment remain very high. The pace of activity in the DTS in the post DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM era, in support of mobility operations worldwide, continues at an almost wartime level of effort. We must curb the impacts of this high OPTEMPO by improving our efficiency and carefully monitoring the day-to-day demands and requirements placed on the DTS.
MODERNIZATION The Mobility Requirements Study Bottom Up Review Update (MRS BURU) established a clear course for mobility force enhancement. I strongly support the continued pursuit of this plan as we begin to chart our future path with the advent of MRS 05.
TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE While our nation’s infrastructure use is at record levels, our maintenance of this infrastructure remains below the necessary requirement. Fewer forward based forces means added reliance on deployment operations and transportation infrastructure. Additionally, our nation is even more dependent today on access rights to host nation facilities for contingency operations. Continued support for "fort to port" capability is needed.
COMMERCIAL PARTNERSHIPS The ability to rapidly expand our DTS during contingency operations lies squarely on the shoulders of our commercial partners. The tremendous success story of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) during DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM paved the way for its seafaring brother, VISA, the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement. Both of these programs remain pillars of DOD’s lift capability. If confirmed, I will continue to work with our commercial partners to leverage their transportation capabilities to support Defense Transportation System demands.
COMMAND AND CONTROL Key to our success in the United States Transportation Command is the Global Transportation Network, a system that provides in-transit visibility (ITV) to the commander and allows real time management of critical transportation assets. GTN will provide my commanders leverage to dramatically improve their service to the warfighter.
IMPROVING THE EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE DTS Despite dramatic improvements in the efficiency in the DTS over the past several years, various criticisms of USTRANSCOM’s cost of operations persist. The March 1998 GAO draft report recognized that USTRANSCOM has taken action to improve customer service, reduce costs, and improve operational efficiency. However, the draft report fails to recognize the one very critical factor which makes any direct comparison of Defense Transportation System rates with commercial rates near impossible, i.e., the cost of wartime readiness. The cost to maintain a transportation system that supports our National Security Strategy and National Military Strategy impacts all factors of our military transportation system. While USTRANSCOM will continue to improve its efficiency and effectiveness, a transportation system designed to take the warfighters to the fight, to sustain the war effort, and to return our soldiers and sailors to their home when the fight is over, cannot be directly compared to a commercial enterprise. If confirmed, I will continue efforts to streamline both USTRANSCOM and the DTS.
What do you consider to be the most serious problems within USTRANSCOM? If confirmed, what management actions and timetables would you establish to address these problems?
Answer: The most serious problem facing us in the mobility business is the daily challenge of meeting the readiness needs of our theater CINCs. While we have done a superb job of meeting these needs on a daily basis over the years since Desert Shield and Desert Storm, our capability to continue meeting this challenge, at the levels we are sustaining, is very fragile. We must be ever vigilant in our struggle to keep our forces the best organized, trained, and equipped in the world. The challenges are many: maintenance of an adequate quality of life, modernization of our equipment and facilities, and controlling an escalating OPTEMPO in the face of level funding and personnel fielding. I believe we can meet these challenges, and if confirmed, I look forward to working with the members of this Committee to do just that. As far as a timeline goes, I can only say that I see this as a continuing challenge which, with your approval, I will formally pick up—with enthusiasm--on day one.
If confirmed, you will be entering this important position at a time of concern about the adequacy of the budget, force levels and readiness of our forces.
What background and experience do you have that you believe qualifies you for this position?
Answer: Since graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1968, I have been blessed with a host of opportunities and experiences…as well as with some of the finest commanders, bosses, teachers, mentors, role models and friends that the Services have ever produced. For the past two years I’ve commanded half of AMC’s airlift and tanker aircraft, supporting global mobility operations worldwide. Prior to that assignment, I was the Vice Commander for all of AMC during heightened operations in SWA and during our initial deployment to and buildup in Bosnia. As the Vice Director of the Joint Staff, I had direct, personal and frequent contact with the SECDEF, CJCS, all the CINCs and the Service Chiefs on many major issues, operations, and planning matters confronting all the CINCs, including CINCTRANS. Throughout these 30 years I have watched our military grow and evolve into a force that today is recognized as the best equipped, trained, and educated in the world…perhaps the finest team of military professionals the world has ever known. If confirmed, I will be honored to lead one of the most critical components of that team. I am a true believer in the Total Force Concept that leverages active, guard, and reserve component forces of all services to meet our national security challenge. The command experiences, field training and education I’ve been fortunate to have thus far have prepared me for the tasks ahead. I look forward to the opportunity to serve our country and the great men and women of the United States Transportation Command.
Do you believe that there are any steps that you need to take to enhance your expertise to perform the duties of the Commander-in-Chief, USTRANSCOM?
Answer: If confirmed, I will urgently undertake three tasks in the following order: First, I will visit the key customers of the United States Transportation Command, namely, the warfighting CINCS. I will seek out their needs and pledge my complete and total support to their critical missions. I see one of my primary jobs to be one of the guarantors of their success. Second, I will aggressively move to visit, listen to and shake the hands of those men and women around the world who perform this globally important mobility mission. I want them to know that I am dedicated to ensuring that they have the equipment, training, and quality of life necessary to sustain the most capable military in the world. Finally, I look forward to again visiting Capitol Hill to report my personal observations on the status of the command and to develop the dialogue necessary to ensure we continue the progress we’ve made in assembling and molding the finest transportation team in history.
In order to exercise its legislative and oversight responsibilities, it is important that this Committee and other appropriate committees of the Congress are able to receive testimony, briefings, and other communications of information.
Do you agree, if confirmed for this high position, to appear before this Committee and other appropriate committees of the Congress?
Answer: Yes. Our nation was founded on the principal of civilian control of the military. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve in this challenging position, and I look forward to periodically appearing before this Committee to keep you personally apprised of the readiness status and mission related requirements of the United States Transportation Command
Do you agree, when asked, to give your personal views, even if those views differ from the Administration in power?
Answer: Yes. On 5 June 1968, I raised my right hand swore then to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States"; my commitment to that ideal has only grown stronger over the past 30 years. I am keenly aware of the responsibility I have to provide candid, honest information to my superiors, regardless of the pressures or politics surrounding the situation.
Do you agree, if confirmed, to appear before this Committee, or designated members of this Committee, and provide information, subject to appropriate and necessary security protection, with respect to your responsibilities as CINC USTRANSCOM?
Answer: Yes. If confirmed, I look forward to appearing and testifying before this Committee at both annual posture hearings and on any other specific issues you may require. I view frequent and open interaction with this Committee and the Committee’s Staff as vital to the successful resolution of United States Transportation Command’s issues – now and into the future.
Do you agree to ensure that testimony, briefings and other communications of information are provided to this Committee and its staff and other appropriate Committees?
Answer: Yes. If confirmed, I will ensure that this Committee and other oversight Committees are provided with required and requested information in as accurate and as timely a manner as possible.