MAJOR GENERAL RICHARD ALEXANDER
Thank you for this opportunity to address this committee and its members. The National Guard, and the associations which represent that American Institution, have from its inception been deeply involved in the post-Cold War national security debate. We intend to remain fully engaged in the debate in every area in which it takes place to insure that the National Guard of the United States, both Army and Air, has secured its Constitutional, historic and rightful role in the current military structure of this nation.
Regrettably, our experience in this debate has shown that a negative image of the Guard still exists within the Active Army, all of which can be refuted by an objective review of the record of the Guard's actions since the Gulf War. In fact, the soldier quality and retention figures for the Army National Guard exceed those of the Army that went to Desert Shield/Desert Storm in1990/91. We have been willing to discuss the issues affecting the Guard, participate in the studies and analyses and have been ready to compromise as national security considerations might require and prudence permitted. But, we have not been willing to yield on points when convinced that to do so would negatively affect the soundness of our military posture and national economy. We are confident of the soundness and validity of our views and opinions because there resides within the National Guard military, economic, political and civic expertise second to none in the Nation.
The QDR identified some significant shifts in strategy and manpower requirements. When the Vice-Chief of Staff of the Army presented those alternatives to the assembled Adjutants General in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, we were dismayed to learn of the magnitude of the proposed cuts to the Army National Guard. Our concern was not only regarding the size of the cuts, but the methodology used. At that time, and still today, I have not seen any rational justification for those reductions in endstrength.
During the months since the introduction of the Lieberman Amendment to the publication of the QDR report, we studied and reflected upon the issues the legislation identified as the target of the analysis. Specifically, as called for in the Fiscal Year 1997 Defense Authorizations Act, i.e.:
Every Adjutant General and every Governor has a unique opportunity to compare and contrast two services - the Army and the Air Force. They have very different approaches to building cohesion, trust, and consensus. The Air Force encouraged, and required, the participation of its reserve components during the QDR process. The active Air Force sees its reserve components as full partners in the defense of the nation and treated them accordingly during the strategic planning process underlying the QDR.
I point out the successes of our sister service to illustrate how the Total Force Policy looks in practice. Sadly, the Army is still a long way from this goal. The end-strength reductions presented to me in Oklahoma City were indicative of a hasty cut applied across the board without regard to strategy, missioning, or efficiency.
My fellow Adjutants General, acting on behalf of their respective State Governors, registered our concerns. As a result, Secretary Cohen directed the Army leadership to take certain steps to "create an atmosphere of cohesion between all components of the Army that will transcend the outcome of the effort, and will become the norm for the future". He further directed that all elements of the Army "accept the notion that restructuring of the Army must be an inclusive process if we are to provide a force whose components can execute their portion of the national strategy". In response to the directive the Army scheduled an off-site meeting at Ft. McNair. This was held 2 through 4 June 1997. The meeting was attended by the principle Army players as well as MG Harrison of Florida representing the Adjutants General, and myself as President of the National Guard Association of the United States.
As briefed at the QDR Off-Site, we believe the Army National Guard to be a balanced, relevant force. We agreed to disagree that the ARNG forces were in the "uncommitted" category. The QDR Co-chairs did agree that the committed/ uncommitted numbers needed to be re-looked. We agreed to 17K endstrength reduction to help meet the Army's $2 billion annual shortfall in modernization. More importantly, all parties agreed to a set of 11 principles that would establish the framework for all future decisions regarding manpower allocation. At the conclusion of this process, MG Harrison and I were convinced we had done our best to comply with Secretary Cohen's guidance. I informed the other Adjutants General that we had formed a solid agreement with our Active and Reserve counterparts that we could work within.
However, it is now almost two months later and I have yet to see a memorandum for record that codifies our agreements in writing. Further, I have been reading many distressing media articles that portray the Off-Site agreements as simply "suggestions" or "ideas to look at". That is not the understanding I had. In fact, the 17,000 soldier cut that we agreed to was predicated upon the adoption of the 11 principles.
I think it is important to list, for the record, those principles agreed upon:
(1) All Army Guard forces will be resourced at a baseline of C-3 (combat ready); Enhanced brigades and Force Support Package units are to be funded at C-1 (fully combat ready);
(2) The uniqueness of the Army Guard will be recognized, with adequate forces provided for domestic emergency responsibilities;
(3) Army Guard forces will be fully missioned and relevant with their lineage, heritage and flags preserved;
(4) Army Guard structure will mirror the active Army;
(5) Army Guard modernization will mirror active Army modernization;
(6) The process will include the Adjutants General Force Structure Committee and General Officer Steering Committee, and mirror the National Guard Division Redesign plan;
(7) The civilian Army Secretariat will oversee the entire force reexamination process;
(8) Division redesign & integration will be fully implemented;
(9) Readiness will be basis for force assignments;
(10) The Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee and Reserve Components Coordination Committee process will be revitalized; and we will
(11) "Speak with one voice."
These principles are important to us because as long as they are followed and adhered to, then we can be assured of thoughtful, intelligent, and methodical decision making. These are principles that the Adjutants General, my association, and the leadership of the National Guard are committed to. The lack of any documentation from the Army that shows their agreement to these principles this long after the actual meeting makes me question the Army's commitment to them. In fact, if the Army does not subscribe to these principles then I presume that everything that was decided upon at the off-site is non-binding.
I am committed to resolving these issues with the leadership of the Active Army, the Army Reserve, and the Army National Guard. We will have differences of opinion, but we must not let that affect our objective evaluation of the challenges we face. We all have a vested interest in working together in order to provide the best possible defense for our nation. The American people demand and deserve our best effort.
While the Army is still having difficulty defining what went on, Secretary Cohen obviously has a grasp on the agreement. In a letter dated July 22, 1997 to my Command-in-Chief and current Chair of the National Governor's Association. Secretary Cohen ratified the size of the initial reduction, the process of how the Total Army will allocate the remaining reductions, and acknowledged three of our eleven principles. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the Secretary of Defense in having developed a better feel for what was agreed to than the senior Army leadership.
Mr. Chairman, it is time for the Congress, House and Senate, to measure the results of the Army portion of the QDR against the intent of the Lieberman Amendment in the FY 97 Defense Authorization Act and respond to the obvious evidence accordingly. As you recall, the act asked the Department of Defense for: "The anticipated roles and missions of the reserve components in the defense strategy and the strength, capabilities, and equipment necessary to assure that the reserve components can capably discharge such roles and missions."
I submit for the record the jointly prepared AGAUS and NGAUS White Paper, entitled Military Strategy and the Rebuttable Presumption, as further evidence of the National Guard's sincere commitment to the philosophy of a Total Army that works. This paper advocates placing all forces in the National Guard and Reserve unless the DOD and the military services can "rebut" that presumption by demonstrating that each requirement for national defense can only be satisfied by placing it in the Active force. I offer this alternative effort on our part should you find that the QDR is in any way off the mark.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportunity to present this statement to your committee. I would be happy to try to answer any questions the committee may have.