STATEMENT BY

GENERAL DENNIS J. REIMER
CHIEF OF STAFF
UNITED STATES ARMY

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you about the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). QDR is a strategic opportunity to fundamentally reshape the Armed Forces of the United States for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century. The QDR, however, is unlikely to define completely the desired end state and the route we should follow. It should be viewed as a waypoint on our journey to the Armed Forces of 2020 and beyond.

Our journey did not start with the QDR. It started with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The Army -- like our sister Services -- has made great progress in the past eight years to transform itself from the world's best Cold War army to the world's best army of the 21st Century. Much of our progress is due, in large measure, to former Secretaries of Defense Cheney, Aspin, and Perry; former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Crowe and Powell; and former Congressional leaders such as Senator Nunn and Congressman Montgomery.

Collectively, their leadership has resulted in much visible change within the Army since the late 1980s.

  • We have eliminated about 15 division-equivalents from the Army -- predominantly from the Active Component (AC) and the Army National Guard.
  • Total Army personnel have been reduced by over 630,000 soldiers and civilians. That is about equal to the population of the average Congressional district in the United States. The three components of the Army -- Active, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard -- have been reduced since 1989 by nearly 36 percent, 35 percent, and 20 percent, respectively.
  • In the process, we have realigned our Reserve Component (RC) , with the Army National Guard providing the combat forces and the U. S. Army Reserve providing the combat service support forces to reinforce, augment, and backfill AC units as required by overseas commanders-in-chief -- the CINCs.
  • The U. S. Army Reserve (USAR) has completely reorganized itself during the downsizing, going from 23 stateside and overseas Army Reserve Commands (ARCOMs) to just 10 stateside Regional Support Commands (aligned with standard federal regions, such as those used by FEMA) and 3 forward-deployed ARCOMs. As a result, the USAR's efficiency has increased, as has its relevance to the national strategy.
  • The Army's budget authority has decreased by over 40 percent in real terms since the mid-1980s.
  • And, perhaps most visibly, we have closed or realigned over 100 installations and sites in the United States and over 600 overseas, as well as over 300 National Guard armories.

There has also been many less visible changes in the Army:

  • The training programs at the Army's three combat training centers -- the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California; the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana; and the Combat Maneuver Training Center at Hohenfels, Germany -- have all been expanded to emphasize power projection operations and operations other than war -- two strategic concepts linked to our National Military Strategy.
  • The Army's Battle Labs and Force XXI experiments are accelerating the flow of information and ideas between the Army and American industry, and are exploring the power of Information Age technologies. Based on the results of our experimentation, we will redesign our heavy divisions -- reducing the types of systems in each division, and reducing the number of combat systems in each maneuver battalion. The result will be a smaller, more strategically mobile division, with reduced logistics requirements. The heavy division redesign will also permit us to modernize a larger percentage of the Total Army, and at an accelerated pace, essentially stretching the value of our modernization investments.
  • Several of our National Guard divisions will also be redesigned to address Total Army shortfalls in combat support and combat service support capabilities. The result of the Army National Guard Division Redesign will be a more capable and better balanced Total Army, and a National Guard that is more relevant to the national strategy and to the requirements of our State and Territorial authorities.

Defense Budget

While the change in the Total Army, to date, has been dramatic, there will always be those individuals who challenge the size and cost of our Armed Forces. It may be useful to put the Department of Defense budget in perspective.

  • The current Defense budget is about three percent of our Gross Domestic Product -- the lowest level in nearly 60 years.
  • Today's Defense budget is less than Americans spend annually on legal gambling.
  • With the reductions in the Defense budget since 1989, the country has reaped a "peace dividend" of over one-half trillion dollars, and American interests -- at home and abroad -- have been secured in the process.
  • The Defense budget is really two insurance policies in one: home owners and life. As a home owners policy, the Department repairs the damage after the storm and allows Americans to return to their normal, everyday lives. As a life insurance policy, the Department hedges against a very uncertain and dangerous future.

As the richest nation in the world, we can afford to maintain a first-class Armed Forces. More than that, we have a responsibility to do so. As a global leader, and as parents and grandparents, we have an obligation to do what we can to make the next century safer and better than the one we are about to complete.

Geostrategic Environment

The fall of the Berlin Wall fundamentally changed the geostrategic environment, much as the development and employment of nuclear weapons did over fifty years ago. The end of the Cold War signaled a strategic shift in the international security environment, away from the predictability and familiarity of bipolar competition. The post-Cold War environment requires a broader range of military capabilities, and places a premium on ready ground forces, capable of operating successfully across the full spectrum of operations. Consequently, the readiness and resource allocation paradigms that we employed in the Cold War are less relevant and less effective in the post-Cold War environment, and must be appropriately realigned to match our national strategy.

We should view the end of the Cold War as a victory for the people of the world. There were no losers. While some countries of the former Soviet Union or those that lay within the Soviet sphere of influence still have an arduous and uncertain road ahead, their future certainly holds more promise than during the Cold War.

With eight years of post-Cold War experience, we have a much clearer vision of the future geostrategic environment and the changing role of the U. S. military. In that regard, we have an advantage over both the Base Force Study and the Bottom Up Review.

Near-term threats to national survival (from global nuclear war) are significantly reduced, but threats to our national interests continue. Such threats are, in fact, more numerous, more complex, and less predictable. In this environment, we must continue to be vigilant and ready.

A "walk around the world" reveals just how challenging and dangerous the world still is.

  • In Europe we are seeing the results of our Partnership for Peace initiatives. They have not been particularly high visibility events, but their enduring impact is unquestioned. As NATO grows, we should expect such outreach programs to increase, in both frequency and scope, increasing theater requirements for ground forces.
  • Southwest Asia (SWA) remains another region of vital interest to the United States, at least until we develop commercially viable alternatives to oil. It remains, ultimately, a ground force theater of operations, requiring a robust mix of ground forces to reassure our allies, deter regional aggressors, and guarantee battlefield success. The contributions and capabilities of U. S. ground forces are demonstrated daily in SWA -- not so much to the American public at home, but to our friends, allies, and potential adversaries in the region.
  • The same is true for the Pacific Rim, where as we watch the emergence of a more active China, the presence of our ground forces will be needed to reassure and reinforce our Pacific allies which are predominantly landcentric.
  • Over the past several decades, U. S. ground forces have directly contributed to the Latin American militaries' understanding of the role of the military in a democracy. More recently, with the growth in the illicit drug industry throughout the region, U. S. ground forces have increasingly been employed to train Latin American local law enforcement agencies and militaries in skills applicable to counterdrug operations, as well as support the counterdrug programs of other U. S. agencies. In the past year alone, it is estimated that Latin America exported to the United States 300 metric tons of its potential 760 metric ton cocaine crop.
  • In Africa, disease, famine, tribal rivalries, and the emotions brought about by what Americans are seeing in the media combine, to demand a continuing and active role for U. S. ground forces.

Each of these regions, while significantly different in character, is making demands for more -- not less -- U. S. ground forces. We should view the current commitment of land forces as the "floor," not the "ceiling" for our overseas engagement.

President Harry S. Truman spoke to a similar set of circumstances about 50 years ago when he stated that, "We must be prepared to pay the price for peace, or assuredly we will pay the price of war."

Defense Strategy

Our defense strategy addresses the challenges and opportunities of the strategic shift we have witnessed in the geostrategic environment. The three tenets of our new strategy are shaping, responding, and preparing.

Shaping requires engagement, and it requires us to be involved, face to face, with our friends and allies around the world, sharing the hardships and risks. The ultimate objective of such engagement is an enhancement of mutual understanding, trust, and confidence, all of which will lessen, or perhaps even obviate, the requirement for nations and groups to resort to the use of force to resolve their differences. We have a unique opportunity to shape the future geostrategic environment, consistent with our national interests and values. We must not forego this opportunity.

We must also be able to respond rapidly to crises wherever they occur, and we must respond with trained and ready forces -- credible and relevant forces.

At the same time, we must prepare for the uncertainties of the future. The geostrategic environment of the future is increasingly urbanized, requiring forces that can discriminate between combatants and non-combatants, and which can apply appropriate combinations of non-lethal and lethal force to accomplish their missions. Our forces in the future will have to deal effectively with asymmetric challenges, including weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, information warfare, special operations or clandestine forces, attempts to deny us regional access, urban warfare, and an adversary's use of civilians and refugees as shields against U. S. stand-off precision-guided munitions. The force we are designing today -- via our Force XXI and Army After Next initiatives -- is exactly this type of force.

This is the life insurance policy described earlier. Through essential investments, we are attempting to break the historical trend of having to pay the price of our unpreparedness in the blood of our young soldiers.

Window of Opportunity

Simply put, we have a window of opportunity to reshape the Armed Forces for the early decades of the 21st Century, not just balance the books for the next couple of years.

The geostrategic environment is dramatically different from the Cold War, and our challenges and opportunities are different. To be successful, we will require the same strategic vision that General George C. Marshall provided 50 years ago when he laid the foundation for the reconstruction of Europe -- later to be known as the Marshall Plan.

We have a new defense strategy in place -- one that addresses not only our requirement to fight and win the nation's wars, but just as importantly, to shape our future and prepare for its uncertainties.

The question at hand is, "how do we get to the future?

Looking Back from 2020

Our solution to understand how to get to the future is to sit on a rock in 2020 and look back to today. From the vantage point of the future, we can identify the possible and likely challenges to our national security interests, as well as the opportunities for action on our part and in concert with our friends and allies.

Understanding the challenges and opportunities of the future assists in building the right set of capabilities and the right types of military forces. It also helps us to chart our course to the future. It is sort of a virtual, strategic reconnaissance, where we have marked our route as we have made our way back to today.

We do not yet know exactly what the Army of 2020 will look like, but we are actively exploring it through our Army After Next initiative. We already have identified some of its characteristics:

  • The Army, as well as the other Services, will be joint by design, not by accommodation. That means that future Army forces will inherently work as effectively with other Service forces as they do other Army forces today.
  • The future force will fully exploit the potential of Information Age technologies.
  • Headquarters will be streamlined, and we will train the way we fight -- combined arms and jointly with the other Services.
  • Our operating forces will be more strategically and tactically mobile. That means they will be easier to deploy to trouble spots around the world, and once there, they will have the battlefield mobility to out maneuver their opponents.
  • Units will be versatile -- able to perform multiple, disparate functions.
  • Army units will also be able to deftly transition between the use of lethal and non-lethal force, as the situation dictates.
  • Operating forces will be logistically unencumbered.
  • Many forces will be smaller where our technological overmatch permits us to reduce personnel requirements.
  • The force will reflect an appropriate balance between the operational concepts outlined in Joint Vision 2010: dominant maneuver, precision engagement, full dimensional protection, and focused logistics.

The redesign of the Army of 2020 and beyond is being accomplished through rigorous and detailed experimentation. The task is too important to do otherwise. We must get it right the first time, with no wasted motion or resources.

Our Course and Pace of Change

Throughout our transition to the leap-ahead Army of 2020 and beyond, we must continue to meet our day-to-day obligations. How successful we are at shaping and responding to near-term events will, to a large measure, dictate how rapidly we are able to prepare for the distant future.

The future force will be much more than just new and exciting technologies. It will continue to be a combination of people, doctrine, organizations, training, modernization, and leadership. It will take strength and success in each of these areas to realize our vision.

To jump start the journey, we have identified three vectors of change within the Department of Defense: joint experimentation and integration, a Defense modernization strategy, and the Revolution in Business Affairs.

Joint Experimentation and Integration

Today, several of the Services and elements within Office of the Secretary of Defense are looking well into the future. Much is being learned through the efforts of battle labs and advanced warfighting experiments. However, much of what is being learned does not easily migrate among the Services and the Defense agencies. What is needed is a mechanism that facilitates the cross-fertilization of ideas and understanding, without constraining the energy and innovation of the individual Services.

We can start this initiative by linking the Service training and experimentation centers in the Southwest United States. They included the Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California; the Marine Corps' training center at Twenty-nine Palms, California; the Navy's facilities at China Lake and Coronado, California; and Nellis Air Force Base at Las Vegas, Nevada. This linkage would permit the Services to not only rapidly share information, but also to link their training and experimentation in real time. The result would be well designed joint forces, with less redundancy between Service capabilities and contributions.

To serve as a vehicle for experimentation and innovation, we should also stand up a Joint Task Force (JTF) for experimentation and integration. We envision this Experimental JTF will help us to more rapidly conceptualize and develop truly joint forces for the future.

Defense Modernization Strategy

Each of the Services and U. S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has its own modernization plan, which, when combined, could take better advantage of the current window of opportunity to allow them to become more synchronized and innovative.

An overall Defense modernization strategy would encourage and reward innovation, and assist in prioritizing and synchronizing the modernization requirements and programs of the Services and USSOCOM.

The new Defense modernization strategy should start with an acknowledgment that our current capabilities, with some focused enhancements, are adequate between now and at least 2010. That assessment permits, if not mandates, us to break away from the incremental improvements that characterized Defense modernization programs during the Cold War. What we are after are "leap-ahead" joint capabilities, not "creep ahead" Service capabilities. The direction and pace of change should be guided by our joint experimentation efforts.

Revolution in Business Affairs

If we are ever to achieve a true Revolution in Military Affairs, it must be preceded by a Revolution in Business Affairs. American industry, large and small, leads the world in innovation and productivity. We must bring that level of innovation and efficiency to the Department of Defense. We also want to bring corporate America's ability to rapidly adjust to changes in the market place -- in our case, changes in the geostrategic environment. We must learn from and leverage the world's best.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Our path to the future will not be a lonely one. The Administration, Congress, and American industry must all be full-time and active participants in the journey, each providing their own innovation and energy, and each leading the way when on familiar ground.

The results of the QDR will begin to be seen in the fiscal year 1998 budget, our revised National Military Strategy, and other documents internal to the Department that shape Service programs and priorities. We anticipate the National Defense Panel (NDP) will carry the torch even further into the future.

Summary

The Department of Defense has a window of opportunity for dramatic change. We intend to take full advantage of that opportunity. We intend to be bold and innovative, and will consequently break many Cold War paradigms along the way. Neither the QDR nor the work of the NDP should be viewed as discrete events. They are merely waypoints on our journey to reshape the Armed Forces for the 21st Century.