1998 Congressional Hearings



DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE

PRESENTATION TO THE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY

SUBCOMMITTEE ON MILITARY PERSONNEL

UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

SUBJECT: QDR AND NDP RECOMMENDATIONS - IMPLICATIONS FOR FORCE STRUCTURE, MISSION, AND RESOURCE ALLOCATION

STATEMENT OF: LIEUTENANT GENERAL LAWRENCE P. FARRELL, JR.

DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, PLANS AND PROGRAMS

UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

MAJOR GENERAL ROBERT A. MCINTOSH

CHIEF OF AIR FORCE RESERVE

UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

MAJOR GENERAL PAUL A. WEAVER, JR.

DIRECTOR, AIR NATIONAL GUARD

UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

29 January 1998

 

INTRODUCTION

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, we appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to address force structure, personnel, and Total Force issues. We are here to discuss recommendations recently made by the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and National Defense Panel (NDP). The Air Force plans, programs, and fights as a Total Force. We are convinced the recommendations we made during the QDR were responsible, prudent, and designed to preserve our national defense at a lesser cost. We set lofty, but achievable goals during the QDR and NDP process. We need your help to achieve those goals. The Air Force faces a difficult task in meeting today's commitments while modernizing for the future. Without your help, that difficult task will be impossible.

On behalf of the Air Force, we want to amplify two critical points. First, we are preserving our current capabilities to fulfill our service's mission while meeting the directives of the QDR and NDP. Second, we need legislative relief to achieve our anticipated savings. To preserve current readiness while simultaneously modifying our force structure for future needs, we must do the following: (1) competitively source more of our infrastructure (2) conduct additional BRACs and (3) expand our already considerable reliance on the Guard and reserve.

The QDR and NDP built upon the 1993 effort, the Bottom-Up Review (BUR). The BUR framed the military force structure needed to support a new national security strategy - fighting two near-simultaneous major regional conflicts (MRCs) at once. This effort was designed to achieve a right-sized force structure. In his response to the NDP Report, Secretary Cohen stated the Two-Major Theater War (MTW) construct is "central to credibly deterring opportunism and aggression." In addition, he noted "fighting and winning major theater wars will remain the ultimate test of our Total Force." We agree. Smaller Scale Contingencies (SSCs) are important, but regional security remains most critical to our national interest. The risks of failure against one or more regional aggressors far outweigh the risks associated with near-term (and peripheral) peacekeeping operations.

IMPACT OF THE QUADRENNIAL DEFENSE REVIEW

The QDR concluded that assumption of greater near-term risks is acceptable if we take advantage of the strategic pause to modernize, further integrate our active and reserve forces, and adjust our infrastructure to keep up with changing requirements. The QDR provided the Air Force with a means to support the two-MTW strategy and to continue implementation of the Revolution in Military Affairs. As our technology continues to improve, it is no longer accurate to measure capabilities of weapon systems almost exclusively in terms of dollars. The value of air and space forces lies in their unique characteristics - range, speed, mobility, adaptability, and capacity to project greater lethality with less vulnerability. Complementing these characteristics with force multipliers such as stealth; precision standoff weapons; integrated sensor-to-shooter C4ISR networks; and loiter-capable, all-weather, day-or-night munitions, provides an unprecedented ability to transform and redefine the nature of war.

The new strategy emphasizes the critical importance of quickly and decisively halting armed aggression. This strategy, called by some the "halt phase", depends heavily on the characteristics that are most typically found in air and space power - speed, range, agility, and overwhelming firepower. The merit of air and space power extends far beyond rapidly halting armed aggression anywhere in the world. It can substitute a small, agile force for a large, standing one, while adding more firepower in the process.

IMPACT OF THE NATIONAL DEFENSE PANEL

The National Defense Panel report called for desired military capabilities and characteristics that are resident in today's Air Force. The report recognized the paramount importance of continued American air dominance as a necessary predicate to success in any conflict. The F-22 and the Airborne Laser are representative of the RMA capabilities that will fill these requirements well into the next century. The NDP also observed that projecting military power on short notice requires light and mobile forces that can deploy rapidly and stealthily, seize the initiative by striking precisely, and rely increasingly on unmanned and space-based systems. These characteristics represent the current capabilities of the Air Force.

These recommendations point to a military force structure that can meet current and future challenges with fewer personnel and resources. The technologies, operating concepts, and organizational framework of the post-Desert Storm Air Force are force multipliers.

AIR FORCE APPROACH

In the face of historic and significant change, since 1985 the Air Force has dramatically downsized its force structure. During the same period, our deployments have nearly quadrupled. In 1988 we averaged 3,400 people deployed daily for contingencies and exercises. By 1997, that number grew to 14,000. This strain has begun to show in the force. We see the initial indicators of stress on our people. The indicators - lower aircraft mission capable rates in some areas, shortages in engine spares, and lower pilot and navigator retention - have caused us concern. We are aggressively moving to bring some relief to our personnel. Despite the difficulties, 91 percent of all Air Force units remain at the highest readiness levels possible. During the QDR, the Department of Defense conducted exercises that examined the risks and dangers associated with forward presence and attempted to quantify the limited asset shortfalls that might be expected. These exercises ultimately proved our projected POM force is suitable, although stressed, to execute current DoD, Joint, and service strategy.

ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES

We have consolidated and streamlined our organizational structure and eliminated unnecessary command layers. The Air Force has pared its major commands from 13 to 9. We reconfigured Numbered Air Forces (NAFs) into operational and warfighting organizations by eliminating their support functions. By eliminating Air Divisions, we shortened operational command lines and reduced overhead staff functions. The Air Force has also done systematic, in-depth studies to identify the minimum number of support personnel needed to sustain its infrastructure. We targeted positions in excess of wartime requirements for outside competition. By working with the General Accounting Office (GAO Code 701078, OSD Case 1288), we were able to document our personnel processes and procedures. The GAO then reported back to you in March 1997 that the Air Force had sufficient personnel to meet wartime requirements and could safely pursue further force reductions.

We continue to lead the way in integrating our reserve component with our active duty operations. During 1997, an average of 6,000 guardsmen and reservists were on active duty each month to support exercises, contingencies, and military operations around the world. Additionally, guardsmen and reservists participated in over 60 exercises worldwide. In addition to the contributions the Guard and Reserve bring to the table in mission areas such as strategic lift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation and general purpose fighter forces, we have looked to other mission areas for additional Total Force contributions. For example, the Air Force Reserve Command now operates the 8th Space Operations Squadron and the 310th Security Forces Squadron. Additionally, the Air National Guard activated the 137th Space Warning Squadron and assumed control of 1st Air Force's CONUS air defense mission. Consistent with the mandates of the QDR and NDP to aggressively pursue the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and the Revolution in Business Affairs (RBA), we are seeking ways to further exploit cost savings. In particular, we are exploring a concept - the Future Total Force Unit - that will follow this path to seamless integration of the active and reserve components.

VIEW OF THE FUTURE

We have growing problems as a result of our high operations tempo. As a result, we have sought reduced DoD tasking of our highest demand systems. By using Air Expeditionary Forces as a substitute for standing deployments, we hope to be able to limit total deployment times to no more than 120 days. The Air Force is further strengthening portions of its heavy demand forces, including RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft. We are activating reserve component associate units, including a recently created AWACS squadron.

The Air Force seeks to capitalize on competitive sourcing and privatization initiatives. We are currently evaluating our entire military and civilian workforce to identify those functions, which are candidates for competition under the Office of Management and Budget's A-76 program. We expect to compete over 67,000 full time equivalent positions by FY03.

CONCLUSION

Given the budgetary realities of the present and the foreseeable future, we again ask for your help in achieving our goals. To maintain our successful course, we need collective and strong congressional support.

Congressional relief in such forms as repeal of military end-strength floors, the 50/50 depot-level maintenance and repair split, and laws restricting the outsourcing of functions are just a few of the measures which might bring needed relief. We need additional BRACs, similar legislation or some other means of placing bases in less than fully active status. Greater reserve component involvement, to include more full-time personnel, could achieve additional savings. We need authority to extend and modify separation incentives beyond FY99. Absent a national effort to implement QDR and NDP recommendations, we will find it difficult to posture our current and future Air Force as effectively and efficiently as possible. We have identified and outlined a number of challenges facing you, the Air Force, and the nation. We look forward to working with you in the coming months and years to meet those challenges.