STATEMENT OF VICE ADMIRAL JAMES F. AMERAULT
DEPUTY CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS (LOGISTICS)
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I thank you for affording me this opportunity to appear before you to discuss the effectiveness of Navy logistics support in Kosovo. Navy ships and air wings routinely prepare for extended overseas deployment as if they are preparing to fight the "real thing." The Kosovo conflict provided evidence that these preparations are on the mark and result in real combat power when needed. The impact on overall readiness of contingencies such as the Kosovo conflict, however, is that whereas the deployed force was and still is highly capable and ready, those forces preparing for deployment face a significant challenge in achieving the levels of readiness required for deployment, especially aviation commands.
Beyond the immediate readiness of our deployed naval forces is the question of sustainability in combat/near combat operations. Our forces carry with them organically their own source of supply for spares, fuel, ammunition, etc. This concept of naval force deployment works well in general. Several areas of concern did surface, however, over the course of Kosovo operations, which I will comment on. These areas are spares and ammunition.
Full Mission Capable (FMC) and Mission Capable (MC) rates for deployed air wings have supported heavy operational tempo over the past 5 years. Air wings entering the inter-deployment work up cycle, however, continue to experience difficulties preparing for deployment. This is because we have supported increasingly costly deployed aviation readiness at the required high levels to the detriment of our non-deployed readiness. This was evident from mission capable rates reported by the deployed aircraft carriers during Kosovo operations USS THEODOORE ROOSEVELT arrived on station in the Adriatic Sea in April, after deploying early. She equaled previous carrier deployments MC and FMC rates, even though she flew almost 1,000 more hours than the typical deployment. Since Navy routinely deploys its carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups, trained and prepared for war, it is not surprising the ROOSEVELT achieved readiness goals using inherent afloat maintenance/supply infrastructure, in conjunction with established resupply pipelines. Sustainment via underway replenishment from the combat logistics force and vertical replenishment from Mediterranean logistics sites, maintained the assigned naval units on station. Despite that success, however, the non-deployed picture remains a significant challenge, driven by several factors I discussed during my 07 October testimony. This is a concern for our flexibility to augment our combat/deployed forces or to respond to simultaneous crises. The major contributing problem is our aging aircraft the "tired iron" problem. Older aircraft are taking longer to repair, and while in the repair process, more intensive maintenance is required. Today we are seeing repair actions requiring parts that were not previously expected to fail and, because of this, were not positioned or stocked in the supply system. As aircraft age, the type and nature of required repairs also changes.A specific spares issue directly related to Kosovo operations dealt with support for the EA-6B aircraft. While we maintained readiness successfully for these aircraft during the Kosovo conflict, it was largely due to the extraordinary efforts of the Sailors and Marines supporting these squadrons. The expanding role of this aircraft to cover all service missions, coupled with a greatly increased operating tempo, a new maintenance concept for the assets operating from shore and no longer under the umbrella of an afloat intermediate maintenance activity, and an extended deployed spare parts pipeline, resulted in an increased spares requirement which we had difficulty meeting. Funding included in the Fiscal Year 1999 Emergency Supplemental is expected to ease the problem of operational support for these aircraft in the near term. As we reactivate more EA-6Bs to support the aircraft mission growth and operational tempo, additional spares requirements will surface. Funding will be included in our next budget submission and the committees support is requested to help us meet the requirement.
As I stressed in my 07 October testimony, this year we are witnessing the beginning of an improvement in aviation total force readiness. Total force mission capable and non-mission capable rates have turned the corner, up slightly from their low point in 1998. While we have seen this slight upturn in readiness, we are a "much in demand" force, and still have miles to go. We have a number of significant challenges remaining to be addressed to restore total aviation to the levels of readiness necessary to fully support all training requirements. The resources to remedy these problems have been included in our FYDP and will be reflected in the Fiscal Year 2001 budget submission. This funding, coupled with the spares funds included in the Fiscal Year 1999 Emergency Supplemental, will continue our efforts to remedy the non-deployed readiness posture. We seek your continued support of the budget we send forward for Fiscal Year 2001.
The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) was used extensively in initial strikes on Kosovo by surface ships and submarines. Over 600 TLAMs have been expended in the last calendar year in support of various contingencies, 219 in Kosovo operations. This usage significantly affects availability of these missiles in support of Global Naval Force Presence Policy (GNFPP) by reducing our inventory. These reductions negatively impact our re-supply pipeline, and have resulted in cross-decking, stressing in-theater sustainment of GNFPP levels. The next generation Tactical Tomahawk begins entering the inventory in Fiscal Year 2003, however, it wont be until after the FYDP that sufficient numbers of Tactical Tomahawks are delivered to alleviate the current shortfall. The near-term resolution for the shortfall is conversion of 200 inactive Tomahawk Anti-ship Missiles (TASMs). In addition, we will remanufacture 424 older, less capable Block II TLAMs into the preferred Block III variant. The Fiscal Year 1999 Emergency Supplemental included funding to accomplish both of the above critical actions.
The contingency in Kosovo required the use of highly precise weapons to limit collateral target damage and minimize losses to friendly personnel and aircraft. Precision guided munitions (PGMs) effectively enabled highly accurate targeting. These weapons were employed in Kosovo, above the levels anticipated in the planning guidance. The war fighters prosecuted the conflict using the weapons they needed to ensure success. That use has left us short of these assets. Until the inventory of the new Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and the Joint Standoff Weapons (JSOW) are sufficiently ramped up, procurement of Laser Guided Bombs and upgrading of other preferred munitions will continue on a priority basis.
Initially, it was estimated that the conflict would require limited air strikes of short duration. Pre-positioned Navy stocks of munitions in the European theater and shipfill and cargo loads in the THEODORE ROOSEVELT Battle Group were sufficient to meet the initial combat requirements. However, as the contingency progressed, the emphasis on PGMs outpaced sustainment capabilities, and shortfalls became apparent:
Despite these efforts, due to the limited number of PGMs in inventory and the high usage rate, a decision had to be made to support the ongoing conflict at some risk to preserving remaining stockpiles for Major Theater War Plans and future carrier Battle Group deployment loads.
Funding for TLAM, general-purpose bombs, Laser Guided Bombs and accelerated procurement of the JDAM are critical. I urge this committees support for funding of these items in the Fiscal Year 2001 budget as we work across the FYDP to achieve and maintain the necessary stockpiles. It is imperative that funding remain at the levels budgeted to maintain a ready stockpile of precision munitions and to allow war fighters to train as they will fight.
One additional issue as a result of Kosovo dealt with a UNIFIED CINC requirement for military construction battalion support to build base camps, roads and force protection support facilities. Our Seabee battalion, forward deployed to Rota, Spain, was re-deployed to Kosovo as part of this mission. Military engineer units have been required early on in nearly every contingency in recent history and they have performed superbly. It is important to note that there are some engineer issues emerging from the stress of high frequency OPTEMPO of peacetime missions including small-scale contingencies, disaster recovery and humanitarian assistance. We are using engineer equipment and gear intended for Major Theater War, and it is negatively impacting readiness and increasing equipment life-cycle costs. Because engineers are needed early in these contingency operations, priority transport and rapid procurement and distribution of construction material quickly becomes critical. We are exploring alternatives, such as strategic pre-positioning of engineer assets for these short-term contingency operations, that could increase engineer responsiveness and decrease mission costs.
As I mentioned in my opening statement the results of the Kosovo lessons learned have revealed some definite areas where improvement is necessary. We have received funding in the Supplemental to cover some of our requirements and continue for the balance of the resources in our budget submission.
Thank you for this committees support and for the opportunity to participate in these hearings. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.