News

For Immediate Release Ann. # 99-096, October 12, 1999

Press Conference Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera and Chief of Staff of the Army General Eric K. Shinseki

Association of the United States Army Washington, D.C.

QUESTION: Thank you. I have an aviation constituency, and I was curious if you could give us a bit more detail on the aviation elements of your vision of the Army, and in particular, I was interested in your C4/ISR package. For instance, might we see more investment? Might you be re-interested in Joint Stars? Might we see Comanche earlier, more? Can you give us any details?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Well, I'd just respond at this point by saying what you had today was "vision." The implementation elements of what was described today will go on. It's underway now, and it will go on for the next couple of weeks, where we come out with a bit more detail on exactly how that implementation is going to go; lots of decisions to be made; some tough ones. But we're going to deal with it.

Now, specifically, on your C-4 ISR question, the challenge to us is, as I indicated, any time you deploy a force, lots goes with it. And the question is whether or not, with our capabilities to reach back in intel and comms, whether we can begin to shave down that deployment package.

QUESTION: But might you rethink your decision on Joint Stars?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: We'll see. Everything is on the table.

QUESTION: General, my question to you, following your speech, if we understand what you said correctly, and you're going to phase out tracked vehicles in favor of wheeled vehicles, I have a two-part question. How long do you think that will take? And, two, if you're going to have tracked vehicles similar to what the Marines -- I mean wheeled vehicles -- similar to what the Marine Corps has, and if you're going to light, lean and mean, why does the United States need the Marine Corps?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Well, let me answer the first question first. We have had several studies between track and wheeled capabilities over time. And I think the ones that I'm familiar with, which are 15, maybe 20, years old, talk about at a certain weight, you have to transition from wheeled to tracked vehicles, only because you need that to go mobile across country.

In the last 20 years, wheeled technology in this country has come a long way, driven primarily by our off-time recreational interests. We also understand there is great capability, technology-wise, to lessen the weight of our vehicles, and we can bring these two together.

The question about moving to wheels and away from tracks is worth asking and pursuing.

QUESTION: How long will it take?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: A good question. I don't know. Our responsibility now is to ask the question to engender the interest in our science and technology communities. And we're hoping that we are going to get the kind of response that will answer that question much sooner, rather than later.

General Jim Jones (Commandant, U.S. Marines) and I have sat down and collaborated, as we worked, the Secretary and I, on this vision; shared it with him, took him through our analysis and philosophy. We have both agreed that neither of us have been on a battlefield so crowded that you couldn't have more capability there. And we worked this together.

QUESTION: Two questions on the time line that you talked about getting divisions to the field, divisions and brigades. You said 96 per brigade, division, and 120 -- 96 hours in a division and 120 hours. What's the current benchmark? How long does it take to get that stuff out there right now?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: We know that we can move heavy brigades, and we've done it, to areas in which we have an interest in putting heavy brigades on the ground, and 96 hours, I think that's been advertised. But that takes a significant amount of pre-deployment planning and rehearsal.

What we are after here is the capability to put that combat-capable brigade anywhere in the world in 96 hours. And that is a stretch from our current capabilities.

QUESTION: And if you could address sort of this question on a larger basis. As you go through and list all the things that you want to do with the Army, where you want to take it, what does that say about your current capabilities? What are the weaknesses that you identified when you were building your vision that you wanted to change?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Current weaknesses?

QUESTION: Yes.

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Well, our primary responsibility is to be able to meet our described major theater war responsibilities. And for that, we are well-organized, well-equipped. It is the rest of that spectrum of operations that I described, short of warfighting, that challenges us to get those same capable brigades there on a time line that we would like.

I think if we can achieve what I've described, we will provide significant deterrent capability to the country that it doesn't currently have for those operations that are short of war, if I could describe that.

QUESTION: I wonder if you can get specific here; you're basically calling for a transformation in the entire Army here. Can you give us a ballpark on how long you think this will take? Will this be five years, 10 years? And also, can you give us a sense, a ballpark, of how much money this is going to cost?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: No good answers on the money right now, because it's driven by what answers we get back in technology. I can tell you that when we started this, the initial indications were responses in technology would be out beyond 2010. We have asked for that to be moved closer in, so that technology will help us answer the final questions on the objective force.

Now, this is for the end state force with new technologies. In the interim, we are prepared to invest in currently available equipment, many of which you see on the floor here at AUSA as you walk around. We're looking at a host of things in order to give us this capability in the interim here to be able to deploy capable forces into areas that we now are challenged to get heavy forces into.

QUESTION: When do you think you'll have the first? Everyone is using the term "medium-weight division." When do you think you'll have that one completed?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Well, we're going to go to the first brigades -- as I indicated, Fort Lewis is where we're looking -- and we have a heavy and a light brigade there. And then we'll see how many of these brigade packages we will invest in. But, then again, that point in time where you say you stop investing in current equipment and begin to shift your investments into technology is driven by the responses we hope to see in the next several years.

SECRETARY CALDERA: Let me amplify on that answer. Clearly, the ability to move faster has some resource constraints tied to it, because you've got to stand up new units, the brigades that you're transforming. You need to invest in the science and technology of procuring the equipment platforms that you're going to outfit that unit with.

At the same time, you need to maintain your readiness of your warfighting units. And we need to continue to recapitalize our equipment. All of the efforts that we're making in digitization and in upgrading our current platforms by introducing new technology, as you upgrade the spares and introduce new drive trains, new electronics and digitization system into it, we clearly can go faster in the transformation if we have additional resources, top line relief for the Army.

And we think that this is a vision that we will be doing the work of the nation and that we ought to have the investment of the nation to help us move this transformation along as quickly as possible. As we replace platforms, we have to ensure that the platforms we replace our current equipment with have the ability to be effective in the warfight, the survivability, the lethality, so that you are not replacing a platform with a platform of lesser capabilities.

It may be easier to get it to the fight because it is lighter, but it still has to have, in conjunction with the other platforms and the way that you find as a combined arms team, survivability and the ability to be effective on the battlefield.

QUESTION: I've just got a couple of things, specific questions. In terms of responsiveness, you mentioned achieving strategic responsiveness through forward deployment of forces and forward position capabilities. Can you tell us where you're thinking of deploying forces? You mentioned that at Fort Lewis you're going to be experimenting with prototypes. Could you identify the prototypes you're going to be using at Fort Lewis? And, lastly, what, if any money, are you requesting in the '01 budget for this initiative?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: As I said, many of the prototypes you see here on the floor are the off-the-shelf equipment we're dealing with. And I'm not sure that they're all here. What we're looking at right now is what will best meet this interim requirement that will allow us to put together a brigade-sized, maybe two brigade-sized, packages, and then use it as a way of defining what the follow-on operational and organizational adjustments should be. But we intend to stand it up, organize it, equip it, train it, pick it up and lift it and use it, as opposed to study it.

As to where we intend to deploy to, good question. But it's our ability to provide a reaction capability right now that we lack with just our pure heavy and our pure light forces. But we intend to use it, in other words.

QUESTION: Two questions. What happens to your predecessor strike force concept? Is that out of the window or do we continue with that? And, secondly, what are the manpower implications of your pledge to 100 percent man the division? The figure of 40,000 that we talked about, is that accurate as being the extra manpower you think you need?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Forty thousand additional?

QUESTION: Additional.

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Let me answer the first question first. I think you will find that many of the descriptors that went along with strike force is inherent in what we're addressing here. And the fact that it's going into Fort Lewis merely means that what we're going to do is go for capability here rather than study a concept. And so as time goes here with the stand up of this first unit and our ability to organize it and project it, I think many of the concepts you would have seen in the strike force will be incorporated.

In terms of manpower, the commitment to manning our combat formations is to squeeze our organization and get soldiers back into foxholes, into turrets and into cabs, and then we'll see what the impact is to the rest of the Army and we'll decide whether or not this is a structure that needs to be resourced. And then it may drive the question you asked about additional end strength. I think that's where you were going.

I don't know the answer to that yet. If that structure... we're willing to give it up, we may have a different answer.

SECRETARY CALDERA: It will clearly put some pressure on restructuring the institutional Army to put more of the forces in the teeth and not the tail and not the institutional non-TO&E portion of the Army.

And I would just add to what General Shinseki was saying. As we stand up these early units, those will not only be active duty units, but also we will begin to stand up the prototype-type brigade in the Reserve components, as well, and the National Guard.

QUESTION: General Shinseki, I hear you talking a lot about standing up brigades. Do you envision at some point having a medium-weight division?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: I think the objective force-- again, it's what can the technologies give back to us. If we get the answers which we think we will get, we will transform the entire Army. And so you will see the movement away from just purely the brigade-focused into the larger unit organizations.

QUESTION: And what impact do you think that will have for the current structure and balance between light and heavy divisions?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: I alluded to that in the speech. I said, if these technologies provide the capabilities we're looking for. And that's why I've been deliberate in not talking about weight, as opposed to light and heavy and medium weight, because that becomes a measurement that's less meaningful for us.

It is the capability we're looking for. If technology provides the answers we think are going to come in, then what we have traditionally described as light and heavy will begin to merge. And I think you will see that the entire transformation will go towards capabilities that give those divisional formations lethality that the heavy forces have and the agility of the light forces.

QUESTION: In your speech, you referred to some pretty significant reduction of tonnages in some of these vehicles.

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Yes.

QUESTION: And a lot of that would be predicated on technologies that aren't available today. Because it sounds like you're putting a lot of -- investing a lot in the hopes of the S&T base coming through in a big way for you here, how would you characterize the risks of achieving what you laid out today?

SECRETARY CALDERA: Well, first of all, we're committed to this change. Because we think it's the right change for the Army to add the capabilities that the nation needs. In the changing world in which we live in today, we've got to be able to get to the fight faster with that kind of capability. So we're committed to driving this change, regardless of the resources and the time constraints, and doing it as quickly as you can do it without accepting undue risks.

There are ways to increase survivability whle lowering the weight to your weapons platforms, to your tanks, that are not entirely dependent on science and technology which may or may not be available today or on the horizon, including the survivability that you give to a platform because you are not expecting to take a direct hit.

So therefore you don't have to have the same level of armament, because the other platforms are working together in a way that they increase survivability because you or someone else is contributing to your increased survivability. So it is not entirely dependent on deriving new technologies that aren't there today.

GENERAL SHINSEKI: And, again, as I indicated, 90 percent of our lift requirements are in the logistics footprint area and 10 percent in the specific platform. So at the time we're going after technologies that will help us get smaller, lighter platforms, we're also going after the 90 percent logistics footprint, which I think, in the long run, will be the bigger payoff, in terms of lift savings.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. First, funding. How do you plan to achieve the funding for the new acquisition programs, for the new prototype testing? Do you plan to do re-prioritization away from heavier-weight vehicle modernization, towards these light? Or do you plan to simply ask for more money?

Secondly, why the shift from Fort Polk to Fort Lewis? Does this mean that the plans for the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Polk for strike force orientation are over, or what? Thank you.

SECRETARY CALDERA: Let me say, with respect to resources, clearly we have to help ourselves as much as possible. That is, doing all the things that we can to be a more efficient organization, so that we can generate internal savings. And that includes a whole range of things, including base closure, etcetera, that we'll continue to press for; because we need to be able to redirect those dollars into our higher-priority items.

The vision clearly has implications for both force structure and for modernization priorities. Those are some of the programmatic specifics that we'll get into and roll out a little bit more here in the coming weeks, so that that is still being worked through in terms of the assessments that need to be done about specific programs. And you will be hearing more about that.

GENERAL SHINSEKI: To your question about Fort Polk, the decision to go to Lewis was to pick a site where you had the capability to do essentially heavy and a light transformation. You also have a great deployment airfield there at McChord. So if you're going to pick this up and demonstrate that you have gained something in terms of strategic responsiveness, that's helpful. Fort Polk was considered and is still a consideration; and the 2d ACR's involvement in this follow-on unit is still very much part of the consideration.

QUESTION: General Shinseki, how did the Kosovo experience influence your decision making on some of these changes?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Kosovo in particular?

QUESTION: And/or Bosnia, but more specifically Kosovo.

GENERAL SHINSEKI: I would say, some influence, but not, in and of itself, just the only fact we considered. We have long thought about how to transform the Army to meet what was obviously, as early as right after the Cold War, what was obviously a changing strategic environment. And over this last seven or eight years, it's really been the Army that's been doing a lot of the heavy lifting in these missions that are short of the warfight, but, nonetheless, are just as intense and energetic.

And so we have looked for the opportunity to go after capability we didn't have. Kosovo helped answer some questions. And so that's the reason, in about 90 days, that we're trying to put together a vision that gets a good azimuth that we can pursue.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. If you are phasing out tracked vehicles anyway, is there any reason to continue funding for things like M1A1 upgrades and Crusader?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Well, when we get the answer that we can put it on wheeled vehicles, we will. The intent here is driven by the fact, in this country, I think we have had significant advances in wheeled technology and not in track technology. And we think that, given the descriptors that I gave with low-observable, long-range acquisition, where you now can design vehicles that don't have to take the first premise as being, if hit, will it survive? So if you can take that out of the equation, you can now begin to lower the weight of the platforms you design.

MR. CALDERA: And many of the investments in the M1A1 upgrades, of course, are recapitalization, replacing aging equipment and upgrading the equipment by the manner in which you're recapitalizing and introducing more technology and more capability into it. Those M1A1's are still critical to the warfight that the CINC's are responsible for today. And so it is important that we continue with those recapitalization programs.

QUESTION: Can you be perhaps a little more specific on the pace of the initial operation? Are you going to convert both brigades at Fort Lewis? Does one go before the other? And when do you expect them to actually be operational?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Good question, Steve. We went there because much of this is driven by how soon we can get, quote, off-the-shelf equipment. I sometimes think the term is a bit misleading. It's not as though you walk into a shop, you know, and you pull things off. Off-the-shelf means literally the ability, because there is a production capability, the ability to acquire.

The answers to that are now being sorted out with some of the owners of the equipment you see here, trying to find out how soon we can have this. We intend to try to get the first pieces of a brigade package starting to move to Lewis this year.

Now, if we are successful in doing that, then I think the interest would be to go to the heavy brigade, because they have a platform-oriented background. They've maneuvered on vehicles, they've fired precision gunnery. It would be a swap-out of equipment -- crews onto a new piece of equipment.

If it takes any longer than that, it may be a tossup between which way you go. We may have enough time to get the light brigade prepared to accept new pieces of equipment, as well.

QUESTION: This calendar year?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Fiscal year.

QUESTION: General, you mentioned talks with General Jim Jones. Anything about more interoperability with the Marine Corps sharing programs, what kind of -- I guess where would you want to see that going?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Yes, this was a collaborative effort in terms of that I shared with him, what the Secretary and I saw as the vision which way it was headed, shared with him the vision a little while ago, showed him some of the tough decisions we were having to deal with. And there is interest on both of our parts in the ability to lift equipment and project it onto land. And so we do have those discussions going.

We have both also agreed that sometime next spring we will try to organize an Army/Marine warfighter kind of seminar, where his commanders and our commanders come together, and we start this business of closer collaboration.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. I'd like to know where the digitized Army and Force 21 fits in this new vision specifically are, the lessons learned down at Hood, and maybe some of the systems and gear that are going to be transferred to what you're doing at Fort Lewis?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Yes, absolutely. We still stay with digitization lessons that we have learned through the Hood experiment. To the degree that that capability is available on the interim platforms we're looking at, which is right now not highly likely. But to the degree that we can get it, we will continue to have Force 21 capabilities part of this new O&O (concept) as we develop it, organization and operational study.

QUESTION: Two questions if I may. Deputy Secretary Hamre, in a speech that we saw about six weeks, was somewhat critical of the Army, clearly presaging something like this. So did you work in conjunction with -- I mean, did they offer inputs? Did you seek sign-off from them? What was your collaboration with them?

And the second part is, you've talked mainly about platforms. And it almost sounds as if the vision is simply to replace heavy vehicles with lighter vehicles. Do you foresee organizational changes that would follow that, that brigades will -- do you foresee that they will become smaller or different types of structural changes, or what?

SECRETARY CALDERA: Well, let me say, first of all, that yes, we have both clearly, obviously, have responsibilities as part of a joint team to work with the other services and under the auspices of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. We have walked through this, both with Secretary Cohen and with Secretary Hamre as well.

The implications are certainly far more than just platforms. They are organizational. And they're also people skills. And that was another element of General Shinseki's remarks today, that we are working on producing leaders for change, not just leaders who are doctrinally capable and competent leaders for warfighting, but leaders also for all of the kinds of missions that we are asked to be able to do today across that full spectrum, and who will have the capability to continue to deal with an evolving global situation in which the array of threats that you face goes across that entire spectrum, including the homeland defense-type issues and use of weapons of mass destruction.

QUESTION: Jerry Gilmore, Army News Service, gentlemen.

I was wondering if, you are familiar of course with the land warrior program, would you be willing to put this in with that package, or that two-brigade package, to see how that is, field it automatically? Because that's pretty much far along now I understand.

GENERAL SHINSEKI: As you know, we had some difficulty with the schedule it was on. It was delayed a bit, and it is back now and totally on track. I haven't seen the latest of it. But, as it pans out, this will be part of our efforts to bring the Force 21 capabilities into the force, irrespective of what we're doing here. If it fits, we'll certainly be interested in putting it into a place like Lewis.

QUESTION: General, the medium force, could you just address, have you all had any ideas so far for organic-- The new medium force, have you all discussed or do you have details about what its aviation component would look like, as far attack and lift helicopters organic to the unit?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: We are taking an existing brigade and transforming it into a capability for rapid deployment. Right now, neither one of those units has an attack capability. We historically task organize, and you can certainly ask whether we would do that. If the situation requires the attachment of attack assets, we would do that. But, right now, this is looking at that brigade as it currently exists.

QUESTION: General, I'd like to ask you a little bit about how this is going to be commanded and controlled, and how it will change the Army's existing quick response forces. If you are positioning it at I Corps headquarters and you want to stand it up immediately, is it going to become an I Corps asset? And, if so, does I Corps become your first quick response unit within the next year or two? And what implications does that have for the 18th Airborne Corps, which now has that mission now?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Good question. Actually, we'll have to see. I don't know if you're familiar with I Corps, but its capabilities in terms of command and control don't come anywhere close to the 18th Airborne Corps' capability. 18th Corps will still be our quick response warfighting organization. And whatever capabilities that we are able to introduce here in terms of command and control -- well, C-4 ISR -- will help us understand what else we could do with 18th Corps. But this is for those missions short of war, where we would have to provide perhaps a brigade package. We would also want to send it with a command and control capability.

That's a good question. We are going to have to wrestle that piece as we stand up this first unit.

MODERATOR: Thank you all very much.

[End of transcription.]