Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 29, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EST

4:00 am
the senator mentioned i think everybody on this committee understands aren't the structures in many ways collapsing and we used to lead the world in terms of infrastructure and according to the world economic forum we are in -- and that's not anything that anyone on this committee should be proud of. in the same of vermont we have the same infrastructural problems as a rural state that every other state in the country has. we have communities with a lot of potholes and we have congestion. we have bridges that are in disrepair. some years ago and governor shumlin played an active role we had hurricane irene with devastation to our infrastructure and we were and we work hard to rebuild that infrastructure so i appreciate your efforts mr. chairman you're working with senator boxer. there's a lot of division in the congress today but i would hope on this issue there's a common
4:01 am
understanding that we are doing our kids and grandchildren a great disservice if we don't own up to the infrastructure problems we have right now and we work with the governors around the country to move forward on this issue. so mr. chairman thank you very much. snack thank you senator. let me make this comment. we are very proud to have all of you here. we had some al masai think so the full panel was not here but i appreciate very much your coming. it's important i believe when i look at this politically is going to be necessary to have a lot of pressure a lot of pressure from the states in order to get the support necessary to get this through. it's going to be heavy lifting. we know you guys are available and are able to do that. let's start with opening statements. >> thank you sir and good morning everyone. it's a pleasure for me to be with you senator inhofe and
4:02 am
senator boxer and i appreciate senator sessions great introduction of may a good friend of my appreciate all the members of this committee. i'm here on behalf of the national governors association also the people of alabama. governor tomlin and i are on the national governors association economic development and commerce committee. we served together on a bipartisan basis and all the governors of the states have basically the same problems that have just been mentioned today. i'm here today to highlight some of these problems and some of the situations that we have. the first priority when they look of priorities is really to continue to maintain a strong partnership between the federal government and the state governments. you know there are select projects across this country
4:03 am
that are national and regional significance that states in the federal government can partner together on that will benefit our entire country. one such project is in alabama. sar mobile river bridge also known as the i-10 bridge and senator sessions had to step out does this very well. this is a project that reduces the congestion in the tunnels that help with the growth of our great city there in mobile. this is a project this is a major project that we need to be working on. when the second priorities that we need to look at is the long-term funding which is already been mentioned. funding certainty at the federal level is essential for planning and budgeting for future projects. you know we have governors are ceos of the states we understand how important transportation for structures to creating jobs in our states.
4:04 am
certainty allows governors the ability to plan and execute long-term multiyear transportation projects. since i took office in 2011 we have recruited 63,000 new and future jobs for the state of alabama and good infrastructure is a key part of the environment that is needed to create the jobs in our state. in alabama we are witnessing first-hand the successful partnership of job creation and infrastructure improvement. the first week my first term of office i met in recruited 100 million-dollar company golden dragon copper tubing to wilcox county which is the county with the highest unemployment rate in the state of alabama. this new facility will employ 300 people and not only will it change this community but it will change those families that live there and it will change the way of life. the state gave $7 million of
4:05 am
construction money to build roads to this plant and it will make a difference in the lives of the people of that area. the third thing that i would like to mention is the flexibility that we need in federal dollars. the earmarking of federal dollars hurts the ability of governors to allocate funds within our states. and i want to share also in my testimony quickly. i want to share program that i have started and it's an innovative program that we have started in alabama. it's something we call the aid trip program. we put a billion dollars to repair the roads and bridges of every county in the state of alabama. we used garvey bonds to do this. we have been able to rov is at a low interest rate and the fact
4:06 am
that we have ourselves used our gasoline money to back these bonds we have been able to set 35 more million dollars. every county in the state of alabama will receive projects and the least in a county will receive is $6.6 million. this spring congress will have the opportunity to set a new vision for infrastructure investment in america. as a country we must show that we are serious about our economy than we must get serious about investing in our roads and bridges. governors urge congress to pass a long-term transportation bill that applies a certain he needed to plan for flexibility to tailor projects to the new challenges that face each state. governors look forward to working with you congress and
4:07 am
the administration to authorize long-term funding and i thank you today for the opportunity to testify before you. >> thank you governor bentley. governor shumlin. >> thank you so much chairman. i really appreciate your inviting us down and ranking member senator boxer thank you and to the entire committee. it's a real honor to be here. i'm honored to be here with governor bentley on behalf of the nga. governor bentley and i have worked together on opiate addiction issues and i think he stated the case well in saying that governors in all 50 states on a bipartisan basis wants to partner with you to get this job done because we own our economic prosperity international security and their ability to improve quality of life depends upon fixing our crumbling and
4:08 am
aging infrastructure. i know i'm looking forward to hearing from secretary of berquist as well. i know the governor was to be here and i know governor malloy of connecticut we got whacked pretty hard in the northeast with a snowstorm in our transportation infrastructure. he would be here if you are not digging out great in vermont we got hit too but her southern states artists accustomed to snow as we are in vermont. so he is still digging. i should say -- that's the deep south too. [laughter] i'm going to paraphrase a little bit because the i know governor bentley basically sent by message for me. we know that we can't prosper as a nation unless we fix what
4:09 am
senator sanders or prefer to which we used to be number one. we are 14th in the altogether but the u.s. senate have the ability to fix the challenge for us in congress. i want you to know on the ground as a governor what this means to a small rhee state in what it means to vermont is not all that different than what it means to wyoming or alabama or idaho or south dakota or north dakota or new hampshire. our challenge in smaller. [roll call] states as we sometimes forget that 80% of our transportation network with thousands and thousands of bridges are rural states so if you take vermont as an example when we talk about infrastructure you can say vermont doesn't have that many people so why does it matter? it matters not only to vermonters quality of life that we have an example in many of the rural states bordering
4:10 am
canada where the transportation transportation's conduit to our biggest trading partner in america, canada. we project going forward that in the next three decades we are going to see our freight transportation increase by 50% and we have a crumbling infrastructure right now. in terms of jobs and prosperity the states carry a bigger burden because we have more to maintain and we all know that infrastructures come bowling and it has to be rebuilt. so i just want to make a point that when you look at this challenge of reauthorizing the transportation trust fund is important to remember the rural states have a special burden. the northeast states have increased burden as well simply because of climate. if you look at what we are facing together we are dealing with a much shortened construction season.
4:11 am
we obviously have freezing and thawing that takes an extraordinary toll on our bridges and we have to throw salt around like there's no end to it which is really terrible for steel which is critical to bridges and frankly doesn't help -- out either either. in a sense colder states also i would argue that all the rural states are in this one together. i want to just say a word about the state challenges. i thought i would be brave and brief in my comments but i lost my notes. i want to say a word about the funding and what it really means for those of us better in the challenges we are losing the battle. for me and the governor made reference to the garvey bonds. we rely upon an ongoing funding stream from the feds to do our
4:12 am
work. what happens to a governor like me is that when there is uncertainty about funding or when the fund is out of money and you are literally unable to send the match back to the states we are in a terrible position of having to dig for cash that we didn't anticipate we would need or are turning to contractors and simply saying we can't do the work we contracted you do because we are not sure we can pay the bill. this is the reality for governors across america. we have to remember when we talk about getting this done we know that me is the dropdead date, in my case next month we will start letting contracts for the work to be done next spring and remember in a state like vermont or the northeast you are paving season in your building season runs from mid-april if you get lucky too early may until october somewhere around thanksgiving. you can't make pavement below 30 degrees as you know so those
4:13 am
are the challenges we face together both timing and funding. i just want to make a comment about funding. they're there sometimes the perception that states can go it alone that they can figure this out without the partnership of the federal government. i just want to remind us that particularly a small rural states don't have the options for funding of some of the larger states might have. i go across the george washington bridge with your easy pass and i dream of having that kind of volume and that kind of passage to get over a bridge. we are often asked when we hit our transportation challenges what transportation challenges what do you do tolls and vermont? well we don't have enough people to pay the tolls. we don't have traffic to go through and it literally would not be a proposition in all the studies with them. let's remember what a small rural states have a more intense infrastructure or miles of bridges to maintain we have fewer funding sources to do it. i really appreciate the
4:14 am
opportunity to be before you today and we would love to answer any questions that you have. i just want to make for quick recommendations. >> i'm afraid we can't do that governor. thank you very much for your presentation and secretary berkowitz. >> thank you senator inhofe and ranking member boxer and members of the committee. i appreciate the opportunity to be hearing from the committee on behalf of the south dakota governor dennis daugaard. governor daugaard wants to be here himself to tell you her story because he appreciates the importance of investment to our state. he sends his regrets he was not able to be here today. i would like to highlight a few key points of his written statement. first of all we thank you for holding this hearing early in the congress. this tells us the committee appreciates the prompt action to pass good federal surface transportation legislation will
4:15 am
benefit the nation. a nation need strong funding and long-term financial stability for the highway and transportation program in order to strengthen the economy and the nation. we believe the transportation program should continue to distribute the vast majority of funds to states by formula. it should further simplify regulations and program requirements providing states with additional flexibility to meet their unique individual needs. the federal transportation program much -- must include rural areas like ours. a rural state like south dakota is far from senders that contributions are important to the national economy. south dakota and other rural states are the source of products resources and recreational opportunities that helped define us as a nation better highways connect cities like chicago to the west coast and enables agriculture and other goods to move to national rural markets and allows people to disagree places like mt.
4:16 am
rushmore and other attractions located in rural areas. extensions of short-term authorizations or particular problem for states like ours. with a multiyear funding we have to focus more than we would like on short-term and smaller projects. i also want to emphasize the need for highway and transportation investment and states are taking action. south dakota governor daugaard this week introduced a proposal to our legislative session that would increase investment transportation and south dakota. while we are trying to do our part states cannot do it alone. we need strong federal program large rural states like south dakota have a few people to support each mile of federal highway and be able to maintain our portion of the highway system. the world population of 7 billion people is expected to grow by 70 million a year and we need to export our products to
4:17 am
help feed them. 65% of the truck traffic in south dakota is to commerce meaning it does not originate in a destination our state. before closing mr. chairman we would like to encourage you to do what you can to simplify the transportation program and make it more flexible. we know they're necessarily must be some requirements for the federal program that this is an area where public interest less is more. as an example one proposed rule would have states collect multiple data items for all public roads. as it turns out this includes gravel and dirt roads which make up the majority of the state. this is not a prayer to use of scarce funds earlier to congress to simplify the program were canceled program dollars can provide more transportation investments and projects to improve our system.
4:18 am
strong and stable federal funding along with flexibility reduces requirements to help states provide transportation system that the nation needs. congress should continue to distribute the vast majority of funds by formula and of course federal surface transportation legislation does continue to recognize significant federal investment in highways in rural areas like ours is in the national interest. again mr. chairman thank you for the opportunity. >> thank you secretary for your statement. the chairs going to take the broader than go ahead and start as governor bentley has a particular scheduling problem. we recognize that this time to respond to questions. i would make this one comment governor bentley. when you talk about certainty this is always a problem dealing with government. right now there's the uncertainty of regulations that are out there that are creating hardships on people and
4:19 am
certainly in this area. is there anything you would like to elaborate on concerning any of the issues you expanded on? >> i think certainty probably is the most important thing we are asking for the state level. and we have the certainty whatever that certainty as we can deal with it. it's so difficult for us as a state do not know whether or not we will get funding. if this ends in may which it supposedly will it makes it difficult for all of us. one of the things that i have put in place in alabama and that i talked about as we put a billion dollars into the repair of our roads and bridges. we need to repair what we are to have. we can't just build new roads and bridges. we have to repair what we have and make sure they are functional. we have borrowed a billion dollars and gotten it such a low
4:20 am
rates simply because we have such a high rating, bond rating in alabama that we need $69 million every year to pay off those bonds over the next 18 or 19 years. we just need certainty whatever that certainty is. one of the federal government can help us live and we appreciate that partnership. as one of the things -- it is a partnership. all states connect obviously so it is a partnership. the certainty to me is the most important thing and that's what we need the most. >> senator boxer. >> thank you. i want to thank our panel and i want to make a quick point and asked the governor. i am so for simplification and flexibility and i work with senator inhofe and people will tell you i have come a long way on that point but we do have to protect the taxpayers here. for me i want to make sure i am protecting taxpayers.
4:21 am
just keep that in mind if we have to find that sweet spot in that sweet spot may look different to you than it does in my eyes but we will work together on this. governor sankey. i know how hard it is to get here and to take you away from your state. governor bentley i was so interested in your alabama transportation rehabilitation and improvement program because it's a billion dollar program. the reason you can do it is you are counting on future federal dollars so you have the garvey bonds. is that correct? >> it is. >> yes so i guess because i think your point about certainty certainty -- i would like you too you to in another way in your very eloquent way explain to us why certainty is so critical and if he you didn't have the certainty of this federal bill how it could impact
4:22 am
you again and i know it's repetitious but it's important. it's the message i would like to see come out of this hearing. >> again let me say i think certainty is the most important thing we have to deal with. over the last five or six years we have not had that certainty obviously. so we needed to plan. if we don't have -- we need five, six whatever the number of years that you decide we just need to know what those are an and we need to plan accordingly. and this program that i have put in place i was able to put into place without legislation because the people of alabama allowed us the garvey bonds. so we are using future federal dollars. so the certainty is so important for me because i have signed a billion dollars in bonds and i
4:23 am
want to make sure we pay it back. and we can pay it back in two ways. number one is at the federal government will help continue to give us some certainty about what they are going to give the states plus the fact we can do it better because in alabama we have such a great bond rating. we have a better bond rating in the federal government so we are able to borrow it at such a low rate for delaying these repairs on roads and bridges so it's essential to us. >> thank you. my last question to you is it's interesting to learn about the i-10 bridge project and you noted there are some projects of national significance that are too large to be funded without specific assistance. you believe the federal program to allow these types of projects
4:24 am
to compete against one another in addition to core highway funding would be top among the state's? >> i would rather have them to compete them not have them at all. >> i hear you. >> i think competition is always good. i think is the federal government and i speak about the federal government because i grew up in the state of alabama but i think you do have to look at what is the most important border security, for our economy economy, for our safety. all of those things we have to look at when you look at these types of projects outside of the normal funding stream. >> thank you so much. >> thank you senator boxer. senator boozman. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you all for being here. in relation to this can you tell us the impact of a two-year bill
4:25 am
forces a five-year bill and what that does this for certainty in the necessity of the longer bill bill? the other thing i would like for you to think about along with that is one of the frustrations we have is you know you mentioned we were number one in infrastructure. i think if you look back when we were number one probably the percentage of what the states were doing was more than it is now as opposed to what the feds are doing. think one of the frustrations we have as we put money into the states because of the fiscal constraints with things like prisons and medicaid and education and things like that the states have a tendency sometimes to shrink back and things stay the same as opposed to an increase. you mentioned mr. shumlin about your small state. arkansas is a small state into our credit we pass a sales tax
4:26 am
to overcome the problems that you have. i wish coming across the 14th street bridge everyday we could give you some of that traffic. it would make my life and other commuters a lot easier but comment on a two year and a five-year and also how do we ensure as we are trying to do the best we can do that is an improvement versus the state shrinking back. >> in terms of the two to five the more certainty you can give us the better. governor bentley and i served in an environment where we would love to have to because we have been working month-to-month since we have been governor. we have both been governors for four-year so the more certainty you can give us a longer period of time the happier all governors will be in particularly in a situation when you're dealing with garvey bonds. governor bentley said to wall street we have an ongoing funding source from the feds so
4:27 am
i can turn to the folks of alabama and say we have got certainty and we are going to be all right. we needed need it too because obviously they make similar decisions. >> so the tours as the five cost up? not only is the certainty issue but the contracts driving up the cost of the construction projects also. >> absolutely senator. the second piece is in terms of the partnership. my experience has been we have had to increase our state contribution just to keep up with our federal match. what i mean by that is unfortunately the gas tax not so unfortunately but for good reasons. people are driving less miles of driving more efficient vehicles but we all know in the long run we will have to figure out another way to drive revenue. we'll have to go to miles
4:28 am
traveled or some other way of doing this. having said that in my state as an example we could not keep up with their federal match visit dwindling gas prices without asking for more from vermonters just to meet what we had arctic out in the past. giving up $40 million of federal funding which for me and for me in after transportation budget of $4 million we are talking real money trade having to cancel projects that are critically important as her bridges and roads crumble. what i did and i don't like raising taxes that we raised it from 20 cents to 26 cents. we triggered half of it towards volume and have toured sales so we be able to play the prices that go up and down without where we are now where if gas was cut in half we would have been totally demoralized.
4:29 am
vermonters are making a bigger effort from a tax standpoint to make that federal match then we were in the past. i don't know if vermont is unique but i can tell you we are definitely not backing off in our commitment to rebuild roads and bridges. we have been asking for more from them and i think a lot of governors have. >> one of the challenges with the two-year to the five-year program is due to the length of time it takes to deliver any project of any size once we have the security of having a two-year program by the time we start to deliver the project the program is backed back into a short-term situation. i agree with the governor's comments too some the negative impact of the short-term month-to-month type of business we are doing now is resulting in not necessarily being able to do
4:30 am
optimal treatments to our roads and we are just doing what we can in a short period of time. oftentimes it's a band-aid type fix that may not be the financially best thing to do but the only thing that can be done at the time. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator whitehouse and we are trying to confine her questions. >> thank you chairman. these will certainly beat governor oriented questions. in rhode island and what we are seeing we are saying and if this sounds familiar to governors let me know. we are seeing the federal formula highway funds increasingly subscribe overtime and we are seeing static revenue from that. we are not seeing big federal increases that are funding growth of the highway program. we are also seeing maintenance costs for the existing infrastructure climbing and that eats into the static federal
4:31 am
revenues. we are seeing debt service on our garvey bonds eat a chunk of what would otherwise be going out into roads and bridges and we are seeing uncertainty in the out-years about whether that federal funding is really going to be there. what we get from all of that is a distinction between little projects that you know you can fund that could run for a year or two and you can get it done and that you can fit into the shrinking remaining available portion of our highway budget and the big projects that are transportation officials know are out there now we have to grapple with someday that there's no slug of money big enough to take them on and if you are going to spread them out
4:32 am
over many years that raises the cost in many cases and also takes you beyond your comfort level of whether the federal funding is going to be there given the uncertainty that has been created by all the fiscal and budget hijinks that have gone on here in washington. what that leaves us with is some big projects that we really have no way to get into our highway program responsibly. is any of that sound familiar to the governor's? i see both heads nodding let the record reflect. what i want to make sure we do in this echoes on the ranking members questions there be a pool of funding for projects that are big and significant and said of giving them out because i know a lot of people don't like earmarks of it be a competitive program would at least provide a vehicle for those projects to be brought on line before a big calamity
4:33 am
happens a very expensive bridge a major highway overpass or intersection, things like that a particularly small state budget. does that seem like a sensible notion to you that before these big projects there be a specialized source of funds u.k. can be poor to get them handled where they can be reached at ordinary funding? >> i personally believe that what he said is exactly what i said in my testimony. there has to be a different strain of funding for those types of projects and they should be competitive. we need to decide their national significance. we need to decide the safety of the area. for instance i mentioned the bridge over the bay in mobile. we have all the highways coming
4:34 am
into one tunnel. we have hazardous material that is transported through that and there are so many things you have to look at. competition is good. i think that you shouldn't have a bridge to nowhere. i personally am against earmarking just for the sake of earmarking for political reasons. i believe that the earmarking should be done for what you are talking about and i believe that i am talking about which is of national and regional significance and you do have to compete in order to get those funds. >> mr. chairman if i could make one final remarks. one of the flaws in the stimulus program that we put together and passed in the depths of the recession was that our rush for a shovel-ready projects meant the only ones we could get into the pipe were the ones that were already on the books for
4:35 am
transportation organizations. so this big ones that are waiting out there which would have been a great opportunity we missed and so that's another reason i think we need to make sure we do this project of national regional significance and i thank the chairman for his courtesy. >> mr. chairman i would yield and say it's refreshing to have governors come in and get that good dose of common sense. we appreciate it. >> at this time we'll excuse you you governor bentley perinetti you have a scheduling problem. thank you very much. governor shumlin i did not mean to be discourteous to you when you were talking that you had four points that you are going to end up which i did not hear since i didn't give you time. >> i think we covered them. thanks for the opportunity. i would like to respond to the
4:36 am
question of competing for large projects and add that i think senator whitehouse is on target. a program like that make sense. i do want to point out the small rural states who have 80% of the highway roads and bridges to maintain often have a tough time competing with big state projects so if you are going to do that some kind of set aside to recognize the difference in scale is important because while we have bigger more miles covered in more bridges on those miles we don't necessarily have the huge individual projects that frankly a heavily populated state would have. >> governor that's something we are all going to be working on because it is very meaningful. let me just make one comment talking about the earmarks. it's a great misunderstanding here. this is my observation. one of the few things that does work well with the federal government is the way the highway trust fund is set up in
4:37 am
response back to the needs of the state. i think when we did our last particularly the 2005 bill we made an effort to listen to the states recognizing that they know more of what's good for them whether it's alaska or anywhere else than our infinite wisdom here in washington. so i think it's something that has worked well. the problem was they should've used another word when they were messing around with this and we wouldn't be having the problems we are having now. there's a big difference between earmarks and what people think of earmarks and earmarks as they come from the states from the department of transportation and that's why i think it's great. hopefully we can address this. and take care of these problems we are talking about right now.
4:38 am
that would be kind of fine-tuning it. the problem is we have all those issues out there. a lot of people forget and it always sounds good when you say bleske bolivar money in the state. that's fine if you are in a position to do that but if you are from wyoming or south dakota or north dakota you have lots of roads and no people. we are going to address this and try to do this one right. you have covered your four-point? okay that's good. senator whitehouse. >> i will just second the chairman's remarks. i'm actually not an opponent of earmarks. i'm a great fan of my senior senator jack jack jack reed who is there appropriator and i would think his judgment about federal money should be spent as a good deal better than the bureaucrats in the various departments but my point was we don't need to have that fight to
4:39 am
have a good portion of this bill. i'm with the chairman on that fight and particularly as it applies to these transportation issues. i think my questions have been adequately issued. i would put on record that we got a full answer from governor boley under the chairman's request. governor shumlin was not -- but didn't have a chance as anything so i offer him a chance if he has any comments to make in addition to otherwise the record is clear that the governors before us are in accord on the subject. >> the only point that i would make that hasn't been made in terms of this conversation generally is when we talk about reinvigorating the trust fund which we all know is created in 1958 has served us well that was a time we were building infrastructure for the first time in america and it's what made this country great. what made us the most powerful
4:40 am
economy in the world. we could not have done without the trust fund and i think governors are united on that. the first covered bridges you are talking about. >> the challenge we face from big picture because sometimes we get into the weeds on how we should allocate the money and i suspect all 50 governors would agree on this one. we have two things facing us. the first is obviously the aging infrastructure and the fact that what we build so effectively in the early 60s across the nation is now crumbling but the other challenge i'm facing out that other governors are facing too is the weather challenges have made the transportation infrastructure more vulnerable than i i believe that was when they build infrastructure. i can tell you is a governor who has served for four years now i have managed three really devastating storms the toughest
4:41 am
stormers vermont has seen in our history. we lost in the tiny state of vermont we lost hundreds of miles of roads. we lost 34 bridges. we saw infrastructure destroyed not only with irene but two separate significant storms and this was created by just the kind of rain that we have never seen in vermont where we suddenly get these what i call costa rican style deluge as of 10 or 12 inches of rain dumped on our little state in a matter of hours. it didn't used to happen that way so we have to remember we have a crumbling infrastructure, we have a climate that is really putting additional pressure on all the decisions we make about were repaired roads and bridges and suddenly we have flooding challenges in places we have never happened before. >> governor can i jump in on that? there's an interesting statistic that comes out of the national property casualty insurance industry. if you look at the number billion-dollar storm and weather
4:42 am
disasters the country has had in recent decades in the 1980s every year those billion-dollar disasters numbered zero to five. i was the range of the 1980s. you have none or maybe had as many of five to that was the range. by the 1990s the range was three to nine billion-dollar disasters every year minimum of three and maximum of nine. by the 2000's the range was two to 11 billion-dollar disasters each year and in the 2010 decade so far it's been six to 16. so the point the governors making about what he is seen in vermont is one we are seeing all across the country add seeing it in rhode island with 100 year storms one after another certainly not 100 years apart in i yield back my time. >> thank you mr. chairman. i agree with the senator from rhode island when it comes to
4:43 am
the issue of who should be making the decisions and i like the idea providing ample opportunity for the states and local governments to make decisions about where the dollar should be spent. i think we should be very liberal when it comes to allowing the states recognizing their ability to make good decisions for their citizens about infrastructure development development. i was going to go to secretary bergquist and talk about the common sense things that states do or would like to do it for cited -- provided the opportunity. i think when we talk about additional revenue sources one thing they want us to do is deliver the needed infrastructure needed bridges and roads and everything that comes with it. part of that means making good decisions about how we spend the dollars. sometimes i think good advice is that advice but it shouldn't be requirements. there should be ample
4:44 am
opportunity for states and departments of transportation to make good choices about what they want that infrastructure to look like. i was wondering if the secretary could share the issues of some other red tape was eliminated or the restrictions on those funds could be examined. would you care to comment on that a little bit? >> if i may mr. chairman. two immediate things come to mind senator. one i found with interest your dialogue with secretary fox on the need to further streamline the review process that goes into projects and as a secretary foxx indicated there were improvements made as part of math 21. i would welcome the opportunity to work with the federal highway administration on further refining that process. i think they're still additional
4:45 am
enhancements that can be made to shorten that time period so we don't have the problem that projects take so long to deliver that we can't start construction until there is a two-year or five-year bill. i think that's one of the areas of opportunity and the other area i see as an opportunity and i touched on example of that earlier in my statement is the balance between the funds and resources that you invest in collecting data or reporting and those types of things versus what goes into asphalt and concrete and bridges. i mentioned the case of the potential requirement to gather all the data on our dirt roads which you are very familiar with with. i'm not sure that is the best use of those funds when we have bridges and you mentioned the bridge numbers in south dakota. we have over 1090 to be replaced. that money may be better spent
4:46 am
there. >> i think senator your question on efficiency and how we can all work together in user transportation dollars better is right on and i for example did a couple, been successful doing it couple of things on how we spend our dollars. when i became governor found there was a rivalry or lack of communication between my agency of natural resources books in my transportation folks in my transportation folks are ready to build a bridge or a road and they were all fighting and carrying on. it would take years to do anything. we have got to end this. my state offices got flooded in irene so the state offices were wiped out and destroy. i use that as an opportunity when i re-organized to put them in the same office building and
4:47 am
in the same cafeteria and guess what? they found out they like each other and they are working much more effectively together to get the job done. now our rna folks will go out on the ground together and make the decisions on the ground that sometimes took two years at now take three days. so it's a big difference. other piece of technology. governors are embracing it across the country smarter ways to do things and residents are willing if they understand it saves tax dollars to be more patient i will give an example. we have cut the cost of our bridges doping bridges significantly raise things to citizens instead of building a detour bridge which you have to go through permitting it takes forever huge cost and i will bet you anything secretary bergquist is doing the same thing that i have my secretary who could speak more eloquently about this but we say if you would let us close that bridge for six to
4:48 am
eight to 12 weeks we could build that bridge and become with these prefab bridges were literally half of the price and much less time. we are all interested in finding ways to be more efficient and to cut red tape. the state can do it in the feds can do it. together we can use our dollars more effectively. >> senator boozman. >> very quickly mr. chairman following up on senator rounds the committee worked really hard with senator boxer and senator and house leadership in trying to identify things to cut the red tape. the problem is some of those things don't come under her jurisdiction so we can cut red tape here. what i would really like for you all to do and your comrades is really, but the things you mentioned the problems that we have some times and then also
4:49 am
other federal problems that aren't under the jurisdiction of the committee so that we can work with this committee's in the next reauthorization which hopefully will happen very soon. then again make sure that we do that. we have talked about the challenges of getting more money into the system. this is a way to save tremendous amounts of money. so we have examples. i've got to go visit the bridge that fell down and no walking. that thing was rebuilt in a year. that would be a 10 or 20 year project probably but the agencies work together and we didn't have a gotcha attitude. it was how can we help you get this thing done. ..
4:50 am
and i just want to make one further comment. i know this misunderstanding, but there is a reason we do this the way that we do. in my state of oklahoma we will list a number of projects. people going out in
4:51 am
transportation districts in the state of oklahoma, make there own priorities so that my job is not so much to see what can be done in a state of oklahoma but where the priorities come from the state. people just overlook that. that is one of the systems it does seem to work well. hopefully we we will be able to do a good a good job with this bill. any further comments you want to make. >> mr. chair, mr. chair, i want to thank you and the committee members. you you have a tough job and it is an incredibly important job. the governors will partner with you in any way that can be useful to get predictability, get the trust fund reauthorized and give a certainty. >> within your states. that is that is so important that we do that. >> absolutely. >> there is another thing that you can do apply the pressure necessary to our
4:52 am
own elected people to let them no what the number one priority is. to use the constitutional argument that is what we are supposed to be doing. and as i have heard it said many times before people were trying to make comments it's right down to transportation. i transportation. i have heard them say i wasn't talking about transportation. so it's something we are going to deal with something that does -- what i would not like to see is have a system change we'd take the states out of the system is you're the your the once you no where the priorities are what needs to be done, and where your elected officials live. that would be helpful. senator any further comment?
4:53 am
>> chairman, i echo what you are suggesting. >> thank you both very much for being here. appreciate it. we are adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
4:54 am
join the conversation, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter.
4:55 am
>> the chief of the army navy, air force, and marines testified about the effects of sequestration budget cuts on national security. the military leaders appeared before the senate armed services committee chaired by sen. senator john mccain. this is two hours and 40 minutes. >> the committee will come to order. we order. we have individuals your bridges to disrupt the hearing, and so i will ask our spectators who are here to observe the hearing today to observe the courtesy of allowing us to here from the witnesses and for the hearing to proceed and, of course, if you if you decide to disrupt the hearing as you usually do we we will
4:56 am
have to pause until you are removed. i don't see what but but i would ask your courtesy to the witnesses and to the community and to your fellow citizens who are interested in hearing what our distinguished panelists have to say who have served our country with honor and distinction. i hope you would respect that. so we we will move forward. the senate armed services committee meets today to receive testimony on the impact of the budget control act of sequestration on us national security. i am grateful to our witness is not only for appearing before us but also for their many decades of distinguished service to our country in uniform. i also appreciate their sincere interest in tense over many years to one a congress and the american people of what is happening to the services.
4:57 am
the brave men and women they represent and our national security if we do not go back sequestration and return to a strategy based budget. we look forward to their candid testimony on the subject today. such warnings from our senior military and national security leaders have become frustratingly familiar to many of us a number of threats arose after our current 2,012 strategy was developed and then adjusted in the 2,014 qtr. we're on track to cut $1 trillion from america's defense budget by the year 2021. and while the ryan murray budget agreement of 2013 provides some welcome relief from the mindlessness of sequestration that relief was partial,
4:58 am
temporary command ultimately did little to provide the kind of fiscal certainty that our military needs to plan for the future and make longer-term investments for our national defense. and yet here we go again. if we in congress do not act sequestration will be turned in for in fiscal year 2016 setting our military on a far more dangerous course. why course. why should we do this to ourselves now? just consider what has happened in the world in just this past year. russia launched the 1st cross-border invasion of another country on the european continent in seven decades. a terrorist army with tens of thousands of fighters isis has taken over a swath of territory the size of indiana. we are now on track to having nearly 3,000 us troops back in iraq and find hundreds of airstrikes a month against isis. yemen is on the verge of collapse as an iranian backed insurgency has swept
4:59 am
in, and al qaeda continues to use the countries ungoverned spaces to plan attacks against the west. china has increased its aggressive challenge to america and our allies in the asia-pacific region where geopolitical tensions and the potential for miscalculations are high. and of course just last month north korea carried off the most brazen cyber attack ever on us territory. let's be clear. if we continue with these arbitrary defense cuts its we we will harm our military's ability to keep us safe army and marine corps will be too small air force will have too few aircraft and many of those we will be too old. i navy will have too few ships, our soldiers, sailors airmen, and marines will not get the training or equipment that they need command it we will become increasingly difficult to respond to any of a number of contingencies that could threaten our national interest. we have we have heard all of
5:00 am
this my top military commanders before yet their are still those who would say never fear's. what a tragically low standard for evaluating the wisdom of government policy. the impacts of sequestration will not always be immediate or obvious, but this guy does not need to fall for military readiness to be eroded military capabilities to atrophy's offer critical investment in maintaining american military superiority to be delayed, cut or canceled. these would be the results of sequestration is quiet and cumulative disruptions that are every bit as dangerous for our national security. i will say candidly that it is deeply frustrated that a hearing of this kind is still necessary. it is frustrating because of what dr. ash carter, pres. obama's nominee's nominee for secretary of defense said before this committee two years ago particularly
5:01 am
tragic that sequestration is not the result of an economic emergency or recession, not because discretionary spending cuts and in answer to our nation's final challenge. is not a reaction to a more peaceful world, not due due to a breakthrough in military technology or new strategic insight not because passive revenue growth in entitlement spending have been explored and exhausted. exhausted. it is purely the collateral damage of political gridlock i would also like to echo what general james mattis told this committee yesterday. no foe in the field could wreck such havoc on our security than mindless sequestration is achieving. america's national defense can no longer be held hostage to domestic political disputes totally separated from the reality of the threats we face. more
5:02 am
than three years after the passage of the budget control act it is time to put names to the census policy do away with budget driven strategy and return to a strategy driven budget. our troops in the nation may defend and deserve no less. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you for calling this important hearing and for your very timely and insightful remarks. i would also like to welcome our witnesses and think these gentlemen for their extraordinary service. thank you. this hearing takes place as the administration and congress continue to wrestle two intersecting policy problems in a debate on how to solve them. because we have a strategic problem. every civilian and military leader has told that if defense budgets continue to be@sequestration levels we will likely not be able to
5:03 am
meet the national defense strategy. as sen. mccain has indicated, we face a variety variety of new and continuing threats around the world. if we don't address the problem of sequestration we will severely limit the range and available military options to address these threats. for the last three years and numerous rounds of congressional hearings and testimony our witnesses have described increased strategic risk and damaging impact of budget control act and sequestration restrictions on military readiness. and i am sure that we will here a similar message today compromise and difficult choices require to provide sequestration really for the department of defense and other critical national priorities including public safety, infrastructure health, and education. i
5:04 am
know you are committed to working with our budget community to find a way to work through these challenges. in the meantime, i'll look forward to the testimony of the witnesses. >> thank you, senator reid. forty-one pending military nominations. is there an notion? >> second. >> 2nd. >> all in favor say i. in the eyes have it. welcome to all of the witnesses. >> thank you, chairman mccain, ranking member other distinguished members of the senate service committee, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to talk about this important topic today. as i sit here before you today as sequestration looms in 2016 i am truly concerned about our future and now we are investing in our nation's defense. i believe this is the most uncertain i i have seen the
5:05 am
national security environment in my nearly 40 years of service's the amount and velocity of instability continues to increase around the world. the lafond unforeseen expansion have the brand -- dramatically escalated conflict in the region. sponsoring the insurgency expansion in the country is quickly approaching a civil war. in north and west africa anarchy extremism and terrorism continues to threaten the interest of the united states as well as allies and partners. in europe russian intervention in the ukraine challenges the resolve of the european union and the effectiveness of the nato. across the pacific china's military modernization effort to raise concern from allies and regional interests while the cycle of north korean provocation continues to increase. the the rate of humanitarian
5:06 am
and disaster relief missions such as the recent threat heightens the level of uncertainty that we face around the world's along with constant evolving threats to the homeland. despite all of this we continue to reduce our military capabilities. capabilities. i would like to remind everyone that over the last three years we have significantly reduce the capabilities of the united states army the last three years the army's component has been reduced. thirteen less active component brigade combat teams and eliminated three active aviation brigades, moving over 800 aircraft and have slashed investments modernization by 25 percent eliminated are fighting vehicle modernization program and have eliminated
5:07 am
our scout helicopter. we have significantly delayed other upgrades. think degraded to its lowest level. only 10% of our our brigade combat teams ready. i combat training's was canceled and almost over half a billion dollars in maintenance is been deferred both affecting training and readiness of our units. even after additional support from the bba today we only have 33 percent of our brigades ready. our soldiers have undergone separation boards some while serving in combat zones. again this is just a sample of what we have already done before sequestration even kicks in again in 2,016.
5:08 am
when it returns will be forced to introduce another 70,000, and 35,000 out of the national guard. an an additional ten to 12 combat brigade combat teams. forced to further reduce modernization readiness levels because we simply can't draw down. more severe across our acquisition programs with an overall modernization investment decrease. training will be severely underfunded resulting in decreased training levels within our institutional support forced to drop over 5000 seats 5000 seats from initial military training, 85,000 for specialized training and 1000 on a pilot
5:09 am
training programs. soldier and family readiness programs will be weakened and investment and installation training and readiness facility upgrades will be affected impacting our long-term readiness strategies. therefore sustainable therefore sustainable readiness will remain out of reach with her international additionally the mechanism sequestration has and will continue to reduce our ability to efficiently manage the dollars we do have. it's increasing cost across the board whether it be an acquisition or training. how how does all of this translate strategic we? it will challenge commitments and partners around the world laminator capability on any scale specifically deterring in one region of the feeding and another. essentially for ground forces sequestration puts into question our ability to have one long prolonged
5:10 am
multi phase combined arms campaign. we significantly degrade our capabilities shape the security environment's in multiple regions multiple regions simultaneously putting into question our ability to deter and compel multiple lavatories simultaneously. ultimately sequestration limits strategic flexibility and requires us to hope we are able to predict the future with great accuracy, something we have never been able to do. our soldiers our soldiers have done everything that we asked of them and more. today our soldiers support five main operations on six continents with nearly 140,000 soldiers committed, deployed or at station in over 140 countries remaining
5:11 am
professional and dedicated to the mission the army, and the nation. but the mission, the army, and the nation. but the very foundation of our soldiers and profession being built on trust but at we we the institution command our nation loser soldiers trust to trust that we we will provide them the right resources, training, and equipment to properly prepare them and lead them and arms away from a trust that we will appropriately take care of our soldiers and their families and our civilians who so selflessly sacrificed so much. in the end it is up to us not to lose that trust. today they have faith in us, us trust in us to give us the tools necessary to do there job but we must never forget, our soldiers will bear the burden of our decisions in their lives. i love this army and have been a part of the for over 38 years. i want to ensure it remains the greatest land force the world is ever known. known. to do that it is our shared responsibility to provide
5:12 am
our soldiers and army with the greatest resources. it is our decisions that we will impact our soldiers army, and the command the joint force in our nation's security posture for the next ten years. we we do not want to return to the days of a hollow army thank you for allowing me to testify, and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, gen. >> general, ranking member distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify about the impact of sequestration on our navy impact of sequestration on our navy thus far and the impact of a potential return to that in 2016. mr. chairman, presence remains the mandate of our navy. we must operate forward where it matters and we need
5:13 am
to be ready when it matters. i have provided the chart to show you where it matters around the world to us and where it matters to our combatant commanders that we be so. recent events testify to the value of forward presence. for example, when tasked in office the george hw bush's strike group relocated from the arabian sea to the north arabian gulf and was on station within 30 hours ready for combat operations. navy and marine strike fighters generated 20 to 30 combat per day and for 54 days represented the only coalition option, strike option to project power. the united states arrived in the black sea to establish a us presence and reassure our allies within a week after russia invaded crimea. over a dozen us ships led by the uss george washington strike group provided disaster relief to the philippines in the wake of the super typhoon's just about a year ago and the uss fort worth and the uss sampson were among the 1st to support the indonesian led surge effort to the air asia aircraft recovery. mr. chairman we have been
5:14 am
where it matters when it matters with deployed forces however, due to sequestration in 2013 our contingency response force's, what is on call from the united states, is one 3rd of what it should be and what it needs to be. sequestration be. sequestration resulted in a $9 billion shortfall below our budget. this shortfall degraded fleet readiness and created consequences from which we're still recovering the first-round generated ship and aircraft maintenance backlogs and compel us to extend unit deployments. our carrier strike groups and most of our destroyers have been on the employment lasting eight to ten months longer. this comes at a cost of our sailors and their families resiliency and reduces the
5:15 am
performance of the equipment and will reduce the service lives of our ships. navy fleet readiness will likely not recover from the ship and aircraft maintenance backlogs until about 20 eighteenths, five years after the first-round of sequestration. this is. this is just a small glimpse of the readiness price. although funding levels provided to us under the bipartisan budget act of 2013, their were $13 billion of him sequestration, those budgets for $16 billion below the resources we described in our submission has necessary to sustain the navy. now to deal with these shortfalls we have slowed pushed out modernization that we had scheduled to be done during this future your defense plan reduced procurement of advanced weapons and aircraft delayed upgrade * but the most critical shore infrastructure's. the end result has been higher risk particularly in
5:16 am
two of the missions that are articulated in our defense strategic guidance from our defense strategy, and i provided a copy of that. a synopsis of the ten missions and the impact. the mission at the highest risk of those requiring us to defer and defeat aggression in the mission to project power despite an anti- axis area denial challenge. i. our return to sequestration in 2016 would necessitate a revisit and a revision revision of our defense strategy. we have been saying this for years as. we would further delay critical war were fighting capabilities, further reduce readiness of contingency response forces and perhaps forgo or stretch procurement of ships and submarines and further downsize or munitions.
5:17 am
in terms of war fighting the sequestered navy of 2020 would be left in a position where it could not execute those two missions are referred to. we go from high risk to we cannot execute and would face higher risk and five additional missions of those ten. seven out of ten. more detail on the impact is on a handout in front front of you and is outlined in my written statement which i request to be added for the record. record. although we can model and analyze and quantify what is less easy to quantify is the up fact of sequestration on people. people underwrite our security. it's they are the difference for sure between us and even the most technologically advanced navy. we have enjoyed meeting our recruiting goals and until recently our attention has been remarkable. however remarkable. however, the chaotic and indiscriminate excursion of sequestration in 2013 really
5:18 am
left a bitter taste with our sailors, civilians, and families. the threat of limiting sequestration along limning sequestration along with the recovery economy is a troubling combination. we are already seeing disconcerting trends and retention, particularly our strike fighter pilots nuclear trained officers, seals, cyber warriors, have some of our highly skilled sailors and information technology, aegis radar and nuclear fields. these retention symptoms that i describe your mind me of the challenges that i had as a junior officer after the vietnam war and it reminds me of when i was in command of a submarine a submarine in the mid- 90s's. times that take decades to correct. however, the world was more stable than and i would say that we cannot create that same circumstance. sequestration will set us on the same course. and as the general said said, i don't think we need to go there again. shipbuilding also says to
5:19 am
suffer from a sequester the environment. companies, not necessarily the big prize but the companies that make the key vowels, circuit cards and the things that put us together make is the great sea power that we are take a long time to build the ship and longer yet to recover from the losses of skilled workers or other materials. the critical infrastructure is key to seapower. mr. chairman, i understand the understand the pressing need for nation to get the fiscal house in order. it is imperative that we do so in a thoughtful and deliberate manner to ensure we retain the trust of our people. and people. and to sustain the appropriate war fighting capability for your navy the forward presence and its readiness. unless naval forces are properly sized, modernized at the right pace with regard to the adversary
5:20 am
that we might have ready to the ploy with adequate training and equipment and capable to respond in the numbers and that the speed required by the combatant commanders they won't be able to answer the call. i look forward to working with this committee and the congress to find the solutions that we will ensure that our navy retain the ability to organize, train, and equip our great sailors and marines and soldiers and airmen and coast guard men in defense of this nation. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman ranking member, members of the committee it is an honor to be year, here, special honor to set before you today. my pride in our air force and the airmen who give it life has not changed since the last time i appeared before you but we are now the smallest air force we have ever been. >> repeat that. >> we are now the smallest air force's we have ever been.
5:21 am
when we deployed to operation desert storm in 1990 the aforesaid 188 fighter squadrons. 88 fighter squadrons. today we have 54 and are headed to 49. in 1990 there were 511,000 active-duty airmen. today we have 200,000 fewer than that. as those numbers came down the operational tempo went up. the air force is fully engaged. all the excess capacity is gone and now more than ever we need a capable fully ready force. we simply don't have a bench to go to and cannot continue to cut for structure to pay the cost of readiness and modernization or we we will risk being too small to succeed. bca level funding will force us to do exactly that.
5:22 am
what have to consider to vestige or of things like the kc ten fleet the global hawk and portions of our airborne command and control fleet and have to consider reducing rmq1 and mq9 feet. the real world impact of those choices on current us military operations will be significant. in the isr mission area alone 50% of the high altitude missions being flown today would no longer be available. commanders would lose 30% of their ability to collect intelligence and targeting data. we would lose immediate altitude isr force the size of the one doing such great work. the air force would be smaller and less able to do the things we are routinely expected to do. i do. i would like to say that smaller air force will be more ready but that isn't the case. 24 years of combat operations have taken a toll. we used the short-term funding relief for the balanced budget act to target individual and unit readiness and the readiness of our combat squadrons has improved. today today just over 50 percent of those units are fully combat ready.
5:23 am
sequestration would reverse that trend instantly. just like in fy 13 squadrons will be grounded, readiness rates would plummet, red and green flag training exercise of have to be canceled, with an school classes were delimited and classes will be limited and aircrew members frustration and families frustration will rise again just as the major airlines begin hiring push expected to target 20,000 pilots over the next ten years. they have a broader readiness issue things like training ranges, test ranges space launch infrastructure simulation infrastructure, nuclear infrastructure have all been intentionally underfunded to focus spending on individuals and unit readiness. that bill is now due. due. bca's will make it impossible to pay. the air force readiness capability. i would also like to tell you your smaller air force is younger and fresher, but that would be true either. our smaller aircraft feet
5:24 am
fleet is older than it has ever been. of world war ii's venerable b-17 bomber had far in the 1st gulf war it would have been younger than the b-52, the kc 135 and 135 and the u2 are today's. we currently have 12 fleets of airplanes that qualify for an antique license plates in the state of virginia. we virginia. we must modernize our air force. we want to work with you. it certainly won't be easy and will require accepting prudent operational risk in some missionary is for a time but the option of not modernizing really is an optional. air force is that fall behind technology fail and joint forces that don't have the breadth of the airspace in cyber capabilities to compress modern airpower will lose. speaking of winning and losing the bca funding levels, the air force will no longer be able to meet
5:25 am
operational requirements of the defense strategic guidance and not be able to simultaneously defeat in adversary deny a 2nd adversary and defend the homeland. i don't think that's good for america no matter what angle you look at it from. we need your help. i believe our airmen deserve it our joint team needs it, and our nation expects it. i would like to offer my personal thanks to members of this committee for your dedicated support of air men and their families and look forward to your questions. >> thank you, gen. >> chairman, ranking member, distinguished members of the committee, committee, thank you for the opportunity to present before you today. i would like to begin by thanking the committee for your steadfast support over the past 13 years. we have the best trained and equipped marine corps. this committee and the american people have high expectations for marines as
5:26 am
our nation's naval expeditionary force and readiness. you expect marines to operate forward engagement partners deter potential adversaries and respond to crises and when we fight, you expect us to win. you expect a lot of your marines command you should. this morning as you hold this hearing your marines are doing what you expect them to be doing. chairman, i have i have captured what those 31,000 doing the last that the accepted into the record in the interest of time. our role in form sally mann train, and equipped the marine corps and prioritizes the allocation of resources we received from congress. before i address what would happen if the budget control act level of funding left sequestration let me quickly outline where we are today. we have experienced experienced budget cuts and fiscal uncertainty and prioritize the readiness of our forward deployed forces but in order to maintain the readiness we have assumed
5:27 am
risk in our home station readiness, modernization, infrastructure sustainment and quality-of-life programs as. as a result approximately half of our nondeployed units, those who provide the banks to respond to the unexpected are suffering personnel, equipment, and training shortfalls. in a major conflict those could result in a delayed response and/or additional casualties we are investing in modernization at and historically low level. we must maintain at least ten to ten to 12 percent of our resources on modernization. to pay today's bills we are currently investing 78%. over 78 percent. over time that we will result in maintaining older or obsolete equipment at higher cost and more operational risk. we are funnier infrastructure sustainment below the dod standard across the future years defense programs. at the projected levels we we will not be properly maintaining. we can meet the requirements of the defense strategic
5:28 am
guidance today there is no margin and without sequestration we will need several years to recover for over a decade of war in the last three years of flat budgets and fiscal uncertainty. in that context bca funding levels with sequestered rules will preclude the marine corps for meeting the requirements of the defense strategic guidance. sequester will exacerbate the challenges we have and result in a marine corps with fewer active duty battalions and squadrons that would be required for a single major contingency. perhaps it is concerning and will result in fewer marines and sailors being forward deployed and in position to immediately respond to crises involving diplomatic posts, american citizens or interests overseas. while many challenges associated with sequestration can be quantified, there is there is a human dimension to what we are discussing. our soldiers, sailors, airmen, airmen, marines and their families should never have to face doubts about whether they we will be deployed without proper training and equipment.
5:29 am
the foundation of the all volunteer force is trust. sequestration will erode the trust that our young men and women in uniform, civil servants and families have and the cost of losing that trust is incalculable. given the numerous and complex security challenges we face today i believe dod funding and the budget control act level with sequestration will result in the need to develop a knew strategy. we simply will not be able to execute the strategy with the implications of that. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this morning and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you and i thank you all for a very compelling statement and hope that all of our colleagues and all the american people could hear the statement and see the statements that you have made today. our most respected members of our society. i would also have an additional request, and that is that if you could abide for the record all of you,
5:30 am
a you a list of some of the decisions you would have to make if sequestration continues to be enacted and there is no amelioration of the situation that you are in. i guess the only other comment i would like for you to answer because i would like all of my colleagues to be able to have time to answer questions is the old line about those of us that ignore the lessons of history and general you made reference to it when gen. sheriff came before this committee and said that we had all army will i know that my friend, senator reid, members that also. and we were able to recover hardware wise ships and airplanes and guns but it
5:31 am
took a lot longer than that to restore the readiness and even the morale of members of our military, and all four of you made reference to it, but i would like you to perhaps elaborate a little bit on the personal side of this because it seems that there is always the best and the brightest that the 1st. a pilot that can fly, a ship that doesn't report a marine a marine or army outfit that does not exercise or have equipment. maybe each of you would give a brief comment about this intangible that makes us the greatest military on earth. i will begin with you. >> thank you, senator. it's without them and their
5:32 am
capabilities our ability to do her job becomes very difficult. something that happens over time. when you are funding readiness your funding leader development, the development of our young soldiers and you can't just do that episodically. you have to do it in a sustained manner because it is a continuous learning cycle that allows them to execute the most difficult and complex missions that we face. those missions are becoming more complex and more difficult for us. my concern is as they see that maybe we're not going to invest in that they start to lose faith and trust. and i think sometimes we take for granted the levels of capability that our soldiers bring and the investment that we have made into their education training which is central to everything that we do and
5:33 am
cannot lose sight of. unfortunately with sequestration we are going to have to reduce that over the next four to five years for sure because we cannot take in strength fast enough. and so therefore you have to then look at readiness, training, and modernization. we are losing cycles of this training that develop these young men and women to be the best at what they are in the best at what they do. do. and so for us we cannot ever forget that. >> i bring something to everybody's attention. when attention. when we have sequestration we exempted personnel as if that's good. that means they got paid. that is kind of their quality of life and we gave them their housing allotment the quality of their work which is what you are alluding to, when they go to work for they are not
5:34 am
proficient at what they do and therefore are not confident. as a sailor you are out to sea on there own. you have to have to have that confidence and know you can be proficient. you are flying 60 hours a week sometimes. if not you may be flying ten hours a week. some of them may be in the simulator. you're sitting around a classroom working out the window and you strike fighter hornet and it looks great, but it's on the tarmac. and that is not why you joined. you are not operating. that becomes behavioral problem because the idle mind is the devil's workshop. we are out and about. i alluded to it. i saw it in command. this is what happens. that. that gets to family problems and it just starts cascading
5:35 am
you bring all that together. we together. we have an all volunteer force that wants to contribute and do things. they want to be professionally supported. >> general. >> chairman, during the 1st round of sequestration are civilian airmen felt like we committed a breach of faith. they they are still not recovered completely, and if it happened again it would be absolutely horrible and i believe we would see the effect immediately. i cannot emphasize enough my agreement with what was just said about people not joining this business to sit around. pilots sitting in a squadron certainly feel like a hollow force whether we define it that way or not. the same thing that want to fix those airplanes. they joined to be good at what they do. in fact, all they want is to be the best in the world that whatever it is that they do. if they don't think that we will educate and train and
5:36 am
equip them to do that and fulfill that role then they we will walk. they're proud of who they are, proud of who they stand beside and proud of what they represent and when they lose that pride we we will lose them. if them. if we lose them we lose everything. >> and also, we are going to have as you made reference to, a significant draw from the airlines as the vietnam era pilots retire from the airlines. i think that is an additional issue that we are going to have to face up to anyway without sequestration >> we see it today sir. >> you alluded to the hollow force in the 1970s. i was on active duty during that time, a platoon commander where we had an organization of about 190000 190,000 marines that did not have
5:37 am
proper manning training equipment. where we saw the impact was in poor reenlistment, discipline reenlistment discipline rates maintenance of our equipment and lack of professionalism. we were unable to maintain the quality of people that we wanted to have and quite frankly i know myself and many of my counterparts at the time had a difficult decision to stay in the marine corps and many of us only made the decision to stay was the marine corps started to turn around in the 80s. as you alluded, it took five to seven years for for morale to catch up. the thing that i would add is that most of us would not have been able to predict the quality of the all volunteer force and its ability to sustain now over 13 years of war's and there is nothing that has allowed the force to sustain except intangible factors. it has not been how much we paid them them the sense of job satisfaction, sense of purpose, sense of mission and their sense of trust. i probably speak for all the chiefs, none of us want to be a part of returning back
5:38 am
to those days and in 1970s will we did have a hollow force. we were fortunate that we were not tested at that time >> thank you very much mr. chairman. thank you for your testimony and for your great service to the nation. you you have already reduced in strength, training, maintenance stretched out acquisition programs and whatever we do, i think you will manage which presents the interesting problem, we could be in a time a time of study accelerating but invisible the client until a crisis and then the reckoning will be severe. we have to take appropriate action now and the chairman's lead is absolutely critical. let me just go and ask you individually with all these cuts you have made all of the losses, looking forward
5:39 am
what are the one or two capabilities that you see leaving or lost if sequester goes into effect? 's. >> i often get asked the question what keeps me up at night. the number one thing that keeps me up at night is if we are asked to respond to an unknown contingency i will send soldiers not properly trained and ready. we simply are not used to doing that. the american people and we expect our soldiers to be prepared. they had the ability to train understand their equipment, their equipment, integrate and synchronize activities so that they are successful. that is the one thing that i worry about as we move to the future. the 2nd thing is our ability to do simultaneous things. what we are coming to, we we will be able to do one thing's do it pretty well but this world we have today is requiring us to do many things simultaneous. i
5:40 am
worry about our ability to do that. we are at the time of modernization. our benchmark is the year 2020. and for the navy a lot of those missions require joint access to areas around the world against an advanced adversary. what i'm talking about as i look into the future is perhaps the inability. we will fall further behind in the electromagnetic maneuver warfare an emerging issue, electronic attack, the ability to jam detect seekers, radars, satellites and that business and we are slipping behind during our advantage is shrinking fast. also anti- air warfare. our potential adversaries are advancing and we are losing. if we don't have that advantage we just don't get the job done in a 2020 timeframe. the undersea domain, we dominate today but we have
5:41 am
to hold that advantage including the ohio replacement, this ebay strategic deterrent in addition to anti- submarine warfare. it is about access. cyber is also another one that we talk about a lot. lastly, i can't underestimate the fact that we are good and will continue. our forces, we we will put them forward and they we will be the most ready. we are required to have a response force. we owe that to combatant commanders. it has to be their on time and be proficient. we will never get their if we go to sequestration. thank you. >> infrastructure that gives you long-term capability training ranges test facilities, those kinds of things. it will cost us the ability to operate.
5:42 am
multiple multiple simultaneous operations. we simply don't have the capacity's. the capability gap is closing between the people trying to catch up with is technologically, and they have momentum. space and nuclear business. in business. in the space business we cannot forget that that is one of the fastest-growing imposing technological gaps. if if we don't try to get ahead we we will be find for the next 50 years as everyone else has been behind us. >> thank you, senator reid. a vehicle that is over 40 years old. an issue of operational capability as well as safety once again, an issue of operational capability and safety.
5:43 am
i would say, and you alluded to my greatest concern is actually the cumulative effect of the cats that we have made today and the cuts we we will make in the future. everyday i am still finding out cuts that have been made. >> thank you very much. further complicating your lives and our lives is that this is a focus today. one more obvious example is the state department setting sequestration. it's his brilliant this in his testimony said last march that if you don't fund fully the state department i need to buy more ammunition. but even more subtle we provide impact dates to the
5:44 am
department of education, the department of education is subject to sequestration and there we will be an impact. secretary of education duncan, the independent school district of texas 22,000. we have to take the department of defense across the whole government. you all talked about retaining troops. those soldiers don't think their education opportunities' they we will vote with their feet. feet. that is not your responsibility. it's ours. it will affect you in so many different ways. waking up, complaints. that is not. so thank you for your service and your testimony. >> senator. >> thank you, gentlemen. profound testimony.
5:45 am
there are members of this committee who also are going back and forth today to the budget committee hearing. general mattis spoke about it yesterday. 's failed to keep its fiscal house in order. we are balancing a spending problem we have in the government overall with really, frankly, a lack a lack of funds and the defense department the talked about today. general, you said in your 40 years or so of service this is the most uncertain time you have seen its. this is the fewest number of ships since world war i. is that correct? >> is correct. >> general as an air force
5:46 am
veteran myself it is astonishing to hear this is the smallest air force ever. you did you did say that. >> in 1947. talking about sequestration you say it is the funding levels and also the rules of sequestration. i thought we would start with you and ngo of the panel's. if we were able more easily and quickly to give you flexibility within the funding levels and some relief from the rules to what extent would that help you. >> i thank you for that question. reduce the overall budget by four to $5 million a year.
5:47 am
and so that is for us about 18 to 20 percent. .. the things who would would need with any kind of reduced levels of funding its stability and predictability in funding over
5:48 am
time and the ability to make the decisions on what will shape our services to operate the funding levels less than predicted. for the air force to be looked back to the budget is where he came out of the begin execute this with strategic guidance. it's low budget projection for fy16 was $21 billion more per year than we will have the bca levels. 21 billion a year for choirs very tough decisions to be made some very hard and unpopular decisions to be made that without the ability to make those decisions will continue to be stuck and not sure where we are going in the future. >> the clock is ticking away on that predictability is that general? >> yes sir it is. >> my colleagues have spoken to the number that is the dollar value but i would say the verb sequestered as you know that's an algorithm and we have been through this. it gets incremented in and we spent months reprogram with your
5:49 am
help up here on the hill and we lose months. we move loose four, five, six months to hire replacement program or we don't have time. so shipbuilding gets held up. projects get held up. people were tired and that loses that trust with the industry. so precluding getting sequestered as helpful and in the continuing resolutions having a similar effect in that we are not doing any new projects and some of these are pretty critical as we move into the years and need to modernize. >> senator the first comment i would make is over the last two years where above the level of sequestration and the army was only 33% ready. and so yes flexibility will give us the ability to manage insufficient funds in our department but that's all it does. it allows us to better manage because today we extend our aviation programs so the cost for every apache has gone up to
5:50 am
the cost for every ua 60 has gone up. the cost for every ch-47 has gone up because we have extend the programs longer and longer so we are paying more money for system so we are inefficient even with the last dollars we have so that exacerbates the readiness problems even more. flexibility would help but it's not going to solve the problem we have which is a problem of insufficient funds sent to sustain the right level. >> let me ask briefly there was a decision we were going to pivot to asia-pacific. to what extent do the joint chiefs of staff consult on that? we have got eastern europe and we have rush and we still have the middle east and we can go on from there. it doesn't seem to have calmed down as some people thought. to what extent was this a pentagon decision that we could even have a reputed re-pivot to asia-pacific and afford it? >> that was part of our
5:51 am
discussion. we had numerous discussions with the white house and the pentagon where we did the defense strategic guidance and 2012 so that was one of the kind of foundations of that strategy. i would say i felt we had a good discussion on what we called the rebalanced asia-pacific. >> i would agree with that. we have thorough discussions that we thought china in 2012 is important and we had to have the capability response potentially to that and also the problem of north korea and other problems in the asia-pacific. we made some assumptions about where we would be in the rest of the world. this is not quite played out the way we thought with iraq isis and specifically russia and their increased aggression. the strategy is still good. we just have to recognize that there are some additional threats out there that we didn't expect and we are going to have to deal with those. that increases the risk as we
5:52 am
look at sequestration and other budget cuts. >> thank you gentlemen. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you all for your service. general welsch i wanted to ask you in regards to her nuclear mission it's a very critical mission obviously. what impact this sequestration going to have on your efforts in this area? >> sir into specific areas i thank at the top of the list. the first is the infrastructure mentioned before. we are at a point in time where we have got to start modernizing every capitalizing that infrastructure in terms of the told -- facilities that were built 50 years ago now. we have an investment plan design prepared to be put into place. we have it in the president's budget this year. if we go to sequestration all of the facility maintenance and new buildings we have put into that proposal will fall off the table
5:53 am
except for single weapon storage area and one of the bases. that is the first . the second one as we do have a requirement as a nation to make decisions on what do we want to recapitalize and modernize in terms of nuclear weapons and nuclear command-and-control capability over capability over the next 15 to 20 years? that affects the air force and navy. the decision seemed to be made in the near future. sequestration and the ca cabs will limit the amount of things you can do in that arena and make those decisions more important to make earlier so we don't waste money money during a time when those things have to be done. >> admiral how will this affect the plans you have for the ohio class? >> if i get back to the verb if we are sequestered we lose months as i was saying before hiring engineers and we are on a tight timetable to start building the first ohio in 2021 so that's one piece. we have to continue to do that. a sea-based strategic
5:54 am
replacement is my number one program but in fiscal fiscal year 17 to 20 we $5 billion invested as advance procurement for the first ohio which in 2021 is $9 billion on top of the shipbuilding plan we have now. very difficult to do. we have to do it so we'll have to continue to work in that regard. >> thank you and i obviously have the concern you all do on our warfighting capabilities. when you look at the difficulties in syria and iraq and that area what are the kinds of things we are not able to do there that you look in you go if we were doing this and this it would help move the ball forward forward? were you being placed in a tighter spot right now? general odierno if he could give us a start. >> i were to say the first thing is this fight against isil in iraq and syria is a long-term issue. this is not something that's
5:55 am
going to be resolved in weeks or months. something that will have to be resolved in years and is going to require a combination of efforts with the local indigenous governments. it's going to require for term training indigenous forces and support for a very long period of time. it's going to require continued assessments and adjustments on how we believe we will continue to support that effort. i think over time if that threat continues we will have to reassess. that's the hard part about it. this is not a short-term problem problem. it's a long-term problem is going to take a dedicated effort to solve the across many lines of effort whether the diplomatic efforts or a combination of joint capability and our ability to train indigenous forces in the capability we will need to do that. >> so in effect you are facing a long-term challenge and as you look long-term you may have less
5:56 am
tools in the toolbox to deal with that. >> that's correct. >> general dunford. >> thank you for the question. we have taken the rest not with our deploying units but in its organizations everything general austin has asked us to do from a marine corps respectively are able to do. as general odierno said should this continue it's a question of capacity. everything we are doing at a sustainable deployment. to give you some idea of how fast our marines are turning right now we are deploying from seven months home for 14 months and in some cases less than a backup for seven months in perpetuity. that sustained level of operation tempo something that concerns me and isil is just a part of that. >> that also makes it pretty difficult on the homefront doesn't it? >> senator there are two issues. one of the time available to train for all of the missions in the second is obviously the time
5:57 am
available to spend time with family. we are particularly concerned with or mitt grade enlisted marines when it comes to that particular challenge. >> general odierno as we look forward how are you planning to mix with the national guard and how does that figure into your plans as we look forward? >> clearly if you look what we have done in the end you have full sequestration we are taking 150,000 people out of the active army so a large majority for cuts are coming out of the active army. because of that they will have to rely on the national guard u.s. army reserves and we have to remember what we are trying to achieve is our national guard and reserve deaths to respond to complex problems. as we have to rely in some areas more on them in the beginning such as logistics and areas like
5:58 am
that where we don't have enough structure because of these reductions will have to rely more heavily on the national guard and u.s. army reserve for things such as that. in terms of the combat capability they are still going to have to provide is the depth. we might have you said that the earlier for less capability in the active component. this all gets to this balance that we are trying to achieve. i worry about the fact that if we reduce the active component to much our ability to respond quickly is going to be affected because the world today spends much quicker than it used to. instability happens quicker and the necessity of us to respond has to be quicker. i worry that we are going to lose that capability. that is what we expect our active component to do and expect the national guard or messieurs to be right behind us helping us as we move forward with this. i worry about that as well.
5:59 am
>> thank you all for your leadership. thank you mr. chairman. >> chairwoman hannah. >> thank you chairman. appreciate it. i want to thank all of you for your leadership and what you are doing for the country and most importantly this discussion about sequestration and i think it's very clear the impact is going to happen our ability to defend the nation is one that calls all of us to act to address this for each of you. i think you are being so clear about what impact will be today. yesterday we heard the same thing from general mattis and general keane and admiral fallin about the impacts of sequestration i think there's a clear consensus among those who have served in formerly served in the military the devastating impact on our ability to defend the nation and our men and women in uniform. i want to ask each of you when our men and women volunteered
6:00 am
for service in the armed services they give up a the number of rights that the rest of us enjoy. they volunteer to tell our government we tell them what to wear and what to do, where to live and to some extent they give up some degree what they can say. most importantly they obviously are willing to sacrifice their lives to defend our nation. in return for these restrictions and expectations congress has guaranteed these brave men and women the ability to communicate with us. i believe this is very important. in fact congress put in place a law code 1034 that prohibits anyone from restricting a member of the armed forces and communicating with a member of congress. do all of you agree that this was important, yes or no? >> yes. >> yes.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on