Below is a transcript of the hearing:
[Inaudible] call the committee to order. This is our first day under the new old rules -- old new rules, [Inaudible] Capital or whoever it is, who's in charge has told us that we can be back in the committee in person in full numbers without masks or social distancing. That announcement has just been- I missed you too.
That other announcement was just made last night, so, you know, we're scrambling around this morning to let people know that the new rules are here, so members will be drifting in. But from this point forward, you know, we will be in the committee hearing. No social distancing. Do not have to wear a mask.
Now, there're -- people are still going to be allowed to participate remotely. There's a very long CDC speech to explain that, which I won't get into. It didn't makes sense. So, unfortunately, the one feature of the old rules that applies as you still get to hear me read the statement. So, I'll try to do it as quickly as possible and we'll move on. Members who are joining remotely must be visible on screen for purposes of identity verification, establishing and maintaining a quorum participating in the proceeding and voting.
Those members must continue to use software platforms, video function while in attendance unless they experience connectivity issues or other technical problems that render them unable to participate on camera. If a member experiences technical difficulties, they should contact committee staff or assistants, video of member's participation will be broadcast in the room and via the television/Internet feeds.
Members participating remotely must seek recognition verbally and they're asked to mute the microphones when they are not speaking. Members who are participating remotely are reminded to keep software platforms video function on the entire time they attend the proceeding. Members may leave and rejoin the proceeding.
If they depart for a short while for reasons other than joining a different proceeding, they should leave the video function on. If members will be absent for a significant period or depart to join a different proceeding, they should exit the software platform entirely and then rejoin it if they return. Members may use the software platform's chat feature to communicate with staff regarding technical or logistical support issues only.
Finally, I've designated a committee staff member if necessary to mute unrecognized members microphones to cancel an inadvertent background noise that may disrupt the proceedings. So, we will continue to do that for a while to allow members to participate remotely if they so choose. So, our hearing this morning is full committee hearing on the Department of the Navy fiscal year 2022 budget request.
We have the Honorable Thomas Harker, acting Secretary of the Navy with us this morning as well as Admiral Michael Gilday, chief of naval operations and General -- sorry, I got to slow down. I was in my -- I was at my [Inaudible] could that thing mode. Now, I guess [Inaudible]. And, General David Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps.
And we, thank you, Gentlemen, for being here. We look forward to your testimony. These are very, very challenging times in our country for a variety of different reasons. But within the military, there's huge transformations going on and huge challenges going on at the same time. I've met and spoken with all three of you about your approach to that.
And at the outset, I just want to say thank you. I think you are doing an outstanding job of confronting those challenges and it's not easy. You have to do so within a finite budget environment. Number one, we still have the complex threat environment that we've had for a while with Russia and China with North Korea and Iran and transnational terrorist groups and trying to figure out how to manage our resources and meet all those threats and meet the needs of our National security continues to be a challenge.
We are still working our way through COVID. Obviously, vaccination rates little troublesome within the military. You got to get those up higher and then of course we have the global challenges that come from the fact that much of the world does not have access to the vaccine. And there are many places where it's spreading.
But the transformation that is really interesting is what you've been working on in terms of building the force to meet the challenges of today and to meet the information warfare scene that we face. And the simplest way to explain this is, you know, mostly warfare is about amassing as much firepower as possible and being able to get it to where you need to get it as quickly as possible.
And that's still the case, but now information has become so key. The ability to access that information, the ability to find within the information exactly what you need and then the ability to get it to the people who need it in real time. So, that you know your -- your front line, Marine, your ship captain, they have that information that they need about the adversary and about the environment.
And then to protect that information. As we have seen in recent days and many different ways, if adversaries can cut off our information, cut off our flow, attack us in a cyber way, that can really render all of that firepower useless. So, how do we protect it? And then how do we make it survivable? The systems have to be survivable wherever they go, and that is a big change from the military that we built.
So both -- all three of you have to wrestle with that. What systems do you continue to fund, what do we need to add funds to? It's a huge set of challenges that I know all three of you have confronted and we're very anxious to hear today, you know, how the President's budget reflects that and what do you think we need to do here on this committee to help enhance your efforts to -- to make those changes.
I guess the two big things that I would mention before I turn over to Mr. Rogers, you know, one in the infrastructure side, there's been a lot of focus on the Navy side on the shipyards and our maintenance requirements. As you well know, one of the big problems with having our assets available is hitting the maintenance schedules.
You know, ships have to wait an extended period of time just to get access to a shipyard, to get the maintenance they need to continue. What sort of upgrades do we need? What's the best way to go about doing those upgrades? And on the Marine Corps side, I know, General Berger, you have made some -- some big strong statements about how to transform the Marine Corps.
The idea of amassing and fighting on the battlefield is different now. You need different systems to support the mission. The Marine Corps is going to face fundamentally different than what you've been doing throughout most of your 200-plus year history. I know you've done a lot of work on that. We're anxious to hear about that.
I guess the last comment I make is I mentioned that 200-plus year history. Our staff, sort of, I guess messed up on the schedule because it's the Army's birthday today, but here we are. So, we wish the Army birthday, even -- even though they're coming, I think, next week. So -- but we appreciate all of your service and all the hard work you're doing in these very difficult times.
And with that, I will turn it over to Ranking Member Rogers for his opening statement.
Thank you. And it's not just the Army's birthday today. I think the rest of the committee will join me in wishing the chairman a happy birthday and I hope it's your best year ever.
Thank you. I appreciate that. We have to mention it is also Rick Larsen's birthday today.
That is the -- the little-
And that's a little known fact. Yes, we [Inaudible].
Rick and I were actually born on the exact same day. [Inaudible] exact same day.
These Washington state had some activity going on at that.
But I was born in D.C., but that's story. The time is yours. I apologize. Thanks. Go ahead.
I do want to thank the witnesses for being here and the time it took to prepare for this. I know it's a -- it's a pain, but we really appreciate it. I appreciate your service to our nation. At his confirmation hearing, Secretary Austin said that China presents the most significant threat going forward and that China should be viewed as our national security quote pacing threat close quote.
I wholeheartedly agree with that. I was optimistic that the President -- the President would hear that rhetoric from the Secretary and turn it into action. Unfortunately, I was being na??ve. Rather than keeping pace with the threat from China, the President's budget recommendation would let us lap them or let them lap us. We need not look much further than the request for the Department of the Navy.
The President requests a paltry eight battle ship -- battle force ships, two of which are tugboats. At the same time, the President wants to retire 15 other battleships, including seven cruisers. Those seven cruisers provide more afloat missile capability than almost the entire British fleet, but the cuts don't end there.
The budget would break a multiyear destroyer procurement, truncate key developmental programs like railgun and pass on critical munition investments like Tomahawk missiles and heavyweight torpedoes. This budget is throwing the shipbuilding industrial base further into disarray. Shipbuilders are laying off workers because of the lack of Navy vision and chronic underfunding.
Even strategies that save money beyond the ability of the -- are beyond the ability of this administration to support. Despite testimony that smart amphibious ship acquisition would lead over 700 million in cost savings, the administration has elected to take a pass. While this administration dithers, China's rapidly growing and modernizing its navy.
Our fleet of 296 ships has already been eclipsed by the Chinese fleet of over 350 ships and submarines. China has more than 1250 ground launched ballistic missiles and ground launched cruise missiles with ranges between 200 and 2000 miles. The United States currently fills just one type of conventional ground launched ballistic missile with a range of 30 to 120 miles.
I'm also concerned with the strike fighter gap. This budget fails to fund additional Super Hornets or F-35 for the Navy. That leaves us with critical capability gap in the near term that Congress will have to fill. Setting back our credible deterrent even further is Acting Secretary Harker's call to eliminate the nuclear sea launched cruise missile.
The DNI recently reported that China is fielding a full nuclear triad and is expected to reach 1,000 warheads by 2030. In light of this growing threat, the recommendation to end [Inaudible] is both short-sighted and dangerous. It's almost as if the President developed this budget with little understanding of what is required to deter conflict if necessary when a war.
Quite simply this budget has little to do with pacing China and I refuse to support it. We should be expanding and modernizing our neighbor capabilities as called for by the last administration. I'm disappointed with the Biden administration. It doesn't see the threat from China the same way, but I look forward to working with the majority to pass a real defense budget that supports modernization and ensures credible deterrence.
That was -- with that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Thank you. Mr. Harker.
Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Rogers, distinguished members of the Committee. Thank you for your bipartisan efforts on behalf of the sailors, Marines and civilians that make up our Department of the Navy. I'm honored to be here with General Berger and Admiral Gilday. I support their efforts to build a more integrated All-Domain Naval force through the NAV plan and Force Design 2030. The President's budget for FY22 reflects a balanced approach to ensure we have the capabilities, capacity and readiness needed to defend the nation and our interests.
It demonstrates our resolve to stay ahead of the pacing threat of China and other global challenges, making hard choices to divest of less capable assets to invest in a superior future force. The top priority for each of us will always be to ensure our sailors, Marines and civilians are prepared to execute the mission and return home safely to their families.
We're prioritizing the mental health of our force, speaking out at the senior level about the benefits of counseling and the availability of counselors, chaplains and other professionals. We appreciate this Committee's attention to that vital issue and your support in providing additional mental health support to our sailors and Marines in forward operational units.
We're fighting the scourge of sexual harassment and sexual assault through efforts like the Watch List, a tool that uses Navy and Marine Corps data to alert commanders to conditions in their units that may lead to these toxic behaviors. We also look forward to the findings of Secretary Austin's 90-Day Independent Review Commission and are committed to making meaningful and lasting progress on this issue.
To ensure our resources reach the warfighters who need them, we're demanding rigorous self-assessment and responsive accountability through the Performance to Plan initiative. We are also on the right path towards obtaining an opinion, an audit opinion, for the Navy and Marine Corps general funds and the DON's Working Capital Fund.
We are the only military department that has fixed audit material weaknesses and are leading the way in this critical effort. We are also increasing our investment in the department's oversight functions while maximizing our return on our investment in the performance audit process. Modernization of our information technology infrastructure is a critical warfighting priority for the department.
Effective use and management of data is key to our digital transformation and will change how we fight and win at every level. I have visited all four of our Navy shipyards as well as most of the private shipyards and I am fully committed to the shipyard infrastructure optimization program and other vital physical and IT infrastructure investments.
These will increase the capability and resiliency of these century old installations, increasing the size and capability of our dry docks and equipping our 40,000 person workforce with the tools they need to maintain our new and more lethal assets. Around the world and around the clock, the sailors, Marines and civilians of our integrated naval force stand the watch and execute the mission.
On behalf of each of them, I thank you for your time and dedicated oversight and look forward to your questions.
Thank you. Admiral Gilday.
Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Rogers, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning along with Secretary Harker and General Berger. We all are thankful for the enduring support that this committee provides the Navy and Marine Corps team. This hearing, I believe comes at a critical time for our nation.
Competition on, under, and above the seas is intensifying. China and Russia are rapidly mobilizing the militaries, attempting to undermine our alliances and degrading the free and the open order. The People's Liberation Army, Navy battle force is the largest in the world and it is growing. They command modern surface combatants, submarines, aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships and next generation fighters.
And their maritime ambition is backed by a robust industrial base and the largest shipbuilding infrastructure in the world. Put simply, China has designed a blue-water fleet to rival our own and America's enduring advantage at sea is eroding. Make no mistake, our fleet can control the seas in conflict and project power ashore today, but we will be increasingly challenged to do so in the future unless hard choices are made.
The Navy currently faces the task of recapitalizing our strategic nuclear deterrent, which we haven't done in 40 years. At the same time, we were making once in a century investment in our critical public shipyards as the Chairman mentioned. And at the same time, we're trying to modernize our fleet for the potential future fight.
At the same time, we have a responsibility to our sailors and our nation to maximize the readiness of the fleet, can confidently operate forward and be relevant. Nearly 70 percent of the ships that we have today will have a decade from now. We have to take care of the ships that we have today, although the price tag on readiness is rising.
Over the last 20 years, manpower operations and maintenance costs, 60 percent of our budget have grown at 2.4 percent above the rate of inflation. Meanwhile, the buying power of our Navy is less than it was in 2010. Back then, we had 288 ships; today, we have 296. As you all know, the results of analysis done over the past five years whether inside the Pentagon or outside have been consistent and clear.
America needs a larger, more capable fleet. Our latest future force naval structure assessment provided the headlights not only for the size of our future fleet, but importantly for the composition of that fleet, the capabilities that it brings to the joint force. If the Navy's top line remains flat or goes down further, the size of our fleet will definitely shrink.
Despite these fiscal challenges, we are determined to field a more capable, a more lethal and a more ready Navy for the joint force. To do this, we are improving our maintenance in our shipyards and aviation depots. We are ensuring our ships are properly manned, that our magazines are filled with ammunition and that we have our storerooms filled with spare parts.
And there are sailors are getting the steaming days and flying hours that they need to hone their skills. We are working hard on a more robust resilient network infrastructure. We are investing in long range precision fires like hypersonics and tactical Tomahawk and we're developing directed energy systems to improve fleet survivability.
Our eye is on the larger hybrid fleet. The investments in our shipbuilding account reflect a rigorous analysis we conducted last year as well as a high demand from combatant commanders. We are determined to deliver the Columbia SSBN on time as we build affordable capacity, which includes a deliberate approach to unmanned.
And we're making sure that every sailor can outthink and outfight any adversary by scaling our efforts for ready relevant learning and live virtual constructive training. Committee, the average age of the Chinese fleet is 11 years, ours is 21. It's time to field the future Navy. We must modernize now for the looming competition ahead of us and maintain a forward posture that keeps America safe and prosperous.
I am extremely proud of our sailors, our Navy civilians and our families who have sustained historic high OPTEMPO in the midst of a pandemic. They remain the source of our strength as are the Patriots in our shipyards and aircraft depots and our partners in industry companies. Large and small who keep the production lines moving.
Again, we are grateful for this Committee's support to our Navy and Marine Corps team. I look forward to answering your questions. Thank you.
Thank you, General Berger.
Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Rogers and members of the committee, over the past two years since becoming commandant, I've come to better understand and appreciate the bipartisan support of this committee, which is really critical to creating the force that we have today, but also the force that we're going to need for the future.
I realize there's competing with national priorities you have to wrestle with and that's going to put pressure on defense budgets. But I'm also confident that you all appreciate the severity of the security environment around the world. As the global competition with China and Russia increases and accelerates, I would argue your military will need to have more advanced capabilities in order to effectively compete to reassure our allies and partners and to deter war.
Force Design 2030 is the Marine Corps answer to creating the cutting edge capabilities and the ready forces that will better enable the fleet and the joint force to deter, to compete, and to respond with ready forces to any crisis anywhere on the globe. To be clear, Force Design is the centerpiece of a broader, more systemic modernization effort across your core.
One that improves more than just our equipment and our war fighting formations, but also our personnel systems, our training and our family programs as well. We're roughly two years into that modernization program and I feel I owe this committee an update. And while we don't have sufficient time this morning to go into all the details, I do want to highlight three key areas of progress.
First, we've increased the operational reach and the efficacy of our naval expeditionary forces to include our Marine Expeditionary Units, our MEUs, which remain the crown jewel of our force. Beginning last year, we started our transition to a mixed capability of long-range ship and ground-based unmanned aerial systems.
UASs including the MQ-9 Reaper. This will significantly expand our ISR capabilities and it'll enable us to better support the fleet and the joint operational commander, including antisubmarine warfare. We've also initiated a partnership with industry to develop a future autonomous long-range unmanned surface vessel that will extend the reach of our MEUs. That vessel will give us a new tool for maritime gray zone competition.
It'll help thicken what we call the C5ISR network. It'll add to our conventional naval deterrent using loitering munitions. Lastly, we're aggressively pursuing organic precision fires for our infantry. Those also have loitering munitions. And we're on track to make a decision on the vendor, a final decision this year.
Second, we've made significant advancements across our training and our education enterprise. In the last 16 months, we've released our first new doctrine in 20 years. Actually, we released two, one on learning, one on competing. We've also significantly advanced the intellectual framework for some of our future operational concepts.
Earlier this year, we published a tentative manual for expeditionary advanced base operations and we will use that to inform our training, our wargaming and our exercises. We've substantially increased the resources we've dedicated to war gaming and to experimentation. Last month, we broke ground on a new state of the art war gaming center here in Quantico, Virginia.
And finally, we dramatically enhance both the quality and the duration of infantry training. Infantry training for us is now 50 percent longer than it was before. And we've added new modules to increase lethality. Third, we've taken some important steps to improve our personnel systems and our policies. To continue attracting the highest quality men and women for your Marine Corps, we've raised AFQT standards to enlist and we raised the ASVAB requirements for infantry.
Our enlisted performance evaluation system in the Marine Corps was antiquated, it was subjective and it was completely manual. We just replaced that old system with a cloud-based system where for the first time Marines are evaluated based on clearly defined objective standards that they have control over.
We revised our retention policies to the qualified Marines can now reenlist a year earlier than they could before and I've delegated to commanders the authority to enlist Marines on the spot. Recognizing the strong connection between the health of our force and the support of our families, we revised our parental leave policies.
They now include both adoptive and same sex parents and I'll continue to push for expanded maternity leave for our Marines. And while it may seem like a modest accomplishment perhaps to some, this year we had updated our maternity uniforms to improve both our utility and their professional appearance. So, overall, while I'm encouraged by our progress on Force Design and the other modernization initiatives, I'm not satisfied with the pace of change.
We have to move faster. To accelerate our program, we as a service will need to do a better job of explaining the details of Force Design 2030 to members and to your staff. And that's my responsibility as your Commandant. To that end, I'm prepared to testify before the Full Committee and the Appropriations Committee if committee Chairs would find such a hearing useful.
I think it's critical that we develop a shared understanding about where your Marine Corps is headed and why. And how your support is absolutely essential to our success. Equally important is explaining how we plan to pay for it all. As Chairman Smith recently noted, we can and must make better choices to be better stewards of taxpayer dollars and I couldn't agree more.
This is part of the reason for the past two years we've pursued a cost neutral approach to Force Design. From the beginning self-funding our modernization, not asking for any more funds. To ensure the success of that approach, I will need to ask for your support in reducing the total procurement of some platforms commensurate with the recent reductions in our end strength.
The fact is today's Marine Corps is significantly smaller than it was 10 to 12 years ago, about 24,000 Marines smaller. We simply won't need as many ground vehicles. We won't need as many aircraft as we thought we did when we made this procurement decisions 20 years ago. It's just simple math. With the reductions outlined in our Forced Design report this spring, I believe we will have sufficient resources to create the modern capabilities required for competition for deterrence and for crisis response without a further reduction in our end strength.
So, I welcome the opportunity to work with this Committee and I look forward to your -- your questions both in this hearing and in the weeks to follow. Thank you, sir.
Thank you. Mr. Secretary, how -- how is the vaccination issue going? What percentage of the force has been vaccinated? How is that affecting your ability to get everybody back up and running as normal?
We've made progress on vaccinations. The Navy and Marine Corps have both issued [Inaudible]
I'm sorry. We're having a hard time hearing you. I don't know if it's because it's on or you're too far back or.
Sorry, sir. We've made progress on vaccinations. Both the Navy and Marine Corps have issued policies that have increased the ability of sailors and Marines to have liberty in foreign ports or to do different-
Do you have numbers on that progress aside, you know, what percentage of your -- of the Navy and Marine Corps have been vaccinated?
[Inaudible], do you have the-
Seventy-five percent for the Navy are right now, sir.
We're at 50 percent for fully vaccinated fully immunized.
And would you support once the FDA fully approves the vaccine, making it mandatory for service members?
Sir, we're looking at that right now at [Inaudible] level. They're coming up with guidance. I believe the secretary is considering making that decision to do so, but it's not something that he has announced to us yet.
Okay. The only other question I have is on the unmanned systems. And General Berger, you alluded to it, but I'd like both -- both of you to respond. You know, I know we're making a big investment going forward and developing unmanned systems. It's not -- it's still not 100 percent clear to me what -- what the Navy's vision of how unmanned systems will help you in your mission.
Could you just quickly sort of give us what that vision is, Admiral Gilday?
Yes, sir. We intend to use our fleet in a distributed manner and so these unmanned obviously give us give as volume, give us more ships that allow us to come at let's say China or Russia at many vectors across many domains. We would be leveraging space and cyber as well. The two biggest challenges that we're getting after on unmanned are one, reliability.
So, the engineering plants have to be reliable so they can operate most of the time unattended. The second is command and control and we feel like we're on a good path on both. But we have not -- we don't have any intentions of scaling any of these efforts until we get to a place where we're comfortable with both of those aspects.
If I could just say briefly, sir, in the last month we've had three big steps forward. One's we've had the largest unmanned exercise in our history on the West Coast with unmanned under the surface, on the surface, and in the air with a Zumwalt class destroyer and LC-A ships and so this conceptually is helping us understand how we're going to use those unmanned platforms in conjunction with the manned ships that we have today.
Separately, last Friday we had our first successful refueling of an F-18 Super Hornet from an MQ-25 drone that's going to be a carrier based capability that will be IOC in 2025. And lastly, we had a surface unmanned make a make a transit of 4000 plus mile transit from the -- from the Gulf Coast through the Panama Canal up to portray Hueneme, the third ship -- third -- third ship that's done so, 98 percent of it done autonomously.
And so, we are making strides. I do think it's a big step though. I think it's going to be phased with respect to minimal manning before we ever get to a point where we use an unmanned completely unattended.
Thanks. General Berger, do you have anything to add?
I think you expect the Marine Corps to be your forward force, your stand in force, Chairman, though I'd say the role of UAS the vision you're talking about probably four different parts, one intelligence collection and moving that information back to the fleet in the joint force. Second, I would say logistics.
The ability to move to distribute itself and sustain that, we're going to need unmanned platforms to do that. Third, I would say lethality and some of these are multiplatform kind of aircraft, but third certainly is the -- is the lethality and fourth would be the command and control aspect, the ability to fuse and move information laterally and back to the joint force.
Thank you. Mr. Rogers, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral, you painted a pretty ugly picture for the future of the Navy. Given that fact, do you feel like this budget is adequate to help you take on those challenges?
Sir, I think it's important to understand that that the base in the top line that we have, that we can afford a navy of about 300 ships. What we're trying to do with our investment strategy is, is to balance those investments across the readiness of the fleet today. The modernization with new technologies and that's reflected as an example with a 12 percent increase in R&D with an emphasis on hypersonics in the offensive and laser technology on the defensive to protect the fleet.
The third piece is capacity and so we're growing the Navy at an affordable rate, although that is really a key-
Let me -- you said you're growing the Navy? From what I'm reading, you're -- the Navy is shrinking under this budget.
Sir, for the 2022 budget itself, the Navy -- the Navy's numbers are declining. That's correct.
So, how do you take on your challenges with a budget that's diminishing?
So, as I stated, sir, in my opening comments, the last several studies that have been done going back five years call for a larger, more capable fleet [Inaudible]
And this budget doesn't get you there.
No, sir. It does not.
Let me ask this, Admiral Davidson, the recent PACOM commander indicated that he expects the conflict with China in the next six years. In your best professional military judgment, do you agree with Admiral Davidson's assessment?
Sir, I think the key word that he used there was could and I think that that that potential always exists and I think we have to be ready any given day for anything.
Well, if -- you know, if you agree it could happen, I just don't know why we would agree with anything that would reduce the force structure and induce a near term risk with China. Recently, we've heard from General Hyten at STRATCOM that the [Inaudible] is needed to increase deterrence. Do you agree with Admiral Richard and General Hyten that the [Inaudible] fulfills a critical capability gap for the Navy and would increase deterrence?
I agree with that comment. I think it's consistent with the new posture review that was done previously.
And in recent years, the nonpartisan -- the bipartisan Commission on National Security Defense recommended 3 percent to 5 percent increase in defense spending each year over inflation for the foreseeable future as we try to -- to modernize our services. Do you agree with that recommendation by that commission?
Yes, sir. I think if you take a look at all the services unfunded requests together, they come up to about 3 percent to 5 percent.
Right. Secretary Harker, has the administration completed its Nuclear Posture Review?
Sir, the nuclear posture review that is forthcoming has not been done yet.
Okay. Has the administration completed its analysis of alternatives for the [Inaudible]?
So, before the Posture Review and the analysis of alternatives are complete, why are you canceling the program that our best military minds on deterrence tell us that we need to deter Russia and China?
Sir, I'm not canceling the program. That program is in our FY22 budget. As we're starting the planning process for FY23, we have a process that we go through inside the Navy and Marine Corps where we go in to determine which items to put in our budget. My initial guidance was based on the fact that that Posture Review -- the overall Posture Review and the National Defense Strategy Update, have not been completed.
So, I didn't want anyone to assume that that would be in until we had further guidance from the Nuclear Posture Review. Once that guidance comes, we will adjust accordingly, sir.
General Berger, you submitted a list of Marine Corps unfunded priorities that total over $3 billion. Without funding these research and procurement priorities in FY22, will the Marine Corps be able to modernize in time to counter the pacing threat of China in the near term?
Sir, the items on the unfunded priority list will allow us to move faster. The answer to your question is really difficult because in a pacing environment like we're in right now, it's tough to forecast whether or not China will move faster on the same scale, on the same glide slope, they're on. We're self-funding our modernization, as I explained.
The items on unfunded priority list would reduce the risk. It would allow us to move faster.
So, you need them.
If we're going to stay in front of China with a margin of advantage, then I think everything that we can do in the Department of Defense to buy down that risk is in our favor.
I understand the pressure you all are under to -- to support this President budget recommendation, but we count on your best military judgment and the fact is [Inaudible3757] are necessary and we need to fund them. With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. Langevin is recognized.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank our witnesses for the testimony today. Let me start with this question. I'm really pleased that both the Columbia and Virginia class submarine programs receive full funding.
Hey, Jim, could you get closer to the microphone? I don't know if that's possible or not. You're a little light. We'll try to turn it up here as well.
Okay. Hope that's a little better. That's about as close as I can get I think. I just want to start off by saying that I'm pleased about the Columbia and Virginia class submarine program received full funding. Secretary Harker, do you have any concerns with the Columbia or Virginia class programs given that there is no room for schedule to swap with the Columbia given the fact that the Ohio's will be retiring and taking -- be taken out of service relatively soon?
No, sir. Funding the Columbia and the Virginia class submarines was one of our number one priorities and we made sure that they were fully funded in this budget.
Thank you. Admiral Gilday. Thank you for the phone call the other day. I'm sorry itgot cut short, but hopefully we'll be able to circle back. But, Admiral, I wanted to applaud you with -- with how enthusiastically the Navy has embraced directed energy technology. Your navigation plan included directed energy considerations for the next destroyer.
And I'm excited to get the directed energy campaign plan in the near future. How do directed energy weapons fit into the 2030 or 2040 ship fleet and does every shift in this future fleet have a directed energy capability?
Sir, I can say with a high degree of confidence that those ships that have excess power generation capability -- the Ford class aircraft carriers as an example generate three times the power of the Nimitz class. Our new DDG(X) Destroyer should have excess power generation capacity. The Zumwalt class destroyers have excess power capacity.
And so those would be the first candidates for directed energy system on a manned ship with high powered systems. And the key here is we want systems that can knock down missiles. We need an anti-ballistic missile defense capability that's a lot cheaper than the missile defense capabilities that we have today.
I do think that if we're optimistic about unmanned that we could look at a medium or large-sized unmanned vessel that could also have laser technology perhaps with a network with other ships and that could also provide for fleet defense. I think if we -- if we're going to have -- if we're going to defend the fleet in the future, a potentially larger fleet that's dispersed, we're going to have to look at directed energy as a potential -- as a potential solution set.
And as I mentioned earlier, it remains on the defensive side, our top priority with respect to research and development and that that is proceeding at pace with industry.
Thank you, Admiral. Let me turn to another emerging technology that I've been following for quite some time. I'm concerned that the Navy is trying to shelve the railgun. I view the weapon as an air defense capability that will be vital in the area -- in the area of great power competition. It has a cost per shot advantage and it will deepen the ships magazine and it helps alleviate the Navy's vertical launch cell shortage.
Why is the Navy giving up on the railgun and rail -- and gun-based air defense capabilities?
Sir, we've been chasing railgun for almost 30 years now and we just have not been able to develop a system -- develop a system that can easily get aboard a ship, that would provide the kind of probability [Inaudible] that you speak to that we aspire to when we started doing the research years ago. I do have more -- more confidence in the high velocity projectile that was used with the railgun that we think we can use and other guns that we have to provide us a layered defense along with some of the other kinetic systems we have now plus laser technology in the future.
I also say that that hypersonic missile technology and the standoff ranges that that both we and our potential adversaries face begin to make the railgun a less attractive option just with respect to range.
That's something I was -- we're going to have to continue to follow, Admiral. Last question, the degree to which you have high confidence on cyber security for the fleet and our weapons systems.
Yes, sir. You know, I always say that I never wake up in the morning completely confident that we don't have somebody in one of our systems that we have to get after. And so, I will tell you that we are making a move at pace to cloud -- to the cloud for all -- across all the legacies.
I do apologize. For the gentleman's time has expired, so the rest of that answer would have to be for the record if he wants to follow up. And I will try to keep us at five minutes because there's a lot of members to get in today. Mr. Wilson is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you for the witnesses being here today. It's so inspiring to see such confident and capable people to represent our country and work with our service members. For Admiral Gilday, in a prior hearing the Indo-Pacific theater posture, Admiral Phil Davidson testified to the -- appreciated American territory of Guam significance as the Deepwater Strategic Port, fuel ammunition, logistical depot.
And it's home to 170,000 patriotic American citizens and service members. He recommended deploying the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense facility to counter the Chinese missile threat, which would free up three Navy destroyers. In your assessment, how could we improve Guam's defense strategy to limit its impact on strike power resources, which are already severely impacted by decommissioning plans?
Sir, there's a lot of work that's behind Admiral Davidson's requirement for missile defense in Guam. I think it's a valid requirement. The only thing I'd add is based on the -- on the last discussion I had, I think that we also want to look at laser technology. I think it's even easier if it's shore based rather than ship based with the real key is a power generation source.
I think you're talking about a much more affordable system. I'm not saying that that you would have that in lieu of missile defense, but probably additive in some type of defense and depth construct. That's the only thing I'd add with respect to that requirement.
And, Admiral, as you look at that, we need to always remember that the people of Guam have the highest percentage of participation of American military of any state or territory. And the people are so patriotic and so grateful for the liberation by the Marines. Previously, Admiral, I was fortunate to represent the Marine Corps Air Station in Buford, which is home to four Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet attack squadrons and two F-35B Fleet Replacement squadrons.
The budget request for the Navy does not include any funding for continued procurement of F/A-18E-F Super Hornet aircraft. How does the Navy plan to manage tactical aircraft inventory risk and reduce the current strike fighter inventory shortfall without increased procurement quantities of the F-35C above plans and noting that the next generation air dominance program has just begun efforts to define aircraft requirements and develop concepts.
Sir, simply we have procured as many F-18 Super Hornets as we need. We have over 500 now when our -- when our deliveries are complete, we'll have about 640 Super Hornets. Many of those will be blocked, 3 Super Hornets which are the latest generation of Super Hornet capability. Our goal is to combine the latest F/A-18E Super Hornets with the F-35s to give us a mix of fourth and fifth generation fighters in our carrier air wings.
What we found from extensive analysis, the conclusions that we've seen in war games and in exercises have demonstrated that we benefit from a mix of fourth and fifth generation aircraft. And so, we are at the twilight of our -- of our fourth generation purchase. We are still picking up the pace with -- with fifth gen.
And by 2025, we will close the current strike fighter shortfall that we have of 42 aircraft and if we remain apace with respect to funding and get that fourth and fifth gen mix that we think we need.
Thank you very much. And Secretary Harker, the budget request proposes to cut 200 civilians from the Naval Audit Service and dramatically reduce its mission and scope. What rationale is driving this reduction and why shouldn't naval order service be a quarter of the size of other services audit agencies?
Thank you, sir. As a former certified public accountant, I believe in strong oversight and we have six different organizations that provide oversight of the Navy and Marine Corps. Our overall budget request for that of those six oversight organizations has gone up by over 125 million from FY21 to FY22. So, we strongly believe in oversight.
The Naval Audit Service is one element of that. We are not eliminating of those jobs or getting rid of those people. We're simply moving them to other elements within our oversight organization, sir.
Thank you very much. And I yield back Mr. Chairman.
Thank you. Mr. Larsen is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Mr. Chair and appreciate [Inaudible] coming out today. So, this is for I think Secretary Harker. You've got a really nice shiny new building at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island built for the Triton and it's got that new car smell and -- and no one's in it. So, the question is about the timeline for the Triton and getting that not just -- getting operational beyond the two that are out there and the budget again delays that for a year, so can you give us an update on when the timing is -- what the timing is for the Triton?
And if you can't, I will have Admiral Gilday next.
Sorry. I've to get back with you on that one [Inaudible]
Sir, just so that I understand you correctly, you're talking about the new Columbia class that we're bringing online in 2027?
No. The unmanned aircraft at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
There's a building built MQ-4.
Sir, right now. Yes, sir.
By the way, thank you, Representative Courtney.
Yes, sir, the -- as you know, our MQ-4 is right now deployed -- deployed to Guam and so we will be -- we will be bringing them back at some point and rotating them in and out.
But that's just two of them. And I'm talking about the operators. Got a building built for the operators. It's empty. So the VQ-1 squadron's moving in before their decommissioning, but that's just a matter of happenstance.
Sir, I know you have-
It's built ready to go.
Yes, sir. We have our op-
And we're not going to be using it for three years?
Sir, I'll have to get back to you in the timeline for that transition with more details.
Soon, please. When are we going to get these strategic lay down documents which were supposed to be here by the end of June 11th?
Sir, our documents are being informed by the ongoing Global Posture Review, so the OSD just finished their task force China. They're finishing up their Global Posture Review next month and that'll inform the lay down for -- for the -- for the services.
All right. The Navy announces plan to home port 12 new frigates at Naval -- in Naval Station, Everett in my district, first two I think by 2025 or 2026 if I recall that right. How are you -- how is the Navy approaching the MILCON budget to support that? Because all we -- all we know now is of frigates, but we assume there'll be something to support for that.
Yes, sir. We're in the planning stages right now for that. As you know, we just recently settled on -- on Washington as a home port and so that planning will begin to get funded and begin to be underway within the next year. I'll get you more specifics on that timeline as well.
Yeah. And then, Secretary, can you give us the status of the Department Navy's Arctic strategy? I'm trying to put the pieces of this together between the services and so far, I don't really have a broad view of how the Pentagon sees it. So, I've got to pick at each of the services that piece it together.
Yes, sir. We've worked with the Coast Guard, Navy, the Marine Corps to come forward with an Arctic posture review and that was completed over the winter and there's ongoing work to fine tune that and look at what other elements will be included. I know the Coast Guard is moving forward with our polar security cutter and then we have all of our submarines up there and then we also do operations up in Alaska as well.
All right. I will look forward to some more detail on that. Mr. Chairman, I want to just take the last bit of my time to as well wish you a happy birthday. And -- and I think I speak for all of us right now. When I say who the heck are you all you people seeing over 15 months. It's good to be back in -- the back in the armed services room.
Yes, it will be -- will be get -- get -- get back to normal here very, very soon. Looking forward to it. Mr Turner is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Harker, you've testified before Congress before, correct?
You're aware of your obligations in testifying before Congress that it's not a press conference that you have no obligations for truthfulness and completeness in your answer.
Great. Your background as you testified, is you're a CPA.
I was a CPA. I let my license lapse recently because of the other [Inaudible]
You achieved the level of CPA. Your background is accounting.
Okay. I have your June 4th memo, which I'd like to enter into the record where you direct defund sea launched cruise missile nuclear development effort.
For just one second, if I get that into the record with, you know. I ask unanimous consent, the form you just said be entered into the record, hearing no objection, so ordered.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you. The line says, defund sea launched cruise missile nuclear development efforts. You says that's not canceling. The dictionary says that defund is to prevent from continuing to receive funds. Seems to be conflict. Mr. Harker, there are a lot of people in this committee who are staunch advocates against unilateral disarmament.
Unilateral meaning alone and disarmament mean where we eliminate a weapons system. We're big fans of arms control negotiations where we actually get something for what we're doing. I'm very concerned about this memo because your background is accounting. Now, Secretary of Defense Austin, Chairman Milley; and Admiral Richard and I'm going to guess with the question here, Admiral Gilday, where you consulted on this defunding of this missile?
No, sir. So, Secretary Austin has that experience, Chairman Milley has that experience, Admiral Richard has that experience, Admiral Gilday has the experience and you do not. Congress and two administrations including this budget funded it. Do you have the expertise to conduct the assessment of -- the analysis of alternatives to the sea-based launched cruise missile, other than financial?
No, sir. I do not. There's-
Do you have the expertise to conduct the Nuclear Posture Review?
No, sir, I do not.
So -- but yet you have the expertise apparently to direct the defunding of a cruise missile. Now you said it was because you didn't want anybody to assume it was in because the Nuclear Posture Review hadn't been conducted. Why not all nukes, Mr. Harker? Why didn't you direct them to defund all nukes? How did you choose?
And remember your obligations before Congress. How did you choose defund the sea launched cruise missile?
Sir, because of where we are in the budget process, we have about eight months before the President's budget is finalized. [Inaudible]
But Mr. Harker, you had to specifically choose something. This is not a number that's in this -- this is a weapon system. So, Mr. Harker, I'm going to ask you, who did you discuss this with since you've already indicated, you don't have the expertise to being able to make strategic nuclear weapons decisions?
Who in the Pentagon did you discuss this with before you put in your memo signed by you, defund the sea launched nuclear cruise missile. Who?
No one alone. So -- again, you're under -- you know, you're under your obligations of testifying before Congress. You spoke to no one in your decision to defund the sea launched cruise missile.
It was preliminary guidance and it was my decision and I took it based on [Inaudible]
Mr. Harker, I'm going to ask you to deliver to this committee all communications concerning the deliberations, advice, review, directions and analysis that were undertaken. It's not classified. It's budget materials that went into this item. You agree to deliver those to me?
Excellent. Are you aware as you were drafting this memo that the President of the United States is sitting down with Vladimir Putin this very month and that -- as all the headlines today because our President just landed in Geneva indicate that arms control negotiations is one of those subject matters?
Do you realize the extent to which you have undermined President Biden and the United States in indicating that a weapons system that is nuclear is going to be unilaterally defunded without any negotiations or without receiving any concessions from Russia?
So, it was a preliminary internal document.
Are you aware of the extent to which your actions? Because I want this to be clear. It may be your own undertaking and it may be just that you have uninformed to do this -- to undertaken this. But everyone at the Pentagon needs to understand the severity of the actions that you've taken and its implications on the United States for arms control negotiations and the impact on the President of the United States.
This is not an accounting decision, Mr. Harker. Do you note the extent to which you have undermined the President of United States in his arms control negotiations by undertaking what can only be described as a unilateral you alone having done it disarmament recommendation?
I yield back.
Mr. Courtney is recognized.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you to all the witnesses who and Seapower subcommittee worked together a lot and I'm looking forward. I think we are going to have more work to do. You know, one just sort of comment I want to make and then I want to ask Admiral Gilday a couple of questions, is that -- you know, unfortunately when a budget comes over without a [Inaudible] and without a 30-year shipbuilding plan, it frankly makes your job a lot harder because in terms of trying to explain decisions particularly on shipbuilding, which is a long game.
I think as you all know it's a one-year window or headlights is just not sufficient to sort of see the direction where we're going. So hopefully -- it's my understanding that some of those documents and analysis may be on its way over here. And I frankly think that's going to help everybody in terms of trying to get the right balance this year.
Admiral, on page 13 of your testimony, you state that our future fleet places a premium on expanding our undersea advantage during conflict, sea control and sea denial from beneath the waves are among the Navy's core advantages. We cannot afford to yield any ground to our competitors. Again, this budget unlike last year's budget fully funds that undersea advantage with construction of two Virginia class submarines, the payload modules that will go with that as well as R&D for the next version of our attack submarine fleet as well as our nuclear deterrence with full funding for the Columbia program which carries 70 percent of our nuclear warheads.
Could you just sort of talk about that priority in the context of China's threat that you mentioned at the outset of your testimony?
Yes, sir. I think that with respect to our most survivable strike platform, and again this goes right back to why we have a Navy, this is about sea control and power projection. The ability to project power ashore. The submarines give us that greatest advantage. That overmatch that we have right now against China, we are unwilling to budge on. And so, as we take a look at our investment strategy and where we put our next dollar with respect to lethality, our mind always goes to the undersea, including the unmanned undersea.
With respect to -- with respect to Colombia, this year, Colombia is about just over 20 percent of our shipbuilding budget. And so, in the future it will be over a third of our shipbuilding budget. It's a huge commitment, but it has to be fenced off and we have to deliver that in 2027.
Great. And I would encourage my colleagues to come up to Rhode Island and Connecticut to see the eye watering infrastructure that is being built right now. Secretary Marty Walsh was up and -- again as a building trades. He again was speechless when he saw the magnitude of the project that's going on up there.
I mean, there is -- this is really happening. This isn't just sort of talk that's -- that's going on. This is about the fourth or fifth year since I've been -- fourth or fifth time since I've been on Seapower that a pretty aggressive decommissioning proposal has come in on the cruisers and there's is -- I think you all know Congress has sort of pushed back in past years in terms of trying to preserve that air defense command capacity as well as the missile tube capacity.
I guess if you could just sort of talk about the fact that whether or not, you know, this plan is trying to sort of sift out the -- the platforms that are salvageable versus not. And also, how the decision to cut a DDG which is in my opinion Flight III are going to be the replacement of that Air Defense Command.
I mean, that's where I think there's the biggest sort of heartburn on this side of the room.
Sir, I think the first thing I would frame it with kind of big picture is where are we headed? So, if I take a look at 2025, the questions came out earlier about Admiral Davidson's testimony about six years of potential conflict with China. So, what -- what do we plan to deliver in 2025 and 2026. So, if I take a look at the undersea, we will have delivered all of our Block III Virginias.
Will have delivered all of our block IV Virginias. We will be on the cusp of delivering block V. And we'll have a longer range, more lethal undersea weapon. On the surface will be delivering the Constellation class Frigate. We will be -- will be building DDG. Actually, we will be putting more Flight III DDGs in the water.
We have -- by 2025, our plan is to have hypersonics in the Zumwalt class destroyers. We were making continued investments in weapons with range and speed. Think tactical Tomahawk. If I look at aviation, I talked about the fourth and fifth gen mix a few minutes ago that brings -- that will have that and half of our air wings -- six of our air wings more than half of our airwings by 2025 with longer range weapons with speed and so that's-
Thank you, I again apologize. Gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Lamborn is recognized for finance.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And General Berger, in a minute, I'm going to ask you about some armaments that are on the unfunded priority list but Admiral Gilday, I have to ask you about something first that I'm concerned about, many people are and a lot of people in the civilian world. I sent you a letter with two dozen people on it concerned that you had recently added several books to the Navy's professional reading list, promoting critical race theory.
And one of these books is Ibram X. Kendi's, How to Be an Antiracist and it argues that the entire American system is corrupted from top to bottom by racial prejudices, which account for all differences in outcomes in our society. And one sentence out of that book says the only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.
The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination. Now, I understand that this is a voluntary reading list, but how does exposing our sailors to the idea that they are either oppressors or oppressed and that we must actively discriminate to make up for past discrimination, improve our Navy's readiness and lethality for great power competition?
Sir, initially you mentioned critical race theory, I'm not a theorist. I am the chief of naval operations. What I can tell you is factually based on a substantial amount of time talking to sailors in the fleet, there's racism in the Navy, just like there's racism in our country. And the way we're going to get after it is to be honest about it, not to sweep it under the rug and to talk about it and that's what we're doing.
And that's one of the reasons that book is on the list. Doesn't mean I have any expectation that anybody believe or support everything that that Mr. Kendi states in his book. I don't support everything that Kendi says. But the key point here is the sailors in our Navy have to be able to think critically.
They have to be able to look outwardly at China and Russia and they have to understand what those societies, why those societies are a potential danger to the United States. Inwardly, we We have to understand ourselves and we have to understand critically that we value diversity. And I think-
Okay. Admiral, I agree that we should have a robust and great discussion and any racism should be uprooted and taken away. I absolutely agree and I endorse that, but should we have future discrimination? You don't endorse that particular statement, do you?
Sir, I have to look at the context of it. I'm not trying to be evasive, but I -- I don't -- as I mentioned, I don't support everything that Kendi asserts. I don't believe everything I read. I think that-
I hope ??" [Inaudible]
I think everybody has to be in a position to weigh fact from fiction, even our sailors. They're bombarded every day by misinformation. Much of it comes from China and Russia on this issue. That's getting it our national psyche. I'm trying to get after it in the Navy.
Okay. Well, I hope that's one statement you don't -- you don't endorse and maybe we can follow up on that. Admiral -- excuse me, General Berger, the number 1 and number 3 items on your unfunded priority list are naval strike missiles and tactical Tomahawks. If you don't have those, what's that going to do to the build-up of your plan for the Indo-Pacific?
Sir, those two are in the top for a reason as you highlight. That's going to allow us to control straits, to control pieces of littoral areas from either ship or from shore in a -- in an expeditionary in a light manner because it's really a JLTV with a missile on the back of it that can -- that can hold at bay, can hold at risk an adversary's naval vessels.
Without it, we just allow them to maneuver with some freedom that we don't want them to have. So, it's important for distributed maritime operations. It's important for our future role.
Well, I'll try to help you work on getting that funded. I yield the the rest of my time to the gentleman Mr. Wittman.
Thank you, Mr. Lamborn. Acting Secretary of the Navy, Harker, I want to ask this. I could ask you about the Navy's plan for negative seven ships. I could ask you about them taking out of the DDG. I could ask them about absolutely blowing up the multi-ship procurement for amphibious ships. But what I want to focus on is where we are in the fork of the road, I believe, with modernization versus generating current readiness.
And as Yogi Berra once said, when you get to the fork in the road, take it. I want to know what's the Navy's future plan and how do they make sure that we're pursuing the necessary modernization elements, especially in light of a budget that seems like to me to be completely abandoning any sort of future modernization efforts.
Yes, sir. We tried to focus on modernization and to balance that with the need for current readiness and it made very difficult decisions for us.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Moulton is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And first, I want to start by just thanking Admiral Gilday for -- for defending basic American values of free and critical thought, which I think are one of the most important weapons we hold against adversaries like China. General Berger, to start with you. Last year, I asked you about the CH-53K requirement.
I regret using the word requirement as you responded that you need 200 aircraft per the established program of record. Less than 30 days after you testified, you released your Force Design report and stated that you needed fewer heavy lift helicopters. Then, in March of this year, you said that you do not need at least two full squadrons of heavy lift helicopters compared to your previous plans.
Thirty-two fewer aircraft creates a potential savings for the American taxpayer or for the Marine Corps of four $4.4 billion. So, if you were allowed to change the acquisition plan and recover those funds, can you please state how you would use those savings and why?
I think -- I agree with the premise and I tried to address it in my opening comments. I think you look at us -- you look to us to buy what we need, nothing more. So, we need to match the vertical lift capability to the size of the Marine Corps in the task we're going to have in the future. I think the program of record is -- I know it's larger than we're going to need.
I think we're going to learn as we go through experimentation through wargaming, just how many we will need to reduce but that initial program of record was based on a much larger Marine Corps. Where would I redirect those funds. On things like the unfunded priority list that would help us accelerate Force Design, get us a bigger margin of strategic advantage over the PLA and faster.
So, I want to make sure the ranking member and other members of this -- other colleagues of mine on this committee hear this, which is that we need to listen to you and your requirements. If we want to fund unfunded requirements, we should start by saving money on things that you don't need. That's really critical.
Admiral Gilday, how are you addressing this same question? What is big Navy doing to make these important tradeoffs between old and new capabilities Because we simply don't have the luxury of keeping all our older systems while also investing in new ones.
Yes, sir, and so as -- as I mentioned earlier, we -- we need -- we need the Navy forward to be relevant and as Admiral David testified, as Admiral Aquilino testified, China is becoming increasingly a concern with respect to Taiwan. We need to be out there. And so I continue to fund the readiness of an aging fleet that, as I mentioned, is 21 years old.
It's expensive, but that's the Navy that I believe the nation needs out there on point. I'm investing heavily in new technologies, hypersonics as an example, directed energy on the defensive side as an example, as opposed to years ago, we are actually doing the maintenance on our ships. We're getting better at doing that maintenance on time.
We're not deferring the maintenance. We're not kicking it down the road because we know that 70 percent of the force we have today we're going to have in the future. Sir, it is a balance between being ready today and making those investments for a force just around the corner that we may need tomorrow. It's base -- it's -- it's a -- it's a -- it's a risk issue and it also takes into account the industrial base.
One of the clear conclusions of our bipartisan Future of Defense Task Force report is that we have to make these tradeoffs, but also that many of these new technologies and capabilities are actually less expensive than some of the big old heavy weapons systems that we are working so hard to maintain right now.
Just look at China for example, and we can see the kind of tradeoffs we can make. And that's why our bipartisan task force was also able to recommend spending more money on fundamental investments in our national security like basic scientific research and stem education of our youth. Commandant, it sounds like this question of modernization and tradeoffs is critical.
Would you benefit from having a separate hearing to discuss this before the committee?
If it's useful to the members and your staff, yes, I would agree with that. And I think the way that CNO and you and others have characterized it, I've heard Congressman Wittman and a couple of other members the same. On the one hand, you have combatant commanders who have a risk right now this afternoon-
We're just short on time.
General Secretary Harker, Admiral Gilday, would you agree to such a hearing?
General Berger, is it a problem that we lost the USS Bonhomme Richard for your China strategy?
This is a strategic problem.
Admiral Gilday, we need to see the report on this. We need to see the report and we need to have a clear plan to replace this ship if it's critical for our China strategy all the more so if the rumors are true that one of your sailors burned it down.
Yes, sir, I commit to providing the full report to the Congress [Inaudible] public.
Gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Wittman is recognized.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank our witnesses again. General Berger, thank you again for all the work that you're doing with Force Design 2030 for the Marine Corps, a very forward thinking. The exact direction I believe we need to go to make sure the Marine Corps is indeed that lethal fighting force at the tip of the spear that protects this nation at a moment's notice and deters our adversaries around the world.
As we look at the things that are necessary in Force Design 2030, there's a lot there. There's a lot of modernization that needs to take place. There's a lot of divestiture in existing platforms. There's a lot of transition to new platforms to new capability. All those things I think are incredibly important.
The thing that I'm concerned about though is that Congress is looking at that gets lulled into a sense that the Marine Corps can do this by just in and of itself, retiring legacy systems and then taking those resources and putting them forward to modernization. But as we know you have to do the transition properly.
You can't just get rid of everything and then have this giant gap in capability and say, well, now years from now, things are going to happen. I always tell folks I said, you know the dreams of our nation's defense always happen outside the fit up and I don't want to make sure that doesn't happen in this particular case.
And what I want to make sure to is that we understand that we're not taking on unacceptable risk in that transition. In other words, going through that bathtub. Can you give me your perspective because it seems like to me that the Marine Corps has always been noted for doing more with less. Seems like to me that as we modernize, we may be at a point of doing less with less if we don't look at the funding perspectives as you modernize in addition to savings that you accrue by retiring legacy systems.
Sir, in my assessment we have rung just about everything we can out of the Marine Corps internally. We're at the limits of the risk that you address. We've reduced in strength. We've divested off legacy systems. We've taken every measure we can to include a 15 percent cut in our headquarters. We've wrung it dry.
We're driven by a pacing threat as several of you all have highlighted today that we don't control the pace at which they go. And neither me nor the CNO want to transfer risk onto the backs of a combatant commander because we -- as others have pointed out, we have a perfect record of getting -- guessing where the next conflict is going to happen.
We got it wrong every time. We have to be ready every day, every week. And the best insurance policy we have is a naval expeditionary force that's forward. We're at the -- we are at the limits of what I can do internally right now.
So, would it be correct to say then that you in order to get where you need to be with Force Design 2030, you would not only need the resources that you get from retiring older systems, but also some additional resources to make sure we're on track, so we don't take that unacceptable risk with the Marine Corps as you modernize.
I think that's accurate. My -- my only other option is to reduce the end strength of your Marine Corps even further and I think that's unacceptable risk.
I agree. Admiral Gilday, let me -- let me ask about the tension between the COCOMs and what the chiefs are asked to provide, specifically the Navy Marine Corps team as that demand signal continues to come in. As you look at the -- the plans that our combatant commanders have and then the -- the request for forces.
So, it's always what do we do in for today's risk And I understand the combatant commanders' quandary there, but it seems like to me historically we've seen recently a significant increase in those RFFs. So, I think the question becomes, is the system broken? If all we're doing now is seeing this constant procession of RFFs, is a system broken and should we maybe go back to the beginning and say what's the real scope of threats and how do we do a better job to make sure that we're not consuming so much resources today, to generate readiness today that we can't do the modernization we need for years to come?
Sir, I think in short -- I think the process needs more rigor. And so those 15 requests for forces that extended 4 carriers in Central Command for almost a year came at a cost of over a quarter of a billion dollars that we can't invest in modernization. If there's a reason to keep the carrier there, then keep it there.
But if there's not, use another element of the joint force to do the job and move things dynamically around. I think the current Secretary of defense recognizes that. He's bringing the Eisenhower home. He's swinging -- he's swinging the [Inaudible] from -- from the Western Pacific. That is not an easy decision to make.
But on any given day today, the Navy has put 100 players on the field, the Secretary of defense gets to decide how those players are used and -- and I just try to advise the judicious use of those forces so that we preserve precious resources. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Wittman. Thank you, Admiral. Next up is Mr. Brown, who's joining us from remotely.
Mr. Chairman, can you hear me?
We can hear it now.
Right. Thank you. And my question is for the Secretary. I'd like to ask you not about procurement and platforms, but about I think our most important asset and that's you know, our people, our sailors and our Marines. In last year's NDAA, Congress directed the Department of Defense and working with the service that the [Inaudible] to establish a [Inaudible] program, which aims to increase the diversity of our officer corps [Inaudible] that of our nation by fostering a more diverse leadership pipeline.
I think mentoring is critical when you have 43 percent of the men and women in the total joint force of brown, but there are zero four star admirals, the one four star general in the Air Force and one in the Army. I think mentoring is really important. Can you update us, Secretary Harker, on the Navy's efforts to establish that mentoring program?
Sorry, sir. I'm hard of hearing and I couldn't hear the entire question, so, you know, who's going to help me with this one.
Sir, I think the first thing I'd say is that -- I think this -- I think that I'm speaking for the Secretary when I say that he agrees that a Navy that looks like its citizenry is the Navy that is truly representative of who we strive to be as a nation. And so coming out of task force, Navy was about a six month effort where we -- where we went out to the fleet.
We talked to sailors and we got a better understanding of issues related to racism, with respect to gender discrimination, with respect to ethnic issues. And we came back with a number of recommendations. To your point, sir, one of the key things that we're doing is we're doing -- we're trying to do a better job at talent management so that we can put people in a position to be promoted so that we can make them admirals or make them make -- make them generals.
And so, in the Navy, I have -- we have 17 officer communities and they have just now started to brief me individually on what they're doing at the lieutenant and lieutenant commander level, so that we not only -- so that we develop leaders that are going to be competitive with their peers and are going to promote at a rate equal to their peers so that we can have that more diverse leadership flag wardroom in the future.
Thank you and just -- you know, just like to emphasize that that mentoring also needs to occur and you and I have had this conversation at the pre-commissioning training school and education like ROTC and the academies. And I'd like to ask the secretary about the question. Last year in the Defense Authorization you directed each service secretary of the [Inaudible] adviser for diversity and inclusion.
In fact, we work across the aisle with this service to ensure that we didn't [Inaudible] chief diversity officer, but a senior advisor and their qualifications that they ran a management diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in personnel. What is the status of the senior advisor for diversity and inclusion in the Navy?
The senior advisor who reports directly to the service secretary.
Sir, we've hired a senior advisor to report to us on diversity equity and inclusion and that person just started recently. He is looking at the existing policies that are department wide and then also what's in the Navy and the Marine Corps to come forward and make sure that we are aligned with the direction of the administration on this, sir.
Well, I appreciate that and if you -- you know, take for the record, I don't know if that's the right language we use or the request, but if -- if we could get the -- the background, the publicly available information about the senior advisor, I'd appreciate it. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Thank you, Mr. Brown, for bringing that up. Again, that was a very strong bipartisan priority last year in the NDAA and I think we would definitely welcome that follow-up. Next up is Mr. Scott from Georgia.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Secretary Harker, before I move to the issue of readiness, I want to mention something to you and ask for your support in one thing. Four graduates from service academies have been allowed to forego their service commitment this year and play in the NFL. The Navy has a gentleman who I've never met named Cameron Kinley who asked for the same accommodation.
The -- the others are from the different academies, Air Force and an Army but Malcolm Perry from the ??" who's a Naval Academy grad and he was granted a request last year to forego his service briefly to play in the NFL. Cameron Kinley, to the best of what I've seen in my reading, is the only person that has been denied that request.
He was President of his class. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then not only was he denied the request, he was denied the right to appeal and my question gets back to the appeal. I would appreciate it if you would allow him to appeal the decision and -- and listen to the merits of his case. And if he's able to make his case, then allow him to pursue both of his dreams to be a naval officer and play in the NFL. So, that is -- my specific request is to -- is to listen to his -- allow him to appeal and listen to it. And the other statement I would make is that I'm not -- I don't know if it's right or wrong, but I do know that there should be a uniform standard.
And if -- if it is an accommodation that's going to be granted to Westpoint Air Force Academy grads then it needs to be accommodated to Naval Academy grads as well in my opinion. And -- and there needs to be consistency with the request. So that's a general statement, but I would appreciate it if you would hear it -- allow him to appeal the decision and listen to his appeal on the merits.
Sir, I understand there have been different laws at different points in time as well as different policies, some of them at the OSD level.
I looked at this case. I looked at the significant investment that taxpayers make in every midshipman and our expectation and their expectation is that midshipmen will graduate and be commissioned with the Navy and Marine Corps. So, talked with the CNO, talked with the commandant and looked for their military advice and we went forward.
I made the decision to deny his request. The accommodation was made for Malcolm Perry, the accommodation has been made for four additional people. Why is -- it seems to me that his is the only accommodation that has not been made. Why is he different? Why should he be given less of an accommodation than -- than others have been?
I can't speak for what the Army and Air Force secretary has decided. I did not have a conversation with them about this, but you know, looking at the two most famous Naval Academy graduates who played in [Inaudible]
They both served first.
Roger Staubach served first?
I didn't know. That was a long time ago that.
Yes, sir. But I mean that's -- the legislation allows us to make exceptions when it's a significant benefit to the servers and for us, David Robinson and Roger Staubach, they both served first and they were recognized as graduates who had served in the military and that added value to us.
Well, I've spent more time on this than I intended to, but I would suggest to you that if you have an all-American athlete that comes into our offices and is trying to decide which academy they want to go to, then it would be a mistake for us to recommend that they go to the Naval Academy, if the Air Force and the and the Army are going to accommodate or be more accommodating to them.
Either way, I think there should be a uniform standard across the academies and so I'll obviously, you know, I'll tell you -- I'll -- I'll speak with Lloyd Austin about it as well. But I think there needs to be a uniform standard. Admiral, I'll move quickly on this. On CNO's unfunded priority list, you've got readiness shortfalls including aviation depot maintenance, ship depot maintenance and flying hour programs.
Could you speak to the issue of the balance between growing the Navy and sustaining the current Navy and what it does for readiness today?
Yes, sir. Current readiness has been and will be my number one priority. We need the Navy that needs to be forward and it's ready to fight tonight. And so, I'm not backing off at all on our requirement I believe that serves our sailors well and now General Berger mentioned this a few minutes ago. When we start -- when we start cutting away at current readiness, we begin to push that risk on the backs of commanders out there at sea and the people that work for them.
When we begin to man ships with less people because it's always easy to take away people. That's -- that's money in your pocket right off the bat or we -- or we put less ammunition and magazines or less spare parts in supply store rooms or we cut back on training, then you have a Navy that begins to become irrelevant.
And that's not a place where we want to be.
The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Garamendi is recognized.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Excuse me, I was stuck on Roger Staubach with whom I had the privilege of playing against him twice during his career. So, memories. Mr. secretary, you made the right decision. Moving on, Admiral Gilday, where's the five-year ship plan?
Sir, the 30-year shipbuilding plan or?
Ship improve -- the shipyard improvement plan.
Oh, the shipyard improvement plan. Yes, sir. We'll have that by the end of the month.
Good. Then we'll have a hearing shortly thereafter. Thank you very much. Appreciate that. Commandant Berger, could you in four minutes explain the marine Corps of the Future and what we need to know to prepare for that in this year's NDAA?
Sir, I offered in a separate hearing to lay it out in detail in four minutes or less. First, you need a Marine Corps today and until that point it's ready, they can respond now. We can't take it off the field as a couple of you have said, come back on the field three or four years later with the force we're going to need.
We have to be ready every week. We will. We are ready today. The force that you need in the future. I think the best case you have for deterrence against somebody like the PLA and/or Russia is to have a very strong forward force that's expeditionary, that has the ability to collect against, to deter to compete every day, every week.
You have the ability to -- to work with allies and partners to build a network that will have the best chance of success of denying -- preventing the next conflict from ever happening. But if it does, to be already forward so that they can respond quickly and decisively. That means we have to be lighter.
That means we have to be less of a land force like we have been for the past 20 years, supporting the operations in the Middle East and more of a naval force. You need us, expeditionary, you need us lighter, you need us able to sustain that force in a really distributed fashion. Plugged into a naval and joint architecture that can move information rapidly, make decisions quickly.
It's the best chance you have of deterring and frankly, if a crisis happens responding quickly.
Well, all that in two minutes. Well done, I do -- I do agree with you. We need to have a full hearing on it. Of particular interest to my Subcommittee is the sustainment issues as well as locations from which you need to operate. So, thank you for that. Also, I understand that and this may have been asked earlier during my absence, if so, my apologies.
The AAV incident off the coast of California, the loss of nine -- of eight Marines, one sailor. I understand that an additional action has been taken in the last week with regard to the command structure. Has that been a -- could you please tell us where -- what actions have been taken with regard to the command?
Once I reviewed the results of two investigations, the one safety investigation and then the first legal investigation. Once it was clear to me what we knew about the event itself and that day, there were still unanswered questions. So, we directed a follow-on investigation to look back six months to find out how was this unit formed and who made what decisions.
When that investigation came to me, it was pretty clear that the division commander at that time failed to uphold what we expect of a commander to do in providing a trained ready force. I pulled him out of his IG position and since that time I've administratively counseled him, formally counseled him. That's a permanent part of his record.
Which means what?
Most likely -- it's difficult for an officer, a general, to move forward with that and their record as a permanent basis.
Very good, I appreciate your ongoing effort to deal with this tragedy and the necessary command. As I have said and others have said in the hearings in which we conducted on this, a culture of safety must be part of the Marine Corps' ethics. Could you -- Well, you won't comment in the next seven seconds, but I'll let that hang there and appreciate your efforts.
Gentleman's time has expired. Dr. DesJarlais is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Chairman. Secretary Harker, last year the department deployed the W76 [Inaudible] warhead on some American [Inaudible] submarines. I believe the utility [Inaudible] something that deserves more attention. First, can you provide some facts for one [Inaudible] important in the context of what we understand escalate to win strategy?
I'm sorry. We've lost Dr. DesJarlais. Can't -- we cannot hear you. It's getting cut off.
You can't hear audio?
I'm hearing that, but you were like breaking up in between. So, give it give -- it one more try.
Okay. Let's -- we're talking about low yield, W76-2 missiles, Secretary Harker, as you know that they were placed on submarines. Can you explain why that's important in the Putin escalate to win strategy, so could you give me some context of why it's important that we have this?
Yes, sir. The low-yield nuclear weapons were something that was done previously, different from the sea launched cruise missile nuclear that was discussed a little while ago. From the warfighting value of that, I think the CNO is probably the best capable person to discuss the value of the low yield nuclear weapons.
Yes, sir. Low yield is based on the findings of the Nuclear Posture Review and the stated purpose of the low yield weapons was to close a deterrence gap against the Russians and the Chinese. And so, there is a -- there's a capability that -- that the Russians in particular have and the NPR's intent was to ensure that we could close that gap so that the Russians didn't feel like they were in a position of advantage with respect to weapons with that kind of yield?
Do you feel that our current strategy is adequate?
Sir, I think as we come up on this new Nuclear Posture Review, one of the things that that I've always find reassuring about these reviews is from administration to administration, they've been squarely focused on national security. Their recommendations tracked very consistently from administration to administration.
And so, I think taking a deeper look right now is a good opportunity and I think -- I'm not trying to be evasive with your question. I just think that that the NPR will -- will shed some more light in terms of where we need to go and why.
Okay. Well, I think it's very possible that the next nuclear blast we see is, is likely to be a low yield and we have to have an adequate response. No, I don't think that would be us making that first move, but I think it is an important deterrent. Admiral Richard's assessment certainly feels that it would make conflict less likely.
Do you agree with that?
Yes, sir, I do.
Okay. And then the current system we have, of course, we can do it air launched, we have a submarine launched from a missile, but this could also be something that was used in the sea launched cruise missile that would be another method that now apparently may not be an option. [Inaudible] that possibly take away a strategic tool that's very important.
Yes, sir. I think -- technically, I think that would be feasible.
But considering what Putin has with Skyfall and other weapons as Mr. Turner pointed out earlier in the hearing, I think that that's something that needs another look because obviously it's easier -- for the Russians, it's probably easier to intercept a ballistic missile and certainly some low yield that was delivered or attempted to be delivered by plane may also be less effective than a cruise missile that's launched from a submarine.
Would you agree with that?
Sir, I think I think -- at a higher classification, I think it would be worth a deeper discussion on -- on that particular issue.
Okay. [Inaudible] the yield of these W76-2, how does it compare to say Hiroshima and Nagasaki in terms of kilotons?
Sir, again, I think that -- that that particular -- those particular numbers exceed the classification of this hearing.
Okay. I mean you can Google it and read it on Wikipedia, so it may be for this hearing and I understand that's different, but there's been some argument made that our low yield-
Gentleman's time has expired. Apologize. Ms. Houlahan is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. And thank you, gentlemen for joining us today. I'm going to try and accomplish something which is within five minutes to talk about the future of defense and also child care. So, I'm hoping I'll be able to have time. I want to start by reading an abridged version -- version of an article by Christian Brose, who's a former McCain staffer.
And he says many defense experts believe that the U.S. military abated and even encouraged by Congress continues to be focused on too many resources preparing for yesterday's battles rather than the conflicts most likely to be seen in the future. While aircraft carriers, heavy tanks, fighter jets and nuclear weapons will continue to play a role in defending the homeland, many believe that the United States must shift its focus away from old wars and legacy weapons systems and focus more on asymmetrical threats such as biosecurity, cybersecurity, pandemics and even disinformation.
If a conflict occurred today, U.S. satellites would likely immediately be disabled and American ships would be rendered useless since they would be too vulnerable to precise hydrous -- hypersonic missiles. So, consequently, the U.S. should follow the Chinese. Experts argue pointing to cheap unmanned weapons and cheap unmanned underwater drones.
With that in mind, my question for Acting Secretary Harker and Admiral Gilday is I wanted to follow up on Mr. Wittman and Mr. Moulton's lines of question. I was really grateful to be part of that bipartisan future of defense task force. And I'm grateful that you all are willing to have another conversation about this, but it doesn't appear that the Navy has conducted yet an analysis that looks simultaneously at the political ambitions of our two chief rivals, which are China and Russian and add emerging technologies for warfare.
Above all -- I'm sorry. Above, at and below sea level and at the ability of the American and our allied industrial base to develop and put into production those affordable systems that are necessary for our allies and we to prevail at sea, both in peace and at war time. So, is it fair to say that there really hasn't been a study or an analysis of the way that you all think about that path the fork to take?
And if so, how short of a hearing can we ask for and understanding and insight into how you think through these really important decisions?
Thank you, ma'am. We've actually done a lot of work around the unmanned systems and how to integrate those on with our force. As the CNO mentioned earlier, there was a significant exercise off the coast of San Diego last month. There was also then a lot of work with getting the F-18 in order to be able to do their refueling with the MQ-25. So, we've done a lot to bring that technology into our doctrine and warfighting capabilities.
There's still room to grow. I know both this committee and the Senate Armed Service Committee have concerns with how fast we're going. Some people think we're not moving fast enough, others think we're moving too fast and we're trying to balance that with, you know, the requirements that we have in the budget we had.
And with, Admiral Gilday, can I ask you as well for your reflections on that?
So, ma'am, are distributed maritime operations' concept in conjunction with the Marine Corps and how we believe we're going to fight was the underpinning of the two latest assessments that actually heavily considered unmanned -- unmanned vehicles in the air, on the sea and under the sea. Our investment strategy leads us to a hybrid fleet in the 2000s. Whereas I mentioned earlier, we want to make sure that we get the technology correct before we -- we come to -- we come to the Secretary and ask him and make a proposal to scale.
But we believe that about a third of the fleet would be unmanned by the mid 2030s if we stay on pace and by the late 2030s about 40 percent of our airwings at sea would be unmanned. So, we are moving in that direction. It's critical that we do so.
Thank you. And I look forward to further conversations on this and with my minute left that I would like very much to talk about child care. You have asked for a very modest increase in family child care homes, but the request for child development centers remains largely unchanged from year to year and neither of these requests have come close to the fiscal year 2020 funding level.
Can you give me some insight and context into the decision making of why child care portions of the Navy and Marine Corps budget requests are where they are when we have 7,000 children who still are on wait lists?
Yes, ma'am. There was a significant -- significant increase in funding for child care. Last year, we had a MILCON project that's going to increase and do repairs to the child's facility in [Inaudible]. We also had five planning and design projects for 11 million which we're executing this year as we look at how can we go forward with the MILCON necessary to continue to expand our child care capability.
At the same time, we're also working to increase our child care in ways that don't require MILCON. So, we've got a public-private partnership. We're working with the Coronado Unified School District in San Diego to try to use some of their schools for after school care, so that we can free up space in our child development centers and be able to accommodate additional students.
This is definitely something we take seriously and we're trying to handle that.
I look forward to working with you on that. And with that gentlemen, I yield back and thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you. Mr. Kelly is recognized for five minutes.
Mr. Secretary, what is the top-line budget this year as opposed to last year, just a dollar number?
This year's top-line budget for the Department of Defense 700-
Not -- not for the Department of Defense. For the Department of the Navy.
Two hundred eleven million, sir.
What was that?
And what was it last year?
Billion. I think I am sorry. I think you mean billion.
Yes, sir. Billion. Sorry.
And my next question would be is -- of that, how much is allocated to things other than building ship or doing personnel or how much of that is to climate change? How much of that is to renewable fuels? How much of those dollars of your budget are allocated to something other than building ships or training sailors or Marines?
The majority of our budget is focused on personnel [Inaudible]
I know the majority, but how much of it is not focused on that?
We have not previously tagged our budget for those things. And so, we're going through the process of identifying what those specific dollars are right now, sir.
Okay. And there's a $2 billion cut in shipbuilding next year, right? Two billion cut in the shipbuilding budget, is that correct?
Versus what we had planned in FY21. Yes sir.
Okay. And then so when do we expect the shipbuilding plan?
Shipbuilding plan is going through the clearance process right now. I hope to get it to you soon. I'd wanted to get it to you before this hearing and was unable to get the [Inaudible].
That was one of the only questions I asked Secretary Austin, would he commit to doing that since we did not get one last year? You understand that we can't do our jobs if we don't get that product from you all.
Yes, sir, I understand. We've committed to get it to you and we will get it to -- you could not get it done [Inaudible].
It's a little now though. We're talking about the budget now and you understand that you're asking us to trust your judgment in the future and your management of risk throughout our departments while at the same time failing to provide us any insight into what the future looks like. It's one of those trust me.
Sir, the shipbuilding plan is something that is typically not delivered in the first year of a new administration. This year it is required and we [Inaudible]
But it's a requirement under law, correct?
Pardon me, sir.
It's a requirement under a law to provide that to us, correct?
Yes, sure it is and we are going to deliver that.
And you do understand that in Mississippi, you know, we build ships there and you visited there and I thank you for that. That shows that you are on the spot doing the things that you're supposed to do and I really appreciate that, Mr. Secretary. But my question is during this budget, we're asking to cut out one DDG.
Yet we had already committed in this plan to build two. So, we're asking to cut one of those. So, so what do we tell those shipbuilders, what do we tell those employers? What do we do that labor force and when we have to build that DDG lighter, how much more will it cost the taxpayers because we didn't do what we as a government agreed to do?
Sir, that's -- that was our biggest regret in this budget. I wish we could have fit that DDG into this budget and we are committed to building that next year. We're also committed to doing a multiyear-
And those laid off workers -- will that cost more once we lay off workers and aren't able to do what they were committed to. Do you understand our industrial base.
When we have to lay off workers or they don't have something to do, they have to be laid off. And you understand then that cost us the American taxpayers much more dollars to build the exact same thing because we have to regen a workforce.
Yes, sir, I understand and I was impressed with what you're doing down in Mississippi with the partnership with the local high schools and with your community colleges to bring on a workforce and to maintain that workforce. And we believe that we can continue forward with providing the support for that industrial base.
And you know, here's -- here's all I'll tell you is we're getting a defense cut. We're getting a haircut this year. You can call it whatever you want, but it's a haircut and it's a significant haircut across the board. And I remember when we had ships crashing into each other, commanders being relieved, captains of ships or commanders at all levels, aircraft falling out air, vehicle turnovers that were killing Marines and Army kids, all these things happened because we had inadequate budget in order to do the things that are necessary today.
And I will argue if we're not really, really careful, guys, we're going to start having sailors crashing ships, airplanes falling out of the sky because of maintenance errors, untrained leaders who are not enforcing standards that should be. And I will just tell you, you guys need to really push back. This budget is not capable of doing what we need to do to protect the nation today or in 2030 or 2035. And I just ask, guys, that's what we pay you big dollars for.
Please push back and let them know it's not enough. You're great leaders. You owe that to this nation. Thank you. And I yield back.
Yes, thank you for being here. I know we've had a lot of discussion about the top-line budget, about equipment, about hardware, about numbers of ships. But we've also heard in pretty much every one of our hearings, especially those of us on the bipartisan defense task force that it's not just about hardware, it's about our ability to quickly and efficiently acquire new technology, take the best from Silicon Valley and incorporate it into the Department of Defense.
And I know as I'm sure you do that it's a laborious process to go from great idea to new weapons. China has no such problem. They have no such problem, no such three-year string. And while we can have a debate about the -- the top-line budget in the hardware, I want to know what you all are doing to change the culture and climate around acquisition to make sure our smallest companies who have some of the best ideas are actually able to get the attention of the Department of Defense.
And as we've heard this valley of death that you can get money for a prototype, but you can't actually turn it into a program of record. So, can I hear from both OSD as well as Admiral Gilday on this, please.
Yes, ma'am. This is something -- something that we definitely are working to improve. We set up an organization called NavalX, which is focused on trying to identify those requirements and partner with industry in order to come up with quick rapid ways of meeting those requirements. So, that's something that's been set up in the last couple of years that has a really powerful capability that we've established both here in the D.C. area and then out at all the various [Inaudible] concentration areas.
And we're working within the acquisition community as well as within the operational Navy and Marine Corps to try to facilitate quick dialog, so that we can go from requirement to delivery as quickly as we can. You're absolutely right that there is a long valley of death in the current acquisition process and this is something that needs to change.
When you look at all of the different acquisition requirements, we've put in requirements and controls in place to prevent fraud, prevent waste, prevent abuse. But all of those requirements come at a cost and they slow things down. And we need to figure out how to maintain control over waste, abuse those types of things while enabling our acquisition community to work as quickly as they can.
Yes, ma'am. I'd like to thank the Congress for the -- for the authorities that we have to accelerate -- accelerate buys in the acquisition process. I'll give you a couple of examples. We have a new deck crawler kind of machine that that cleans the holes of submarines when they go into drydock. A year ago, that would take us four weeks to clean the outside of the hull.
It takes us two -- it takes two shifts to -- to complete that work. We have headsets now that allow us to map a space on a ship digitally, so that a job that we give a shipyard worker to do is much more accurate in terms of its measurements, in terms of its 3D capability. Those returned very, very quickly.
Just a couple of examples, but another one is laser technology and so we're trying to leverage small businesses as much as we can because -- because of the power and the innovation that's out there. But I'm not at all under the impression that we've completely solved this and there are companies that still can't get to us and so we-.
Yeah, I would say we're pretty far from solving it since literally every hearing we've heard from these companies has talked about how difficult it is. And I would note that we did give you guys the authority actually even before I got here, this SBIR authority allows you to do this rapid acquisition and it's less than 2.5 percent of your acquisition budget was through that program in 2021. So, I would just flag so it's little cultural thing hearing from you all that people can try things and fail?
And Department of Defense doesn't usually like that -- that kind of thing. My second question is myself and Representative Gallagher have been running a supply chain task force here on HASC. It's been a very bipartisan process. We all learned through the past year of COVID how difficult it is to have transparency on our supply chains, but how important it is, so we don't get caught with our pants down if we're sole source buying things from China.
Do you, Admiral Gilday, have transparency on supply chain that is needed for the Navy? If not, what is your plan to get that transparency?
So, I would say that one of the silver linings of COVID has been the lifting of that opaque curtain on 395 between Crystal City and the Pentagon. We have much more visibility into the fragility of those supply chains, those single source overseas suppliers, because industry understands the risk both to them and to us if we can't solve those problems quickly.
We're in a better place now. And I -- my hat's off to industry and to our Undersecretary Geurts for making the effort to keep those communications on a weekly basis during the pandemic.
Thank you. And I yield back.
Thank you. Mr. Gallagher is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you. Commandant Berger, do you share the concerns expressed by Admiral Davidson about a potential PRC action against Taiwan within the next six years?
I do sir.
CNO, same question to you.
I think this gets to the fundamental dilemma that you're hearing expressed on both sides with regard to the overall budget. We seem to be punting our larger Navy into the future on a 2045 timeline when really we need to be planning around a 2025 timeline and we need to be resourcing it accordingly. And that's -- the extent of frustration, I think that is the frustration or at least I don't speak for other members, that's the frustration and sense of urgency I feel.
There may be small ways we can start to get at it as we haggle over the bigger budgetary picture. Commandant, for example, last year this committee supported at least part of your request for ground-based anti-ship missiles and long-range fires. In a bipartisan manner, we endorsed your overall Force Design initiatives.
Regrettably, the appropriators cut your funding for [Inaudible] and zeroed out long range fires. Can you briefly describe the impact of that cut and the importance of those programs?
It reduced what we'll have in the field in 2023. It'll delay the feeling of the capability. It's a proven technology and it set us back in time which equals four combatant commander equals risk.
And then a bit more of a niche program. You also identified artificial intelligence enabled force protection as a capability for prioritized investment in your most recent Force Design Guidance, yet it's not resourced in the FY22 budget submission. This was funded and developed by the Small Business Innovation Research Program, which is highly competitive subject to multiphase competition, very difficult to get to phase 3. In light of that that, that's not in the budget, how does the Marine Corps plan to leverage this SIBR investment in resource and deploy this AI enabled force protection capability?
At our bases and stations, in my opinion -- and I'm very familiar with the technology, it can actually reduce the number of military, police, security -- civilian security that we hire right now. It's also the kind of technology that will allow you to use it into the future. Won't be obsolete two or three years from now.
It's -- baked into it is the ability to -- to update the software inside it. For perimeter security, for monitoring the security of our installations, I think it'll be a helpful capability and I think this year we'll make a -- we'll make a decision on procurement and where to field it because we've already used it at Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar and it's proven its effectiveness.
That's good to hear and I hope members of the committee will work to give you the resources you need there. Admiral Gilday, we -- I think we all agree we want the Constellation class frigate to be a success. We want it on time, on budget, sort of the logic of that was, it was a proven design. I think that's what put Fincantieri in an advantageous position.
I understand the need for combat systems changes on that ship, but will you commit -- you know, with the -- with the lessons of the LCS in mind commit to minimizing changes to existing hull and machinery? I mean, why make any -- any changes in light of just the urgency of fielding this platform on time and on budget?
Sir, I agree with you. When I went up to the shipyard to visit, that's one of the things I committed to that we would minimize any perturbations. We've got to lockdown what we want to put in that ship and go after it. Instead of as as you, as you allude to kind of drag it out over time and add uncertainty and risk to the -- to the build.
And I get that the -- just sort of step back here in what time I have remaining. I get that a lot of the decisions that need to be made are in some ways even above your pay grade. In other words, any tradeoff between the services would have to be reconciled by the Secretary of Defense and the President for the budget.
You know, their overall tradeoff between nondefense discretionary spending versus defense spending is certainly something that only the White House can resolve. But given that the commitment to a 355 ship Navy is a statutory commitment, I mean what -- what top line would you need in order to advance towards that objective more expeditiously?
Yes, sir. The -- the shipbuilding plan that we submitted last year that was predicated on 4.1 percent growth to get us to 355 in 10 years. And so that was to -- to Mr. Courtney's point, a clear set of headlights not only for the Congress but for industry when EB puts millions of dollars into infrastructure because they're counting on building that Columbia for the next 15 years.
That's the kind of predictability -- predictability that we really need.
Well, I support the ten-year time horizon as unrealistic as some may suggest and just in light of these warnings about something happening within the next five or six years, I think we all need to act with a greater sense of urgency.
Thank you. Mr. Golden is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you. Admiral Gilday, during your recent visit to Bath Iron Works, you said that one of the most important reasons I'm in Maine today is to ensure that every person here knows their work is critically important to our Navy. DDGs are the workhorse of our fleet and simply put you can't get to the fight if you don't have ships to sell there.
To the entire workforce here at Bath Iron Works who are responsible for helping us generate warfighting readiness, you have my profound thanks. A few weeks later, the Navy delivered a budget request that would cut a DDG that's already under contract. This proposed cut would result in about 500 laid off DDG shipbuilders and those are likely to be the youngest shipbuilders.
It takes about seven years to get fully proficient. So, those are your future shipbuilders. Those are your DDG-X shipbuilders. You mentioned the DDG is critically important to the Navy. It's the most versatile ship in the fleet. It's the principle for ballistic missile defense. It provides antisubmarine, anti-surface and anti-air capabilities in a single platform.
Since I became a member of this committee when asked, not one member of the Navy has failed to stress the importance of getting the Flight III out to sea. Now when we're prepared to deliver the Navy this new capability, it's proposed to reduce it. In front of the Senate last week, Admiral Kilby said the Navy needs the Flight II capability.
Same hearing, Mr. Stephany says that the Navy absolutely wants to do another multiyear procurement from 2023 to 2027, but we're looking at a cut in FY22. This just doesn't add up to me. The budget would take seven cruisers off line. The tradeoff generally understood that we replace them with a new DDG Flight III which has less missiles in the magazine, but great new capabilities with the SPY-6 radar.
But the proposal would reduce both at the same time. So where does the Navy plan to get the capabilities that the Flight III provides. You're decommissioning cruisers. The new frigate can't deliver the full capability of the DDG Flight IIA, let alone the Flight III. The 51 is the most consistent and stable surface combatant program in the Navy right now.
Compared to many of the Navy's recent surface combatant programs, it's a huge success. We can deliver on budget on time and the Flight III coming online now, it's the most superior destroyer ever built. Last year, Congress expressed strong support for increased procurement of Flight III by including 130 million in the FY21 defense bills to support the procurement of an additional DDG in FY22. In other words, we told you to procure three DDG ships this year and instead the Navy has come back and requested one.
Congress bears a responsibility to provide and maintain a Navy and Congress gave the Navy direction last year that isn't reflected at all in this budget proposal. Essentially, a two-ship reduction from the existing law which Congress agreed to this past December. Admiral, you talked about FY 2025 and 2026 in the fleet that you envision having out there and ready for the combatant commander.
Now you won't be building DDG [Inaudible] in 2025. That is slated for FY28 at their earliest. You know, essentially, I think what you're looking at is you'll still be building DDG 51 Flight IIIs. I think that the last contracted one will be delivered an FY27 for a total of only 14 ships, roughly speaking.
So in 2025, thinking about that potential threat from China that everyone has been talking about, you're going to have the flight III. You're going to have the Zumwalt and you're going to have the frigate. That's what you're going to have out there. I hope that by that time, we might have successfully equipped the Zumwalt with a hypersonic missile capability.
And I know that you have a March 18th solicitation on how to reconfigure the Zumwalt class to host larger hypersonic missiles in a new vertical launch system. As you're looking at the DDG acts out into the future, I've seen Admiral Galinis talking about how it's probably going to look maybe a little bit more like Zumwalt than Arleigh Burke and a desire to get the DDG-51 Flight III capabilities alongside the DDG 1000 integrated Power system, so given this concern about FY25 and 26, why aren't we looking to focus on getting that Zumwalt equipped with the hypersonic?
Learning the lessons about how to blend the 51 with the 1000 pumping the brakes a little bit like Congress said. In the last Congress, quite clearly with the budget that it delivered essentially saying let's slow down the DDG-X and let's focus on the acquisition of the Flight III capability. With my remaining time, I look forward to the Navy's responses on, you know, on the record after the fact that Secretary Harker, you have a June 4th memo where you talk about using existing authority such as multi-year procurements in order to be efficient with taxpayer dollars and provide stability to the industrial tax base.
That's something that this Committee and the Appropriations Committee in the last Congress has already endorsed. I look forward to working with you on that and you know, as disappointed as I am with this budget request, you have a friend in trying to work with the Navy to get you your top priority for the [Inaudible].
Thank you. Gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Bacon is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen, for being here. Thanks for your leadership. I agree with the Ranking Member Mike Rogers and Senator Inhofe concerning the President's defense budget request. The budget falls short of providing the resources, equipment and training that our service members are required to cut -- confront threats like China.
We've heard today that China is our pacing threat. We've heard that China has the largest navy in the world. We've heard today that our Navy's buying power is less than it was in 2010. These are compelling words. Yet while the non-defense budget from this administration is increasing by 16 percent, the defense budget is being cut when inflation is factored in. The Navy shipbuilding budget is being cut by 3 percent, the Navy's aviation budget has been cut by 15 percent. That's reality.
Those are -- those are the actions by the administration and they don't match the words. That's really my main point here. The actions are not matching the words from the administration. It's cognitive dissonance personified. And we're not fooled by some good sounding words from the administration that China is pacing threat yet the defense budget is being cut at the same time.
So, I just want to make those opening comments. My first question's to Admiral Gilday and General Berger. I've been a leading proponent of compelling the Department of Defense to establish not only in EMS strategy, but an implementation plan as well. It's a priority. We have fallen behind in this area in electronic magnetic spectrum.
Have the Navy and Marine Corps published an electronic magnetic spectrum warfare strategy and if not, when could we see it? Thank you.
Sir, I'll have to get back to you on that specific strategy. I know that we have detailed concepts of operation in terms of how we use the systems tactically, particularly in the Growler and how we combine those with other joint assets in order -- in order to increase our effectiveness out there in the Western Pacific.
But I'll get back to you on the -- on the strategy piece, sir.
I would just point out after serving 30 years and be an electronic warfare guy, myself, the Navy has led the way and since the 1990s. So we appreciate it. But we do need a good strategy and we need a joint staff strategy that guides it. General Berger.
I understand the question and I agree with the priority on it. It's an area of warfare, especially vis a vis Russia, PLA that we've got to maintain an advantage. And I'll also ask you if I can check -- I don't know of a written Marine Corps strategy that we published in the past 24 months. It may exist, but not that I'm familiar with.
Thank you. I just -- I've been studying this for a while. We fell behind in the 90s. We didn't have the right leadership at DOD and the Joint Staff on electronic warfare, electronic magnetic spectrum operations as it is called now. And we need to play catch up and starts with the DOD and joint staff level.
But we certainly need the services to be a strong part of that. Secretary Harker, do you support the funding of the Columbia class submarine out of the National Sea based deterrence Fund.
Sir, that's one that you've given us the authority to do that and then the appropriators appropriated into SCNs, so we go ahead and we transfer the money from SCN into a national sea-based deterrence fund. And so that's a process that we currently do in order to comply with the law.
Are you -- are you confident there will be fielding the Columbia class on time with our current budget and are things going as you -- as you would like?
Yes, sir. We are moving forward with Columbia. It's our number one priority. We have put additional funds into this year's budget for a risk reduction on Columbia and so that was one of the areas where we invested funds and that is our number one priority and it will remain that way.
Question for Admiral Gilday. The Navy didn't request funding for continued procurement of the F/A-18 Super Hornet and has not increased to buy for the F-35. Are we putting ourselves at risk here with our tactical fighter inventory?
Sir, right now we're -- we're short 42 fighters. We believe [Inaudible] gets this -- resolves that by 2025. So, each year as we continue to upgrade our -- our existing F-18 Super Hornets to Block IIs to Block IIIs and then procure F-35s the pace from 15 to 20 a year, we'll get to where we need to be with about 5 to six wings by 2025 that have their fourth, fifth gen integration.
Thank you. And just a closing request for Mr. Harker. I sent you a letter last month. We had a World War II hero Petty Officer Charles French, an African-American sailor. He was on a ship that was sunk off the Solomon Islands in 1942. He rescued 15 sailors from capture and probable being killed by the Japanese at the time.
And he didn't get an award. This would mean something for Omaha. He's a favorite son of Omaha and his family. If you would look at that, I would be grateful. Thank you.
Thank you, sir. I'd be glad to look at it.
Gentleman's time has expired. The gentlelady from Virginia Ms. Luria is recognized for five minutes.
Well, thank you. And Admiral Gilday, in the interest of time, I'm going to ask them yes, no or short answer questions and you've already had the opportunity several times during today's hearing to state that you agree with Admiral Davidson and Admiral Aquilino's comments about the urgency of a potential attack by the Chinese on Taiwan.
I wanted to point out in your statement, you write that the Navy has studied, identified and prioritized the future capabilities we need to execute our evolving warfighting concepts and maintain a credible deterrent with respect to the PRC. So, what year do you expect to have the majority of those capabilities available operating and deployed to counter that threat?
I think hypersonics offensively by -- initially by 2025. That program itself is a is-
So, hypersonics. You're talking about one thing. I mean this future fleet that you're envisioning by 2025, you think that we're going to have all of those capabilities?
No, no, no, no, I don't, ma'am. So, specifically, I mean, there are a number of different capabilities you're talking about, including -- including the networks we need to fight on-
Further out like not within the next five to six years in that timeframe.
No by -- no by 20. The majority of those systems, not by 2025.
Okay. And if the PACOM commanders are correct and I believe them to be and I think in your professional opinion as a surface warfare officer, you also, you know, believe that it's not prudent to decommission 15 ships in the next year when China could invade Taiwan in the very near term. So, I understand you were given a pretty shitty top line by the administration and specifically the Pentagon.
So, you didn't have a lot of good choices, but you did have choices. And so, I was looking at the words you used and you -- you said that this budget is going to divest to invest. So that's your strategy you're using. And I look back over the last twenty years of budgets and saw that that was a very familiar term, especially in the 2004 budget where the Navy used that same divest to invest strategy, in its 24 -- 21st Century Seapower 21. So, that was defined by Sea Shield, Sea Strike and Sea Basing all tied together by this network called FORCEnet.
And so, if we fast forward to today and we look at that future strategy at the time it was based on DDG-1000, LCS and FORCEnet. So with the DDG-1000, just a quick question, how many DDG-1000s at that point in time did we intend to build?
Ma'am, I'd have to get back to you on the exact number. I know it might have fluctuated over time.
Many -- yes, about 30.
And we have built three.
What was the planned procurement totals for the LCS?
I don't know.
It's higher than what we've built. Obviously with these modular capabilities that we haven't developed and what is the current status of FORCEnet? Is that a mature system that we're operating today?
Okay, because I'm thinking Project Overmatch as I'm looking at FORCEnet going back.
So, I think that we're, you know, in a similar crossroads the divest to invest strategy. And, you know, as I've said many times as many of my colleagues have echoed today, you know, we're looking at this battle for 2045, a plan that's far off at 355 ship goal that we're never going to get to when we decommission more ships every year than we actually build and it causes a great concern because I think there's an urgency.
I mean, what are we going to do in 2025 to counter this threat? And you know, you very correctly stated, you know, spend a lot of time in your statement talking about how the United States is a maritime nation and how that's been important since the founding of this nation. And the Navy has allowed us to maintain our role on the global stage as a global power to maintain free trade.
And some very good comments in there, but I don't see what the Navy is doing today to accomplish that when we're continuing to shrink and we're continuing to divest to invest with strategies and capabilities that are just a hope for the future. You know, and the obvious thing is that, you know, we're looking to develop a large unmanned surface vessel which theoretically would have 16 VLS cells.
We're going to decommission seven cruisers that each have 2 VLS launchers with 122 cells each. You know, when you're looking at that problem writ large, you know we are reducing our capability to counter the threat that we have today. And so, you know, I would just close by saying that, you know, I feel this budget is, you know, focused on a future hope for technology that we will have in order to counter a threat that might happen way out in the future.
And I think that many of us in this room here and during this hearing have reflected on the fact that we need that capability today. The one thing we can build with reliability on schedule is the DDG and we caught one this year and we'd even plan to potentially build 3 and then, you know, I think that the -- what I would consider a modest current investment in modernizing the cruisers to operate for several more years with their sizable capability is something that we should maintain.
So, you know, I think that we're creating a gap and I am really concerned that the Chinese will actually find a way to exploit that gap and so I yield back my remaining time.
The gentlewoman yields back. I recommend everyone read the Texas National Security Review commentary that Ms. Luria presented yesterday was very impressive. We are now going to recognize the gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Banks for five minutes.
Thank you, Madam Chair. Admiral Gilday, I was glad to hear Congressman Lamborn ask you about your decision to include Ibram X. Kendi's, How To Be An Antiracist in your recommended reading list. I was also relieved to hear you say that you disagree with Kendi and you do not support racial discrimination. That being said, the Navy recently completed a one day stand down to remove extremism from the ranks.
The chief of naval personnel explained quote, we will not tolerate extremist ideologies that go against our oath to the Constitution. In my view, Kendi has espoused extremist beliefs that clearly violate the oath to the Constitution that I took when I served in the Navy. Ibram Kendi, by the way, labeled Amy Coney Barrett a quote white colonizer and criticized her for quote cutting the biological parents of these children out end quote because she adopted two children from Haiti.
Yes or no, Admiral. Do you personally consider opposition to interracial adoption and extremist belief?
[Inaudible] I said I do not support [Inaudible]
I just asked you, do you consider opposition to interracial adoption an extremist belief? It's a simple question.
Okay. Kendi's book states that ??" Admiral, Kendi's book states that capitalism is essentially racist.
Admiral, your microphone isn't on. I believe. Thank you.
Kendi's book states that capitalism is essentially racist and Kendi is clear that racism must be eliminated. So yes or no. Do you personally consider advocating for the destruction of American capitalism to be extremist?
Here's what I know, Congressman.
It's a yes or no question.
There's no racism in the United States Navy.
Admiral, you recommended every sailor in the United States Navy read this book. It's a yes or no question.
I'm not forcing anybody to read the book. It's on a recommended reading list.
Admiral, did you read the book?
Okay. In college, Kendi stated that white people are a different breed of humans and are responsible for the AIDS virus. Yes or no. Do you personally consider the conspiracy that white people started AIDS to be an extremist belief?
Sir, I'd have to understand the context of the statements that were made.
That is a simple question.
I'm not going to -- I'm not going to [Inaudible]
Admiral, this is a book that you recommend to every sailor in the U.S. Navy.
[Inaudible] cherry picked quotes from somebody's book. I'm not going to do that. This is a bigger issue than Kendi's book. What this is really about is trying to paint the United States military -- in this case, the United States Navy as weak as Woke and we've had sailors that spent 341 days at sea last year with minimal port visits the longest deployments we [Inaudible]
Admiral, I've met you. I respect you and I remain astonished.
[Inaudible] strong in our [Inaudible].
Admiral, I remain astonished that you put this book on a reading list and recommended that every sailor in the United States Navy read it. I'm also surprised that you said you read it. But I'm glad you brought up this point.
[Inaudible] advise you, sir. [Inaudible]
The Department of Defense -- Admiral, the Department of Defense undertook the stand down because they understand that extremism detracts from military readiness. So, if sailors except Kendi's argument that America and the United States Navy are fundamentally racist as you've encouraged them to do, do you expect that to increase or decrease morale and cohesion or even recruiting into the United States Navy?
I do know this. Our strength is in our diversity and our sailors understand that. Race is a very -- racism in the United States is a very complex issue. What we benefit from is an open discussion about those issues that we don't try to ignore or rewrite it but we actually have a discussion about it and there will be various views.
And I trust sailors will come and -- and -- to an understanding of hopefully separating fact from fiction, agreeing or disagreeing with Kendi, in this case and come to hopefully very useful conclusions about how we ought to treat each other in the United States.
Admiral, why did you put this book on the reading list and recommended that every single United States sailor read it?
Because I think it's really important to consider a variety of views [Inaudible]
Admiral, you said you read this book. What part of this book is redeeming and qualifies as something that every -- every sailor in United States Navy should read it.
I think Kendi's self-critical about his own journey as an African-American in this country. What he's experienced and-
Let me ask you again, Admiral. Do you expect that -- say after sailors read this book that says that the United States Navy is racist that we will increase or decrease morale, cohesion and recruiting race into the United States Navy?
I think will be a better Navy from having open honest conversations about racism.
Gentleman's time has expired.
My time has expired.
The gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Kahele is recognized for five minutes.
Aloha and Mahola, Madam Chair and aloha to our witnesses for your testimony today. My question -- I have two questions, I hope to get in one for the Marines, one for the Navy. First one is for the Marines General Berger, my question is related to your testimony on page eight regarding the F-35 and the current and future shortage of Marine and Navy pilots and maintainers.
Specifically, your concern that if we do not remedy these shortfalls that we're going to have a problem, that we're going to have a superior fifth generation aircraft that the American people have purchased critical to our agility and tactical supremacy of the MAGTF and the future expeditionary missions of the Marine Corps without any pilots to fly them.
So, my question is, what does the Marines done since last year's budget request and this year's budget request to conduct a reassessment of its aviation plan, specifically the F-35 capacity, requirements of the future force in regards to staffing, recruiting, training, retention of that aviator force based on the approximately 420 F-35s of service intends to buy it at full [Inaudible].
Sir, we conducted a -- we actually we contracted an external study to look at what we thought our requirements were capacity wise, which is the heart of your question, is it 420 some or what is it? The second part of that which you highlighted is our ability to recruit, retain, train the people who can maintain and fly those aircraft.
On the first, the capacity part. I think clear from the capacity part, first, the F-35 is a very capable aircraft and meets what we needed to do. The number of aircraft has to match what the Navy and Marine Corps team is going to need to do in the future. My expectation is -- my belief is it won't be the entire program of record.
I don't know how many less until we do more wargaming, more experimenting, many more learning, but it'll be less than the program of record. On the pilot and maintainer aspect, there were technical problems with trainer aircraft and some other issues that caused a backlog of training pilots at Pensacola.
That's largely been rectified, but there is clearly a backlog, a gap now that we must make up. What we can't do is accelerate and get somewhere fast in the wrong way. We also have to retain the ones that we have trained already. Here, competition is fierce as you're well aware. Some from the airline industry, but some from other places that make it a real challenge for the services to hold on to the captain and major that has a couple of deployments under their belt, a lot of time away from family and we need them to stay in. We -- we have to work harder there.
We have to -- on retention side, we have to approach it in a different manner.
All right. Thank you, sir. Question for Admiral Gilday. In regards to BARSTUR and the critical undersea training ranges specifically the one that exist in Hawaii at the Pacific Missile Range Facility out at Barking Sands. I'll cut right to the chase. The President's budget provided only 33.56 million to commence fully restoring those range capabilities.
I don't believe that funding is sufficient to restore full capability to our ranges. The Barking Sands Tactical Underwater Ranges past its design life and needs to be replaced. Its sensors are inoperable, aging infrastructure resulting in reduced tracking coverage. Would you support replacing BARSTURs sooner and maybe talk about how an accelerated timeline would actually save money by allowing more efficient ordering of materials and potential savings in level of effort costs?
Sir, I agree with you and the value of the range, I owe you more details with respect to the phasing and the money that we're putting against it. If it's okay, I'd like to get back -- back to you with those details including what acceleration might look like.
Okay. You bet. Thank you and I'll yield my time. Mahalo.
Thank you. I will point out to members we have a hard stop at two o'clock. I think we're going to get there. We're making good progress. So, Mr. Franklin, you are recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral, early in the testimony today, you paint a pretty stark picture of the threat we're facing from China, the things we need to do to get there. In your exchange with Ranking Member Rogers, it sounds like you know your assessment this current year budget doesn't cut it and if extrapolated over a number of years we'd have a hard time meeting that threat that we're facing, is that a fair assessment?
I think this is a critical decade for us to close gaps against China or in those areas where we have overmatch to create distance against China. And so, I think that if we don't do it in this decade, I think we're fooling ourselves based on the momentum that it's going to happen in the future. That's why we need to get after it. And that's why we need to make these risk informed decisions about modernization versus keeping legacy platforms.
All right, thanks. General, from the Marine Corps perspective, would you agree with that? Is this current year budget what you need on other things on there that you want that we're not getting, but this -- if this is -- if this is extrapolated over a number of years, is that going to impact your ability to get to the core that you feel we need to face the China threat?
If our budgets don't even match inflation, then the risk is high, correct, that at some point in the future we're overmatched and that's -- that's not what you want us to -- that's not a place we want to be in.
Very good. Admiral, specifically on P-8, the Neptunes, the risk informed warfighting requirement was for 138 with the 9 Congress added last year with 128, yet there's no funding for this year. Has the assessment changed or is this an example of we don't have enough money to do the things we think we need to do?
Sir, I think the assessment has changed. We don't think we need as many as we initially estimated. So, we've had some good run time in the P-8. They are heavily sought after aircraft. We're using them -- we're using it in the Eastern Med. We use them in the high north. We're using the Pacific with a great degree of effectiveness.
So, we know how to use the platform better than we did initially when we first procured it and so it's led to a decrease, slight decrease, in overall numbers.
Okay. General Berger talked about the pilot shortage and some of the things the Marines are looking at, but Admiral, from -- from your perspective, what are the things we're going to need to do. And as he had alluded to and I've seen in my own experience, it's not just the pilot being produced right out of flight school.
It's that second tour of JO with a couple of cruises under their belt, but strikingly qualified. That doesn't happen overnight. We ran into that deficiency in the 90s with the [Inaudible] and by the late 90s you just can't -- you can't produce them at the snap of a finger. What are we doing to ensure we don't get there?
I tell you we're monitoring it really closely. And so, in terms of incentives to those pilots, I'll just mention a couple. One of them is a career -- career intermission break where they can go off and study if they need to or they can, they can take the time off to begin a family if they need to. We're trying to work with them on an individual basis so that we can retain them at the same time keep their skills proficient.
They're are also -- as you would -- as you would imagine, there are monetary considerations here. We do have -- we do have some incentives that -- that we have offered pilots. We've created a separate now track for a professional flight instructor. And so that avenue exists as well. And so, what we're trying to do is in a very -- in a competitive environment with respect to the commercial aviation sector, we are trying to remain competitive ourselves, competitive ourselves in terms of making naval aviation the best place to work.
I'm glad to hear that about the professional instructor. That was an idea kicked around a long time ago and I knew a lot of people that would have loved to have stayed in the cockpit, didn't have aspirations for [Inaudible]. That's great to hear. And finally, Mr. Harker, this is really more just editorial for me. This is my first pass through on the budget here.
It's not what -- from a bipartisan response you're hearing here today, it's not enough. You've got professionals who we've entrusted to come to you with the advice of what's needed to get the job done. But there are also military. And at the end of the day, they're going to snap to and salute and get the job done with what you give them.
And it's not enough. In peacetime, that's going to lead to low morale, lack of readiness and it's going to kill people, it's going to kill soldiers, sailors and airmen. In a wartime footing and in the future that we're headed towards, it's our very national security at risk. We've got to do better. This is not going to be an acceptable posture going forward.
And I yield back.
Thank you. Mr. Panetta is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, thank you very much for your time today as well and of course your service. I'm [Inaudible] going to focus on Mr. Harker as well in talking about the professional -- naval professional development education and the funding behind it. Obviously, many of you know -- well I come from the central coast of California, very proud of the Naval Postgraduate School, which has plenty of naval professional development education.
And so, it's very important to me, it's very important to my district and I do believe it's very important to the United States Navy. That's why I was pretty surprised and absolutely disappointed to see that the Navy has requested a cut of nearly $32 million in the fiscal year 2022 budget request when it comes to naval professional development education.
I just think one of the most cost effective, highest returns on investment you can get is the education of our future leaders. And so, Mr. Harker, can you describe the rationale behind this top-line cut and the programs, specifically the programs, that you feel will be impacted by this?
Thank you, sir. The decisions we faced on going through this budget were very challenging. We had a lot of competing demands for very limited resources as has been pointed out before and looking at making cuts to the naval education program is not something we took lightly. I've been out to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey.
I -- I've met with Admiral Rondeau, the President there, and I understand what they're doing and I believe that they're doing great work and it was a big challenge for us to go ahead and make those cuts. But we had to make everything balanced at the end.
Well, I completely agree with you. They are doing great work and hopefully you saw that and will use that going forward to -- have that same attitude going forward when it comes to the budget. How do you plan to mitigate any long-term risk of cutting these types of investments in education of our current and future leaders?
We have other opportunities for education. We're trying to make sure we meet the minimums with professional military education as well as with, you know, all of the various capabilities both at NPS as well as getting people out to the Naval War College. But this was unfortunately a challenge where we had to draw back on that area.
And are there any particular areas that you're looking to eliminate, any specific educational programs you're looking to eliminate right now?
No, sir. No specific programs we want to eliminate.
Okay. Well, just know that obviously we out in the central coast of California, especially at the Naval Postgraduate School. And I can tell you. President Rondeau is doing one hell of a job and will continue to fight for our fair share because we know how important it is, not just to the U.S. Navy, but to our country to have the education that it has been provided and hopefully will be provided going forward.
So appreciate it and look forward to working with you. And I yield back my time, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. Jackson is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Rogers, for holding this hearing today. I do appreciate the bipartisan leadership of this committee as we look forward to the nonpartisan topic of our national security and passing this year's NDAA. Mr. Harker, Admiral Gilday and General Berger, thank you all for being here today as well.
Appreciate your time. The last year and a half have presented some unique set of challenges for all organizations, but the Department of the Navy is one team that had a mission that had to continue regardless of the circumstances. We faced uncertainty and unrest at home and abroad as we dealt with the pandemic.
But the Navy's mission had to remain -- had to remain undeterred. When reviewing the budget request this year, I noticed that we had decrease the number of V-22s the Department of Navy would procure relative to what last year's future year's defense program had laid out. Last year's budget request showed that we were planning to procure 13 V-22s to support the Department of the Navy.
However, I'm only seeing 8 requested this year. Mr. Harker, is this a program that has seen a decrease because of the proposed overall budget decrease that is not in line with the national defense strategy? And can you tell us what has changed regarding the new request a requirement and what are the potential consequences of the reduced number of aircraft?
Thank you, sir. That's a good question. I think one of the things that we haven't really talked about is the growth in operations, maintenance cost over time. Our maintenance costs have increased by more than 2.5 percent above inflation. Our personnel costs have also increased above inflation, so that as we look at our overall budget, we had to squeeze certain things out.
The V-22 is a program that we believe in strongly and it is not something we wanted to cut, but that cut was forced upon us by the growth in the cost of ship depot maintenance as well as the other costs that are growing greater than inflation.
Thank you, sir. I'll do my part to make sure that we make up that gap because I think that's important program. Next, I'd like to shift the remainder of my time to the nuclear triad. the Navy's the most survivable leg of the nuclear triad, which is why I'm so proud to have all of the U.S. nuclear warheads that go out to the fleet assembled at the Pantex plant in my home district of Texas 13. For decades, we have underfunded the nation -- the National Nuclear Security Administration and there are too many single points of failure in the NNSA infrastructure.
I would like to hear a bit about the importance of the NNSA budget to the United States Navy. Admiral Gilday, can you highlight the importance of the NNSA budget to the Navy and can you explain the coordination between the Navy and the NNSA on the F22 budget request, particularly with respect to the W88 and the W93 programs?
What steps are being taken to ensure that these vital programs are staying on time and on budget? And what message have you received from our U.K. counterparts on the W93 and the importance of them keeping the program on time?
Yes, sir, thanks for the question. We are in lockstep with the NNSA and work with them very closely. Both our Office of Strategic Programs as well as nuclear reactors and what we're trying to do with respect to the next -- potentially the next generation or the update to the D-5 weapon is to make sure that we have that weapon on track and in place by about the ninth Columbia submarine.
That -- right now, that's our estimation. As you mentioned, we're also in lockstep with the Brits. That's a very special relationship that we share with respect to some of those systems. But I would say that we are -- we're a heavy proponent of NNSA's budget that it remain intact, so that we can -- we can feel the systems that we need to feel to conduct to -- to sustain that strategic deterrent that we need.
Yes, sir, thank you. Well, thank you guys. Thank you all for your responses. In my opinion, we're losing to China in the Indo-Pacific and candidly on the global stage. I think we really have to ensure that we don't lose focus on the threat posed by China, that we continue to invest heavily in our military so that America can remain the greatest global force for good.
I look forward to working with each of you and with my colleagues here on the committee to address these concerns so that we can provide our young men and women, the training and the resources they need to accomplish their mission. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. With that, I yield back my time. Thank you.
Thank you. Mr. Horsford is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and the Ranking Member as well as to our witnesses for testifying today. General Berger, I've been very encouraged by many of your statements [Inaudible] teams down the squad and platoon level are more lethal, effective and survivable. And while I'm confident that you share that understanding, I do remain concerned about the lack of diversity both in race and gender in the upper ranks of the Marine Corps.
And your written testimony today, you highlighted the long-term impacts of a lack of diversity in service academy nominations. [Inaudible]
Mr. Horsford, you're breaking up. Can you hear us? Mr. Horsford, can you hear us? We -- we've completely lost you. Can -- I don't think he can hear us either. Mr. Horsford, can you hear us? We have lost all audio with Mr. Horsford. We'll come -- come back to him. Oh, there you are.
Yeah, sorry, my bad. Mr. Horsford, I apologize, but your audio thing is not working. We cannot hear. Doesn't look like you can hear us either.
This is [Inaudible]
Yeah, Mr. Horsford, we don't have you, so if we could suspend that in lieu, we will recognize Mr. Carl for five minutes and we'll try to get Horsford back.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Rogers. Thank you, sir. I'd like to thank our witnesses for being here. Thank you for your service to this country where we're first in all categories. We're there for a reason and I appreciate that. Mr. Harker, you talked about our -- our schools down in Mississippi.
I would add those schools are in Alabama also. Also, I know you know that. Well, we take great pride in that and I've spent the last 10 years helping to recruit those young folks to get in those skills. And it's so important, we keep these shipyards moving and keep them busy. It's easy to recruit when jobs are needed.
It's hard to keep their attention when the jobs aren't needed. So, I would appreciate your attention -- attention towards that, but I appreciate you pointing that out because it made ten years of my life worthwhile all of a sudden when I heard you say it. So, thank you. Like many of the members on the committee here, I'm deeply concerned about the Navy shipbuilding budget for the fiscal year 2022, and I know I'm going to repeat a lot of this, Admiral.
Specifically, I would like to highlight something from the Navy's report to Congress on the annual long range plan for construction of Navy vessels that was published in December. The report stated shipbuilding and supporting vendors base constitutes a national security and we must steadily support and grow to maintain the skillful work force.
Basically what we were talking about with the schools, this budget doesn't request, does not come close to supporting our institute, our industry base. I'm sorry, I'm stumbling here and just ran back from another building. This is of particular concern to me on the Gulf Coast and it's playing a role for the Navy.
Also in the December report, it emphasizes the threat posed by the ever growing Chinese Navy. So, my question to you Admiral is very simple. The December report called for 12 ships in 2022. However, this budget requires -- request calls for only 8 ships of which 4 are warships. This is only serves harm to the institutional base, but also falls -- fails to maintain the growth and the need for the 10 ships per year to reach the 355. What are the changes?
Why did we go from -- from one number to the other here within just a few months? [Inaudible]
You're drifting a little away away from the microphone there, Admiral. Sorry, we're losing you a little bit. Go ahead. Actually, I don't think your microphones on.
Sir, did you hear my first comment?
Okay. The current direction we have is 8 ships in this -- in this plan. And so, four them are combatants and four are support ships. But those support ships are ships that we can't wait on any longer. And so the -- the two salvage ships as an example which some refer to as tugboats, those are desperately needed in combat.
I was in a combat damage ship in the Gulf War that actually was towed by one of those ships out of the minefield. So, if we're not using a salvage ship to do that job, we're going to use another destroyer or we're going to use the littoral combat ship. So, there is a valid requirement as you can imagine the oiler that's on the -- that's -- it's in the shipbuilding plan.
We're short on those in order to -- to fight as a distributed force. We need that sustainability to put -- to put gas in the ships out at sea. And lastly, the -- that [Inaudible] ship is actually a ship with a very unique capability to do a wide area search for submarines. If I look at Russia these days, well, not so long ago, Russia only operated their submarines during a certain period of the year.
Now, they're a pretty persistent threat against the east coast of the United States. And so those kinds of capabilities become more and more important. And as I said a few minutes ago, this is the decade that we have to move on capabilities like this and we can't wait. So, there are tradeoffs in that -- among those eight ships that we're -- that we're requesting from the Congress to fund in this particular budget.
But I think that every single one of them serves a valid purpose.
Okay. One more quick question for you. The Navy is making strides to meet the demands on maintenance of the fleet given the largest [Inaudible] bases that we base decisions that we're having -- I'm messing this all up and I do apologize. Has the Navy explored using more private companies versus using their own forces to repair and keep these ships maintained?
Yes, sir, we absolutely are. We do all of our work on nuclear vessels.
I'm sorry. The gentleman's time has expired. And I have a couple of questions. I will turn it back over. I think we have Mr. Horsford back, but we'll get that in a second. A lot of talk about the top line and I know there's a lot of pressure on you. I will say that this is my, I think, 25th budget. The entire time I've been here, there has never been a budget, there has been a time when there's a single solitary person over at the Pentagon who didn't want more money, okay?
I cannot recall a time whenever I came. We're good. In fact, we can give you back 10 billion and it's okay. There is literally no number than any President can put out there that the Pentagon wouldn't all hustle around and say, gosh, they're killing us, okay? So, we need to have that as a backdrop. It's also worth noting that last year's budget under President Trump was flat line.
It was less of an increase than this was and, you know, we didn't hear much of hue and cry about that. So, there are a number of factors in there, but that the part that I think is important in terms of how we approach this comes from the gentleman's comment about the NNSA and how critically underfunded the NNSA is. I'm a little bitter about that because [Inaudible] been fighting with them.
A, they still have $8 billion in un-costed balances. I want to live in a life where I have a personal budget that has something called un-costed balances. It's pretty good life. The Pentagon has a ton of that, okay? B, there was a little thing called the [Inaudible] facility down in South Carolina that over the course of a dozen years maybe a little more, they wasted $7 billion on a project that everyone knew wasn't going anywhere.
Now part of that, I will grant you, was Congressional pressure from certain people trying to make sure they maintain that program. We also have as was alluded to the DDG-1000 the Zumwalt that didn't work out particularly well. We have three of them. They wound up way over budget. They don't fit the mission for a variety of different reasons.
We have the littoral combat ship in this -- in this breathless desire to get to this artificial number like having 300. We could have 355 robots, okay? It wouldn't help us. Capability is the issue. So, there is concern and part of the reason I know that President Biden gave such a tight number is we're tired of wasting money.
I've talked about the F-35 quite a bit and it's per unit cost and all that goes into that. So, rant aside, the question is and I want to thank General Berger by the way when your comment about how you want to fund the future by -- out of your own budget, basically find the savings to fund the future, okay?
And that's not some sort of profound personal sacrifice. That's smart, okay? Because no matter what you're doing, there's no doubt that there's money in there that's waste -- that's being wasted, that isn't being used properly. So yes, we could just give you another $30 billion, another 40, another 50, another 100, okay?
The question is what are you doing right now that you don't need to be doing. It's absolutely certain that there is stuff in there and some of that I know is driven by us. The 355 ship number didn't come from you. Came from us, not from me, but it came from -- from the broader committee. So, as you're looking at this budget and as we're, you know, bashing away at you for everything that you're not funding, what are you doing in your apartment right now that you look at and you go, we don't need to do that.
We could save money on that. Open all three of you.
I'll start off Aegis Ashore in places like Poland, Romania and soon to be Guam. We've got sailors protecting dirt. It's not what we do and so that's a mission. So those -- that's an expenditure for the Navy that I believe ought to be owned by another service, as an example. We're trying to decommission those 15 ships are akin to what the General Berger's doing, we're trying to fund modernization from the inside [Inaudible].
And let me drill down on one point on that. One of those cruisers that we're trying to decommission, it's incredibly expensive just to keep those things afloat, right? So we -- you know, we sent a cruiser out just recently as I understand it, got a little ways out and said, yeah, it's not seaworthy, we got to send it back.
So we're -- it's costing us money to keep trying use these things that are past their useful life.
Sir, the cruisers right now in the modernization are running 175 percent to 200 percent estimated cost, hundreds of days delay. These ships are intended to have a 30-year service life, we're out to 35. We are trying to -- they're not easy decisions to make and I accept the counterargument that we should keep these ships based on Admiral Davidson's comments.
But at some point, we need to -- we need to turn and
Thank you. I've taken more time than I should. I apologize, but for you, you get the point I want to get -- get -- get back to other members, but we can find savings in here and we're not doing our job if we just come in here and say, gosh, we need more money. We all need more money. You go to HHS, you could go to Department Education.
I doubt you'd find a single person any one of those buildings who didn't say they need more money. We got to do better than that. Mr. Johnson is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Sorry, I couldn't find the unmute. Secretary Harker, my colleague, Steve Gleason and I remain very interested in the Navy's plans for the Joint Reserve Base in New Orleans, specifically respect -- with respect to the FA-204 to allow for and I understand the Navy is in the process of divesting the legacy Hornets currently being flown by the [Inaudible]. I understand the Navy's in process of divesting the legacy Hornets currently being flown by the FA-204 and replacing them with the [Inaudible] aircraft, although the Navy's been recapitalizing the 3rd fleet concerns remain that the continued use of legacy aircraft will jeopardize this mission in the long term.
So the first question is how will the Navy ensure that our reserve squadrons continue to fly and are resourced with the most capable aircraft to fulfill its mission for the long term. That's for Mr. Harker.
Sir, sorry, I'm trying to understand the question. So, the F-18s, we've been doing a lot to increase our readiness on those and I'm not familiar with divestment of any of those that.
I think he's talking about the single the -- the older Hornets is what he's talking about. Divesting of the older Hornets, particularly due to cost to own. And so, there is a plan, sir, to -- to begin to -- to have our reserve squadrons transition to -- to the Super Hornets.
We're ??" obviously, our parochial concern is what the Navy's going to do to preserve the [Inaudible] in the long term after the F-5s are no longer able to fly. Any comment on that?
Sir, I'd have to get back to you with more specifics on that -- on that transition plan. I'd want to do that. I don't have those details at this time.
I'd appreciate that if we could follow up. Obviously, the folks in that area are very concerned about that. I'm also interested in the Navy's successful implementation of key force structure changes in the coming years. And it's my understanding Navy intends to change the fleet architecture to reflect a more distributed fleet mix that we're talking about, a smaller proportion of larger ships and a larger proportion of smaller ships.
And that seems to make sense. It seems the Coast Guard is going to be integral to the effort and as you know the Coast Guard's role as part of naval service is expanded over the years to support a more global presence, notably upgrading the Fifth Fleet AOR. So, do we believe the successes of the Coast Guard in the CENTCOM OAR can be carried over into the INDOPACOM AOR?
Yes, sir, that's something where we've had a large degree of integration between the Coast Guard and the Navy, especially in the INDOPACOM AOR. There were a couple of their new Legend class national security cutters out there working with INDOPACOM over the last several years. They've done freedom of navigation operations and we believe that working together with them is a great value-add.
Sir, could I add something on that? We just finished an exercise this week with two cutters out in the Pacific and three DDGs. They're the newest cutters that the Coast Guard have as the Secretary mentioned a home port in Hawaii working very closely with the Coast Guard, sir.
Thank you for that. In transitioning to a force structure, a greater number of smaller sized vessels, has the Navy considered the capabilities of the Coast Guard's Sentinel class Fast Response Cutter that could provide -- could provide to the fleet and the concept of operations and associated requirements that would support acquisition of those vessels?
We work closely with the Coast Guard and integrating that into our joint maritime force. Both the CNO and Commandant and my predecessor and Commandant and the Coast Guard worked together to come up with the tri-maritime agreement last winter and CNO.
I got about a minute left just on that subject again. Go ahead.
On that particular whole, we ended up -- we ended up settling with -- with a different whole form for the next frigate, but we did consider the Coast Guard -- the Coast Guard cutter.
What -- what smaller manned ships are being considered for potential inclusion in the fleet mix? I mean when you say a different whole? Can you get a little more detail on that?
Sir, the frigate that I referred to that we're just starting to build now. We will deliver in FY26. It's a Constellation class frigates, sir. It's an Italian design. So, what we're doing this particular vessel is we're taking a U.S ??" U.S. weapons systems and putting them on a known hull. We've done this before with our transition from Spruance class destroyers to Ticonderoga class cruisers.
And we've actually taken the weapon system on a cruisers and moved it to DDGs. And so, this is a technique that we used in the past pretty successfully and we have high hopes that the [Inaudible] is going to be a great ship.
Thank you. I'm out of time. I yield back.
Thank you. I am told that we have Mr. Horsford. Mr. Horsford, are you with us? Mr. Hosford, you're recognized for five minutes.
I am. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your patience. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and to the ranking member and to our witnesses. General Berger, I've been very encouraged by many of your past statements and actions regarding the importance of diversity in the Marine Corps. I know that integrated diverse teams down the squad and platoon level are more lethal, effective, and survivable.
And while I'm confident that you share that understanding, I do remain concerned about the lack of diversity both in race and gender in the upper ranks of the Marine Corps. In your written testimony, you highlighted the long-term impacts of a lack of diversity in service academy nominations. As this is largely a Congressional issue, I'm committed to working with my colleagues and the department to address it, so we don't continue to face the same lack of diverse talent 20 or 30 years from now.
Last September, you spoke about your concerns related to women and people of color officers opting out of consideration for command positions and the impact that has on diversity in command and senior leadership positions. So, General Berger, what have you learned since last year about the underlying causes of this issue and what steps has the Corps taken to address it?
One of the reasons would be intuitive that from 2004 to a decade, 12, 14 years later, [Inaudible] speed of the tempo of deployments was so high that family pressures caused people to leave, but that's largely behind us. Some of the members of this committee know a gentleman who we're hiring -- we have hired for the past two months to look at the question that you raise.
What is it about everything from recruiting to retention to assignments that -- within the military and specifically within the Marine Corps that we should look at differently? And this is Charlie Bolden. And I asked Charlie because a couple of years ago in a discussion and then last year in a deeper discussion he -- he highlighted a couple of things for me in a perspective I didn't have.
[Inaudible] for three months, he's going to look at us from beginning from very -- from the very beginning of recruiting all the way through general officer level to tell us maybe how we might do it differently. But I would agree with the CNO. Some of this is on the front end, but some of it has to do with the career paths, the management of their careers, the mentoring along the way.
The key decision points were they at a fork in the road. We have to manage that actively. It can't be passively. But I think in another two or three weeks, Mr. Bolden from what he learned as a Marine and what he learned at NASA, I think he's going to help the Marine Corps see this in a different light.
Thank you. Admiral Gilday, on a related note, the Department of the Navy's Task Force One Navy released a report in January highlighting 57 recommendations to improve diversity in the force. Can you describe your progress in implementing Task Force One Navy's recommendations? Are there any recommendations that the Navy does not intend to implement that we should be aware of?
Sir, your last question, there are no recommendations that I intend -- I intend to implement every single one of those 57 recommendations and we're moving out of that. We do have -- we do have a framework, what would you call the culture of excellence and one of the lines of operation in that culture of excellence is diversity, equity and inclusion.
So, the intent in the Navy is not to just leave off, put the -- put the results of the task force on the shelf, but to actually hold ourselves accountable with measurable metrics against all of those recommendations. We are moving out, sir, at pace. I'm happy to have a deeper conversation with you, maybe to update you in a couple of months on where we stand.
Thank you, Admiral. And I'll take this question offline but I did want to talk about the issue of the manpower requirements and identifying the personnel cost implications. So, I'll submit that question and take your response offline. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Thank you. That is all the people we have lined up. I have said my piece as a closing thing. Mr. Rogers, do you have anything for the good of the order?
I do not. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you. I want to thank all three of you. Three hours. Appreciate your stamina is the word I'm looking for and your work. It's, you know, lot to do within -- within a limited budget and I appreciate that efforts and we'll definitely continue to work with you as we go through the rest of the process this year.
I would just close by saying we have to pass some appropriations bill. We do not want a continuing resolution. We want to get your appropriations bill as close to October 1 as possible and get you an authorizing bill within that time frame as well. And we will do our best to get there. With that, we are adjourned.
List of Panel Members and Witnesses
REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WASH.), CHAIRMAN
REP. JIM LANGEVIN (D-R.I.)
REP. RICK LARSEN (D-WASH.)
REP. JIM COOPER (D-TENN.)
REP. JOE COURTNEY (D-CONN.)
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CALIF.)
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CALIF.)
REP. DONALD NORCROSS (D-N.J.)
REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-ARIZ.)
REP. SETH MOULTON (D-MASS.)
REP. SALUD CARBAJAL (D-CALIF.)
REP. ANTHONY G. BROWN (D-MD.)
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CALIF.)
REP. WILLIAM KEATING (D-MASS.)
REP. FILEMON VELA (D-TEXAS)
REP. ANDY KIM (D-N.J.)
REP. CHRISSY HOULAHAN (D-PA.)
REP. JASON CROW (D-COLO.)
REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MICH)
REP. MIKIE SHERRILL (D-N.J.)
REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TEXAS)
REP. JARED GOLDEN (D-MAINE)
REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA.)
REP. JOSEPH D. MORELLE (D-N.Y.)
REP. SARA JACOBS (D-CALIF.)
REP. KAI KAHELE (D-HAWAII)
REP. MARILYN STRICKLAND (D-WASH.)
REP. MARC VEASEY (D-TEXAS)
REP. JIMMY PANETTA (D-CALIF.)
REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FLA.)
REP. MIKE D. ROGERS (R-ALA.), RANKING MEMBER
REP. JOE WILSON (R-S.C.)
REP. MICHAEL R. TURNER (R-OHIO)
REP. DOUG LAMBORN (R-COLO.)
REP. ROB WITTMAN (R-VA.)
REP. VICKY HARTZLER (R-MO.)
REP. AUSTIN SCOTT (R-GA.)
REP. MO BROOKS (R-ALA.)
REP. SAM GRAVES (R-MO.)
REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-N.Y.)
REP. SCOTT DESJARLAIS (R-TENN.)
REP. TRENT KELLY (R-MISS.)
REP. MIKE GALLAGHER (R-WIS.)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FLA.)
REP. DON BACON (R-NEB.)
REP. JIM BANKS (R-IND.)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WYO.)
REP. JACK BERGMAN (R-MICH)
REP. MICHAEL WALTZ (R-FLA.)
REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA.)
REP. MARK E. GREEN (R-TENN.)
REP. STEPHANIE BICE (R-OKLA.)
REP. SCOTT FRANKLIN (R-FLA.)
REP. LISA MCCLAIN (R-MICH)
REP. RONNY JACKSON (R-TEXAS)
REP. JERRY CARL (R-ALA.)
REP. BLAKE D. MOORE (R-UTAH)
REP. PAT FALLON (R-TEXAS)
Chief of Naval Operations
15 June 2021
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