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Below is a transcript of the hearing:
I like to call the hearing to order. The committee meets today to receive testimony in the plans and programs of the Department of the Navy and review of the president's fiscal year 2022 defense budget request. I would like to welcome all witnesses, acting secretary of the Navy, Thomas Harker; chief of naval operations, Admiral Michael Gilday; and commandant of the Marine Corps, General David Berger.
We are grateful for your service, to the service of the men and women under your command, and for the support of all Navy and Marine families. The administration's defense budget request for the fiscal year 2022 includes approximately $211.7 billion in funding for the Department of the Navy, an increase of $3.7 billion from the fiscal year 2021 enacted budget.
As the leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps, you face significant challenges as you strive to balance the need to support ongoing operations and sustain readiness alongside the need to modernize and sharpen the technological edge that is so critical to our military success. I would welcome an update from all of our witnesses on how they are balancing new concept implementation with the procurement of new systems and the upgrade of existing platforms, or by meeting current operational needs.
Our naval forces are maintaining an extremely high operations tempo across all areas. Demand is overwhelming for attack submarines, air-and-missile defense cruisers, destroyers, and strike fighter inventories. The Navy is now in its eighth year operating with fewer than the legally required 11 aircraft carriers.
The USS Gerald Ford is listed in the Navy inventory, but that carrier is more than six years behind schedule and not yet ready to deploy. While the Ford has been playing an important role in training aviators by conducting carrier qualification operations, she will not be ready to deploy for several more months.
However, I'm glad to see that the Ford has begun conducting full-shift shock trials, an important step in the process for ensuring she's ready to engage in unrestricted operations. Looming on the horizon during the next decade, the Navy will also need to buy a new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines to replace the Ohio-class fleet.
This is an expensive undertaking on a very tight schedule, and I trust the Navy is making every effort to keep this program on track, and I ask for our witnesses to give an update. The Navy is using tools such as multiyear procurement authority to conduct its modernization
programs more efficiently. Congress has approved a multi-year procurement authority for both attack submarines and Aegis destroyers.
These vessels represent the largest inventory shortfall against the goals of the 2016 force structure assessment with the actual Navy fleet 15 boats below the attack submarine goal and 14 below the goal for destroyers. With that in mind, I am concerned that the Navy is breaking faith with Congress by submitting a budget that would break the multi-year contract for the DDG-51 destroyers.
I understand that the No. 1 item on the CNO's unfunded priority list is the second aegis destroyer in FY '22. The Navy took a similar approach in FY '21 by asking for only one Virginia-class submarine and then making the submarine the No. 1 item on its unfunded priority list. That year, the second submarine was merely an option on the underlying multi-year contract.
But in this case, the absence of the second destroyer in the FY '22 budget would violate the terms of the current destroyer multiyear procurement contract. I'd appreciate an explanation of this decision and assurances that such actions of cutting a ship only to put it on the unfunded priority list is not a trend.
The Marine Corps is restructuring around two concepts, littoral operations in a contested environment and expeditionary advanced base operations. The key element of these concepts is a more flexible, amphibious force that can support a broader naval fight once ashore. Rather than simply acting as a landing force, the Marine Corps hopes to help control the sea and air around them in support of the Navy.
To accomplish this, the Marine Corps is prioritizing modernization of its ground vehicles, including a partnership with the Army on the joint light tactical vehicle or JLTV to replace the Humvee, and targeted investments in the high-mobility artillery rocket system or HIMARS to provide Marines with ground-based indirect fire support.
In addition, programs like the amphibious combat vehicle, ground-based anti-ship missiles, and long-range precision fires will provide critical modernization, increase force protection, and enhance lethality to Marines. General Berger. While this restructuring has been ongoing for many months, due to COVID, you have not really had an opportunity to explain it to a wide audience and I invite you to do so at this hearing.
Finally, in 2016, Admiral Richardson released a force structure assessment that has identified a new force structure goal: a fleet of 355 ships. Last year, we received from Sectary Esper what was portrayed as an updated assessment, which calls for expanding the goal for the Navy fleet to include between 400 and 500 ships, with roughly 100 of these vessels unmanned.
I would like to know how the Navy intends to maintain a fleet of 355 ships or even 400 to 500 ships when it is frankly unable to maintain the current fleet of 294 ships on a consistent schedule, deferred ship maintenance, reduced [Inaudible] flying hours, and canceled training and deployments have created serious readiness problems within the Navy.
We remember too well the collision of the McCain and Fitzgerald, and the loss of life that resulted. So, I'm interested in hearing about the progress the Navy is making and continue to implement changes that will ensure such incidents will not happen in the future. Again, I want to thank the witnesses for appearing today.
I look forward to the testimonies, and now let me recognize the Ranking Member Senator Inhofe.
Thank you, Mister Chairman. I thank all of the witnesses for being here, for the great job they're doing. You know, as we've said before, this is a lousy budget. But it's not the fault of these three people who are here today. They don't have a choice. They are doing what they are ordered to do, and I don't like it and not many members of this committee like it, because this budget doesn't keep up with inflation, much less the 3 percent to 5 percent. If you read the book, we all -- this is our -- what we go by and we have since '18 and it's very clear where we should be today.
We -- our increases in the military should be between 3 percent and 5 percent. It's been there, we've talked about this for a long period of time, we're there, and we're not doing it. So, a budget like this sends China and our other potential adversaries the wrong message. They're not willing to do what it takes to defend ourselves, our allies, and our partners.
That's the message they're getting from us. And we should be worried about China for a multitude of reasons, but looking just at their Navy, they passed our fleet size target of 355 ships last year and will reach 460 ships in -- by 2030. They're on schedule to do that. That's an increase of 105 ships in ten years.
Meanwhile, this budget supports at best the status quo of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Our
Navy is under 300 ships today and there's no growth. In fact, while China is growing its
fleet, our Navy is struggling to avoid shrinking. Because right now that's what it is and --
along with the rest of the military.
It's an unacceptable situation because our military is not given -- being given the resources it needs. And as I've said, this budget makes bad choices, not hard choices. For example, Admiral Gilday's forced to cut the destroyer not because he doesn't need it and doesn't want it. He wants it, but he's forced to cut it, didn't have a choice.
The budget also proposes to inactivate 15 ships, 10 of which have more than -- more years of service that it buys six fewer F-35C Joint Strike Fighters than required, divest all 12 patrol craft, cuts Navy and Marine Corps munitions by roughly 10 percent. As bad as this budget is, I'm concerned next -- about next year that it would be worse.
Secretary Harker, on June 4, you directed the Navy to defund the nuclear sea-launched cruise missiles and prioritized the modernization of aircraft ships. You have to make a choice between aircraft ships and submarines. China doesn't have to make a choice between aircraft ships and submarines. So, we got a lot of work to do, we got a problem, and I think we all understand this.
Thank you, Mister Chair.
Thank you very much, Senator Inhofe. Mister Secretary, your testimony, please.
Chairman Reed, Ranking Member Inhofe, distinguished members of this committee, thank you for your bipartisan efforts on behalf of the sailors, marines, and civilians in the 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. In order to move those plans forward within existing resources, we've had to make some very hard choices in this budget, but that's exactly what the American people expect us to do. Every dollar is a strategic asset that must be maximized to stay ahead of the pacing threat of China and many other challenges facing our fleet and our union.
Every investment must be done in a balanced and sustainable manner to ensure we maintain the readiness of our current fleet while building the capacity and capability we will need in the future. The cost of readiness is increasing. Maintenance costs have grown at a rate that is 2.5 percent above inflation. Personnel costs are also growing at a rate greater than inflation.
This growth squeezes the rest of the budget. In order to maintain our readiness, we've had to delay some of our planned ship purchases to future years. In order to invest in a superior future force, we had to divest off less-capable assets. These were not easy choices. In order to ensure future availability and readiness of our fleet, we are prioritizing investments in our physical infrastructure, including full commitment to the shipyard infrastructure optimization program.
I have visited all four of our public shipyards, as well as most of the private shipyards, and other commercial facilities. It has been an inspiration to shake the hands of the men and women who are building and maintaining our fleet and to speak with every lever of labor and management about the issues they face, and the need for consistency in funding and demand.
That's why we're increasing the capability and resiliency of these century-old installations, increasing the size and capability of our drydocks, and equipping our 40,000-person workforce with the tools they need to maintain our new, more lethal assets. To ensure our resources reach the warfighters who need them, we're demanding rigorous self-assessment and responsive accountability in every part of our enterprise through the Perform to Plan initiative.
This effort has improved the readiness of our strike fighters and is being rolled out successfully across the fleets. As good stewards, we are on the right path towards obtaining an honored opinion for the Navy and Marine Corps general funds, and the department's working capital fund. We are the only military department that has eliminated audit material weaknesses, three in the Navy, one in the Marine Corps, and are leading the way on this critical effort inside the department.
This has enabled us to improve cybersecurity and our business systems. Since 2017, the Marine Corps has closed 41 out of 110 IT findings, 17 of which were cybersecurity-related. We are also increasing investment in the department's oversight functions while maximizing the return on our investment in the performance audit process.
Effective use and management of data is key to our digital transformation and will change how we fight and win at every level. This requires the modernization of our information technology infrastructure, which is a critical warfighting priority for the department. 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 the committee's attention to this vital issue and your support in providing additional mental health support to our sailors and marines in our 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 are increasing investment in this area, focusing on the prevention of and response to sexual harassment and assault. In this FY '22 budget, we've added over 200 personnel across the Navy and Marine Corps focused on prevention. The majority of these personnel will be placed at Navy and Marine Corps installations working with sailors and marines.
We are also adding an additional 18 sexual assault response coordinators for the Marine Corps, as well as 18 Navy Criminal Investigative Service personnel dedicated to sexual assault prevention and response. We 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.
Around the world, around the clock, the sailors, marines, and civilians of our integrated force stand to watch and execute the mission. On behalf of each of them and their families, thank you for your time and dedicated oversight. I look forward to your questions.
Thank you very much, Mister Secretary. Admiral Gilday, please.
Chairman Reed, Ranking Member Inhofe, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today alongside Secretary Harker and General Berger. I'm thankful for the enduring support that this committee provides the greatest navy in the world. I do believe this hearing comes at a critical time for our country.
The competition at sea intensifying. China and Russia are rapidly mobilizing their militaries, attempting to undermine our alliances, integrating the free and the open order. The Chinese battle force is the largest in the world and it is growing. Backed by a robust industrial base and the biggest shipbuilding infrastructure in the world, they command a modern fleet of surface combatants, submarines, aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, and next-generation fighters.
Furthermore, they are strengthening their space capabilities and stockpiling an arsenal of long-range missiles to hold us and our partners -- and our allies and partners at risk. China is deliberately modernizing for the 21st century and is building an all-domain capabilities to rival our own. Make no mistake, our fleet can control the seas and conflict, and project power ashore today, but we will be increasingly challenged to do so in the future unless hard choices are made.
The results of analysis over the past five years inside and outside the Pentagon have been consistent and they've been clear: America needs a larger, more capable fleet. Importantly, our latest study gave us the headlights not only for the size but also for the composition of that force. We need to transition away from older, less-capable platforms and deliver the platforms and systems that provide overmatch.
At the same time, we need to grow. However, our Navy faces the task right now of recapitalizing our strategic nuclear deterrent, something we haven't done in 40 years. And we're making a once-in-a-century investment in our public shipyards, long overdue, while preserving our current readiness so 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 own, but the price tag on that readiness is rising. Over the past two decades, manpower, operations, and maintenance costs, which make up almost 60 percent of our budget, have grown at a rate, as the secretary mentioned, 2.5 percent above the rate of inflation.
Meanwhile, the Navy's buying power is less than it was in 2010. Back then we had 288 ships, today we have 296. Given these factors, if the Navy's top line remains flat or if it goes down, the size of our fleet will definitely shrink. Nevertheless, we are determined to deliver the most ready, the most capable, and the most lethal Navy we can with a budget that we are given.
To do this, we are improving maintenance in our shipyards and aviation depots. We're ensuring our ships are properly manned, that our magazines are filled with ammunition, spare parts are in our storerooms, and our sailors are getting the steaming days and the flying hours that they need to hone their skills.
We are working hard on a more robust, resilient network infrastructure as part of JADC2. We're 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 the needs of our combatant commanders.
We are determined to build affordable capacity, which includes a deliberate reproach to un-crewed vessels. And we're making sure that every sailor can outthink and outfight any adversary by scaling our 21st-century training framework, and also our live virtual constructive training. Senators, the average age of the Chinese fleet is 11 years.
Ours is 21. It's time to move decisively and fuel the future Navy. We must modernize now in this decade, or we will risk falling behind. We need to keep a forward posture that maintains America's safety and prosperity. I am extremely proud of our sailors, our Navy civilians, and our families whose who sustained a historic high up-tempo in the midst of this pandemic.
They are the source of our strength as are the patriots in our shipyards and our aircraft depots, and our partners in industry, companies large and small who keep the production lines moving. Again, I am grateful for this committee's support of the Navy and Marine Corps team. I look forward to answering your questions.
Thank you very much, Admiral Gilday. General Berger, please.
Chairman Reed, Ranking Member Inhofe, and distinguished members of the committee. Over the past couple of years since becoming commandant, I've come to better understand and appreciate the bipartisan support of this committee, which is critical to creating and sustaining the force that we have today but also to build the force that we're going to need for the future.
And I realized as we all do that, they're competing national priorities that you have to wrestle with, and that certainly puts pressure on defense budgets. But I'm also confident that you have a clear view of the severity of the security environment around us. As the secretary mentioned, the competition with China and Russia is increasing and it's accelerating, and your military is going to need more advanced capabilities in order to effectively compete to reassure our allies and partners, and to effectively deter war.
Force Design 2030 is the Marine Corps' answer to creating the cutting-edge capabilities 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, systemic modernization effort as the chairman pointed out across the Marine Corps.
One that improves more than just our equipment and our warfighting formations, but also our personnel systems, our training systems, and our family programs as well. We are roughly two years into this modernization effort, and I feel I owe this committee an update. And while we don't have sufficient time this morning to address every detail, I do want to touch on three areas that are key.
First, we've improved the operational reach and the efficacy of our naval expeditionary forces, and this includes the Marine Expeditionary Units, the MEUs, which are -- remain the crown jewel of the force. Beginning last year, we started our transition to a mixed capability of long-range ship and ground-based unmanned aerial systems, including the MQ-9 Reaper.
This will significantly expand the organic ISR capabilities, and it'll enable us to support both naval and joint operations, including antisubmarine warfare. We've also initiated a partnership with the industry to develop a future autonomous long-range unmanned surface vessel. That's going to extend the reach of our MEUs. That vessel will give us a new tool for maritime gray zone competition, and it'll help in thickening the C5ISR network as we call it, and it'll help us in conventional deterrence, naval deterrence using loitering munitions.
Lastly, we're aggressively pursuing organic precision fires for our infantry, also with loitering munitions. And we'll make a final decision on vendors this year. Second, we've made significant advancements across our training and education enterprise. In the past 16 months, we released the first new doctrine we've published in 20 years.
Actually, two publications: one on learning and one on competing. We've also significantly advanced the intellectual framework for some of our future operating concepts. Earlier this year, we published a tentative manual for expeditionary advanced base operations, and we will use that to inform our exercises, our experimentation, and our training.
We've significantly expanded the resources we tied to wargaming and to experimentation. Last month, down in Quantico, Virginia, we broke ground on a new state-of-the-art wargaming center that we'll use in the future. And finally, we dramatically enhanced both the quality and the duration of training for our infantry marines.
Infantry training is now 50 percent longer and we added new modules to increase lethality. Third, we've taken some important initial steps to improve our personnel system and our policies. To continue attracting the highest quality men and women into our Marine Corps, we raised both the AFQT standards for enlistment and the ASVAB requirements for the infantry.
Our enlisted performance evaluation system was antiquated, it was subjective, it was completely manual. We've now replaced that system with a cloud-based system, where marines are evaluated now based on clearly defined objective standards that are under their control, and they can see across the force. We revised our retention policies.
Now, qualified marines can reenlist a full year early and I've delegated two commanders in the field the authority to reenlist qualified 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. Now, they include adoptive and same-sex parents, and I'll continue to push for extend -- expanded maternity leave for all marines.
And while it may seem like a modest accomplishment to some, this year, we updated our maternity uniforms to improve both our utility and their professional appearance. So, while I'm encouraged by the progress of Force Design, as well as our other modernization initiatives, I am not satisfied with the pace of change.
We must move faster. To accelerate our programs, we as a service 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. Last week, I offered to the House Armed Services Committee that I would be willing to testify on Force Design before the full committee, as well as the Appropriations Committee, if committee chairs would find that valuable, and I make the same offer here, Chairman.
It's critical that we build a shared understanding about where your Marine Corps is headed and why and how your support is absolutely essential to our success. Equally important, I believe is explaining how we're going to pay for it all. During a recent speech at the Ronald Reagan Institute, Chairman Reed noted that belt-tightening in any department is always a challenge, but it also provides an opportunity to evaluate what is necessary, and I agree.
Today's challenging budget environment, the Marine Corps, has pursued a cost-neutral approach for the last two years to Force Design. We have self-funded our modernization. To ensure the success of this approach, I will ask your support for reducing the total procurement of some platforms, commensurate with the current reduction in our end strength.
The fact is today's Marine Corps is significantly smaller than it was 10 to 12 years ago, almost 24,000 marines smaller and we simply won't need as many ground vehicles, won't need as many aircraft as we did when the initial procurement decisions were made a decade ago. It's simple math. So, with the reductions outlined in our Force Design report, 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.
I welcome the opportunity to work with this committee, and I look forward to your questions both in this hearing and in the weeks that follow. Thank you, sir.
Thank you very much, Senator Berger. Secretary Harker, would you give us some insight as to why the Navy chose to cancel the DDG-51 multiyear procurement of the second ship and then added as your first unfunded priority?
Thank you, Senator Reed. That was the most difficult choice that we face this year as we looked at trying to balance readiness, capability, and capacity. Taking that DDG out of the budget was the most difficult choice that we faced, and it was something that we wish we could have afforded. After visiting both shipyards where we build DDG-51s, I have the utmost confidence in those shipyards' ability to deliver another DDG-51 if we had been able to afford it in the budget, but it was, unfortunately, a challenge for us.
Thank you. Admiral Gilday, we frequently sort of focus on the number of ships as the most important metric. But it seems to me there are other factors, for example, communications, concealment of vessels, operational readiness of vessels, where you can have a 500-ship fleet with only 100 able to sail. And then now, with the ability to match autonomous vehicles to manned vessels, unmanned autonomous vehicles. Is this notion of a fixed number of ships consistent with actual operational needs?
Sir, I'd like to answer your question in three parts. First of all, with respect to numbers, it is one metric. And if we're going to fight as a distributed force against a military as robust as China, as an example, we're going to need a bigger Navy. I believe that the analysis has been consistent in that regard since 2016. However, I do think this is really all about capabilities and joint capabilities in terms of what the Navy brings to the fight for the joint force.
So, one of the things that I think that the analysis that we did last year was particularly helpful is not only talking about the size of the fleet as you mentioned but most importantly, the composition of the fleet, submarines being right at the top of the list in terms of -- you hinted to this in terms of concealment, right?
In terms of our most survivable strike platform, where we have overmatch right now against any adversary, and we want to maintain that. Aircraft carriers, the most survivable airfields in the world, quite a platform, the USS Enterprise, which was our first nuclear-powered carrier and was around for 50 years had 59 different type series aircraft that flew off the deck of that aircraft carrier.
There's incredible flexibility here, particularly, sir, as you hinted at un-crewed or unmanned in the future. Our shipbuilding plan begins to touch that, and we are in a very deliberate path. Some of it is based on the feedback from this committee that we solved two key problems with respect to unmanned before we make a decision to come to you for money to scale.
The first is the reliability of those platforms at sea, that they can sustain themselves -- be self-sustaining at sea for long periods of time. And the second is the ability to be able to command and control them with a high degree of confidence. And so, sir, I hope I've touched on your point adequately.
Thank you, Admiral. General Berger, the littoral operation in contested environment doctrine, the expedition advanced base operations, essentially what you're talking about is, as I sensed, it was a widely distributed environment for marines, that they would be separated in small -- relatively small detachments across a broad area. Is that a fair estimate? So, that raises the issue of how do you supply logistics support to widely dispersed elements in contested environments?
I would agree with that. We have not had our supply chains challenged in -- since World War 2. We've had assured supply lines for 70 years, said in another way. We have to focus now on tactical operational, strategic, logistics. If we don't, then we'll have the very best capabilities that we can't sustain for. We're not going to allow that to happen. Logistics is key. We -- within the Marine Corps, we view it as our pacing function right now.
Thank you very much. I've been informed that a quorum is present. And since a quorum is now present -- excuse me, before I recognize Senator Inhofe. I asked the committee to consider a list of 2,932 pending military nominations. Of these nominations, one nomination is one day short of the committee's requirement that nominations be in committee for seven days before we report them out.
No objection is raised to this nomination, and I recommend and waive the seven-day rule in order to get confirmation of the nomination of this officer before the Senate recesses for the July 4 recess. In addition, since a quorum is now present, I ask the committee to consider
five civilian nominations plus the list of 2,932 pending military nominations.
First, I ask the committee to consider the nominations of Honorable Caroline D. Kass -- Krass, rather, to be general counsel of Department of Defense; Miss Gina Ortiz Jones to be undersecretary of the Air Force; Doctor Ely S. Ratner to be assistant secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs; Miss Shawn G. Skelly to be assistant secretary of Defense for Readiness; and Miss Meredith A. Berger to be assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment.
It is a motion to report the military nominations and the five civilian nominations. Is there a second? All in favor, please say aye.
The ayes have it. Thank you very much. Senator Inhofe, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mister Chairman. I -- first of all, before asking a question, I'm going to ask Admiral Gilday to share with the committee what happened last Friday and the significance of that.
So, last Friday, we conducted our first shock trial on the USS Gerald R. Ford. The 2016 NDAA requires that those shock tests be conducted as series of three tests over the next couple of months before we operationally deploy that vessel. Our intent, Senator, is to deploy that vessel in 2022. And right now, we remain on track to do so.
Are the catapults and -- how many elevators are working?
So, right now, we've accepted seven of 11 elevators. I expect the remaining -- that we'll
accept two by early fall and the remaining two by the end of the year.
But due to shock trials, the ships will go into a maintenance availability. We'll finish up those
last two elevators, and then we'll get her out to deploy in '22.
Yeah. We've heard a lot of things. As I recall, the deployment date would have been 2017, initially. And a lot of people have reasons to believe that there is that -- there's justification for a lot of the stalls. I don't agree with that, but I certainly agree with you that you believe that it's going to happen.
I hope you're right and, you know, we've had a lot of problems with that particular piece of equipment, and it's been very, very expensive. So, anyway -- and I'll go with as I said in my opening statement. We have a 355-or-more ship goal, yet this budget is only enough for a status quo 300-ship navy. Hopefully, get the money needed to build the Navy and no -- none of the three of you agree, you will say it, but I will say it, you're not getting an adequate budget and I can say it and you can't. But anyway, we're going to do everything we can to try to make this happen.
Cutting a new destroyer, retiring 10 ships early, fewer F-35Cs, these don't seem to be strategic choices but rather last-minute haphazard cuts. So anyway, that's what we're faced with right now. We have often said the world's at most dangerous right now than any period in my lifetime. And since the release of the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the threats have only gotten worse.
In fact, the NDS commission said that we need 3 percent to 5 percent real growth. And this is overall not just the Navy growth this particular year. And obviously, that's not going to happen. It's going to be something less than a breakeven of 1.6 percent, I believe. So Admiral Gilday and General Berger. If I were to ask you who in the Department of Defense is best positioned to set forth structure requirements for the Navy and the Marine Corps, I think it is the CNO and the [Inaudible]. And I think you would agree with me the difference is I can say it and you can't, but nonetheless we do have serious problems that we're facing right now.
And I just -- your unfunded -- your list of unfunded requirements amounts to 9.3 billion. This amount shows the difference of three -- between, what, 3 percent to 5 percent increase instead of 1.6 percent decrease makes in developing a defense budget. Some call this, the things that we're asking for right now, a wish list. I don't call them a wish list.
I call them a risk list. We have to remind ourselves and you folks, the three of you know this better than anyone, that it is the risk that takes lives, and we're I believe in an acceptable area. So we're going to do the best that we can to increase and to develop a budget that is going to be -- that we can be proud of and you'll be an important part of that.
Thank you, Mister Chairman.
Thank you very much, Senator Inhofe. Senator Shaheen, please.
Thank you, and thank you to each of you for your testimony this morning and for your service to the country. Admiral Gilday, I'd like to begin with you, and I appreciated your -- our call last week. You said in your opening statement that we are making now once in a century investment in our public shipyards.
And there's no doubt that the investments through the shipyard infrastructure optimization plan are really important at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard where we are one of the first to get those investments. We have seen significant cost overrun in the multimission dry dock project, which has to be done if we're going to ensure that our submarines are able to be maintained and ready when they're needed.
So when we talked, you discussed two major causes for that overrun, as I recall. One was the increased cost of supplies because of the pandemic, but the other one was sort of inaccurate estimates by those who were making projections for what the costs of the project would be.
So can you talk about whether that's accurate?
Are those the two major costs? What else might be contributing to those overruns? What we're going to do about it? And where are we going to get the money to make sure that that project stays on time?
Yes, ma'am., I do think that's accurate. So in terms of raw material, we saw significant growth in cost for lumber, for cement, and for steel. And that's been pretty steady through the pandemic, although it's beginning to level off now. I think construction companies have had the same challenges. The initial estimate was done two years ago.
And so that was a factor. The second I think more importantly was the complexity of that work. And so what we've learned from that, and I had a discussion with Senator Hirono recently, as we look to a multimission dry dock in Hawaii is that we are now bringing an industry before we make the estimates so that we have a better-informed idea of the complexity of the job.
As an example, at Portsmouth, it makes more sense for the contractor to do the foundational work with respect to the fabrication and then to ship it down to the site rather than to do it in the shipyard. It is my No. 1 unfunded on the list that came in about the same that estimate -- or the estimate from the -- in the bidding process.
And we're still in that sensitive bidding acquisition time frame right now. And I put it on my unfunded list because it's vitally important that we keep the progress of that project on pace for the first Virginia class availability in 2026. So, ma'am, I asked the committee's support on that unfunded item, but nevertheless, we are -- I am committed to keeping that project on track for the very reason I just mentioned.
Well, thank you. If it's not on track, we're not going to have the dry dock capacity that we need. Is that correct?
Yes, ma'am, that's a correct statement.
Thank you. There's an article -- I don't know, maybe this is for you, Secretary Harker. There's an article in Bloomberg this morning that says the U.S. Navy's -- the headline is The U.S. Navy's deadliest new subs are hobbled by spare parts woes. And it goes on to talk about -- have the Navy has swapped more than 1,600 parts among its new Virginia class submarine since 2013 to ease maintenance bottlenecks.
Can you talk to why that's occurring? And I would just put it in the context of -- in fiscal year 2010 NDAA. This committee put in language raising concerns about the supply chain and the potential for this kind of shortfalls. And we encouraged -- I'm quoting from the language, "We encouraged the Navy to better communicate the capability of their submarine forecasting model.
The committee also encourages the Navy to communicate needs in a timely fashion and encourages the secretary of defense to support shipbuilding industrial base initiatives to maintain readiness in a strong submarine industrial base." It appears that that encouragement hasn't made much difference. We still have this problem. So can you talk to -- what the Navy is doing about it?
Yes, ma'am. The Navy's aware that there are some challenges with some of the Virginia class supply chain. There are parts on the Virginia class that we thought were going to be life of the submarine parts and they are filling more quickly than we had originally envisioned. And so we have to go back in and find alternative sources for those parts. And that's not something that was --
And I'm sorry to interrupt, but can you talk about why that's happening? Why are they failing faster than we anticipated? Were our estimates bad? Are there problems with how they're being fabricated? What's going on?
I'll have to get back with you on that, ma'am.
I would ask Mister Chairman that they report back to the committee on exactly what's causing that shortfall. That would be very helpful, I think.
I would ask that the secretary and the CNO report back promptly.
Thank you very much. Senator Wicker, please.
Thank you, Mister Chairman. Mister Chairman, before I begin my questions, I'd like to put two letters in the record, a letter from me dated June 16, 2021, to General Berger and his response to me dated June 21. I'd like to ask that they [Crosstalk]
Without objection. Go ahead.
General Berger, thank you for your service. You've been in the military now for over 40 years, is that correct?
That's correct, sir.
Well, I appreciate your service and I appreciate you giving us straight advice. Now, during House Seapower subcommittee hearing last week, Lieutenant General Eric Smith testified that a joint Navy and Marine Corps study determined that the requirement for traditional amphibious ships is 31, including 10 big decks and 21 LSD/LPDs. Is that your assessment also?
It is, sir.
And it is a matter of fact, you stated that in the letter that you sent to me only yesterday. Is that correct?
That's correct, sir.
And so I am disappointed, shocked, in fact, that the so-called 30-year shipbuilding plan released last Friday calls for a range of 16 to 19 LPDs. It seems to me that the Office of Secretary of Defense has some bureaucrats in there that are taking over the Pentagon requirements and putting armchair opinions on warfighting above those of the men and women like you with decades of experience in uniform.
Now let's do the math. Based on the current amphibious ships under construction and the most recent decommissioning planning guidance provided by the Navy by the end of FY 2023, the Navy will have a total of 21 LSD LPDs instead of the 21 LSD LPDs that you say we need. Move ahead then to 2025, based on the same guidance, the Navy will have only 17 LSD LPDs. This falls short, of course, of the 21 that you and General Smith have said we need.
And then, based on the current ships under contract, once all of the legacy LSDs have been decommissioned, the Navy will have only 15 LPDs. Of course, this falls short of the 21 that we are being told by the greatest experts that we rely on as a requirement. Now, this committee last year and the Congress of the United States passed, and it was signed into law by the president of the United States.
The NDAA in Section 124 provided the Navy with a mechanism to procure two more LPDs to fill this gap. If OSD executes this authority, it would save the taxpayers over $700 million. General Berger, you have a need for more LPDs. Does the amphibious ship authority provided you and Section 124 helped you meet your warfighting requirement?
It would do both parts of what you mentioned, Senator. It would meet a warfighting requirement and the -- it would save 700 -- estimated $722 million, correct?
You know, I appreciate you being honest and speaking truth to this committee and to the Congress. And I would just say in response, I don't have time to engage Acting Secretary Harker in this. But basically, the regretful answer that was given today of true it was hard not to make that decision to do this multiple ship procurement, but we just couldn't afford it.
The fact is we couldn't afford it because somebody in the Office of Management and Budget sent word to the Pentagon that they weren't going to give you enough money.
I totally agree with Senator Inhofe that we need to reverse this. And I would point out to my colleagues what the chief of naval operations has told us today. Numbers are an important metric. And clearly, in response to what the chairman asked, they're not the only metric, but
they're an important metric.
And also, we're told by our leading sailor in the country, if we're going to meet the challenge, we're going to need a bigger Navy. I'll just say to the people at -- here on the Dyas and our witnesses today, they're doing the best they can. We have an obligation under the Constitution to defend the United States of America and to provide the numbers and financing to do that.
And I totally agree with those on both sides of the Dyas (ph) that this is a crying need that we have to meet. And I yield back, Mister Chair.
Thank you very much, Senator Wicker. Senator Gillibrand, please.
Thank you, Mister Chairman. Thank you all for being here and for your sacrifice and service. As you know, I've been working on this issue of trying to reduce sexual assault in the military and to try to create a military justice system that's worthy of the sacrifice our men and women make. And through the work with a number of people on this committee, we've put together legislation that now has 66 cosponsors.
And that legislation essentially says that for all serious crimes, except for uniquely military crimes, that the decision about whether to prosecute will be taken out of the chain of command and given to trained military prosecutors. We believe that that one change will professionalize military justice. We also think that one change will change the view of both survivors and defendants that the system is less biased because it will be a review by the most highly trained individuals who don't necessarily know the plaintiff or the defendant.
And we think it cures two defects in the military justice system today. The first is how it handles sexual assault cases. Very few are going to trial and even lesser ending conviction. It was about 20,000 cases estimated by the DOD in the last couple of years. And in the last three years, approximately 200 have ended in conviction.
So each year, we're just not getting better. We also have data over the last four years developed by the DOD that shows there's racial bias, that in fact if you are a black service member, you are more likely to be punished in the Navy. For example, you are -- the average of the last several years, the last 15 years, is you are 1.4 times more likely to be punished in the Navy, and in the Marines, you are up to 2.61 times more likely to have a general court-martial.
So these are just -- this is data that the DOD has collected. And so we believe this one change could change how the justice system is perceived. Many survivors of sexual assault do not believe that justice is possible in the current system. And amongst black service members, I think 60 percent do not believe that they will have a fighting chance or the same chance as a white service member to get justice.
So I'd like to know for each of you what's your perspective on this issue. Do you remain open-minded on what solutions would be the best to handle this? As you know, this committee has studied this issue for a decade. We've passed nearly 250 reforms to improve the military justice system as a committee, all of which have been supported by the Department of Defense.
Unfortunately, none of them have moved the ball and none of them have instilled confidence in the system. So I'd like to know if you have an open mind in reviewing this data and information as we begin to try to end the scourge of sexual assault and try to remove bias within the military justice system. And each of you can answer.
So, ma'am, I'll start. For me, I definitely have an open mind. We've invested a significant amount of money in this current-year budget to increase the size of both the prevention and the response side for this important issue. And it's something that we believe, you know, is important for us to change.
Ma'am, I'm definitely open to an evidence-based approach to the best way to get after this. I have seen much of the data, not all of it with respect to the racial inequities that you pointed out. I think the key problem to solve with respect to sexual assault is one of trust. And I think that if service members don't trust the system that we have in place, then I think that I think it is a readiness problem for us because we have victims that aren't going to report. They're not going to receive treatment, and then we have perpetrators that essentially who are not going to receive due process. So I am, ma'am, open to new ways of looking at getting after it.
Thank you. Admiral?
Remain open-minded. As you point out, I think we have the same goals that you highlight. We have to reduce the number of sexual assaults. We have to restore the trust between victims and their chain of command.
And third, we have to retain the authority of commanders to do what they need to do in combat. So I think the objectives are the same.
I agree. Secretary Harker, the Navy has created a military justice track. My understanding is that it's been in practice for the last 10 to 15 years. My understanding is that there are currently 95 military justice litigation career track practitioners, 80 percent of whom are in designated litigation billets at any given time and half of those are prosecutors.
Have you had a problem of being able to fill those roles? And in your opinion, has this program created a more professional military justice system? Would you recommend it to other branches?
Ma'am, based on my limited experience, I don't think we've had any problem in filling those roles and it has been effective. I think it's something that would be useful for others to consider, and it's part of what's being considered as the secretary looks at all the various options during this independent review.
Thank you, Mister Chairman. Thank you all.
Thank you, Senator Gillibrand. Let me now recognize Senator Cotton.
Thank you. Admiral Gilday, I want to talk about your choice to include books like How to Be an Antiracist and The New Jim Crow on your professional reading list. We discussed this last week in our phone call. Normally, I wouldn't disclose that conversation, but you said the exact same thing from the Armed Services Committee in the House last week, which I found deeply disappointing.
When you're asked questions about this, you characterize it as a criticism of sailors for being weak. That is a straw man. It's not a criticism of sailors being weak. It's a criticism of your decision to include these books on your professional reading list, which ensigns and sailors across your service take very seriously.
So, I just want to give you a sampling of some of the things that are included in books like this that the notion that capitalism is essentially racist and racism is essentially capitalist, that the only remedy for past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy for present discrimination is future discrimination.
That some individuals by virtue of his or her race are inherently oppressive or privileged, while others are victimized or oppressed, that individuals can bear some kind of collective responsibility or collective guilt for the actions committed by members of his or her race. Admiral Gilday, how did these books go on your reading list?
Sir, I chose a variety of books. There are over 50 books in my reading list to give our sailors a wide range of information from which I hope they can make facts-based decisions on both their ability to look outwardly at potential aggressors like China and Russia, as well as looking inwardly and being honest with ourselves in areas that we need to improve.
In talking to sailors over the past year, it's clearly obvious to me and others that the murder of George Floyd and the events surrounding that, the discussions in this country about racism, which go back for years and years and years, are still a painful part of our culture, and that talking about them, understanding them is the best approach, and then offering books like Kennedys for people to read.
And they don't have to agree with every assertion that Kennedy makes. I don't accept every assertion that Kennedy makes. And I wouldn't think that all sailors would as well, but they need to be exposed to it so that they're making facts-based. We need critical thinkers in the
Navy and throughout the military.
In our enlisted force, again, we not only think outwardly but inwardly so that they make objective ??" hopefully, objective facts-based decisions in a -- or draw conclusions in a world that it's increasingly more difficult to get an unbiased view at a really tough problem. Even if they're looking at things on social media, artificial intelligence associated with those platforms feeds them more of whatever they tend to look at. I'm offering them one book among 53 as a different perspective.
And it's what --
And you're saying -- yes, I agree there's a lot of information like that on social media and in our culture. And you're saying as a senior leader of the Navy that you want 18-year-old sailors and 22-year-old ensigns to read a book that asserts that capitalism is essentially racist. Do you agree that capitalism is essentially racist?
Sir, with all due respect, I'm not going to engage without understanding the context of statements like that, but these are the same [Crosstalk]
Admiral, I'm sorry, our time is very limited here. I know you said this in the House Armed Services Committee last week. In what context could the claim that capitalism essentially racist possibly be something with which you would agree?
Sir, I have to go back to the book to take a look at that. But again, this comes down to trusting sailors who are running nuclear power plants and submarines at hundreds of feet under the water, under the polar ice cap that are maintaining the highest -- the most complicated and complex jets in the world.
We put them in harm's way every day. I think, sir, I believe that we can trust them to read books like that and to draw a reasonable conclusion.
Well, it's not just a matter of trusting them. It's a matter of how they spend their time. And you, as the chief of naval operations, are suggesting in your professional reading list that it's a worthwhile endeavor for our sailors and ensigns to spend their time reading books like these as opposed to, say, books on maritime strategy or basic seafaring skills, which also are included on your list?
But there's plenty that are not included on your list that I think would also benefit them. I mean, the Navy has had genuine cultural problems now for many years, whether it's the McCain and the Fitzgerald having collisions in the Western Pacific, the Bonhomme Richard catching fire in port, the Fat Leonard scandal, a Navy SEAL team being recalled from Iraq because of a breakdown in basic military order, patrol boat in the Persian Gulf were surrendering to what is little more than Iranian fishing boat.
The Navy has had some genuine cultural problems and drift and lack of focus that it needs to address. Assigning books like these and encouraging our sailors to take the time to do so is not a way for the Navy to regain its focus, Admiral.
Thank you, Senator Cotton. Senator Blumenthal, please.
Thanks, Mister Chairman. Thank you both. Thank you all for your service and for being here today. I want to begin by Admiral Gilday. I know from your visit to Connecticut electric boat, General Dynamics, the boatyard there that you're a strong believer in our submarine program. I was pleased to see that the Navy has requested two Virginia class submarines in the FY '22 budget proposal and has exercised the option to build a 10th Virginia class submarine, recognizing how important this amazing technology is to our national defense. I'm hopeful that you continue to strongly support this program.
Yes, sir. Consistently, the analysis that we've done, the wargaming, the exercises, the deep analysis that the Pentagon has, and analysis inside and outside the Pentagon has placed a high value on attack submarines with respect to survivability and lethality as our nation's best-trained platform.
Thank you. On June 15, just days ago, the Associated Press reported that the United States military has had losses of 1,900 lost or stolen weapons over the past decade. This staggering number is probably only a fraction of the total. It included assault, rifles, fully automatic machine guns, armor-piercing, grenade launchers.
Some of these weapons have been found in connection with crimes committed with them. I hope you agree that this kind of lost or stolen weapon has to be stopped. Can you tell me how many weapons similar to the ones I've mentioned have been lost or stolen from the
Navy or Marine Corps armories in the last 10 years?
Sir, based on the results of -- the initial results of the investigation that's ongoing, it's about 240 weapons for the Navy. I'm interested in learning deep. Our investigation continues along with the other services to find out what labs and accounting led to those losses. Some of them might have been training losses, but specifically, the root cause so that we can get after it and correct it.
Do you have a number for the Marine Corps, General Berger?
Sir, I don't want to give you an inaccurate number, but I will get you that number. If 10 years is the horizon you're looking at, we will get you that accurate number.
Thank you. Can you tell me, perhaps both you Admiral and General, what is the system for the Navy and the Marine Corps tracking and accounting for conventional arms, ammunition, and explosives that may be lost or stolen?
Sir, I can say with a high degree of certainty, it's done at the individual unit level. So in the case of the Navy, specifically at each ship, I can't speak with a high degree of specificity of the tracking beyond -- when a weapon is lost, there are reports that are made, there are investigations that are done.
But how that's tracked in the aggregate, I don't have a good answer for you at the moment, sir.
So sir, if I could add in, this is something that's actually looked at during our financial statement audit every year. Our independent public accountants from -- that are working for the Department of Defense OIG go out and do inventory testing on the accuracy of our inventory around our small arms or ammunition, that type of thing.
So it is something that's tested annually. Both the Navy and Marine Corps have done better than our peers in the Army and Air Force. And it's something that we do take very seriously.
Thank you. I'd like to follow up on that area, but in the remaining time that I have, I wanted to ask about a study that was released yesterday. Brown University's Costs of War Project reported that the number of veterans and service members who have died by suicide since September 11, 2001, is more than quadruple, the number who died in the wars during this same period.
The study estimates that 7,057 service members have been killed in post-9/11 war operations while 30,177 active-duty service members and veterans have died by suicide quadruple. That is really an astonishing number. It goes on to say the average suicide rate for post-9/11 veterans between 18 to 34 was 32.3 per 100,000 between 2005 and 2017, but it rose to 45.9 per 100,000 in 2018. That's about 2.5 times the rate in the general population.
There is no way that we can adequately address this topic this morning, but I would like an explanation from everyone on this panel as to what you think the causes are or is a phenomenon which is so deeply concerning and what we can do about it. I know this topic has been a longstanding issue for all the services.
And I think that it has to be raised to a much higher priority than it's been given so far.
Yes, sir, this is something that we are investing significantly. And in this year's budget, we're putting 22 more -- $22 million towards mental health. Our FY '21 amount was 21 million. We're more than doubling that going into this current budget cycle because we believe that embedding mental health practitioners at the front with sailors and Marines is probably the best way to get at this.
We're also increasing the number of chaplains and the number of clergy members that are there to provide support as well. So this is something that we take very seriously and we've been working to both destigmatize getting treatment, as well as providing additional services for our sailors and Marines.
Thank you. I would just suggest that more of the same is not going to work. It has to be a reinventing, a reenergizing, reimagining of how mental health is addressed in the military. But again, I'm no expert, and I really welcome a thorough study and action. Thank you. Thank you, Mister Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Blumenthal. Senator Rounds, please.
Thank you, Mister Chairman. Gentlemen, let me begin by just saying thank you for your service to our country at a time like this in which we're looking at a budget which, to me, appears to be a little bit on the disingenuous side. I'd like to just point out one item with regard to previous contracts. And then Acting Secretary Harker, I'd like to have your response.
The Navy's overall shipbuilding budget -- and by the way, I come from South Dakota where we don't build ships, but I care deeply about making sure that we have a consistency in our national defense. The Navy's overall shipbuilding budget decreased in this budget by $700
million from 23.4 billion to 22.6 billion.
But the budget includes purchase of one Arleigh Burke class destroyer. Previously, it had been planned to purchase two. In fact, the government has already agreed to purchase just the one it would, in this particular case, it would breach a contract that the government had previously agreed to with Ingalls Shipbuilding and General Dynamics ??" Bath Iron Works back in 2018. At that time, the government had agreed to buy one destroyer from each shipyard per year including FY '22. A second Arleigh Burke destroyer at 1.6 billion is at the
top now of the Navy's unfunded requirement list.
Recognizing that there was already a contract in place and that we're trying to rebuild a supply chain and trying to, at least, get some consistency so that these shipyards are maintained, what is the logic in a budget which has an unfunded request attached to it when you already have a contract that says that you've agreed to purchase two instead of one?
Sir, that was our biggest regret going through this budget process.
I'm sorry, could you say that again?
That was our biggest regret going through this budget process was that we could not fit that destroyer into our budget. As we looked at the balance between readiness and the cost of operations, maintenance, personnel going up and the challenge with new capacity, and then also maintaining the current capacity, we just could not afford to put that destroyer into the budget.
Admiral Gilday, naval fighter aircraft are among our most important frontline weapon systems in confronting China. And this budget proposal cuts their procurement by 15.6 percent. As the Navy cuts its number of operational F/A-18s from 150 to a proposed 50, and I recognize that the year in which we achieved 50 has not yet been released, how do we fill the gap, which is created in readiness, especially considering that the Navy has only requested this year, 20 F-35Cs instead of what had been anticipated at least as last year, 26? So we're going down in the number of fifth-gen aircraft that we're purchasing, and at the same time, we're anticipating that our fourth general craft and hornets, we're talking about decreasing them from 150 to 50 operational units. How does that jive?
Sir, on the -- the Navy's goal is to have a mix of fourth and fifth gen and will be at five squadrons that have that mix by 2025. Right now, we have over 500, 543, I think Super Hornets. And that number goes above 600 when we compete the -- when we complete the latest procurement and delivery. That was in the 2021 budget.
So what we're doing with the Block, our older Block force is we're actually increasing the life on those jets by five or six years. We're upgrading the computer systems on them and upgrading their range with respect to fuel. With the fifth gen, one of the regrets is the number that we're purchasing this year.
However, on my unfunded list, I have five more. And so I'm a believer in the fifth-gen aircraft, I'm a believer in the mix. Consistently, the studies in the wargaming that we've done has shown that the fourth and fifth-gen mix is a winner in the battlespace.
Thank you. Mister Chairman, I've got some other questions, but I will leave them for the record at this time. My time is expiring. Thank you, Mister Chairman.
Thank you very much, Senator Rounds. Senator Hirono, please.
Thank you, Mister Chairman. Before I begin, I would like to state for the record, Secretary Harker and Admiral Gilday, I remain concerned about the safety of the fuel tanks at Red Hill facility, especially after the recent release of 1,000 gallons of fuel. And it is imperative that the Navy is transparent on this issue and provides open and frequent information to Congress and the public because of course, people on Oahu are very concerned about contamination of their drinking water due to these situations that occur at Red Hill. So I expect that you share my concern.
That's fine. Thank you. I also would like to note that I support efforts to more effectively prevent sexual assault and harassment in the military and the changes to the UCMJ that will get us to that point. And of course, I very much thank Senator Gillibrand for her leadership. I would like to get to the shipyard modernization issues that Senator Shaheen mentioned.
I share her concerns. So for Secretary Harker and Admiral Gilday, I would like to get you both on the record that the construction of the new dry dock at Pearl Harbor will begin in the fiscal year 2023. And why is that important? Because you've -- I have been told that it will take five years where this dry dock to be built and that's about the time frame.
That is the time frame when the new Virginia class submarine is delivered. So can I get your commitment because of -- the concern is that with the kind of cost overruns that are already happening at Portsmouth that, you know, I want to make sure that Pearl Harbor will be timely address.
Yes, ma'am. We are committed to the shipboard infrastructure optimization plan, especially all the improvements of Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard was the first one that I ever visited in my tenure, and I'm very committed to improving.
The timing of it, of course, is really important. So Admiral Gilday?
Yes, ma'am. It honestly is at the top of our priority list as we go into the FY '23 budget bill for Milken. I think the -- as I mentioned earlier, we're about to have a conference with industry out in Hawaii early next month to get a better understanding of the scope. The estimate -- and we think right now that that project is probably in the six-to-seven-year time frame based on the phasing.
But we would like to get rolling as soon as possible in that effort.
Yes, because the timing of that dry dock has to be pretty much in conjunction with the delivery of the Virginia class submarine.
Thank you, and I'm glad that you are meeting with the industry because one of the explanations of what's happening in Portsmouth is that you do not really deal with the complexity of the work. And so I'm glad that is definitely a lesson learned. We don't want to see the kind of cost overruns that -- at Pearl Harbor that we saw -- that we are seeing at Portsmouth.
It is my understanding, Secretary Harker, that Secretary Hicks has ordered 11 missile interceptors transferred from research and development for deployment on Navy ships in the Pacific after a test to simulate an attack at Hawaii by North Korea in November, indicated that they could stop an ICBM. Although current sensors were adequate to intercept this one shot, we know from MDA and CAPE that current sensors will not be adequate for the future capabilities of our adversaries.
Will these ships -- ship-based interceptors need a more advanced radar to combat future capabilities such as HDH Hawaii? Secretary Harker?
Yes, ma'am. We are all experts in all of the MDA pieces. I do understand the need for that.
For the --
Yes, I understand the requirement.
Thank you. As you probably know that I'm very concerned about the fact that there is no funding for HDH Hawaii in this year's budget, and we need to keep this project going if we are going to be prepared for a scenario where our adversaries, particularly North Korea, will be developing their capabilities.
Thank you, Mister Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Hirono. Let me recognize Senator Tillis, please.
Thank you, Mister Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you for being here. And General Berger, thank you for the time that we spent at breakfast a few weeks ago. Secretary Harker, I would like to start maybe with just a general statement, and I don't expect you to respond to it. But on the subject of military, sexual assault, and really more of a broad-based change to the UCMJ, I think it's very important for the service secretaries and those who are vetting the commission report to get us information as quickly as possible now we're less than three weeks away from beginning the end-day markup.
And the only thing we have now is something that I've heard from the DOD that they've expressed concerns with the scope and the technical challenges of a six-month implementation. But we really have to get the leaders or in the DOD to get us information quickly, are simply not going to be considered before you may have an entirely new framework foisted upon you.
But I do want to ask you all, Admiral Gilday and Secretary Harker, about FRCE. I know General Berger went down there and visited recently at a lot of the underlying facilities were established about the same time Buddy Holly was topping the charts and their antiquated facilities. It's like a Rubik's cube when you're moving equipment around to actually do servicing.
And so much so that I think Lockheed Martin is talking about or considering their own depot maintenance facility. There are over 4,000 people that are employed down there. They're doing great work. We have done work like getting the money for the security fencing down there, the securing in FY '18, the Lifan facility funding.
But these projects are not online yet, and I don't think the Lifan facility is under contract. So do -- am I reading it right that FRCE is still considered to be an important part of airframe maintenance facility -- the airframe maintenance for all several lines of service, and certainly, they're a key for the B variant for the Joint Strike Fighter?
What should I read, and some of these projects shifting to the right or are not moving ahead?
It's definitely an important base for us and an important place where we do deeper maintenance. I think the --
The microphone is --
Something that's tied to the funding constraints need to fit things into the budget.
Admiral Gilday, anything to add?
Yes, sir. Similar to the PSYOPS for shipyards, we have the PSYOPS for fleet repair facilities, and we just started that effort, and we're prioritizing those projects. I owe you a better answer, sir, and we'll come back with what those -- what the potential timelines look like and, of course, how they might play out as we get into the '23 budget bill.
Yeah, you know, I understand you all, and you've got competing priorities and limited funds. So I understand but will be submitting for the record some of the specific projects that are required now in a matter of less than two years that haven't even started. So we know that things are going to shift to the right.
So I'd like to get an update on those. I won't run through the details here, but we'll submit them for the record. I also want to ask a question about personnel shortfalls for Secretary Harker and Admiral Gilday. The Government Accountability Office released a report on crew fatigue in the surface force that found crew shortfalls were worse than previously reported.
GAO reported that until recently, the Navy measured shortfalls based on the number of funded possessions rather than the number of actually required for the safe operation of a vessel. The study also found an inconsistent implementation of fatigue management measures. So how are you working to ensure a safe and adequately crewed surface force for our sailors?
What are we going to do differently? And I know you're new under the role, so you're -- looking back, what do we need to do differently, or looking forward, what are we going to do differently?
So the report -- we're still working on our response to the report, but I think some of the things we've done is we've shifted how we track things from, as you said, the number of funded billets to the actual number of required billets. So that's something that we've shifted as we track and measure things going forward.
We've also increased the number of billets on our seagoing ships and invested in filling those billets and improved the fit-fill ratio. Sir, you want to add anything?
So over the past three and a half years, we've increased our at sea -- sailors at sea by 23,000. We have more sailors at sea today than we had in 2014. The gaps that we see right now and the data that I look at is less than 5 percent of our billets at sea or gap. That's not satisfactory, it needs to be zero. What led to this effort to fund all those billets and why it's so important goes right back to what we learned from those collisions in 2017. So it is a priority for us. The secretary said in the beginning, in terms of prioritizing, current readiness is our top priority that gets right to manning, equipping, and training the force at adequate levels.
Thank you. And General Berger, I'll be -- I'm out of time, but I'll be submitting a few questions. It has more to do with some of your strategy and the future of the Marine Corps' rightsizing. But thank you all for your service and look forward to speaking with you individually.
Thank you, Senator Tillis. Now, let me recognize Senator Kaine.
Thank you, Mister Chair and Ranking Member Inhofe. Admiral Gilday, I was going to ask other questions, but I'm sort of inspired to follow up a little bit from Senator Cotton on your reading list because when I saw that there was controversy about it, I pulled up the reading list. And Mister Chair, I'd like to introduce the CNO's 2021 reading list into the record.
So as I look at it, there are 53 books on the reading list, which would probably be, you know, tens of thousands of pages. And I read your intro statement about the Navy history of beginning with every ship, we have 37 books on it that would be recommended to sailors, and this is a voluntary reading list to basically train leaders.
And I think the motto that you use to kind of summarize this is read well to lead well. Isn't that right?
Yes, sir, it is.
And as I look at the list, it is a pretty remarkably broad category of books. There are books about naval history, there are books about particular naval operations -- SEAL Team Six, there are books about particular weapons systems like autonomous, aerial, or marine vehicles, or robotics, or the use of artificial intelligence.
There's a lot about kind of naval history and weapons system, a lot about strategy. A lot of the books are about sort of individual leadership traits, maybe specifically to the military officers eat last, but also a lot of books that are not military at all, that are really about leadership traits, as I look at the list.
There are books that tackle contemporary issues in society like racism or the second-class status that many women have perceived throughout history. And those seem to be designed to make people maybe think put themselves in somebody else's shoes and think about somebody else. Those don't seem that controversial to me. There's nothing in the intro to the reading list where you're saying, you know, I agree with every assertion made in each of these 53 books.
And the list is not offered as any kind of mandate or you know, thought direction. You're just wanting people to make sure that they consider broadly that both strategy in history and the perspectives of others as they tackle the important and patriotic tasks of being military
leaders. Isn't that right?
Yes, sir. And if I could say on the book in question by a gentleman named Kennedy, the reason why that's in the list is because we set up a task force called Task Force One Navy after George Floyd's murder. And that was -- that essentially came down to conversations in small groups at every command in the Navy, so that people could tell a story courageously come forward and tell their stories.
And so Kennedy tells his story as a Black American growing up and the challenges that he faced, but he's also very self-critical. And I don't agree with every assertion that Kennedy makes in every conclusion that he draws, but I did find it to be a very helpful read, particularly in light of those conversations that we were having, and that's why I put it on the recommended list.
And I know that some question that choice. But it really does get critical thinking as I spoke to earlier in a day and age where it's really difficult sometimes to get right to the facts and for people to make value judgments.
And you even have a book on the list that I thought was an interesting one. I can't remember the title, but it was about how to talk about difficult subjects in a really easy way. So it's kind of like you can't talk about that at work -- how to talk about race, politics, and religion.
Because in many workplaces, those can be divisive, and they're divisive if you don't talk about them or they're divisive if you talk about them in the wrong way, in a military composed of the entire spectrum of American society.
It's good to be able to talk about tough issues and talk about them in a way where people are respectful and listen to one another. Isn't that true?
Yes, sir. And so back to the conversations we were having, specifically on ships, some people need to understand how to get the ball rolling. You know, how to face -- how to introduce these conversations in a way that wasn't controversial and provocative, but in a useful kind
of way to learn from each other.
We think it's been helpful. We're trying to continue it. And so thanks for deepening the discussion on this.
Yeah, there's deepening the discussion. One of your books is called Deep Thinking, it's by Garry Kasparov, and it's about how human creativity is even more powerful than the most advanced automation or computers. And so you know, look, the military has got to defend this country. And even though that depends to some degree on platforms, it still depends most on people, and not people working in their own little sphere, not connected to other people working in groups.
And if people are going to work in groups in a diverse society, there's going to be a lot of people in the group who aren't exactly like them. And books that help you understand other's perspectives are even books that make you feel uncomfortable. My favorite book is The Bible, but I don't like the last shall come first and the first shall come last, that makes me a little bit uncomfortable.
I'm not sure there's a good book -- a really good book in the history of the written word that had made some people uncomfortable, and a book that just made everybody feel completely comfortable. And I'm not sure it lands on any great books list at all. So I don't discourage you from what you're trying to do to enable people to read broadly and then see the world through each other's perspectives so that they can work better together as a unit to defend the nation.
Thank you, Mister Chair.
Thank you, Senator Kaine. Let me recognize Senator Cramer, please.
Thank you, Mister Chairman, and leave it to Senator Kaine to change the topic completely. But I can't resist one of -- in these times we were going through where it's difficult to start a discussion to your point and your reference to scripture, I'm reminded that scripture tells us not -- doesn't tell us to be careful, it tells us to be careful how we treat people, but it also tells us to stop being offended so easily.
And I think part of the problem -- and Admiral, I admire you for wanting to enhance critical thinking, but to have critical thinking you have to have critical conversations. And so anyway, good work. I applaud you for it. And I'll leave it at that. But you never know what's going to go on with that, right, guys?
But back to the other topics, and thank you all for being here for your service, of course. When we talk about the goal of 460 ships, the Chinese go 460 ships by 2030, we're not even really considering the -- their militia or the Coast Guard, which it's -- my understanding basically doubles that number of assets available to them.
If we had to forcibly maintain freedom of navigation to locations like South Korea, or Taiwan, or any number of others, how much of an additional problem is the militia assets in the Coast Guard assets? And I'll start with you, Admiral.
Sir, I think the problem -- just in terms of numbers, but what we have in our favor besides a pretty robust forward-deployed force that we have, a really strong network of allies and partners and that network is growing. The Brits, their first carrier in a generation are now headed over to the Western Pacific.
We worked very closely with the French, with the South Koreans, with the Japanese, with the Australians, with the Canadians, and the list goes on and on. And so we're sailing with them, operate with them every day. And I think that's something that China doesn't have, and they wish they did. And we really do value it. I just had the Dutch CNO over for dinner the other night, I'll meet with another head of a navy next week.
I was just in Denmark, and I was in Toulon, France with both the first sea lord from the Royal Navy and also the chief of the navy from the French Navy. And those partnerships are just key.
Great reminders. Secretary, did you want to add anything to that or just agree?
I'm sorry, sir?
Did you want to add anything to what the admiral was saying or just agree?
No, sir. I believe that we have the power and credibility to deter our enemies over there.
So I want to go next, and this may be a little less conventional, and this is really important back home. So here I come from this agricultural state in the middle of North American continent, right, we're taking the Navy guys. In 2020, U.S. agricultural exports to the Pacific include $11.7 billion to Japan, $7.7 billion to South Korea, $3.4 billion to Vietnam, $3.3 billion to Taiwan, $3.2 billion to the Philippines, and $2.8 billion to Indonesia, and on and on it goes, obviously a lot of hungry people.
A lot of hungry people in the Pacific that like what we grow in places like North Dakota and throughout our country. In this 2030 scenario, could we guarantee we'd have shipping access to all or any of these important trading partners?
Sir, I think that's the crux of the issue with respect to our investment -- sir, that's the crux of our investment strategy to make sure that we can keep a Navy to be relevant. So at any given day, we've got about a third of the Navy at sea. We think that's what we need, and not only training but also deployed to have that presence forward to maintain those open sea lanes and keep that trade flowing.
We saw what happened in the Suez recently, and that should be a lesson for all of us, it cost $9 billion a day. It doesn't take much to upset global trade, do those key choke points.
Well, to your point you made just to the previous question regarding the important partnerships, obviously, we have to always be reminded that because when you look at just the volume, as you said, the assets that they have, the shipyards that they have both commercial and naval, obviously, it can be a little bit overwhelming.
But anyway, getting off on the reading list tangent cost me a little bit of time, but it was all worth it. Thank you all. Thank you, Mister Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Cramer. Senator King, please.
Thank you, Mister Chairman. I think the most telling chart in the presentation that you gave us this morning is on Page 6. It's the Department of Navy Total Obligation Authority. And the telling line is the yellow line, which is constant dollars. And what it shows is that we're actually either flat or slightly below, you saw me trying to figure it out here.
We're slightly below the level of expenditure for the Navy as in 2010. Admiral, the strategic challenge to this country has changed dramatically since 2010. Has it not?
Yes, sir, it certainly has. I agree with that.
And it's changed from the global war on terror to near pure competition, particularly with China and Russia, which is a more conventional kind of adversarial challenge. Is that correct?
Yes, sir, but the only thing I'd add is that the character of conflicts changing with our focus on space and cyber, as well as the conventional domains.
But still, the point is it's difficult to argue that a flat budget since 2010 to today, given the rise of the Chinese navy, for example. It seems to me that's tough to justify, and I know that these weren't your decisions. I want to go back to something Senator Brown's asked about
the DDG. Just let's get on the record.
If that multiyear contract is breached, the government will have to pay a $33 million penalty. Is that not correct, Mister Secretary?
Yes, sir, it is.
And you have told me both in the hearing today and previously that this was the toughest decision that you had to face. The point I want to make about this is not only the lack of the destroyer but the impact that this decision has on the industrial base, not only in the
immediate future in terms of how many people do you need to build the ships, but also the principle of breaking a multiyear, I would argue, sends a shudder through the industrial base in terms of the investment they need.
If they're going to make major $100 million investments in shipbuilding capacity and also in training of new shipbuilders, they have to have some confidence that there's a stream of demand coming. Mister Secretary, you understand that. I'm sure.
I do. Yes, sir.
And, Admiral, you saw at Bath Iron Works the number of people that they're hiring and the problem of the cliff in terms of future production. Now, I understand you can't guarantee ships into the indefinite future, but you understand the impact of the sort of chilling effect of the breaching of the multiyear might have on investment and on workforce.
Absolutely, sir. If I take a look at, as an example, Columbia class, we know we're going to build X amount of submarines. And so that gives those companies a clear set of headlights in terms of where are we going so that they can make infrastructure investments with a high degree of confidence. We saw what happened in Bath with the Zumwalts, we only build three, we thought we were going to build 30, and they made significant investments that never panned out.
And so that is a -- it's not lost on me, the significant negative impact on the industrial base with decisions like this, sir.
Well, the problem is, as you know, I live near Bath, you can't turn the industrial base off and on. If it goes down, you're talking about welders going somewhere else. And in this economy, they're going to go somewhere else. And so I think that's the national security challenge involved here. The other piece of the challenge of this budget is this has occurred to me for a long time.
We're having a total rebuild of our nuclear deterrent capacity, at the same time, as a 100- year rebuild of our depot maintenance capacity. And the problem, those are two sort of one- time expenditures that are sort of varying or altering the -- what would otherwise be a normal budget. I call them the pig in the python of the Navy budget.
There's a bulge that we're having to deal with. And that's constraining everything else. Mister Secretary, is that true?
Yes, sir, that's giving us unprecedented challenges to try to recapitalize the Columbia, as well as the shipyards, and grow the Navy.
And I think we should look on these as sort of one-time events rather than business as usual because we're not going to recapitalize the strategic deterrent every five years and we're not going to recapitalize the shipyards. Final point is on the DDX planning, we've talked about the Ford today. We had a full hearing on the Ford a couple of years ago.
And what -- one of the principal things that we learned from that hearing was don't do R&D while you're building the ship. And because the catapult and the elevator were both new, and here we are, still dealing with the elevators. So I hope to both of you that you will work with the shipyards to minimize what I call the first ship premium.
If the more fully developed the plans and requirements are before the contracts or bid, the better you're going to do in terms of price and performance on those ships. That's just based on what we've seen in the past. Admiral, I do hope that you're going to follow a course of working with the ship -- the shipyards and have the engineering as complete as possible before we force these shipyards to bid with considerable risk built there.
Sir, that's the plan. In fact, we're talking to both Bath and Engels right now, everybody -- all stakeholders in the same room as we talk about the design of that ship. So similar to what we did when we went from, let's say, when we went from the Ticonderoga-class cruiser to the Arleigh Burke destroyer, we are changing the hull, right, but the combat system is going to remain the same.
So we are meant -- to the point you made about Ford, we're not looking for a build, we're going to have to pull off successive miracles to get a ship to see it on time.
Thank you very much for your service, all of you. Thank you, gentlemen.
Thank you, Senator King. Let me recognize Senator Sullivan, please.
Thank you, Mister Chairman. And gentlemen, thank you for your testimony today and your service to our nation. Look, I want to agree with Senator Inhofe here. There's a lot of discussion about difficult choices. Actually, it's in -- you are up here, and you can't admit it, but you don't like this budget, you know that.
I don't like this budget, this isn't a difficult choice, this is a bad choice. If you look at where the Biden administration is prioritizing our military, it's dead last. That homeland security after inflation, it's actually cut. Every other agency gets a double-digit increase. But for the military and defense of our nation, it's dead last.
Now, this is not -- this is a very bipartisan committee and I want to thank the chairman because I think he's doing a great job. And I want to thank my friend, Angus King, because I also think he's doing -- but I'm going to ask my colleagues, particularly my Democratic colleagues, for help. Let's see that one in China.
Because at the national Democratic level, whether it's Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders with their defund, the Pentagon amendment last year to the NDAA -- that was 14 percent across the board cuts, or that budget, or what we're doing competing with China, that shows China increasing its defense budget about on average 10 percent a year over the last decade, we have decreased the Obama-Biden to 25 percent cuts.
Twenty-five percent cuts in the second term, that's just crazy. We try to rebuild it when the Republicans were in power, now we're cutting again. We can't do this, can't do it. So my colleagues ask and help us, that's the trend. So let me just ask Admiral Gilday, General Berger, if these trends continue -- I'm not going to ask you to comment on the budget, but, Admiral, I was very appreciative of your statement.
If the Navy's top line remains flat, the fleet will decrease, but we need a larger more capable fleet. If these trends continue, flat or actually this is a declining military budget. Again, if you're Homeland, if your Department of Education, you get a 40 percent increase to your budget. You guys get a 4 percent cut. If these trends continue, what will this do, specifically, Admiral and General, to our ability to compete against China in the long term?
And I'm not asking for you to comment on this budget. I'm asking you, declining budgets, what will that do, sir?
So it's going to cause us to make some difficult choices in terms of priorities, and it'll be that tension between current day -- current readiness and modernization, and making tough choices in terms of where the --
More directly, if we are -- sorry to interrupt, if we have declining budgets which the Biden administration clearly wants, OK, that's what they do. No offense. My national Democratic - - not the ones here on this committee, but overall. Go look at the chairman of the Budget Committee right now, he wants a 25 percent cut to the U.S. military, Bernie Sanders, if our ability to compete with China will be dramatically diminished, won't it?
So I think that the chiefs have been consistent about -- we believe -- our best advice is a 3 percent to 5 percent growth profile to put us in a place where we think we need to be to both compete to turn and win if it comes to a conflict.
Thank you. General, you have a view on this, again, if the trends continue? I'm not asking you to comment on today's budget. I know it's difficult for you -- the witnesses because you don't like this budget, I know you don't like this budget. I can't stand this budget, but what do you think, General?
What has remained consistent is the notion of a pacing threat as you highlight, Senator. That means, they are moving, we're moving. The trends continue, as you point out. If they continue to invest in the -- at the rate that they're going and we don't maintain pace with that, then we'll widen a gap, in other words, increases the risk strategically to our country.
Let me ask one more specific thing, and it's really a joint thing between the Navy and Marine Corps, and General Berger, again, I really appreciate all you're doing on the force design, and you're very strategic and innovative thinking with regard to the Marines. What sea denial capability does the Marine Corps currently have, and what capabilities will naval strike missile and tactical Tomahawk give the Marine Corps?
And, Admiral, to you, how important is it that you -- to you that the Marine Corps be able to conduct these sea denial missions to support the Navy? This is a really integrated element of your strategy. It's Marine Corps and Navy, and I think a lot of people -- I know the Congress cut this last year, and I think it was a mistake.
To the two of you, do you have a view on that?
Today, we have a limited -- very limited capability. I mean, you could -- probably, on the -- one hand, less than four or five the capabilities that contribute directly to sea denial. We need a ground-based, anti-ship capability so that we can lock down certain, especially key choke points that the fleet commander -- the joint force commander needs to control.
The anti-ship missile, the nemesis, the naval strike missile, and the larger, longer-range -- the Tomahawk -- maritime strike Tomahawk, those give us the ability to control straits to lock down an area that the fleet commander needs to control.
Sir, I agree with the commandant. And I think that the analysis that we've done, and we presented, it requires a different mix of both traditional battle for ships, but also new amphibious ships and combat logistics ships in order to yield more combat power in a distributed way. We understand how we think, we need to fight in the future, and a plan that we have presented, the analysis that we based, the analysis that we've done, I think, puts us on a path to yield the kind of power that the comment -- you introduced in the comment I followed up.
Thank you. Thank you, Mister Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Sullivan. Senator Warren is recognized via Webex.
Thank you, Mister Chairman, and thank you all for being here today. Admiral Gilday, I'd like to address the Navy's efforts on producing more fuel-efficient engines for the surface fleet. One of these technologies is the hybrid electric drive, HED, system, which uses an electric motor to improve the ship's overall fuel efficiency, consuming less fuel and lowering its total costs.
A GAO report on November 2020 detailed how the Navy had decided to suspend the HED program and pursue a different research effort -- the propulsion drive ship service, PDSS. The report also stated that the Navy didn't fully assess the costs and benefits or complete the testing of the HED system before making its decision and could not provide any information on why it is necessary to suspend the HED program in order to pursue the PDSS research effort.
So, Admiral Gilday, after spending over $100 million of taxpayer money on the development, purchase, and upgrade of six HED systems, would you say that the Navy made the right decision in suspending the HED program?
Ma'am, I'm familiar with the report, but I really need to go back and take a look at the conclusions and then the recommendations, and I like to come back with you -- come back to you with the details.
What can you say something about what factors went into the decision for suspending the system?
Ma'am, I can't, with the degree of specificity, that I think this topic deserves.
Well, you know, Admiral, the GAO report mentioned that the system requires little maintenance per the commanding officer and crew of the USS Truxtun and senior Navy engineers. And also, according to the Navy's January 2020 report to Congress, this system was designed for low-speed operations, which comprise more than a third of a typical HED operating profile.
So the report I'm reading -- and it doesn't match up with the conclusion here, so it's my understanding that the PDSS is still in its infancy stages with quite a lot of time before it reaches full operational capability. Is that correct, Admiral?
Ma'am, I don't mean to be evasive. I just really need to dig into that report more deeply and get briefed on it, and I am committed to come back to you with a thorough answer to your question.
All right. And one of the questions I'm going to ask you about is whether or not the money dedicated to the HED system is going to the PDSS system or if it's something else here? You know, I'm glad that the Navy is prioritizing research and development on fuel-efficient ship engines and that it thinks that there are even better technologies that can outperform the HED. But I'm really concerned that abandoning a good system now in favor of a better but not yet close to an operationally ready system is a good idea.
It's critical that investments in improving fuel-efficient ship ending -- engines be made reliably and with transparency. You know, these technologies ensure that the Navy remains flexible and agile for the future and reduces its dependency on a potentially vulnerable fossil fuel supply chain and that it builds public trust in how money is being spent.
So I'm going to look forward to hearing more from you on these questions. I really want to understand where the Navy is on this.
Thank you. Thank you, Mister Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Warren. If Senator Scott is ready, he could be recognized.
Well, thank you, Chair Reed. I want to thank you for [Crosstalk] your service and what you do every day. I guess the first question is, do we all agree that we're, you know, facing increasing threats from our adversaries all across the world?
And do we have any feeling that communist China is going to slow down in building up their military and doing everything they can that causes problems in the Indo-Pacific?
No, sir, there's no indication of slowing down.
And do you believe that as they build their economy, they're going to continue to invest -- communist China will continue to invest more and more into their military?
I think that's one of the projected ways forward, sir, that their funding lines would continue to trend upward.
So if we believe all that, then if you look at these budget numbers, we're seeing -- as Senator Sullivan has pointed out, and when you look at inflation, we're seeing less money invested in the military. We're not even staying up with inflation. How does that make any sense? How can we believe that we can do our job if we're not even going to stay up with even inflation in defense?
So I'll just say that I am grateful for the top line that the Navy has, and I'm committed to making every dollar count so that we're feeling the best force that we possibly can. And so I think that that's my responsibility, is to take the top line that we have and to fill the best force that we can, the best -- the most ready, the most capable, the most lethal.
And that's how I -- that's how I'm proceeding with respect to how we're investing our money.
So you're not defending whether it's the right number or not. You're just saying I got stuck with this number, and so I'm just going to -- whatever I get stuck with, I'll do my best.
Sir, that's what I have to do. It has to be -- my -- the -- my way forward has to be budget informed and I have a responsibility to make sure that the force that's out there today that I'm serving, not only the nation well but I'm serving the sailors that are on those ships, that they have what they need to be a credible fighting force. And I think we can do that.
So everything I read and like -- is that when the U.S. plays war game scenarios in the Indo- Pacific, especially over Taiwan, we lose. Is that the war games you fight or do you have a different [Crosstalk]
Sir, I have a different view. It depends on the game. It depends on the approach. Those war games, even the ones where we get beat, we learn a whole lot in terms of honing our skills or concepts and giving a better understanding of what we need to win with respect to kit.
Do you believe that we have the Navy that's going to deter communist China from invading Taiwan today?
I do. I don't think we're doing it alone. I think we're doing it with allies and partners, but I think we have a credible force forward right now.
Thank you. Gen. Berger, I've -- can you give us a little more information on your re-envision of the Marine Corps and what you're doing and how that's going to help us deal with communist China?
Sir, the Marine Corps for the past 20 years largely has been in the Middle East doing what the nation needed it to do. But going forward, it needs to do something different. To deter the PRC, the PLAN, and to be ready to respond to any crisis, we have to go back to our naval
roots. We have to become expeditionary once again.
We have to fit into a joint force, as CNO answered to the -- your first question, as a joint force that can work with our partners and allies to first prevent a crisis. But if there is one, be ready to respond quickly.
Do you believe today that your understanding of -- if you were involved in trying to deter or defend Taiwan -- I mean, defend, could you do it?
That's a simple question to ask. As you pointed out, sir, it's a very complicated one to answer because on different classification levels and different scenarios, the outcome is different.
So what do you personally believe? Do you believe that we can defend Taiwan today?
I believe we need a margin of error so that it's not even close.
Do you think we have it?
It depends. Conventionally, turns is in partly in the mind of the adversary. Do they believe we have the capabilities, and do they believe we have the will to use it? I can't -- I can answer the first one, not the second one.
Do you think having a defense budget that doesn't stay up for inflation gives them the belief that we're committed?
I think back to the pacing part of a pacing threat, there's a degree of strategic and operational risk that we need to understand. The budget is part of that.
All right. I thank each of you. Thank you, Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Scott. Senator Peters, please.
Thank you, Mister Chairman, and thank you to each of our witnesses for your service to our country. Admiral, my question for you is I'd like to return to the GAO report that Senator Tillis addressed earlier, and specifically its finding on fatigue. Shifting [Crosstalk] shifting away from optimal manning process to better account for ship workload will certainly help in the long run.
But my question for you, sir, is what are you doing now to combat fatigue in the fleet?
Sir, making great gains to make sure that everybody on ships gets seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. And so that's a challenge. We learn -- we've been learning a lot. We have medical experts who are helping us design a program. We're assessing that
program. We just came out with a revised instruction based on our assessment a few months ago.
We continue to learn, but I'm confident they're in the right track and we're committed to this, sir. Again, tied to those collisions at '17.
All right. Thank you, Admiral. General Berger, the Marine Corps just awarded a contract for the organic precision fire-mounted system. This type of investment in loitering munitions will certainly be a key to ensure that the Marine Corps is properly equipped for those fights in the future. My question for you is, could you discuss how the fiscal year '22 budget actually reflects these modernization priorities in unmanned systems?
Both in the air and on the surface, as you highlight, we'll -- we will triple the number of unmanned aerial systems, aerial squadrons that we have, and they'll be a mix of those that collect, those that are lethal, those that provide logistics, those that fuse information and move that information. On the surface, the -- to an earlier discussion, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, for example, we're using it in a configuration now with the naval strike missile where it's a combination of manned and unmanned teaming.
Some vehicles, crewed, some uncrewed. And that allows the tactical commander to spread his forces out and pose to adversary a threat from multiple vectors, which is what we need to be able to do.
All right. General, in -- Berger, again, in April, the Marine Corps Gazette, the -- there was a story talking about the Second Marine Information Group, and the commander offered several recommendations for operating in the information environment, focusing entirely
on both individual and union or and unit mindsets.
That certainly makes me wonder about the intangible components of Force Design 2030. So could you talk to the committee a little bit about what you believe every Marine should know about information and how to operationalize it, as well as what every commander
My assumption is that you're going to want your Marine Corps and your Navy far forward. That's the best chance you have to deter. That's the best chance you have to respond to a crisis. If you're far forward, then you're closest to the adversary. And what information goes
back and forth, what messages you're sending, what you're collecting and moving within your force matters.
I think the joint force commander, the combatant commander that the CNO talked about earlier is going to rely very heavily on the Marine Corps and the Navy forward to paint a picture of what's in front of them and to move that information and to call out an adversary's actions to make it public. Every Marine then who's forward has to understand that as lethal as we are, and we are very lethal, the information part of that is extraordinarily important.
We have to understand that. That every individual becomes a cog in a bigger system of what do they see in us, what do we see in them, how are we trying to defeat their reconnaissance of us, what do they understand about us. So it's a higher level of understanding for Marines
and sailors, I think, forward that hasn't been necessary in the past but will be critical moving forward.
Right. Thank you, General. Thank you, Mister Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Peters. Senator Tuberville, please.
Thank you very much. Thank you for your service. Admiral, I want to revisit your statement that numbers matter. China's Navy is bigger. Not only bigger but geographically concentrated. Almost all PLA Navy ships are in the South China Sea. Do you believe the United States maintains naval superiority within 1,000 miles of China?
Sir, right now, we do. If we need to respond, we could, and we could respond with overwhelming force. And then surge additional forces forward.
OK. General Berger, Iwo Jima midway Pearl Harbor, a fight in the Pacific falls on the Navy and the Marine Corps. If we have a conflict with China, our nation will look to you. But if this budget passes, the Marine Corps' end strength of FY '22 down by 2,700. You've worn the cloth of our nation for 40 years and I know have the courage to answer this question like a Marine.
Is it responsible to shrink the Marine Corps as the nation pivots into the Indo-Pacific?
When you say -- just to clarify, sir, shrink the Marine Corps, are you talking about end strength, just to make sure, the structure of the Marine Corps?
I will trade size for quality if we have to. I think the -- all the service chiefs would like to never cut their end strength given an unrestricted unlimited set of resources, but that's not the world that we live in. So we will reduce the end strength. We have reduced the end
strength in order to fund our own modernization for the future.
Thank you. You know, our military is built on, obviously, recruitment because we are a volunteer military. I just don't want us to get into this extremism in which we know we have problems in a lot of different areas, you know, being a football coach for years. I brought people in and they went my way or they went the other way because you got to build a team.
But, you know, you see things like, Admiral, you know, in your department, you know, we -- I saw on social media, we had a pride flag on your social media on an aircraft carrier. I have no problem with that because, you know, I have young men that were gay that played football for me. I mean, I -- you know, you take everybody.
And it takes everybody in the military, but we can't separate. We can't separate. To me, it's the bigger cause that all these young men and women fight for our military. It's not individual sport. It's not golf, it's football. I mean, you got to -- we got to build a team. So I just -- and I've asked the same thing of Secretary Austin and the others, we just need a commitment from everybody to kind of calm down on all this, so we can build a military that believes in one thing, our country.
And we believe in it together. If we keep dividing our country, we're going to continue to have problems. And I think it's something we just need to all be really careful of in the future because we -- we've got the greatest country on the face of this earth, and we don't want to destroy it. But individualizing and make an individual sports out of everything we do, especially the military, especially the military.
So I just need to make that statement. Thank you, Mister Chairman. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Senator Tuberville. Senator Duckworth is recognized via Webex.
Thank you, Mister Chairman. And as someone who served 23 years on our military, I can tell you, it is one team, one fight, regardless of who is in the aircraft with you. I would tell you that when I was bleeding to death in my helicopter, I didn't ask what their -- somebody's background was. I only care that they had an American flag on their shoulder and went there to rescue me. So our military truly is united, and that oath of office is what unites all of us. Good morning, gentlemen.
Thank you for being here and thank you for your service to our nation. I am very encouraged to see the development of unmanned naval platforms such as the MQ-25 aerial refueler, which will provide essential logistic support to our maritime forces. The MQ-25 conducted their first-ever aerial refueling between a manned aircraft and an unmanned tanker on June 4 from MidAmerica Airport in my home state of Illinois.
It will be the world's first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft providing aerial refueling and ISR capabilities for carrier strike groups. MQ-25 integration will extend the range of our aircraft carriers and lay the foundation for all future carrier-based unmanned systems. Admiral Gilday, could you speak to the impact of unmanned programs such as the MQ-25 have on our ability to provide essential logistics in contested environments and the importance of continued investment in unmanned systems for the Navy's future force design?
In particular, how do you plan to employ this capability to support our operational plans in the Indo-Pacific region where the tyranny of distance is something we've already discussed?
Yes, ma'am, thanks for the question. I think that the impact of the MQ-25 and our experience is that we've seen out at sea and again with the aerial refueling that you mentioned two weeks ago, I think the effects are profound for not only the Navy but our military. It'll change the dynamic of the carrier air wing.
You mentioned increased ISR capability, increased range, increased lethality. I also think it's going to change the way that we employ the air wing where you'll have manned and unmanned operating together. And the MQ-25 is our first look at how we're going to do that going into the 2030s. That particular platform, we have a high degree of confidence in right now, and that's only growing day by day as we operate it. And so as we move forward, ma'am, what we're learning from the MQ-25, we're not only applying that to other aerial vehicles, but we're also applying it to the work that we're doing on unmanned surface platforms and unmanned undersea platforms as well.
Thank you, Admiral. I was pleased that you released the Department of the Navy's Unmanned Campaign Framework, which outlines a holistic approach to developing and deploying unmanned systems and ensuring that individual technologies can operate within a broader architecture of networked warfighting systems.
I believe unmanned systems will play a key role in future distributed marine operations, littoral operations in a contested environment, and expeditionary advance-based operations. However, these platforms won't provide maximum capability for our forces if they are not fully integrated with other important systems.
And I'm so glad to hear in your earlier answer that you're integrating these systems in. I do understand that you need to develop a manned-unmanned teaming solution in order to effectively employ the MQ-25 in some situations. Can you please just walk me through your plans for this solution and what resources you might need to develop this enabler so we can get the most use out of an important capability like the MQ-25?
Yes, ma'am. So first of all, on a campaign plan, I'd also like to mention that the commandant, General Berger, also signed that framework with me. So the Marine Corps and the Navy are working because we have to hand in hand as we proceed forward with unmanned. So conceptually, ma'am, we -- what we believe for some period of time is it this will be a phased approach with respect to unmanned where for a certain period of time there will be -- there needs to be a man in the loop.
And so eventually, we'll have artificial intelligence technology, machine learning that allows us to continue to increase the amount of autonomy that we employ with these vessels. But I think that we have to be smart about this and understand that this is going to be a phased approach. But there's still a lot of power there even in a phased approach if we take a responsible way to keep a man in the loop as we leverage the unmanned and uncrewed vessels.
Thank you. I like to chat a little bit about the Indo-Pacific region. You know, I think we are clear that our alliances and partnerships provide the United States with a clear asymmetrical advantage against potential adversaries. I would love to -- I know I'm out of time. General Berger, I'd like to submit a question for the record to ask you, really, how would the Marine Corps balance the need to invest in modernization with resource and critical readiness and mil-to-mil initiatives with our partners and allies, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region?
I'm talking specifically about building trust and interoperability by actually having a presence in the Indo-Pacific on the ground in the region to basically, bottom line, enhance relationships and increase deterrence and open doors. You know, finding new friends, maybe not necessarily allies but people who are just happy to have us there to enforce the rule of law and international norms and behavior.
So I submit that for the record and I hope that you'll send me an answer. Thank you, General Berger. But I'm over time, Mister Chairman. Thank you.
Thank you, Senator Duckworth. Senator Blackburn, please.
Thank you, Mister Chairman. Admiral Gilday, I want to come to you if I may. Naval support activity, mid-south in Millington there in Tennessee, and of course, we have some of the best personnel there for Navy Recruiting Command and Navy Personnel Command. And we're just so honored to have them there and appreciative of the work that they do. I want to talk with you a little bit about the newly transformed model of recruiting, which you have really pushed back and away from the legacy model and where you had one recruiter for every job.
And I like what you're doing with the 1,100 talent acquisition stations supported by 64 talent acquisition onboarding centers and 26 Navy talent acquisition teams. And I understand that this is fully operational now in 2021 when your start date and your target date had been 2023. So it is wonderful to see transformative change being implemented and ahead of schedule.
And the men and women that have worked on that really deserve a lot of talent. So talk a little bit about how this transformational model with basically the three-person team with the recruiter or the scout, the assessor, and the on border, how that is working, and how you implemented that?
Ma'am, thanks for recognizing our teammates out of Millington, really, really a terrific, terrific group of innovators out there. I'd say two things upfront that allow us to take a look at how we reimagine recruiting. One was the pandemic. And so we were challenged when we fa -- with respect to face-to-face contact.
And so we began to rely on the digital that much more. And we already had an idea how we were going to do this in terms of, as you described, transforming the organization. Based on funding from Congress, we were able to accelerate that by three years. We couldn't have done that without the help of this committee and others.
And so that is I think a real model for when Congress believes we're in the right track here and they allow us to fund it, that we can make fundamental changes. Under this new system, we have recruited 54,000 new sailors into the Navy. We have met and exceeded our goals even during the pandemic. So it's relying on small teams that work together very closely.
And also, we're leveraging social media and the digital, as well as e-teams that compete out there where the potential recruitable population hangs out, which is in the gaming -- on the gaming sites.
All right. And I want you to drill down a little bit on two things. Number one is how this is helping you get the skilled talent you need for 21st-century warfare? And second, how you have used bots and data to help target and to be effective?
So the data has allowed us to understand where the recruitable population resides, not physically, but virtually in cyberspace. And so when you think about the gaming community, which is pretty big among -- I have sons that are in college, and it's a pretty big - - it's millions of young people that play these games online.
And so we've created Navy teams that are out there playing and can answer people's questions when they have one. We found, in particular, with respect to those that are interested in the cyber field of study that I have to be less lot -- rely less on their being a college graduate than the fact that they're a good gamer or a good hacker and just are interested in how they can apply their skills in a place like the Navy where they can do some pretty exciting things with -- if they have the right authorities to do so and that's classified, but that gets in a higher classification.
But we have been able to attract, as you mentioned, ma'am, some really sophisticated and dedicated patriots into the Navy.
And I would assume utilizing that type of artificial intelligence, you'll be able to apply that to things such as promotion boards to eliminate bias and to --
Yes, ma'am, that's a good goal. I would just say that I think it'll take us some time to get there before machines can make those kinds of, in some cases, subjective judgment calls, whether it's on the battlefield or whether it's in a promotion board. But I certainly think that's in our future and that's a path that we're on.
I appreciate that and I commend you and the team at Millington for the way forward on this. General Berger, I'm going to submit questions for you dealing with China. Secretary Harker, I also have some questions pertaining to China, and I will submit those for the record. Mister Chairman, thank you.
Thank you, Senator Blackburn. Senator Rosen, please.
There it is. Thank you, Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Inhofe, for holding this hearing. And thank you so much for your service and for being here today. Of course, in Nevada, we have our wonderful Fallon Naval Air Station and we're proud to host it. It's home to TOPGUN, our nation's premier carrier air wing.
It's home to the SEAL -- Navy SEAL Training Center. And so last year, the Navy requested an expansion of over 600,000 acres of federal land and over 65,000 acres of nonfederal land, which would expand Fallon training complex to about 900,000 acres. Federal land managers currently allow access to the public for much of the proposed expansion area for grazing, for hunting, for mineral exploration, and geothermal development.
And the Navy's proposal would curtail many of these activities in addition to restricting tribal access to some of our most important -- some of their most important cultural sites. The FY '21 NDAA included a provision that Senator Cortez Masto and I offered that mandates the creation of an Intergovernmental Executive Committee, or IEC, to allow local, state, and tribal governments a public forum to collaborate with the Navy to provide advice and exchange information.
In doing so, we hope we can support the Navy's modernization requirements and keep up with all, of course, our current emerging threats, technologies while maintaining Nevada's natural resources and cultural resources. But the Navy sent over a legislative proposal to this committee almost identical to last year, unfortunately, and it didn't incorporate any of the suggested changes or feedback from our local stakeholders.
So, Admiral, I'm really pleased that you did your IEC right away. But why hasn't the Navy's proposal been modified to incorporate some of these?
Ma'am, I think for the very reasons that you mentioned with respect to -- there are a number of stakeholders involved here. As you know, we've had over 300 engagements with the Native American tribes to try and work through some of those difficulties. There are other difficulties that may or may not coincide with their -- with the tribes that involve the county.
There's also the state. And so -- and there's also the Department of the Interior. So the IEC, we've had two meetings so far. The Walker Paiute Tribe is a vice-chair, as well as the county commissioner. The county commission is also the vice-chair. And I think the way forward here that I'm optimistic about is we are now getting all the stakeholders in the same room together so that we can work through all of these issues in a way that allows us, we hope in the end, to modernize the range.
We haven't done so since the mid-'80s. We're two generations behind with respect to
aircraft. We're facing a problem now where if we don't modernize this range, the first time F- 35s will be able to employ their full capability will be in combat. We're building wind farms off the California coast that again cut into our training ranges. And so we're running out of space to train. But we're using, you know, for some years now, precision weapons, GPS-guided weapons with longer ranges, with sophisticated aircraft, and we can't train our pilots and our aircrews to their full capabilities. So again, very enthused, ma'am, by the IEC. I'm meeting here next Monday.
It's the next one. Tracking it very closely. And of course, I very much appreciate your support as we work through this.
Well, thank you. I look forward to working on that with you and all the allies and partners. I want to just quickly talk about the Fallon's B19 range. And -- because in 1959, the Navy did drop live, inert ordnance right outside of there, speaking of the Walker River Paiute Tribe, and that's nearly 6,000 of their acres where you drop this ordnance.
And so it contaminated all of that. And so will you commit to working with me in the Nevada delegation on ensuring that the tribe is fairly compensated for this contamination?
Yes, ma'am, you have my commitment.
Thank you. And I'll submit this for the record, but Senator Blackburn and I -- she talked about the skilled workforce. We actually have a bill called the Cyber Security Reserve Act to establish a civilian cyber reserve corps, modeled after a recommendation from the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service report that will help in surge capacity and training, giving people on-ramps to serve their government like the other reserve course do, and I look forward to talking with you about that in another time.
Thank you, Senator Rosen. Senator Kelly, please.
Thank you. Thank you, Mister Chairman. And Mister Secretary, Admiral, General, thank you for joining us this morning. This past weekend, I visited the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, a school that gave me the foundation to succeed in the Navy and then later at NASA as an astronaut. While the Merchant Marine is overseen by other committees, I want to acknowledge the important contribution it makes to our total sealift capability.
This is critical. In order to sustain our forces, we need to ensure robust and reliable sealift capacity. Competition with China is increasing, and projecting power to WESTPAC places a demand on our sealift capability that simply were not a factor in the Middle East. Our witnesses mentioned earlier and all of you indicated in written testimony for this hearing your concern about threats to our supply chains and global sustainment networks.
General Berger, can you expand on any concerns you may have about our sealift capability today, and what more does the U.S. need to do to ensure that we have a ready force of sufficient capability?
Sir, like a lot of other people wearing the uniform, the first time I got familiar with sealift capability was 1991 in Saudi Arabia. Sailed them into Al Jubail Port, offloaded ships for probably two, two and a half weeks. That's where we got our equipment from. And we flew from CONUS and linked up with our equipment there.
That was my first exposure to sealift. But that was assured. Sailing those ships in and out of there, they were protected, they were secured. Nobody was threatening those lines at all. A very different picture, as you point out, from the Indo-Pacific where the Chinese Navy is stretching out. It's gaining a marine and a naval force projection capability that they haven't had.
They want to control the same straits that we need to keep open. Sealift now becomes a major concern. In other words, a handful of large ships with a lot of gear on them now becomes vulnerable. We need to disperse that. So I think military sealift going forward is not the same variant as 1991 where there's three or four ships or five in a squadron and they're loaded to the gills with equipment and you can sail into a secure port and offload it.
You're -- own your timeline.
That's not going to be the case.
Well, thank you. Admiral or Secretary Harker, would -- any additional comments on our
We definitely need to recapitalize our sealift capability. We're working to do so. And it's something that we believe strongly in investing in new or in used ships because that gives us the biggest bang for our buck.
And yes, sir. If I could just mention something or expound on something that General Berger mentioned. I think that as we -- as the department looks at this new joint warfighting concept and as we think about how we're going to fight differently in the future, I mean, it's exactly what the commandant was getting to with respect to one area would be sealift in terms of the capacity that we need based on the way we're going to fight.
What the Navy's doing right now, we know that we're behind on recapitalizing sealift. The Congress has given us authorities to buy used sealift. So we've done the market analysis and we're currently purchasing five additional ships, nine total, at about a tenth of the cost to build a new ship. So we do some minor modifications in a U.S. shipyard that gives us a RoRo capability as an example.
Secondly, what we're doing in this budget particularly, we've got 16 additional life extension plans for existing sealift. We're not satisfied with where we are right now, sir. But I think we're headed in the right direction with both -- I just spoke to recapitalization and repair.
As you get those new ships, do you feel like you can find the officers and crew to man them?
Yes, sir. And so one of the national treasures we have is our Merchant Marine force, and they've been great.
Well, thank you, and willing to work with you on going forward on any further ideas on how we strengthen that capability. It's critical to maintain these supply lines. And, General, as you pointed out, it's much different than what we dealt with in 1991 in the first Gulf War. Thank you. And Mister Chairman, I yield back.
Thank you, Senator Kelly. Mister Secretary, Admiral, General, thank you for your testimony today, and thank you for your service in the nation over many years, and please relay our thanks to the men and women of the Navy and the Marine Corps and their families. With that, I will adjourn the hearing.
List of Panel Members and Witnesses
SEN. JACK REED (D-R.I.), CHAIRMAN
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-N.H.)
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-N.Y.)
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CONN.)
SEN. MAZIE K. HIRONO (D-HAWAII)
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA.)
SEN. ANGUS KING (I-MAINE)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MASS.)
SEN. GARY PETERS (D-MICH)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN III (D-W. VA.)
SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-ILL.)
SEN. JACKY ROSEN (D-NEV.)
SEN. MARK KELLY (D-ARIZ.)
SEN. JAMES M. INHOFE (R-OKLA.), RANKING MEMBER
SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MISS.)
SEN. DEB FISCHER (R-NEB.)
SEN. TOM COTTON (R-ARK.)
SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R-S.D.)
SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IOWA)
SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-N.C.)
SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-ALASKA)
SEN. KEVIN CRAMER (R-N.D.)
SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FLA.)
SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TENN.)
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO.)
SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-ALA.)
CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS MICHAEL GILDAY
COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS DAVID BERGER
ACTING SECRETARY OF THE NAVY THOMAS HARKER
Adm. Mike Gilday
22 June 2021
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