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March 7 2015

March 9, 2015


7 March 2015


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‘Cadillac’ tax likely to diminish union health plans, study finds

By Bob Herman  | March 2, 2015

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  • IRS considers exclusions on ‘Cadillac’ health plans
  • New GOP reform plan rolls back Cadillac tax to win over conservatives
  • Health plans obtained through union collective bargaining agreements often include much more generous benefits than other employer-sponsored plans. But such benefits are likely to be pared down as the Affordable Care Act’s excise tax nears, a new study in Health Affairs contends.

    That excise tax, often called the “Cadillac” tax, will go into effect Jan. 1, 2018. A 40% tax will be levied on every dollar of total premiums paid above $10,200 for individual health plans and $27,500 for family plans.

    Policymakers included the Cadillac tax in the ACA as a way to raise revenue to fund the law. The Congressional Budget Office estimates it will bring in $120 billion between 2018 and 2024. Most of that will come from higher taxes on employees’ taxable wages instead of the tax-exempt insurance benefits.

    But the tax also was viewed as a way to reduce the number of health plans that have little cost-sharing and premium contributions, which some argue contribute to the overuse of healthcare. President Barack Obama has been quoted as saying the excise tax will discourage “these really fancy plans that end up driving up costs.” Lavish executive-level health plans and collegiate benefit packages, like Harvard University’s, have been oft-cited targets. However, many collectively bargained policies fall into the Cadillac bracket as well.

    The Health Affairs study, published Monday, sought specifics about what kind of health benefit packages unions provide for employees. People with union plans have lesser out-of-pocket obligations and don’t pay as much per month toward their premium as others with employer-based insurance, but the surprise was “the magnitude of the differences for certain things,” said Jon Gabel, a healthcare fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago and one of the study’s authors.

    For instance, families in collectively bargained plans paid about $828 per year toward their premium, or about $69 per month, according to the study’s surveyed data. That compared to $4,565 for the average employer-sponsored family plan, or about $380 per month, according to 2013 data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

    Cost-sharing requirements also were less onerous in union health plans, the study found. The average annual in-network deductible for an individual in a collectively bargained plan was $203. The average deductible at other employer-based plans was almost six times higher at $1,135.

    Although the federal government is considering some flexibility for “high risk” unionized occupations such as miners and construction workers, many employers are looking to get ahead of the excise tax by slimming down benefits.

    “For those who are fortunate to have a Cadillac plan right now, it’s probably not going to be so comprehensive in the future,” Gabel said. However, he said, reduced benefits should lead to increased wages to offset higher cost-sharing.

    Tom Leibfried, a healthcare lobbyist for the AFL-CIO, a federation of 56 unions, calls the Cadillac tax “a misnomer” because union plans apply to middle-class Americans with modest wages. The issue should not be about the generosity of health coverage, but rather whether the coverage is appropriate for people based on the healthcare costs in their geography, he said.

    “Trying to control utilization in that way really does amount to a cost-shift,” Leibfried said. “This is really a middle-class problem.”

    Higher compensation supplanting lost benefits is not a sure thing either, Leibfried said. Indeed, wages and salaries have been mostly stagnant the past decade, barely edging out inflation even as health benefits shrink.


    Bill rolls back deep cuts to Defense travel per diems

    Andy Medici, Staff Writer 2:34 p.m. EST March 2, 2015


    A bipartisan group of lawmakers are attempting to undo deep cuts the Defense Department made to travel per diems in 2014, according to a new bill introduced March 2.

    Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and Walter Jones, R-N.C. introduced legislation to halt the approximately $22 million in per diem cuts.The per diem policy– implemented on Nov. 1 – dropped reimbursements to 75 percent for trips or temporary duty assignments lasting 31 to 180 days. For trips longer than 181 days the traveler gets 55 percent of the lodging and meal per diem.

    The previous policy paid 100 percent of the per diem rates for any length of time.

    The Defense Department believes it will save about $22 million annually without harming the traveler or the mission, according to spokesman Nathan Christensen. Many hotels offer discounted long-term rates for travelers staying a while, which helps drive down costs, he added.

    But William Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said the per diem cuts merely shift additional costs onto DoD employees, while the agency failed to work with federal employee groups on the initial cuts.

    “In recent years, Defense workers have experienced death by a thousand cuts, with pay and benefits being whittled away little by little,” Dougan said. “These cuts dealt a significant blow to morale within the Department. The passage of this legislation will help rectify the problem of low morale that is already prevalent throughout the Department.”

    The legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Juan Vargas, D-Calif., Brian Higgins, D-N.Y. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, Anne McLane Kuster, D-N.H., Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Charles Rangel, Jim McGovern, D-Mass., Pat Meehan, R-Pa., George Norcross, D-N.J., Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, Frank Lobiondo, R-N.J., Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., Tom Cole, R-Okla., Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., Don Beyer, D-Va., Bobby Scott, D-Va., Scott Peters, D-Calif., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.

    When the Screens Go Dark: Rethinking Our Dependence on Digital Systems

    by Marc Lindemann

    Journal Article | March 2, 2015 – 3:47pm


    Despite its name, the U.S. Army’s Command Post of the Future (“CPOF”) is now more than ten years old.[1]  Since CPOF’s introduction, the U.S. Army has fielded multiple upgrades to it and to the digital systems that have constituted the Army Battle Command System (“ABCS”).[2]  While this succession of improvements has added functionality to the digital systems themselves,[3] the hidden costs of these sophisticated technologies threaten to undermine the very warfighting functions that they were intended to facilitate.  Without proper precautions, the weight of a unit’s digital architecture can crush that unit’s ability to conduct operations.  Likewise, emerging cyber and electromagnetic threats[4] that can degrade networked digital systems make excessive dependence on such systems an acute vulnerability.  Ever-increasing digital-system complexity requires units to allocate more resources to master ABCS intricacies at the expense of other objectives, such as the conduct of traditional – now often characterized as “degraded” – operations.  The less time a unit spends on non-digital training, the more dependent the unit’s operations become on its digital systems.  When these systems fail, however, the drawbacks of an increasingly exclusive focus on digital-systems training – and the associated sacrifice of traditional training – become readily apparent.  Thus, paradoxically, the more advanced the U.S. Army’s digital systems become, the more U.S. Army leaders will need to consciously and continuously emphasize non-digital fundamentals.  The availability of technology is no substitute for the tactical training of Soldiers.

    The Costs of Digitization

    In 1994, as part of the Force XXI modernization initiative, the U.S. Army designated the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) (“4ID”) as its Experimental Force.  At Fort Hood, Texas, the 4ID trained on the precursors to many of the digital systems that are present in today’s ABCS, and, in 1999, the U.S. Army hailed the 4ID as its “First Digital Division.”[5]  As the 4ID was adapting to these digital systems, the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (“ARI”) simultaneously embarked upon a study entitled, “Managing Force XXI Change: Insights and Lessons Learned in the Army’s First Digital Division,” to chronicle the 4ID’s progress.[6]  The ARI researchers noted that the transition to digital systems was not without its difficulties.  At least one commander within the 4ID went so far as to ban paper maps from his Tactical Operations Center (“TOC”) to force his Soldiers to rely solely on digital versions.[7]  In its March 2002 closing report, the ARI team cited many leaders who gave the digital systems favorable reviews; still, the report featured some prophetic warnings: “Digital leaders and soldiers must be warfighters first.  They need to master warfighting basics before they can harness digital tools.”[8]  Quoting the 4ID’s COL Ted Kostich, the report also noted: “We need to be careful that we don’t make our ABCS operators technicians instead of warfighters.”[9]

    Since the 2002 ARI Report, ABCS, in the hands of trained operators and supervisors, has effectively reduced the fog of war.  For example, a commander and his staff no longer have to depend exclusively on subordinate units calling up their positions over the radio; Force XXI Battle Command Brigade-and-Below/Blue Force Trackers (“FBCB2s/BFTs”) regularly transmit unit locations, displaying corresponding unit icons that move through the battlespace in the Common Operating Picture (“COP”).[10]  A swarm of blue icons marching across a CPOF screen is an impressive sight.  With the timely influx of situational information, leaders at all levels can integrate and synchronize battlefield activities, making ABCS a significant combat multiplier.[11]  Given the success of its digitization, the U.S. Army has committed itself to the further expansion of its systems and networks.  As the digital environment becomes more complex, however, today’s leaders must take a hard look at the challenges inherent in their current reliance on these systems.

    Information demands an audience, and the sheer volume of data available through ABCS can be daunting.[12]  The accessibility of information creates a perceived obligation to observe and process it, resulting in a danger of what GEN Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has termed “paralysis by analysis.”[13]  In a TOC, the stream of near-real-time position and spot reports results in constant monitoring to guarantee responsiveness.  As more information comes in, a unit assigns more resources to observe the information and analyze its meaning.  In addition, though the ABCS provides powerful tools to evaluate, reconfigure, and package data, the crafting of detailed storyboards and CPOF-based update briefs requires time and trained personnel.  With more Soldiers becoming necessary to mind and process the data flow, a unit must devote more assets to handle the incoming information.

    Yet digital systems cannot do anything if they are not connected properly.  What the 2002 ARI report recognized is still true: “[t]he signal battalion has become the Achilles heel of digital operations.  Maintaining digital networks and connectivity depends absolutely on signal capabilities.  The impact of digital failures during distributed combat operations could be harsh.”[14]  Today’s ABCS operators – and even senior leaders[15] – often have to stand aside and wait for signal personnel to painstakingly connect all of the digital systems in a command post or TOC.  Many Soldiers defer to signal personnel as the priesthood of the U.S. Army’s digital systems; somehow, after tinkering with wires and pressing various buttons, the signal Soldiers are mysteriously able to elicit functionality.  The prospect of digital failure is so unwelcome that commanders may be tempted to keep their command post location static once the signal personnel have established some degree of connectivity and digital capability.  Typically, the larger its digital footprint, the more immobile a command post will be.  Likewise, the digital logistics and signal support necessary to even push out a tactical command post can seem overwhelming.  Each move involves the transport of a multitude of computer equipment, as well as the reconfiguration of digital systems to establish connectivity.  Sometimes, too, uniformed signal personnel hit a road block in their efforts, and a digital system is out of the fight until a contractor’s field service representative can arrive.  And once the digital systems are functioning, there remains the matter of the proficiency of the people who will be operating them.

    In order to use ABCS systems, a unit must allocate sufficient personnel to serve as operators, and each operator requires extensive initial and regular refresher training to keep his skills current.  In an era of diminished budgets and multiplying training requirements, finding the resources for such training can be difficult.[16]  Moreover, relatively junior operators are not the only ones who need training.  A trained, low-level operator may sit in front of a CPOF console, monitoring reports and icon positions, but when it comes time for a staff principal to check his section’s running estimates or to brief a commander using CPOF, that staff member must also know how to use the device.  If a staff section relies upon a digital system, the operators and the principals must be subject matter experts in that system’s use.  Unfortunately, the turnover in headquarters personnel – especially junior personnel who will move out to line units – ensures that many digital system operators leave their positions just as they are nearing some level of expertise with their assigned devices.[17]

    The rapid succession of upgrades, updates, and other ostensible ABCS improvements results in still more challenges.  Military contractors such as General Dynamics and Raytheon repeatedly roll out updates providing additional functionality to the existing digital systems that they produce; sometimes, such as the case with BCS3, the military incorporates entirely new systems into ABCS.  Each update may involve additional training for operators and principals.[18]  These subsequent versions can also bring what is known as “feature creep”: to distinguish a new version from its predecessors, a digital system’s creator adds functionality.  With each version, the “functionalities” of the system multiply, eventually resulting in a system that few Soldiers fully understand and whose primary function is clouded with “gee-whiz” features that are of little practical use. 

    The steady procession of digital system versions also brings with it a dependence upon an array of contractors to implement these improvements.[19]  Operators may undergo an initial 40-hour block of instruction regarding a particular digital system, but there are few operator-level fixes possible when there needs to be an update to the device itself.  Operations can slow to a crawl when a digital system goes down and a field service representative has to arrive to install an update.  Sometimes a unit will not know that it needs a necessary update until it boots up its system and discovers that the system does not work or cannot “talk” with another system.  Military contractors provide valuable services, but there is a problem if uniformed operators and their supervisors do not have the ability to troubleshoot and fix the most basic issues with their “primary weapons systems,” other than by turning off and on the power switch and hoping for the best.  Increasing ABCS complexity, the need for communication between digital devices, and a growing emphasis on jointness and interoperability between different services’ systems has resulted in the permanent presence of contractors in waiting.  The constant need for these contractors detracts from a command post’s agility and mobility.  

    Whereas contractor field service representatives and signal Soldiers have seen their stock soar in the past 12 years, analog maps have become a casualty of the U.S. Army’s reliance upon digital systems.[20]  Before the advent of ABCS, Soldiers would regularly update a TOC situation map’s acetate overlays.  Now, with no way for an analog situation map to compete with the near-real-time data feed from ABCS, making analog updates takes a back seat to monitoring computers.  In a conclusion that will resonate with today’s battalion and higher headquarters staff members, the 2002 ARI report remarked that “[t]he division is not manned to conduct operations using both digital and analog (map-and-grease-pencil) systems.”[21]  The 4ID’s leaders acknowledged that they had to break with traditional, analog mission command procedures in order to tend the TOC’s digital systems; in the words of one officer, “I don’t have enough people to be inside the TOC working ASAS and then running outside the track and changing the analog stuff on the maps and wingboards.”[22]

    Today, training for degraded operations is too often an afterthought.  Units struggle so much with setting up, connecting, and operating the latest digital systems that there is little time left to train on how to operate when these systems are not available.[23]   The tendency is for units to concentrate on digital training at the expense of analog proficiency, as the skills required for the successful use of ABCS are particularly perishable.  As the 2002 ARI report had noted:

    Balancing digital training with field craft and tactical training is a challenge unique to the digital division.  Because information management skills atrophy more quickly than other skills, units are likely to devote more time to digital training.[24]

    These days, in TOCs full of glowing CPOF screens, analog situation maps – when posted – fall into various stages of neglect and obsolescence.  Likewise, hard copies of current staff running estimates may be hard to find, as well-meaning leaders attempt to enforce a “paperless TOC” model.  The higher the headquarters, the less likely there will be an analog back up of information from subordinate elements.  Granted, analog products are inefficient, time-intensive, and relatively limited in terms of the data they display; they are also vital to have on hand when digital systems are not working.  Without the presence and regular updating of these analog products, mission failure may be just a power outage or a system crash away.

    Regardless of how technologically savvy a commander may be, ABCS provides a sweeping situational awareness that also serves as a tempting opportunity for higher headquarters’ micromanagement, what GEN Dempsey has recognized as “a debilitating inhibitor of trust in the lower echelon of the force.”[25]  The packaging of volumes of data into simple icons creates visibility with the suggestion of manipulability.  Excessive interference with subordinate unit operations becomes a real danger: if a commander can see something on the screen, then it appears deceptively simple to control it.[26]  Some studies have even developed the term “Predator View” for a leader who becomes so caught up with what is on the screen that he fails to see the larger tactical picture.[27]  A senior leader who thus becomes enmeshed in the details of an operation at the lowest tactical level is not doing his job and is not allowing his subordinate leaders to do theirs.  Digital systems’ invitation to micromanagement also manifests itself in the opposite direction.  Although junior leaders do not have to constantly call up to higher headquarters with their positions and give minute-by-minute radio reports of their progress, their FBCB2s/BFTs effectively and automatically provide that stream of information.  Junior leaders know that their movements are being tracked and expect higher headquarters to regularly monitor their position and status.  This umbilical cord to higher headquarters results in an expectation of constant communication and oversight; moreover, additional guidance is only a free-text message away.  This tendency plays out above the small unit level, as well.  Digital networks allow for the easy dissemination of Fragmentary Orders (“FRAGORDs”). Without restraint, a flurry of FRAGORDs bombarding a subordinate headquarters’ in-boxes can lead to the same sort of micromanagement problems and initiative-deadening expectations as described above.

    Going Forward

    The U.S. Army’s current path, with its emphasis on joint and multinational operations[28], will ultimately require the integration and interoperability of other services’ and various nations’ digital systems.[29]  In the foreseeable future, the digital architecture will become more, not less, complicated, as the U.S. Army attempts to digitally connect headquarters, Soldiers, and vehicles[30] across services and across nations.  Every step closer to this goal involves the investment of additional funds, personnel, and training resources, along with the consequent opportunity cost in traditional tactical training.  Today, facing budget cuts, some military leaders are promoting digital systems as a means of cutting training and personnel.  LTG Susan Lawrence, the U.S. Army’s Chief Information Officer/G-6, announced on 27 June 2013, “I’m convinced that, as we draw down, if we get this network modernized right, it will enable us to be that smaller, better-trained, more capable expeditionary Army.”[31]  When hearing these arguments, it is important to remember that digital systems and networks were a means to an end, not an end unto themselves. 

    The U.S. Army cannot pin all of its hopes upon its digital systems; such thinking is dangerously akin to treating the network as the country’s Maginot Line.  The U.S. Army is rightly investing in the creation of cyber warriors to protect against and repel attacks to its digital systems.  Protecting the digital dominance that we have obtained goes hand in hand with the use of these systems.  Merely attempting to harden our digital systems – increasing our defenses – is not enough, however.  The U.S. Army must train for situations in which its digital systems, by accident or design, are not functional. 

    In trying to refocus on the operations that digital systems were designed to facilitate, the concept of decentralization provides a useful prism through which leaders can view the demands of current and future digital complexity.  Recent Unified Land Operations and Mission Command doctrine has reaffirmed the significance of decentralization and expanded its applicability.[32]  There is an inherent conflict between networking and decentralization, however.  The more an organization is networked, the more reliant it becomes on the center – the hub or the brain – of the network.  It is important to remember that the U.S. Army originally embarked upon its networking program in order to facilitate point-to-point control between commanders and subordinates.[33]

    Disciplined initiative is the key to non-digital operations in a military force that now prioritizes networked, digital operations.  In a threat environment where even the most useful digital system may be knocked out of the fight, there needs to be a back-to-basics approach that will enable units to continue to fight effectively in the absence of their digital systems and digital guidance from higher headquarters.[34]  Every commander should be able to shut off the TOC’s power, slipping the digital leash, and have confidence that his or her unit can continue to function.[35]  Junior leaders and staff sections should be able to anticipate the problems inherent in digital-system failure and know what to do without a major disruption in TOC operations.  ADRP 6-0’s non-digital solutions – “establishing trust, creating shared understanding, or providing a clear intent using mission orders”[36] – are significant.  More significant, however, and more measurable is the degree of Soldiers’ basic proficiency in their warfighting tasks.


    Although this paper does not and cannot advocate the abandonment of the U.S. Army’s existing digital systems, the U.S Army’s dependence on digital systems is very much on its leaders’ minds today.[37]  These systems have repeatedly demonstrated the potential to make the U.S. Army a much more efficient and lethal fighting force.[38]  Before his retirement, however, GEN Robert W. Cone, then Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, gave digital systems an ultimatum: “Why do we want this piece of technology?  If it does not dramatically improve training efficiency, we need the strength to walk away.”[39]  Right now, the military is poised to increase digital training requirements in pursuit of inter-service operations, multinational activities, and the expansion of the network to include all Soldiers and vehicles.  Leaders at every level must understand their dependence on digital systems, successfully manage their units’ use of these systems, and promote decentralized initiative in support of clearly defined and mutually understood tactical goals.  In the end, Soldiers must have tactical knowledge that transcends anything displayed on a computer monitor.  Soldiers, not our digital systems, are what will win our future conflicts.[40]  When the screens go dark, the mission must go on.

    End Notes

    [1]. The 1st Cavalry Division first employed CPOF in Iraq in 2004.  BG Harry Greene, Larry Stotts, Ryan Paterson, and Janet Greenberg, “Command Post of the Future: Successful Transition of a Science and Technology Initiative to a Program of Record,” Defense Acquisition University, January 2010, available at <>‎ (14 May 2014); “Command Post of the Future (CPOF),”, undated, available at <> (14 May 2014).

    [2]. The ABCS Version 6.4 is a system of systems consisting of 11 battlefield automated systems: Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (“AFATDS”); Air and Missile Defense Workstation (“AMDWS”); All Source Analysis System (“ASAS”); Battle Command Sustainment Support System (“BCS3”); Digital Topographic Support System (“DTSS”); Force XXI Battle Command Brigade-and- Below and Blue Force Tracking (“FBCB2/BFT”); Global Command and Control System – Army (“GCCS-A”); Integrated Meteorological System (“IMETS”); Integrated System Control (“ISYSCON”); Maneuver Control System (“MCS”); and Tactical Airspace Integration System (“TAIS”).  Timothy L. Rider, “‘Digital’ Army Dawns as System Undergoes Testing,” Army Acquisition, Logistics & Technology, September-October 2004, p. 15-18, available at <> (14 May 2014).

    [3]. “Information systems – especially when merged into a single, integrated network – enable extensive information sharing.”  Army Doctrine Publication (“ADP”) 6-0, Mission Command, 17 May 2012, 12, available at <> (14 May 2014).

    4. “Various weapons and techniques — ranging from conventional munitions and directed-energy weapons to network attacks — can destroy enemy systems that use the electromagnetic spectrum.”  Field Manual (“FM”) 3-36, Electronic Warfare, 9 November 2012, 1-11, available at <‎&gt; (14 May 2014); see also Army Doctrine Reference Publication (“ADRP”) 6-0, Mission Command, 17 May 2012, 3-30, available at <>  (14 May 2014).

    [5].  MAJ Mark Newell, “New Division Design Announced,” 4th Infantry Division, Public Affairs Office, undated, available at <> (14 May 2014); Ann Roosevelt, “Army’s First Digital Division Waits for the Call,” Defense Daily, 19 November 2001, available at <… > (14 May 2014); Paul Boutin, “The Army’s Desktop Jockeys: Can Information Technology Help the Military Win the War?”, 31 March 2003, available at <> (14 May 2014).

    [6].  Bruce C. Leibrecht, John C. Johnston, Barbara A. Black, and Kathleen A. Quinkert, Managing Force XXI Change: Insights and Lessons Learned in the Army’s First Digital Division,” United States Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, March 2002, available at <> (14 May 2014).

    [7].  “Forceful steps may be needed to jump-start digitization. For example, a brigade commander in the 4ID banned the use of paper maps in command posts to force leaders and soldiers to use the new digital systems. The commander later credited that step for much of his unit’s digitization success.” Ibid., 29.

    [8]. Ibid., 32.

    [9]. Ibid., (quoting COL Ted Kostich, 13 March 2001).

    [10]. “Commanders rely on technical networks to communicate information and control forces.  Technical networks facilitate information flow by connecting information users and information producers and enable effective and efficient information flow.  Technical networks help shape and influence operations by getting information to decisionmakers, with adequate context, enabling them to make better decisions. They also assist commanders in projecting their decisions across the force.”  ADRP 6-0, 3-28.

    [11]. “Information becomes a force multiplier when it provides a capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment.”  AR 25-1, 1-7.

    [12]. “Electronic means of communication have increased the access to and speed of finding information. However, they also have increased the volume of information and the potential for misinformation. Successful commanders are mindful of this when they configure their mission command system. Commanders determine information requirements and set information priorities. They avoid requesting too much information, which decreases the staff’s chances of obtaining the right information.” ADRP 6-0, 2-83.

    [13]. GEN Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mission Command White Paper, 3 April 2012, 7, available at <; (14 May 2014). “Commanders and staffs must continually work to maintain their situational understanding and work through periods of reduced understanding as the situation evolves.  As commanders develop their situational understanding, they see patterns emerge, dissipate, and reappear in their operational environment.”  COL Clinton J. Ancker, III (Ret.) and LTC Michael Flynn (Ret.), “Field Manual 5-0: Exercising Command and Control in an Era of Persistent Conflict,” Military Review, Mission Command Special Issue 2012, 44 (originally published in Military Review, March-April 2010), available at <; (14 May 2014).

    [14]. Leibrecht et al., 40.

    [15]. “In the military, concepts such as Information Operations and Network Centric Warfare rely on complex information systems that utilize global computer networks.  Until 2009, most requirements and decisions on network security and capability were made by communications experts, especially in the military.  However, as dependence on this vulnerable network increases, commanders must be directly involved because of the great operational impact of network failure or degradation.  There is concern that many senior leaders are being thrust into an area for which they are poorly equipped due to lack of cyberspace education or experience.”  William Waddell with David Smith, James Shufelt, and COL Jeffrey Caton, “Cyberspace Operations: What Senior Leaders Need to Know About Cyberspace,” Center for Strategic Leadership Study 1-11, March 2011, 1, available at <‎&gt; (14 May 2014).

    [16]. “While advances in the science of human learning and training help us train soldiers faster, the truth is that it can barely keep up with the expanding list of training requirements.”  GEN Robert W. Cone, “Building the New Culture of Training,” Military Review, January-February 2013, 14, available at <> (14 May 2014).

    [17]. “Soldiers are usually assigned duties using Mission Command systems for a brief time in a given career.”  Kathryn Bailey, “Mission Command in Garrison – ‘Train as You Fight,'” Office of the Project Manager Mission Command, 17 September 2013, available at <> (14 May 2014) (quoting LTC Brian Lyttle, Product Manager, Strategic Mission Command).

    [18]. COL Harold Greene and Robert Mendoza, “Lessons Learned from Developing the ABCS 6.4 Solution,” Defense Acquisition Review Journal, April-July 2005, available at <> (14 May 2014).

    [19]. For example: AFATDS, Raytheon; AMDWS, Northrup Grumman; FBCB2, Northrup Grumman; BCS3, Boeing subsidiary Tapestry; CPOF, General Dynamics; and TAIS, General Dynamics.

    [20]. Hard copies of field manuals have also fallen victim to digitization.  Too often, though, leaders will put copies of U.S. Army publications on disc and then, when the power goes out, are unable to access the necessary reference material.

    [21]. Leibrecht et al., 40.

    [22]. Ibid. (quoting COL Bob Cone, 02 March 2001).

    [23]. “The current generation of complex digital tools has only added to an already heavy individual and collective training burden.  Accordingly, commanders must make hard choices about the amount of training that soldiers receive and often find the time by sacrificing other training.”  Christopher J. Toomey, “Army Digitization: Making It Ready for Prime Time,” Parameters, Winter 2003-2004, 43, available at <> (14 May 2014).

    [24]. Leibrecht et al., 41.

    [25]. Dempsey, 7.

    [26]. “Just because you can see imagery from miles above the earth doesn’t mean you understand the problem.”  LTG Michael T. Flynn and BG Charles A. Flynn, U.S. Army, “Integrating Intelligence and Information: Ten Points for the Commander,” Military Review, January-February 2012, 7, available at <… > (14 May 2014). 

    [27]. Christine G. van Burken, “The Non-Neutrality of Technology: Pitfalls of Network-Enabled Operations,” Military Review, May-June 2013, 40, available at <> (14 May 2014).

    [28]. “The long-term goal is to integrate these [Mission Command Training Program (‘MCTP’)] corps and division multi-echelon [Warfighter Exercises] with Global Combatant Command exercises.  This will increase the Joint-Interagency-Intergovernmental-Multinational component and provide high-payoff training opportunities for Special Operations Forces, multinational partners, and our Unified Action Joint partners that enable operational level headquarters to tie tactical capabilities to regional or national strategies. . . . Tied to this are plans for NATO partners to participate habitually in future U.S. corps and division WFXs.  Overall, MCTP’s transformed exercise architecture and OCT initiatives will ensure operational level HQs can train in a much more relevant, realistic, and complex environment than previously possible, with all the required enablers to fully train commanders and staffs.”  COL Michael Barbee, “The CTC Program: Leading the March into the Future,” Military Review, July-August 2013, 21 available at <> (14 May 2014).

    [29]. “The term ‘network-enabled capabilities’ requires some explanation.  The term means the use of network technologies and information technology assets to facilitate cooperation and information sharing.  This can lead to a build-up of complex and ad hoc multinational environments, referred to as network-enabled capabilities or network enabled operations.  Network enabled capabilities have the potential for increasing military effects through improved use of information technology systems.” van Burken, 40.

    [30]. “Network the Dismounts!”  MG Robert B. Brown, “The Infantry Squad: The Infantry Squad: Decisive Force Now and in the Decisive Force Now and in the Future,” Military Review, Mission Command Special Issue 2012, 4 (originally published in Military Review, November-December 2011).

    [31]. Joe Gould, “Connecting Soldiers: Army Boosts Network Security by Cutting Access Points,” Army Times, 08 July 2013, 16.

    [32]. “Commanders enable adaptive forces through flexibility, collaborative planning, and decentralized execution  They use mission command to achieve maximum flexibility and foster individual initiative.” ADP 3-0, Unified Land Operations, 10 October 2011, 7, available at <> (14 May 2014); ; see also Dempsey, 3-4 (“Smaller, lighter forces operating in an environment of increased uncertainty, complexity and competitiveness will require freedom of action to develop the situation and rapidly exploit opportunities.  Decentralization will occur beyond current comfort levels and habits of practice.”); ADRP 6-0, 2-86.

    [33]. COL Harry D. Tunnell IV (Ret.), “Network-Centric Warfare and the Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom Hierarchy,” Military Review, May-June 2014, 44-45.

    [34]. Recent training simulations, such as that with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, in October 2012 at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, have involved “significant communications challenges involving either austere and immature infrastructures or sophisticated area-denial electronic and cyber attack from our adversaries.”  Flynn and Richardson, 40.  In addition, these challenges have forced units undergoing evaluation to “practice the skills needed when communications are degraded, and then navigate through the challenges of establishing digital connectivity across [multiple] battalion task forces—all under free-play enemy action, including electronic jamming and military cyber attack.”  Ibid.

    [35]. “Successful commanders understand that networks may be degraded during operations. They develop methods and measures to mitigate the impact of degraded networks. This may be through exploiting the potential of technology or through establishing trust, creating shared understanding, or providing a clear intent using mission orders.”  ADRP 6-0, 3-48.

    [36]. Ibid.

    [37]. At an 18 June 2013 symposium at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, BG James E. Rainey, director of the Mission Command Center of Excellence, announced the new Army Mission Command Strategy.  Rainey received the question whether “units were relying too much on technology in order to execute Mission Command,” he and replied that “units have to plan on the possibility that the enemy will have the capability of temporarily neutralizing our technological systems.”  In particular, he commented, “Mission Command set us up for success when we temporarily lose those systems.”  Another symposium participant, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Bailey, deputy chief of staff, G-3, U.S. Army Forces Command, indicated that the U.S. Army was “requiring units to operate in degraded technological environments to ensure units are not becoming overly reliant on technology.”  LTC Jeff Allen, “Leaders Discuss Mission Command Strategy,” Combined Arms Center, 27 June 2013, available at <> (14 May 2013).

    [38]. “Information systems — especially when integrated into a coherent, reliable network — enable extensive information sharing, collaborative planning, execution, and assessment that promote shared understanding.”  ADRP 6-0, 3-49.

    [39]. Cone, 15.

    [40]. “The truth is that the most agile, adaptive, intelligent system on the battlefield or anywhere else in our Army is a human being.  We will spend billions of dollars researching how to improve the network, but it will mean little if we don’t focus our energies on command climates and environments that develop the human foundation—trust, initiative, dialogue and freedom of action within intent—that will allow mission command to thrive throughout our Army and our institutions to become as agile as our operating forces.”  COL Tom Guthrie, “Mission Command: Do We Have the Stomach for What is Really Required?” Army, June 2012, 28.


    Carter: Budget Cuts Threaten US Interests

    By John T. Bennett 5:25 p.m. EST March 3, 2015


    WASHINGTON — US Defense Secretary Ash Carter pleaded with senators Tuesday to roll back planned cuts to the military’s annual budget, saying US interests around the globe are at risk.

    The Obama administration last month sent Congress a 2016 budget request that seeks $561 billion in baseline national defense funds, $38 billion over existing federal spending caps. Unless Congress acts, the Pentagon would get just under $500 billion in fiscal 2016 after sequestration’s ax does its work.

    That amount of funding, Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee, means the military would be unable to carry out the current national defense strategy.

    “This committee and this Congress will determine whether our troops … can continue to defend our nation’s interests around the world with the readiness, capability and excellence our nation has grown accustomed to, and sometimes taken for granted,” Carter said.

    “Halting and reversing the decline in defense spending imposed by the [2011] Budget Control Act, the president’s budget would give us the resources we need to execute our nation’s defense strategy,” Carter said, meaning an un-sequestered funding level equal to Obama’s $534 billion request for the military.

    “It would ensure we field a modern, ready force in a balanced way, while also embracing change and reform, because asking for more taxpayer dollars requires we hold up our end of the bargain — by ensuring that every dollar is well spent,” the secretary said.


    “The president is proposing to increase the defense budget in fiscal year 2016, but in line with the projection he submitted to Congress last year in the fiscal year 2015 budget’s Future Years Defense Program [FYDP],” Carter said.

    “The Defense Department needs your support for this budget,” he told the panel, “which is driven by strategy, not the other way around.”

    SASC Ranking Member Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., warned of a coming “budgetary train wreck in the United States.”

    Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., typically a major critic of President Barack Obama, called the president’s decision to seek $38 billion more for defense than the caps would allow “more than justified.”

    “With each passing year since the BCA was enacted in 2011, and with the United States slashing its defense spending as a result, the world has become more dangerous, and threats to our nation have grown,” McCain said. “I don’t think that is purely a coincidence.”

    McCain, Reed and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, are pushing the chamber’s Budget committees to provide more Pentagon spending than the caps would allow.

    While McCain agrees with Obama’s topline number, he made clear he intends to push back and reverse some of its specific proposals.


    McCain, Reed Want $577B Plus War Funding

    “The president’s budget request responds to many critical priorities, particularly addressing cyber and space vulnerabilities, military readiness shortfalls, and essential long-term modernization initiatives,” McCain said.

    “At the same time, the president’s request reflects budget-driven policy decisions that would reduce some critical military capabilities, either through the early retirement or cancellation of existing systems, deferred development or procurement of new systems, or withheld funding for proven requirements,” he said. “This committee will closely scrutinize these decisions and seek to meet urgent and legitimate military needs where possible.”

    Under questioning about the impact the cuts are having abroad, Carter said US allies get “an outsized” picture “of our lack of will.” He added that America’s foes are “probably thinking, ‘What are these guys doing to themselves?'”

    The new secretary said “getting it together” to address sequestration “is a matter of deterrence.”

    Meantime, Dempsey told the panel the US should “consider” providing lethal arms to Ukraine in its standoff with Russian-backed separatists.

    On the Islamic State, Carter called the group “the social media terrorists.” He said the US and its allies “have to take the steam out of this thing.”

    “They’re not invincible,” Carter said.

    And on Russia, Carter noted that President Vladimir Putin “talks openly” about “having countries around him that are in his orbit, adding “Ukraine is an example of that.” He warned that “Putin will keep pushing and pushing.”





    Unleash the Swarm: The Future of Warfare

    Paul Scharre    

    March 4, 2015 ·

    Editor’s note: This is the third article in a six-part series, The Coming Swarm, on military robotics and automation as a part of the joint War on the Rocks-Center for a New American Security Beyond Offset Initiative. Read the first and second entries in this series.


    Could swarms of low-cost expendable systems change how militaries fight? Last November, Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall asked the Defense Science Board to examine a radical idea: “the use of large numbers of simple, low­ cost (i.e. ‘disposable’) objects vs. small numbers of complex (multi-functional) objects.” This concept is starkly at odds with decades-long trends in defense acquisitions toward smaller numbers of ever-more expensive, exquisite assets. As costs have risen, the number of fighting platforms in the U.S. inventory has steadily declined, even in spite of budget growth. For example, from 2001 to 2008, the U.S. Navy and Air Force base (non-war) budgets grew by 22% and 27% percent, respectively, adjusted for inflation. Yet the number of ships in the U.S. military inventory decreased by 10% and the number of aircraft by 20%. The result is ever-diminishing numbers of assets, placing even more demands on the few platforms remaining, a vicious spiral that rises costs even further and pushes numbers even lower. Over thirty years ago, Norm Augustine warned that:

    In the year 2054, the entire defense budget will purchase just one tactical aircraft. This aircraft will have to be shared by the Air Force and Navy 3½ days each per week except for leap year, when it will be made available to the Marines for the extra day.

    But we need not wait until 2054 when the U.S. military only has one combat aircraft for “Augustine’s Law” to be a problem. It is here today.

    Kendall is joined by a growing number of voices calling for a paradigm shift: from the few and exquisite to the numerous and cheap. T.X. Hammes wrote for WOTR in July of last year that the future of warfare was the “small, many, and smart” over the few and exquisite. And none other than the current Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work wrote back in January of 2014:

    Moreover, miniaturization of robotic systems would enable the rapid deployment of massive numbers of platforms – saturating an adversary’s defenses and enabling the use of swarming concepts of operation that have powerful potential to upend more linear approaches to war-fighting.

    Overwhelming an adversary through mass has major advantages, but a deluge is not a swarm. The power of swarming goes beyond overwhelming an adversary through sheer numbers. In nature, swarming behavior allows even relatively unintelligent animals like ants and bees to exhibit complex collective behavior, or “swarm intelligence.” Similarly, autonomous cooperative behavior among distributed robotic systems will enable not only greater mass on the battlefield, but also greater coordination, intelligence, and speed.


    What is a swarm?

    A swarm consists of disparate elements that coordinate and adapt their movements in order to give rise to an emergent, coherent whole. A wolf pack is something quite different from a group of wolves. Ant colonies can build structures and wage wars, but a large number of uncoordinated ants can accomplish neither. Harnessing the full potential of the robotics revolution will require building robotic systems that are able to coordinate their behaviors, both with each other and with human controllers, in order to give rise to coordinated fire and maneuver on the battlefield.

    Swarming in nature can lead to complex phenomena

    Swarms in nature are wholly emergent entities that arise from simple rules. Bees, ants, and termites are not individually intelligent, yet their colonies can exhibit extraordinarily complex behavior. Collectively, they are able to efficiently and effectively search for food and determine the optimal routes for bringing it back to their nests. Bees can “vote” on new nesting sites, collectively deciding the optimal locations. Ants can kill and move very large prey by cooperating. Termites can build massive structures, and ants can build bridges or float-like structures over water using their own bodies.

    These collective behaviors emerge because of simple rules at the individual level that lead to complex aggregate behavior. A colony of ants will, over time, converge on an optimal route back from a food source because each individual ant leaves a trail of pheromones behind it as it heads back to the nest. More ants will arrive back at the nest sooner via the faster route, leading to a stronger pheromone trail, which will then cause more ants to use that trail. No individual ant “knows” which trail is fastest, but collectively the colony nonetheless converges on the optimal route.


    Robot swarms differ from animal swarms in important ways

    Like ants, termites, and bees, simple rules governing the behavior of robots can lead to aggregate swarming behavior for cooperative scouting, foraging, flocking, construction, and other tasks. Robot swarms can differ from those found in nature in several interesting and significant ways. Robot swarms can leverage a mix of direct and implicit communication methods, including sending complex signals over long distances. Robot swarms may consist of heterogeneous agents – a mix of different types of robots working together to perform a task. For example, the “swarmanoid” is a heterogeneous swarm of “eye-bots, hand-bots, and foot-bots” that work together to solve problems.

    The most important difference between animal and robot swarms is that robot swarms are designed while swarm behavior in nature has evolved. Swarms in nature have no central controller or “common operating picture.” Robot swarms, on the other hand, ultimately operate at the direction of a human being to perform a specific task.


    Concepts for military swarming are largely unexplored

    Increasingly autonomous robotic systems allow the potential for swarming behavior, with one person controlling a large number of cooperative robotic systems. Just last year, for example, the Office of Naval Research demonstrated a swarm of small boats on the James River, conducting a mock escort of a high-value ship during a strait transit. Meanwhile, researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School are investigating the potential for swarm vs. swarm warfare, building up to a 50-on-50 swarm aerial dogfight.

    These developments raise important questions: How does one fight with a swarm? How does one control it? What are its weaknesses and vulnerabilities? Researchers are just beginning to understand the answers to these questions. At a higher level, though, a look at the historical evolution of conflict can help shed light on how we should think about the role that swarming plays in warfare.


    From melee to mass to maneuver to swarm

    In 2005, John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt released a groundbreaking monograph, Swarming and the Future of Conflict. It articulates an evolution of four doctrinal forms of conflict across history: melee, mass, maneuver, and swarm.


    Ronfeldt and Arquilla proposed that, over time as military organizations incorporated greater communications, training, and organization, they were able to fight in an increasingly sophisticated manner, leveraging more advanced doctrinal forms, with each evolution superior to the previous. Today, they argued, militaries predominantly conduct maneuver warfare. But swarming would be the next evolution.


    From melee to mass

    In ancient times, warriors fought in melee combat, fighting as uncoordinated individuals (think: Braveheart). The first innovation in doctrine was the invention of massed formations like the Greek Phalanx that allowed large numbers of individuals to fight in organized ranks and files as a coherent whole, supporting one another.

    Massed formations have the advantage of synchronizing the actions of combatants, and were a superior innovation in combat. But massing requires greater organization and training, as well as the ability for individuals to communicate with one another in order to act collectively.


    Melee vs Mass

    In melee fighting, combatants fight as individuals, uncoordinated. Massed formations have the advantage of synchronizing the actions of combatants, allowing them to support one another in combat. Massing requires greater organization, however, as well as the ability for individuals to communicate to one another in order to act as a whole.


    From mass to maneuver

    The next evolution in combat was maneuver warfare, which combined the benefits of massed elements with the ability for multiple massed elements to maneuver across long distances and mutually support each other. This was a superior innovation to mass on its own because it allowed separate formations to move as independent elements to outflank the enemy and force the enemy into a disadvantageous fighting position. Maneuver warfare requires greater mobility than massing, however, as well as the ability to communicate effectively between separated fighting elements.


    Mass vs Maneuver

    Maneuver warfare combines the advantages of mass with increased mobility. In maneuver warfare, mutually supporting separate massed formations move as independent elements to outflank the enemy and force the enemy into a disadvantageous fighting position. Maneuver warfare requires greater mobility than massing as well as the ability to communicate effectively between separated fighting elements.


    From maneuver to swarm

    Arquilla and Ronfeldt’s hypothesis was that maneuver was not the culmination of combat doctrine, but rather another stage of evolution that would be superseded by swarming. In swarming, large numbers of dispersed individuals or small groups coordinate their actions to fight as a coherent whole.

    Swarm warfare, therefore, combines the highly decentralized nature of melee combat with the mobility of maneuver and a high degree of organization and cohesion, allowing a large number of individual elements to fight collectively. Swarming has different organization and communication requirements than maneuver warfare, since the number of simultaneously maneuvering and fighting individual elements is significantly larger.


    Maneuver vs Swarm

    Swarm warfare combines the highly decentralized nature of melee combat with the mobility of maneuver and a high degree of organization and cohesion, allowing a large number of individual elements to fight collectively. Swarming has much higher organization and communication requirements than maneuver warfare, since the number of simultaneously maneuvering and fighting individual elements is significantly larger.


    Challenges to fighting as a swarm

    These four types of warfare – melee, mass, maneuver, and swarm – require increasingly sophisticated levels of command-and-control structures and social and information organization. Examples of all four forms, including swarming, can be found dating to antiquity, but widespread use of higher forms of warfare did not occur until social and information innovations, such as written orders, signal flags, or radio communication, enabled coherent massing and maneuver.

    Swarming tactics date back to Genghis Khan, but have often played a less-than-central role in military conflict. Recent examples of swarming in conflict can be seen in extremely decentralized organizations like protest movements or riots. In 2011, London rioters were able to communicate, via London’s Blackberry network, the location of police barricades. They were then able to rapidly disperse to avoid the barricades and re-coalesce in new areas to continue looting. The police were significantly challenged in their ability to contain the rioters, since the rioters actually had better real-time information than the police. Moreover, because the rioters were an entirely decentralized organization, they could more rapidly respond to shifting events on the ground. Rioters did not need to seek permission to change their behavior; individuals simply adjusted their actions based on new information they received.

    This example points to some of the challenges in swarming. Effectively employing swarming requires a high degree of information flow among disparate elements; otherwise the fighting will rapidly devolve into melee combat. Individual elements must not only be connected with one another and able to pass information, but also able to process it quickly. It also depends upon the ability to treat individual elements as relatively sacrificial, since if they are isolated they may be subject to being overwhelmed by larger, massed elements. Finally, and perhaps most challenging for military organizations, swarming depends on a willingness to devolve a significant amount of control over battlefield execution to the fighting elements closest to the battlefield’s edge. Thus, swarming is in many ways the ultimate in commander’s intent and decentralized execution. The resulting combat advantage is far greater speed of reaction to enemy movements and battlefield events in real-time.


    The Operational Advantages of Robot Swarms

    The information-processing and communications requirements of swarming, as well as the requirement to treat individual elements as relatively sacrificial, makes swarming a difficult tactic to employ with people. It is ideal, however, for robotic systems. In fact, as militaries deploy large numbers of low-cost robotic systems, controlling each system remotely as is done today would be cost-prohibitive in terms of personnel requirements. It will also slow down the pace of operations. Autonomous, cooperative behavior of multiple robotic systems operating under human command at the mission level will be necessary to control large numbers of robotic systems. Autonomous, cooperative behavior will also unlock many advantages on the battlefield in terms of greater coordination, intelligence and speed. A few examples are given below:

    ◦Coordinated attack and defense – Swarms could be used for coordinated attack, saturating enemy defenses with waves of attacks from multiple directions simultaneously, as well as coordinated defense. Swarms of small boats could defend surface vessels from enemy fast attack craft, shifting in response to perceived threats. Defensive counter-swarms of aerial drones could home in on and destroy attacks from incoming swarms of drones or boats.

    ◦Dynamic self-healing networks – Swarming behavior can allow robotic systems to act as dynamic self-healing networks. This can be used for a variety of purposes, such as maintaining surveillance coverage over an area, resilient self-healing communications networks, intelligent minefields or adaptive logistics lines.

    ◦Distributed sensing and attack – Swarms can perform distributed sensing and attack. Distributing assets over a wide area can allow them to function as an array with greater sensor fidelity. Conversely, they can also, in principle, conduct distributed focused electronic attack, synching up their electromagnetic signals to provide focused point jamming.

    ◦Deception – Cooperative swarms of robotic vehicles can be used for large-scale deception operations, performing feints or false maneuvers to deceive enemy forces. Coordinated emissions from dispersed elements can give the impression of a much larger vehicle or even an entire formation moving through an area.

    ◦Swarm intelligence – Robotic systems can harness “swarm intelligence” through distributed voting mechanisms, which could improve target identification, geolocation accuracy, and provide increased resilience to spoofing.

    Swarming has tremendous potential on the battlefield for coordinated action, far beyond simply overwhelming an adversary with sheer numbers. However, paradigm shifts in warfare ultimately are derived not just from a new technology, but the combination of technology with new doctrine, organization, and concepts of operation. Concepts for swarming are largely unexplored, but researchers are beginning to conduct experiments to understand how to employ, control and fight with swarms. Because much of the technology behind robotic swarms will come from the commercial sector and will be widely available, there is not a moment to lose. The U.S. military should invest in an aggressive program of experimentation and iterative technology development, linking together developers and warfighters, to harness the power of swarms.

    Paul Scharre is a fellow and Director of the 20YY Warfare Initiative at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and author of CNAS’ recent report, “Robotics on the Battlefield Part II: The Coming Swarm.” He is a former infantryman in the 75th Ranger Regiment and has served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.



    Submitted Statement — House Appropriations Committee-Defense (Budget Request)

    As Submitted by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, March 04, 2015


    Chairman Frelinghuysen, Ranking Member Visclosky, Members of the Committee:

    thank you for inviting me here today to discuss the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget request for the Department of Defense (DoD). Oversight is key to our system of government. I not only welcome your wisdom and experience; I also want your partnership, and need your help.

    I also want to thank Chairman Dempsey for his leadership, as well as Deputy Secretary Work and Vice Chairman Winnefeld, in particular for all their hard work over the past year in helping develop the budget request we will be discussing today.



    During my first week as Secretary of Defense, I had the opportunity to see our troops in Afghanistan and Kuwait. Hearing from them was one of my highest priorities upon taking office.

    In Afghanistan, our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are helping cement progress made toward a more secure, stable, and prosperous future, by training, advising, and assisting Afghan forces and continuing their counter-terrorism mission. They are working to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for attacks on our homeland, or on our partners and allies.


    In Kuwait, our men and women in uniform are contributing to our counter-ISIL coalition in Iraq and Syria. They are working closely with Iraq and our global coalition partners to ensure that local forces can deliver lasting defeat to a vile enemy that has barbarically murdered American citizens, Iraqis, Syrians, and so many others, and that seeks to export its hateful and twisted ideology across the Middle East and North Africa, and beyond.

    No doubt the challenges and opportunities we face extend well beyond the Middle East.

    In Europe, our troops are helping reinforce and reassure our allies in Eastern Europe as we confront a reversion to archaic security thinking.

    In the Asia-Pacific – home to half the world’s population and economy – they are working to modernize our alliances, build new partnerships, and helping the United States continue to underwrite stability, peace, and prosperity in the region – as we have for decades.

    And as we still meet longtime challenges, such as the continuing imperative to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction, our armed forces are also addressing new dangers, such as in cyberspace.

    Across the world, it is America’s leadership, and America’s men and women in uniform, who often stand between disorder and order – who stand up to malicious and destabilizing actors, while standing behind those who believe in a more secure, just, and prosperous future.

    Mr. Chairman, this committee and this Congress will determine whether our troops can continue to do so – whether they can continue to defend our nation’s interests around the world with the readiness, capability, and excellence our nation has grown accustomed to, and sometimes taken for granted.

    Halting and reversing the decline in defense spending imposed by the Budget Control Act, the President’s budget would give us the resources we need to execute our nation’s defense strategy.

    It would ensure we field a modern, ready force in a balanced way, while also embracing change and reform, because asking for more taxpayer dollars requires we hold up our end of the bargain – by ensuring that every dollar is well-spent.

    The President is proposing to increase the defense budget in Fiscal Year 2016, but in line with the projection he submitted to Congress last year in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget’s Future Years Defense Program (FYDP). The department is executing the plan it presented last year. Accordingly, for Fiscal Year 2016, the President is proposing $534 billion for DoD’s base budget and $51 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), totaling $585 billion to sustain America’s national security and defense strategies.

    The Defense Department needs your support for this budget, which is driven by strategy, not the other way around. More specifically, it is driven by the defense strategy identified in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, which reflects the longtime, bipartisan consensus that our military must protect the homeland, build security globally, and project power and win decisively. We do so in line with our longstanding tradition of maintaining a superior force with an unmatched technological edge, working in close partnership with friends and allies, upholding the rules-based international order, and keeping our commitments to the people who make up the all-volunteer force.

    Our defense budget’s priorities line up with our strategic priorities: sustaining America’s global leadership by:

    • rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region;

    • maintaining a strong commitment to security and stability in Europe and the Middle East;

    • sustaining a global counterterrorism campaign;

    • strengthening key alliances and partnerships; and,

    • prioritizing key modernization efforts.


    This budget ensures we can execute our defense strategy with manageable risk, even as it does require us to accept elevated risk in some areas.

    But – and I want to be clear about this – parts of our nation’s defense strategy cannot be executed under sequestration, which remains the law of the land and is set to return 211 days from today.

    As I have said before, the prospect of sequestration’s serious damage to our national security and economy is tragically not a result of an economic emergency or recession.

    It is not because these budget cuts are a mathematical solution to the nation’s overall fiscal challenge – they are not.

    It is not because paths of curbing nondiscretionary spending and reforming our tax system have been explored and exhausted – they have not.

    It is not due to a breakthrough in military technology or a new strategic insight that somehow makes continued defense spending unnecessary – there has been no such silver bullet.

    And it is not because the world has suddenly become more peaceful – for it is abundantly clear that it has not.

    Instead, sequestration is purely the collateral damage of political gridlock. And friends and potential enemies around the world are watching.

    We in the Department of Defense are prepared to make difficult strategic and budgetary choices. We are also committed – more than ever before – to finding new ways to improve the way we do business and be more efficient and accountable in our defense spending.

    But in order to ensure our military remains the world’s finest fighting force, we need to banish the clouds of fiscal uncertainty that have obscured our plans and forced inefficient choices. We need a long-term restoration of normal budgeting and a deal that the President can sign, and that lives up to our responsibility of defending this country and the global order. And that means, among other things, avoiding sequestration.

    To be sure, even under sequestration, America will remain the world’s strongest military power. But under sequestration, our military – and our national security – would have to take on irresponsible and unnecessary risk – risk that previous Administrations and Congressional leaders have wisely chosen to avoid.

    Sequestration would lead over time to a military that looks fundamentally different and performs much differently than what we are used to. Not only as Secretary of Defense, but simply as an American, I deeply, earnestly hope we can avert that future. I am committed to working with the members of this committee, and your colleagues throughout the Congress to prevent it.

    I know how proud you and all Americans are that we field the finest fighting force in the world. But our military superiority was not built, and will not be sustained, by resting on our laurels. So instead of resigning ourselves to having the diminished military that sequestration would give us, I propose that we build the force of the future, together.



    Assuming the Congress funds the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget and averts sequestration, we have the opportunity to build the force of the future. We have inherited a long tradition of military excellence from those who came before us, and we must preserve it for those who will come after.


    But to do so, DoD must embrace the future – and embrace change – throughout our institution. We must be open to new ideas and new ways of doing business that can help us operate more efficiently and perform more effectively in an increasingly dynamic and competitive environment.

    As DoD counters the very real dangers we face in the world, we will also grab hold of the bright opportunities before us – opportunities to be more competitive and re-forge our nation’s military and defense establishment into a future force that harnesses and develops the latest, cutting-edge technology, and that remains superior to any potential adversary; one that is efficient and accountable to the taxpayers who support it; and one that competes and succeeds in attracting the next generation of talented Americans to fill its ranks.

    These are the three main pillars on which DoD will build the force of the future.

    Competitiveness through Technological and Operational Superiority

    As other nations pursue comprehensive military modernization programs and develop technologies designed to blunt our military’s traditional advantages, the first pillar of our future force must be ensuring that we maintain – and extend – our technological edge over any potential adversary.

    The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget includes targeted investments in modernized space, cyber, and missile defense capabilities geared toward countering emerging threats that could upend our technological superiority and our ability to project power. DoD would look forward to providing a full account of our proposed modernization investments, and the threats that compel them, in a classified setting.

    The budget also supports the Defense Innovation Initiative, which will help ensure the military continues to ride the leading edge of innovation, and makes deferred modernization investments that will ensure America’s nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure, and effective. Across all these efforts, we must be open to global, commercial technology as well, and learn from advances in the private sector.

    Because we know that technology alone – however advanced – cannot sustain our military’s superiority, just as important is a ruthless focus on operational excellence. This means using our existing forces and capabilities in new, creative, and fiscally prudent ways to achieve our objectives. This also means working to develop more innovative and effective strategic and military options for the President, introducing a new and more rapidly responsive global force management model, developing new operational concepts, and reforming and updating all our operational plans.


    Competitiveness through Accountability & Efficiency

    The second pillar of building the force of the future requires redoubling our efforts to make DoD more accountable and efficient. We live in a competitive world and need to be a competitive organization. If we don’t lean ourselves out and maintain our fighting weight, we have no business asking our fellow citizens for more resources.

    As I made clear in my confirmation hearing, I cannot suggest greater support and stability for the defense budget without at the same time frankly noting that not every defense dollar is always spent as well as it should be.

    American taxpayers rightly have trouble comprehending – let alone supporting – the defense budget when they read of cost overruns, insufficient accounting and accountability, needless overhead, and the like.

    If we’re asking taxpayers to not only give us half a trillion of their hard-earned dollars, but also give us more than we got last year, we have to demonstrate that we can be responsible with it.

    We must do all we can to spend their money more wisely and more responsibly. We must reduce overhead, and we must curb wasteful spending practices wherever they are.


    DoD has sought to continuously improve our acquisition processes over the past five years, and I am proud myself to have been a part of that effort. Today, I am recommitting the Defense Department to working both with Congress, and on our own, to find new and more creative ways of stretching our defense dollars to give our troops the weapons and equipment they need.

    The department’s Better Buying Power initiative is now on its third iteration since I established it in 2010, with Better Buying Power 3.0 focused on achieving dominant capabilities through technical excellence. I know well and very much appreciate the strong support for acquisition reform demonstrated by the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, and their Chairmen, and I share their deep desire to achieve real, lasting results that benefit both America’s security and taxpayers.

    DoD is working closely with committee Members and staff on ways to eliminate some of the burdensome and duplicative administrative requirements levied on our program managers. To that end, the President’s FY 2016 budget submission includes a number of legislative proposals designed to help streamline the program oversight process. We look forward to continuing our close partnership with Congress to see these measures implemented.

    As we sustain our focus on acquisition reform, I believe that DoD must concurrently undertake a wholesale review of our business practices and management systems.

    Our goal is to identify where we can further reduce the cost of doing business to free up funding for readiness and modernization – ensuring that our energy, focus, and resources are devoted to supporting our frontline operations as much as possible.

    We intend to work closely with industry partners – who execute or enable many of our programs, logistics, training, administrative, and other functions – throughout this process, both to explore how they could help us accomplish our missions at reduced cost, and because they may have new and innovative ideas worth considering.

    Additionally, the Defense Department is pursuing creative force structure changes to be more agile and efficient – such as how we’re modernizing our cruisers and restructuring Army aviation. We’ve established a new Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. And four previous rounds of efficiency and budget reduction initiatives have yielded approximately $78 billion in projected and actual savings in FY 2016, helping to cushion our defense programs from successive years of budget cuts.

    We’re also working hard to cut unnecessary overhead: from reducing management headquarters budgets by 20 percent across the department, to divesting excess bases and infrastructure.

    When DoD recently requested a round of domestic Base Realignment and Closure, Congress asked that we first pursue efficiencies in Europe. We did. DoD has approved and is pursuing a broad European Infrastructure Consolidation – which will result in some $500 million in annual recurring savings. We now need a round of domestic BRAC beginning in Fiscal Year 2017 to address excess infrastructure here at home.

    Simply put, we have more bases in more places than we need. We estimate DoD has about 25 percent more infrastructure capacity than necessary. We must be permitted to divest surplus infrastructure as we reduce and renew force structure. With projected recurring savings from a new BRAC round totaling some $2 billion a year, it would be irresponsible to cut tooth without also cutting tail.

    For base communities in question, it’s important to remember that BRAC is often an opportunity to be seized. Communities have shown that BRAC is ultimately what you make of it, and there are plenty of places that have emerged from it stronger than they were before.

    Consider Lawrence, Indiana, which took advantage of Fort Harrison’s closure in 1996 to create an enterprise zone, community college, recreational facilities, and commercial sites that in just 7 years not only replaced 100 percent of the jobs lost when the base closed, but created even more.

    Charleston, South Carolina stepped up when the Charleston Naval Complex closed in 1993, and now is home to more than 80 new industrial and federal agency tenants. The former naval base is now producing millions of dollars’ worth of goods that are exported to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

    And at former Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento County, California, the local redevelopment effort has invested $400 million and created more than 6,500 jobs – over six times the number of jobs lost when the base closed in 1993. It’s now home to scores of businesses, a mixture of private companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

    These are just a few examples of what can happen when local leaders, communities, and businesses work together and take advantage of the opportunities for new jobs and new growth after BRAC.

    One more point on accountability: Whether we’re improving acquisition or closing bases, it is not enough to simply tell taxpayers that we’re spending their dollars responsibly. We have to also show them, which is why good cost accounting and financial auditability is so important to me.

    DoD has made significant progress over the past five years in adding more discipline to our business environment, but there is much work left to be done, and we remain fully committed to our current audit goals.

    Today, over 90 percent of DoD’s current year, general fund budgetary resources are under some form of financial audit, with the military services all involved and following the model employed by the Marine Corps.

    We plan to submit every corner of DoD to this kind of audit regimen beginning in FY 2016. With this foundation, the department will progressively expand the scope of these audits until all our organizations, funds, and financial statements will be under audit in FY 2018, complying with Congress’s statutory direction to be audit ready by the end of FY 2017.

    There’s a reason why auditing is a basic practice as ancient as the Domesday Book, and it is time that DoD finally lives up to its moral and legal obligation to be accountable to those who pay its bills. I intend to do everything we can – including holding people to account – to get this done.


    Competitiveness through Attracting Future Talent

    Third, but no less important, DoD must be competitive when it comes to attracting new generations of talented and dedicated Americans to our calling of defending the nation.

    We know how the attacks of September 11th, 2001 motivated so many Americans to want to be part of this noble endeavor. Going forward, we must ensure our future force can continue to recruit the finest young men and women our country has to offer – military and civilian – like those who serve today.

    As we do this, we must be mindful that the next generation expects jobs that give them purpose, meaning, and dignity. They want to be able to make real contributions, have their voices heard, and gain valuable and transferable experience. We must shape the kind of force they want to be in. The battle for talent will demand enlightened and agile leaders, new training schemes, new educational opportunities, and new compensation approaches.

    DoD is already pursuing several initiatives that will help ensure the military is a compelling career option. In recent years, we’ve been expanding pilot programs that facilitate breaks in service that let our people gain diverse work experience. We’ve tailored our transition assistance program, Transition GPS, to better prepare servicemembers to enter the civilian workforce – providing different tracks for those who want to go to college, those who want skills training, and those who want to be entrepreneurs. And we’ve put a renewed focus on military ethics and professionalism, as well as making sure our military health system is held to the same high-quality standards we expect from the servicemembers and military family members under its care.

    Because we know how important it is – both for today’s servicemembers and the generation that will follow them – we’re also deeply committed to creating an environment and culture where we live the values we defend and every servicemember is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

    That’s why we’re continuing to expand combat positions available to women – because everyone who’s able and willing to serve their country should have full and equal opportunity to do so.

    It’s why we’re striving to eliminate sexual assault from the military.

    And it’s why we’ve been making sure gay and lesbian servicemembers can serve openly, and that their families receive the benefits their loved ones have earned.

    But for everything we’re doing, DoD cannot build the force of the future by ourselves. We need Congress’s help.


    What We Need Congress To Do

    Since our current defense budget drawdown began several years ago, I’ve observed something of a phenomenon here in Washington.

    Along with our troops, their families, and our defense civilians, I thank our supporters on Capitol Hill, including most members of this committee, who have joined with us in trying to do everything possible to get Congress to prevent more mindless cuts to our defense budget.

    Unfortunately, these combined efforts have been unsuccessful in actually restoring adequate and predictable resources for DoD. We have had to endure deep cuts to readiness, weather pay freezes and civilian furloughs, and cut badly needed investments in modernization and critical technologies. At the same time, Congress has sometimes sought to protect programs that DoD has argued are no longer needed, or require significant reform.

    We have had the worst of both worlds – a double whammy of mindless sequestration coupled with inability to reform.

    As many of you know, it wasn’t always this way.

    During the defense drawdown after the Cold War, DoD had much more flexibility thanks to the help of Congress. For example, we were able to resize the Army, retire the A-6 Intruder and many other weapons systems, and implement multiple BRAC rounds, which freed up dollars we re-allocated to keep our force structure ready, capable, and deployable around the world.

    I know some of the changes and reforms we’re proposing may feel like a significant change from how we currently do business. But if anyone can understand how the dots connect and how we need Congress’s help to be able to defend our country, our allies, and our interests in an increasingly dangerous world, it’s you – the members of this committee.

    The fact is, if we’re not able to implement the changes and reforms we need, we will be forced to make painful tradeoffs, even at the higher topline the President is requesting. We will lose further ground on modernization and readiness – leaving tomorrow’s force less capable and leaving our nation less secure. And we will face significant hurdles to executing our nation’s defense strategy. That’s why we need your help.



    As we do every year when formulating our budget, this budget seeks to balance readiness, capability, and size – because we must ensure that, whatever the size of our force, we have the resources to provide every servicemember with the right training, the right equipment, the right compensation, and the right quality of fellow troops. That is the only way we can ensure our military is fully prepared to accomplish its missions.

    Almost two-thirds of DoD’s Fiscal Year 2016 base budget – $348.4 billion – funds our day-to-day expenses, similar to what a business would call its operating budget. This covers, among other expenses, the cost of fuel, spare parts, logistics support, maintenance, service contracts, and administration. It also includes pay and benefits for military and civilian personnel, which by themselves comprise nearly half of our total budget.

    The remaining third of our base budget – $185.9 billion – comprises investments in future defense needs, much like a business’ capital improvement budget. It pays for the research, development, testing, evaluation, and ultimately acquisition of the weapons, equipment, and facilities that our servicemembers need.

    Broken down differently, our base budget includes the following categories:

    • Military pay and benefits (including health care and retirement benefits) – $169 billion, or about 32 percent of the base budget.

    • Civilian pay and benefits – $79 billion, or about 15 percent of the base budget.

    • Other operating costs – $105 billion, or about 20 percent of the base budget.

    • Acquisition and other investments (Procurement; research, development, testing, and evaluation; and new facilities construction) – $181 billion, or about 34 percent of the base budget.



    What makes this budget different is the focus it puts, more so than any other over the last decade, on new funding for modernization. After years of war, which required the deferral of longer-term modernization investments, this budget puts renewed emphasis on preparing for future threats – especially threats that challenge our military’s power projection capabilities.


    Threats to Power Projection and our Technological Edge

    Being able to project power anywhere across the globe by rapidly surging aircraft, ships, troops, and supplies lies at the core of our defense strategy and what the American people have come to expect of their military. It guarantees that when an acute crisis erupts anywhere in the world, America can provide aid when disaster strikes, reinforce our allies when they are threatened, and protect our citizens and interests globally. It also assures freedom of navigation and overflight, and allows global commerce to flow freely.

    For decades, U.S. global power projection has relied on the ships, planes, submarines, bases, aircraft carriers, satellites, networks, and other advanced capabilities that comprise our military’s unrivaled technological edge. But today that superiority is being challenged in unprecedented ways.

    Advanced military technologies, from rockets and drones to chemical and biological capabilities, have found their way into the arsenals of both non-state actors as well as previously less capable militaries. And other nations – among them Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea – have been pursuing long-term, comprehensive military modernization programs to close the technology gap that has long existed between them and the United States.


    These modernization programs are developing and fielding advanced aircraft, submarines, and both longer-range and more accurate ballistic and cruise missiles. They’re developing new and advanced anti-ship and anti-air missiles, as well as new counter-space, cyber, electronic warfare, undersea, and air attack capabilities. In some areas, we see levels of new weapons development that we haven’t seen since the mid-1980s, near the peak of the Soviet Union’s surge in Cold War defense spending.


    Targeted Investments in the President’s Budget

    One of the reasons we are asking for more money this year than last year is to reverse recent under-investment in new weapons systems by making targeted investments to help us stay ahead of emerging threats – adding substantial funding for space control and launch capabilities, missile defense, cyber, and advanced sensors, communications, and munitions – all of which are critical for power projection in contested environments.

    The budget also makes significant investments in the resilience and survivability of our infrastructure and forces, particularly in the western Pacific, with improved active defenses such as our Patriot and AEGIS systems, as well as selective hardening of key installations and facilities.

    DoD is also addressing the erosion of U.S. technological superiority with the Defense Innovation Initiative (DII). The DII is an ambitious department-wide effort to identify and invest in innovative ways to sustain and advance America’s military dominance for the 21st century.

    The DII will identify, develop, and field breakthrough technologies and systems through a new Long-Range Research & Development Planning Program, and the President’s budget supports this effort through specific investments in promising new technologies and capabilities such as high-speed strike weapons, advanced aeronautics, rail guns, and high energy lasers. The DII also involves the development of innovative operational concepts that would help us use our current capabilities in new and creative ways. The ultimate aim is to help craft ‘offset strategies’ that maximize our strengths and exploit the weaknesses of potential adversaries.

    Our budget is also making focused and sustained investments in modernization and manning across the nuclear enterprise, even as we reduce the roles and numbers of nuclear weapons in the U.S. nuclear posture. These investments are critical for ensuring the continued safety, security, and effectiveness of our nuclear deterrent, as well as the long-term health of the force that supports our nuclear triad, particularly after recent troubling lapses in parts of DoD’s nuclear enterprise. To help fund improvements across the nuclear enterprise, we are requesting an increase of approximately $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2016, and about $8 billion over the FYDP.



    DoD must rebuild and recover after more than 13 years of uninterrupted war. But our effort to do so has been frustrated by two variables, both of which are out of our hands – one, the continued high operational tempo and high demand for our forces, and two, the uncertainty surrounding annual appropriations.

    Only over the last couple of years has readiness begun to recover from the strains of over a decade of war, exacerbated by sequestration in 2013. Nevertheless, readiness remains at troubling levels across the force.

    While our forward-deployed forces remain ready, our surge forces at home are not as ready as they need to be. The President’s budget therefore invests in near-term unit readiness by adjusting service end-strength ramps to reduce personnel turbulence and stress on the force, while increasing funding to improve home station training and training-related infrastructure.

    This past year has demonstrated that our military must be ready to fight more than just the last war. We have to be prepared across all domains – air, land, sea, space, and in cyberspace – to engage in both low- and high-end missions and conflicts, as well as in the shadowy, so-called ‘hybrid warfare’ space in between.

    While this budget submission’s requested and projected funding levels will enable the military to continue making steady progress toward full-spectrum combat readiness, the gains we’ve recently made are fragile. Sustaining them to provide for ready and capable forces will require both time and a stable flow of resources, which is why, even under the budget we’re requesting, the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps won’t all reach their readiness goals until 2020, and the Air Force won’t do so until 2023.



    For Fiscal Year 2016, the Army’s base budget of $126.5 billion supports an end-strength of 1,015,000 soldiers – 475,000 soldiers on active duty, 342,000 soldiers in the Army National Guard, and 198,000 soldiers in the Army Reserve – comprising 57 total force brigade combat teams and associated enablers. The budget also supports 19 brigade-level training rotations at the Army’s Combat Training Centers, which are critical to the Army’s efforts to reach full-spectrum combat readiness.

    While the Army’s postwar end-strength target remains a force of approximately 450,000 active-duty soldiers, 335,000 Army National Guard soldiers and 195,000 Army Reserve soldiers, this year’s budget slows the drawdown rate. Rather than planning to reduce the active-duty force by 20,000 soldiers and the National Guard by 14,000 soldiers in Fiscal Year 2016, the Army will instead plan to reduce by 15,000 active-duty soldiers and 8,000 Guardsmen, while still maintaining its schedule for reducing unit structure. This will help mitigate personnel turbulence and stress, while also improving unit manning as the Army approaches its target size.

    The Army’s budget for Fiscal Year 2016 also includes $4.5 billion for Army helicopter modernization. Specifically:

    • UH-60M Black Hawk: We are requesting $1.6 billion to support buying 94 multi-mission helicopters in FY 2016, and $6.1 billion for 301 helicopters over the FYDP.

    • AH-64E Apache: We are requesting $1.4 billion to support development and purchase of 64 attack helicopters in FY 2016, and $6.2 billion for 303 helicopters over the FYDP.

    • CH-47F Chinook: We are requesting $1.1 billion to support development and purchase of 39 cargo helicopters in FY 2016, and $3.2 billion for 95 helicopters over the FYDP.

    • UH-72 Lakota: We are requesting $187 million in FY 2016 to support the final buy of 28 light utility helicopters.

    These investments require difficult trade-offs given today’s constrained fiscal environment. That is why the Army is resubmitting the Army’s Aviation Restructure Initiative, which makes the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars by retiring outdated airframes and streamlining the Army’s helicopter fleet so that platforms can be modernized and allocated where they are needed most.

    As you know, I am committed to reviewing the Army’s Aviation Restructure Initiative. However, the Army believes that fully implementing the Aviation Restructure Initiative (ARI), which includes shifting National Guard Apaches to active-duty units while providing Guard units with Black Hawks, is prudent for several reasons.

    For one, Apaches are in high demand at high levels of readiness that would require Guard units manning them to mobilize at unprecedentedly high rates; or alternatively, for the Army to spend a total of approximately $4.4 billion to fully equip the Guard’s Apache battalions, and then $350 million per year to maintain them at those high levels of readiness. Meanwhile, Black Hawks are more suitable for Guard missions here at home. Whether homeland defense, disaster relief, support to civil authorities, or complementing our active-duty military, these missions tend to demand transport and medical capabilities more than the attack capabilities of Apaches. In sum, the initiative avoids approximately $12 billion in costs through Fiscal Year 2035 and saves over $1 billion annually starting in Fiscal Year 2020. Considering these figures, implementing the Aviation Restructure Initiative is not only in the best warfighting interest of the Army, but also in the interest of the taxpayers who fund it.

    I know this is a contentious issue. However, we believe the ARI is the least cost, best solution for the Army’s aviation enterprise. DoD looks forward to making its case to the National Commission on the Future of the Army established by the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.


    Navy & Marine Corps:

    The Navy and Marine Corps are allocated $161 billion for Fiscal Year 2016, supporting a 282-ship fleet in 2016 and a 304-ship fleet by Fiscal Year 2020 with a return to 11 aircraft carriers, 386,600 active-duty and Reserve sailors, and 222,900 active-duty and Reserve Marines.

    The President’s budget invests $16.6 billion in shipbuilding for Fiscal Year 2016, and $95.9 billion over the FYDP. The budget protects critical Navy and Marine Corps investments in undersea, surface, amphibious, and airborne capabilities – all of which are critical for addressing emerging threats. Specifically:

    • Submarines: We are requesting $5.7 billion for FY 2016, and $30.9 billion over the FYDP, to support buying two Virginia-class attack submarines a year through FY 2020. We are also requesting $1.4 billion in FY 2016, and $10.5 billion over the FYDP, to support the replacement for the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.

    • DDG-51 Guided Missile Destroyers: We are requesting $3.4 billion for FY 2016, and $18.5 billion over the FYDP, to support the continued development and procurement of two DDG-51 destroyers a year through FY 2020.

    • Aircraft Carriers: The President’s budget plan enables us to support 11 carrier strike groups. We are requesting $678 million in FY 2016, and $3.9 billion over the FYDP, to support the refueling and overhaul of the U.S.S. George Washington. We are also requesting $2.8 billion in FY 2016, and $12.5 billion over the FYDP, to support completion of the Gerald Ford, fourth-year construction of the John F. Kennedy, and long-lead items for CVN-80, Enterprise.

    • Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and Small Surface Combatants: We are requesting $1.8 billion in FY 2016, and $9.4 billion over the FYDP, to support development and procurement of 14 littoral combat ships over the FYDP – including three LCS in FY 2016. We are also requesting $55 million in FY 2016, and $762.8 million over the FYDP, to support capability improvements to the survivability and lethality of the LCS required for the Navy to modify it into a small surface combatant.

    • Fleet Replenishment Oiler: We are requesting $674 million to support buying one new fleet replenishment oiler, the TAO(X), in FY 2016 – part of a $2.4 billion request to buy four of them over the FYDP.

    • Amphibious Transport Docks: We are requesting $668 million in FY 2016 to finish buying one San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock.

    • F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter: The Department of the Navy is procuring two F-35 variants, the Navy carrier-based F-35C and the Marine Corps short-take-off-and-vertical-landing F-35B. The Navy and Marine Corps are requesting $3.1 billion in FY 2016 to support procurement of 13 aircraft – nine F-35Bs and four F-35Cs – and aircraft modifications and initial spares, and $20.9 billion over the FYDP to support procurement of 121 aircraft and aircraft modifications and initial spares.

    • Patrol and Airborne Early Warning Aircraft: We are requesting $3.4 billion in FY 2016, and $10.1 billion over the FYDP, to support continued development and procurement of 47 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft through FY 2020. We are also requesting $1.3 billion in FY 2016, and $6.1 billion over the FYDP, to support buying 24 E-2D Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft through FY 2020.

    Making these investments while also abiding by fiscal prudence, we had to make more difficult trade-offs. For that reason, we are resubmitting our request to place some of the Navy’s cruisers and an amphibious landing ship – 12 ships in total, including 11 cruisers – into a phased modernization program that will provide them with enhanced capability and a longer lifespan. Given that our cruisers are the most capable ships for controlling the air defenses of a carrier strike group, and in light of anti-ship missile capabilities being pursued by other nations, this modernization program will, over the next decade and a half, be a baseline requirement for sustaining both our cruiser fleet and 11 carrier strike groups through 2045.

    I acknowledge and appreciate the plan put forward in the omnibus Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, which helps us get to our goal, and which we have begun to implement. However, this plan is more expensive, and results in shorter ship life. Considering that our plan is critical for our power projection capabilities, we believe it should be implemented in full, and look forward to working with the Congress as we move forward.


    Air Force:

    The Air Force is allocated a base budget of $152.9 billion for Fiscal Year 2016, supporting a force of 491,700 active-duty, Guard, and Reserve airmen, 49 tactical fighter squadrons, 96 operational bombers out of a total 154-aircraft bomber fleet, and a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent that includes 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles.

    The Air Force’s budget reflects DoD’s decision to protect modernization funding for advanced capabilities and platforms most relevant to both present and emerging threats – in this case, fifth-generation fighters, long-range bombers, and mid-air refueling aircraft to assure our air superiority and global reach; both manned and remotely-piloted aircraft to help meet Combatant Commanders’ needs for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); and research and development to ensure continued and competitive space launch capabilities. Specifically:

    • F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter: We are requesting $6 billion to support buying 44 aircraft, aircraft modifications, and initial spares in FY 2016, and $33.5 billion to support buying 272 aircraft, modifications, and spares over the FYDP.

    • KC-46A Pegasus Refueling Tanker: We are requesting $2.4 billion to buy 12 aircraft in FY 2016, and $14.6 billion to buy 72 aircraft over the FYDP.

    • Long-Range Strike Bomber: We are requesting $1.2 billion for research and development in FY 2016, and $13.9 billion over the FYDP.

    • Remotely-Piloted Aircraft: We are requesting $904 million to support buying 29 MQ-9A Reapers in FY 2016, and $4.8 billion to support buying 77 of them over the FYDP. This investment is critical to ensuring the Air Force has enough around-the-clock permissive ISR combat air patrols – in this case, allowing us to increase from 55 to 60 – to meet increased battlefield demands.

    • Competitive Space Launch: This budget supports year-over-year increases in competitive space launches – going up from two in FY 2015 to three in FY 2016, and further increasing to four competitive launches in FY 2017. The budget also supports investments to mitigate DoD reliance on the RD-180 space engine that powers the Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle rockets.

    • Combat Rescue Helicopter: We are requesting $156 million in FY 2016 for the Air Force’s next-generation combat rescue helicopter – part of a total $1.6 billion request over the FYDP for research, development, testing, and evaluation – and requesting $717 million over the FYDP for procurement.

    In light of high demand coupled with Congressional consultations, the Air Force budget reflects DoD’s decision to slow the retirement timelines for three key ISR and battle management platforms.

    We chose to defer the retirement of the U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft until Fiscal Year 2019, when planned sensor upgrades to the RQ-4 Global Hawk will combine with other capabilities to mitigate the loss of the U-2. We chose to delay the previously planned retirement of seven E-3 Sentry AWACS until Fiscal Year 2019, so they can support air operations over Iraq and Syria. And we chose to delay retirement of any E-8 JSTARS through Fiscal Year 2020, pending final approval of the Air Force’s acquisition strategy for its replacement.

    The Air Force budget also supports a timeline that would phase out and retire the A-10 in Fiscal Year 2019. With the gradual retirement of the A-10 that we’re proposing, the Air Force will better support legacy fleet readiness and the planned schedule for standing up the F-35A by filling in some of the overall fighter maintenance personnel shortfalls with trained and qualified personnel from the retiring A-10 squadrons.

    As you know, F-35 maintainer demand has already required the Air Force to use the authority Congress provided last year to move some A-10s into back-up aircraft inventory status. I should note that the Air Force is doing so only to the extent that it absolutely must, and so far intends to move far fewer A-10s into this status than what Congress has authorized. I know this is an important issue, and DoD looks forward to working with you on it.



    The remaining share of our base budget – about $94 billion – is allocated across the Department of Defense. This includes funding for cyber, U.S. Special Operations Command, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Defense Health Agency, the Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and missile defense.

    For Fiscal Year 2016, a $9.6 billion total investment in missile defense helps protect the U.S. homeland, deployed forces, and our allies and partners. This includes $8.1 billion for the Missile Defense Agency, $1.6 billion of which will help ensure the reliability of U.S. ground-based interceptors, which are currently sited at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The budget also continues to support the President’s timeline for implementing the European Phased Adaptive Approach.


    Overseas Contingency Operations:

    Separate from DoD’s base budget, we are also requesting $50.9 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding for Fiscal Year 2016. This represents a 21 percent decrease from last year’s $64.2 billion in OCO funding, continuing OCO’s decline since 2010, while also reflecting continued operational demands on U.S. forces around the world. OCO comprises funding for:

    • Afghanistan and Other Operations: We are requesting $42.5 billion to support Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and other missions. This includes $7.8 billion for reset and retrograde of U.S. equipment from Afghanistan, as well as $3.8 billion for training and equipping the Afghan National Security Forces through our ongoing train-advise-and-assist mission.

    • Counter-ISIL Operations: We are requesting $5.3 billion to support Operation Inherent Resolve. This includes $1.3 billion for training and equipping Iraqi forces, including Kurdish forces, and the vetted moderate Syrian opposition.

    • Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund: Reflecting the vital role that our allies and partners play in countering terrorism that could threaten U.S. citizens, we are requesting $2.1 billion for the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund that President Obama established last year.

    • NATO Reassurance: We are requesting $789 million for the European Reassurance Initiative, which the President created last year to help reassure our NATO allies and reinforce our Article V commitment in light of Russia’s violations of Ukrainian sovereignty.

    The conclusion of major combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq has resulted in a 73 percent drop in DoD’s OCO costs from their $187-billion peak in Fiscal Year 2008.

    We are continuing to use OCO as appropriate to finance our military’s response to unforeseen crises, but we must also account for those enduring priorities that we do not envision going away – such as supporting our Afghan partners, countering terrorism, maintaining a strong forward presence in the Middle East, and ensuring our military is ready to respond to a wide range of potential crises.

    The Administration intends to transition OCO’s enduring costs to the base budget between Fiscal Years 2017 and 2020. We will do this over time, and in a way that protects our defense strategy – including DoD’s abilities to deter aggression, maintain crisis-ready forces, and project power across the globe. This transition, however, will not be possible unless the threat of sequestration has been removed.

    Having financed the costs of key military activities – such as counterterrorism operations and our Middle East posture – outside the base budget for 14 years, and knowing that the security situation in the Middle East remains volatile, it will take time to determine which OCO costs are most likely to be enduring, and which are not. But we will release a plan later this year, which will also address how we will budget for uncertainty surrounding unforeseen future crises, and implications for DoD’s budget.




    The choices we face about military compensation are vexing, critically important, and closely followed, so I want to be direct and upfront with you.

    When our troops go into battle – risking their lives – we owe to them, and their families, not only adequate pay and compensation, but also the right investments – in the right people, the right training, and the right weapons and equipment – so that they can accomplish their missions and come home safely.

    To meet all of these obligations at once, we have to balance how we allocate our dollars. It would be irresponsible to prioritize compensation, force size, equipment, or training in isolation, only to put our servicemembers’ lives at unacceptable risk in battle.

    For the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget, the Defense Department considered its compensation proposals very carefully, as well as those approved by Congress in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. Accordingly, this budget again proposes modest adjustments to shift funds from compensation into readiness, capability, and force structure, so that our people can continue executing their missions with continued excellence.

    As you know, the Congressionally-commissioned Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission has recently released its own compensation proposals. Their work, which DoD is continuing to analyze, shows thoughtfulness and good intent, which we deeply appreciate.


    Given that this hearing is being held before the department has submitted its recommendations on the commission’s report to President Obama, it would not be appropriate for me to discuss them at this time. Many of these proposals would significantly affect our servicemembers and their families, and DoD owes them, the President, and the country our utmost diligence and most rigorous analysis.

    However, I can say that the department agrees with the overarching goals of the commission, especially providing servicemembers and beneficiaries more options – whether in preparing for retirement or in making health care choices.

    I can also say that the commission’s proposals are complicated, and do not lend themselves to binary answers. Therefore, when we provide the President with our recommendations on each proposal, DoD will clarify not simply whether we support each proposal, but also where we recommend specific modifications to improve or enable us to fully support a given proposal.

    We believe there is something positive in almost every one of the commission’s recommendations, and that they present a great opportunity to ensure we honor our servicemembers past, present, and future. I look forward to Congress’s support and partnership as we work hard to take advantage of it.



    At the end of 2013, policymakers came together on a bipartisan basis to partially reverse sequestration and pay for higher discretionary funding levels with long-term reforms. We’ve seen how that bipartisan agreement has allowed us to invest in areas ranging from research and manufacturing to strengthening our military. We’ve also seen the positive impact on our economy, with a more responsible and orderly budget process helping contribute to the fastest job growth since the late 1990s.

    The President’s budget builds on this progress by reversing sequestration, paid for with a balanced mix of commonsense spending cuts and tax loophole closures, while also proposing additional deficit reduction that would put debt on a downward path as a share of the economy. The President has also made clear that he will not accept a budget that locks in sequestration going forward.

    As the Joint Chiefs and others have outlined, and as I will detail in this testimony, sequestration would damage our national security, ultimately resulting in a military that is too small and insufficiently equipped to fully implement our defense strategy. This would reflect poorly on America’s global leadership, which has been the one critical but defining constant in a turbulent and dangerous world. In fact, even the threat of sequestration has had real effects.

    You don’t need me to tell you that the President has said he will not accept a budget that severs the vital link between our national and economic security. Why? Because the strength of our nation depends on the strength of our economy, and a strong military depends on a strong educational system, thriving private-sector businesses, and innovative research. And because that principle – matching defense increases with non-defense increases dollar-for-dollar – was a basic condition of the bipartisan agreement we got in 2013. The President sees no reason why we shouldn’t uphold those same principles in any agreement now.

    The only way we’re going to get out of the wilderness of sequestration is if we work together. I therefore appeal to members of Congress, from both parties, to start looking for ways to find a truly bipartisan compromise. I hope they can make clear to their colleagues that sequestration would also damage America’s long-term strength, preventing our country from making pro-growth investments in areas ranging from basic research to early childhood education – investments that, in the past, have helped make our military the finest fighting force the world has ever known.


    Sequestration is set to return in just over 200 days. Letting that happen would be unwise and unsafe for our national defense, over both the short and long term.


    Short-Term Impact

    DoD has had to live with uncertain budgets for the last three years, continuous and sudden downward revisions of our budget plans, and even a government closure. To continue meeting all of our mission requirements, we’ve done our best to manage through these circumstances, underfunding significant parts of our force and its support systems. Put bluntly, we have survived, but not thrived. Our military has made painful choices and tradeoffs among the size, capabilities, and readiness of our joint force, and we’ve amassed a number of bills that are now coming due.

    That’s why the department has been counting on and planning for a budget increase of roughly $35 billion above sequestration-level caps in Fiscal Year 2016. If it looks like DoD will be operating at sequestration levels in 2016, on October 1 we will have to swiftly begin making cuts so that we don’t end up $35 billion short as we approach year’s end.

    A return to sequestration in Fiscal Year 2016 would affect all aspects of the department, but not all equally.

    More than one-third of the Fiscal Year 2016 cuts would come have to come from Operations and Maintenance accounts, with unavoidable reductions in readiness and our ability to shape world events in America’s interest. Let me put this more plainly: allowing sequestration to return would deprive our troops of what they need to accomplish their missions.

    Approximately half of the cuts would have to come from the department’s modernization accounts, undermining our efforts to secure technological superiority for U.S. forces in future conflicts. Because there are bills that DoD absolutely must pay – such as the salaries of our troops – many capabilities being developed to counter known threats from highly capable adversaries would be delayed or cancelled, deepening our nation’s vulnerabilities at a time when the world is growing more dangerous, not less. Sequestration would put a hold on critical programs like our Aerospace Innovation Initiative, the Next Generation Adaptive Engine, the Ground-Based Interceptor missile defense kill vehicle redesign, and several space control efforts.

    Deferring these investments is bad policy and makes the Defense Department less competitive for the future. What’s more, it breaks faith with the troops of today and the troops of tomorrow. And it undermines the defense industrial base that is a critical foundation for our national security.


    Long-Term Impact

    If sequestration were to persist over time, the long-term consequences would be harder hitting. We would ultimately have a military that looks fundamentally different, and that performs much differently, from what our nation is accustomed to.

    If we are forced to sequestration-level budgets, I do not believe that we can continue to make incremental cuts and maintain the same general set of objectives as we’ve had in our defense strategy. I will insist that new cuts be accompanied by a frank reassessment of our strategic approach to addressing the threats we face around the world – what we are asking the Armed Forces to do and to be prepared to do.

    I cannot tell you right now exactly what that means – DoD is not resigned to the return of sequestration – but I can tell you that I will direct the department to look at all aspects of the defense budget to determine how best to absorb these cuts. No portion of our budget can remain inviolate.

    What I will not do is let DoD continue mortgaging our future readiness and capability. I will not send our troops into a fight with outdated equipment, inadequate readiness, and ineffective doctrine.

    Everything else is on the table.

    What does that mean? We could be forced to consider pay cuts, not just cuts in the growth of compensation. We could be forced to consider all means of shedding excess infrastructure, not just working within the Congressional BRAC process. We could be forced to look at significant force structure cuts, not just trimming around the edges. We could be forced to ask our military to do – and be prepared to do – significantly less than what we have traditionally expected, and required of it.

    I am not afraid to ask these difficult questions, but if we are stuck with sequestration’s budget cuts over the long term, our entire nation will have to live with the answers.

    A prolonged period of depressed defense budgets will almost certainly mean a smaller, less capable, and less ready military. No one can fully predict the impact on the future. But it could translate into future conflicts that last longer, and are more costly in both lives and dollars.

    That may sound severe to some, but it is a fact, and history should be our guide when we think about the true cost of sequestration.


    The Case for Repealing Sequestration

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here. If sequestration could have been reversed by just this committee and its counterpart in the Senate, it probably would have happened years ago. So I offer the following to Members of the Committee about what you can remind your colleagues when you ask for their vote to repeal sequestration:

    Remind them that even after the increase we’re asking for, DoD’s budget as a share of total federal spending will still be at a near-historic low – a quarter of what it was during the Korean War, a third of what it was during the Vietnam War, and half of what it was during the Reagan buildup.

    Remind them that the increased funding is for modernization that’s critical to keeping our military’s technological edge and staying ahead of potential adversaries.

    Remind them that DoD has hands-on leadership from the very top – me – devoted to using taxpayer dollars better than they’ve been used in the past. You have my personal commitment to greater accountability, greater efficiency, and running this department better and leaner than before.

    Remind them that sequestration’s cuts to long-term investments will likely make those investments more costly down the line. All who bemoan unnecessary Pentagon program delays and the associated cost overruns should know that sequestration will only make these problems worse. I can easily sympathize with my non-defense counterparts in this regard; knowing how wasteful and inefficient sequestration would be at DoD, I have no doubt the same is true at other departments and agencies as well.

    Remind them that sequestration’s impact on our domestic budget will cause further long-term damage to our defense – because the strength of our nation depends on the strength of our economy, and a strong military needs strong schools to provide the best people, strong businesses to provide the best weapons and equipment, and strong science and research sectors to provide the best new innovations and technologies.


    Remind them that we can’t keep kicking this can down the road. The more we prolong tough decisions, the more difficult and more costly they will be later on.



    The men and women of the Department of Defense are counting on Congress to help assure the strength of our military and American global leadership at a time of great change in the world.

    We must reverse the decline in defense budgets to execute our strategy and fund a modern, ready, leaner force in a balanced way. We must seize the opportunity to enact necessary reforms in how we do business. And we must bring an end to the threat sequestration poses to the future of our force and American credibility around the world.

    As you evaluate the President’s budget submission, I encourage you and your colleagues to keep it in perspective.

    In the years since the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget request – the benchmark for cuts prescribed under the 2011 Budget Control Act – DoD’s 10-year budget projections have absorbed more than $750 billion in cuts, or more than three-quarters of the trillion-dollar cuts that would be required should sequestration be allowed to run its course. And while some claim this is our biggest budget ever, the fact is, as a share of total federal spending, DoD’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget is at a near-historic low – representing about 14 percent of total federal discretionary and non-discretionary outlays. DoD’s total budget remains more than $100 billion below what it was at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I think we can all agree that the world in 2014 was even more complicated than we could have foreseen. Given today’s security environment – which has over 200,000 American servicemembers stationed in over 130 countries conducting nearly 60 named operations – our proposed increase in defense spending over last year’s budget is a responsible, prudent approach.

    Some of you may recall how, in 1991, after America’s Cold War victory and amid doubts about America’s engagement with the world and calls for a bigger domestic peace dividend, a bipartisan group in Congress stepped forward to help shape America’ global leadership and make long-term decisions from which we continue to benefit.

    Senators Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar helped craft, pass, and pay for the small Cooperative Threat Reduction Program that allowed the United States and DoD to provide the funding and expertise to help former Soviet states decommission their nuclear, biological, and chemical weapon stockpiles.

    The Nunn-Lugar program was initially opposed abroad, and there were also doubts at the Pentagon about whether we could implement it without losing track of funding. I know. I helped lead the program in its early years. But with slow and diligent effort by American defense officials, the Congress, and our foreign partners, it worked.

    It helped prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands. It helped establish a pattern of international cooperation and global norms in the post-Cold War international order. And, in the light of the current instability in Ukraine, it might have staved off several variants of nuclear disaster.

    But it also set an important precedent for our work on this budget and in the years ahead. It shows what Congressional conviction – especially when it is bipartisan – can accomplish in foreign policy. It shows the value of foresight and planning for an uncertain future. And it shows how spending a relatively few dollars today can generate huge value down the line.

    As the new Secretary of Defense, I hope it will be possible to again unite behind what our great nation should do to protect our people and make a better world, and provide our magnificent men and women of the Department of Defense – who make up the greatest fighting force the world has ever known – what they deserve.

    Thank you.



    4 Myths That Drive (and Endanger) U.S. Defense Policy

    By Janine Davidson

    March 4, 2015


    U.S. defense planning has evolved since the mid 1970s, with the end of the Vietnam War and the founding of the All-Volunteer Force (AVF). Since then, at least four troubling myths have become baked into doctrine, strategy, and force planning processes. These beliefs focus on our strengths, but have in some ways blinded us to the enduring nature of conflict. They have hindered our ability to institutionalize lessons from our most frustrating operational experiences in favor of constructs like the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), “rapid, decisive, operations” and (most recently) Air-Sea Battle. As the Pentagon grapples with diminishing resources and an accelerating technology curve, it is worth reflecting on these myths and how we can overcome them.


    1. The “Maserati” Myth. Imagine a gorgeous, gleaming Maserati, the sort of car that belongs on a showroom floor. The car is elegant, but it’s also extraordinarily capable—the Maserati GranTurismo goes 0 to 60 in 4.7 seconds and tops out at 186 miles per hour. What do you do with a machine like this? You certainly don’t use it for your commute on the pot-holed roads or your grocery runs or all the other mundanities of daily life. Instead, the Maserati is to be reserved for only the most special occasions. Otherwise, you keep it in an air conditioned garage, to be admired from a polite distance.

    Too often, planners and policymakers apply this same sort of thinking to the U.S. military. They think that the primary—indeed, the only—mission of the United States’ armed forces is to “fight and win the nation’s wars.” These wars, so often assumed to be quick, high-tech and decisive conflicts waged against a peer competitor, demand the most expensive force possible, armed with the most “exquisite” platforms that the nation can produce. When not called on to fight these decisive conflicts, the military, like the Maserati, should be preserved and protected in its enclosed garage.

    There are two problems here. The first is that the vast majority of contingencies the U.S. military is called on to perform are not quick, decisive, one-versus-one “football games” where one side wins, the other loses, and they both pack up and go home. Instead, the United States most typically deploys its forces for peacekeeping, stability operations, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, mass atrocity prevention, drug interdiction, and more. U.S. foreign policy demands a wide range of options and mission sets; it’s the military that makes these happen.

    The second problem is that these expensive, “exquisite,” platforms are not the best-suited for what we do most. Even if an F-35 can outfly and outshoot everything in the sky, or a Zumwalt-class destroyer can dominate a huge ocean stretch, we will never be able to build very many of them. Trading this much capacity for capability may not make sense when, for most missions, a lot of the older stuff works pretty darn well. The American military need not be a shiny Maserati. Most of the time it can be a Ford F-150: worn, reliable, and more than able to get the job done.


    2. The “Shock and Awe” Myth. Underpinning the “Maserati” myth is a persistent belief in “Shock and Awe,” the theory that an adversary can be rendered militarily impotent through a mix of “knowledge, rapidity, brilliance, and control.” This is the theory that guided the conduct of the Persian Gulf War, and, more infamously, the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Although the million-strong Iraqi army had been decisively beaten after just twenty-one days of major combat operations, there was little planning for what might come next. U.S. forces slowly discovered the difference between winning a battle and winning a war.

    Even today, there remains a tendency in military planning to draw a line between quick, decisive battlefield victory and all the “messy” political stuff that goes along with it. Belief in this myth helps fuel our comparative over-investment in top-threshold weapons systems and may also increase the risk of operational failure. If the U.S. military pours its focus and dollars into preparing for that quick, decisive blow—what Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster calls the “pipe dream of easy war”—it logically has fewer resources to enforce political settlement or “consolidate gains” once the shooting stops.


    3. The “Interagency” Myth. Of course, if you subscribe to the beliefs of some planners, “enforcing political settlement” isn’t something the U.S. military should have to do anyway. Instead, that task falls to “The Interagency”—a vast, well resourced organization of civilian agencies whose job it is to “win the peace” the same way the military wins the war. This is the group organized, trained, and equipped for cultural competency; for historical knowledge of the region; for smart investment and disbursement of aid; for the creation of smart, lasting political institutions.

    The problem is that “The Interagency,” as taught to so many military officers and written into the military’s doctrine, doesn’t exist (it’s not even a noun). In fiscal year 2015, total operations for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) were funded to the tune of $49.26 billion dollars—roughly 9 percent of the Pentagon’s budget. These two agencies employ about 15,000 foreign service officers and specialists—about 1 percent the size of America’s active duty military—none of whom is trained to kick start a war-torn country, either. With this disparity in resources, it is beyond aspirational for the military to adopt a “hands off” attitude toward the political elements of war, assuming that civilians can adequately fill the gap. They can’t.


    4. The “Superhero” Myth. Another tempting way to try to save money and promote world peace is to turn the messier problems over to Special Operations Forces. These highly trained warriors have proven remarkably effective in combating networks of insurgents and terrorists. Relying on these superheroes to operate under the radar and out of mind is especially attractive for civilian policy makers and a war-weary public. But while conducting targeted strikes in coordination with CIA teams and drones may take out a lot of bad guys at low cost and less risk; ultimately these tactics on their own cannot achieve strategic effects or otherwise win wars.


    Preparing for twenty-first century defense challenges requires that we acknowledge the complex, political character of war as it is—not as we wish it to be. These four interconnected myths exert a powerful, pernicious influence on U.S. defense planning. They need to be examined and debated as we make hard choices on downsizing, recapitalizing, and modernizing our military.

    Dr. Janine Davidson is senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Her areas of expertise include defense strategy and policy, military operations, national security, and civil-military relations.

    This piece is adapted from my February 25 remarks at the New America Foundation’s first annual “Future of War” conference, where I spoke on a panel alongside Michèle Flournoy, Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security, and Tom Ricks, Senior Adviser at the New America Foundation. You can watch the full discussion at



    Special Program emerges to combat cyber insider threats

    Posted 3/5/2015 Updated 3/5/2015

    by Justin Oakes

    66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


    3/5/2015 – HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. — It’s not often that the public gets to hear about the Air Force’s inner workings when pertaining to highly-classified networks. However, a Special Programs team from Hanscom AFB’s Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate has recently emerged and made its presence known.

    “We have developed an agile and efficient process for delivering solutions that protect against the cyber insider threat,” said Lt. Col. Richard Howard, Materiel Solutions Analysis chief.

    Unlike other teams within the Special Programs Division, the Materiel Solutions Analysis section, or MSA for short, is the only one that functions outside the classified realm.

    The team’s mission is to rapidly identify and test government and commercial-off-the-shelf hardware and software, and if viable, transition it to the classified arena. However, combating the cyber insider threat on secure networks quickly became one of MSA’s primary focuses.

    In January 2014, the Special Programs unit stood up the MSA Lab, where the team tests and scrutinizes commercial and government technologies that could potentially function on a secure network, and at the same time, serve as a deterrent for insider attacks. The MSA Lab consists of three sections: Level 1, a robust unclassified area used to test incoming technologies; Level 2, which has the potential to perform classified tests; and Level 3, which is a virtual demonstration room.

    Since MSA’s inception it has fielded more than 100 proposals on insider threat mitigation technologies from commercial companies, both large and small.

    “The MSA Lab is unique, and by design, highly specialized on the needs of a select classified community,” said Paul Krueger, MSA chief engineer. “Being co-located at Hanscom AFB with the Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center is important so that when necessary, we can take advantage of its infrastructure for massive joint and multi-nation coalition warfighting experiments and demonstrations.”

    Upon significant amounts of testing, the Air Force partnered with MIT Lincoln Laboratory and began to notice a common misconception within industry.

    “We saw a disturbing trend emerging from companies — that there is a single solution fix to insider attacks,” Howard said. “The cyber insider threat is complex, and to believe a single technology exists that will prevent malicious insiders from stealing, altering or destroying sensitive information is inaccurate.”

    To better understand and depict the intricacies of this problem, MSA engineers devised a model known as the Insider Threat Universe, also known as the ITU.

    The ITU concept is comprised of layers that convey how certain technologies protect in part — but not in all — the Air Force’s secure networks.


    Confidentiality, integrity and availability make up the basis of the ITU with information serving as the core. Procedures, policies and monitoring are other items that directly impact information concerns. Specific areas such as data-at-rest encryption and role-based access controls represent technology layers also used to protect information.

    The MSA team realized the need to socialize the ITU concept and generate open communication among other Department of Defense agencies also faced with growing insider threat problems.

    Last month, the MSA office hosted the first Cyber Insider Threat Workshop at Hanscom.

    More than 100 cyber, security and acquisition professionals from more than 30 organizations attended. Representatives from the MSA office, Air Combat Command, Air Force Research Laboratory, 24th Air Force, Carnegie Mellon University, C3I Infrastructure Division, MIT Lincoln Laboratory and MITRE discussed current mitigation efforts and how they fit into the ITU model.

    According to MSA officials, there were two main takeaways from the event.

    “The cyber insider threat is complicated, difficult to define and a challenge to defend against,” Krueger said. “The ITU model is a useful tool that can be used to help define these threats, but it is a constantly evolving concept.”

    Krueger also called for more effective communication across the Air Force, government, and other agencies throughout the DOD.

    “Communication is the only way synergy can be developed across the board,” he said. “Making the community aware of currently used technologies, as well as equipment and software that’s being tested and fielded by facilities like the MSA Lab, is critical to solving this problem.”

    During the last year, the demand for MSA-vetted technologies has increased exponentially. In order to keep up with testing and analysis, the lab increased from two to seven engineers plus support from MIT Lincoln Laboratory, MITRE and various contractors.

    This week, Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, C3I and Networks Directorate program executive officer, presented MSA’s areas of interest to industry during the annual 2015 New Horizons event in Newton, Mass.

    “Not only is this a great opportunity to bring our efforts to light outside of DOD agencies, but it will also allow us to gather valuable feedback on how our industry partners deal with insider cyber threats,” said Olson.

    Since the Materiel Solutions Analysis team was created, it has stood up a testing lab, developed a threat model and organized a forum fostering dialogue among other DOD agencies — all in the name of cyber security.

    “In order for us to successfully mitigate the cyber insider threat problem, organizations across the DOD must work together; technological, physical and administrative solutions should be leveraged across the DOD IT enterprise,” said Col. Jeffrey Kligman, Special Programs Division senior materiel leader. “Communication and innovation are key to securing our computing environment.”



    MWC: It’s only a matter of time before a drone kills someone, warns IEEE

    by Press • 6 March 2015

    By Lee Bell


    BARCELONA: It’s only a matter time before a drone such as the one that crashed outside the White House will fall out of the sky and kill someone.

    This is the stark warning issued by theInstitute of Electronics and Electrical Engineering (IEEE) this week at Mobile World Congress (MWC).

    Kevin Curran, senior lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Ulster, and technical expert for internet and security at the IEEE, told The INQUIRER that making “powerful” drones available to the consumer market will lead to civilians being injured or even killed.


    “Up until last year, most people flying [drones] were guys who were used to flying planes, but when something powerful becomes cheap, and it hits the consumer market, you get all sorts of idiots using it,” he said.

    “People are just flying drones wherever they can and it is only a matter of time before we see a death in the UK from a drone.”

    Curran explained that this could happen if a drone hits a building without the propeller guards up.

    “Once drones hit a solid item [without propeller guards up] they fall from the sky; that’s all they can do. And I guarantee that there’ll be a lot of accidents in the next 12 months and I’m pretty sure we’ll see a death,” he said.

    Since Curran’s comments at MWC, a House of Lords committee has said that the UK should create a database of drone owners and flights in order to circumvent possible threats.

    The EU Internal Market, Infrastructure and Employment Sub-Committee report said that, while drones have the potential to create 150,000 jobs in Europe by 2050, there is also a substantial risk from their unregulated use.

    Committee chairwoman Baroness O’Cathain said: “The growth in civilian drone use has been astonishing and they are taking to the skies faster than anyone could have predicted. We have a huge opportunity to make Europe a world leader in drone technology.

    “But there’s also a risk. Public understanding of how to use drones safely may not keep pace with people’s appetite to fly them. It would just take one disastrous accident to destroy public confidence and set the whole industry back.”

    Due to these concerns, the committee said that a database of drone owners should be created, and that all flights should be tracked by GPS and uploaded to a public website for anyone to access.

    It’s also worth noting that drones like the Hubsan X4 Pro, which was unveiled at CES this year, are safer than your standard drone becaue they are fitted with a parachute that activates after a collision.

    Making these parachutes available as an attachment for existing drones could ease the concerns about a death from someone being hit, according to Curran.

    Curran also said that we can expect to see drones as a form of wireless advertising in the skies very soon, hovering in the streets for maximum visibility. µ


    Just one ‘disastrous accident’ could set drone industry back, warn Lords

    by Press • 5 March 2015


    The drone industry could create 150,000 jobs across the European Union by 2050, but it would take “just one disastrous accident” to destroy public confidence and set the sector back, a group of peers has warned.

    A report from the Lords EU select committee has concluded that there is huge potential for growth in the sector, but that this potential can only be realised if the safety of drone operations is demonstrated to the public.

    The report comes after a near miss between a passenger jet and a civilian drone near Heathrow airport in December sparked debate about how best to regulate the consumer drones market.

    Commenting on the report, Civilian use of drones in the EU, the committee’s chair Lady O’Cathain described the growth in civilian drone use as “astonishing”, adding that they were “taking to the skies faster than anyone could have predicted”.

    “We have a huge opportunity to make Europe a world leader in drone technology,” she said. “But there’s also a risk – public understanding of how to use drones safely may not keep pace with people’s appetite to fly them. It would just take one disastrous accident to destroy public confidence and set the whole industry back.”

    The committee found that drones – formally known as remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) – are increasingly being used by small and medium-sized businesses across Europe for photography, filming and surveying, and that they can be used to carry out dirty or dangerous jobs, like cargo shipping and search and rescue.

    The group of peers called for urgent public debate about the acceptable uses of civilian drones in light of evidence that the media and police use of drones will increase.

    Earlier in 2014, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) demanded better protection for the public from the risks of drones. It called for drones to meet the same safety standards as piloted aircraft, including that they are only flown by operators with pilot-equivalent training.

    O’Cathain said that authorities would need to find ways to manage and keep track of drone traffic. “That is why a key recommendation is that drone flights must be traceable, effectively through an online database, which the general public could access via an app. We need to use technology creatively, not just to manage the skies, but to help police them as well,” she said.

    The report recommends the development of a shared manufacturing standard for drones – similar to the CE marking that exists for products that adhere to European Economic Area regulations – and that an online database to track and manage drone traffic be created.


    Rasmussen Reports

    What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls

    Bottom of Form

    Saturday, March 07, 2015


    If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls, and this week we really showed it.

    The week began with numerous reports out of the just-ended Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where most of the top Republican presidential hopefuls courted the crowd. We were quick to report findings that show Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has surged to the front of the GOP pack and now gives likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton a run for her money

    Tuesday , in a speech to a joint session of Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out strongly against the deal the Obama administration is negotiating with Iran to curb the latter’s nuclear development program.

    The day before, we reported that voters were more supportive than they had been earlier of Netanyahu addressing Congress despite strong protests from the White House. Most also considered it important whether their congressional representative was attending.

    Later in the week, we found that Netanyahu is winning the argument with voters so far over the deal President Obama is trying to make with Iran.

    On Wednesday , the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that would eliminate the taxpayer-funded subsidies for many of those who have signed up for health insurance through Obamacare. We reported that day that nearly half of voters think it’s a good idea to hold up the health care law until court cases like this are resolved.

    Voters still tend to share an unfavorable opinion of the health care law and say it has hurt more than helped them. They’re also less enthusiastic this month about fixing the law rather than repealing it.

    Thursday , the U.S. Justice Department released a report charging the Ferguson, Missouri police department with a systematic pattern of racial discrimination but stopped short of charging police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown.

    But we released findings that same day showing that 56% of voters think the Justice Department is more concerned with politics than with making sure justice is done when it decides to investigate a local crime like the Brown shooting independent of the local police.  

    On Friday , the federal government released its monthly jobs report, highlighting the creation of nearly 300,000 new jobs and a decrease in the unemployment rate to 5.5 percent.

    Of course, our readers already knew that was coming because the Rasmussen Employment Index which measures worker confidence rose a point in February to tie the highest level measured in six years. Generally speaking, an increase in the Employment Index suggests the upcoming government report on job creation will be stronger than the prior month’s report. 

    The president still doesn’t seem to be getting much credit for this improved jobs picture, though. His daily job approval ratings appear to be returning to levels seen before Election Day. 

    Obama earned a monthly job approval of 48% in February. That’s down a point from January and ties his approval rating for December. The 49% approval he earned in January tied his high for all of 2014.

    The president in this year’s State of the Union address proposed $320 billion in tax increases on the wealthiest Americans including raising capital gains and inheritance taxes in an effort to pay for initiatives he says will benefit lower- and middle-class taxpayers. But most voters suspect this will lead to more taxes on the middle class as well.

    Americans already feel more strongly than ever that the middle class pays a larger share of their income in taxes than the wealthy do.

    They also strongly distrust the way the federal government spends their tax dollars.

    But then just 30% of voters think the country is heading in the right direction.

    In other surveys last week:

    — It’s time for the clocks to “spring ahead” this weekend, but many Americans still don’t see the point.

    — We frequently ask Americans what they think about different things around the world and in their own country, but we don’t always ask how they feel about the country itself. So we decided to find out what America thinks about America

    — Democrats and Republicans run neck-and-neck on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot.

    — Voters still give positive marks to their local air and water but think the environment as a whole is getting worse.

    — As stories of teen suicide continue to appear in the news, Americans are taking it seriously and feel strongly about who should be responsible for preventing such tragedies.

    — Despite a recent analysis that suggests Americans are sacrificing good coffee for cost and convenience, most coffee drinkers claim that quality means the most to them. Though more Americans admit they have trouble resisting sweets, fewer say they are overweight.


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