The reforms initiated by Secretary of Defense Les Aspin’s Bottom-Up
Review continued to guide Army policies in FY 1999. With the United States
enjoying sustained economic growth; low unemployment; and unrivaled
diplomatic, military, and technological preeminence, the Army capitalized
on the opportunity to further its preparations for the challenges of the
twenty-first century. Those preparations, clarified and reinforced through
the development of a new Army Vision, did not require major adjustments
or the initiation of bold new programs during the fiscal year. FY 1999 was a
year of transition in which the Army pursued the development of Force XXI
from the existing Army of the Cold War era through previously established
processes. Soldiers remained on point for the nation as those processes
unfolded, responding to challenges as they arose.
And challenges did arise. Two major storms wreaked havoc through the Caribbean within a month of each other, the first ending just as FY 1999 began. Hurricanes Georges and Mitch left twin swaths of destruction reaching from Honduras to the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida. While they provided humanitarian assistance following those natural disasters, soldiers continued their peacekeeping missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and the Persian Gulf. In preparation for the December 1999 surrender of full control of the Panama Canal to the Republic of Panama, the Army withdrew from that nation after almost a century. The approach of the year 2000 also brought with it a threat to the Army’s information systems. As the Army faced these and other challenges, it struggled with a limited budget and ongoing recruiting and retention difficulties.
A budget decrease of less than 1 percent from the previous year left $64 billion in the FY99 Army appropriation. That amount proved sufficient to fund the approved 3.1 percent raise in military pay despite an essentially unchanged $2.6 billion pay allocation, thanks in part to a seventy-five hundred– person decline in the authorized strength of the active Army. But the remaining active-component personnel, nearly 480,000 strong, and the 564,000 soldiers of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve still lacked adequate resources to fully address the maintenance backlog, aging
equipment, and declining physical plant that persisted as a threat to their
operational readiness. The Army continued to promote new efficiencies and
improved practices to better meet its needs with the available resources.
The Army Enterprise Strategy promotes information technology, one of the three axes of the Force XXI campaign, as a means of improving both operational readiness and the efficiency of the business practices and command, control, communications, and intelligence functions that support it. Such efficiency measures, and the savings they produce, are becoming increasingly important in the austere post–Cold War budget climate. The Army’s FY99 efforts to expand and improve its use of information networks and computer technology in pursuit of the Army Enterprise Strategy included development of the Joint Network Management System. Originally approved by the Department of Defense (DOD) Joint Requirements Board in October 1998, the system’s development stalled for the rest of the year pending completion of another assessment of its interoperability and other key performance parameters.
Preventive measures and contingency preparations for Y2K required the efforts of information systems experts and leaders at all command levels during FY 1999. While countering the hazard the new year posed to its information systems, the Army gained both valuable experience in mounting a systematic response to a digital threat and a new appreciation for the possibilities of cyber warfare. By the end of the fiscal year, the Army had nearly completed its efforts to prepare for the troublesome and swiftly approaching date change, a substantial improvement over the approximately 50 percent compliance with Y2K standards reported for critical Army information systems in October 1998. This result was achieved through the close cooperation of all command levels, with central coordination but substantial allowance for local initiative and responsibility.
A similar strategy of centralized policy coordination and decentralized execution emerged in the newly created National Domestic Preparedness Office (NDPO). Originally established as a DOD-led working group supported by the Army, the NDPO’s transfer to the Department of Justice ended several months of internal struggle for leadership of the interagency office. In its first full fiscal year of existence, the NDPO began to synchronize and improve the federal government’s ability to respond to the domestic use of weapons of mass destruction, using the resources of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Departments of Energy, Health and Human Services, Justice, and Defense.
The strategic and budgetary guidance originally provided by the 1993 Bottom-Up Review ended with FY 1999. All of the major transformation initiatives called for in the Report on the Bottom-Up Review were well under way before the year began. Army leaders could therefore focus their attentions on program execution rather than the development of new
concepts as the year progressed. In an effort to ensure that the current Force
XXI process and the eventual transition to the Army After Next (AAN)
would continue in the absence of further guidance from the Bottom-Up
Review, Army leaders spent part of the year articulating a new Army
Vision statement. That statement, scheduled for publication in early FY
2000, identified the Army’s core values and goals in the ongoing pursuit of
Force XXI and AAN reforms.
Advanced warfighting experiments conducted throughout the year validated the tools and concepts for a fully digitized division to be equipped during FY 2000 as a step toward the eventual digitization of the entire Army and the fielding of Force XXI. On 1 September 1999, the Army received the first M1A2 system enhancement program Abrams tanks. Those vehicles integrated the electronic capabilities of the new digital force with a proven weapons platform. Their enhanced command-and-control capabilities, combined with those of the Bradley fighting vehicles that began carrying the same equipment in FY 1997, will significantly improve the coordination and lethality of digitized units.
The Army pursued other advanced systems in support of Force XXI and AAN goals while continuing to improve the short-term capabilities of the existing force. During FY 1999, two of the most prominent new systems passed significant milestones in their development. The second prototype of the RAH–66 Comanche armed reconnaissance helicopter began flight tests, as engineers started evaluating a redesigned tail section on the first prototype. The first vehicle of the new Crusader artillery system, a test version of the armored transport intended to resupply a separate self-propelled howitzer, entered trials in July. Comanche and Crusader ultimately will provide reconnaissance and fire support for Force XXI. Research, development, testing, and evaluation efforts on these and other projects consumed $5 billion of the Army’s budget in FY 1999.
Procuring and retaining sufficient high-quality personnel is at least as important to the Army’s mission capability as is obtaining quality equipment. The booming civilian economy and high demand for skilled labor tempted both potential recruits and career soldiers away from the Army in FY 1999. Meeting the need for highly skilled and, in the civilian sector, highly paid physicians and lawyers proved to be a particular challenge. Lawyers of the Judge Advocate General Corps continued to leave the Army in response to the combination of their high levels of debt from student loans and substantially better civilian salaries. The Army also lost more than 34 percent of the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) physicians deployed in Operations JOINT ENDEAVOR and JOINT GUARD because of the impact of lengthy mobilizations on their civilian practices.
The Chaplain Corps faced a similar continuing shortage, particularly in the number of Roman Catholic priests volunteering to meet the needs of
the Army’s growing number of Catholic personnel. During FY 1999, the
general shortage of priests throughout the United States remained a topic
of public interest. In August 1999, the Army responded to the question of
faith-group underrepresentation in the Army chaplaincy by establishing
the Directorate of Ministry Initiatives (DMI), scheduled to begin service
in November 1999. The DMI was created to address the demand for more
chaplains through aggressive recruiting and retention efforts, initially
focusing on the shortage of Army priests.
Despite problems in meeting the Army’s needs for such specific and highly sought professionals and for more general new accessions, overall FY99 end strength very closely corresponded with authorized levels. The active Army attained 99.9 percent of its authorized 480,000-person strength. Army Reserve recruiters and retention efforts provided 99.4 percent of the authorized force of 208,003, and the Army National Guard exceeded its 357,223 target to report 100.1 percent of authorized strength by the end of the fiscal year. Authorized levels still remained below validated requirements for full-time support personnel in the Guard and Reserve, however—a persistent problem for reserve-component depot maintenance and general force readiness. The lack of sufficient personnel in Army depots is a primary reason for the persistent maintenance backlogs at those facilities.
Army personnel continued to reflect the diversity of the general population in FY 1999. Within the active Army, 20 percent of new personnel were female, surpassing the annual recruiting goal by 2 percent, while women composed 14.7 percent of the active Army as a whole. African-Americans of both genders made up 26.5 percent of the active Army in FY 1999, Hispanics 7.6 percent, and Caucasians 59.2 percent. The reserve components reflected similar diversity. For comparison, the civilian population of 17–19-year-olds in 1999 was 14.2 percent African-American, 14.9 percent Hispanic, and 66 percent Caucasian.
If the Army had reached its authorized FY99 personnel strength through the planned level of recruitment, rather than through the increased retention efforts it used to overcome continued recruiting shortfalls, it would have faced a serious dilemma. In February the Training and Doctrine Command reported that its authorized funds were insufficient to provide training for the expected number of first-term recruits. Available resources would have produced a shortage of sixty-nine hundred active Army and ninety-three hundred reserve component training spaces for new enlisted personnel and five hundred spaces for newly commissioned officers. New accessions fell short of the FY99 target by 16,500, inadvertently avoiding the embarrassment of recruiting substantially more new personnel than the Army could train.
On a typical day in FY 1999, approximately 140,000 soldiers served in seventy foreign nations, thirty-one thousand of them on operational
deployments. The Army contributed 60 percent of all U.S. forces engaged
overseas during the year. Operation JOINT GUARD (Bosnia), Task Force ABLE SENTRY (Macedonia), and Operation SOUTHERN WATCH
(Southern Iraqi no-fly
zone) all represented significant efforts that required amendments to
the president’s proposed FY99 budget. Meeting those demands placed a
heavy burden on the ten active and eight reserve divisions. Of the 1,462
active Army and reserve component units reporting deployment tempos in
FY 1999, 8 percent exceeded the goal of 120 days or less away from their
permanent stations, with 4 percent deployed for more than 180 days.
The burdens of that high operating tempo fell particularly hard on personnel in certain high-demand categories, such as psychological operations specialists, counterintelligence agents, interrogators, infantry fighting vehicle crewmen, and cavalry scouts. Support by the reserve component reduced the overall deployment tempo, but the growing reliance on Army Reserve and National Guard formations for overseas operations remained a discouragement to reenlistment or initial entry into the reserve components. Training, maintenance, and force readiness suffered from the ongoing rapid pace of operations.
National Guard personnel continued to execute their civil support and disaster relief missions during FY 1999. Hurricanes Georges and Mitch brought widespread damage to the Caribbean basin before striking along the U.S. Gulf Coast. In addition to mobilization by the various state governors to provide immediate domestic support, Army National Guard (ARNG) personnel provided the bulk of the manpower for Operation NEW HORIZONS. That mission provided disaster relief and reconstruction support throughout the affected region, particularly in Honduras. Under the direction of U.S. Southern Command, the operation launched a new task force every thirty to sixty days, beginning in January 1999. By the time of the operation’s 4 August conclusion, 20,800 ARNG and USAR personnel had participated in NEW HORIZONS, accompanied by elements of the active Army and the other services.
Upon its selection by the U.S. Army Reserve Command, Fort Dix became the site of another large-scale humanitarian relief effort by the reserve component. In response to the refugee crisis overwhelming the Republic of Macedonia during the spring of 1999, Operation PROVIDE REFUGE established a sanctuary for 4,025 of the 13,989 refugees from ongoing unrest in Kosovo who temporarily relocated to the United States. Fort Dix, an Army Reserve installation, underwent a substantial expansion of facilities and personnel before it could respond to the needs of the refugees. For example, the existing company-size dining facility at Fort Dix grew to well over twenty times its original size. Thanks to the efforts of mobilized reservists, Fort Dix soon boasted four battalion-size and three company-size dining facilities to accommodate the Kosovars.
Feeding more than four thousand additional people at a post
equipped for emergency expansion was not a great challenge for the
personnel responsible for meeting the Army’s daily supply requirements.
Administrative control of logistic matters was transferred from the assistant
secretary of the Army for installations, logistics, and environment to the
assistant secretary for research, development, and acquisition (subsequently
renamed the assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics, and technology).
Consolidating acquisition and logistics policy management within the
secretariat helped improve the efficiency of both Army functions. With his
authorization of the reorganization, Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera
emphasized the continuing need for improved business efficiency and
streamlined, modernized organizations consistent with the findings of the
DOD’s 1997 Defense Reform Initiative Report.
Total asset visibility—the ability of logistics personnel to track the status and location of items in process, transit, storage, or use on a real-time basis—offers tremendous potential benefits to logistical efficiency and force sustainment. During FY 1999, Operations DESERT THUNDER and DESERT FOX, together with the FOAL EAGLE joint exercise, successfully employed the automated identification and tracking technologies of the Total Asset Visibility program. Much of that technology is commercially available off-the-shelf and that reduced the costs and risks associated with an overhaul of logistics management.
Capitalizing on such technologies, logisticians experimented with a new procedure to support rapid deployments. During FY 1999, the Deployment Stock Package, an automated process improving the supply readiness of deploying units, successfully completed testing during unit rotations at the National Training Center. Its adoption by units in several posts within the continental United States and by others serving in Kuwait supported the development of Total Asset Visibility during FY 1999 even as it improved the responsiveness and sustainability of those units.
Cooperative agreements and sound relationships with allies and potential coalition partners play a key role in Army strategy. Many of the deployments and exercises the Army undertook during the year were intended to maintain those relationships and support coalition commitments. The deputy under secretary of the Army for international affairs (DUSA-IA) updated regulations pertaining to logistical support and other administrative aspects of the Army’s security assistance policies during the year. In particular, the Office of the DUSA-IA clarified definitions of weapons systems approved for export and made efforts to rationalize the Army’s system for formulating foreign transfer policy during the year. Those accomplishments assisted both ongoing programs and the DUSA-IA’s participation in the Arms Transfer Policy Review Group established by the deputy secretary of defense in FY 1999 expressly to construct unified policies.
Allegations that one of the Army’s premier venues for delivering
security assistance training promoted human rights violations persisted
throughout the year. The School of the Americas has trained officers of
the United States’ Latin American allies since 1946. Some of its graduates
have been involved in alleged human rights violations, leading to public
outcry and an efforts by members of the House of Representatives to close
the school by prohibiting it from using security assistance funds under the
proposed FY00 Foreign Appropriations Act. Only a conference resolution,
requiring the secretary of defense to certify that the curriculum of the
school, particularly in regard to human rights, meets the high standards
used in training U.S. personnel, prevented the school’s closure at the end
of FY 1999.
If the School of the Americas proved able to withstand close scrutiny, the same cannot be said of the careers of two officers. The court-martial of retired Maj. Gen. David R. E. Hale, and his subsequent reduction in rank to brigadier general, drew considerable public attention to the Army’s sexual harassment policies. Following his guilty plea and sentencing in March, the Army changed its retirement policies to prevent officers under investigation from leaving active service without careful review. Under that policy the September retirement request of Maj. Gen. John J. Maher III, facing nonjudicial punishment, was not automatically honored. The general was fined and reprimanded later that month, and the outcome of a grade determination review board convened by order of Secretary Caldera will establish his retirement status in early FY 2000.
The Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) handled the proceedings against the two officers as part of a caseload that returned to a relatively normal balance after the increase in nonjudicial punishment proceedings and decrease in courts-martial recorded for 1997. During the 1998 calendar year, family law passed estate law as the primary legal service Army personnel sought from the JAG Corps. The number of requests for notary services, powers of attorney, will preparations, and referrals to civilian attorneys climbed significantly during the JAG reporting year that ended during FY 1999, despite the slight decline in total Army strength. That growing workload did not help the JAG’s recruiting and retention problems.
Quality of life remains one of the greatest inducements to Army service and most powerful guarantees of strong morale. Thus the Army took significant steps to implement the new family housing privatizing program by turning over the housing at Fort Carson, Colorado, to a private-sector firm contracted to renovate 1,823 family housing units and construct 840 new homes. Development continued on pilot projects to place 13,711 family housing units on three posts under private management, improving the quality and cost efficiency of that important
resource through the authority provided in the 1996 Military Housing
Privatization Act. The needs of single soldiers were addressed through the
Whole Barracks Renewal Program, which authorized the construction or
modernization of 11,700 spaces to the one-plus-one standard during the
fiscal year. Meeting that standard, which requires a private sleeping and
living area for every soldier, was the Army’s highest priority in facilities
development for FY 1999.
Educational opportunities are a prominent benefit of Army service. During FY 1999, the Army joined the other services to establish a uniform tuition assistance policy throughout the DOD. That policy enables active-duty military personnel to be reimbursed for 75 percent of tuition costs, up to an annual maximum of $187.50 per semester hour or $3,500 per year, to attend accredited educational programs. Under the new plan, a soldier may receive tuition assistance to repeat a failed course if he or she first reimburses the government for any assistance received in support of the failed course.
The quality of life offered by Army service also benefits from the Army’s continuing efforts to guarantee equal opportunity and equitable treatment for all. In support of that goal, in October 1998 the Army began distributing a handbook titled Human Dignity: The Prevention of Sexual Harassment. High-profile disciplinary proceedings in FY 1998 and FY 1999 arising from allegations of sexual harassment brought renewed attention to the issue and might have contributed to an increase in the number of equal employment opportunity complaints. During FY 1999, the Office of the Judge Advocate General pursued 250 more informal complaints of unlawful discrimination from Army civilians than it did in the previous fiscal year. The office directed a new Army-wide program for the mediation of such disputes, quadrupling the number of complaints addressed by alternative procedures in FY 1998. That effort might have contributed to the Army’s receiving one hundred fewer formal discrimination complaints from its civilian workforce in FY 1999.
Avoiding undue disruption to the lives of servicemembers and families affected by the U.S. withdrawal from Panama provided another challenge for Army leaders. U.S. Army South faced the twin problems of establishing a new headquarters at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, and expediting the relocation of Army personnel and families from Panama to either that location or posts in the continental United States. The personnel challenge was met through the expedient of transitional housing. The transfer of personal household goods from Panama to continental posts required approximately sixty days. U.S. Army South designated four hundred housing units for the use of Army families in their final sixty days in Panama, providing the required transit window. All Army dependents were ordered out of Panama by August 1999. At the end of the fiscal year,
only a few hundred Army personnel and contractors remained there to
await the final transfer of the Panama Canal and remaining United States
property in the former Canal Zone on 31 December.
In FY 1999, even without major changes in policy or the launch of substantial new programs, there was no shortage of challenges for the men and women of the U.S. Army. They successfully weathered storm and scandal at home while they provided the majority of the American military presence abroad. Despite resource constraints, they maintained force readiness and protected the peace in Bosnia, Kosovo, and other faraway areas of the world. The reform process launched by the Report on the Bottom-Up Review continued through the last year of that document’s formal guidance, moving the Army toward Force XXI and its successor, AAN. As Army information specialists planned and adapted for the potential threat posed by New Year’s Day 2000, the Army as a whole continued to prepare for the approaching twenty-first century.