1999 Fletcher Conference
Tuesday, November 2, 1999 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Anticipating Today the Essential Capabilities for Tomorrow
Dr. Ashton B. Carter
General George A. Joulwan
Lieutenant General Thomas G. McInerney
General Michael P. C. Carns
Pfaltzgraff: We now move into the third and final panel session for this, the first day of our conference. The title of this panel is "Anticipating Today the Essential Capabilities for Tomorrow." As we prepare for the challenges of the early 21st century, it seems to me from what we've said so far today, we are generally agreed that we will need forces that can be used more quickly and decisively and with greater precision. These are among the characteristics and capabilities that we're going to need and we will need to seek these capabilities from a Revolution in Military Affairs.
This sessionsession threeaddresses several key issues that are related to tomorrow's essential capabilities. And I wanted to outline some of these issues as we hoped they would be discussed. First, requirements for littoral and other maritime operations: maneuver, warfare, and airspace control. Secondly, forward engagement and power projection requirements. Thirdly, how do we enhance joint and combined? And we emphasize combined here as well. That is, alliance/coalition capabilities. Fourthly, how do we translate the missions that we will need to undertake in the early 21st century into force structure options?
These are of course fundamentally important questions that we're attempting to grapple with here. To help us address the important issues for this panel, we have indeed assembled a distinguished group. I would like to introduce each member of the panel in the order in which the presentation will be made. First, Dr. Ashton B. Carter. Ash Carter is Ford Foundation Professor of Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. And most recently, as was mentioned in the last panel, he is co-author of a book called Preventive Defense. He is also a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, an appointment which he held between 1993 and 1996.
Second on our panel, we have General George A. Joulwan, who is a former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and Olin Professor of National Security Studies at the United States Military Academy. I might add that among General Joulwan's other accomplishments and assignments, tours, he was Commander in Chief, U.S. Southern Command.
The third speaker on this panel is Lieutenant General Thomas A. McInerney, United States Air Force, retired. He is presently President and CEO of Business Executives for National Security or BENS, as it is known by the acronym. General McInerney retired from the United States Air Force in 1994 after of course many important assignments, including Assistant Vice Chief of Staff and Director of the Defense Performance Review.
Finally on this panel, we will be hearing from General Michael P.C. Carns, who is also United States Air Force retired. He is President and Executive Director of the Center for International Political Economy and former Vice-Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. I might add that he was director of the Joint Staff during the Gulf War and during Operation Just Cause in Panama. So with those opening remarks and brief introductions, I turn to our first presentation by Ash Carter.
Carter: Thank you, Bob. Thank you all for coming today. I want to extend a particular thanks to General Shinseki for organizing this very useful conference and also to commend his able staff which includes a few superb former Harvard students whom we managed not to ruin and are still productive. I don't want to put words in Eric Shinseki's mouth, but I think the guiding philosophy of this day was that we have the best military in the world and the public knows it. The military is one of the few institutions of our government that the public, when polled, believes is doing its job properly, competently.
But all that approbation, which I share, however deserved, I think General Shinseki is telling us is not a birthright. It's not a fact of nature. It's something that's got to be earned and re-earned. And now these are my words and not General Shinseki's. I see in our country and our defense community a dangerous complacency: a complacency toward national security affairs. The public for 10 years has enjoyed essentially a honeymoon from thinking about national security at all. They're all out trading dot.com stocks and worried about a stock market bubble and they're not worried, as well they should be, about a security bubble.
I am worried about a security bubble. And nowhere is the complacency of which I speak more evident than in strategy or the identification of priorities for defense. We're a decade into the post-Cold War era and, as is frequently noted, we have no other name for it than that. Post-Cold War, which means we know whence we came but not where we are or where we're going. And so I want to begin by asking ourselves what is the essence of the post-Cold War world in strategic terms. And I'll start with a quotation that inspired Bill Perry and I to work together on what will be the first part of this talk.
George Marshall in an address at Princeton in 1947, at America's previous last great strategic transition after World War II, Marshall said, "Now that an immediate peril is not plainly visible, there is a natural tendency to relax and to return to business as usual. . . . But I feel that we are seriously failing in our attitude toward the international problems whose solution will largely determine our future." Well, what is the strategic essence of this world? What are the problems that will largely determine our future in Marshall's words?
Well, if our dot.com trader goes to the newspaper or (since few of them read the newspaper anymore) turns on the TV and has done so over the last decade, they can be forgiven I think for having the impression that the issues of our timesthe defense issues, security issues in the post-Cold War worldreside in such places as Kosovo, Bosnia, Rwanda, Haiti, Somalia, East Timor. And while these are important issues, I think you know and I know that they don't threaten our vital interests directly. And that while important, they not only not threaten our vital interests directly, but let alone do they threaten national survival or our way of life or our position in the world in the way that the struggle with the Soviet Union did for 50 years.
And so in our taxonomy in the book we wrote, we assigned these problems that are so prevalent in the headlines to the "C-list." The strategic C-list. Important problems, but belonging on the C-list.
Now if you look not at the headlines, but at the defense budget, you would conclude that the most important security problems of this era are to be able to fight and win handily, however you want to define that, two major theater wars: one in Southwest Asia, one in Northeast Asia. These, unlike the C-list issues, do implicate vital interests of the United States. And unlike the C-list issues, we have no option to pick and choose among them or to opt out of them. They do affect vital interests of the United States, but not our survival or our way of life or our position in the world. So we assigned them to a "B-list."
And the B-list issues are, for Americans, for our dot.com trader, familiar strategic territory. They're imminent military threats as traditionally defined. And what do you do with imminent military threats? You deter them through ready forces. Now that's a formula Americans have had trouble grasping in the past. It took two world wars to understand that it was better to have standing forces to deter aggression rather than wait for aggression to occur, mobilize, and defeat it. Well, we all got it after World War II and so this is a familiar strategic formula, it's not a stretch for most Americans.
So what does that leave? What's on the "A-list?" That is, what is on our A-list: security problems that might threaten the survival, the way of life, or the position in the world of the United States? That might steal the headlines abruptly, immediately, compellingly from the East Timors of the day and abruptly give some new name to this era that we fail to rename? Well, the good news is, the obvious news is that for 10 years, if you define the A-list in terms of imminent threat, the A-list is empty. That's what having the Cold War over means. So instead, today's A-list is populated by threats that might be, not threats that are. But threats that if they come to be, are big. Bigger than the B-list, way bigger than the C-list.
This is strange strategic territory I think for Americans and for most of us. And what it requires and one of the things we discussed in our book is a preventive strategy, number one. And number two, a strategy of preparation for the long haul and preparation for the A-list, not just for the B-list and C-list. And it is in that connection that I think we need to return to George Marshall's formula. I fear we are seriously failing in our attitude towards the international problems whose solutions will largely determine our future.
Now we identified five A-list problems that we argued would
largely determine our future. The first is the prospect of a "Weimar
Russia"a Russia that doesn't fulfill the promise that we all hoped
for in the early '90s of becoming a partner, but instead becomes a spoiler.
The second you might call "Thucydides' China." Remember, Thucydides
attributed the cause of the Peloponnesian War not to a power imbalance,
but to a dynamic situation when one nation's rising power caused anxiety
in the other. And specifically, he had this famous line that what caused
the war was the rise of Athenian power, and not just that, the fear that
power, that rising power inspired in Sparta.
And if you substitute China for Athens and us and our Pacific allies for Sparta, that's the Thucydides' formula and that was the second on our list.
The third we identified was the hangover, if you like, the legacy, the lethal legacy of the Cold War. The fact that the weapons that constituted the former Soviet Union's weapons of mass destruction arsenal still exist. The half-life of plutonium 239 is 24,400 years. Which is one hell of a long time in Russian politics. And if you want to get uranium 235, it's 713 million years. So it's not going away and it's going to go through many turns of the wheel. And a command and control system, however well designed, wasn't designed for a society that disintegrated.
The fourth was weapons of mass destruction in the form of proliferation that has occurred: proliferation that has now taken the form of a real threat, not just a diplomatic problem. And while that may not have occurred in nuclear weapons to the extent we feared over the years, it certainly has in the biological and chemical and ballistic missile areas.
And fifth, we identified something we call "catastrophic terrorism," or "grand terrorism," which was the prospect that war and crime might come together in some grisly mixture in which individuals or small groups would be able to wreak warlike damage on our homeland, and bring to the American homeland the prospect of warlike destruction for the first time since Stalin exploded the bomb in 1949. For us, wars have been somewhere else since then. You go out and you project power and you take care of somebody somewhere else, but it's not home. And this could bring it home. So that was our list. That was our A-list anyway.
Now if one took this construct of the C-list, B-list, A-list seriously, we would have programs in our overall defense program that reflected the imperatives of prevention and preparation. Those preventive programs we collectively named "Preventive Defense." The analogy being to preventive medicine. Preventive medicine is what you do to keep yourself from getting ill in the first place, whereas curative medicine is what you do once you're sick already. Preventive defense is what you do to try to stave off threats before they turn into imminent military threats as traditionally defined. And in our view, we were and are not doing enough as a country in the preventive area.
And the second thing you would do is prepare for the eventuality that not just the C-list, not just the B-list, but something on the A-list eventuated in coming decades. And in that connection, you might reflect on the fact that Saddam Hussein came along right at the end of the Cold War, and he configured his forces in technology, tactics, doctrine, and so forth essentially like a Soviet Uniononly smaller. And said differently: just as we had perfected over five decades the "hammer," along comes Saddam Hussein configured like a "nail." It's a perfect match and the outcome was foreordained.
Now the next guy's not going to do that. The next guy is not going to be a "nail" at all. He's going to be something different. A screw or something. And yet, if you look at how we are running the RMA, the RMA is basicallyand I don't have any problem with thisbut it's basically polishing the hammer. Making the hammer bigger, better, faster, cheaper, etc. And yet, were we serious about the A-list, we would have running in parallel with the RMA an "asymmetrical RMA." But our RMA is essentially still symmetrical.
Also if we took the A-list seriously, we'd organize around it or, for that matter, reorganize around it. The last time the Department of Defense and indeed the U.S. government as a whole was reorganized for security was 1947, at the beginning of the Cold War. Businesses find it necessary to fundamentally reorganize themselves every few years to stay up with the pace of change, yet our government has not. And as a consequence, we've been assigning over the last decade, this post-Cold War decade, new missions to existing structures rather than undergoing fundamental renovations.
And we're doing okay at thatbut as a consequence, there is a list, which I'll shortly recite, of things that you all know, we all know, is demanded of our defense establishment that are essentially missions that are "homeless." Missions that we're "kludging" together a way of getting done, but they're essentially homeless. Or said differently, there's nobody who's obviously in charge.
Let me just give you the list. The first one is asymmetrical warfare. We have a start in the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). That's an organization that I commend, but it's just a start. Second, as far as the symmetrical RMA is concerned, we say that that's based on the revolutionary power of information technology, yet the inherently joint capability called C4ISR still doesn't have a systems' architect in DoD. You ask what is the engine of the RMA and have we organized that engine? Frankly, it's a dog's breakfast organizationally.
We have joint forces, thanks to Goldwater-Nichols, which was the one major organizational innovation since the 1947 act. We now have joint forces and we fight jointly, but we still have no way of procuring jointly, of configuring forces jointly, of reacquiring forces jointly. So the list grows. Joint procurement: homeless. C4ISR systems engineering: homeless. Asymmetrical RMA: homeless. Homeland defense: homeless. Coalition warfare: homeless. The back end, if you like, of peacekeeping, namely reestablishing a normal civil society after you've established a stable environment: homeless.
So again and again these are missions that we know, not really controversial, that we know are part of our future, yet we content ourselves with having a system where no one's in charge. And that reflects complacency.
Now even if we got our priorities straight and we got our own house in order, we can't maintain superiority if we don't take into account the changes in the international environment. In the late '70s, when Harold Brown and Bill Perry decided that the way we were going to win the Cold War was through what they called "the offset strategy," the U.S. figured we were just never going to match the Warsaw Pact numerically. Rather we were going to make our national strength technology. They called that the offset strategy. And thatthe technological edge and the professional soldierwere to be the pillars of the American way of waging a war.
Now what's happened since 1980 in connection with the technological edge? In 1980, the world spent about $240 billion on scientific research and development. Half of that was spent in this country. Everybody else accounted, all the rest of the world accounted for the other half. And of that, $40 billion, fully one-sixth of the global total, was spent by the Department of Defense. This year, $360 billion is the estimated worldwide research and development spending. Once again, half of it spent in this country. Everybody else makes up the other half. But now DoD accounts for only one-twelfth of that total.
Juxtapose the world of then and the world of now. In the world of then, defense technology originated in a defense technology base that was embedded in defense companies that resided in the United States, for which defense was their main driver. That was then. Now, defense technology increasingly originates in a commercial technology base that's embedded in commercially driven companies that are not American, rather they are global, for which defense is a niche player. Everything is opposite from the way it used to be.
What does that mean? Whereas in the past we could pursue the offset strategy (that is, military advantage was conferred by our national possession of defense-unique, leap-ahead technology that potential opponents couldn't get)in the world into which we're going, military advantage will be conferred by the rapid adoption and integration of mostly commercial technology and components into defense-unique "systems of systems"more rapidly than opponents who have access to the same technology will be able to do. That's a totally different environment for us to maintain what has been the distinctive edge of our forces.
So for all these reasons; strategy, whether we've identified the A-list correctly, whether we're taking the A-list seriously, whether we're organizing behind it and whether we're fully aware of the environment in which we live, I'm concerned that we're in a "security bubble" like a stock market bubble. And I say this and I don't mean to be too dismal, but calling attention to these challenges may seem out of tune with the emphatically true fact that we have the most proficient military in the worlda fact that we've demonstrated again and again in recent contingenciesand that we will see no global competitor for many years.
But still, the effectiveness of our military in protecting our security isn't a birthright or a fact of nature. If we're going to keep it, it's going to require self-scrutiny and a much more active effort to combat complacency. Will this occur? Looking out there at the dot.com traders, it's far from obvious to me that these changes will be made or made in time. When the important threats that we face are those that might be rather than those that are, when success against the lesser challenges of the moment appears to create a prima facie case that all is well, and where the fundamental shifts occurring in the environment are nonetheless gradual and subtle and sneak up on you, there's no forcing function compelling attention to change.
There will be no public clamor for it. The clamor will come later when, if the bubble bursts, the relative safety of the first post-Cold War era seems like a distant Golden Age and the question asked of defense leaders, the defense community, those of you in this room, will be: "who lost it?" Thank you.
Joulwan: Thank you very much. Again, let me also congratulate the Army and General Shinseki and the co-sponsors for this timely conference. And I couldn't help but notice on the last panel, as we started out with the Senator, and got down to Jeremy Mackenzie where the rubber met the road of having to put forces together, how different the presentation was. And so I am going to try to talk a little bit from my last 10 years or so in that environment and having to put forces in harm's way. And I'll leave to the more highly qualified on the panel to discuss hardware and capabilities and resources.
And though my remarks will deal with the broader themethat is, methods to enhance the ability of our armed forces to meet the security challenges confronting the United States in the early 21st centuryI would also deal with this panel's topic anticipating today the essential capabilities for tomorrow. And at the outset, let me be clear on the points I want to make.
Indeed, "anticipating" in our panel's topic is a key word. Since the Cold War ended 10 years ago, we as a nation and as a military have been more reactive than proactive. We have focused our attention, strategy, energy and resources primarily on the high end of the conflict spectrum. First, two major regional contingencies, then two major regional wars dominated and still dominate our strategic thought, training, procurement, and leader development. Clearly, we as a nation must be concerned about fighting and winning our nation's wars. But two MRW's are the least probable conflict we will face. Rather than focus solely on the high end of the conflict spectrum, can we not bring the focus of our best minds on the rest of the conflict spectrum? Can we not anticipate the challenges of the entire spectrum and develop the strategies, capabilities, leader development, and training philosophy to meet any mission assigned by the national command authority?
Given our experiences of this past decade, should we not focus on missions? Missions are missions, operations are operations. Terms such as Operations Other than War or OOTW misrepresent the mission and confuse our troops. I can assure you that putting troops in harm's way in Bosnia with 200,000 armed soldiers from the former warring factions, an enemy integrated air defense system, tank and artillery formations in the fields, and millions of mines was not an exercise in filling sand bags. We went into Bosnia well-trained, well-equipped, and focused on enforcing a peace agreement, but also prepared to fight if necessary.
We anticipated all contingencies. We fought for political clarity and robust rules of engagement from our political masters. So "anticipation" is a great word. Let's put words into action. Our theme for the 21st century not only should be "No more Task Force Smiths," but also no more Vietnams, Lebanons, Somalias, or Kosovos. Our U.S. troops are up to the challenge. However, the issue to me is whether our senior leadership is prepared to develop the strategy, the doctrine, the capability to be truly capable of full spectrum operations. We need a military that is not only, to use your term, strategically responsive, but also strategically relevant. And that includes the Army in the 21st century. Hopefully, this conference will assist in that effort.
Now with that as an introduction, let me tell you how I really feel. Ladies and gentlemen, as was mentioned by some of our speakers, 10 years ago just about to the day, I stood as the V Corps Commander on the inner German border in the famous Fulda Gap with my armored cavalry commander, John Abrams, and watched with enormous satisfaction as the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall were torn down. It was a victory for the millions of GIs who, for decades, crossed the Atlantic to demonstrate U.S. commitment and resolve to our allies and potential adversaries.
Much of the success was due to the innovation and thinking and doctrinal work from men like DePuy, Gorman, and Vuono, who focused our attention following Vietnam on rigor and discipline in our training, doctrine, and modernization. We in the field were directly involved in the doctrinal debate which not only included tactics, techniques, and procedures, but also focused our great industrial appointments on developing a high quality, technologically superior, best material and equipment in the world.
In 1989, V Corps in Germany was the most modernized, best equipped, best manned, best trained corps in the world. The Soviets knew it and we, with our allies, prevailed. A year later, Germany was reunited as a country, emerging democracies were evident in the former Warsaw Pact, the Soviet Union was breaking up, and communism as an ideology was on the decline. Within a year, we fought and won a great victory in Desert Storm. However, times and missions were changing. But as is our history as an institution, the U.S. military and, particularly, the U.S. Army were slower to change. Instead, we were quick to downsize without regard to strategy or missions.
In November of 1990, I was assigned as the CINC in Panama. In the first 10 days of my command, there were three coups, an insurrection in Panama, and a resurgence of the war in El Salvador. I called it a "CINC stress test." Interestingly, there was not much concern in Washington as our attention, rightly, was on Desert Storm. But for three years as CINC-South, I fought a different type of fight. Not a MRC or regional war, but several lesser regional contingencies.
For example, we, the military, were tasked by the National Command Authority to support law enforcement in the war on drugs. For the most part, the U.S. military viewed the commitment as a distraction from its readiness to fight and win our nation's wars, and regrettably still does today. Even though the number of Americans killed by illegal drugs has risen to 14,000 a year, and the cost to taxpayers is over $110 billion a year in law enforcement, rehabilitation, education, and health care. There's an existing Presidential decision, Directive 14, that mandates a military commitment to assist law enforcement. But our support and interest as a military is lukewarm at best.
However, even though the military is not in the lead, support by the military is essential, in my view, for success. Without that support, not only will Americans continue to die from illegal drugs, but our entire Southern flank, from Mexico to Colombia to Chile, is in danger of corruption, crime, addiction, and collapse. Can we not facilitate and assist the interagency in law enforcement efforts in this critical region so vital to American interests? And I ask: do we have to wait for the train wreck in Colombia to occur before we act? And can we do so while also maintaining our readiness to fight and win a major regional war?
I believe we can. But those are the issues before you in order to put the theory of strategic responsiveness and full spectrum operations into practice.
Another example. From 1993 to 1997, I was dual-hatted as both SACEUR and CINCEUR with responsibilities for 83 countries. And if I had to make a bumper sticker for those four years, and it should be a bumper sticker for the Army for the next millennium, "Stuff Happens." Now you could substitute another word for stuff, but I will tell you that stuff will continue to happen. But that period from '93 to '97 was a period of adaptation for the alliance as it transitioned from the Cold War to the new challenges in the post-Cold War period.
Unlike the U.S. model of two simultaneous MRWs, NATO political and military authorities and we operationalized a concept of simultaneous engagement in MRW (or Article V) and two lesser regional contingencies (or non-Article V). In other words, NATO strategically adapted to the new reality of the post-Cold War period. Better, in my opinion, than the U.S. military.
And for the commitment to Bosnia, let me be clear. NATO political and military authorities developed the plans, generated the force, deployed the force, and commanded and controlled the force. Not from capitalsBonn, London, Paris, or Washingtonbut from the integrated military command structure of NATO. Numerous contingency plans were developed in NATO for every possible mission. Anticipation of events was the key. Clarity of mission, unity of command, robust rules of engagement were debated by both political and military authorities. Most importantly, troops were trained to mission.
At one point the U.S. Army in Europe conducted an exercise with over 100 helicopters simultaneously in the air at night, anticipating a forced entry operation into Bosnia if it came to that. All plans were reviewed and approved by the joint staffs of 16 nations as well as 16 foreign ministries and defense ministries. But there was no micro-management of military operations. In the bombing campaign, for example, for August and September of '95, capitals did not pre-approve every target every day. Again, anticipation and contingency planning by NATO's military integrated structure assured political control, but not micro-management.
Are such doctrinal principals essential to full spectrum operations? I absolutely contend they are. And I ask where are they being written today? Where is the gaming? If we are serious, then we need to get on with it. In addition, the Partnership for Peace Initiative was developed into an operational concept, not just a political diversion from engagement. The intent of PfP was to train non-NATO nations to common standards, techniques, and procedures. To do so would enhance the probability for success whenever their forces were committed into operations.
PfP was also envisioned to promote mutual trust and confidence between NATO and the militaries of former adversaries. Forty-four nations have joined the Partnership for Peace, to include Russia and Ukraine. I had a Russian deputy for Bosnia for 20 months at my headquarters in Mons, Belgium. And over 30 of these nations have contributed forces to Bosnia. In Kosovo, it was said 80 percent of the force on the ground today is other than U.S. So Europeans are involved and I think we need to recognize that as we talk about the future. Therefore, I ask you military folks and particularly the Army, is PfP a training distracter for forward deployed U.S. troops or is it a viable mission?
Can we leverage the troops and assets of our PfP allies and partners in future operations? In doing so, can we promote mutual trust and confidence among the military of PfP partners? Can we interact in a way to advance our interests for democratic institutions and respect for the dignity and worth of the individual? By doing so, can we prevent conflict as well as fight and win our nation's wars? I know we can. Our national strategy from the White House recognizes the need for not only joint, but combined multinational and inter-agency operations.
And I would urge General Shinseki a doctrine to effectively recognize the complexities and opportunities inherent in such a strategy. To do so recognizes the world as it is, not as we hope it will be. To do so anticipates future missions across the conflict spectrum, not just two major regional wars. And I will tell you the future is now. There is a need for clear, direct, and supportable training guidance. To put rigor, discipline, and feedback in training units for full spectrum operations.
In addition, our leader development programs must instill the confidence in current and future military leaders to be innovative and imaginative in training, to give clear, military advice to our political leadership and to interact with multi-national civilian organizations. It is time for some straight talk with our troops. If you agree, then structural change and organizations of procurement of the right assets will follow.
We need flexibility and agility in our organizational structures and as well as more rapid deployment and agility in our war fighting systems. In my opinion, if the military leadership institutionalizes and internalizes the strategy and doctrine of full spectrum operations, our current structures will require some modification to fit resources to missions.
However, the military leadership, pays only lip service to full spectrum operational deployments and continues to concentrate solely on the "Big One" that no amount of high tech platforms, precision guided munitions, or rhetoric will suffice. Finally, we must find ways when directed to facilitate the efforts of law enforcement, civil organization, and multi-national to regional organizations, particularly when the United States military is not in the lead.
We must find ways to leverage, as I said before, the assets of our allies and partners. We must be proactive and innovative. Such as structuring civil military integrated staffs for stability operations and civil military action plans for decision matrixes. We must help civilian organizations close the deal on operations such as Bosnia, Haiti, and Kosovo. That is what I mean by strategic relevance. To do so will require a proactive, informed, professional military leadership, and highly motivated, well-trained troops.
President George Bush at the Aspen Institute on August 2, 1990, said, and I quote, "The United States would be ill-served by forces that represent nothing more than a scaled back or shrunken down version of the ones we possess at the present. What we require is a policy of peace time engagement every bit as constant and committed to the defense of our interests and our ideals in today's world as in the time of conflict in the Cold War." Ladies and gentlemen, over nine years we have yet to develop a peacetime engagement policy, strategy, or doctrine. It is time to do so. Thank you very much.
McInerney: Thanks, George, great words. Chief, thanks very much for having us here. It's great to have Tom Schwartz. I normally go down to Atlanta and get to listen to him. He's a much better speaker. Bob, thank you. Today, what I'd like to do is review our strategic responsibilities for the 21st century. Now I'm going to go back and I'm going to look at Kosovo. And not as an airman because it easily could have been a ground campaign. But the same points resonate with all of the forces.
I would say though that clearly the Kosovo operation would have been a lot shorter if we had had a ground campaign. It could have been a shaking ground campaign. It didn't have to be a heavy, heavy commitment, but we would have then had a much better synergy between the air and ground forces.
The one think that the allied force did show for us, we've got a flashing red light. We've got two major problems. The Air Force showed on us, but it shows to the rest of the Services. And those red lights, we're talking about sustainability and modernization. Fundamentally, the force structure is too small. I was here when we did the Bottom-Up Review in '93that came in. I was the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff at the time. We watched it. We did the best we could, but we have gotten it wrong. And each time we have a different crisis, whether it was Desert Storm or Kosovo or Bosnia or all the ones that George talked about, it's different.
And so we've got to have a flexible force, but we've got to have one that is sized right. And frankly, we have not sized it right and now it's a very aging force. Clearly, in the sizing, and when we needed it, the stealth aircraft, because the political leadership wanted us to have very low casualties. It was important to the political situation in the war fighting there. We have a total of less than 75 stealth aircraft in the entire U.S. Air Force inventory. That means the entire worldwide inventory on the Western side.
We've got 40-year-old B-52s. And to put it in the vernacular of the dot.com people that Ash was talking about, that would mean that was before the PC was invented. Just to give you the time frame that we're talking about. And the administration is going to take them out to 75 years. We've got 20-year-old F-15s. When Mike and I were flying, we thought it was a new airplane. And it was a new airplane. But that was 20 years ago, Mike.
The second lesson of course is the equipment that we've bought, and I alluded to it, is it's wearing out. Army average age of your trucks, 40 years. You look at the equipment in the other forces, the average age of the U.S. Air Force airplanes is 20 years. The average age in Kosovo was 26 years for equipment. You can't have that for the long term. We're getting by because we have got superb soldiers, superb airmen, superb sailors and marines. But their equipment is wearing out and it's wearing out fast.
Now what's our problem? Well, if you look at it and step back, 70 percent of our dollars today are in overhead and in infrastructure. At the height of the Cold War, 1986, when George and I were in Europe together, 60 percent of our dollars went to the war fighter, 40 percent went to overhead and infrastructure. And I was part of the problem on the Air Staff, but the choice was to close Warner Robbins or take another fighter bomber or missile wing to meet your $100 million bogie that we had to get down to meet our budget.
It was an easy decision. We're all still faced with those decisions. And we left this huge infrastructure that is fundamentally an industrial age infrastructure, left over from World War II and the Cold War, and we have paid the price on the war fighter. The war fighter has not gotten the resources that he needs to fight in the future. Now it's not everybody's fault. I mean, clearly trying to make this change, it's met with some very strong congressional resistance. Change is hard there. But we must solve this problem if we're going to go into this 20th century and still be a world class power. Or as Ash says, the bubble will break.
Let's talk about some of those areas that we have in government which I call "non-core." Such as these huge data processing centers, payroll operations, warehouse facilities, and other business activities that aren't core war fighting. As a matter of fact, if you can find them in the yellow pages, we probably should not be doing them. We ought to focus on, number one, war fighting, trigger pullers. Number two, policy. Number three, oversight. Number four, certain management functions. The rest we ought to look at of becoming partners with industry. Partners with industry to then use their efficiencies that has made us the number one economy and make ourselves the number one war fighters in the world.
Now this skewed investment program that we have is what our problem is. Now Secretary Cohen this year tried a base closure. You know, we need to close about 35 or 45 more bases with the force structure. And our force structure is not going to get a lot larger if we still have all these people in the overhead side. We've got to shift those people. Secretary tried to do that, you know. Because of political problems, he wasn't able to do it. The new administration must do it.
Now I'll talk to you how we can do base closures and do it very well. And we can do it so it benefits the people and it benefits the communities. The other area is looking at 240,000-plus to outsource. Take those functions, but you go through the terrible process of the A-76. It ties your hands and doesn't enable you to do it the proper way. We need to change that.
Now let's talk about specifically what we see and what we're trying to do and bend so we get the private sector to help. We're talking about fundamentally a Revolution in Business Affairs at the same time you've got a Revolution in Military Affairs. And I talk about the RMA as the war fighting side. I talk about the RBA as the overhead/logistics side. We formed a commission. Warren Rudman who was just up here is our Chairman. We have Josh Weston of ADP who's the co-chair. We are focusing on trying to take $20 to $30 billion a year out of this overhead, which is a little more than 10 percent of a $280 billion budget, and move those dollars over to the war fighter through efficiencies using the model that U.S. industry has used.
Now on that commission, we have 23 of America's top corporate executives. Bernie Markus of Home Depot. You want to talk about inventory control, go to Home Depot and talk to Bernie Markus. Fred Smith of FedEx. Ward Zuckerman, U.S. News and World Report. Admiral Bill Owens, Jim Kimsey, the founder of AOL, John Morgred, Cisco. Jack Vessey, Gordon Sullivan, Tony McPeak. Tom Orman, Al Grey, and Admiral Stan Arthur, to name a few, of our military advisors. We've got Bill Perry and Frank Carlucci.
So you see, we've taken former political leaders, former military leaders, and current business leaders to help focus this effort for defense reform. Now this is an extraordinary collection of people and clearly they want to take the model, as I mentioned earlier, of what's going on in U.S. industry. It's not a risky model. It's one that every company in the country that is surviving is using. We want to take that model and put it in defense. And that was the model when I was running the defense performance review, that I went out and visited over 100 leading edge companies to see just what they had done to move into the information age.
And if we can free up $30 billion a year in that budget to Congress and in the present budget in the out years, it's going to give us $20 billion. And if we can't get another $10 billion, because I'm driving toward 60 billion additional, the new administration's going to have to get it. And why do I come up with that number? I mean, we're at 54 this year, 44 last year. Fifty-four, if we don't have a contingency. Let me tell you how I come up with this number. It's a rough number.
But we are depreciating the tanks, airplanes, and ships in the military today at $118 billion a year. That's a good way to look at it. Look at what you're depreciating, what it will cost to replace it. We put in 44 last year. Fifty-four is going to go in this year. Well, if you look at $118 and $44 billion, we've got a gap. The Chiefs and Bill Owens and General Shali came up with a number, that we needed to get to 60. I'm here to tell you 60 isn't the number that's going to take us to get into the 21st century. We're going to need over $100 billion to solve this problem.
And the new administration, no matter what party, is going to have to do it or the system's going to break. And that's the bubble that I think, Ash, that you're pointing out. I mentioned the criteria that we ought to use. Let's focus on what our core business is. Our core business is trigger pullers, it's oversight, it's policy, and it's management. Key areas.
Let's talk about payrolls. You already outsource the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). Mike Carns and I were there when we consolidated. We didn't have a good answer, we all went and did it. What we missed in those defense consolidations was competition. If you don't have competition, and you all know here the problems we have with DFAS. We've got 40,000 people in the Department of Defense today, 20,000 in DFAS and 20,000 in the Services, that are in finance and accounting. Forty thousand people. Chief, that's a lot of people. And not one of them pull a trigger.
Now through efforts that the JCS is doing and we're doing and others, they have agreed to outsource civilian pay and retired pay. Let me tell you, I think after 35 years, Mike and I and George, we deserve our retired pay. The only question is, if you try to call DFAS and get any service, you're not going to get it. Now in addition, they charge $2.50 for the paycheck. They charge you that. It's really $5 in the fully burdened cost. If you're on active duty, they charge $8.50. The fully burdened cost is $12.50. We are spending $1.67 billion this year in DFAS. In the private sector, what I pay for my tiny little companyI pay ADP a buck fifty.
Now they pay 26 million people a month. And I went in and talked to the previous director of DFAS and he told me there's no company that can handle us, we're too big. And I said, "Well, when's the last time the U.S. had 26 million people in uniform?" They pay right now five and a have million people. And by the way, I haven't missed a paycheck since I went out the door. Can you hear me? I get a much better product. And that's my point. You get it for less money, but you get a much better product.
I was on Carl Vincent in March. They're wired there now. They can bounce a signal off a satellite. It doesn't matter where the server is. Chief petty officer gets promoted, that check goes to the bank electronically. So paying people isn't our core business. Seeing that they're paid is. But let's get out of doing these kind of tasks that we can't change fast enough.
Now they put out this RFP, by the way. That RFP was 3,500 pages long. The stack was this high. And I'm not going to tell you, but I talked to a very senior person in DoD, very, very senior person. He said, "Well, look, industry isn't having a problem with it." And I said, "I think they are. Nobody bid on it." So we sent a letter in, Warren Rudman signed it, to the Secretary of Defense. We had a 13 page RFP, which would be the standard RFP that the industry uses. We went around to three different companies, major companies in the payroll business and they gave us this notion of RFP. We're meeting next Monday, the eighth of November, to discuss how we can do this better. That's an example.
Let me give you another example that I think is very important to us. Army log mod. Chief, we've got to have it. The Army is doing it, you're pushing hard on it, and you've done a very good job in the soft landing. At the end of this month or, I guess, it's December, you're going to let the contract. Two people compete, they're taking a commercial off the shelf, product that will go in, and it will spread across the other Services. It is very important. You all probably heard the example of Caterpillar. But Caterpillar, if you have a Cat product, there's a 99.7 percent chance that you'll get that product delivered within 24 hours in the United States. It's 30 hours, I guess, if you're outside the United States. Thirty-six.
The fact is, we have an inventory in DoD of about $65 billion. We need about $32 billion. And that's probably twice as much as what we need. I went and visited my old wing in Alaska, long story short, with Joe Ralston. It had its 80th anniversary. That's old for flyers, not for you chaps. But the wing commander was telling me when he has a part out for 30 days, he personally gets on it. He's a superb wing commander. I said, "Scott, that's great. But if you're in the private sector, if it was out for more than 24 hours, you'd be in trouble." That's the kind of standards that you need to get. That's the kind of standards that we ought to make our logisticians in the system give us.
Finally, let's talk about housing. Van is here today. I think he's still here, Van, aren't you? You're doing a great job in the projects that you've got going out at Fort Carson and what you're doing at Fort Hood. All the Services have got to go this way. Not only is it going to save us bucks, it's going to give us a better product. Now the important thing is you can outsource or privatize and you can do it wrong or you can do it right. Go visit and benchmark the people that do it right.
Well, Chief, we've got the best military in the world, the best soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. They need the best equipment. We need to move it in their direction and so we have got to change. Let's use the model of the best economy in the world and let's be partners with them. Thanks very much.
Carns: Good afternoon. Chief, thank you very much for the invitation to participate in this important undertaking. I must say it's a refreshing privilege to be the last speaker of the day. The rapt attention of the people out there is daunting, but I'll try to deserve it.
The arcane task assigned to this group was to discuss the challenge of anticipation, competently estimating what military capabilities America will need tomorrow to meet it's national security needs. That's a problem that every generation, every administration, every service chief faces. Today, the task is more difficult as we shift from threat-based strategies to capability-based ones, while also shifting from a posture of deployed forces to expeditionary forces.
This sea change has rendered our current response capability largely a late-to-need strategy. The new strategic demand is to be able to act so quickly that the adversary reacts to us, not our reacting to him. So, for the sake of this discussion, let's accept that these two general descriptors strike a responsive chord in this room.
Today, the way we convert these two descriptors in military plans and operations is to task military service staffs and joint long range planners to draw up illustrative scenarios, describe needed force characteristics, determine requirements, transfer these needs to the developers who design, produce, test and provide new equipment capabilities to the fielded forces.
That process certainly worked in World War I, but we had a three-year bye to get ready before arriving on the scene in 1917. That process worked again in World War II, but this time it took five years to arrive on the scene in major formations. In Vietnam, we reported to the battle in a timely fashion because we were already equipped and ready for the Soviet scenario. Our readiness for the Soviet scenario proved to be a bad operational mismatch when applied to the Southeast Asian battlefield. Finally, in the Gulf, we showed up six months after the crisis started, beholden to the patient indulgence of a truly incompetent military adversary.
In short, this readiness and force structure style worked in the past, but it's no longer okay today. We're imprudent planners and irresponsible guardians of the nation's security if we think we're going to enjoy the luxury of time to get ready for the next crisis.
So, hearkening back to the panel tasking: how do we anticipate today the essential capabilities for tomorrow? Let me suggest a modified approach to that question, taking a military perspective of the business perspectives suggested earlier by General McInerney. The model to consider is the US business sector and its experience over the past decade or so. During this period, we have seen business keel haul its vision, revise its business concepts, alter its methods of execution and achieve fairly stunning results. In military terms, business saw a growing threat, acted decisively, and succeeded . . . but it didn't love the experience despite the salutary outcome.
Make no mistake, business hated doing it. It required massive changes to the status quo, it had substantial human resources impact, and it required massive downsizing, restructuring, reinvestment, and process alteration. But there was no choice: it was either adopt dramatic change or collectively forfeit American economic pre-eminence to more innovative, more aggressive overseas companies, both in innovation and modernization.
Unfortunately, that former characterization is a good working description of what has not yet happened in military acquisition. For over a decade now, the citizens of this country have annually granted us a quarter trillion dollars of tax money to provide for national security. In return, we have very little to show for it. We have the same main battle tank that was developed in the '70s. Naval fighting ships have been cut in half in the last couple of decades with little modernization on the way. And, the Air Force, like the Army, is flying the equipment designed in the '70s with the lone exception of 20 B-2 bombers.
The resistance to change in acquisition is palpable. Convincing people to alter an acquisition model that won a 50-year Cold War is not easy. The military and it acquisition system was able to focus on a known enemy and develop a surveyed battlefield, land, sea, and air, and hold out until collapse. Moreover, the U.S. was supported by a military industrial complex that responded to requirements in an orderly and procedural fashion. Over time, this system spawned such debilitating acquisition strategies as ensuring that parts of every major weapons system were manufactured in every state of the Union.
The result today is a process that takes on the order of two decades or more to field new weapons systems for the future battlefield. We got what we tolerated and, therefore, we got what we deserved. In a telling phrase, the acquisition process is now producing capability slower while technology is moving faster . . . a trend with disastrous implications for a military force.
Tomorrow, America's essential capabilities are going to be perilously dependent upon how quickly we can convert our operational expressions of new technology into concepts, doctrine and new technology equipment for the troops to carry out the mission. Unfortunately the processes of the past are still in charge. Recent process changes have hardly altered outcomes. The F-22 is a perfect example . . . a three-decade development program . . . almost a generation . . . shameful.
Is this happening because we can't afford it? Yes and no. Yes, we can afford modernization and, yes, we can afford the equipment. But, no, we should no longer tolerate the way we go about doing it. Regrettably, we do not now enjoy the operational perspective or the political will to forge real change . . . not in the Services, not in the Department, and certainly not on the Hill. For now, we are restricted to tinkering at the margins.
To fix the problem is not as daunting as it appears. About only three things need to happen . . . admittedly big things, but not a long list and all are well within the doable. All that is lacking is the resolve to make it happen. First, as leaders and users, we need to better understand what it is we want to be able to do. Anticipating today the essential capabilities for tomorrow is not rocket science. The tough challenge is for the military operator, not the acquisition officer, to understand technology well enough to express new service component and joint capability needs in clear, operational terms. This is not a matter to be left to the acquisition corps or the vendors, but that's who's doing it today. The customer needs to take charge . . . and stay in charge!
Once the operator understands technology well enough to articulate operational needs in clear-cut output terms, our industrial providers are quite capable of delivering the weapons we want, innovatively conceived and delivered promptly to the user. In just a few areas, we already do this but not in the mainstream. For example, when certain senior operators realized and understood that stealth technology was in hand, it was relentlessly pursued, not by the acquisition corps, but by the operator . . . with results widely appreciated today.
Several years ago, a well-known combat field commander in the Air Force said at a very dark hour, "there is a way." In the case of stealth, the military grasped the impact of this technology and instituted special processes to procure it. The result was built and fielded F-117s in just a few short years. In another case, the Gulf War problem of penetrating deeply buried bunkers was solved . . . in three short weeks! . . . by building, testing, deploying, and employing 5,000-pound GBU-28 bombs, from start to finish. Tank barrels from Watervliet Arsenal were shipped by ANG C-130s to Eglin AFB where they were cut and filled with explosives by test engineers, one quick operational drop was tested at Nellis AFB for proof of concept, and then the bombs were air lifted over to the Gulf, hung on F-111s and operationally delivered. It was done, absolutely start to finish, in three weeks . . . "There is a way."
So what's the problem? We know we can do it when we put our minds to it, but unfortunately procurement concepts of this type are reserved for exceptions, not the rule. The obvious fix is, to the extent we can do so, convert the exception to the rule. We're the military user; we're the market; we're the customer with a $250 billion budget . . . not exactly chump change.
The challenge is for the operator to know technologythe art of the possibleexpress the operational need in output terms . . . and U.S. industry will produce. They have never failed us when we, as smart buyers, tell them what we need and must have. But we must never forget operators decide; buyers/acquisition offices implement . . . not the other way around. We don't put kids in charge of candy stores or foxes into hen houses. Operational requirementsweaponryis our operational business. We are not in charge; but, we'd better take charge. That's step one.
This, however, requires a major sea change within our Services. After taking charge and understanding what it is that we want to do, we've got to be willing to do it. On the acquisition side, while the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology has sought to implement change, effects are at the margin. Acquisition policy needs to be keel hauled . . . practices, procedures, and processes. We must transition from centralized, communist, future year "fairy dust" plans to milestone driven output programs that utilize the dynamic of capitalism: the customer demands; industry responds; technology drives market development and transition; competition solves the value equation; and, operators take timely delivery of relevant high technology equipment suited to the mission.
The common thread through all this is: honor the principle of competition. Instead of selection production winners, select winning designs and prototypesthe best operational capabilityand then contract two or more developers/producers. The winning design should then be produced by a minimum of two contractors, with annual competitive "buys" shared out to contractors (variable percentage of the total) based on contractor-proposed new innovations, output value, and best pricing.
This is not a new idea. For example, in the late '80s, The Air Force was experiencing enormous developmental difficulties with AMRAAM missile (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile). Moreover, cost was rising rapidly. The USAF decided to move to two producers to incentivize the "market" to seek cost savings and capability enhancements. The USAF purchased the proprietary drawings from Hughes and provided them to Raytheon, also facilitating production. The net effect was that the AMRAAM price not only stabilized but each of the contractors offered performance and price improvements as incentives for a larger share of the annual production percentage distribution. Competition works; we have consistently gotten a better performing missile at a better price ever since value was the contract determinant in AMRAAM production buys. Competition was the major force in solving the value equation.
Now some brief thoughts on the challenge of strategizing the issue of being willing to change. The military has historically been reluctant to be a major participant in the important role of informing the public on the national security challenges and what may be required to protect the nation. We need to take a more prominent role in this national debate. When contingencies and crises arise, the public needs to be able to grasp quickly what America's interests are and when to support action. A delay of months or even weeks to debate the role and character of American involvement is every bit as debilitating to the final outcome as a military force promptly dispatched, but saddled by months to reach the area of engagement.
After solving the issues of intent and will, the third challenge is to be prepared to do itto effectively alter our acquisition processes to meet our pressing operational needs. Operationally expressing what we want is only a start. The more difficult challenge is the resource issue. A useful beginning would be to strip out all the process aimed at telling industry how to do it and how they're going at it. We do not need the over 200,000 uniformed and civilian members of the Defense Department's acquisition corps to manage the weapons procurement process. Over 200,000 people . . . some 15 Army Division equivalents invested in acquisition personnel (vis a vis our 10 total active divisions).
The proposal to fix the problem is mainstream America: let market forces operate to produce military capability in an atmosphere of price-based acquisition, continuous competition, and value assessment . . . what the U.S. consumer does every day of the year.
A second critical task is to shed what we don't need to finance what we do need to . . . what General McInerney was talking about. We should pursue whatever action's necessary to increase funding for modernization, to include trading off manpower, shedding excessive infrastructure, and competitively outsourcing non-core activities.
Think about it. What's core about routine long-haul communications . . . read DISA. What's core about accounting and finance . . . read DFAS. What's core about procurement of commodities. . . read DLA. And soon, what's core about mapping and processing overhead photography . . . read NIMA and NRO.
We don't need to operate the communications infrastructure; we don't need to operate our own accounting offices; we don't have to own the camera. We need the output . . . connectivity . . . payment of invoices . . . and the picture of the target. We don't need to own the process; we need reliable access to output. It's timeit's time nowto get rid of commodity overhead, farm it out on a value basis to the competitive marketplace, and invest the very substantial resource savings in our core national defense mission. We'll all be better off, the military as well as the marketplace.
To sum up this discussion on our operational future, some may think that acquisition is a misplaced topic in a capabilities discussion. Not so. The path to future operations capability passes squarely through technological acquisition. Our current process is a failure, delivering in 15 or 20 years, a military requirement perfectly articulated today. During that intervening 1520 years, two, three, maybe four or five technology cycles having spun inside that development cycle. We must understand: how we acquire our future capability has decisive impact on our capability because of the increasing pace of technology development.
To close out these brief thoughts, three vectors will take us 90 percent of the way:
Senior operators who understand technology, take control of the process, and operationally drive what they need to operationally do. Get "need focused."
Second, get "value focused" and use mainstream tools to motivate the market. Incentivize industry to produce technologically superior weaponry; use price-based acquisition as the basis of value determination; employ constant competition to stay on the technology leading edge.
Third, shed military non-core. Reinvest the savings in what we do and what we need; get output focused.
So there it is: get need focused, value focused, and output focused. That wraps up the comments.
The good news: that's our job. The hard part: having the focus and the diligence to stay the course, to make it happen, recognizing the path to anticipating today what the essential capabilities of tomorrow must be is through tech smart operators, overhauled acquisition processes, sound business practices, and competency in our core mission and tasks . . . while shedding everything else. Thank you very much.
Pfaltzgraff: Although we are rapidly running out of time, we should not miss this opportunity for a few very brief questions and brief responses. Now let us adopt the technique that we did late this morning and have questions asked and then let the panel make some concluding comments based upon those questions. Please keep your questions very brief and wait for the microphone and camera. We'll begin over on this side of the room.
Audience Member: [BEGINNING OF QUESTION
INAUDIBLE] . . . conceived in the 1880s, designed in the 1890s,
and acquired in the early 1900s when we had to go to war against imperial
Japan and Hitler. It seems to me that we are, even understanding the obsolescence
problem that several of the gentlemen have discussed, it seems to me we're
getting ourselves into that bind potentially for the
Pfaltzgraff: Okay, next question. From this side of the room perhaps. Is there another question? Please, yes.
Carlson: I'm Fitz Carlson, a member of the Association U.S. Army. I am struck by the fact that we've had five presentations from panelists up there and I'm recalling that last Thursday Mr. Paul Mitchell wrote a column in the New York Times which said we ought to do away with all of our nuclear weapons. We have no use for them. And I'm surprised that nobody addressed, considering the title of your panel, what is the utility and what is the requirement for our nuclear weapons systems and the nuclear stockpiles that we have today.
Pfaltzgraff: Okay, is there another question for the group? Yes, over here. Please. Wait for the microphone.
Audience Member: Thank you very much. Ash Carter laid out a hierarchy of strategic problems and observed that we are not giving priority to the A-list of threats. I wonder if the three career military professionals share the sense that that A-list should be the A-list that is being neglected. And I wonder if they could say why we are not addressing it as we should. Is it a failure primarily of military leadership to bring those crises to the attention of the policy makers on the civilian side or are there political influences detracting from the military priorities reflected in that list?
Pfaltzgraff: Is there one more question now? Then we'll turn to the panel. Okay, we'd like to begin with General Carns and work our way over to Ash Carter. Please be very brief because we are really running over time soon.
Carns: Okay . . . I believe that we have to change the whole production scheme. There was not time to talk about it. We should not go for production runs, we should go for small buys of lots of things for a long time so that we have one wing of fifteen F-15As, another wing of Bs and Cs and Ds and Abrams' ones, twos, and threes, and fours. And it's an Abram-1 this year, an Abram-2 next year and so on so that we have dynamic technology. I understand all the arguments behind the training and the difficulties there, but we cannot field homogeneous forces in tens of thousands in a technologically updated manner using our current processes.
Secondly, regarding Fitz Carlson's question, I think this is dead wrong. There is great utility in nuclear weapons today because of balance problems, it focuses the issue of consequence on the plate when people consider to use them, and, third, we need to use the Tarzan principal. Until we've got something better to deter, we'd better not turn loose of nuclear weapons.
And finally, this issue of the A-list. I think we are paying attention to the A-list, but I wouldn't pay a lot of attention to the A-list despite the distinguished writers of the book. And my concern would be that as soon as we start zeroing in, we get threat specific, we start tailoring forces, and we become less flexible. Let's wait until we see where it's really headed and we'll convert capabilities to threat focused forces.
McInerney: I would just say on the point on mass equipage, the fact is just having a very capable deterrent force, no one's going to take us on today. That force must be modernized. You can get into how fast we modernize it, but clearly we didn't even have a military of any substance before World War I and that's why it started. So I'm a believer in deterrence and a very capable force. On the nuclearclearly nuclear's role has always been a deterrent role and enough said on that. And I agree with what Mike said on the A-list.
Joulwan: I don't want to add much to what's already been said, but on the historical example, I would caution about trying to look so far into the future that you forget the Army and the Navy and the Air Force and the Marines of today. As a former deployed CINC, I can tell you it's much different at the point of spear where you have to put forces on the ground today. And I think we have to caution against there's something better out there and let's delay what we're doing today. I would caution against that. And I might add, we passed the Neutrality Act in 1939 and '38 which I think also contributed a great deal to what occurred in World War II.
To General Carlson's question, absolutely, there are 20,000 plus nuclear warheads in the Soviet Union today. We're unsure about where it's going. We need to get back. And NATO has, by the way, a nuclear planning group. They are concerned with dual capable aircraft. NATO is concerned about that as an alliance and we ought to take great comfort in that. And as far as the A-list, I agree with what's already been said.
Carter: On nuclear weapons, I agree with everything that the panel has just said. I'd just add one more thing which is our nuclear weapons are not ours only. They are also a protective resource for a number of other countries as well. And I don't think it's a good idea to pose them with the question what would they do if the United States has no nuclear weapons.
Now as far as what Mike and George have said about the A-list, two things. I agree with George, George being of somewhat different perspective. You know, on the rear bumper, stuff happens. But, you know, up on the front bumper, that has to be a sticker that says, "What stuff might happen?" And somewhere over the rearview mirror has to be a little reminder that we need to pick and choose when stuff happens what stuff we, as a nation, are going to take responsibility for. Because there's an endless list of tasks that the world will assign the world's greatest superpower and are we prepared to step up to all of them? And so there has to be a filter in there.
Now should that filter come from our military leadership, Dalton, or from our political leadership? I think in the first instance it has to come from political leadership. But military leadership needs to demand it as a guide to what they're doing. Now you can disagree with our A-list. Bill Perry's and my A-list. That's fine. But the idea that there is not an A-list, B-list, C-list, but instead there's stuff and that stuff happens to us rather than us thinking about it in advance, I think is abdicating the strategic duty that we in this community, military and civilian, have. And that's not returning to threat-based planning, Mike.
To say that there are people out there with biological and chemical weapons is not a specific threat based statement. It requires a capability-based response. So I don't think that the A-list or enunciating the A-list, B-list, C-list is returning to a threat-based hierarchy. And to my way of thinking, we have no choice but to have priorities. So to be against priorities is a strange case.
Joulwan: I have no problem with putting priorities out there, but let me just give whatever advice I can to the military here. That when I got a call on a Thursday from General Shalikashvili, he said the President's going to direct you tomorrow to go to Rwanda. And I said, "Where?" He said, "Rwanda." And if I look on a list here and, well, where is it on our list? And I said, "Well, okay, I'll put a joint task force together, give me about 30 days." And I said, "How much time do I have to deploy?" He said, "He wants you to deploy tomorrow." That's the reality and I would say to my military friends, that is the real world. And if you think you're going to somehow pick and choose, you are going to get a "blue 92" out of the air. And can we call "audibles?" And can we have a flexible force to do that?
Now we can say, and I think we've said it for too much as a military, we don't do that. That's not in our interest. And we fight the problem to a degree where we don't do the planning, we don't do the anticipation, we don't do the training. Then all of a sudden we get told "execute." And Kosovo's a good example. We're better than that. And that is what our military needs to do. The political authorities will come up with all kinds of things. The academic world will come up with all kinds of ways to prioritize and talk about what's in our interests. We serve the nation. We can give clear military advice on the rest, but we better get ready to execute and missions are missions and operations are operations and that is what we're going to face in the 21st century.
Pfaltzgraff: General Carns, did you want to say something?
Carns: One last comment. There's some misunderstanding here, but I think we do plan for big contingencies and we all know that and we do plan for small contingencies and we all know that, but we plan in a very general fashion. What we want to avoid is having an A-list which focuses our procurement. We don't want that A-list to focus our procurement until there is, no kidding, an A-list. We have a threat based focus such as we had in Europe. If we get too focused, we are going to be victims of asymmetry. And if a superpower ever uses the word asymmetry, they've flunked the course. If we can't handle asymmetry, nobody can handle it.
Pfaltzgraff: Well, on these notes, we must conclude. It's good to have some preventive defense of the A-list, I'm sure, and we've had a good deal of discussion of many things here. So I would like, on our collective behalf, to express thanks to the members of our distinguished panel this afternoon for what has been an important and enlightening contribution. And also for the controversy that we saw among the members of the panel. That's what makes these conferences most interesting. Thank you very much.
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