« PreviousContinue »
Mobility and Operations. During 2002, we made great strides partnering with U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) to modernize our strategic air and sealift infrastructure to meet potential operational needs ranging from disaster relief to the GWOT and all the way to a major war. The USPACOM En Route Infrastructure Steering Committee has identified, validated, and championed over $500 million in hydrant, ramp, and runway projects throughout the AOR to support the National Military Strategy as mandated by current Defense Plans and by the Mobility Requirements Study 2005. Our current en route airlift system includes Elmendorf AFB Alaska, Hickam AFB Hawaii, Andersen AFB Guam, and Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station, Kadena AB, Misawa AB, and Yokota AB Japan. Additionally, we have developed an AOR-wide prioritized list of air and seaports to visit and assess their capability as potential en route locations.
The heavy use of the Naval Supply Facility in Diego Garcia, a British Island in the Indian Ocean, in support of OEF and OIF, has led to its near-term consideration as an en route port supporting both USPACOM and USCENTCOM operations. We have identified over $38 million in infrastructure improvement projects to expand the facility's current operational throughput capability. Projects nearing completion include improvements in temporary containerized munitions handling pads and storage areas, wharf lightning protection, and transient berthing projects. Similarly at Wake Island, we have identified significant infrastructure improvement projects to ensure continued access to this critical location supporting our Pacific Tanker Air Bridge. The FY02 MILCON $9.7 million Repair Island Access Facilities is currently restoring the wharf and marine bulkhead in preparation for major airfield pavement replacement starting with the FY03 MILCON $24.9 million, which replaces the entire deteriorated runway pavement. Following that work, four more phases in FY04 and beyond will complete replacement of the airfield taxiways and aprons and upgrade of the water supply, electrical power and sanitary sewage systems, for an additional $74 million. These investments and others like them throughout the Pacific will ensure we have the necessary infrastructure readiness when we need them.
As early deployers, air-refueling tankers are critical to executing theater war plans for establishing the Pacific Tanker Air Bridge. Ongoing OIF, OEF and Noble Eagle have demonstrated the operational impact that air-refueling capability has in support of worldwide commitments including the GWOT. The KC-135 aircraft comprises 90% of the tanker fleet and their usage has increased 45% over what was programmed following 11 September 2001.
The High Speed Vessel (HSV) provides a flexible alternative for intra-theater movement in USPACOM, including its use to augment airlift. Since October 2001, III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) has been testing and evaluating deployments using a leased HSV with great success and cost savings for exercise deployments and redeployments, as well as operational employment. JOINT VENTURE HSV XI, the Joint Army/Navy HSV that participated in Millennium Challenge 2002 and other exercises, was scheduled to support U.S. Army training in the USPACOM Theater from March to April 2003, but was diverted to support U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). USPACOM fully supports the pursuit of high speed sealift technology as an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) and a future force projection transportation platform.
USPACOM supports USAF and USTRANSCOM efforts to procure C-17 aircraft to meet strategic airlift needs in our AOR. Our number one strategic lift shortfall is airlift due largely to the retirement of aging C-141 and C-130 airframes and substandard C-5 aircraft performance. Additionally, to better meet operational response in the AOR, we fully support the initiative to forward base eight C-17s each at Hickam AFB and Elmendorf AFB starting in FY06 and FY07 respectively. To have facilities available on arrival of these aircraft, Hickam's C-17 beddown military construction (MILCON) will start in FY04 with six projects totaling $64 million. Elmendorfs C-17 beddown MILCON will start in FY05, and the MILCON funding stream for these facilities will total about $105 million each over the FY04 to FY09 MILCON FYDP to provide the needed facilities for these assets to have full mission capability. These strategic mobility aircraft will bring a much-needed aerial delivery capacity to the Pacific Theater and prevent any lapse in capability during the reduction of C-130's in the AOR. We also support USAF efforts to procure F/ A-22 Raptors. The F/A-22 will provide a unique, rapid response to swiftly defeat enemy threats in the USPACOM AOR.
A V-22 Osprey tiltrotor capability is truly transformational—exhibiting leapahead technology. If the current test program proves successful, this capability will extend our operational reach and access in the AOR. The Osprey's projected design, performance, and reduced vulnerability and susceptibility will provide USPACOM with a highly survivable and flexible capability. The aircraft's enhanced lift abilities provide a significant contribution to the medium-lift requirement.
The Pacific region needs three of the six planned Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (SBCTs) to fully support theater warfighting capabilities and region transformation efforts. The primary military force of our friends and allies in the Asia-Pacific region is their Army. SBCT participation in regional events reinforces our commitment to support allied transformation efforts and coalition building by continuing Army-toArmy high technology training and exercise events. Additionally, the SBCTs show great promise in providing joint commanders the means to better integrate Army force capabilities as part of a joint or coalition task force.
Training Areas. We are tasked to perform an increasing number of missions, from peace operations to strikes and raids to noncombatant evacuation to humanitarian assistance. Each mission requires preparation. The only way to prepare and ensure readiness is through tough, oriented, and realistic training. Dropping dummy bombs and firing inert ordnance cannot replace "live-fire" practice. The first exposure to "live fire" our forces face must be in a controlled training environment where they learn from their experience at less risk than in combat.
However, we routinely receive encroachment pressure on our training ranges throughout the AOR. Restrictions on space, hours, ordnance, and radio frequencies impact our ability to exercise our equipment and train to standard. Last Spring, a suit pertaining to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) temporarily closed our primary aircraft live-fire range, Farrallon de Medinilla, near Guam, until the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency stay. Fortunately, timely Congressional action amended the MBTA to exempt DoD military readiness activities, and a subsequent appellate court order dismissed the case as moot. Likewise, Makua Range on Oahu is in use, but severe limits in the number and type of ground force training cycles have forced us to accomplish most small unit training in Hawaii through expensive deployments to the Pohakuloa range on the Big Island. Range and training limitations in Japan and Korea cause units to deploy away from their home station for routine training. Moreover, although aircraft, artillery, and pistols are noisy instruments of war, they are basic parts of our business. Developments now demand noise restrictions that force important low-altitude maneuvers to unrealistically high altitudes and limit the use of ranges.
We are good stewards of our environment. Success stories are numerous, but often the stories aren't well known. We have set aside space for protected species, altered or deferred some units' training to avoid interference in nesting areas, and developed specific programs to increase the populations of protected or endangered species.
The military's answer to encroachment challenges has been to work around the problems while seeking to minimize the impact on the quality and quantity of training. But, maneuver space is less, training lanes have become narrow and artificially tunneled, and our individual maneuvers have become too predictable or repetitive. The work-arounds may still accomplish the training, but usually require additional costs—in terms of money, time, and impact to the well-being of our service members. Readiness and training experiences decline; we cannot let this continue.
Many of our environmental laws, while well-intentioned, are vague. For example, the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) prohibits harassment of protected species without prior authorization from the respective regulatory agency. The current definition of "harassment" of marine mammals can be mere "annoyance" or "potential to disturb" without biologically significant effects. Any Navy test or training activity that harasses a protected species must be approved by the applicable regulatory agencies—often after delays, or subject to restrictions, that degrade the quality of the training. And sometimes inflexibilities in the statue preclude our regulators from approving even activities that many believe have insignificant impacts. Additionally, litigants using the Endangered Species Act are seeking to force the Fish and Wildlife Service to lock up thousands of acres of military ranges as "critical habitat", even though our own congressionally mandated Installation Natural Resource Management Plans afford habitat protection. In fact, litigants are seeking to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate such critical habitat on significant areas of DoD training ranges for endangered species that are not even present on such lands. As these examples show, such loose language and broad definitions can and do impede essential air, land, and sea activities near marine mammals or endangered species locations. Clear definitions and consideration of national security requirements should be important points in all environmental legislation.
In April 2002, the Administration sent a legislative package to Congress recommending clarifications to certain environmental statutes as part of the Readiness and Range Preservation Initiative (RRPI). The proposed package was prepared to help DoD maintain its ability to train forces and continue to protect the environment in which we train. Last year, Congress enacted three elements of our proposal but did not act on the remaining five. This year, the President has resubmitted the remaining RRPI proposals, with some modifications based on both discussion with Congress and other environmental stakeholders and a significant decision last year concerning the MMPA in the SurTASS lawsuit. We thank Congress for their support of the RRPI thus far and ask for your continued support on future encroachment issues that impact our readiness.
Logistics. An aging aircraft inventory and some parts shortages continue to drive reduced Mission Capable and reduced fill rates for our "go to war" Readiness Spares Packages and high cannibalization rates. The result is lower than expected readiness at increased costs. Although funding for spare parts has improved over the last 2 years, some shortages continue. For example, only three of eight Pacific Air Force (PACAF) A-10, F-15, and F-16 wings maintained minimum Mission Capable standards during fourth quarter FY02. PACAF requires excess cannibalization to meet wartime mission planning sortie generation rates. PACAF cannibalization rates are higher than 8% for the F-16, F-15C/D, F-15E, and A-10. Likewise, the U.S. Army uses controlled substitution to achieve peacetime mission-capable Aviation Fleet goals. Delays in stock availability due to 12-18 month spares delivery lead-times are a root cause of controlled substitution and create difficulty in matching funding lines with projected capabilities. Increased spares at the Army wholesale level are required to meet the increased flying hours necessary to surge to wartime Operational Tempo.
We have made progress but need your continued support in fully funding materiel and personnel requirements for organizational, intermediate, and depot maintenance levels. Additionally, we need support for each Service's Life Cycle Support program to extend the life of our aging aircraft fleets.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield Explosive (CBRNE) defense is a significant concern in the Pacific theater, and a potential showstopper for U.S. military operations, causing significant operational risk to Major War OPLAN execution. CBRNE is a critical operating condition and potentially the greatest theater threat I face, affecting everyone, everywhere, including our allies and the homeland. Aircraft exposure on the Korean Peninsula or an attack on a few strategic choke points, including Guam and key Japanese air and seaports, could stop U.S. force flows and other critical support operations. Significant differences exist between what we would like to achieve against CBRNE threats and our actual capabilities. Specific shortages include Individual Protective Equipment, Chemical/ Biological Point and Standoff detection, inadequate decontamination standards, and significant shortcomings in detailed and actionable intelligence on adversary WMD processes and facilities.
We are active in the Joint Service Installation Protection Program and with other ongoing studies and demonstrations. For example, we are sponsoring a Restoration Operations (RESTOPS) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) to examine the actions necessary to protect against and immediately react to the consequences of a chemical or biological attack at a fixed site. Through this venue, we are investigating new tactics, techniques and procedures, as well as exploring new detection, decontamination, early warning networks, and medical technologies. The RESTOPS ACTD had its final demonstration at Osan Air Base, Korea, in February 2003 and was a great success.
U.S. Pacific Command is the DoD lead for operationalizing biological warfare (BW) defense. The DoD WMD community collectively assessed the shortfalls within DoD for responding to enemy BW and gave us a way-ahead to resolve these issues. Using the Biological Countermeasures Initiative, we are working to integrate procedures and technologies that allow us to mitigate the impact of such an attack. We cannot do this alone. USPACOM needs support from the entire joint community to improve our abilities to protect our forces and to operate in this difficult environment should the need arise. Your continued support is critical to CBRNE defense readiness.
Quality of Service for our Men and Women
While winning the war on terrorism and transforming our forces to ensure a qualitative military edge, we must improve on the Quality of Service (QOS) for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines. QOS means providing the high quality operating facilities, the tools, and the information technology necessary for our service men and women to achieve their goals and execute their missions with efficiency and a minimum of frustration. My travels throughout the Asia-Pacific region—-first as Commander, Pacific Fleet, and now as Commander, Pacific Command—confirm my belief you have done a great service to our military members and their families in the area of personnel entitlements.
The QOS initiatives included in the FY03 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) show service members that military and congressional leaders are taking actions to meet the needs of our service men and women and their families. Thank you also for your support on recent initiatives in the FY04 NDAA, including the average 4.1% pay raise and increases in Imminent Danger and Family Separation Pay. These QOS initiatives will assist in retaining highly skilled troops and their families. Many USPACOM personnel will benefit from the ability to defer their Consecutive Overseas Tours travel entitlement, from recent increases in Basic Housing Allowance, and from the additional Basic Allowance for Subsistence provisions in areas with inadequate messing facilities. Deployed personnel will be more at ease knowing that additional family assistance has been provided in the form of childcare, education, and youth services for our men and women who are in harm's way, supporting contingency operations and the GWOT.
Military Family Housing remains a top priority. All services have devised plans to eliminate inadequate housing by 2007 with a combination of traditional military construction (MILCON) and privatization (Public Private Venture or Residential Communities Initiative). Congressional support has provided immediate benefits to our men and women who serve. Continued funding is essential, however, to enable further progress in reducing the number of inadequate quarters and in limiting out of pocket expenses to our service members and their families while maintaining a high standard of construction and quality. While we have made progress, we still have considerable work remaining. We appreciate your continued attention on this important issue.
Dorms and Barracks for our single service members is another area where we have seen significant improvement. Our service components are now pursuing well thought out plans to meet the FY08 goal of eliminating open bay berthing and central latrine-style barracks. We must retain our current operational funding stream, however, to maintain existing facilities as renovation proceeds. Again, congressional support has had a direct and beneficial impact on our young service members.
Our base infrastructure is still below standards. Sustainment, Restoration, and Modernization (SRM) of facilities and infrastructure throughout the USPACOM AOR continues to be an important concern. FY01 Installations Readiness Report rated about 80% of USPACOM facilities at C-3 (having serious deficiencies) or C4 (not supporting mission requirements). In many areas, USPACOM facilities are 1940's vintage and not mission conducive. For example, modern weapons no longer fit into WWII vintage magazines and require improved piers for safe, proper handling. As you know, the DoD goal directs components to achieve a 67-year recapitalization rate by FY07 and restore readiness of existing facilities to C-2 (minimum acceptable performance) status on average, by the end of FY10. In addition to maintaining our facilities, we have equally important infrastructure requirements above SRM needs that require attention. These include new mission bed-downs and essential environmental requirements. Our facilities and infrastructure provide a foundation for optimum readiness and quality of service critical to mission success. We appreciate Congress' past funding efforts and call upon your continued assistance to ensure adequate facilities and proper maintenance for the long term.
By far the most important weapons systems in our inventory are our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. These individuals require life-cycle support and maintenance just like other systems. Force Health Protection is that maintenance program. Ensuring the health of our forces directly relates to our ability to implement effective disease countermeasures that include vaccines, antibiotic stockpiles, and automated disease surveillance systems. I ask you to continue your support for ongoing research and development efforts that will improve our disease detection capabilities.
The upkeep and replacement of military medical facilities remains one of our top QOS priorities. We are working to replace or renovate our substandard facilities, particularly for Naval Hospital, Guam, further degraded by Typhoon Pongsona in December. We must continue to ensure our military medical infrastructure is safe, modern, and secure.
We appreciate the MILCON appropriations to the USPACOM AOR. These funds are vital to maintain our ability to work and fight together with our allies and to help transform and modernize our forces. In FY03, $1.1 billion was allotted toward mission and mission support requirements and $300 million toward family housing needs. In FY04, we need continued MILCON support for vital readiness and QOS issues. For example, we require MILCON for new mission bed-downs, such as the Stryker Brigade Combat Teams and the C-17 aircraft. Our backlog of major infrastructure repairs is reflected in the need for complete or major repair of airfield pavements at all U.S. Pacific Air Force bases, as well as the major repairs needed on critical infrastructure at bases and long-range radar detection in defense of the homeland. In the wake of destruction from Typhoon Pongsona in November 2002, it is clear we require supplemental MILCON support for a "typhoon-proof concrete aircraft hangar that will provide reliable support for critically important current and future Air Expeditionary Force and OPLAN requirements. I thank Congress for using MILCON where enhanced force protection is necessary.
Pacific Warfighting Center (PWC). Increasing operational and exercise activity, training complexities, and C4I modernization have rendered obsolete USPACOMs exercise simulation infrastructure and support capabilities. This deficiency significantly reduces the ability to train USPACOM and Joint Task Force commanders in crisis action readiness procedures; limits their ability to rehearse key operational orders; degrades the ability to improve combined interoperability with friends in the region; and contributes to increased OPTEMPO, training time, and associated costs for USPACOM forces before responding to contingencies. The current faculty does not support future technologies or meet force protection requirements. The planned, state-of-the-art operations and simulation center will improve total force readiness and achieve OSD's goal for transforming training by exploiting emerging technologies to create a robust, networked, live, virtual, and constructive training and mission rehearsal environment for joint and combined force commanders and their staffs.
PWC will be a key node on the Joint National Training Center's global grid of operational warfighting centers. Specifically, it will fully integrate with, and extend the capability of, the Joint Forces Command's Joint Training Analysis and Simulation Center and U.S. European Command's Warrior Preparation Center. Accordingly, the PWC will provide an effective venue for decision support, OPLAN mission rehearsal, and combat analysis for headquarters and deploying forces. The planned simulation center will transform USPACOM through the use of emerging information technologies to support advanced warfighting concepts and joint experimentation. The PWC promises to save exercise funds and enhance regional security cooperation using INTERNET-based information exchange opportunities via the AsiaPacific Area Network. This MILCON project will provide a secure facility in Hawaii for assembling military, civil-military and interagency representatives from throughout the Asia-Pacific region for interoperability exercises, collaborative research, and seminars. The faculty will also support component conference requirements in a secure and protected setting.
Again, much has been accomplished in QOS improvements, but we still have more to do. Thank you again for the support you have provided and I thank you in advance for your continued future support.
Reinforcing the "Constants" in the Pacific Region
Our long-standing bilateral alliances in the Asia-Pacific region, our friendships and the presence of our forward-deployed combat forces continue to be the foundation of the region's peace and stability. One of my goals is to build on these relationships while nurturing multinational efforts that support the region's mutual interests. Our forward posture is fundamental and our combat capability essential to deter regional threats. We look for initiatives that help shape our overseas posture.
Theater Security Cooperation (TSC). Dramatic events of the past 2 years have brought into focus new and challenging national security demands for the 21st century. A mix of traditional and non-traditional threats jeopardizes the unprecedented levels of Asia-Pacific security and prosperity of the last 50 years. These threats are reminders that evolving challenges require more prompt and effective responses to ensure peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. At USPACOM, we "operationalize," national and defense security strategy with regional emphasis. Attaining national security and defense objectives in the Asia-Pacific region requires a broad understanding of threat capabilities, a frank assessment of political-military realities, and a well-charted course supported by meaningful and mutually beneficial security cooperation.
Our acute theater security concerns include conflict on the Korean Peninsula (where although the likelihood of war is low, the stakes are high); miscalculation in places such as the Taiwan Strait or Kashmir; transnational threats such as terrorism, proliferation, drug-associated violence; and instability from failed nationstates. Although we anticipate peaceful resolution of longstanding security concerns in places like the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan Strait, and Kashmir, the strategic situation in these potential flashpoints and elsewhere mandates vigilance and preparedness. We are strengthening our current security relationships and military capabilities while developing new relationships and capabilities to deter conflict and dissuade would-be regional competitors.
The USPACOM Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) Plan supports the overall mission by enhancing U.S. influence, expanding U.S. operational access to train (and deploy) forward-deployed and forward-based combat forces, and increasing interoperability with our coalition partners to support potential efforts across the