Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
House Armed Services Committee
February 2, 1999
SUPPORTING THE NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY
Though the United States currently enjoys relative peace and security,
the international security environment remains complex and dangerous.
While the threat of global war has receded and former enemies now
cooperate with us on many issues, very real threats to our citizens
and interests remain. Though we currently face no peer competitor,
openly hostile regional adversaries fielding potent forces have both
the desire and the means to challenge the United States militarily.
Additionally, in a number of cases, transnational movements threaten
our interests, our values, and even our physical security here at
home. And, while our military strength remains unmatched, state or
non-state actors may attempt to circumvent our strengths and exploit
our weaknesses using methods that differ significantly from our own.
Attacks on our information systems, use of weapons of mass
destruction, domestic and international terrorism, and even man-made
environmental disasters are all examples of asymmetric threats that
could be employed against us. Indeed, some already have.
To deal successfully with these challenges, the National Security
Strategy stresses the "imperative of engagement." If the United States
were to withdraw from international commitments, forsake its
leadership responsibilities, or relinquish military superiority, the
world would surely become more dangerous and the threats to U.S.
interests would increase. Within their capabilities, therefore, our
Armed Forces are committed to engagement as the best way of reducing
the sources of conflict and preventing local crises from escalating.
The National Security Strategy also recognizes that America's security
is a function of all elements of national power. The Armed Forces play
a central role, of course, by focusing on the principal objectives
outlined in the National Military Strategy -- to encourage peace and
stability, and to defeat adversaries. To help ensure that all elements
of American power are engaged, the military will continue working to
improve interaction and coordination with the other government
agencies that contribute to the common defense.
Though peacetime engagement can reduce potential sources of conflict,
the ability to fight and win our Nation's wars must remain the
fundamental, overarching purpose of the military. The core military
capability of deterring and, if necessary, defeating large-scale
aggression in more than one theater, in nearly simultaneous time
frames, defines the United States as a global power. The defense of
American lives, territory and interests has been, and always will be,
the principal mission of America's Armed Forces.
Though military readiness has been challenged in many ways over the
past year, our Armed Forces remain fundamentally capable of performing
their assigned national security tasks. The combat operations
conducted against Iraq in December demonstrated once again that our
first-to-fight units remain very capable. Well-trained and fielding
the best equipment in the world, our forward-deployed forces in the
Persian Gulf executed a demanding range of missions flawlessly. As I
told the Senate Armed Services Committee last September and again in
January, we remain fully capable of executing our current strategy. As
I highlighted in those hearings, however, the risks associated with
the most demanding scenarios have increased. We now assess the risk
factors for fighting and winning the 1st Major Theater War (MTW) as
moderate and for the 2d MTW as high.
As I have explained in the past, this does not mean that we doubt our
ability to prevail in either contingency. We are not the "hollow"
force of the 1970s, a force that I served in and know well.
Nevertheless, increased risk translates into longer timelines and
correspondingly higher casualties, and thus leads to our increasing
concern. Over the past 12 to 18 months we have seen both anecdotal and
measurable evidence of growing cracks in our readiness in such
critical areas as aircraft maintenance, pilot retention, recruiting,
and the "foxhole" strength of our combat units.
Prolonged deployments in Southwest Asia, the Balkans, the Sinai, and
elsewhere have taken a toll in readiness. The effects are apparent
both in the areas of personnel and, to varying degrees, materiel
readiness. The latter is also the result of aging combat systems and
the demands placed on them in the last 10 years. And, as noted
earlier, recruiting and retention efforts have been made tougher by a
strong economy and a growing perception that military pay and
benefits, including housing, medical care, and the retirement system,
have eroded substantially. Reversing these trends will not be simple
or easy; however, it is clear that the time has come to take decisive
steps before the downturn in readiness becomes irreversible. In this
regard, the substantial increases in readiness funding included in the
President's FY 2000 budget are a significant and important step
Wherever our forces are deployed, force protection is the top priority
for commanders. The tragic bombings of our embassies in Dar Es Salaam,
Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya reminded us that terrorists can strike
anywhere, at any time. During my testimony last year, I noted that our
adversaries, unable to confront or compete with the United States
militarily, spend millions of dollars each year to finance terrorist
organizations that target U.S. citizens, property and interests.
Consequently, our Combatant Commanders and the Services continue to
focus on force protection issues as a first order priority.
Over the past year the Joint Staff conducted a comprehensive Mission
Area Analysis to review the CINCs'(Commanders-in-Chief) and Services'
Anti-Terrorism programs. We have also commissioned a study to examine
how our program "stacks up" against some of our allies' best efforts
to combat terrorism at the strategic and operational levels. Results
from this study will be used to reevaluate our strategy and improve
We continue to conduct Joint Staff Integrated Vulnerability
Assessments (100 this past year) worldwide in order to help the CINCs
and Service Chiefs enhance their force protection posture. Lessons
learned from these assessments are used to improve readiness and
physical protection worldwide, providing commanders a benchmark from
which to evaluate and reinforce their efforts to eliminate
vulnerabilities and keep our people safe. Advanced technology also
plays a key role in the fight against terrorism. Our intent is to
develop the most advanced, reliable, and effective equipment and to
field it when and where it's needed, using the Chairman's Combating
Terrorism Readiness Initiative Fund in addition to resources allocated
by the formal budget process.
Our best efforts notwithstanding, we know that terrorism will remain a
serious threat as we move into the 21st century. More than a "war,"
international terrorism is a part of the strategic environment that
will not fade away. Our enemies will continue to test our resolve,
both at home and abroad. To protect our forces, our citizens and our
facilities, we must continue to move forward with renewed emphasis and
awareness. While we cannot prevent every attack, we can lower both the
threat and the consequences of terrorist incidents.
In a very real sense, one of the best ways to protect our troops and
our interests is to promote arms control in its many different forms.
In both the conventional and nuclear realms, arms control can reduce
the chances of conflict, lower tensions, generate cost savings, and
encourage peaceful solutions to international and intrastate disputes.
In the conventional area, we remain committed to providing world
leadership to end the use of anti-personnel landmines (APLs), while
ensuring our ability to meet our international obligations and provide
for the safety and security of our armed forces. The President has
directed DOD to end the use of APLs outside Korea by 2003, to
aggressively pursue and develop alternatives to APLs in Korea by 2006,
and to search for alternatives to our mixed anti-tank systems that
contain anti-personnel submunitions. Furthermore, the President
announced that we will sign the Ottawa Convention by 2006, if we
succeed in identifying and fielding suitable alternatives to our APLs
and mixed anti-tank systems by then.
Perhaps our greatest contribution to this worldwide problem is in the
field of demining. Today, the U.S. leads the international demining
effort, providing more funding, trainers, and other resources than any
other nation. DOD has trained over one-quarter of the world's deminers
to date and has demining programs in place in 21 countries.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) process continues to
evolve, with START I implementation proceeding even as we continue to
push for final ratification of START II. Currently, all parties have
exceeded START I Phase I (December 1997) reduction requirements and
are already approaching Phase II (December 1999) limits. As for START
II, although we have worked hard to address Russian concerns through
the NATO Founding Act, the New York Protocols to the START II Treaty,
and other initiatives, the prospects for ratification by the Duma
remain uncertain. It remains our position that the Duma must ratify
START II before formal negotiations can begin on START III.
Our efforts to lower the numbers of strategic nuclear weapons coincide
with efforts to control testing of nuclear weapons. In the 1999 State
of the Union Address, the President asked the Senate to approve the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, now, to make it harder for other
nations to develop nuclear arms. To date, 152 nations have signed the
treaty and 27 have ratified it. The Joint Chiefs of Staff support the
ratification of this treaty, with the safeguards package that
establishes the conditions under which the United States would adhere
to the treaty.
Global Hot Spots
Around the world, our military supports our strategy of engagement and
is ready to respond to threats anywhere in the world. However, three
specific areas occupy center stage: the Korean peninsula, the Balkans,
and Southwest Asia. These areas pose the greatest potential threats to
stability and consume more energy and resources than any others.
The divided Korean peninsula remains a potential flashpoint, with
recent developments complicating an already tense security situation.
North Korea represents one of the few major military powers capable of
launching a major conventional attack on U.S. forces with minimal
warning. Despite its collapsed economy and struggle to feed its own
population, the North Korean government continues to pour resources
into its military and to pursue a policy of confrontation with South
Korea and its neighbors in the region.
More than one million North Korean soldiers serve on active duty, the
vast majority deployed within hours of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone)
and South Korea's capital city, Seoul. Infiltration by North Korean
special forces continues to exacerbate tensions between the two
governments, and the recent launch of a previously unknown long-range
variant of the Taepo Dong One ballistic missile represents a
significant improvement in the North's capability to threaten the
region and beyond. Finally, North Korea's repeated threats to walk
away from the Agreed Framework that curtailed their nuclear production
program have been unsettling to the international community.
The North Korean threat remains one that we must -- and do -- take
very seriously. We have pursued a number of initiatives in recent
years to enhance the capabilities of both our forces forward-deployed
on the peninsula and our reinforcing elements, as well as the forces
of our South Korean allies. We now have better U.S. tanks, better
infantry fighting vehicles and better artillery, as well as improved
attack helicopters and aircraft, on hand in Korea. We have also
deployed Patriot missile defense systems and improved surveillance
capabilities, and assisted with a number of upgrades to South Korean
forces. Our naval forces have greatly stepped up their anti-SOF
(Special Operations Force) activities, while forward-deployed marine
units stand ready to reinforce the peninsula on short notice. We have
upgraded our prepositioned stocks as well, substantially improving our
ability to reinforce the peninsula with ground troops from the
continental United States.
These actions have significantly improved our defensive posture.
Still, the threat remains, and North Korea's substantial chemical and
biological weapons capability, coupled with its continued pursuit of
ballistic missile technology, will demand our attention for the
Our recent military operations in Southwest Asia underscore how both
our long-term interests and the prospect of continuing regional
instability combine to keep the area a major source of concern. The
ongoing disputes with Saddam Hussein and the military threat Iraq
poses to its neighbors require a substantial, capable, and ready
military force in the Persian Gulf region, as well as powerful
reinforcing units in the U.S. prepared to move quickly should
conditions require rapid deployment of additional assets.
As we showed in December, we are ready to act swiftly, in concert with
our coalition partners or alone if necessary, to protect U.S.
interests and those of our friends and allies. Forces in the region
include powerful land-based bomber and fighter forces, an aircraft
carrier battle group with a significant number of cruise missiles, and
strong ground forces that can be reinforced within days. In recent
years we have built up our prepositioned stocks of weapons and
supplies, considerably improved our' strategic lift, and developed a
crisis response force in the United States that can deploy to the Gulf
region on very short notice. The development of this force is one
example of our efforts to reduce the number of soldiers, sailors,
airmen, and marines deployed overseas on contingency operations, while
still maintaining sufficient capability to meet our security needs
around the world.
The Balkans continue to be an area of intense U.S. interest and
involvement. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, 6,900 U.S. servicemen and women
are deployed in support of the NATO multi-national Stabilization
Force, or SFOR, down from 18,000 in 1996. This spring we will reduce
the U.S. element by a further 10 percent in conformance with the
SACEUR's (Supreme Allied Commander, Europe) recent six-month review.
U.S. troops are performing magnificently, providing a secure
environment so that political and economic activities can go forward
smoothly. No fatalities occurred in FY 1998, and the health and morale
of our forces there remains high.
SFOR operations in Bosnia over the past year have contributed to a
number of successes. The recent elections were characterized by high
voter turnout and an absence of violence -- real achievements given
the recent history of that troubled region. Since 1996 more than
200,000 weapons have been destroyed, heavy weapons have been put into
cantonment areas, and military parity has been established between the
former warring factions. The recent activation of a Multinational
Specialized Unit, composed of police organizations from several
countries, has enhanced SFOR's ability to provide public security.
These steps, and SFOR's success in sustaining a secure environment for
the further implementation of civil tasks, have done much to reduce
the chances of future conflict.
The outstanding performance of U.S. and other NATO military units has
enabled SFOR to fulfill the military tasks spelled out in the Dayton
Accords. Nevertheless, success in achieving the civil, political, and
economic tasks identified at Dayton has been slower in coming. The
focus now must be on pressing forward with those tasks as we plan to
reduce and eventually withdraw our ground forces from Bosnia.
Elsewhere in the Balkans, the dangerous conflict between armed
Albanian separatists and Serbian security forces in Kosovo has led to
an international effort to stabilize the region by deploying a
monitoring force provided by the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The U.S. provides air verification
platforms, and we have joined in NATO planning for possible military
actions to stabilize the situation in the event of a large-scale
humanitarian crisis. We are also participating in NATO planning for an
Extraction Force in the event that further conflict threatens OSCE
monitors, requiring "in extremis" evacuation from Kosovo. This force,
composed of British, French, Italian, Dutch, Greek, Canadian, and
Turkish units, is based in the Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM), where we continue to provide Task Force Able Sentry, the U.S.
contingent in the United Nations Preventive Deployment (UNPREDEP).
Funding for Contingency Operations
Last year our Armed Forces benefited greatly from the prompt approval
of the emergency supplemental for Bosnia and Southwest Asia. For FY
1999, our requests for regular and supplemental appropriations to fund
these operations, totaling $1.9 billion and $850 million respectively,
were also approved. This strong support has enabled us to execute
these missions without taxing our already-stressed readiness and
modernization accounts. We anticipate that the recent major
humanitarian assistance effort in Central America following Hurricane
Mitch will generate an additional supplemental funding request which
will be submitted later this year, and it is possible that we may need
to request additional funds for the conduct of Operation Desert Fox as
National Missile Defense
An important element to be considered in providing for the defense of
America is National Missile Defense (NMD), particularly in light of
developing ballistic missile programs that could pose a threat to the
United States. The NMD program objective is to develop and provide the
option to deploy a system that will defend the U.S. against a limited
strategic ballistic missile attack by a rogue nation and to provide
some capability against a small accidental or unauthorized launch from
a nuclear-capable state. Our NMD program is structured to demonstrate
a system-level capability that could permit a deployment decision as
early as the Year 2000.
This has been a very ambitious endeavor. Beyond the tremendous
technological challenges associated with the development of an NMD
system, we have also been striving to develop a system that could
potentially be fielded sooner than is typically required for such an
effort. The decision to deploy an NMD system will be based on several
factors, the most important of which will be assessments of the threat
and the current state of the technology. A threat is clearly emerging;
however, the technology to "hit a bullet with a bullet" remains
elusive. We will continue to press hard to develop an effective NMD
system, very mindful that the growing threat is placing a deployment
decision in clearer context.
Modernizing the Force
For most of this decade, current readiness funding has come at the
expense of future modernization. During the early and mid-1990s,
procurement accounts served as bill payers for short-term readiness,
contingencies, and excess infrastructure. Consequently projected
procurement funding necessary for modernizing the force repeatedly
slipped further into the future with each succeeding budget year.
Our goal is to meet programmed modernization targets by having a
fiscally executable FY 2000 budget and FYDP (Five Year Defense Plan).
Our current plans take us down that path. The previously programmed
QDR (Quadrennial Defense Review) adjustments to end strength, force
structure, and modernization initiatives, combined with planned
business efficiencies, provided resources that were redistributed to
both modernization and current readiness accounts to yield a more
stable and sustainable defense program. As a direct result, and in
line with our QDR goals, procurement has increased from $49 billion in
FY 1999 to $53 billion in FY 2000, with an increase of nearly $23
billion for procurement over the FYDP to address our most critical
However, despite these adjustments, significant risk still remains.
This risk stems from unprogrammed contingency operations, aging
equipment, and unrealized efficiencies that could make achieving our
future QDR procurement goals difficult. As long as we remain at
current funding levels, we will continue to face the readiness vs.
The time has come to act on our long-range readiness problem --
modernizing the force. We must act now to reverse the cycle of
escalating maintenance costs prompted by aged and overworked systems.
While the QDR gave us a roadmap to do so, our plan was contingent upon
savings from two additional rounds of base, closures and greater
efficiencies in DOD business practices. Without the additional BRAC
(Base Realignment And Closure) rounds, the only real answer to
achieving our programmed modernization targets is to adjust the budget
The U.S. is the dominant military power in the world today. Our armed
forces are fundamentally sound and capable of fulfilling their role in
executing our national security strategy. However, the combination of
multiple, competing missions, recruiting and retention shortfalls,
aging equipment, and fixed defense budgets has frayed the force. The
warning signals cannot and should not be ignored. With the support of
this Committee and the Congress as a whole, we can apply the right
kind of corrective action now and avoid a downward spiral that could
take years to overcome. As we look to the future, we should move
forward with a clear understanding of what must be done and with
confidence in America's sons and daughters in uniform. They represent
the heart and soul of our Armed Forces, and it is our responsibility
to ensure they remain part of a military worthy of their sacrifice and