STATEMENT OF LIEUTENANT GENERAL JOHN W. HANDY, USAF
DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF/INSTALLATIONS & LOGISTICS
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to discuss Air Force Installations and Logistics related issues associated with ALLIED FORCE and the challenges encountered, lessons learned, and reconstitution efforts from this large scale military operation. I believe my testimony will reinforce the previous statements made by General Babbitt to this committee on 7 Oct 99, that "Times are changing and demands for American airpower around the world have grown. We are rapidly approaching a time when all units must be ready and sustainable. It is no longer acceptable to provide good supply only to high priority units. Our goal is to provide it for all."
History is replete with examples of human spirit making the difference between success and failure. I am proud to say that, regardless of any readiness shortfalls we may have experienced before operation ALLIED FORCE the human spirit again proved to be the key factor in our support to the Kosovo operations. Our men and women in the armed services, both active and reserve components will continue to rise to the challenge to overcome unforeseen obstacles and provide the very best installations and logistics support available. As I mentioned in previous testimony to this Subcommittee in February of this year, " Our people are always striving to improve the Air Forces capabilities, and of particular note, the logistics community is on the leading edge with those improvements. We are concerned with retaining our highly skilled and experienced personnel upon whose shoulders our capability rests."
ALLIED FORCE ran from 24 March through 10 June. NOBLE ANVIL, the US portion of ALLIED FORCE, required a massive effort from the entire USAF Logistics system. Our support infrastructure was additionally challenged by the refugee crisis associated with this conflict known as OPERATION SUSTAIN HOPE. These combined efforts escalated the level of resources required in theater and complicated the work of prioritizing and satisfying competing resource demands. In addition, to focusing our logistic resources to these endeavors, it must be noted that the support efforts remained committed to Northern and Southern Watch, as well as non-engaged units back home. In spite of this significant level of high OPSTEMPO, the Installation and Logistics support never wavered.
"A logistics success story that identified opportunities for improvement"
- The Success Story. At the peak of the war, Installations and Logistics personnel provided support to more than 20,000 USAF personnel deployed to 27 locations. These operating locations represented the full range of infrastructure: from main operating bases to international airports to austere locations supporting over 500 aircraft, and flew more than 38,000 combat sorties. In spite of this magnitude, less than 2% of the aircraft scheduled were cancelled due to maintenance or spare part problems. Other mission-ready aircraft were immediately available to replace them on critical missions. The bottom line: we never missed a sortie as a result of logistics support, a tribute to the men and women who made this happen!
The movement of our resources to the fight was another significant achievement. The USAF strategic airlift flew over 1,800 missions that transported over 50,000 passengers and over 92,000 tons of cargo. We also relied heavily on commercial carriers to deliver spare parts. On average, the time from when an item was shipped in the U.S. until the requesting unit received it was 3.7 days. This was a significant improvement from previous conflicts.
In addition, spare parts were not a problem. Over 74 Mobility Readiness Spares Packages (RSPs) were delivered to 25 deployed locations supporting 27 different types of aircraft. Our spares helped maintain an overall aircraft Mission Capability (MC) average rate for deployed forces at 86%, which directly contributed to the highly successful air campaign in Kosovo.
Munitions were another major success story. Eight operating locations provided over 35,000 shorts tons of ammunition for over 11,000 combat sorties. Two of the three USAF Afloat Prepositioned Fleet (APF) vessels were used to support the efforts, which was the first operational use since Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM and first ever APF discharge planned and executed in Europe.
The Civil Engineer heavy construction units known as RED HORSE Squadrons performed magnificently during Operations ALLIED FORCE and SHINING HOPE. Their accomplishments included the construction of 74,000 square feet of ramps, 85,000 square feet of taxiways, 98,000 square feet of concrete aprons for the C-17, and 10 A-10 pads. They constructed tent cities for 3 squadrons of Navy F-18 Hornets in Hungary, 2,200 Air Force personnel in Turkey, and renovated 2 dorms for 504 personnel in Italy. This work was accomplished by 327 military engineers in less than 140 days.The Air Force Contract Augmentation Program (AFCAP) was also a success. In late April 1999, the United States Government responded to the growing refugee crisis in the Balkans by tasking the Department of Defense to begin Operation SUSTAIN HOPE. United States European Command (USEUCOM) formed Joint Task Force - SHINING HOPE with the mission of constructing camps to house up to 60,000 ethnic Albanian refugees who were fleeing Kosovo. The Air Force was appointed the Executive Agent for construction and we used the Air Force Contract Augmentation Program (AFCAP). The AFCAP contractor overcame many significant challenges caused by the extremely tight completion schedule, the remoteness of Albania, poor in-country construction capability and a dismal road network, to complete the first of three 20,000-person tent cities in only 51 days. Work had started on the second city when hostilities ceased and the Kosovars were able to return home.
As I mentioned earlier, our number one readiness factor is people. In direct support of them, during the height of the Air War over Serbia, our services personnel deployed 450 airmen (24% of the services active duty force), to 27 locations worldwide. Extremely innovative approaches were used to feed and provide lodging for the deployed forces. For example, a new heat and serve menu was used at four Bare Base locations that provided complete meals for 50 including trays and utensils. ALLIED FORCE also saw the first operational use of Prime Vendor commercial food delivery during contingency operations. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats were delivered directly from the vendor to contingency kitchens throughout Europe. This concept enhanced our food service capabilities and further increased morale and readiness of our personnel while reducing the burden on military supply and airlift systems. Our lodging support included every possible means available. At one point, 3,072 AF people throughout Europe called a tent home. To provide recreation for all these dedicated airmen, we partnered with AAFES to provide Tactical Field Exchanges and telephone service. In conjunction with the USO, nearly 50 celebrity and non-celebrity artists performed for the troops which helped maintain high morale and esprit de corp. Equally important was the task of keeping morale of the military and family members at home. Implementing home station contingency plans allowed us to continue normal daily operations members rely upon.
"Focused logistics has a cost"
While our operations support did achieve significant results, we have identified numerous lessons learned to help us maintain an even higher degree of readiness for the next challenge. Prior to ALLIED FORCE, we had started to increase production of spares as a result of full Depot Level Repair funding and backorder reduction efforts. This initiative provided more timely spares support, which directly contributed to increased aircraft mission capable rates for both engaged and non-engaged units. In addition, we made great strides in our planning associated with implementation of the Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) -- the centerpiece of our drive towards an Expeditionary Aerospace Force (EAF). We are leveraging the lessons learned from this Operation to modify our concept and implementation plans as appropriate to improve upon this initiative.- Weapon System Support. Even though we consider weapon system support during operation NOBIL ANVIL a success story, it was only achieved through brute force and the surge capability of our depots. Since 1991, the Air Force has experienced a steady decline in aircraft mission capable status from an average of 83% to an average today of 73%. Lessons learned from Kosovo operations reinforced our concerns that current Readiness Spares Package (RSP) configurations are incapable of achieving aircraft availability without extracting higher numbers of spares from non-deploying bases and cannibalizing from home station aircraft. We drew the RSP levels in some CONUS-based Air Force units down early in the conflict to support our deploying units. This common practice allows us to place spares at high priority locations when the need dictates. To further complicate matters, we pulled additional assets from non-engaged units to provide spare support to five Central Intermediate Repair Facilities established to reduce footprint, transit time, and improve mission support. Though we maintained low maintenance down times, we caused further strain to non-engaged units and exacerbated their spare shortfall problem. We benefited from the fact that NOBIL ANVIL kicked off at the same time Air Logistics Centers (ALC) were "leaning forward" to reduce the bow wave created by years of less than full funding of spares. As a result, the combination of these efforts benefited not only Kosovo operations but other theaters as well. RSP fill rates for non-engaged units improved 2-5% across the board. It must be noted that this surge production made the increases possible. These surge efforts drove commensurate cost increases, which will be addressed in the reconstitution portion of my testimony.
-Theater Distribution. Efficient and effective movement of resources continues to be paramount to the USAF core strategy of Agile Logistics. Improvements made in theater distribution will provide direct cost savings and increased mission support well into the next millenium. Without them, we can not achieve our goals and objectives for strategic movement nor provide intransit visibility of personnel and equipment moving through the Defense Transportation System. For Operation ALLIED FORCE, the United States Air Forces in Europe cited the need for a planning tool to forecast this sustainment workload. This would enable commanders to allocate airlift more accurately and to better assess sustainment requirements associated with locating a deploying unit at a specific location. This sustainment-forecasting tool would also help commanders determine the adequacy of in-place distribution assets are adequate to meet combat needs and enable them to pursue augmentation of their theater distribution assets simultaneously with the effort to get additional warfighting capability.
- Munitions requirements and planning. One of the most significant operational lessons learned that impacted logistics came from the USAF Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) mission. Kosovo presented a significant challenge to locate enemy air defenses due to its topography and frequent poor weather. As a result, the preferred use of precision guided and standoff munitions during Kosovo was much higher than Air Force planning estimates, which center on a two MTW scenario. In contrast, during Desert Storm, precision guided munitions accounted for just 9% of total munitions expended. In Allied Force that percentage grew to 35%. Coupled with the relatively small worldwide quantity of precision guided munitions available to our forces, this precipitated the need to re-position assets from all around the world, driving a high transportation cost. In addition to the more than 11,000 precision bombs delivered by Afloat Preposition Fleet vessels, over 1,200 tons were moved by air from Standard Air Munitions Packages (STAMP) in CONUS, and 280 tons were delivered by air from CENTAF and PACAF bases. Internal realignment within USAFE accounted for more than 28,000 tons of munitions being moved between bases by truck, rail, and airlift. This operation revalidated USAF concerns regarding optimized movement of munitions to engaged theater of operations and will be addressed in future assessments
- War Reserve Materiel. We deployed considerable Bare Base assets to austere sites in support of the beddown of augmenting forces. This proved again that our Bare Base capability provides a tremendous asset when we have to quickly deploy to and operate at austere locations. We also used Bare Base assets prepositioned in Europe and South West Asia to support the beddown of augmenting forces. This further exacerbated our Bare Base equipment shortfalls that were already significant prior to Kosovo. Those inventories already fall short of those levels required to support MTWs. We requested additional funding to reconstitute the Bare Base equipment used during Kosovo operations.
The distribution of WRM assets such as Bare Base from centralized storage sites also constituted a success story. Centrally stored WRM at Sanem, Luxembourg and other locations proved a valuable, cost-effective way to maintain equipment and vehicles, and ensure their availability to meet contingency tasking. We are investigating the distribution of our WRM assets and may reallocate some to areas of likely use while retaining a centralized strategy. The USAF under the AEF construct will require a more expeditionary Bare Base capability. Initiatives, such as Expeditionary Falcon are underway to improve on the deployability and serviceability of these assets.- Expeditionary Planning. Beddown planning for our expeditionary forces is essential to the USAF EAF concept. Noble Anvil demonstrated that accurate site assessments provide critical information for logistics planners to ensure deployment of the right amount of equipment necessary to start up and sustain base operations while minimizing both intra- and inter-theater airlift. Unfortunately, during some instances in Kosovo, inadequate site planning meant deploying units brought more capabilities than were required. We are working to improve this process. Current initiatives include development, refinement, and fielding of improved assessment team training and adequate tools to collect and distribute this information to deploying forces. In addition, we need to work closer with our State Department to negotiate access rights for locations that require advanced planning for beddown activity.
- Agile Combat Support Command and Control. Experience has shown rapid and timely dissemination of information is a key element of any successful operation. Logistics support operations in Kosovo continued to bear this out. Improved Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) afforded timely reach back of communications across all echelons. We will continue to focus our attention on several critical initiatives in this area: Improving accuracy and timeliness of processed information ensuring distribution of data to critical nodes tasked with supporting operational and logistics decisions; ensuring real-time access availability to classified networks; and finally, ensuring the capability to link support efforts with coalition partners and commercial industry supporting our efforts.
- Contracting and Host Nation Support. Contracting and host nation support provides critical elements of Air Force Combat Support. In Operation ALLIED FORCE, contingency contracting officers (CCOs) were included in the early deployment flow to meet the initial support requirements at forward operating locations. These CCOs provided contracting expertise needed to acquire critical supplies and services for arriving forces. The use of Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreements (ACSA) was a success story. However, we must improve the knowledge, training, and guidance on ACSA and we need to provide our war planners with better knowledge and awareness of host nation support agreements. We also validated the need for policies and procedures for contractors deployed in a contingency environment. In addition, we are addressing concerns related to: security for deployed contractors, accountability and identification of contractors, TPFDDing of contractors, and single points of contact for CCOs.
"Closing the logistics loop"
Rapid reconstitution following operations plays a key role in maintaining the readiness of the USAF to re-engage for future conflicts. As this committee is fully aware, we need to "re-load" our resources of munitions, spares, and equipment expended during ALLIED FORCE to ensure we have the capability to meet the next contingency. We also must provide our troops ample time to rest and train in order to re-charge their batteries.
- Munitions. Significantly, the Air Force Ammunition Afloat Preposition Fleet (APF) ships provided critical force support by rapidly re-supplying over 18,400 tons of munitions to augment the small inventories stored in the European Theater. The nature of the conflict made precession guided munitions the biggest priority and the APF stores proved critical to prosecution of the operation. Once all bills were tabulated, costs directly associated with Kosovo handling and port operations topped $3.3 million over the planned FY99 budget. As the reconstitution of the Steven Bennett continues into late Nov 99, that cost differential will continue to grow and must be addressed in our budget.
Since the afloat preposition fleet has proved its immense value not only in Kosovo but in Desert Storm, we are looking into the feasibility of leasing one or more additional ships to increase flexibility and global coverage. Additionally, high precision munitions have proven the weapons of choice and we require greater numbers to stock aboard our APF assets.
-Bare Base Assets. Our Bare Base assets, composed of Harvest Eagle packages (housekeeping sets for 550 people) and Harvest Falcon packages (housekeeping sets plus industrial operations and flightline sets) were successfully deployed, set-up, and are now being reconstituted. These assets supported the warfighter and humanitarian relief efforts during Operation ALLIED FORCE and SHINING HOPE. A total of six Harvest Eagle packages, two Harvest Falcon packages, 600 tents, and 225 environmental control units were used in these operations. Although two Harvest Falcon packages, one Harvest Eagle package, and the associated environmental control units were returned to storage, the deployment created a $30.3M shortfall in consumed assets. As part of our reconstitution, we must replace five Harvest Eagle packages and 600 tents. The Harvest Eagle packages average from 15-20 years old; well beyond their service life and thus can not be economically reconstituted. Prior to Operation ALLIED FORCE, the DOD had funded a "get-well plan" to have the Harvest Eagle program fully capable in FY01 and Harvest Falcon in FY06/07. ALLIED FORCE impacted this plan and we are pursuing $30.3M in supplemental funding to put the get-well program back on track.
- Spares. Kosovo operations placed additional stress on the supply system and we needed additional funds to keep parts in the pipeline. In FY99, $375.4 million of budget authority was added to the Kosovo Emergency Supplemental request to address this shortfall. An additional $63M was also provided by the OSD Comptroller from the Kosovo Emergency Supplemental funding appropriation to reconstitute our Readiness Spares Packages (RSP). All spares funding provided by the Congress in annual appropriations have been allocated to commands and units to buy spare and repair parts from AFMC and DLA
"Arresting the Decline"
The Air Force and Congress have taken concerted efforts to arrest the decline in overall readiness
- Spares Support In FY99, we authorized the Air Force Material Command to use its contract authority within the Working Capital Fund to obligate $350M in deferred buy and $150M in deferred repair requirements. In addition, the FY99 and FY00 Presidential Budgets funded spares at 95% and 100% respectively. An additional Congressional "plus-up" of $194M in Budget Authority to the FY99 flying hour program helped to arrest the decline in readiness. The full effect of increased spares funding will not be felt for 18-24 months due to acquisition lead-times. While spare parts funding is important, we must continually address remedies for other root causes of spare parts shortages, long lead times for component repair parts, aging aircraft issues, technical surprises, contractor delinquencies, and uncertainty surrounding the depot closure process causing some productivity impacts, especially on throughput of engines and modules.
- DPEM/O&M. The Depot Programmed Equipment Maintenance (DPEM) program represents the long-lead time readiness activities of the Air Force. We accepted increased risk in the program from FY97-98 as funding was reduced to meet the three-month carryover goal in organic depots and balance overall Air Force O&M. As an expected consequence, the depot backlog grew. The FY99 Congressional plus up reduced the backlog. For FY00 and FY 01 we carefully scrubbed our requirement with a view towards offsetting the effects of high OPSTEMPO and the closure of two major depots. We restored DPEM funding to historical levels, but remain concerned about the future effects our aging weapon systems will have on DPEM requirements and readiness.
- Installations. We have drawn down our overseas presence and now support contingencies by deploying from stateside bases. Our CONUS installations, the enroute infrastructure, and our overseas main operating bases constitute vital links in our ability to deploy forces to meet a threat in any region of the world. Without good infrastructure, we cannot hope to efficiently achieve the concept of Global Engagement. From home station, where we conduct training, to the final bed-down location, our facilities and infrastructure are critical elements in successfully deploying war fighting or humanitarian forces. With the current downward trend of Military Construction (MILCON), Real Property Maintenance (RPM), and Base Operating Support (BOS) funding, we risk seeing our installations decay to the point where we may not be able to support our missions. We need to re-invest in facilities and their supporting infrastructure through MILCON and RPM to arrest the decline in our capability to deploy and sustain forces anywhere in the world. But more importantly, we need to provide our people with quality facilities, both in the work place and the community, to ensure retention of a highly motivated force to meet the needs of the USAF into the next century.
- Support Equipment. The readiness of our aircraft and base maintenance support equipment accounts continues to be a challenge. As we have seen in past contingencies, our austere forward basing drives a need for more support equipment during deployments versus home station operations. This creates additional workload and workarounds on the flightline and at our installations. We have undertaken strategies to acquire support equipment in the future with a smaller mobility footprint, more versatility, and easier maintainability. Until this goal is achieved, and as we operationalize the Air Expeditionary Force concept, the need for workarounds on the flightline will continue. Operation Allied Force saw over 350 JCS-coded requisitions for support equipment from the warfighters. Through redistribution of assets, acceleration of production deliveries, and the ingenuity of our hard-working people at the depots and the fighting end of the force, not one sortie was lost during the war due to lack of support equipment.
- People. The military enters the new millennium one-third smaller. Signs of frustration due to increased operational tempo are starting to show. The Air Force is undergoing an unusual and well publicized downturn in retention. Recruiting efforts continue to focus on the critical sortie generating skills such as crew chief, and avionics maintenance. The Air Force has also taken proactive measures to counter this negative retention trend by reducing OPSTEMPO, improving compensation, retirement and quality of life programs, improving care for families and improving personnel programs. The restructuring of the AF into an Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) will assist in providing predictability and stability for our members. The Air Force is also considering reductions in training exercises in FY99 and FY00, reductions in mandays supporting JCS exercises, reductions in length of inspections during ORIs, and most importantly, MAJCOM implementation of post-deployment stand-down programs to ensure deployed members have time to get reacquainted with their families.
We must continue to emphasize quality of life standards for our airmen if we hope to retain critical skills and maintain our high readiness posture. Since FY94, we have experienced a 17% decrease in 1st term Aircraft Maintenance airmen (66 percent to 49 percent), and 10% decrease in our 2nd term Aircraft Maintenance airmen (83 percent to 73 percent). Our Communication and Electronics career field has seen the most alarming decrease for both 1st and 2nd term airmen (62 percent 1st term to 38 percent and 79 percent 2nd term to 56 percent). Both these career fields fall below Air Force retention goals (1st term is 55%, and 2nd term is 75%). The aforementioned Air Force retention initiatives and increased re-enlistment bonuses focus on reversing these negative trends.
"Thanks for the Support"
Taking care of people is the best way to improve readiness. With your strong support, we have seen improvement in compensation, retirement and quality of life programs. Our challenge continues to be to provide our dedicated men and woman the tools they need to get the job done efficiently, effectively, and safely in an environment that makes the Air Force a desirable career choice.
Conducting military operations in far-away places with technology and tactics that greatly reduce the potential for loss of American lives is necessary, but expensive. It consumes supplies, wears out equipment, and tests the ingenuity of even the best-trained military in the world. The unprecedented level of Air Force global engagement prior to ALLIED FORCE had worn us fairly thin and weve now further expended our resources. Our continued dedication to finding better ways to apply military force and your continued efforts to fund it will ensure our readiness for whatever the future holds.
Again, I thank you for the opportunity to address this committee, and look forward to your questions.