Robert H. McMahon, assistant secretary of defense for sustainment; John W. Henderson, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment, and energy; Alex A. Beehler, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment; and Lucian Niemeyer, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations, and environment testify at a joint hearing House Appropriations Committee subcommittee hearing on resilience of military installations to emerging threats, October 16, 2019.
The subcommittee will come to order. I want to welcome everyone to this joint hearing today with the Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities and the Readiness Subcommittee. Today we will examine the resiliency of our military installations to emerging threats. Holding this hearing has been a priority of the subcommittee for the past several months, and I want to in particular thank Ranking Member Stefanick for bipartisan cooperation to this hearing and also thankful to my friends Chairman Garamendi and Rankman Lamborn for working so diligently in making this hearing possible. So we’re here today to ensure the department is prepared to account for and address vulnerabilities, physical and digital, to our military installations at home and overseas. This includes the affects of climate change, energy dependence, land management, and cyber incidents, among others. The threat assessments, resources, and readiness of our nations military. This also includes the risk to conducting operations both today and in the future. This Subcommittee, as well as the Readiness Subcommittee have conducted rigorous oversight into installation resilience. But I continue to be concerned about what the department is doing to ensure our installations are able to withstand ever increasing threats from malicious cyber activities and severe climate events, among other things. When it comes to our armed forces, we as a nation have not given these threats to our installations the attention that they deserve. So I’d like to remind those in attendance that this hearing marks one year since the department suffered nearly $10 billion in damage from just two extreme weather events at Tyndall Air Force Base and Camp Lejeune. No, I cannot think of better examples of the perils our defense infrastructure faces from climate change, perils that will only increase as we pump more greenhouses gases in our atmosphere. So our committee has acted on a bipartisan basis to acknowledge these risks, but I must say, I’m disappointed in the departments response to our oversight. By way of example, the initial counting of at risk bases we received did not even include Camp Lejeune or Tyndall Air Force Base at all. If those are the low risk bases, one can only wonder what we are likely to see soon from the installations the department identified as being of particular concern. So we need a clear accounting of the risks with dollar figures attached, or else we will continue the cycle of throwing good money after bad, which is not only fiscally irresponsible, but places our service members and readiness at risk. So I also want to make it clear to everyone that we will be holding an IEDC Subcommittee hearing specific to the emerging threat of climate change later this year. In addition to the threats posed by extreme climate events, the threats presented by attacks on cyber and energy infrastructure by both state and non-state actors continue to grow and evolve at a rapid pace. So these threats can target critical infrastructure on military installations, including electric grid, water supply, or even medical facilities. An attack on our electric grid could have profound effects on the ability of the force to carry out critical missions. So we must increase the resilience of operational technology on installations and ensure we sufficiently focus on securing cyber physical systems, as well as traditional IT infrastructure. So I’m interested in hearing more about how the department is building cyber resilience and installations at home and abroad. It’s incumbent upon the department and Congress to ensure that we are properly preparing for these threats to installations and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses on this topic. Before I turn to Ranking Member Stefanick in the interest of time, it’s been agreed upon with the Chairs and Ranking Members of the committee that we are going to forgo the witnesses statements since we have those for the record, and we’re going to be going right into questions. With that, I’d like now to turn it over to Rank Member Stefanick, and then we’ll in turn hear from Chairman Garamendi and also Rank Member Lamborn for their remarks.
Thank you, Jim. I would like to start by thanking Chairman Langevin and Garamendi, as well as my fellow Ranking Member, Mr. Lamborn, for holding this important hearing today to discuss resiliency of the Department of Defense installations and facilities. And welcome of course to our witnesses, we have a lot of ground to cover, so I will keep my remarks short. As I think about resiliency of military installations and infrastructure, I am concerned about shortfalls in both the physical and digital domains. First, we remain vulnerable to extreme weather events and climate change. We have seen these events adversely impact public safety, our economic security, and our national security. Our intelligence community continues to assess that global environmental degradation and climate change are likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent across the globe to 2019 and beyond. And we continue to experience extreme weather events at home, including in my own district in northern New York. We must, therefore, factor in these environmental changes when discussing resiliency of military installations, and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses exactly how we are planning for these extreme weather events and climate change. Second, and equally as important, I continue to have concerns about installation and infrastructure vulnerabilities in the digital domain. Congress and indeed this very committee had the foresight to understand these challenges, and three years ago, we directed the department to conduct a comprehensive review to evaluate cyber security vulnerabilities of DOD infrastructure. Unfortunately, this review and the subsequent correct actions remain far from complete, and we are still incredibly vulnerable to attack. I fear we have not yet identified the scale and scope of our problems, let alone begun to mitigate our most concerning shortfalls. When we consider resiliency, we must remember that advances in information technology, cyber security, and information assurances are primary prerequisites for the future of warfare. These enabling technologies form the foundation where information and data are a strategic resource to be protected, preserved, and fully actioned. Only then will we be able to leverage evolutionary and even revolutionary technologies, such as AI, 5G, high performance computing, and even quantum computing. This future begins and ends with our facilities and installations, which will be our greatest resource or our weakest links. I look forward to discussing today how we can work together to ensure that resiliency, in both physical and the digital domain, is prioritized so that we are prepared for these challenges in our increasingly complex digital age. Thank you, and I yield back.
Thank you, Ranking Member Stefanick. I would like to now turn to the gem of the Readiness Subcommittee, Mr. Garamendi, for a statement.
[Mr. Garamendi] Thank you, Jim. I really appreciate the opportunity to be here to work with you on this extremely important issue, and your committee and the Ranking Member Lamborn, who’s on the other side. Installation resiliency is the foundation to readiness. Our basis in infrastructure investments must be able to withstand to the max extent possible the spectrum of resiliency threats from energy disruptions, cyber attack, natural disasters, floods, fires, hurricanes, you name it. Oh, earthquakes too. Both of our subcommittees have put in a lot of time into this and we’re going to continue doing it. Over the last year, we’ve seen the aftermath of extreme weather events, such as Hurricanes Florence and Michael, and flooding at Offut, and earthquakes at China Lake, and fires along the way. Billions of dollars in damage. In fact, I think we added up the entire year’s worth of Milcon Construction could be consumed in just four natural disaster events at our bases. Going forward, I know that my committee will insist that we be forward looking. That we do assessments of the threats, from sea level rise to weather events, and so that even the roofs get repaired. You know, maintenance folks are rather important. Installation resiliency is much broader than weather resiliency. The recovery from the disasters is equally important. I’m interested in hearing what our witnesses have to say and I want to thank them for their written reports. When taken together, and perhaps Mr. McMahon, this is your tact to pull all of these together, if they were all done by all departments, it would be a very very good, not start, but well down the path. Questions about the department’s preparedness for energy disruptions and cyber security, you just heard that, we want to be sure that we’re on top of those issues. Energy, water, sanitation, you name it. All of these things are important, and all of this has to be taken into the account that we reduce our dependency and reduce our energy consumption along the way. A lot of things to do. The written testimony is excellent. I ask that all of us pay attention to it, and I’d ask the four witnesses when they go back to their jobs, some of which won’t be there very long, we’ll take that up later. But when you go back that you read the testimony from the brother and sister services. I think you’ll find it useful, and then inculcate that into your work. Thank you very much. Yield back.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you, Chairman Garamendi. I’d like to now turn to Rank Member Lamborn for any comments he may have.
Well thank you, Chairman Langevin, Chairman Garamendi, and Representative Stefanick for calling this joint subcommittee hearing on such an important topic. Installation resilience has always been important to our national defense, but given the dynamic and evolving nature of the threats we face, it is becoming even more critical. Most of our installations rely, at least in part, on power generated by nearby communities. At the same time, the armed forced have invested significantly in renewable energy. I am very interested to hear from our witnesses today regarding their efforts to improve energy resilience and efficiency on our military installations, as well as to protect it from capable and cunning adversaries. Having recently visited all four bases damaged by storms and earthquakes that we are addressing in our fiscal year 20 National Defense Authorization Act, I’m also concerned about getting our work done quickly to fund the $5 billion necessary for reconstruction. Without this funding, the critical missions will continue to be negatively impacted, including the air sovereignty and F22 training missions at Tyndall Air Force Base, one of a kind navy research tesing missions at China Lake, runway operations, tanker simulator, and critical missions of the 55th wing at Offut Air Force Base, and the Marines at Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point continuing to operate after approximately 800 buildings were compromised with 500 severely damaged. And we also owe it to our military families to ensure that the privatized military family housing is fully restored. The damage in North Caroline and Florida continue to create a burden for these families. So I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about how they are ensuring that we plan effectively, build to appropriate building codes, incorporate lessons learned from recent disasters, and inspect work on new construction to ensure that it meets specifications. Thank you for your testimony today. And I yield back.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you, Ranking Member Lamborn. With that now, because of again the delayed start due to votes, we’re going to forgo the witnesses opening statements. We’re going to go right into questions. Before doing so, I’d like to introduce the individuals that we have with us today. Mr. Robert McMahon, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment. Mr. McMahon, it’s good to see you again. Thank you for being here. I understand that you’re going to be leaving the department next month and I just want to take this opportunity to thank you for your many decades of service to the country, both in uniform and in your current role now. I wish you well in your next chapter. Thank you for being here today. Next, Mr. John Henderson, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Energy. Next, Mr. Alex Beehler, Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment. And then also Mr. Lucian Neimeyer, acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment. Thank you all for being here today. We look forward to a robust discussion today. And with that, I am going to recognize myself for five minutes. Members will be recognized after the Chairs and Ranking members in the order of seniority and attendance. So with that, let me begin. So the climate has changed significantly over the last decade, several decades. And it’s going to continue to change more in the coming years. All the services that incurred climate related debt, because installations were built with risk assessments that did not reflect the reality of today or the increased threats of the future. So my question is, what is your assessment of the unmitigated climate risk you face in your legacy installations in terms of dollars and cents, and what methodologies do you use to determine those risks?
Mr. Chairman, I’ll begin and provide my comments, then I’ll give my peers the opportunity as well. First, thank you to you and Chairman Garamendi and both of our Ranking Members for the opportunity to be here today to talk about something that’s equally as important to Secretary Esper, respective service secretaries, and clearly to the four of us. As we move forward to your point as we look out over the last decade or two decades, the challenges and threats that we face within our installations have grown dramatically. As you’ve pointed out, it’s climate, it’s the challenge that we also face with regards to natural disasters, whether that be earthquakes, whether that be forest fires, whether that be deforestation or drought. In addition is the physical, to Congresswoman Stefanick’s point, the digital world as well. So it’s this holistic approach that we have to look at when we deal with it. Specifically to the climate, we’ve got to acknowledge that the climate is changing. The fact that we have seen, for example, a rise in our seas at the same time that we consume water that we’re seeing a degradation in our water supplies and the fact that that’s having an adverse affect on our soils in our land as well. And so this holistic impact, as we look at the climate, how do we deal with that? If we look at the way that we proactively put together our standards, our building standards, they need to be continuously updated as we learn about what is occurring with these natural disasters. How do we update that? We need to be more proactive, but we also have to do in the context that as we look at the holistic challenges that we face within the department in our installations that that is just a single portion of it that we have to deal with. And so, we’ve got to be aggressive with it, with new standards, and where we have the opportunity to infuse those standards, and we do that, but we also have to do it in the context of the broader threat that we face.
Do you feel you have an adequate understanding of the dollars and cents involved?
[Mr. McMahon] I don’t. To that point, recently I’ve asked the services to come back with an assessment of what that looks like. What I can tell you is there’s $4 billion worth of damage at Tyndall Air Force Base. There’s roughly $4 billion of damage at China Lake. So as you look at that and try to apply that across the enterprise, there’s a significant bill out there that I don’t think we fully understand or comprehend the full cost of just on the facilities, let alone when we start talking about Connor UAS, when we start talking about cyber and the other elements, we could throw EMP in there as well. And so, I don’t think collectively we understand what the full assessment is.
It’s essential that we continue to drill down on this to get our arms around that, because the taxpayer deserves to know and they’ll ask the Congress needs to know this information and it’s the right thing to do for the country and our military.
[Mr. McMahon] Mr. Chairman, I absolutely agree. And I would say that all four of us would agree with you, and that’s getting our arms around that and we’re on the road to do that.
Secretary Beehler, Henderson, Niemeyer, do you have anything else to add?
Yes sir. The Army has benefited already from the fact that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has developed a climate assessment vulnerability tool using a variety of data from other federal agencies that are constantly being refined and updated as they receive more and more data. That tool has been used and will continue to be used on an ongoing basis by Army installations as they do their every five years update and their installation management plans. That certainly will address this issue, and they’ve been basically prescribed to do so, as well as the installation energy and water management plans that are ongoing for all of the major Army installations. And so through that exercise, we will begin to get a handle on just exactly what the cost and other measures needed to be taken to repress extreme vets.
When do you think those assessments will be completed?
Well on the energy and water plans, they’re in three phases. The first phase, which covers the major or top critical mission priority installations of about 22, expected to be done by the end of this calendar year. And then the next traunch within 12 months time afterwards and the third traunch 12 months after that. The installation management plans are upgraded and reviewed every five years. That covers roughly the 150 Army installations, and so therefore you have that incorporated at roughly about 30 installation plans a year.
And then finally, to that follow-up, so the Army will then be developing strategies for addressing the risks identified from those assessments?
[Mr. Beehler] I’m sorry, sir. I missed…
I said is the Army then planning to develop strategies once the assessments are completed?
Absolutely. And that’s the wonderful thing about these several efforts that are going on simultaneously. Each will help the other to become greater granularity in a way forward.
That’s going to be essential for us to follow up on that.
[Mr. Beehler] Absolutely.
I’m going to hold there and now turn to Ranking Member Stefanick.
[Mr. McMahon] Mr. Chairman, before you yield on this, I’d like to add just one point. Secretary Beehler referred to the climate tool that’s being used by the Corps of Engineers. We have just funded for all the services to be able to utilize that up to 50 bases stateside and 10 bases overseas for each of the services, recognizing the value of that tool and making sure that all the services can benefit from it.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you for adding that. It’s an important point. Ranking Member Stefanick is recognized.
Thank you. I’m going to jump right into my opening remarks where I referenced our cyber vulnerabilities. As you know, in FY17 NDAA Section 1650 required a review of those vulnerabilities. And this review includes information and operational technologies, such as industrial control systems. So I want to start with OSD. Mr. McMahon, can you give an update on where things stand with respect to implementation of 1650 and tell us what your role in the capacity of OSD is in overseeing this review to ensure we’ve identified and are correcting cyber vulnerabilities? Because my concern is that we have no yet identified the scale and scope of cyber vulnerabilities in our installations.
Congresswoman Stefanick, I would agree with you that we have not fully sized that. As I think you’re aware, the other Secretary for Acquisition and Sustainment, Ellen Lord, has recently brought on an expert, Ms. Katie Arrington, whose purpose is to oversee cyber security for the entirement for both acquisition and sustainment. Her focus early on is ensuring that we are considering as part of the supply chain, what that looks like, but also looking across industrial control systems throughout the department, and is leading that effort in conjunction with the CIO to give us the appropriate view and understanding of what the threat is, and more importantly, how we deal with that holistically, both on the acquisition and the sustainment side.
[Ms. Stefanick] So when I ask who the lead for 1650 implementation, it’s a combination of Katie Arrington and the CIO Doug Ducey?
As well as in the specifically as we get into industrial controls would be myself.
[Ms. Stefanick] Okay. So the FY17 NDAA was a couple years ago.
[Mr. McMahon] It was.
And the fact that we’re now getting an answer about who’s responsible, what has happened in between?
I think what I would tell you is there’s been a tremendous amount of discussion about what we need to do and understanding, characterizing what the threat is, what it looks like. The amount of execution to your measure and my measure is what is actually in place, not the level that I would expect to have at this point in time.
So can you provide characterization of what that threat is and what our assessment is?
I would be happy to provide that. I’d like to take that for the record to come back to you in detail to answer that.
[Ms. Stefanick] Okay. I think this highlights again my concern with not even understanding the scale and scope, let alone what our mitigation efforts are going to be. So I look forward to getting that response for the record, because again, we’ve had years since that language was written in the FY17 NDAA. And I was here when we did that. I want to move to Mr. Henderson from the Air Force, and then Mr. Niemeyer from the Navy. Both of you addressed this in your written opening statements. How have you both worked to identify digital vulnerabilities and how much work would you say remains to be done and when do you expect to complete the review?
Thank you. For the Air Force, there’s been a number of assessments going on. And like Mr. McMahon, in the installations portfolio we focus primarily on the industrial controls piece of that assessment. But across the Air Force, this crosses a number of staff functions that are working on this. So for instance, there’s several cross functional teams working a number of areas, and I’m just going to list a few of them just to give appreciation for the group of the breadth of assessment that’s going on. They’re doing full threat assessments up to a highly classified level. There’s actually going to be an Air Force senior leader summit on this. Actually, this work’s coming to culminate at a summit here in about three weeks in the middle of November. There’s cross functional assessments going on with weapons systems security. Something called the Air Force Risk Executive Mission Assurance, which covers 17 programs. Supply chain risk management. Air Force control systems, which is a sprint that we’re working with with our A4. Mission defense teams that are focused on several areas to command cyber readiness inspections. The protection of critical technology supervisor control and data acquisition are SCADA systems, and so on. So there’s a large group of people working in a cross functional way to address this holistically with the Air Force, and we expect to bring this to our senior leaders here in about three weeks, about the middle of November.
[Ms. Stefanick] Three weeks, okay. So that would be the complete review. And Mr. Niemeyer, from the Navy? You have 30 seconds, sorry.
I think we’re leading the services as far as our ability to enclave some of our critical facilities. We start with what we consider to be our tier one and tier two, most critical facilities across the department of the Navy. We’ve already taken steps to separate those critical control systems in those facilities, and we’re now moving towards long term mitigation of those systems. We are also looking at assessments at the next level. We’ve completed hundreds of assessments, and started on real world mitigation efforts to start a short term to isolate the problem and work on long term solutions. I will tell you, ma’am, I’ve been spending a lot of time on this issue. We really need a national policy and a national answer on how we address control systems security. I’d also like the 5G, we’re working very aggressively on that, but I’m not sure that was the exact intent of your question, but I’d love to get there as well.
Yeah, we can get to 5G later on, maybe with the second round of questions. Again, I just want to highlight my concerns. We wrote the language that was signed into law with the FY17 NDAA and it is concerning to me that the implementation has lagged. So we don’t even have our arms around the scope of this problem, let alone the mitigation. I appreciate all the work that service is doing. Yield back.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you Elise. We now recognize the Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, Garamendi.
First, I want to thank Jim, you and Ms. Stefanick for the work you’re doing on cyber security. You’ve really pushed that forward, and I know Mr. Chairman, you’ve also pushed the climate issue forward. I want to really go to the documents that the four of you have submitted to the committee. Mr. McMahon, you’ve kind of given us a going away present, and to the services the same thing. If they were to carry out the things that you laid out in your memo, we’d be well down the line on each and every one of these. There are some things that are missing, and we’ll identify those as we go along. Specifically, in the new NDAA that’s hopefully going to get completed in the very near term, there is a requirement that every base have a plan that includes all that we’ve talked about here, weather related, flood related, other kinds of threats to that base. So we would expect, well you should expect and your successors should expect to get what Ms. Stefanick just gave you a few moments ago, and that is what have you done about this particular issue? Good for her. And for you not getting it done yet. So I want to just basically put to each of you, among the things that you have submitted in your testimony, what is the most important? You don’t have to answer the cyber security. We’ve already taken care of that piece of it. Let’s start at this end of the table and go down. Mr. Niemeyer.
That’d be great, thanks so much to the Chairman for the question. The most important thing for us is strategic contingency risk. We have a concern worldwide about our access to installations, ports, airfields, from a resiliency long term aspect. That to us is probably the most important factor that allows us to continue to protect, project naval power to protect the sea lanes and to protect our interests for both ourselves and our allies. Right behind that is energy and water security risk. And right behind that is, I would say, data and network risk, and the ability to secure our control systems. Then we’ve got physical risks. Right now, the Department of Navy and our sister services are working a counter drone, counter UAS strategy, to look at new kinetic threats to our bases, in addition to traditional ones. And then we also have what we would call an environmental risk. And that’s a range of factors. As you know, we’re getting a lot of support from the committee in our response to China Lake. That was an earthquake. You know, it’s tough to predict where the next earthquake’s going to happen, or the next tornado, or the next tsunami. So we are working on environment risk from a holistic perspective. We do roll this up into what we call an Emission Insurance Framework. I would love to come back and talk to the staff about how we can get some support from the committee on taking Emission Insurance Framework. So we’re starting with the most critical facilities around the Department of Navy that support natural emissions and how we can develop comprehensive plans to identify the most critical vulnerabilities across the whole domain of threats that face us. Not just natural, but we think man-made or adversary threats are much more substantial. How do we address those for each of of our critical facilities?
The new NDAA will give you the direction to do that, or the requirement to do that, and I’d like to know what you need that you don’t presently have to do that. But, that’ll come back at us. Mr. Henderson.
[Mr. Henderson] Yes, thank you. Well for the Air Force, we’re doing something called mission threat analysis. So instead of doing this threat assessment by base, and a lot of our bases have many different missions on them, we’re taking the mission itself and looking at the whole mission chain, because it takes a global network of facilities to do some of our missions. So we take the full mission and we look at the vulnerabilities there, and there’s a whole host of threats as Mr. Niemeyer said, and I won’t go back through them, but this isn’t just about cyber, just about weather, just about climate. This is the whole vast array of threats facing our installations that we have to look at. And so…
[Chairman Garamendi] I’m going to cut you off there. Let’s move to Mr. Beehler.
[Mr. Beehler] Sir, in addition to what has already been mentioned by my colleagues, the other two services, the Army also focuses on the fact that as the national defense strategy from 2018 has said that the homeland is no longer a sanctuary, and for us that means that our installations are directly part of the battle space, the battle front, and part of the strategic support areas, so therefore…
[Chairman Garamendi] You’ve got 24 seconds. I’m just going to wrap up here. I’ve read that and I think the rest of us can read it also. Here’s my point, is that, and the reason I ask the question. Each of you has set out a set of priorities generally and then you’ve narrowed it down granular, the word we use nowadays, to specific actions. Here’s what I want you to do for the next month and a half, and that is read your colleague’s work. And figure out what you’re not doing that they are doing. And if you would stick around another month and a half, Mr. McMahon, I’d ask you to do it also, or see that they got it done. There is extraordinary opportunity and necessity that the other services are involved in that one or the other of you are not doing. And so I want you to put together, you know get a big pot of coffee and sit down and read each other’s work. The solutions are all there, and you’ve got to tell us what we need to do to give you the tools to carry out those solutions. With that, I yield back.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you gentleman. And now, Ranking Member Lamborn is recognized.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. McMahon, I’m going to address this to you because of sake of time, I can’t have everyone answer this question, and I want to thank you for your service to our country as your go into, like Chairman said, your next chapter. In my recent visits to survey the damage at Tyndall, Offut, and China Lake, I was struck by how much that advanced planning and up to date construction techniques can help mitigate when disaster strikes. So, what have we learned from recent natural disasters of all types to make things better in the future for more resiliency? And I’m thinking, for instance, of sacrificial first floors. They’re doing that at Offut. You don’t have all the expensive HVAC and computers on the first floor in case you have a flood. You put them up higher. So what are some example of what we’re learning? Mr. McMahon.
Congressman Lamborn, what I would tell you is that as we look at the lessons that we’ve learned, and there’s a variety of, rather than get into specifics, as you look at what we establish are essentially building standards, which is a continuous process to update, we take the lessons that we learned from each of these installations, whether it’s the construction, whether it’s the roofing, what we’re doing on one floor verses another, and roll that in on an annual basis to continuously update what those standards are to ensure that as we get to the next either rehab or new construction, that those standards are in fact reflected in the way that we build the facility.
[Lamborn] Okay, thank you. Thank you. And the military has a separate building code that’s more stringent than local building codes, is that correct?
The standards that we’re utilizing in most cases represent either national or state standards. In some cases, lag a little bit on state, but you go to the natural, in some cases actually exceed what those states and national standards are.
Okay, thank you. Shifting gears, Mr. Niemeyer, I want to drill down on nuclear energy. The Navy has a long and storied history of small nuclear reactors on vessels, starting 65 years ago, the USS Nautilus was launched. So, what can you tell us about micro reactors, about their safety and their effectiveness?
So we are working with other services and OSD to partner up with the Department of Energy on a couple of initiatives. We believe that there is a future for micro nuclear technology within the services. There is a concern within the Navy about staying in what I would call the white world, as far as the technology. But we do believe that there are vendors out there, there are technologies out there, that ultimately could be used on a military installation to island that installation off a commercial power, particularly where we have critical assets, and run it on a very micro reactor, about five to 10 meg of electricity, plus another 10 meg of thermal, and continue to run that critical asset without any concern about having the commercial rig go down. So we believe there is a near term and mid term goal to get to that. We continue to work with OSD. Bob’s been putting a lot of effort into it and his staff to try to get those vendors to us, talk to us, and eventually get the technology incorporated.
[Mr. Lamborn] And we don’t have Yucca Mountain figured out yet, so with some of the nuclear waste that’s in storage, is it possible that some of these new designs can actually use what currently is stored uselessly?
With some adjustments. I think that’s one of the things we are most concerned about is what is the fuel source going to be. There is an opportunity to use depleted uranium. We are asking the vendors that very question: Where would you get it from? What would we need to do to make it useful? Those are the things that we are working with not just the vendors, but with the NRC and try to come up with a plan moving forward.
Okay, thank you. And Mr. McMahon, I’ll finish with you. What are we doing with not just natural disasters, but attacks on our physical infrastructure? We’ve talked about cyber attacks, but kinetic attacks, or cyber attacks going against the electrical grid? EMP is a possibility that’s out there? What are some things we’re doing to protect the physical infrastructure?
When you talk about physical, one of the things we’ve not yet mentioned is the UAS threat that we face at all of our installations and how is that we can create the counter UAS capability. Secretary Lord has taken that on for the department with regards to small counter UAS activity. The joint staff is working larger issues. But that is, how do I protect my installation? With regards to EMP, obviously earlier this year there was an executive order that provided guidance as to move forward with that. Clearly not every facility needs to be EMP hardened, so understanding what those are and what are the specific actions that we can take to make that happen to ensure that that is there for either those installations or those portions of installation where that’s critical.
Thank you. Yield back. That was my time.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you Mr. Lamborn. Mr. Kim is now recognized, five minutes.
[Mr. Kim] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to just hone in on the black start exercises. I’ve been very intrigued by this and Mr. McMahon and Mr. Beehler, I just wanted to hear from you. What are the top lessons that we’ve learned so far from doing these black start exercises? Mr. McMahon, we’ll start with you.
[Mr. McMahon] Congressman, thank you for the question. We’re tremendously proud of the effort. As we talk about building resilience, its understanding, we can do all the tabletop exercises in the world, but when you actually pull the plug, the question is what actually goes on? And so, the investment, and they run somewhere between $250,000, $500,000 per exercise, we’ve had a total of four thus far. I’ll let Alex talk a little bit about some of those specifics. We still have two additional that we’ll do. But the reality is, and perhaps the most important lesson that I’ve seen is a lack of appreciation and understand by our senior leaders at the installation level, all the way up to my level, of what we thought was going to happen versus what actually occurred. And then being able to apply those lessons learned down the road as we move forward. Lots of tactical issues, but at the strategic level, I think that’s the most important.
[Mr. Kim] Great. Mr. Beehler?
Sir, to amplify what Mr. McMahon just said, it’s the basic verification of backup energy and also water. Whether we really have what we think we have. And if we don’t have it, what do we need to do to get it? And there’s nothing like doing for verification. And, at least on the behalf of the Army, we think so far they’ve been very effective. We’ve done, as Mr. McMahon said, we’ve done three through the means of OSD, but we have done others on our own and we will continue to do more on our own because we believe it has been very effective to show exactly what works, what doesn’t work, what needs to be improved and enhanced.
[Mr. Kim] Well I would appreciate that. It certainly seems like an operation that really hit where the rubber hits the road, and just tries to put this all into reality of what’s going to happen, so I’m certainly very supportive of the program and glad that it’s continuing. In that similar vein, certainly my district was a district with Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. We got crushed by Superstorm Sandy and that was something that we saw full force there. The resiliency that base being able to get up and running 24 hours later was critical, not just for the base but for the surrounding community. As you know, that base really served a purpose for being the FEMA center for that area. So I guess my question to you, kind of building out from there, when were talking not just resiliency of the bases potentially for natural disaster supporting the community around it. What exercise, are you doing tabletop exercises or real world exercises planned with FEMA or other organizations? I’m just kind of curious. You know, what we’ve been able to learn from Superstorm Sandy and other places where our military installations end up playing a critical role in the revival of these communities after these disasters. Maybe Mr. Henderson, some of your thoughts, and Mr. Beehler?
Thank you. So for the defense support to civilian authorities, the Air Force plays a large role in that usually with air transport, offering up logistics hubs and bases and stuff. So we participate with the Department of Defense in support of the FEMA exercises that go on. So I know that’s our participation in the exercises that we do in conjunction with FEMA.
Sir, a variety of things. One is that we at Fort Bragg participated in a project that I believe was initiated by OSD but it’ll also include Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Regulatory Commission in the development of a defense critical electric infrastructure pilot program to evaluate the resilience of off post electric infrastructure support. But more broad spread, each installation does on an annual basis an emergency response exercise that, by its very nature, closely engages the surrounding communities at all appropriate levels. The other thing that we have done on a ad-hoc utility connection is discussions on how appropriately located army bases, and it’s particularly relevant to the southeastern area, can help as temporary, I don’t know whether staging grounds is perhaps the best term, but really a place where utilities and emergency crews that are going to a scene that’s faced hurricanes or severe weather events can actually use, for whatever period of time, Army base facilities to help them position in the case of a major climatic event.
[Mr. Kim] Well I appreciate that. Chairman, I yield back.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you gentlemen. Mr. Scott, now recognized. Five minutes.
[Mr. Scott] Thank you Mr. Chairman. General McMahon, I hate to see you retire, 34 years in uniform. The best at Robins Air Force Base I’m sure, and for those of you don’t know, he is an exceptionally good production manager. He turned Robins Air Force Base, his efficiency around, and did an extremely good job there. So I want to thank you for that and your work there. And the average IQ of Alabama is about to go way up. I do trust you won’t pull for their football teams, though. I have a couple of questions. You mentioned drones or the UAS’s. Do the FAA rules that they have that protect drones apply to somebody who would perhaps fly a drone over one of our military bases?
Congressman, I’d rather get into those specifics outside of this environment, if I could push that back to you. I can take that for record and come back to you.
[Mr. Scott] That’s fine. I just want to make sure you have whatever authorizations you need and that we don’t have any conflict between federal agencies. Sometimes happens.
[Mr. McMahon] Yes sir.
As you know. I want to make sure we have the ability to protect you from that. Another question. We have the Marine Corps logistics base in Albany, Georgia. The first net zero base in the country. Do we have any other bases that have achieved net zero with regard to energy?
[Mr. Neimeyer] I’ll take that question. So, Albany is actually a shining star within the department of the Navy as an installation that has truly achieved the energy resilience we were looking for, where if the grid goes down, we can still conduct the critical missions there at Albany. I look to other Marine Corps installations also. The Marine Corps does seem to be leading the way around the nation at Yuma in Arizona, in Miramar in California. An amazing effort there combining a series of initiatives over the last ten years to truly create the resiliency we’re looking for with that installation using a variety of fuel sources. I want to make this clear within the department of Navy. We look at all fuel sources as an opportunity to provide us a resiliency. Miramar is using all those to create a pretty significant capability that if the lights go out, we can conduct those critical missions in Miramar to launch our aircraft.
[Mr. Scott] So we have multiple fuel sources. But the way, if I’m not mistaken, the way the Marine Corps logistics base in Albany, Georgia achieved that was through a public private partnership. Are we utilizing the public private partnerships in other bases as well?
[Mr. Niemeyer] I’m sorry sir? Yes we are. We look at a whole host of authorities that are available to us thanks to Congress. Energy statements, performance contracts, service contracts, power purchase agreements. My sister services shared the desire to want to use all the authorities that are available to us. Team is both on the secretariat, and I’m actually representing two outstanding leaders from each service: General Dutch Rhoda and Admiral Ricky Williamson. Together we form a team, collect a team that looks at the resiliency challenges across the board. We probably could do better in educating our energy managers to be more proactive at insulation level. We are working collectively across the Navy and the Marine Corps to be able to do that. So those base level managers are bringing up those ideas to us that we can actually incorporate. So we’re still got a little work to don the education front.
[Mr. Henderson] For the Air Force, we recently hired a professor to develop a curriculum to help with the education and training of our engineers, our civil engineers on this, industrial controls and the cyber security of industrial controls and that, which is kind of our piece of that, so we are making efforts to take the workforce we have and kind of update their skill sets so that we better understand how to install and operate these systems. Additionally, with regard to personnel and having the right personnel, the direct hire authorities that have come through some of these highly specialized low density career field has been very help for us in the Air Force.
[Ms. Houlahan] Thank you, and I’m out of time. I yield back. Thank you.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you Ms. Houlahan. Mr. Bacon is now recognized for five minutes.
[Mr. Bacon] Thank you Mr. Chairman. I appreciate all four of you being here. My first question’s directed more to Mr. McMahon and Mr. Beehler, but please jump in if you can add in. I want to talk about the levy system and the permit process that we have to go through, and I have a specific example. But, it’s not just this example, I hear about it all over. So what we had in 2011, we had our worst flood in about 50 years in eastern Nebraska. I was Commander at Offut Air Force Base. We worked for months to save the base. Hundreds of thousands of sandbags. FEMA came in afterwards to say, “Hey, you need to raise the levy’s two to three feet.” This is in 2012. So then NRD with the state came forward with a proposal. It’s gonna cost $35 million, and wanted to get it done. But it took five years to get a permit. Five years. And here’s the deal. Five years to get a permit do $35 million worth of work. We got it all approved finally in February of this year. Then we had the worst flood in Nebraska’s history. It’s going to be a billion dollars in damage. Now, if it was just a one off incident, I got it. But I hear from all over the place, all of our mayors, five to seven years is the norm to get a permit. It’s inexcusable, it’s intolerable, it’s bad for the taxpayer, it’s bad for national security. So, what can we do to fix this? Sorry, I’ve got to fall on the Air Force, but it’s not just one group though. It’s a cumulative problem. Go ahead.
So, first of all, you and I have discussed that specific permit in my previous position. I’m not going to speak on behalf of the Corps of Engineers here. But you and I have a lot of carnal knowledge on that specific situation. I will share your frustration with the permitting processor at large. And whether it’s FAA permits, NEPA work that we have to do, even those of us who were in the Corp of Engineers used to be in the Corps of Engineers that the permits that are involved in there can be very slow, very bureaucratic, and they take a long time. And I would say a lot of that, just from my experience, a lot of that’s linked back to, in order to issue those permits in a lot of cases, the NEPA work has to be done, and the NEPA work ends up being the long pole in the ten a lot of times. Specific with the Offut levy’s, which have a huge impact on the Air Force Base, but the Air Force does not have an equity in that levy. It’s owned by the NRD and it’s permitted by the Corps in combination with FEMA obviously. So I say that to say as we have extreme interest in making sure the levy gets upgraded, it makes our installation there more resilient. And that particular case, as you know, in order to get the permits from the Corps, in this case specifically, a 408 permit, the NRD had to run the hydraulics to make sure that any work they were doing on the levy’s on the Nebraska side of the river weren’t going to impact the main river levy’s on the Iowa side of the river and the NEPA work associated with that. And that took a lot of time. And it was a lot of engineering technical work. It wasn’t necessarily sitting in anybody’s inbox, it was work that had to be done on a lot of back and forth, as you know. And that part of the permit process is very frustrating. But it takes a lot of time to get it right, and I say it’s important to get it right the first time. You wouldn’t want to do something on one side of a river that has detrimental effects to the public on the other side of the river. In that particular case on that permit, that took some extra time.
[Mr. Bacon] Yeah, I would think it was just one off. I got it. But I hear about this, we have ten mayors in our district, and I hear over and over again five to seven years to get a permit. And I just think that we could put our brains together and figure out how to do it. And I would like to work on how we streamline this process, because it’s good for the taxpayer, and it’s unacceptable. We built The Pentagon in one year. We should be able to figure this out.
Sir, I got to say, from that perspective, we share your frustration, because all of us up here are trying to deliver MILCON projects, SRM projects, and there’s usually a NEPA or permitting component that we have to comply with.
[Mr. Bacon] Yeah.
And it takes a long time. And it is frustrating. I think there’s a lot of opportunity there to expedite this.
I have one follow up question if I may, and I’ve only got like 45 seconds. One of the things I’m also concerned about is Russian gas fueling our bases in Europe. It’s not a one off there either. A lot of our bases are doing it. And the new hospital being built at Ramstein is designed to have Russian gas. And we’re there because of Russia, and they could just turn it off. And it’s a readiness issue. So what are we doing to wean ourselves off that, and what are we specifically doing with the hospital to make sure that we’re not dependent on Russian gas?
Congressman, two comments on that. First, as you know, we don’t dictate what nations, where they source their fuel from and given number one. Number two, though, is this entire idea of installation resilience and being able to go off grid gives us the flexibility that if what you just suggested were to occur, we have the ability to respond to that and be able to continue the operations in a way that makes sense and allow us to be able to achieve the mission that we’ve been given.
[Mr. Bacon] So you can assure us we have that at the new hospital?
I’m not going to assure you that, sir, but I’m going to assure that we are working aggressively, not only for them at Ramstein but at every other installation that we have to be able to achieve that.
[Mr. Bacon] Okay. Thank you. I’m out of time. I yield back. Thank you.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you Mr. Bacon. Ms. Escobar is recognized for five minutes.
[Ms. Escobar] Thank you Chairman. I’m so grateful to you and the Ranking Member for this important hearing, and many thanks to our witnesses today. I reviewed the list of the top ten Army facilities that are vulnerable to climate change. All of those facilities are in the west or the southwest, and the threat is listed as drought. And so I am wondering if you can expand on how you all intend to attack that, what the plan is, and what the theory is around assisting ensure the sustainability of the west and southwestern facilities vulnerable to drought.
Sorry. Ma’am, this is one of the things that will be accomplished through our installations energy and water programs, plans that are being done at all of the major Army installations, including all of the ones in the southwest. They are to address, in effect, your question, which is how do we ensure at a given installation adequate water supply, access to water? It also gets incorporated when an installation upgrades and reviews its broader installation management plan, which is done every five years for each installation. As I mentioned earlier, the first traunch of these energy and water plans are due to be completed at the end of this calendar year, which I believe includes some of the installations in the southwest. Those installations will have a way forward as to what they need to do to make sure they have good access to water.
One of the installations on that top 10 list is Fort Bliss, which is in my district, which obviously has a very sophisticated D-cell plant in the district that has really been focused on ensuring water, not just for the military installation, but for the community. Was that taken into consideration when Fort Bliss was placed on the top ten list?
Well, the top ten list was looking at threats.
[Ms. Escobar] Okay.
And so it’s great that there is this desalination plant, but that doesn’t remove the affect of a threat.
[Ms. Escobar] Got ya. Okay. My follow up question to that is, you know obviously we do want to consider the threats, but also the opportunities.
[Mr. Beehler] Yes.
And Fort Bliss has, for some time, was being very thoughtful about the opportunities around solar, and it seems to me that all of our western and southwestern installations have that same opportunity. And I’m wondering how the plan seizes on the opportunity for solar as a major opportunity for renewable and sustainable energy?
Well certainly, as I think we mentioned before, the goal of these plans is for each installation to have the necessary access to energy to carry out critical missions. However, best means that makes sense, given the specific installations. So I think generally, solar is always part of the consideration as long as it can be effectively both cost effective and logistically applied and included. Obviously I don’t know about this specific case of the Fort Bliss plan. That’s obviously under development, but that’s something that I’m happy to look into and get back to you with what they’re thinking is as it develops. And happy to give a brief.
I appreciate that. I really do believe, especially hearing in this hearing alone, listening to concerns about the grid and our vulnerabilities with regard to the grid, that we should be showing far more leadership in saying we are going to draft a plan that leads the way, leads the country in sustainability and that takes some of those critical threats away because we are leading on that front. So, that would be my hope.
[Ms. Escobar] Thank you.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you Ms. Escobar. Mr. Waltz is now recognized, five minutes.
[Mr. Waltz] Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to our Ranking Members, as this is I think a fantastic hearing and topic. You know I have a little bit of skin in this game on the tactical side. I can’t tell you how many soldiers are no longer with us because of their supply lines being attacked carting fuel out to remote outposts. That, frankly, could have had some panels and a turbine and been much more self sufficient. Then you magnify that from the tactical to the global and the strategic in terms of our supply lines that our fantastic Navy seeks to supply. So, could you talk to me for a moment about what we’re doing on the tactial sustainability side, particularly for our special operations forces who, as you know, are in anywhere from 60 to 70 countries as we speak today, and allowing them to have portable and tactical sustainment systems.
This is a tough issue because everything that we’ve looked at in the post I know in both the Marine Corps and Special Operation Forces and Army Forces in the past have looked at what tactical generation can do for us. And any form of tactical generation creates pros and cons. I mean, there’s a lot of folks that are concerned that by setting up those solar panels in a remote area, they’re easily spotted and they’re easily taken out. So the goal here, and this goes right to the heart of the national defense strategies, how do you provide agile logistics in a contested environment? And I got to tell you, our adversaries know that that’s probably our weak spot, How do we power the next generation of equipment? It’s not what we just have today, Congressman. It’s what we’re looking at, you know, autonomous vehicles, robotics, rector energy programs. What we’re going to need in the next ten years is more energy on the battlefield. That’s something that in our research and development, we are taking a hard look at what batteries we can use, what can be done for next generations of tactical energy sources that doesn’t rely on fuel supplies. It’s something we are working very hard on across the Department of Defense.
[Mr. Waltz] Thank you, and please, Mr. McMahon.
Congressman, what I would add to that again at the tactical level, but a very strategic concept is this idea Mr. Niemeyer talked a little bit about small modular reactors. There’s also an effort within our research and engineering concepts under Dr. Griffin to be able to look at the micro capability. Is there something we can actually put in the back of a ton and a half truck that could take forward that would give us, for an operating base as an example, the ability to operate with a micro nuclear reactor.
[Mr. Waltz] What do you need from the SEPS Committee to move those concepts forward?
[Mr. McMahon] They’re moving forward today. Quite frankly, many of the challenges that we faced are working through some of the regulatory issues. It’s a science issue on the micro that we’re still trying to work through. But at least at the small nuclear reactor capability, I think we’re moving forward, it’s just working through the regulatory process that’s necessary to get to where we need to be.
[Mr. Waltz] Okay. Thank you for that. And just shifting back to the basing issues. Resiliency is something Florida takes very seriously. Obviously, we have to deal with it every year with storms, with flooding. There are areas of Florida now that are flooding on a sunny day. The sea level is rising and we have to deal with it. We need to move beyond that debate. In fact, the governor of Florida, my predecessor in this seat just named a Chief Resiliency Officer to pull together our statewide strategy. We have a Florida Defense Task Force that’s very focused on these issues. On the Navy side, Secretary Niemeyer, the engineering command issued what I think is a detailed and a comprehensive handbook for installation commanders: Climate Change, Installation Adaption, and Resilience. What step are you taking to ensure installation commanders are actually implementing the recommendations in this handbook and their installation master plans? And then also coordinating? Because this is a broader issue. This is wetlands, this is offshore, this is sea walls, it’s a huge issue that I’m trying to deal with the Corps of Engineers as well for properties. How are you integrating locally and how are you ensuring each installation commander implements those plans?
I mean it is something we’re working on today with the southeast region. The goal here is to allow the essential commander the range of resources and to include that pamphlet and that guidance, in addition to other guidance, and look at the most critical assets on that installation. What really delivers that projection of that power for the naval base? And use the guidance we’ve given them to direct resources towards making sure that that particular asset has an amiss assurance from a full range of threats. So it is really…
[Mr. Waltz] Are you confident they’re doing it?
[Mr. Niemeyer] Yes I am. In their caption and installation master plans.
Great, thank you so much. I yield my time.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you very much Mr. Waltz. Ms. Haaland is now recognized for five minutes.
[Ms. Haaland] Thank you, Chairman. And thank you to our witnesses for coming here today to discuss this important issue important to national security. I’m glad to see that our national security infrastructure is investing in innovations in resiliency and renewable energy. In my own district, Sandia National Laboratories and Ameritechnologies are working through a cooperative research and development agreement, ACREDA, on micro grids that locally manage energy storage and resources, such as solar, wind, and thermal systems. Chairman Adam Smith and I recently visited the pilot project at Kirtland Air Force Base where they’ll be testing innovations and distributed generation to make units more resilient to weather physical and cyber attacks. If one unit goes out, the others could operate independently. If successful, this system could provide highly reliable and renewable power supply. And I’ll just add that in New Mexico, we have over 300 days of sun per year, so it makes sense to try it there. This is an excellent example of how our national labs support innovation and resiliency and renewal energy research development. So, Assistant Secretary McMahon, can you describe the DOD’s plan to increase research development test and evaluation in energy storage, micro grid, and energy resiliency? And does the DOD intend to further expand The Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program?
First of all Congresswoman, we would like to say thank you to the Congress for the support that we have had. Tremendous amount of our innovation, imagination, research and development comes from the funding that you all have provided us. One of the conversations, as I saw Congresswoman Slotkin come in, talk about PFOS PFOA. A lot of our effort in that area, as well as coming out of those R&D. So the question becomes do we have the right funding? The answer is we do. We’ve continued to leverage that for a variety of different innovative areas. You’ve already covered a couple of those, but what we’re doing today gets us to where we need to be. And if additional funding is made available, though I think we have sufficient funding today, we’ll continue to apply it in innovative ways.
[Ms. Haaland] Excellent. And again, Assistant Secretary McMahon, can you share your thoughts on how best we can expand the role of our national labs and public private partnerships, like CREDA’s, in support of DOD’s resiliency efforts?
Congresswoman, we talked earlier about the level of experience and knowledge that we have. Clearly our labs are national treasures. And we continue to leverage those to the best of our ability in terms of research and development. At the same time, many of our universities across the nation are equally as successful. And so it’s a matter of simply ensuring that we’re leveraging all of our sources, both our labs and our universities, for the innovative ideas that we need. But clearly, I think a part of what has made us as successful as we’ve been are our labs and the innovation that we see coming out of that.
[Ms. Haaland] Thank you so much. Assistant Secretary Henderson, you mentioned that the Air Force is taking the necessary steps to build resilient installations that are ready to withstand and recover from man made and natural events. Do micro grids and distributed generation factor into the Air Force’s approach to resiliency?
Yes, Congresswoman. Absolutely. We’re doing installation energy and water development plans on each of our installations in conjunction with the mast plans that we’re doing. And then we’re funding any vulnerabilities and gaps in that regard in a priority basis through an investment strategy that we have across the enterprise.
Excellent. Thank you. One more minute. And back to you, Assistant Secretary McMahon. The annual Energy Management and Resilience Report for fiscal year 2018 show that the DOD is falling short of its goal to consume 7.5% of its energy from renewable sources. What challenges is the DOD facing in attaining this goal, and what does the DOD need to achieve the goal?
Congresswoman, what I would offer to you is that we continue to focus. We’re agnostic on the type of renewable that we’re talking about. But I would share with you that evolution over the last couple of years as we’ve looked at the national defense strategy and we’ve begun to consider what occurs in great power competition. And the focus less on renewables as an end in itself, rather becoming a means to an end. And the means to an end is creating that resilience. So we’re applying renewables where it makes logical sense to give us that kind of resilience that we need rather than simply generating renewables for the sake of doing renewables.
Thank you so much. I yield, Chairman.
[Chairman Langevin] Okay, thank you Ms. Haaland. And Mr. Banks now recognized for five minutes.
[Mr. Banks] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Recently we had Mr. Wilson, the DAJD for cyber policy representatives throughout the inner agency, testify before this subcommittee regarding internet security. During that haring, I highlighted the fact that in DOD’s 2019 digital modernization strategy, it states that the DOD utilizes 10,000 operational IT systems. The amount of access points provides enormous vulnerabilities as the DOD moves forward and toward an increasingly internet integrated war fighting posture. Mr. McMahon, what role do you play in the oversight of physical internet and network security?
[Mr. McMahon] Congressman, thank you for the question. What I would tell you, I’m one of those that lies awake at night as we look forward to the future and see 5G come forward, the threat that it provides to our already capable system and the fact that more and more systems will be utilizing 5G in the future. Where those systems come from in the infrastructure challenges that we face in terms of espionage, not knowing the source of that 5G capability, and being able to ensure that it’s secure. More and more data will be utilized. And so the question becomes how do we ensure that the infrastructure in conjunction with the CIO in conjunction with our new…
[Mr. Banks] Help me out real quick and tell me the specific role that you play organizationally.
From my perspective, what I worry about most of all is with installation industrial control systems as it plays directly and that conjunctionally as we put infrastructure capability in place. Our Com CIO looks at the specifics of that security.
[Mr. Banks] The witnesses then were not able to tell me that the DOD has a complete inventory of all the items that can access the network in that particular hearing. But in your testimony, you said that your office is developing the framework for identifying the required resources for inventorying, assessing, mitigating, and sustaining facility related control systems. So to your knowledge, is there any source that could show internet dependent resources on military installations?
[Mr. McMahon] Holistically, I am not aware of that Congressman.
[Mr. Banks] Okay. DOD CIO Dana Deasy recently said in an interview, quote, “The department will need to do some work to help “industry better understand the things that it needs “to meet the new challenges in cyber.” End quote. Mr. McMahon, how does DOD improved communications with industry in setting clear cyber security expectations?
As I mentioned earlier, Congressman, the other Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment has put in place a cyber czar, Ms. Katie Arrington, whose responsibility is to look across the acquisition community as well as the sustainment community, looking at all elements of this to include in conjunction with the CIO, looking at how we’re doing business with the acquisition systems, through the supply chain, to ensure that there’s security there. It becomes the first step in getting us to where we need to be in creating, for example, a CMMI like system and capability that all of our suppliers and contractors would have to be able to achieve to ensure a level of security we do not have today.
What role do cyber training ranges like Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana play for advancing cyber readiness on the battlefield in all U.S. bases?
Clearly, Congressman, that all of our cyber ranges provide an opportunity to further educate and train our cyber warriors and make awareness out there, though I don’t think we’re at the point that we’re fully utilizing them, because this is a learning business, if you will, to understand where we are. There are those that are probably much more expert in describing to you how best to utilize those cyber ranges, acknowledging that we see them as critical to the way forward.
Got it. One of the goals from the 2018 DOD Cyber Strategy is to increase cyber security accountability. Specifically, the strategy stated, “Reducing the “department’s attack surface requires an increase “in cyber security awareness and accountability “across the department. “We will hold DOD personnel and our private sector partners “accountable for their cyber security practices “and choices.” End quote. Last question, what kinds of cyber security accountability changes have been made since the release of that strategy?
What I would tell you is we’re in the midst right now, as I just described, a CMMI like capability where our OEM’s, Original Equipment Manufacturers or sources of supply, have to be able to put in place the capabilities to attest that they have control over their supply chains. Not on the first tier, second tier, third tier, but down as far as they go. Something that I think is a new experience for all of us as we get to that level of understanding, to be able to understand the lineage of all the parts that we have within our weapons systems, as well as in our infrastructure.
[Mr. Banks] Thank you very much. With that, my time is expired.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you Mr. Banks. Ms. Small is recognized, five minutes.
[Ms. Small] Thank you all for your work creating resiliency for our military installations. I have the honor of representing New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes White Sands Missile Range. Geographically, it is the largest range in the United States and it is located in the middle of a desert. It is fundamental to our testing mission, and it has some of the most cutting-edge technological design, research, and testing. But it hasn’t had a military construction investment since the 1970s. So a key example of the needs that we have is the information systems facility, which was built in 1962. The facility serves as a gateway for all of our communications and data to the outside world and houses critical equipment providing support for administrative commands and control and testing end evaluation users. The facility is relied upon to provide critical support for modern missile testing, ranging from the standard missile two and the patriot missile system three to next generation weapons systems. But, the facility is 57 years old. So, Assistant Secretary Beehler, would you agree that in the area of big data and technology a modern information facility is critical for transmitting the vast amounts of data generated during military testing?
Yes, I would agree.
Thank you. And can you please speak to how conducting operations in a 57-year-old facility could stunt the efforts for maximizing installation resiliency?
I’m sorry about that. I would be happy to take that for the record and provide greater detail and also come back with a briefing on that.
Thank you very much. But in shortly, and it generally does impact our cyber security?
[Mr. Beehler] Yes.
Thank you. I want to pick up where my colleagues, Congressman Scott and Congresswoman Escobar, we’re talking about water because it is a deep need. And as you mentioned, Assistant Secretary Beehler, it’s a challenge that many military installations are facing. In fact, I believe it’s over half of our military installations that face either current or future drought vulnerability. And so I wanted to just talk more about the work that’s being done for the energy and water plans. You mentioned that all of the installations are putting those together now. Do you know if they are assessing the resources that are available, including the quality and quantity of water in nearby aquifers?
It’s certainly my understanding that they would take that into account because they’re thrust is access to quality water. So they obviously are going to have to look at the sources from which this water is coming for their use in installations. Once again, the plans for the first traunch have not yet been completed. When they are, and particularly relevant to the geographical area in which you are interested, be happy to provide that further information, come in with a briefing.
That’s great. That’s fantastic. Because it really is important as we assess what we have available, that we’re looking at all of the aquifers and what might be available, especially if we’re able to do more desalination plants to clean up some of the brackish water, as we’ve seen be so successful in Fort Bliss.
[Mr. Beelher] Absolutely.
And actually, so shifting to Mr. Neimeyer, I know that there’s an energy savings performance contract and it has been used for water conservation, specifically within the Navy. So I’d love if you could speak briefly on that and if there’s any efforts to scale that to other military installations.
Sure. So yeah, we were able to successfully find savings that allowed us to do some water system upgrades. I do believe that we can get to water conservation and aquifer management. We could take regional approaches. I think we need to work collectively with our sister services to see how a series of bases could work regionally to do a common aquifer management plan. That’s something that we’ve been working on for a couple of years. I think there are opportunities around the country. And also, we need to, other services also used the privatization of water systems as another way, probably for us the most significant way, to conserve water over time. And to have our partners. We do have prioritization work with those regional water authorities. So the goal here it to use a whole range of authorities. Yes, I’m proud of the SPC, but that’s just one step we have on how we can get much more collaborative with industry and regions on addressing common aquifer management.
Great. Thank you, and I yield back the rest of my time.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you Ms. Torres Small. Ms. Slotkin’s now recognized for five minutes.
[Ms. Slotkin] Great. Thank you, gentleman for being here. Assistant Secretary McMahon, thank you especially to you and your team for coming to my office and wearing your PFOS task force hat, coming in an briefing us. I sent you a follow up letter on October 7th, but just since I have you on the record here, I was just home in my district and I can’t express enough to all of you how important the issue of PFOS around our military bases is to my constituents and the feeling like the defense department is dragging their feet on this issue. I know when we talked you still had concerns, but for the record, are we still at loggerheads when it comes to the issue of transitioning off PFAS firefighting foam by 2025?
Congresswoman, first thanks for the opportunity to talk about PFOS PFOA. When I talk about the task force, I do it in conjunction with the three gentlemen sitting here. It’s a weekly day. We spent an hour and a half today talking about what it is that we do. As I laid out, since you gave me this opportunity, we’re concerned about three things. One, how do we mitigate what we’re doing today? How do we ensure that we understand the health of the individuals that may have been affected by this? And then finally, how do we clean up the messes that are out there today that we go through? Again, this is a national issue, it’s just not a DOD issue. You understand that clearly.
[Ms. Slotkin] Yep.
Without any military installations in your district, yet it’s a big issue. So we have got to deal with this as a national issue. With regards to your specific question, we continue to work aggressively to try to find an AFFF version that is fluorine free. On the I think it’s the 14th of November, in conjunction with my partners, we’ll hold a summit to go through all of the work that’s being done to understand where we are with the process, what work’s being done today, and whether or not we can make that kind of date. I don’t want to commit to you today that I can because I don’t know where we are with the work that’s being done with the research and development. If we aren’t able to do it, it’s certainly not due to a lack of effort, though.
I appreciate that. My understanding is that some of the military’s in Europe have done some good work researching alternatives, and would just urge a real push on this. The other thing, if I could have all four of you on the record, since you’re all kind of in this together, I know that what I had understood is that the military was no longer using PFOS foam during exercises. That of course if we had an emergency, we’re reliant on what we have now. But there’s no needed in places like Camp Grayling in Michigan, Selfridge Air Force Base, in order to use those in exercises. Can you just confirm for me, ’cause I’ve heard conflicting responses on this, from rank and file folks who are saying that it’s still being used. Can I just get a yes or no from all four of you. Is PFOS firefighting foam being used in exercises by your respective branches and by the military?
I’ll let the services answer and then give you an OSD answer.
Army, the answer is no. They’re not.
For the Air Force, the policy is no. I heard the same things that you are, and we’re following up to make sure that everybody hears that loud and clear.
[Ms. Slotkin] Okay.
For the Department of Navy, land base exercises, absolutely not. I have to separate ships.
[Ms. Slotkin] Yes, and we know that on ships we have a special case. We want to make sure if there’s a fire on a ship, we have everything that we need.
Categorically, our goal is to make sure that the only time it’s used is in an actual emergency and that it’s treated as a spill and cleaned up appropriately, which ought to dramatically reduce any additional exposures until we find that replacement.
[Ms. Slotkin] And I would just ask now that we have you guys officially on record that you do everything you can to try and make sure that we’re adhering to that policy way down the chain. Lastly, as I wrote to you, I’ve had a lot of firefighters, including federal firefighters, come and visit me. And they were concerned that there’s no representation that I know of on your PFOS task force of federal firefighters. And I thought that was kind of an easy ask and kind of a no duh, that the folks who are using this foam most frequently be represented on the task force. Can I get your thoughts on that?
What I would offer is that our medical folks play an integral role. The firefighters work for the gentleman sitting to my left, and so that representation is there. Clearly, our attempt is to be as transparent as possible. So in our minds, up to this point, that representation was taking place through the individuals immediately to my left.
[Mr. Niemeyer] I would also add that since the Navy’s the lead for coming up with a mil spec that’s going to be an alternative for AFFF, we are reaching out to the military firefighting community to see what’s out there, not just what they know, but what they know in sharing with our federal firefighters and also our private firefighters. So I would suggest yes, they do need a voice. They are represented. They do come through my representatives into the task force meetings weekly to present their concern. For instance, we do have a concern about meeting that deadline by 2025. We have a lot of equipment we’re going to need to replace. It’s a lot of money. We’re talking hundreds of millions, maybe 15 to 20 years to get this done to truly get to the point the committee wants where we’re not using AFFF, even in residual levels. So those are the types of issues that yes, our firefighters are clearly passing up to the task force when we’re addressing.
I would just say that some of the dissenting voices on how The Pentagon is doing have come from federal firefighters. So, the idea of just going that extra step and putting one on the task force, I understand you’re hearing them. Just as a former Pentagon official, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze to leave them off. But, thank you gentlemen. I think my time is expired, so thanks very much.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you, Ms. Slotkin. And since there’s so few of us, we’re going to do a brief second round, so if you want to stick around and you have additional questions, you’re welcome to ask additional questions. Secretary Henderson, several years ago the Air Force had request considerable additional funds to address structural damage to facilities at Eielson Air Force Base resulting from melting permafrost. Last year, Congress directed a detailed assessment of the risks from melting permafrost installations in Alaska, Greenland, and northern Europe. Since many of those are Air Force installations, has the Air Force completed those assessments?
So I think we’re still working on them. What I would like to do is take that for the record, make sure I give you a detailed response of what the status of those assessments are and where we’re at. I know we’ve done a lot of work in correcting the problems caused by melting permafrost by shoreline erosion also in Alaska, and then the permafrost issues that we’re seeing at Thule Greenland. In Eielson, for instance, we happened to modify the design of some of our structures there to use deep pile designs so we can get down and have the support for those facilities against the bedrock. In Thule Alaska, we’re actually going the other way and putting piping systems to keep the ground frozen underneath there so the ground remains stable. And then with the eroding shoreline in northern Alaska for our radar sites and stuff, we’re trying to find better predictive models to incorporate what is a better characterization of the changing climate and a number of other factors that’s affecting the shoreline erosion there so we can put together a mitigation strategy for that. I owe you an answer back on what the status of that assessment and that document is, though.
Fair enough. I look forward to that file for that assessment. I’ll yield Mr. Garamendi.
[Mr. Garamendi] I got you guys now. First of all, as I said earlier, your papers taken together really cover the entire array of challenges and most of the solutions that are out there. And I’m really quite serious about you reading each other’s papers and circling those things that you’re not doing that you might very well be doing. In mention by two of you, three of you, the Army Corps of Engineers Assessment Program. Could you send some detail to the committee on what that is?
[Mr. McMahon] Let me take that for record, Mr. Chairman, and provide that to you.
[Mr. Garamendi] If you would, please. Also, as we have discussed before, I think almost individually, well not quite individually with all of you, the reconstruction plans for the bases that have been decimated: Tyndall, Lejune, China Lake, Offut. Those plans are in process as I understand, they are not yet complete. There’s a significant pile of money that has been and will be appropriated ahead of the plans, that is the completion of the plans. I want to, I’ll say it very clearly. That money must be spent in a manner that maximizes the resiliency of that base, whichever it happens to be. And the standards that to be applied must be the strongest of standards available in the world, not just in the States. Earthquakes specifically and flood standards and so forth. So we’ll see those detailed plans as they are completed, but I know the money is already out there in some of the cases. And so, be aware. You don’t want to have to come and explain why you didn’t build to the maximum standard, do you? No you don’t. No you don’t. And so, please keep that in mind as you go about your work on rebuilding. I do have some specific concerns. Some of this has been shared with actually a fellow behind you. There he is. So please pay attention to that. Also, Mr. Waltz raised a point that we’re going to take up going into the future. And that is, it’s not just the facility, it is the equipment and particularly, the transportation equipment that is used on the bases. Part of what is in the NDAA and will be even stronger in the future is energy conservation. For the Navy, I want to know why you’ve only built one destroyer with a hybrid system? Why you are not building multiple destroyers and other facilities? You got an answer for that already, Mr. Niemeyer?
[Mr. Niemeyer] No, I was going to take that for the record.
Take it for the record. I’ll tell you why. There was insufficient energy generated for both the hybrid system and the electronic warfare systems. And when I ask, “Well how do you solve that?”, the answer was, “Well we don’t do hybrid.” And I’m going, why don’t you get a bigger generator? And you’ll tell me why, Mr. Niemeyer, you’re not getting a bigger generator for the ships?
[Mr. Niemeyer] I do know that that’s been a lot of time with my colleagues over in the acquisition world of the Navy trying to determine what’s the ideal configuration on a ship. As you know, we’re adding a lot of new weapon systems that are all energy draws. We’re looking at potentially putting direct energy programs on our ships. Huge energy draw. So we have to manage that on a ship.
[Mr. Garamendi] Yep. That’s true. And the biggest energy draw of all this to move the ship, okay? So the answer was not satisfactory. Send that back. We’re going to miss you, Mr. McMahon. You’ve been very good to work with. We really appreciate your work on issues. I’m not so sure you’re going to be around for our next family housing issue. You jumped on that, I think you jumped on the gentlemen at the table with you, and we’ll see how well everybody is doing. We’re going to come back in December, and we’ll review the family housing and go at that again. And look for progress along the way.
[Mr. McMahon] Yes sir.
One of the things that both Jim and I intend to do, and that is we’re not going to forget what we asked you to do last year. And so, we’ll be following up as best we can, and I’m sure you will too. I think Jim, I could probably go on for hours here, but I’m actually going to get an answer on that destroyer at five o’clock. Thank you so very much, gentlemen. Thank you. Jim.
[Chairman Langevin] Thank you John. So, Mr. McMahon, just to follow up on Mr. Kim’s question earlier, the concept of resilience in the context of logistics, sustainment, and reconstitution, is critical to joint force operations. Has this concept been included in any of the joint staff globally integrated exercises?
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the question. As we talk about what do we include in the exercises, we have just completed an energy war game with the INDOPACOM staff, focused specifically on fuel for the INDOPACOM theater. It was the first time we’ve done something along those lines to look at holistically what that impact is, where our shortfalls were, not only in our planning, but in the execution. And so was it a baby step? The answer is yes. Did we learn how we need to expand that? But, the thought that energy is an integral part of our planning purposes, and more importantly, our table top exercises, we underscored that point and we’re going to apply that in the next series of exercises that we do with the joint staff.
I hope we’ll see that expand and broaden to look at other aspect of sustainment and reconstitution. I think that’s critically important.
We’re tremendously proud of what we did there, Mr. Chairman. And although it was a baby step, the fact that we’ve got that as part of the conversation in applying it to the operational community, in particular the INDOPACOM theater and the challenges there, this was tremendously important for us.
Can you, and one other thing. Tim, did you have something specifically?
[Tim] Go ahead, finish, and I do have one more.
So can you please specify this on cyber related responsibilities of individual installations via service or department, department level organizations and components. For example, the Air Force is creating a mission defense teams built for cyber of installations teams that exist outside the cyber mission force. Lieutenants, do you want to start?
What I would tell you is, Mr. Chairman, that I think we are in the early stages of understanding holistically to look at installations from a cyber perspective. I think there’s multiple owners, whether it’s the CIO, whether it’s us when we get into the specifics of industrial controls, whether we look at the supply chain and the elements of that from an acquisition process. I think on a daily basis, we continue to learn, and I continue to underscore the fact that Secretary Lord has identified a cyber czar exactly for the purpose of providing greater clarity of how we move forward with this. I’m not sure if that scratched your itch here, but, I mean part of this is quite frankly, we’re still getting our arms around the whole discussion. We can put glossy words on it, but we’re still trying to figure it out.
[Chairman Langevin] Well this is something else we’re going to be following up on. Anything else you want to add?
Mr. Chairman. One further issue we haven’t had a chance to talk much today, and that’s the development of a national small cell infrastructure, 5G technology. We are being very aggressive in providing information to the installation commanders, and ultimately how do we both advocate for and receive applications from internet providers who want to install 5G infrastructure on our bases? It’s going to be much more extensive than what we have for 4G. And we have for many guys, making sure that equipment is secure. It is not necessarily foreign manufactured, but allows us the resiliency we need for future data management.
[Chairman Langevin] Well, that’s a good segway into my final question. Do you have something to add Secretary Henderson?
[Mr. Henderson] I was just going to say with regard the mission support teams. From the Air Force perspective, that’s one of a number of holistic initiatives we’re taking to look at our missions to include threats for mission assurance, all the way down to the cyber ties down to each device that’s connected. From our perspective, from an installations perspective, we’re really focused on the installation control systems. And like Mr. Niemeyer had mentioned what the Navy had done earlier, as part of that to protect the installation, protect the network from some of the instauration control vulnerabilities. We’ve installed 56 base level network enclaves to logically segment the control systems from the business network to mitigate those risks. So that mission defense team is one of a number of initiatives the Air Force is doing. But that’s kind of the one that falls in our installations portfolio so to speak.
[Chairman Langevin] Well we’re going to be following up on that too and see where that expands to and how it unfolds. I think it’s important to consider those issues. Last thing I had, then I’m going to turn to Mr. Garamendi for final question. China appears, and this going back to the 5G, appears far ahead of us, the U.S., in its development and appointment of 5G. Reuters reported just yesterday that, “mobile operators in Europe are queuing up to buy “woway gear for their next generation 5G networks. “Despite U.S. concerns that woway equipment “contains back doors open cyber spies.” Quote. That’s end quote If local power and telecom companies in Europe employ Chinese 5G networks, how well would the U.S. military be equipped to protect its installations across Europe? And how resilient is our IT infrastructure?
Do you want to? We just spent about four hours on that particular answer. Let me try to give you an unclassified basic view. So we are working on innovative technologies that would allow us to distribute our own 5G network separate from what we might have to rely on in a host nation. Domestically, we need to start working with states to ensure that the concerns that we have with security 5G network is passed on to the state and community permittings process so that way we don’t have states inadvertently installing or permitting or allowing a system to be installed that’s going to create a resiliency or threat concern for the Department of Defense. So it’s a combination of the base of the future, whether domestic or overseas, needing that secure 5G network. We are working on ways overseas to not have to rely on the host nation 5G network, but installing one of our own that we can be much more secure.
[Chairman Langevin] Yeah, good.
[Mr. McMahon] Mr. Chairman what I would only add to that is I think all of us in the Department of Defense are gravely concerned about our international partners where there is a 5G system put in. What to vulnerabilities of that are, what the capability for espionage might be, and all the elements associated with that I think are front and center in our minds. I would defer to some of our experts to give you more detail probably in a classified setting. But from our perspective, from an installation perspective, the reliance, for an example, on energy from a local industry provider in a foreign country. I think there’s some concern about that.
[Chairman Langevin] I’m glad we’re not going into it with our blinders on, so we need to continue to follow this topic as well. With that, I’m going to yield to Mr. Garamendi for the last round of questions and then we are going to conclude.
[Mr. Garamendi] Mr. Chairman, we need to have a classified hearing, not only with our committee, but also with the Energy and Commerce Committee on this issue of 5G. Not enough time to go into it, and probably not the right place to go into it, but we’re headed for a very serious problem here. So, we’ll see if we can get that together right away. Some of that is also in the NDAA now in a rather controversial way. Let me see, we have three and a half billion dollars of military construction projects that are delayed, defunded. So I want the four of you, and I think we’ve got the Marine Corps behind you, to tell us within the next two weeks what you intend to do with those projects that are defunded. Okay? It is a serious problem. I have spent a week in Europe on this, and the problem is of paramount importance there. Mr. Putin could not have had a greater gift than the message that the President delivered that we really don’t care about European deterrence initiative. So there are projects there. I appreciate the Army particularly coming forward with specific information, also the Air Force, about projects that are defunded, the importance of them. But it’s much more than that, so we don’t need to worry about those that I did have the opportunity to see last week. But the rest of them. So, you’re going to have to restack, and we’re going to spend a lot of time on this restacking. So, get prepared. The other thing is, I think I better let it go at that point. It may get me started on something that’ll get ugly real fast. So thank you very much gentlemen. Jim, thank you for the opportunity for additional questions. I’ll look forward to that week and a half information. Thank you very much.
[Chairman Langevin] Very good. Thank you, John. I just might thank Jim Garamendi and Rank Member Stefanick and Rank Member Lamborn, members of the committee, both committees for this joint hearing and for our witness’s testimony. I know there was some follow up that you’ll to do with us. Get back to me in terms of questions we’ve asked. I look forward to those answers, and members may have additional questions that they’ll submit. We’d ask that you’d respond to those as efficiently as possible. But want to thank you all for the work you’re doing on behalf of the country. This is an important hearing, a good hearing, and a lot of important information will be able to come. So, with that, this subcommittee stands adjourned. (talking softly)