Lt. Gen. Duane A. Gamble, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for logistics; Lt. Gen. Donald E. Kirkland; commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center; Vice Adm. Thomas J. Moore, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command; Vice Adm. G. Dean Peters, commander of Naval Air Systems Command; and Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Shrader, commander of Marine Corps Logistics Command, testify at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness subcommittee on the Department of Defense Organic Industrial Base, November 21, 2019.
A base comprised of depots, arsenals and shipyards is a critical part of our national security apparatus. Its mission is to maintain, reset and repair the platforms, equipment and supplies of our armed forces. The organic industrial base must be postured to support peacetime requirements while also being agile enough to respond during a mobilization, a contingency or an emergency. Both of these requirements are at the crux of readiness and therefore requiring the oversight of this subcommittee. As the Department of Defense acquires new planes, ships and vehicles and weapons systems and implements the national defense strategies, it cannot ignore the operation and support portion of the acquisition cycle and must plan strategically for the future. This subcommittee is interested in hearing from our witnesses how the services plan to modernize the organic industrial base to ensure that it will continue to be postured to maintain these modernized systems. It’s not particularly useful to go buy new stuff and forget to maintain it into the future. If the organic industrial base cannot quickly repair weapons systems as they require maintenance, then we are doing a disservice to ourselves and to this nation. Furthermore, as we find new platforms and field new platforms, insufficient planning for operation maintenance and repair of these platforms is completely unacceptable. Regarding our organic industrial base infrastructure, it is widely known that the facilities and the equipment in the industrial base is aging and in certain locations is in poor or failing conditions. This situation does not help the maintainers if they’re required to work in a dilapidated building with equipment made many decades ago. With that in mind, we must have a plan to prioritize the facilities, the sustainment, restoration and modernization accounts that support the organic industrial base and be sure that we’ll be watching for that and for those accounts. To that end, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses on their plans to modernize the infrastructure, the capital equipment of the shipyards, the arsenals and the depots. In addition to the facilities and equipment, we cannot and will not ignore the essential organic industrial base workforce. The federal civil servants working at these locations across the globe provide unique skill sets that we cannot afford to lose. Their mission is essential, and we must make sure that we can hire and train the next generation in a timely fashion and give them the protection and rights they deserve for their loyalty to this country. While depo, arsenal and shipyard hiring managers have the ability to hire different types of employees, whether it be term, temporary or full-time federal employees or contractors, we must continue our oversight of this workforce to make sure people are being utilized and employed appropriately. In addition, we need to ensure that the departments, senior leaders, those of you at the table have the tools and authorities they need in order to compete with the private sector to recruit, train, retain a motivated and skilled workforce. We, this committee will continue to focus on readiness and invest into the organic industrial base as it is a key contributor to military readiness. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses here today on the challenges they experience in their organic industrial base and their lines of effort to address these challenges and ensure that the organic industrial base is postured to support the national defense strategy and military requirements well into the 21st century. Gentlemen, we look forward to your testimony, but first Mr. Lambourne the ranking member.
Thank you, Chairman Garamendi. I would like to thank each of our witnesses for your testimony today. The depots within our military services are essential for maintaining the complex ships, aircraft, and land systems that form the building blocks of our joint force. It is not enough for our depots to meet today’s requirements. We must also posture them to remain relevant for future demand. This raises a major concern about the state of our aging infrastructure and an April, 2019 report, the GAO found that although most depo facilities are rated poor on the DOD rating scale, the military services do not consistently track when facilities and equipment conditions lead to maintenance delays. GAO also found that the trend for facility condition is downward. As the cost and complexities of major defense systems continue to evolve, we have to build capacity to support these systems. At the same time, we will continue to rely on many legacy platforms to serve well past their intended life cycles. The B52 strata fortress for example, first flew in 1954 and is now estimated to fly into the 2040s. The M1 Abrams, although significantly upgraded, was designed in the 70s and first fielded in the 80s. The Navy has an ambitious 20-year $21 billion shipyard infrastructure optimization plan and has started the process to map existing facilities to aid in design. In a recent hearing with Secretary Gertz and Vice Admiral Moore, we discussed the need for the Navy to resource this plan. We also discussed NAF C’s efforts in partnership with the fleet commanders to level load the private shipyards and send a predictable demand signal to industry. The army has invested more than one billion dollars over the past 10 years to upgrade its depot facilities and the estimates it will cost another $8.3 billion in military construction and modernization funds to fully recapitalize. These longterm plans require senior leader commitment and sustained resources to reach fruition. The Air Force, Marine Corps and NAVAIR also have longterm plans in various stages of maturity. I look forward to learning more detail about the investments required to support these efforts. For the army, I look forward to a detailed discussion about the size and breakdown of the depot requirement. The committee needs better clarity if we are going to support our war fighters. The army has nearly double the carryover work that is funded but not finished compared to the next highest service. I have some concerns but would broadly like to understand if there’s an outgrowth of budget uncertainties unrelated to process issues or caused by supply chain issues. With regards to the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, I look forward to hearing about your efforts to stand up some organic maintenance capability to support the joint strike fighter. We heard testimony last week from Secretary Loyd and Lieutenant General Fig about F35 sustainment which will cost more than one trillion dollars over its lifecycle. They informed the committee that you are implementing some work sets to support the program. I look forward to hearing about these efforts and whether you have sufficient access to intellectual property to support this work. The trained artisans in our workforce are the key to success or failure of the depot enterprise. The services have struggled to fill these positions, whether the root cause was funding uncertainty or the burdensome hiring process. My understanding is that we have made some significant progress, but I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about more that can be done. For instance, the six-month cooling off period when someone leaves the military and before they can go into certain civilian work. I think that’s something we should discuss. And I think we can address that in our next NDA. Finally, I am concerned that when we extend the life of major defense systems, we often pay premiums for old technology that is less capable, dependent on a shallow bench of suppliers, relies on obsolete manufacturing processes and is not reasonably fuel efficient. Many depots are actively involved in reverse engineering old components to address these challenges and we would appreciate our witnesses sharing their insights. These are tough problems, but in my view, they can all be addressed if we have the discipline to plan, resource and implement the solutions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I yield back.
Thank you Ranking Member Lambourne. I’d now like to welcome our witnesses. Lieutenant General Dwayne Gamble, Deputy Chief of Staff, G4 Department of Army, welcome. Vice Admiral Thomas Moore, Commander Naval C Command Department of Navy, thank you for being here. Vice Admiral, Dean Peters, Naval Air Systems Command and Lieutenant General Donald Kirkland, Commander US Air Force, Sustainment Center and Air Force Material Command and Major General Joseph Schrader, Commanding General Marine Corps Logistics Command. Welcome gentlemen. I will take your testimony. Lieutenant General Gamble if you will proceed and we’ll go down the line.
Yes sir. So good morning gentlemen. Good morning, Chairman Garamendi. Good morning Ranking Member Lambourne, other distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to testify today on the Army’s Organic Industrial Base or OIB. Our army OIB is decisive as Ranking Member Lambourne pointed out to our army strategic readiness. The material readiness it enables is critical to ensuring our army can provide the responsiveness, the depth and the capability demanded of us in the national defense strategy. Your support enables us to maintain an OIB that generates army readiness. The main elements of the OIB are three. Our skilled workforce, our facilities and infrastructure, and our resourced workload that meets the Army’s readiness requirements. The backbone of our OIB is our skilled workforce. Our ability to hire, attract and train new talent is essential to maintaining the viability and the output of our army organic industrial base. The flexibility you’ve provided us with direct hiring authority has helped us process over 3,500. The exact number is 3,560 personal actions in fiscal year 19 and a total 4,800 over 4,800 since 2017. It’s helped us reduce our hiring time from 114 days to 85 days, which allows our organic industrial base to remain competitive with our industry employers seeking the same critical skills. So, it is a competition for talent and the authorities you’ve given us has enabled us to win in that competition. Much of our organic industrial base infrastructure as already pointed out by Representative Lambourne are over 50 years old and more than half were built before 1945. In order maintain the appropriate level readiness, we developed the OIB infrastructure master plan since the last time the army testified before this committee and we’ve developed that plan to identify and more importantly, to prioritize our projects for our government-owned government-operated facilities and that plan will carry us over the next 20 years. This plan is a forward-looking and forward-thinking solution that will keep our organic industrial base, facilities and infrastructure postured and program to sustain army readiness. It is also nested with our army modernization efforts. In addition to modernizing our government-owned and government operated facilities, within the last two years, we’ve had more than doubled investment to modernize our government-owned and contractor-operated facilities. We’ve prioritized facilities that are single source suppliers like Radford army ammunition plant and Holston army ammunition plant and aligned our investment with the futures command cross functional team priorities to make sure and ensure our modernized requirements carry our army into the future. Although it will remain a priority to modernize our facilities for the future readiness today is as essential as ever. To meet our Army’s current readiness requirements, we strategically invest resources in the highest priority and focused readiness unit requirements. We work load our depots through a deliberate process that combines current material readiness, readiness assessments, near term COCOM requirements, and we resource those priorities with focus readies unit requirements in a workload that combines work for our army, work for other services, and work the support for foreign military sales. This combined workload serves to preserve the artists and skillsets that are critical and unique to the army industrial base. As we maintain current readiness and modernize for the future, we will continue to hone in on supply availability and capacity planning and implement initiatives like our OIB infrastructure master plan. Just like all our army efforts, these efforts will require continued congressional support and oversight to be successful. I thank you each of the distinguished members of the committee for holding this hearing and I look forward to our discussion.
Thank you general. Vice Admiral Moore.
Thank you to Mr. Chairman. Chairman Garamendi, Ranking Member Lambourne and other distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee today to discuss organic industrial base issues. This committee support for our organic industrial base has been critical to the Navy’s ability to turn the corner and restore readiness to our fleet. Recent on time performance trends in both the public and private sectors are improving. However, challenges remain. To address these challenges, the Navy has undertaken a multipronged approach focused on increasing accountability and improving productivity in both the public and private shipyards. In our four public yards, we are growing the capacity shipyards, to meet the workload demand, improving the training and productivity of the workforce and making the need investments in our shipyards to ensure they can support our growing needs. The Navy is focused on several key lines of effort. Growing the capacity of the ship yards to match the workload demand, improving the training of the workforce, improving the productivity of their workforce through innovation and improvements to our business processes in both planning and execution and making needed investments in our shipyards to ensure a 21st century shipyard to match our 21st century workforce. The Navy’s for public shipyards have seen a 25% increase in their plan workload since 2010. To match the growth, the Navy has increased the size of our public yards by more than 9,000 people from 27,368 in 2010 to 36,696 employees in 2018. This growth was achieved about one year ahead of schedule and is allowing us to stop the growth and the backlog of work and begin working off that backlog earlier than planned. However, the rapid growth of the workforce has resulted in a less experienced workforce where 50% have less than five years of experience. To get new hires trained more efficiently, the shipyards have transformed how they train their new employees to learning centers that use both virtual learning tools and a hands-on work. The net result of these learning centers at the shipyards have cut the time to create a productive worker from the time they are hired by more than 50% over the past four years. The Navy is now in the second year of the plan 20 year $21 billion shipyard infrastructure opposition plan that will fully transform shipyards originally designed and laid out to support building ships of sale and call into 21st century ship yards dedicated to executing complex maintenance availabilities on the Navy’s nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines. Fully, executed Seipel deliver require drastic repairs and upgrades to support both current and future classes of ships, optimize workflow within the shipyards through significant changes to the physical layout and recapitalize obsolete capital equipment with modern machines that will dramatically increase productivity and safety. The government accountability office has recently reviewed the PSI plan and identified opportunities for the Navy to enhance reliability through improve cost estimating and better defining the roles and responsibilities to the shipyards. The Navy’s taking steps to implement these recommendations, executing, modeling and simulation efforts to inform area development plans as specific shipyards and provide a more complete costimate for executing style. The committee’s continued support for sob is greatly appreciated. Mr. Chairman, the Navy fully understands that on time delivery of ships and submarines out of maintenance availabilities is a national security imperative. The department is taking a holistic approach to ensure both our public and private yards have the information, people and equipment needed to maintain the world’s greatest Navy. They will continue to work with the Congress and our industry partners to address our challenges and to efficiently maintain and modernize the Navy’s growing fleet by growing the capacity and capability of the organic industrial base. Thank you again for the opportunity to appear today and I look forward to your questions.
Thank you, Admiral. Admiral Peters.
Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Lambourne, distinguished members of the subcommittee, good morning and thank you for the opportunity to discuss Naval aviation readiness and the health of our organic industrial base. NAVAIR’s industrial workforce and infrastructure remain my top priority. Since my last testimony in June of 2018, Naval aviation has seen modest improvements in readiness through comprehensive reforms sponsored by Naval aviation’s, three stars, the AirBoss, Vice Admiral Miller, the Deputy Commandant for aviation, Lieutenant General Rudder, and myself. We report quarterly to the vice chief of Naval operations, the fleet commanders and the secretariat on our performance to plan that ensures transparency and provides an opportunity to share lessons across communities. Our improvements are indicated by multiple occurrences of 80% mission-capable rates for Hornets, super Hornets and growler aircraft and improvements across all of our platforms. For super Hornets specifically, we surged to 700 or excuse me, 372 mission-capable aircraft on 30 September after many years of averaging approximately 250 to 260 mission-capable aircraft. Our aircraft depot lines and component repair lines are now delivering more effective and reliable products with reduced turnaround times and significant improvements in quality. Instead of merely completing the minimum repair spec and pushing aircraft back to the fleet with remaining maintenance, we are now accomplishing with the fleet’s partnership, the return of fully restored aircraft ready to promptly support squadron flight schedules. Foundational changes now in place at our depots include an apprenticeship program, an enterprise quality management system, and an investment strategy that targets modernization. The next steps for Naval aviation involve expanding these reforms to all of our depot lines and to our intermediate level maintenance sites. We will also begin implementation of the infrastructure optimization plan as detailed in the interim report delivered to Congress in April of this year. Naval aviation leadership looks forward to working with this subcommittee and the larger Congress to achieve and sustain a ready and capable fleet and we very much appreciate your continued support of our sailors and marines. I look forward to your questions.
Thank you, Admiral. General Kirkland.
Good morning Chairman Garamendi, Ranking Member Lambourne, distinguished members of the subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to update you on the air forces organic industrial base. On behalf of our secretary, the honorable Barbara Barrett and our chief of staff, General David Goldfien, thank you for your continued support and demonstrate a commitment to our military and civilian airman families and veterans. As you will attest in my written statement, the United States Air Force has relied upon a strong, organic industrial base to deliver air power in support of our national defense strategy. We are proud of the capabilities our air force brings to the organic industrial base. Our logistics enterprise effectively uses existing infrastructure across our three depots and two supply chain wings to provide cost effective readiness for a range of legacy weapon systems while posturing for the future. Last month at tinker Air Force Base, we opened the first hangar of a depot campus dedicated to the KC 46 Pegasus refilling aircraft. We continued to expand F35 joint strike fighter, aircraft depot and commodities maintenance at our Ogden Air Logistics Complex and in middle Georgia our F35 avionics repair is expanding at Warner Robins. Looking ahead, our team is already making preparations for depot support to the B21 Raider and ground-based strategic deterrent. Even so, readiness and sustainment challenges driven by a legacy weapon systems are complicated by an aging infrastructure footprint. A diminishing supply manufacturing base and a federal workforce hiring process that is improving but not yet conducive to supporting today’s environment. As Riley directed by Title X US code, it is a national imperative to have a robust industrial base supporting the nation’s weapon systems without investments that assure lethality, maintain readiness, properly fund and train our personnel and deliver necessary infrastructure, we risk losing our advantage. To optimize our depot infrastructure over the coming years, our current and near-term 6% funding sources will not by themselves achieve and maintain the depot capacity and capability necessary. Last March, the air force submitted to Congress an initial report on our organic industrial base infrastructure. This study made clear that even as we smartly use current investments over the next 20 years, we would need resources above current thresholds to modernize across four major dimensions of our industrial base. As mentioned in my written statement, we have already started a second more detailed analysis of depo infrastructure and will report out in lay fiscal year 2020. As we respond to a diminishing supply and manufacturing base to support the aging fleets, we are accelerating the use of predictive analytics such as condition-based maintenance plus to minimize the time a weapon system is unavailable due to unscheduled maintenance. The air force sustainment center works closely with supportive weapons system program offices to ensure the data learned for predictive analytics are baked into supply forecasting, generating longer term efficiencies. Regarding our civilian workforce hiring and development, we greatly benefit from the hiring tools and authorities that Congress has provided. These are necessary to stay competitive with our defense industry peers. Thank you for providing these authorities and continued support of expanding their use. In FY19, we hired 74% of all hires using direct hiring authority. This is making a difference to our workforce. In every instance of crisis, the defense organic industrial base provides solutions to meet unanticipated demands. The air force will need health from Congress with continued investments to meet the needs of an increasingly sophisticated and contested battle space in the 21st century. We are making generational decisions in our depots now. The air force needs stable and predictable budgets to maintain a modernize our critical logistics and sustainment capabilities and consistent funding underwrites our mandate to produce readiness that guarantees our services ability to fly, fight and win. Thank you and I look forward to your questions.
Chairman Garamendi, Ranking Member Lambourne and distinguished members of the house, armed services subcommittee on readiness. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on this important topic. Our commandant’s vision for the Marine Corps is to be manned, trained, and equipped as the world’s premier naval expeditionary force and readiness. Forward postured with the Navy’s fleets to deter conflict and respond to crises and to be globally recognized as an elite Corp of Marines of exceptional talent. A ready and modern organic industrial base plays a key role in achieving the commandant’s vision. Accordingly, we do have a longterm organic industrial base modernization plan to repair, repurpose, consolidate and construct new facilities across our depot and tear down those facilities deemed too old and no longer relevant. We’re pursuing innovative and state of the art technologies such as robotics on our main production lines and sub shops. Also 3D printing and additive manufacturing to augment the supply chain and extend our operational reach. Marine Corps logistics base Albany in Georgia was also recently selected to be one of the first of four DOD locations to receive 5G bandwidth capability, which will enable us to employ more capable, automated and IT maintenance management solutions. And of note is our base at Albany is also pursuing an aggressive goal to become a net zero energy consumer through employing renewable and resilient technologies such as borehole thermal energy storage systems and ground source heat pumps. Finally, and most important, we’re improving our ability to recruit, train, and retain the depot’s next generation workforce. So again, I thank you for this opportunity to talk about the Marine Corps industrial base readiness and I’ll look forward to your questions.
Thank you. Gentlemen, thank you very much for your testimony. We’ll now do a round a questions. We’ll hold to the five-minute normal rule of our committee. Generals, each of you have developed a plan to address the concerns of the organic industrial base modernization of it. And presumably, that plan takes into account the new equipment that you will be receiving, for example, the army modernization program, the Navy, Air Force F35 so forth. We will be watching that very, very carefully. At the same time, you have legacy equipment, some of which has been around for more than a few decades. we can talk about the B52 and I’m sure there are plenty of track vehicles in the army that probably at the similar age. And so the fundamental question of this particular hearing is your organic industrial base plan sufficient to take care of the past older equipment, ships, aircraft as well as the future. That’s what we’re going to be looking at. And we’re gonna go at it in detail. We have received from all of you over the last several, last year your plan and you can be assured that this committee will go into it in detail. Now, let’s start with all of you and I want to just hear your commitment to the industrial base, to the plan that you have before us. And I put it very clearly in the new president’s budget. Will there be the money to support that plan? Let’s start with the Marine Corps and we’ll go right to left or left to right as we may view it. General Schrader.
Yes sir, thank you. So sir, we submitted, the Marine Corps submitted, the commandant, submitted this past July our plan for improving the organic industrial base facilities. It’s a 25-year plan. It’s a $1.9 billion price tag. It’s to be executed in three phases. We are right now executing the first phase, the first phase calls for a seven-year period and in that first seven years, we are getting after process workflows. We are also repurposing some of the facilities that we have. And we’re also doing consolidation and rebuilding. Once we get to a point where we’ve got the capacity, then we can turn to tearing down old facilities that I talked about before.
General, I’m gonna cut it short. I’m gonna try to stay to five minutes. So maybe we’ll do about one minute each and that’ll put me well past the five-minute limit.
Aye sir. So whether we’re going to fund it, sir, I think it is a risk. It’s a balancing act because we are funded. The Marine Corps allocates money across all MILCON projects. So it’s a risk equation. What I would offer, sir, last is facility modernization is a function of equipment modernization. The more money we can put into equipment modernization, the less need for us to maintain equipment longer. So if we’re not fielding new equipment, it stretches out the life cycle of that equipment. So we have to make sure that we shall find that balance. Yes sir.
Chairman Garamendi, thank you for that question. Sir, you’re aware of the report we sent up to the air force back in March, lays out notionally 26 billion investment strategy over 20 years. That is phased from the near term to, if you will catch up and then allow us to keep up while we posture for a depot infrastructure of the future. That lays out across four categories. Depot equipment technology, IT infrastructure, industrial software, facilities for overhaul and final assembly as well as repair nodes and hidden infrastructure. These are essential to our longterm viability. Meanwhile, chairman we are making the most of the infrastructure we do have with our world-class workforce. To support our operational customers, we rely a lot on our processes right now to mitigate any challenges we have with equipment or facilities. And looking ahead, sir, this year we’re gonna do a detailed analysis that will result in a more refined 20-year strategy and with an implementation plan and resulting guidance.
Excuse me general.
The specific question is we know, we’ve seen your plans. We want to know if you’re committed to carrying out that plan. In other words, will the money for the plan implementation be in the upcoming budget?
Chairman, we are using this process to inform our choices over this next planning cycle. And I would expect that this process of the air force will go through in FY 21 to inform those choices through our corporate process.
For all of you, you should be getting the gist of where I’m going. A happy talk. I want real commitment, meaning are you going to put the money and the effort into carrying out the plan? Okay? Let’s continue on. Mr. Peters. Admiral.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Yes, the Navy is committed to the aviation infrastructure optimization plan. $3.5 billion, one billion in sustainment restoration modernization funding, one billion dollars in capital equipment modernization and 1.5 billion for MILCON. I’ll speak to the commitment in terms of the first two. We are taking actions and have support from the Navy for the SRM funding and also partial funding for the equipment modernization. Some of that will come through appropriated funds. Some will come through our restructure. Thank you, sir.
Thank you. Admiral Moore.
Mr. Chairman, thank you. Yes, the Navy’s PB20 summit does support the plan. It’s a good plan. It addresses both current ships that we have and also the need to get after setting the depots up for success on the new platforms coming down the road ford class cares, Virginia class summer in Columbia. But I would know and this is not a one and done plan. We dug ourselves (mumbles) a whole over a number of years and one year is not gonna fix this. We got to stick to the plan over the next couple of years in order to be successful.
We’ll look at the budget and see if you’re actually gonna start.
Chairman of the army also committed army readiness. We recognize that legacy systems or our enduring systems as you, as you mentioned, are a part of our Army’s ability to win. The truth is that we will not modernize the entire army. We will have legacy track systems in our army for years to come. Our 20 budget includes top priorities of maintaining these enduring systems. It also includes money for industrial based modernization. Among those systems are leveraged in the uniqueness of our industrial base to convert UH-60 helicopters from Lima to Victor models for the Army National Guard. That’ll save us money in the long time. We won’t be buying new production for those systems. So we are leveraging our industrial base and resourcing our industrial base to important work for army readiness.
You’re gonna to spend 1.6 billion on depot maintenance in 2020?
Or depot maintenance budget in 20 is two billion dollars, just to north of two billion dollars. It reflects 80% of our validated depot requirement. That’s up from last year. I think we funded 78% of our requirement last year.
Thank you. Gentlemen, you should be able to by now to understand where we’re going here with this committee. We’re gonna hold you accountable to the plan. We’ll first make sure the plan achieves the goal and then we’ll make sure that you carry it out. With that I yield to Mr. Lambourne.
Well, thank you Mr. Chairman. And I want to stress that this is a bipartisan concern. I’m with the chairman 100% on making sure that we have plans and that we’re funding those plans, that it’s a high enough priority to so and if we’re not funding and making the plans and funding them properly, then it’s really obviously not a priority. I know there are many needs, many urgent needs that the big services have to deal with, but this is the future. We have to make sure that the future is taken care of. So I’ll be watching with the chairman closely to make sure that we do accomplish this. So thank you for that. And I’d like to address the army in particular now. Partly because the depot carryover numbers are so big. According to July, 2019 GAO report, the Navy Marine Corps and air force averaged less than six months of carry over worth 1.0 billion, $0.2 billion and $1.9 billion per year respectively from the period 2007 through 2018 and the army averaged $4.3 billion of carry over during the same timeframe. So what can you tell me General Gamble, about what the army is doing to address its particular depot maintenance requirements?
Yes sir. I appreciate your question. With respect to the army carry over, I think it’s important to point out that the army’s system, that our enterprise resource system is different from the other services. So the army carries with that carry over the cost of material. We don’t have the flexibility to eliminate that. We build a whole, the entire work is billed when it’s done, when it’s complete. So when there was a supply chain issue, if there’s a lot of bill of materials that encumbers our carryover. So our carryovers compared to the other services, while I won’t argue, sir, we do have a carryover problem in the army. It is a little out of, it’s a little bit of apples and oranges. It is still carry over, but I don’t know that it gives you total insight by comparing our carry over the other services. Our carry over is down this year. It is in excess of six months. GAO just reported on carry over and their determination. Frankly I agree with their determination. Any carry over calculation should inform, it should be quality I think is the words GAO use. But I think it shouldn’t be decisional information that allows us to do something about the carryover. And as you pointed out in your opening comments, carry over is a function of either the supply chain or our budget. I would add, humbly add that forecasting is part of that carry over too. So what the Army’s doing is a Genaral Perna the army material commander who commands our depots has reserved at his level, taking work late in the year, because of course if you take work late in the year, your ability to accomplish that work that OMA-funded work in the year starts to diminish. So he’s reserved that at his level and his executive deputy to the commander level and that’s making a difference. What leaders check, just like the oversight of this committee, but leaders check, people do and he’s checking. So we’ve seen carryover over come down in that regard. I will offer one last comment on carry over. I believe that the carry over calculation does not lead us to the current carryover calculation. GAO highlights this in their report. Does not lead us to decisionable information. To some degree, the carry over has been weaponized. It’s a dividing rod defined money to move to other programs. I’m not so sure that’s a good trend. I would offer that if the carry over calculation, whatever we come up with with OSD leads us to make decisions on depo capacity increasing or decreasing capacity, whether it’s workforce or infrastructure, that that would be a good use for carry over. And then my final comments are is that today, the carryover does help us bridge appropriations. Today at Anniston Army Depot, for an example in Congressman Rogers state, 89% of the work being done today at Anniston Army Depot is carry over. The remaining 11% is army working capital fund work. The amount of OMA work being done today, first quarter in army depots is very, very small because of the CR. And so units are husbanding their resources, waiting. And as the appropriation comes to fruition, that money will start infusing into the depot. But the longer that goes on, the more chances that’ll carry over into the next FY. I hope I answered your question. (mumbles)
Well then I’ll make this real fast. I’ll make this—
Take your time.
Please make this a yes or no answer. General Kirkland, we talked about this the other day, but getting rid of the 180-day cooling off period, at least for GS one through 13, not 14 and 15. If that were to be done in the next years NDAA, and I know there’s a senate bill also addressing this by Senator Langford. Would you like to have that accomplished and just go down the line, yes or no?
Yes sir. Okay.
Okay, wait, wait. We’ll stop right here, and I’ll let Austin Scott address that as well. (mumbles) Okay, he’s kidding. Okay, let’s go on down the line.
Yes sir. We would support.
Okay, thank you. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Thank you. We need a better understanding of the carry over. I think that, I know that I don’t understand exactly how the army calculates the carryover. We’ll get into that in more detail. We may be misunderstanding or not understanding the way in which you calculate it.
Thank you, chairman, and thank you gentlemen for coming. My questions are about workforce. Congress has provided you direct to hiring authority for depot work to expedite hiring, but this authority doesn’t seem to have been terribly successful in filling skills gaps that we still see. Do you think it’s possible or likely that the skills and workforce gaps that we see persist in part because people with these skills are seeking to be hired full time and not in term or temporary hire is my first question. And to what degree is it possible that reliance on term or temporary hiring is contributing to skills gaps for an enduring workforce? And either anybody can start please.
Well, first of all, I’d say off the Navy’s perspective, we’re a huge fan of direct hiring authority and it’s helped me significantly in the depots. It’s why we be able to hire as many people as we have over the last couple of years. We don’t use temps at the Naval ship yard. So that’s not an issue for me. So the hiring authority is really something that we would hope that you would keep there, and it’s made a difference. Our challenge in the Naval depots is you were in competition with that talent, with the private sector as well on the new construction side et cetera, welding skills, pipe fitting skills, electrical skills are in competition throughout the home building industry, et cetera. So anything, tools that we can have to get people in the door quicker and pay them well will help us. So I appreciate that.
That actually was going to be my followup question for you. We heard from a hearing prior to this that most people have less than five years of experience who are working at our shipyards. And to what degree can you talk, and I’ll follow up on the other question, about how we can be more competitive with the civilian economy. Do you have any examples of places where we’ve been successful in marrying up with vocational or trade schools or that sort of thing that has been helpful in being competitive?
Yeah, across, it’s a fantastic question. So almost every one of my major depots is partnering with the state to have hiring fairs, have apprentice schools, Norfolk Naval Shipyard and Puget Naval Shipyards specifically have apprentice schools which is equivalent to a vocational school where they get a degree. The competition to get into those schools is extremely competitive, which tells me that people want to get in there. And once we get people in the door and we can get them past that five-year point, we tend to keep them for a long period of time. So I think that the attraction of being trained and then having a good salary and a job that you know you’re gonna be able to have for a long period of time is very attractive. So it’s helped us in this competition with the private sector.
Would any of you other gentlemen like to comment or answer my first question? Thank you, sir.
Congresswoman, the army does use temps and terms at our depots and our ammunition plants. I do agree that most people would prefer a permanent employment over a temporary or term employment. We found the temporary term employment to be a good tool to expand and contract in some cases, the workforce based on a workload but more in a more positive way, it gives us an ability to identify talent and then use the direct hiring authority this committee has given us to hire that talent. The direct hiring authority, the first part of your question has been absolutely decisive for the last couple of years. The truth is, it took us a couple of years to implement, fully implement that authority, but we hit our stride this last year in FY19 hiring over 3,500 people.
Is there anything that we could be doing to make it even better for you?
I think Representative Lambourne’s proposal or suggestion to limit the cooling off period would help somewhat. All the talent is not in the service obviously. And just like the Navy, all our depots and arsenals are partnered with the local school systems, whether those are postgraduate school systems or undergraduate systems or secondary school systems that represents, manifests itself in internships et cetera at our depot. So there’s different streams of talent coming into the army. The direct hiring authority has allowed us to be remain competitive with industry.
I have about 50 seconds left. Would anybody else like to contribute?
And the Marine Corps we are a advocate of the Direct Hire Authority and we’ve used it. Regarding terms in temps, we also use that kind of a warm start, but I would offer that there is a value to permanency all its own. And so I think that a lot of folks that we are competing for, they’re looking for that permanent position. But all those are tools that that we look to. A modernized depo is something that attracts our young people that come out of college. They want to work someplace that’s gonna have modern technology that they can apply their skills to. So it’s all goes hand in glove.
Sure, understood. I have about seven seconds left, which is plenty, right? I’d love to hear from you. Thank you.
Also talk for Air Force Sustainment Center. We use it at every level of our workforce, and I’ll highlight on the upper end for our trained engineers and software folks, which is for us a growing enterprise. We have north of 4,400 software engineers now working for a sustainment center. DHA has been a tremendous tool to give them an on-the-spot job offer. And once they join, they like what they’re doing and our retention rate reflects that.
Thank you. And I actually served in the air force as an engineer, so I very much appreciate that comment. Thank you.
Thank you very much. There are a whole series of questions here that we wanna get into on the hiring part of it and undoubtedly my colleagues will carry on with it. Mr. Scott.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wasn’t joking when I said Mr. Lambourne stole my question. He actually was looking at my notes. (mumbles) He was looking at my notes and his time had expired. The National Defense Authorization Act hopefully we’ll have a piece of legislation over the next several days or weeks. There is an opportunity to resolve this issue, I believe, once and for all in the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act. Some have suggested that it should apply to 06 or the waiver should be for 06 and below. General Kirkland usually suggested the GS13 and below. I’m indifferent to which route we go. My suggestion would be that all of the services request the same thing. So real quick, is everybody on board with GS 13 and below? Everybody’s good with GS 13 and below? (mumbles) Okay. And I think the majority of the committee agrees on this. So I would hope that as the National Defense Authorization Act that come forward, this is something that we can resolve. My understanding is that this prohibition applies to full-time guard and reserve as well as they retire. My question, and I’ll just ask you General Kirkland for our part-time guard and reserve, do we have hiring restrictions on them as well or is it only for full-time and guard and reserve as they?
Congressman, I would need to check on that and make sure I give you the right answer. I’d like to take that for record please.
Okay. I think that’s something that we can research as well but full-time guard and reserve, I have to say approach to the retirement. My understanding is the 180 days does apply to them and just making sure we find the right standard with regard to all of the different types of services that people have. Hopefully, that gets resolved. General Gamble, I heard as you discussed the differing accounting methods by service. So that makes one services carry over look worse than another branches carry over would look. From our standpoint that it makes it harder, I think for Congress to do its oversight role. I know it would be a big move to get everybody to the same accounting standard on the carry over, but I do believe that’s something that we should look at because it’s hard for us to see relatively who’s doing better. But with the different accounting methods, and this is my specific question with regard to the defense logistics agency for the different services, do the differing accounting methods by service create a confusion at the defense logistics agency?
Sir, from the army perspective, I believe not. I believe the answer is no. The carryover calculation is the same for all the services, but our enterprise resource system drives us to not be able to bank, if you will, those costs. So the cost of material rolls forward and the way how our ERP does. And then with respect to DLA, I think maybe the heart of your question has to do with the forecasting of the organic industrial base requirements for DLA.
The sourcing of parts.
Forecasting our work and as it translates to the supply chain that DLA is responsible for. We believe one, DLA gives us exquisite support. But two, we believe we have a fairly solid forecasting process with DLA for our organic industrial base workload. Hope I answered your question, sir.
General Kirkland. Admiral Peters.
Sorry, you just mentioned from the carryover standpoint, there’s a little bit of an artificial reality here that I think is recognized that because you heard the army experience that they’re not even inducting components that need to be repaired because of the optic associated with carryover. We need to realize that there are components that break during the course of the year and they’re gonna take longer than a few months to fix sometimes.
My time is expired. I guess my concern is Admiral Peters is kind of what you’re getting to, is this the current system forced the gaming of the numbers and which gives us a false read on what’s actually happening? Gentlemen, I appreciate your service, I yield my time.
Thank you, Mr. Scott. The metrics by which you measure are metrics that we observe and hold you accountable for. We’ve always, at least my experiences, we do question the appropriateness of the metrics and whether they actually give you and us a clear picture of how the maintenance is occurring. Ms. Lauren, you’re next.
Thank you Chairman Garamendi. Thank you to all of you for being here. I’ve got several questions along those same lines and I wanna to start with the General Kirkland because I think we’re talking about a couple of things. ongoing maintenance investing and how we sustain current systems through the process. So General Kirkland, I know that tinker has done a lot to and I’ve been very impressed with the maintenance and what you’ve been able to do to maintain some of our legacy aircraft KC 135s and the B2s. As these planes and other legacy equipment gets older, there are growing issues, I know with with supplies and parts on these legacy aircraft. So can you speak to on a couple of things, the use of predictive maintenance and how that is enabling the maintaining of these legacy systems and the role of public private partnerships in the organic industrial base and how that is helping to maintain in the interim?
Yes ma’am. Congresswoman, thank you for the question. So ma’am, you highlighted tinker and I’ll just start there. With regards to diminishing supply and our parts constraints, two approaches really. First is to partner more in depth with our industry teammates to whom we rely. We do that often through the defense logistics agency who does provide fantastic support to us. We benefit from a vehicle we’re calling captains of industry where we have an omnibus agreement for a higher level of supply support. In fact, we have one that works very well with GE and we’re pursuing the same relationship with other prime vendors. Where and when we can’t get the part, we often rely on reverse engineering and there, ma’am, we’re doing that across all three of our depots in Utah, Oklahoma and Georgia. But by and large, the reverse engineering provides us a technical package, which we can then manufacture the part, either organic or outsource that to commercial industry where they make me sense and that works really well for small batches and we’ve learned, can we turn a part in days or weeks instead of months or years and get an airplane either through the depot line or out in the field and back in business. And that’s been a tremendous thing. And ma’am along the way, again, we rely heavily on process to lean out our operations there and we’re quite proud of the workforce that’s doing that.
Thank you, and to follow up on that, turning to the Direct Hiring Authority and the need to maintain the organic industrial bases as a critical piece of this. I wanna revisit the ability to retain the civilian workforce and having that base for things like reverse engineering as we’re going through this process and assessing how the process improvements and the incentives of being able to reverse engineer or keep people there is connected to the Direct Hire Authority and what else is needed.
So, ma’am, with respect to retention, I would offer that simply by having a steady influx of trained personnel, personnel we can train in order to keep the production lines going, that has morale increase. And as we put more and more work into the same facilities and same workforces, that has a effect of keeping every employee gainfully employed and providing upward mobility with supervisory opportunities. And that’s been our strategy. With respect to engineers, I’ll just highlight that across our enterprise, our software engineers, we have an attrition about seven to 9% annually. And that is right there with industry, and so and that’s even as we grow the enterprise about 6% a year.
Thank you. We’ve got just under a minute. Any of the rest of you like to speak to that?
I would say on the retain piece, a challenging work environment where you have the ability to innovate, the 3D printing, additive manufacturing, when you go down to visit our engineers, they look forward to coming to work every day to work with that and get after some of the obsolescence challenges that we have and that we’re getting after with 3D manufacturing. And it’s just, it all boils down to having a good environment to work in, which means modern facilities. So that’s really a big factor in retaining.
Thank you General Shrader. Just a couple more moments. A few more seconds. Any additions? Thank you, I yield back.
Thank you. The Marine Corps and the Air Force are receiving substantial new funds through the emergency appropriations for the rebuilding of some of your facilities. Not so much for the Air Force on the organic side, but the Marines most definitely. We will be looking at that particularly cherry point and how you’re gonna be working on that. Your plans, how you’ll be spending that emergency appropriation money to update and rebuild that facility as a modern organic industrial base. No response necessary. Just know that we’re watching.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thanks to all of you to be here. I don’t know, this is one of those questions I really don’t have an answer to. Is there a percentage of your civilian workforce that is unionized? Okay. Do those unions have apprentice programs or do you have apprentice programs in place to actually, we’d call it some cases OJT, but could any one of you speak to the successes you’ve had in apprentice programs aboard any of your facilities?
I can start so just, we have just recently established an apprenticeship program. It’s highly competitive. We started 148 of our artisans in this apprenticeship program. It’s four years with a two-year payback. So that helps on the retention also, but it also provides some cross-training opportunities. And we’ve had 1,000 applicants for just 148 slots that we started this year and 168 and fiscal year ’20 is the plan. So it’s been very effective.
Is this in conjunction with the union?
Good. Good unions really, really, really add value to any company or any entity and that’s good to see. Carry over funds. Let’s just say what I heard here was the little tricks. If you do this, you get to do that, whatever. And there’s kind of potential for gaming the system. Let’s just say flat out that you got to reinvest as you saw fit any money you saved by let’s say, shortening the transition from legacy to next gen or whatever, in that sustainment period. In a time of limited funding, which we are in a time of limited funding, when you think about all the things we as the federal government do, could you come up with a business plan that is a Jim Collins good to great would say, stop doing the things you don’t need to continue spending money on. Knowing that you got to keep that money to reinvest it in other things. Could you actually present to this committee or the committee of the whole on armed services. How much? Just give us. I don’t care where you do it. You just tell us, give us a dollar figure. Could you do that, I mean, over time, six months, whatever? Before we do the next NDAA.
Sir, I’ll just answer very quickly. We could do that. As part of our working capital funds, we reinvest back into the plans and we’re committed to 6%. Our challenge has been meeting that 6% each year, but we are starting to be able to do that just in fiscal year 19, we accomplished it and going forward, we intend to accomplish it also.
Again, if you were a business and you were paying your, not even your stockholders, just say your employees dividends based on their performance and their performance, part of their performance plan was to figure out how they could do their job not only better but cut unnecessary spending where it no longer made sense. If you have that in your culture, I think it would, I’m not gonna speak for the committee, but to hear it from you where you can do better and allow the money to be wisely spent ’cause you’re the managers of it, that is a plus for all of us here. So I just, Mr. Chairman, I’ll give you back a minute and I yield, thank you very much.
We appreciate the extra minute. However, the discussion you’re having is an extremely important one. Part of the problem that this committee has, or at least this chairman has, is that are there are multiple definitions of the way in which the money flows and certainly, between the services that does exist and within the services, carry over funds. So to achieve your goal, we need to have a clear understanding of the accounting process, which is an ongoing issue within the department of defense.
You’re not telling me that there is tricks played with the numbers, are you?
Of course I wouldn’t.
Of course the gentleman—
Well, having built a budget inside the military of roughly a billion dollars a year for four years in my senior years in uniform, I’ve seen, I’ve played both offense and defense.
Would you like to explain?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. About a month ago I was over at the AUSA Convention. I try to go over there every year and I spent several hours over this year and I was struck by how many platforms are robotic and autonomous and it’s just across the spectrum over there. So General Gamble, given that y’all planning to have these autonomous and robotic platforms in your formation and Army’s future command is to accelerate modernization timelines. How are you gonna get the depots ready to work on that stuff?
Sir, thank you for the question. We have embedded in every cross functional team, the army logistician from army material command specifically to have eyes and ears and make sure that we upgrade, we modernize and we improve or make modifications to the industrial base to keep pace with modernization. In some cases, we don’t know what the modernized system looks like quite yet. But there are decision points for every program along the way so that the industrial base, the infrastructure can be modified, improved or reconstructed, developed or restored or modernized through SRM funding. But that’s a principle way is that embed army logisticians in the cross functional teams. And we also invested into army futures command, a former brigade commander, colonel, army colonel as the director of integration to integrate the sustaining base with modernization.
So I take it you’re not worried about that technology getting too far out in front of you?
Well, sir, no, sir. We’re not worried about it. We’re cognizant that we have to keep our ace. That we may, we don’t wanna wake up one day and have a system that we don’t have the sustainment capability of army to—
That’s my point. Do any of you have that concern that you’re gonna wake up one day and not be able to have the infrastructure to work on those new technologies? I take it by the silence, the answer is no. Good. In the past, depots have had a hard time advocating for MILCON money for infrastructure. What do you think you gonna be able to do about that, the future? You think you’re gonna be able to be more aggressive in that front and productive?
Yes, sir. Actually, I think what the Navy tried to do instead of having each of the depots kinda compete against themselves from MILCON funding, which was our past practice and every depot has its own local constituency. What we found in that era, is we were having trouble getting the MILCON funding ’cause we were competing against each other. the Navy’s shipyard infrastructure optimization plan is really meant to be an integrated plan that takes a look at the infrastructure needs across the entire organic depots that I own. And then the Navy can set the priorities. And in terms of when does the work have to be done? And what I have found is that the integrated plan has allowed the Navy to actually take a holistic look at it. And we’re now getting three times the MILCON funding that we were getting and when I first came to the job in 16, and that’s likely to double again in the next three or four years as we head into the plan. So I think the competition for MILCON is best served when you can put an integrated plan together and you’re not just doing this one project at a time.
Excellent. Sir, if I could just real quick. Certainly the Marine Corps, the fact that the commandant signed off on our OIB plan this July, to me signals that he is gonna support the plan. And then the second thing is we do have three large MILCON projects right now underway in Albany. Two in Albany and one in Barstow. So there’s evidence that areas.
Good and I like your new commandant. He doesn’t mind kicking over furniture and getting things done. So he’s like kinda guy.
General gamble, talking about carryover, as you mentioned, it’s a big thing in my world, (mumbles) one of our largest depots. As you know, I’d work with General Perna to get some language that we put into last year’s NDAA to hopefully resolve that. I take it from this GAO report, we need some more work on that.
Sir, I’m not prepared to answer that, honestly. I’ve read the GAA report, I understand it. I understand the Army’s position. But I’ll be honest with you, I have a little bit of blind spot on the language in the last NDA specifically carry over.
Well, I told General Perna at the Depot Caucus breakfast two, three months ago that if he needed some more refinement that language, just let us know ’cause I think you’ve heard up here that we want to be helpful on that. I recognize there may be some differences, but that’s true of all y’all. That’s the plural of y’all in Alabama. (laughing) Just get us some language and we want to help you on this, but specifically let General Perna know that we want to be helpful. Thank you. I yield back.
Yes sir, thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Rogers. Since we ended that discussion with General Gamble, we’ve gone around this a couple of times. We need to know from you to fully inform our staff on your 20 and 21 land forces depot maintenance budget request. We want to go in detail, part of what Mr. Rogers is talking about as a piece of this. We’re concerned about happy talk and execution. We want happy talk to be executed or executed be happy talk, either way. So if you’ll make sure you do that and I’m not asking for a commitment. I know that you’ll do it, correct? Thank you.
There we go, far into the table. Let’s go to Texas.
Chairman, thank you so much for holding this hearing. Gentlemen, thank you so much for your testimony today and for your service. We’re very, very grateful for it. General Gamble, I know that from your testimony and from what we’ve learned that army depots and arsenals sometimes face challenges, finding suppliers to provide parts for legacy systems that you need to repair. And we know that General Perna is a big fan of additive manufacturing and additive manufacturing is so critical to our modernization and our readiness. It offers great competitive advantages, like faster delivery of parts, shorter acquisition timeline, shorter supply chain, potential cost savings, and in certain cases, can create lighter heat and weather resistant parts. In my home district at the University of Texas, at El Paso, we have a world class additive manufacturing facility through the Keck Center. And it is in fact a satellite center for America makes within the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining System. The kids, I call them kids, although they’re young people who are going through the program, are among the brightest in the country. The leadership there is among the most ambitious and very bold in terms of trying to kind of capture the potential of additive manufacturing. And so I’m wondering if you can, number one, tell us a little bit more about the specific challenges that you face in finding the suppliers. And number two, have you considered partnering with smaller businesses and also academia like at the University of Texas, at El Paso through the Keck Center in order to help fill these gaps?
Yes ma’am. Thanks for your question. So the challenges of obsolescence are real. And you’ve pointed out, many of those things. The finding repair or suppliers, repair parts suppliers is a challenging. And our vision, the army vision and our army secretary signed out our army strategy and policy for additive manufacturing just in the last 60 days. And part of the army vision is just that, to attack the obsolescence problems that we have because our depots are capable and they do it all the time. Reverse engineer parts that we either can’t find a supplier for or it’s not economical. But that’s not the always the best way. So obsolescence is a key component of our strategy. We’ve actually manufactured over 200 parts since March 19. Many of those obsolete parts at Rock Island. But that’s not our strategy there. Our strategy is to transmit proven data across the network to the, even to the far forward edge of the battlefield and print parts forward. So as we edge towards that strategy, there’s tons of opportunity to partner at echelon in our army. We’re not quite there yet at the tactical edge. We have some fundamental capabilities in tactical units right now. So the answer your second part of question, yes, there are small business opportunities and there are more. There’s opportunities for greater partnering with educational institutions and colleges. We are partnered with many right now but predominantly in the Iowa, Illinois area where our center of excellence is. But as we proceed down this path, I do believe there’ll be expanded opportunities.
I appreciate that and I would love to host any or all of you at any point in El Paso at the University of Texas at El Paso so that you can see some of the cutting edge additive manufacturing capabilities that our students and that our academics are helping promote and create. And I’m running out of time, but I would encourage all of our other service leaders to do the same because I know we face the same challenges across the board and as such, we face the same opportunities going forward. Chairman, thank you. I yield back.
Thank you, Ms. Escobar. You did raise a question, an issue that I wanted to bring to the attention of all of you and that is the small business opportunities. The major contractors are basically moving out of the legacy and moving on to tomorrow’s systems leaving behind problems for you all to solve. I don’t believe we have a robust system in place for each of your depos to reach out to small businesses, machine shops, additive manufacturing shops and the like that may exist a thousand miles away from your depot. And so I’m going to pursue with you in the months ahead how we might be able to assist you in setting out a very wide net to capture those opportunities that exist out there. There are modern communication systems that may be able to use called the Internet and the like. So we want to explore that. I’ve had the discussion with some of you about this. So we’ll carry on with that. Not an issue for today, but an issue that we’ll come back and ask you about how that might be done service-wide, with each of your services and follow up on Ms. Escobar’s question. We will go to another quick round of questions here. I think I have one more but let me turn to Ms. Horn and then I’ll wrap it up.
Thank you, chairman. I’ll be brief. I think this is an important conversation today and many of my questions have been asked by my colleagues on both sides of this diocese, which I truly appreciate about this committee. I wanna follow up on one particular piece of building the workforce and the conversations that have been directed about working with our educational institutions as well as apprenticeship programs and how layering those things are important. I understand that a few of you work directly with those institutions. I wanna ask about the direct relationships. I know in Oklahoma we have a very strong career tech system and the ability to not only develop engineers at our advanced educational institutions, but the practical skills-based work and if you have enough, sufficient ability to work directly with those institutions, the career techs, the community colleges, the hands on and the apprentice programs to get the specific skills that you need to hire on and what else you might need authority wise from us to do that. And I’ll just let you go down the line.
Thank you, ma’am. The answer is yes. Locally with our community colleges, Albany state, Albany tech, we work with them to help them develop their curriculum so it enables us to take on the workforce and do that. So the answer to your question is yes, we are working with them very closely to do that.
Functional and all that. Like General Schrader, we have close relationships, often local and state level may make this happen. In many cases, we can take the technical colleges trainees into our actual workspaces. Just recently this last quarter in Georgia, we’ve occupied a new facility where we’re moving some commodities work and the Central Georgia Technical College has their students training on the other end of the same facility and we feel very comfortable about that relationship. It gives them hands-on experience and candidly, we recruit very well among that training force.
Yes ma’am. We also partner with the community colleges in North Carolina, Florida and California, and we have had some success in influencing the curricula such that the skill sets that we’re looking for are accomplished there in the community college.
Yeah, we also partner as well. But I would also point out that some of our efforts in our Navy depots are actually below the college level because I think we need to emphasize that a lot of this workforce that we have today, the blue collar workforce, the welders, electricians, we don’t need college graduates and we need to actually value the artisans that actually get in there and do the really hard work of maintaining these depots and make that a career that a young man or woman today could get into and spend a lot of time. And I saw data the other day that if you get trained as a welder at age 18, by the time you’re 65 years old, you’ll have made more money than someone who went to medical school and just a general practitioner. So I think more emphasis on valuing those skill sets and getting in and doing STEM early with something that we should keep doing.
Ma’am, the army has similar properties. We’re very proud. They’re generally regional and just as Admiral Moore pointed out, they support our wage grade, stream of talent, as well as the the white collar stream of talent.
Thank you very much. And Admiral Moore, I couldn’t agree with you more. I think a greater emphasis on longterm career-buildings, skillsets that are needed across all of the depots and so many other places in our workforce that goes to the small businesses as well as beyond just the engineering talent that’s needed. And I’ll just say this and yield back the rest of my time If there are additional, as we’re looking at how we better understand your needs, the carry over all of the other issues that we’ve addressed, additional ways that we can encourage cooperation and direct communication with these educational institutions, perhaps even not just in the localized areas, but across the services that develop those workforces, that’s something that I think we should all be interested in to maintain that organic industrial base. Thank you. I yield back.
Thank you for raising that set of questions. The federal money that supports the educational system, the career education training programs require that those programs reach out to the employers in the area. And so there’s two sides of this. Delighted to see the military is reaching out to the education programs. At the same time, those education and career technical programs out there are required if they’re gonna get federal money to reach out to the employers, all of whom are sitting at the table. So that’s a back and forth. I also want to note that with regard to retention, pay is an issue. The continuing resolution that the house passed and presumably with the Senate will take care of it today, otherwise we have a shutdown tonight does not include a pay increase for civilian employees in the military. It does include a pay increase for the military employees and military personnel. So, okay. We’re likely to have a problem here on retention if we don’t deal with the increasing pay requirements that would be necessary. A couple of other things I want to iterate again that each of you have developed a plan for the organic industrial basis that you are responsible for. We will be reviewing those plans in detail and the rubber meets the road with the money. So it’s, show me the money and your budgets going forward in your programs. If it’s not there, we’ll have a discussion and we’ll play both offense and defense on this Mr. Bergman. It’s been known that I can be offensive. (laughing) Well noted. I wanna make sure that we will come back on this hiring thing with a little more definitive discussion on it. It’s an issue that continues on and that’s the waiting period and the like. There is one very, very important and frankly, a very unhappy thing that I need to do. So I’ll try to make it as happy as possible. Next to me, Brian Greer, this is his last hearing with this committee. He’s moving on to a greater opportunities over in the non-government or at least, indirect government system. I understand he’ll be joining a new firm here in the town and become a major part of that firm. So Brian we’ll certainly miss you. You’ve been an extraordinary employee and professional staff here for a long period of time. How many years?
Three years. Thank you so very much for that service here. And behind us, the Marine Corps has a very serious problem that they’re gonna have some time overcoming and that is, they have stolen Megan Handel from this committee and she’s going to work down at Quantico. (mumbles)
Sir, I’m in Albany, Georgia.
You’re not responsible party here.
The Marine Corps is very good at recognizing talent and poaching it.
Okay, we’ll accept that. Megan, you’ve been wonderful to work with. You’ve been a joy for all of us and thank you so very much for all of your time with the committee. How long?
I’m getting a feeling here that three years is something of importance. I will miss both of you, and thank you so very much and for all of you. Thank you very much. We’ll be back. Thank you so very much. Committee’s adjourned.