Navy, Marine Corps Leaders Discuss Naval Readiness at Senate Meeting

Kenneth J. Braithwaite, secretary of the Navy, Adm. Michael M. Gilday, chief of naval operations, and Gen. David H. Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, brief the Senate Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support on Navy and Marine Corps readiness, December 2, 2020.

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This hearing of the subcommittee unreadiness and management will come to order. The subcommittee meets today to receive testimony on the current readiness of the United States Navy in the United States. Marine Corps. I went toe welcome our three distinguished witnesses the Honorable Kenneth Braithwaite, Secretary of the Navy General David H. Berger, commandant of the U S Marine Corps, and Admiral Michael Guild, a chief of naval operations of the United States Navy. I would also like to thank Diana Mauer, director of defense capabilities and management, and her team at the Government Accountability Office for submitting the requested statement. For the record for this hearing, G A O is an invaluable resource to our work on the committee. Some of the issues that I would like to address and cover today, our Cove in 19 and its impacts on the readiness of the U. S. Navy and Marine Corps. The Navy and Marine course pivotal pivotal role in countering great power power competition as highlighted in the national defense strategy, the common on of the Marine Corps’s bold new force design and planning guidance. A recent provocation of Russian military exercises, massive Russian military exercises in the Arctic and related to that the role of the Navy and Marine Corps as they play an increasingly important role in protecting our strategic interests in the Arctic. Let me touch on these briefly first, the impact of Cove in 19 on Navy and Marine Corps readiness. Over the last few months, this committee has received frequent and productive briefings on Cove in 19 and on its impact on military readiness is you are all Aware Cove in 19 reduced operations at Navy and Marine Court depots canceled or postponed vital exercises such as rim packed 2020 and change the way in which we train our sailors and Marines. I’m looking forward to an update on these critical issues as it relates toe the readiness of our Marine Corps and Navy team. Second, I’d like to address the 2018 National Defense Strategy and the Navies and Marine Corps’s role in responding to the return of great power competition, released in 2018. The national defense strategy, I believe, is a still very much a bipartisan document and strategy which prioritizes the return of great power competition, particularly with Russia and China, with China as the pacing threat. Thus far in responding to the NDF’s directives, the U. S Navy and this committee have advocated for building a 355 ship Navy and his heavily and rightfully, in my view, focused these investments on improving and expanding our nation’s submarine fleet, a key area of America. Strategic Advantage Third is part of the Navy teams response to great power competition. The Marine Corps, under the commandant’s new planning guidance and his force design 2030 construct has keenly focused on how to address the NDS is pacing threat China, Specifically, General Burger has zeroed in on transforming our Marine Corps into a slightly leaner but more agile force. Commandant’s planning guidance calls for revolutionary change to the Marine Corps, at least in the Department of Defense terms, and I commend him for his efforts on being one of the services leading in terms of trying to implement the NDS. Uh, but the common on strategy is not without its critics, and I’d like the secretary in General Burger the opportunity to respond to some of those in this hearing. I’d like to also address a recent incident. I was with the secretary in Alaska, where we saw a pure exercise of great power competition the recent very large military exercises which took place inside the U. S. Exclusive economic zone off the coast of the Great State of Alaska. As some of you may already know, In late August, the Russians conducted a major war game near Alaska. Over 50 Russian warships. About 40 Russian aircraft took part in these exercises in the Bering Sea involved multiple practice missile launches submarines, The New York Times reported last month in a in a article I’d like to submit for the record. Ah, headline and byline. Are we getting invaded? U. S. Boats face Russian aggression near Alaska. Russia has accelerate its provocation prop provocative encounters in the North Pacific, harassing American fishing vessels in U. S. Waters, sending bombers towards Alaska’s shores. I’d like to enter this into the record without objection, but I would like Mr Secretary Admiral on update on that, particularly the coordination that we need to improve between the Coast Guard, the Navy and, uh, the Alaskan fishing fleets that were impacted by this. Finally, I’d like to have a broader discussion today on the Arctic, and as it it has become an emerging area of great power competition and to better understand the Navy and Marine Corps’s role in protecting the Arctic homeland, safeguarding the Arctic regions, Global Commons and as the Navy and Marine Corps do across every part of the world. In this regard, I’m hopeful to hear some positive news about a new Navy Arctic strategy, which this committee has been encouraging all the services to produce Arctic strategies. And I’m hopeful that we could also have a discussion not only the support for building six polar class icebreakers that our nation needs, but the discussion that the president started a couple months ago with his memo to senior national defense officials on where and how we should be basing polar class security cutters in America’s Arctic. And Mr Secretary, you and I have had a lot of discussion on that. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, in this committee, I would like a prediction of who is going toe win the Army Navy football game that takes place in a couple weeks. That’s gonna be very important, gentlemen, thank you very much. I’m looking for this hearing and I’d like toe now hear from my friend and colleague, Senator King. Thank you, Chairman Sullivan. We find ourselves in very, very challenging times, and it’s good that this committee’s work has continued on down. And will I wanna welcome the distinguished witnesses? Thank you for your service. We’re looking forward to the testimony and opportunities to exchange questions today, and I echo the comments of Chairman Sullivan and offer thanks to Diana Mauer for her work at the G A. O also want to do one other set of thank you’s. This is probably the last opportunity that will meet either as a subcommittee or even as a full committee. Um, prior to, you know, some changes. And we’re losing two colleagues, Um, Senator McSally and Senator Jones, who served on the committee in a wonderful way and on the subcommittee as well. They were public, great public servants before they got here. They’re great public servants while they were here, and I’m sure they have great public service ahead of them, but I just wanted to acknowledge each of them. The chairman’s done a really good job of putting the issues kind of up on the board that we need to discuss today impacts on readiness from the ongoing pandemic and lessons learned along the way that will help us going forward. What role will the d o. D play? Uh, in vaccine distribution And what plans are being made within the Navy, family, Navy and Marine Corps over vaccines and how they’ll be deployed Shipyard modernization plan on the looming threats that are basis face from the effects of climate change. I won’t delve further into those now, and I’ll save those topics for my questions. We want to help the department address what we need to do to be ready to operate in this challenging environment and respond and execute the full range of D o. D. Responsibilities and missions. I look forward to your testimony day and thank you. And I’d like to begin the testimony. Each of you will have five minutes to given Orel testimony. Your longer, um, statements convey submitted for the record, if you so choose. Mr Secretary, I’d like to begin with you, sir. Thank you, Mr Chairman. And before I begin, I’d like to offer the Department of the Navy’s condolences to you, sir. The loss of your father, uh, great veteran of the United States Navy and our thoughts And our prayers are with you, sir. Thank you. In May of 1943 American troops, aircraft and ships were sent to dilution island of A to to dislodge the imperial Japanese troops occupying our American soil. Thes young Americans were dedicated and brave, but unprepared and under equipped. The only thing that prevented the operation from ending in total catastrophe was the fact that that landing was unopposed. In short, we the United States military got lucky. But that should never be accepted as good enough for our fleet are force or for our nation. As secretary of the Navy, I am determined to ensure that our sailors and Marines are never again sent into a situation without the right training, the right equipment and the right leadership. Chairman Sullivan, Ranking Member cane, distinguished members of the committee. We appreciate your efforts to ensure funding stability. Over the past several years, this stability has enabled a greater focus on readiness across both services, from the Navy’s investments in shipyards and aviation maintenance to the Marine Corps’s modernization initiatives within the commandant’s forced design. 2030. These efforts are increasing our expeditionary deployment capabilities and fleet readiness even in the face of this cove in 19 and other global challenges. More importantly, we are investing in the training, education and resilience of our personnel. They and their families will always be our greatest resource. As I discussed during my confirmation hearing, I was concerned about the morale of the force and its underlying effects on culture across the entire department. Thankfully, I found many efforts under way to address these concerns and inconsistent engagements with our sailors and marines around the globe. I have discovered our morale is better than I thought it might be, but it could get better as we direct. The resource is to make it better. We must prepare today for tomorrow, and we must continually adjust to the threat. Our existing fleet structure operates on the premise that we still live in a post 9 11 state where NATO’s flanks are secure, the Russian fleet is tied to the pier, and terrorism is our biggest problem. That is not the world of today, and so is the world changes. We must be bold, evolve and change with it. Instead of perpetuating a structure designed to support yesterday’s Joint Forces Command, we are aligning to today’s threat to meet the unique maritime challenges of the Atlantic Theater. We will rename Fleet Forces Command as the US Atlantic Fleet and we will refocus our naval forces in this important region on their original mission controlling the maritime approaches to the United States and to those of our allies. The Atlantic Fleet will confront the re assertive Russian navy, which has been deploying closer and closer to our east coast with a tailored maritime presence, capability and lethality. Also, in order to improve our posture in the Indo Pacific, we will reconstitute the first Fleet, assigning it primary responsibility for the Indo and South Asian region as an expeditionary fleet back to the capabilities and unpredictability of an agile mobile at sea command. This will reassure our allies and partners of our presence and commitment to this region while ensuring any potential. Adversary knows we are committed to global presence to ensure rule of law and freedom of the seas. We are determined today to make the bold changes required to ensure that our forces are prepared to dominate any potential battle space and return home safely tomorrow as the Great Naval list. The 26 president of United States. Teddy Roosevelt once said, Ah, strong navy is not a provocation to war but the surest guarantee of peace. We look to you our Congress, for the strong oversight partnership that has enabled our maritime strength ever since Congress authorized the construction of our first six ships, the mighty American frigates of 17 94. So I’d like to take this moment to announce that the next Constellation class frigate will be named for one of those original six a name selected by our first President, George Washington. The ship will be USS Congress toe honor and recognize the work that you and your staff to every day to support our sailors are Marines and the people of the United States of America. On behalf of the Department of the Navy, our Marines are sailors are civilian workforce and their families that serve it their side. Thank you for what you dio to enhance our readiness. I look forward to your questions. Thank you very much, Mr Secretary. Admiral, Uh, would you care to a make an opening statement, sir? Yes, sir, I would. Chairman Sullivan again. My condolences on your family’s loss. Uh, your dad was not only a sailor, but a great friend of the Navy. Thank you. Sure. Uh, ranking member cane, distinguished members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this morning with Secretary of the Navy and as well, coming on Burger. My wife, Linda, behind me joins me this morning. Okay. To be effective, the United States Navy has to be able to carry out to critical functions. The first is C control, and the second is power projection and both of those missions or timeless. The Navy does not need to reinvent itself the manner by which we carry out those functions and the equipment that we used to do it do change over time. But as Admiral Nimitz said in front of a joint session of Congress in October of 1945 at the dawn of the nuclear age, he called those missions timeless. President John F. Kennedy, in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis, said the same thing. So for me see control and the capability to control the seas and too dominated the oceans is my primary focus with respect to readiness that covers two areas readiness today, which I believe is the focus of this hearing, as well as our readiness tomorrow and the budget decisions that the Navy presents to the secretary of Defense really balance across three big areas that are aimed at those two functions. That would be readiness readiness today and readiness to the future. That would be lethal capabilities in order to control the seas and project. Power in the last is capacity the size of the United States Navy. Today, in the midst of a global pandemic, we have about 100 ships deployed and we have about 40,000 sailors at sea that ranges from the Arctic Circle to the Cape of Good Hope, from the Black Sea and the Baltics to the Arabian Sea, the Atlantic in the end of Pacific, our cyber warriors air standing vigilant Watch Right now as we speak, they were joined by our silent service under the seas that continue their constant patrols. I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the civilian sailors who support us every single day so that we can’t control the seas. Those are our shipyard workers. Those were folks that work in production lines that keep the keep our spirit parts of rolling to the waterfront, to our aviation squadrons to our submarines and to our ships. For people that provide the Naval Academy are academic institutions like the Naval Academy, the Naval War College and the Naval Postgraduate School to continue to turn out the best and the brightest that this nation has and our boot camp, which is operating a double its capacity. That said, the investments to keep that machine going every single day are also balanced against investments of the future. Think about hyper Sonics and laser energy. We just shot down a U A V with laser energy at sea. Just last month, we shot down an I C B M from a destroyer with a standard missile just two weeks ago. So we are focused on the future and what we need to do to get there. Members of the committee We are grateful for the support you provide the United States, Navy, our sailors and our families again. I thank you for this opportunity this morning, and I look forward to your questions. Thank you, Admiral. General Burger Chairman. Thanks for the opportunity for us to appear this morning and from one Marine to another. So we talked last night. Just know that one Marine hurts. All of us hurt. So we’re all thinking about you and your family and for the ranking member cane and the rest of the members, it is, uh this is a good opportunity and timely for us to be here this morning to talk about readiness. I’m in the same spot as the CNO. I think readiness is job one for a service secretary, but it’s also a balance. Is he highlighted of today’s readiness what we have to provide combatant commanders now, this afternoon, balanced against the force that we have to prepare for the future And the cold, hard truth of it is if your service chief that every dollar you spend on a legacy piece of equipment or on trying toe prepare something for this afternoon is a dollar that you have to consider for the future. This is the This is the tension that every service chief has always always been challenged with. That said, I think you should be very confident. This committee should be Subcommittee should be very confident that all your navy and marine units that are deployed around the world already this afternoon. They’re ready for any crisis, any contingency. And we are working very hard to make sure that we’re going to stay in front. There’s no adversary that’s gonna overtake us. But readiness I would just offer you I probably will break precedent in my view of readiness, how I view it. I do not view readiness as availability. Only it’s more than just having a platform, a ship, an aircraft, a piece of equipment available. I think you you expect us to be ready in terms of Are you manned? Are you trained? Are you equipped? Are you ready for the threat? So when we think of readiness, we’re talking about readiness in terms off. Ready for what? Ready when I’m also grateful for all the support this committee has given us because 56 years ago, we were in a tough spot. Readiness wise, we had rode the force hard and we needed the resource is to build our readiness back. And we are back where we need to be, thanks to the support of the members on this subcommittee and the Congress writ large. So I’m very grateful for that. Lastly, I would just touch on the same thing. I think that Admiral guilty does mention which is our readiness in a sort of unconventional way. And that’s cyber readiness. Of course, that’s offensive and defense. And I would just highlight that because those threats clearly are not going down. In fact, they’re increasing. But you would be very proud of the cyber mission force that every day is tackling the challenges that you wanted to tackle. And on the defensive side, I think we have all the means. The resource is in terms of the training and the people in the equipment to prepare all our networks for the challenges that another adversary is gonna pose. So in both cases, I think we’re very focused on it. And we that’s gonna be an enduring task for all of us in, uh, Chairman ideal the rest of my time to the topics that you want to focus on, sir. Well, thank you, general. And it’s all just begin. I appreciate comments about my dad. You know, I have I come from a family with the long tradition of naval service. My dad accomplished a lot in his life, but his proudest accomplishment, no doubt was his, uh, service in the U. S. Navy. His cousin, Bruce Wilhelmi was a Naval aviator academy grad who won the Distinguished Flying Cross during the Cuban missile crisis. You read about that? He’s actually highlighted in a movie. He was later killed in a training accident. And finally, my dad’s uncle, Tom Sullivan, was a lieutenant in the Navy. Did three myr Manx runs during World War Two, some of the most dangerous service in the U. S. Navy during the war, And I mentioned the mur Max runs and General is you know, it’s the 70th anniversary of the chosen reservoir battle Right now, a lot of Americans don’t know a lot about that battle, but I mentioned that because those were all very important. Cold weather operations that are Navy and Marine Corps did quite well at a critical moment in history. So, Mr Secretary, perhaps you could begin by talking about the Navy’s upcoming Arctic strategy to get back to the roots. Whether Mur makes operations or chosen reservoir type operations where we have a Navy and Marine Corps that can operate, uh well in protect America’s strategic interests in some of the coldest places in the world that are now increasingly becoming the places where great power competition are going to be taking place in the future. Mr. Chairman, I would be happy to um, as you know, I’m a student of the Arctic on advocate for the Arctic. I first went to your great state a Z U S Navy pilot stationed in a deck Alaska at the Naval Air Station and flew a SW missions up throughout the Arctic Circle. Most recently, I was the US Ambassador, the Kingdom of Norway and I spent most of my time above the Arctic Circle right near Murmansk. And I’ve seen with my own eyes how the Arctic has changed in those 35 years. Um, today it is navigable 3 65 and there are other nations in the world that have recognized its importance to us. Um, and it should be on alarm to all of Americans as an Arctic nation that we should have a more formidable presence to ensure rule of law and freedom of the seas in that part of the world. Most recently, the USS John McCain was doing just that. A freedom of navigation exercise near the Bay of Peter the Great Andi was engaged by, um, or assertive Russian navy. The United States Navy, United States Marine Corps has had a recommitment to the Arctic. We operate in the Arctic today much more than we have historically, although, as you know, the Navy has operated consistently in the Arctic since the inception of our submarine force. It’s just that you can’t see our vessels today. We need that visible presence, as the chief of naval operations talked about just a few moments ago. Power projection. See control and the ability to ensure to our partners and allies and our own people that we, the United States Navy, have that first and foremost in our minds. We are about to release an Arctic strategy that you and I talked about during our recent trip to Alaska and the importance of how that blueprint will recommit ourselves in a much more visible way. Two activities in the Arctic. But we must recognize that if we don’t step forward quickly, those who have challenged us on the stage of great power competition are there. I’ve seen it. Russia has re militarized the Arctic. China has recommitted itself to build icebreakers to be able to move its product from its homeland to Western markets in half the amount of time that it has historically had to. So the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps senator, is committed to being present in the Arctic in a much mawr visible way. Then we have historically been Can I ask you just two quick follow ups, Maybe for you and Admiral Dilday, the Russian exercise that I mentioned? It did catch our fishing fleet by surprise. I know that there’s been an after action, but, you know, our fishing fleet was ordered out of the easy. Which, of course, is our easy where they fish shouldn’t be ordered out of that by Russians. They were buzzed. They were harassed. Um, what are we doing in terms of an after action To make sure that that doesn’t happen again? That our fishing fleet, you know, my state is what I call the super power of seafood. Almost. Actually, over 60% of all seafood harvested in America comes from Alaska’s waters. What are we doing to make sure that that doesn’t happen again? In in our Sorry, Mr Secretary, do you have any any follow up on the president’s memorandum on ice breakers and home porting those in different parts of the Arctic. Well, again, as I mentioned, the USS John McCain was just recently in the Arctic to ensure freedom of navigation. And I would invite the chief of naval operations to go into a little more detail. Some of it, of course, is classified as you and I have discussed. And the CNO and I would be happy to talk with you privately at any time. That would be convenient to you, Mr Chairman. Um, you may know that I recently, uh, went to Finland to see the ice breakers in question. The President has directed us, uh, to purchase. We are looking within the department of the Navy of how we can facilitate that. Part of commissioning those ships means that they become U. S naval vessels and there are requirements that we have to have US naval personnel in command of those vessels. So I’ve asked to see, you know, to look into the process by which we can facilitate that. You and I agree. We need to build icebreakers. We can’t build them as quickly as we need them today, the Coast Guard maintains two icebreakers, and that’s all that we have on. One is broken. Yes, sir. One is broken. Eso we do need ice breakers and the Navy recognizes it’s not a mission That s central. Uh, Thio three United States Navy. But it’s one that we rely on the Coast Guard to provide. And in this instance for the executive order, we are looking in ways to procure those. So, you know, do you have any thoughts you’d like toe offer? Thanks, Mr Secretary, sir. In terms of the Navy’s presence in the Ark, the Navy and the Marine Corps, I’d say that over the past year we’ve done some 20 exercises in the high north and so that that ranges from unilateral joint exercises that the U. S. Conducts alone, some of it in the training range in Alaska, toe bilateral exercises with some of our closest allies and partners toe multilateral exercises. And so now our our operations above in the high North are not extraordinary, but they’re beginning to become part of our day to day business, and I think that’s directly tied to the national defense strategy. The chairman’s role as the global integrated a posture. The globe against those primary competitors. Namely, in this case, China and Russia. That would include the Arctic with respect to the incident that happened in late August. I share your concern, Senator. I actually meet with the North com commander later on this week. I know they’re looking at what potentially happened with communication breakdowns, uh, potentially to our fishermen, Uh, perhaps, uh, miscommunication between agencies and the U. S. Government. But, uh, U s fishermen should not feel threatened by another nation and our own easy in terms of fishing. Continued presence up there will have some blunting effect to that. But I think perhaps more needs to be done, including through the Arctic Council, to have honest discussions about it. Thank you, Senator King. Thank you, Mr Chair. Secretary Braithwaite, I wanna talk to you about the announcements you’ve made today about the first Fleet and the Atlantic Fleet. I’ll spend one minute on the first fleet and then four minutes on the Atlantic Fleet. So the first fleet is I understand your announcement. It will take the sizable riel estate that is now covered by the seventh Fleet out of Japan. and divided into two fleets because of increased activity at the scene between the Pacific and the Indian oceans. Don’t do I understand that correctly. Yes, sir, that’s exactly right. And so this is something that you’ve worked out with pay calm with the Seventh Fleet and you’re still making decisions about manpower. But it will likely be an expeditionary fleet without, at least at the start. Ah, land based h Q. Is that correct? That is correct. Yes, Senator, thank you. And that’s toe emphasize the growing importance of this region and the strategic alliances that the United States has with nations like India and others in the quad in that part of the world. That’s exactly right. Centered, as you know, and you’ve traveled in that region, it’s vast. And for the Seventh Fleet, which is home ported in Japan, although it’s also see base, uh, it, uh, you know, has formidable challenges to move all the way through the Western Pacific, down through the approaches of the Indian Ocean, all the way over to the northern Arabian Gulf. Let let me move to the Atlantic question, which effects Virginia significantly. So the Atlantic Fleet was the fleet headquartered in Norfolk, Comptel. I believe Secretary Rumsfeld, during the the war on Terror reconstituted the Atlantic Fleet as the Fleet forces command. And it wasn’t just a name change. There were some different areas of focus right before I came to the Senate in 2011. The second Flee, which was based in Norfolk and provided coverage in the Atlantic, was decommissioned because the United States perceived that Russia would no longer be a naval threat. Well, not so fast. In 2018, during my service on the committee, the Navy re commissioned the second fleet in Norfolk because of the increased Russian threat in the Atlantic. So your proposal today to reconstitute the Fleet Forces Command, which was focused on the war on terror to the Atlantic Fleet, as I understand it, is to recognize the reality of this increased Russian presence and the fact that the great power competition is now sort of the dominant concern of the national defense strategy. Is that correct? That is correct, Senator, Um, let me ask this. My my folks in Hampton Roads will wonder whether reconstituting Fleet Forces command is the Atlantic Fleet will cause them either toe lose jobs or personnel or investment levels in that region. Should they be worried about that? No senator, their no loss of jobs, There’s no loss of revenue. Thio the Tidewater region. And I understand that you will be going to the region toe Have discussions with folks in the area about this proposal that you’ve announced today. I will. That is correct, Senator, that that’s very helpful on De. So if I understand now with a structure that you’re putting on the table, the Pacific flee would have the first, 3rd and 7th fleets reporting through it. Correct? That is correct. You’re you’re contemplating that the fifth Fleet would still report through Centcom. That is correct. Theater Lanta fleet would have the 2nd and 4th fleets reporting through it. Is that correct? That is correct. And you suggest the sixth Fleet would be reporting through US forces Europe. That is correct. Yes, because that fleet does so much in tandem with NATO allies in that theater. That’s correct. OK, um, let me ask now, uh, well, move to one other topic and I’ll save the others for a second round vaccine deployment. So we’re grappling with a lot of vaccine deployment issues nationally, but also it’s very, very critical that vaccine, Thank goodness it’s being developed rapidly that the vaccine be deployed rapidly in a way that will keep our our military forces active and healthy talk a little bit about the d o. D. Discussions about vaccine deployment issues and how you’re approaching it. And did you learn things with respect to how you did testing wide testing through the d. O. D family that have given you lessons about how to do vaccine deployment and how to phase the deployment of vaccines throughout the Navy and Marines? Yes, sir. Senator. So I am extremely proud of the Department of the Navy. Both the Marine Corps and our Navy have done a phenomenal job in the aftermath of the lessons we learned from USS Teddy Roosevelt on DWI are applying some of those lessons in the vaccines is you are in the, uh, testing, as you mentioned to what our rollout strategy will be around the vaccine. Of course, some of those discussions are still going on with the, uh, the OSD team as we determine how quickly we will get those vaccines. How quickly will roll those out? I know, the CNO is in discussions with our surgeon General Toe. How we will do that for the Navy as well as the commandant, Uh, for the Marine Corps, I would invite the CNO if he had any thoughts on this specifically Thio comment. Thank you. Thank you, Mr Secretary. Sir, there are two related but separate plans that are in development right now very closely with the C. D. C. Uh, and the first one deals with the distribution of vaccines And so there are two the D o. D is looking at one of the Madonna, and the other is FISA. And as you probably know, the Pfizer requires five is gonna be shipped in GPS tracked coolers and refrigeration. Yeah, right. And once it’s thought, it’s it’s good for about five days. And so the Pfizer, the Pfizer Medicine, will be distributed here in Conus the 10 different local creations across the D. O. D. Every medical treatment facility, uh, in the military will receive that vaccine, and then we’ll also have three or four out Conus overseas locations that will receive the modern device scene, which is allowed to be refrigerated for up to 30 days. and so there’s a little bit you have a little bit more flexibility. So the second piece of this is the vaccination plan itself. And, uh, it is kind of tied the lessons learned from testing. We actually developed a prioritization for testing. We were building the airplane as we were flying it as we were trying to get testing capability out. This time we have a better sense of what that prioritization structure auto look like. And at the top are health care workers. And then emergency and safety personnel are installations. Those people are likely to come in contact with people that are infected and then our strategic forces. And so think maybe your cyber mission forces, uh, Thea Cruise on strategic missile submarines and then the forces that will deploy within the next three months. And so we have a good count of what those numbers are. And if there’s anything, we’re really good at its mass immunization in the U. S. Military. And so we feel pretty confident, sir, that once we get the vaccine distributed that the vaccination peace, now that we have the prioritization well thought out will happen pretty quickly. Thank you. Thank you, Mr Chair. Senator Shaheen. Thank you, Mr Chairman. And thank you to each of you for being here this morning and for your service Secretary Braithwaite, I want to follow up on the conversation. US. And Senator Sullivan. We’re having about the importance of being able to operate in cold climates and the importance of the Arctic going forward because in New Hampshire we have the U. S. Army’s Cold Regions research and Engineering lab, and, uh, they do amazing research, and I wondered how to what extent you share that kind of research across branches. Do you get information from the Army about research that’s being done? A crowl that would be helpful to the Navy. We do, of course. Uh, you know, under a new joint approach, the service secretaries and I we talk the service chiefs that talk all the time, and our respective research arms, uh, have, uh, exchange in, uh, interplay as well. Um, General Gil Day, I appreciated your comments on the importance of our civilian workers, especially in our shipyards. We’ve had the opportunity to visit the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and everyone appreciated that I’m very interested in ensuring that the shipyard optimization plan goes forward as envisioned. Are you comfortable that the resource is there gonna be there to keep that plan on time? And what’s been the impact of any of Cove in 19 with respect to the plan, Man, it’s been a priority of the department and certainly the secretary since he since he’s been in the seat, Um, I will tell you in terms of putting our money where our mouth is right now, across the four public yards, we have nine mil con projects that are underway. So four of those were up in Portsmouth, who’s a couple in in Puget Sound and a couple more a couple more in Hawaii and so forth. But those were progressing on track and funded across the fit up. We’ve all played $3.5 billion which is not, which is not a trivial amount, given the fact that this is for SIA, given the fact that we, our typical milk on budget years about a billion so 3.5 over the fit up on DNA that is progressing pretty well with respect to the work and the planning associated with it. It’s a big project in Hawaii that we just make congressional notification on a week ago. So I am confident that we’re heading in the right direction. That is the right degree of prioritization. And resource is against the plan, ma’am, with respect to the workforce itself. So, uh, the workforce is, you know, is an older workforce. And so we were very conservative, particularly in the spring, and we wanted to make sure that we were that safety was our number one priority. And so we did see, probably with respect to production. We saw a dip in our production capability at the at the public yards with respect to the work that was being done. Went down to the seventies. Respect thio 70% of the workforce on the job every day. That’s now back at 90%. When we look at Lost man days with respect to that time period, it’s about 2% of the man days across the four yards that we would expect to complete a year. So we have mitigation efforts in place that includes overtime, which buys us back two or 3% contracting. So going toe, local contractors outside of those public yards that can do some of that work for us. And also, we’ve mobilized about 1300 reservists that have unique skill sets that we could bring into the yard. So the mitigation plan again. Safety first. And right now we’re watching it very closely, but I think that we’re a stable right now. I would describe our repair efforts in the public yards as stable, very comfortable with where we are. And so do you expect to be delayed in terms of where we had hoped to be with the optimization plan as the result of Koven, I have not seen any delays to milk on projects as a result of Kobe. I’m sure that there have been some slight delays, but nothing that has is popular. Red flag at my level, uh, to raise significant concerns. Good. Thank you. Um, also, this is, I think, both for you, Admiral, and for the Secretary. One of the challenges that we have is our shrinking industrial base. As we look at what the needs going forward, and I assume that cove, it is gonna have an impact on that. I know we have small businesses in New Hampshire that, um, are part of our defense industrial base in the state that are facing real challenges is the result of this pandemic. Are you concerned about the impact of the pandemic on mawr of those businesses that we’re going to rely on for our industrial base? And do you have any thoughts about how we can doom or to ensure that we have the support that we need through the industrial base? So, Senator is you and I A Z. I mentioned to you, uh, you know, I’m a product of Philadelphia in the shipyard closure there. And what a negative impact that it has had not just on the greater Philadelphia region, but on our industrial base writ large across our country. We need to protect every shipyard we have. The Chinese man have 25 shipyards to our one, and I’m a student of history. When you go back and you see the element that kept the United States capable during World War Two was our industrial might, it was our ability to build back the shifts that we were losing. We need to maintain the sacred industrial base that we have today. I would give kudos to our sister Secretary defense Jim Gertz, who has incredible done an incredible job of crafting a plan toe look to those 2nd and 3rd tier suppliers to ensure that there is consistency in getting the product into the yards. As the CNO is indicated. Our ship, your shipyard workers, both in our public yards and in our private yards have done amazing job of continuing to be. They’re engaged through the fact that they’re dealing with antiquated systems. They’re dealing with older ships that require more work and especially in the midst of a global pandemic. They’ve done a phenomenal job. As the CNO is indicated. We really haven’t missed a beat. We’ll have some slowdowns, I’m sure and seen Okonjo into some more detail on that. But overall, I believe that the Department of the Navy has a great record on the leadership of Jim Gertz of doing the work to ensure that we have consistency, um, to those yards. Thank you, sir, just a couple of comments to amplify some things that the secretary said, I think that the apprenticeship programs that we have that are associated with each of our shipyards and local community colleges, whether it’s Hawaii or Washington and New Hampshire or Virginia have been phenomenal. And so those four year programs have produced some of the best and brightest in the yards that hopefully we can we can. We can keep around for for 30 years because it is a family business. In many cases, it’s eye watering to meet those young people. Actually, they’re not just young people. They’re people from all walks of life. And some of them are middle age that just have decided that they wanna give more back to the country. But that program collectively produces about 1000 workers a year, and over the past three years we have increased the number of shipyard workers from about 33 to 36,000, almost 37,000. So we have been on the increase on. We’re changing that demographic, Aziz. You know, um, there are a lot of young. They’re either young people in the shipyard or there’s older people in the shipyard. But we missed a generation, and so we’re trying to rebuild. I think I think I’m very optimistic about where we’re headed with the workforce and when you when you visit those shipyards and I know that you do. It is an uplifting experience when you meet those people salt of the earth and you love what they’re doing with respect to the supply chain that it remains a concern for us. And so I would say Senator Kaine mentioned this, uh, during his opening remarks with respect opportunities that we’ve seen during co vid the relationship that we have. The opaqueness that’s dissolved with vendors during co vid has been something that I have not seen in my career again. As the secretary said, Assistant Secretary Gerdes can speak to this in more detail, but we have our eye on more than a quarter of a million parts and you know, it only takes one to take down a ship or an aircraft or submarine. But we have our eye on those vendors that are struggling and other vendors that air coming that have stepped up to fill the gap in places and so we’ve seen a bit of both. We’ve seen some failures that have been troubling. We’ve also seen some great innovation. Well, thank you. Certainly ensuring that those businesses get paid Aziz expeditiously as possible is really important right now. And I know that that’s been a focus of d o D. So thank you. Thank you, Mr Chairman. A gentleman. I’m gonna have to step out for a brief minute. Um, Senator Kaine will be taking over, but I will. I’m sure we’re gonna have a number of additional questions. We have a number of senators on the line as well. So I’m in the next call on Senator Hirono. Thank you, Mr Chairman. And before you leave, I would like to also extend my condolences to you the loss of your dad. Thank you, Mr Secretary. You were talking a bit about the architect, and this would be a yes or no question. Is it time for the United States to ratify or the senate to ratify? Unclos. This is their story. Yes, there is No Senator. I I think we need to dio some more work to make sure that it’s the right time. To be very honest with you always been on class that has been hanging around for over four decades, and I would say it is the right time, especially as I think our country is, I think disadvantage by not being part of on class, especially as the Arctic is seeing a lot more, uh, activity, shall we say? And I think one of the reasons that the Arctic has become navigable is because of global warming. Four of General Burger. I would like to offer my condolences, general, for the eight Marines and one sailor who tragically perished in an A A B accident in the end of July and I realized that the investigation is occurring. Can you tell me when the investigation into this accident will be completed? The initial portion of the investigation is done, ma’am. Uh, and I think probably within 30 days it will be the endorsement chain will be completely so since the initial face has been done, can you tell us what led to this accident? Very briefly. I cannot, man, because I have not seen the investigation as long as it remains in the in the endorsement chain. Uh, in respect of the due process, I don’t I don’t poke into that. We did take as you’re well aware man. We took initial measures within the 1st 30 days. But as far as the final recommendations, the final opinions and recommendations, I have not seen them yet. Yeah, So I know that these the vehicle that waas um involved in the accident is to be replaced by the, uh, a CVS. So we probably would need to get some kind of an update on how all of that is going back. Thio Mr. Secretary, I don’t want to get into, ah long discussion with you, but I did. It came as news to me that I thought I heard you say that you are taking some ships from the Seventh Fleet based in Japan Thio be located in the Indian Ocean. Is that what you said? This is a proposal or is it already being implemented? No, Senator. Um, but that’s not what I said. Uh, we are going Thio re commissioned the first fleet, which, like the seventh Fleet, would operate in the greater Pacific region under the command and control of the United States. Specific Fleet headquartered, um, in Hawaii. Um, it wouldn’t necessarily take shifts from the seventh Fleet or from the third Fleet. It would be a sharing. That’s all are numbered. Fleets operate predicated on the demand and the threat that emanates in that part of the ocean in which those respective fleets operate First Fleet would be expeditionary. We’re still determining where from where that fleet would operate from. But it was major focus would be on the Western Pacific. Andi uh, the, uh, Eastern Indian Ocean. So, Mr Secretary, is this the proposal or has the decision already been made? Thio do this? Yeah. The decision has been made. Yes. Under my touch. Did I hear you say that this was in consultation with the in Topeka people? Um, it is in consultation with Indo Pak, um through the chairman’s office and the Office of Secretary Defense. Thank you. On you were asking questions about the importance of the continuation of the modernization program at the shipyards. And so I just want Thio reiterate my support of the importance of going ahead with those plans. Even though I know with Kobe, we’ve had delays, etcetera, because of manpower issues related to coal bed. Let me turn Thio to you once again. Um, you visited Pala, which was I think I think that was very important. You were the first, I believe, Secretary of the Navy to visit Palau in October and you emphasized the importance off of U. S military presence in the Indo Pacific as, of course, China continues its destabilizing activities in the area. So the recent activation of the Marine Force camp can’t glass and Guam is also an important part of the military’s force. Lay down in this region. I want to ask you, can you provide some insight into how the U S and Palau can build on that on our partnership with Palau through joint use facilities in the Pacific? Because I believe that the new president of Palau has written to us saying that that he would welcome that kind of effort. Yes, Senator. Thank you for the question. I’ve never been to pull out before. Um What, What? No, no. I want a secretary. Navy. A beautiful country. I’ve never been there before. I was a Navy, a Navy pilot, and I flew extensively throughout the Western Pacific. But I’ve never been to the beautiful islands of Palau And what a gorgeous country it is. And the thing that struck me, I went in the wake of Secretary Esper. Hey, and I had discussed, um the opportunity Thio not only reassure those who are partners and allies like Palau, who is on the cutting edge the tip of the spear of Chinese aggression in that part of the world that we are with them. I personally went with members of my team to look at the infrastructure there to see how we could support us naval vessels operating periodically from, uh, there, uh, during my trip, I also visited Guam, Senator um uh, in the same reasons to see how we could ensure a more forward presence of naval forces and enhance our presence there. Andi, that process is ongoing. Palau continues, as you have said, to be receptive to receiving mawr US naval vessels. While I was there, we had some operating in the region. I was able Thio interact with them on duh ! The support that they received was again indicative of the Pacific Island nations. Um, also a zai Think through, um, the uniqueness of Palau, their co vid free senator, and one of the things that we’re dealing with now is our sailors are Marines have been deployed on ships without any port visits. And, you know, it was kind of one of those additional bonuses of my trip. But Palau, where we have forces operating at sea, who are co vid free. It would be almost bubble toe bubble, uh, to be ableto see our ships go into into Palau. So all those things indicate that allow is a nation that we need to continue to support and recognize. Uh, you know, their partnerships, their friendships with us and how we can enhance that. Yes. I hope that we can do more with all of our compact nations. That would include allow the Marshall Marshall Islands and the Micronesian, Um, coming with Micronesia. So, yes, I’m just saying Senator time being called. Yeah, I need to move to Senator Duckworth’s. Okay. Thank you so much. Thank you. Senator Corona. For the record, Senator Duck Worth, I believe, is with us by via WebEx. Yes. Thank you so much. Senator Kaine, Um, I wanna open by acknowledging the department of the Navy’s leadership in moving the Confederate flag from Navy and Marine Corps installations. Commandant Perjury use new specifically led the way for other military services in a move that I felt displayed. Great concern for all of your marines and sailors and great personal moral courage. Your expectation that the Marines and sailors assist you in rooting out symbols that cause division in the ranks sets a clear standard of leadership, and this is a readiness issue. And I think you have made that very clear. Additionally, your recognition that the Confederate Army’s battle flag can cause feelings off, and I quote pain and rejection plainly states of truth that other senior leaders have failed to acknowledge for so long. The Confederate flag was carried by those who took up arms against the United States to keep black Americans in chains. It’s imperative that all of our service members feel welcomed and valued. Banning displays of the Confederate flag shows respect for black service members who already face well documented barriers to service in the military and inclusions in the ranks. Commandant, your actions represent one of the many important steps that our armed services can take to improve the inclusion of all service members as well as discipline and unit cohesion. I applaud your leadership, and I also applaud you, Admiral Guild, for your subsequent call for a Navy order banning the display of the Confederate flag from public spaces above abort Navy installations. Um, now that it began with my question, I actually want to focus on the region. That is personally important to me. Southeast Asia in particular. The national defense strategy, The NDS focuses significant attention on countering the rise of China and our own readiness to operate in this large, geographically diverse distributed and maritime region is absolutely peach. Executing the vision that is laid out in the N. D s. General Burger. I was pleased to see you acknowledgement in your written statement that are operational logistic system, both grounded aviation is insufficient to meet the challenges posed by Pierre and near peer conflict, especially in the Indo Pacific. I’m very concerned about our ability to sustain our troops while they execute the vision of warfighting that’s laid out in the N. D. S. But the logistics function of warfighting received far less attention than fires and maneuver. Your admission that the Marine Corps has works to do when it comes to logistics gives me greater confidence that you are thinking realistically about this problem set. I think that your recognition that readiness, particularly in the end of Pacific, implies more than simply maintaining legacy equipment is a really important one. A service’s plan to operate in smaller Mawr distributed formations across a large and your geopolitically complex region. Perhaps with limited calms, it’s clear that the military services will have to rethink the way they sustain warfighters in theater. General Burger From your perspective, what are the biggest challenges to reforming the Marine course? Current operational logistics to meet the needs of distributed or specific? Sorry for the long principle. I think I understand the question, Senator um, we have we have a big challenge because two factors. I think one is the distances which you highlighted. The second is that we’ve enjoyed a protected backside in terms of our logistics change. For 70 years, we have not been challenged. We are. Now. We have to assume that any adversary is gonna chat, going to contest our logistics supply chains. So we have in terms of what do we have to do about it? I’ll offer just two or three thoughts. First of all, we got to be able to distribute laterally at the tactical toe operational level sustainment supplies, equipment, people in a way we have not been challenged to do in the past, and we got to do it again in a contested environment and by contested I mean in a in a region where an adversary can see us and can interdict you. So we have to have the everything from the surface craft to the aircraft. And probably in the future, I would suspect a fair portion of that be an unmanned. We have to have better distribution mechanisms than we have right now. From the operational to strategic, we’ve enjoyed a secure line all the way back to Conus. Aziz, you pointed out for years has not been challenged. That is a challenge that’s now becoming a problem. So from the strategic to the operation, we gotta push the supplies forward and then, operationally to tactical laterally, we gotta way. We’re gonna need different means to move supplies and equipment and people laterally for within the second or first island chain or within Europe or within Centcom. Well, thank you. So are their policies of programs that my colleagues and I should be considering at our level to address these challenges and better adapt to an environment in style of war fighting that is very different from what we’ve seen in Afghanistan and Iraq. So what can we do? Here are level here in the Senate in terms of particular programs that will help you basically bring your readiness level in those logistical networks. Especially when you’re talking about doing it horizontal horizontally in a contestant environment. What can we do to support you and their particular programs that you would emphasize? There are, man, I think the combination of oversight and resource ing for our unmanned surface and aerial systems is probably the biggest area. I’m sure there are others, but you asked me here. I would say that that one comes to mind. We have to move very quickly to develop and feel the unmanned surface vessels and unmanned aerial systems that will move those supplies because we’ll never get there if we if we rely on Lee on man systems, we have a lot of learning to do there. We have a lot of experimentation to do there. But if there’s one area I’d asked for support there, that would be it. You know, uh, Admiral Gildeyev, you wanna weigh in Just Admiral Gilda, you can weigh in, and then I will move to Senator Jones, if that’s okay. Senator Duckworth’s Senator Duck worth. My next thing. Uh, thank you. Thank you, ma’am. I appreciate the opportunity and to amplify what? General Burger. So I really spoke. Thio, we have alleged legislative proposal right now with the India in consideration by by in conference with the N d a. That we would allow the Navy to buy used seller vessels instead of investing in New Zealand vessels to increase the number of use vessels that weakened by. As you know, that’s a growing cape. A capability gap forces you, Aziz, you highlighted and we need to close it quickly. We can do so at 1/10 of the cost by. We’ve already done the market analysis. We know which ships we’d go after 1/10 of the cost of buying new. So for $30 million instead of 300 million with a with a minor upgrade in the U. S. Shipyard, we we will have the sealift that we need to move ground forces where they need to be in order. Thio bring effects to bear. Uh, the other thing I would mention is the the future Naval Force study assessment that was completed recently and will be briefed toe staff up here in the hill tomorrow. One of the things one of the big takeaways. I think our logistics vessels and the numbers increased significantly with respect to the requirement. And I think it’s don’t worthy. And something that we is the department need to put a higher priority on with respect to procurement. Thank you, ma’am. Thank you, Senator. Actually, they don’t have enough holes in the water nor heavy lift capabilities, and that’s it. Thank you, Mr Chairman. Senator Jones. Thank you, Mr Chairman. And let me first, I want to echo, uh, Senator Duckworth’s comments about the removal of the Confederate battle flag and and those symbols, Um, my career I’ve seen. Especially coming from a state like Alabama. Words matter. Symbols matter, and they can have deadly consequences on occasion. And eso I appreciate your efforts without a knack of Congress, uh, to remove those symbols. I want to talk just a moment about readiness in a different way. Not from adversaries attacking or whatever, but from security on our own installations here in the United States on our soil. Um, one year ago, this coming Sunday, there was a shooter and a terrorist attack at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. I met Ah, few months ago with Ben Watson and his son, Adam, to talk about their terrorist attack. There been son Caleb Watson, was the officer on deck that morning and was one of the first people to shooter encountered. And though he had been a captain of the rifle team at the Naval Academy per installation rules, Caleb did not have a weapon that day. He and two other young men Airman Mo Haytham from Florida and Airman Apprentice Kammen Walters of Georgia, died that day. Ben and his wife, Sheila, wanted to be here today but were unable to because of co vid restrictions. But they’re watching in Alabama, and I believe, and that Caleb’s family believes that things could have been different that day in December of 2019, things should have been different. Secretary Braithwaite, you and I’ve talked about this. For one thing, the law enforcement officer who drove Caleb to the hospital with his injuries got lost on the base. That just shouldn’t happen Now. My office has been asking the Navy since April 6 about this investigation report. We finally got that last week. We can half ago a redacted version and one of the things that was clear even before the report came out is this has happened too many times on our military installations. Too many American troops have lost their lives. Two shooters on U. S. Military bases on U. S. Soil as someone in the Senate like Senator Kaine and others who send folks to the academies and, uh, they’re they’re gonna be on these bases is someone who encourages our young men and women to join the armed forces to serve their country. That’s disturbing that we’re putting them in harm’s way at a place where they should be most secure. There have been investigation reports about all of those instances and shootings, and they have been recommendations. But what we see from the Pensacola report is that many of those air just not being followed, especially with regard to planning, training and assessment of response plans for situations just like this. And I, for one, believe that’s inexcusable. John and Sheila watching are watching today from Alabama. They’ve made it their mission to do everything they can to prevent losing mawr of our sons and daughters. I’ve tried to help in my time here on the Armed Services Committee, so I asked for the committee to include in the Senate version of the N D. A language that would require the secretary of Defense to implement within 90 days of all applicable security and emergency response recommendations to protect military installations and language requiring the secretary of defense to ensure that each installation conducts air develops a plan to conduct live emergency response training with first responders. I very much hope that those requirements make it into the final bill that we’re gonna see shortly. I’m gonna ask each of you today and this is just a brief answers because I’ve got a couple more I’d like to ask. Can you tell me that it is currently a priority currently a priority to make absolutely certain that on every Navy and Marine Corps installation that all applicable security recommendations and regulations have or will be implemented and followed. And if that isn’t a priority, would you commit to making one Secretary Braithwaite senator first and foremost, Caleb is a hero. I was in Pensacola two weeks ago with the leadership there, and I was in the very place where Caleb was was was shot. And, uh, I can’t imagine the anguish that his family, being a father myself, must feel in 31 years in uniform of our country as a naval officer. Every time I went aboard the base, I always felt safer because I presented my ID card. And although there is no easy answer to this, um, we are committed to ensuring that we get to the root problem of all of these. In some instances, it’s because people do have guns on our installations and other instance, since it’s because people don’t have weapons on our installation. So we are working diligently to figure out the right approach to this. So a hero like Caleb Watson never loses his life. I wanna come back to the other two real equipment. I want to follow up on the comment about the weapons. One of the recommendations is that there be a uniformed policy, uh, with regard to weapons on there. Is that something that you intend to try to follow? Develop a uniformed policy on weapons on the on base? Well, the uniformed policy. I mean, we are one department of the Navy, and it should be uniform. But remember, the shooting in Pearl Harbor was just the opposite. It’s because the individual who was on duty had a weapon and used that weapon, um Thio to attack others with it. So again, there isn’t easy answer to say, one or the other. What we are committed to is ensuring that those people who are armed are appropriately trained. That there is the cross, uh, integration both on base and off base. So what happened in Escambia County doesn’t happen again on any other base? Um, that’s what we’re committed to dio. Mr. Chairman, if you could bear with me, I’d like to just get a quick answer from, uh, McGill Day and General Burger on the question about a commitment to the security of those installations and following those recommendations, Admiral. Sure. First of all, Senator, I completely agree with you that the incident was inexcusable. Secondly, taking a deeper look at this, uh, besides, as you mentioned, the m o use that we’re looking at and the training that we’re doing with with first responders at all our installations now that that we had not been doing to degree we should have been doing is underway. Regardless of whether any legislation, uh, comes out and The third thing is, I commit to you, sir, that this is a priority for the Navy. Thank you, Jenna. Partner, it’s interacting Affirm to sink. It is a priority right now. It will remain a priority. Thank you all, Mr Chairman. Let me say, First of all, it’s been an honor serving on this committee in the last two years with both of you and all the other members of the this subcommittee as well as the General Committee. I will miss it, but I know that the work is in good hands. And, Mr Chairman, let me say to you specifically, let me also offer my condolences. Uh, I lost my dad this about 11 months ago. He was also a Navy guy. So I feel the pain and I feel the loss, and it can never be replaced. So thank you, Mr Chairman. Thank you, Senator Johnson. Thanks for your kind words. And thanks for your great service on this committee. You know, I think the witnesses No, there’s certain senators who dig into these issues really care. The issues of civilian oversight for our military are critical, and you are certainly have been one of those and we appreciate your service. We know that you have a lot left in terms of given to your country and your state. So thanks very much for your great service on this committee. Uh, gentlemen, I’d like toe continue with the second round of questioning. And General Burger, I’d like toe dive in a little bit more with regard to the force designed 2030 plans that you have put forward that I highlighted in my, um, in my opening remarks. And to be respectful and also to give you an opportunity is, you know, and I think this happens anytime someone’s, uh, trying toe break glass in terms of broad based strategy that recognizes challenges that are new and very significant. I have tow agree wholeheartedly with the national defense strategy in the national security strategy of this administration. I think one of the un unwritten stories in the media is how bipartisan the support is for that strategy. But then services now have to start implementing it, and I think that’s a always a difficult challenge. Um, I think the Marine Corps, under your leadership is really taken that to heart, and I have to appreciate it But it’s not. As I mentioned in my opening remarks. Without its critics, I’m going to read just a couple lines from a a detailed piece in the national interest from former secretary of the Navy Jim Webb, who has a lot of respect in the Marine Corps, of course, is a combat veteran from Vietnam. But he says a couple of things in his piece quote after the centuries it took to establish the Marine Corps is a fully separate military service. This new strategy could reduce its president role by making it again subordinate to the funding and operational requirements of the U. S Navy. That’s one criticism. Another. He talks about the plan to dramatically alter the entire force structure of the core. To focus on China ignores the unpredictability of war. And he also says there is no greater danger in military strategy than shaping a nation’s for structure to respond toe one specific set of contingencies. Giving an adversary the ability to adjust and adapt beforehand. Do you want to comment, um, on those comments? I know there’s some other former commandants who’ve also I’ve been critical and I wanna offer this is an opportunity for you, Toe. Make the case of what you’re trying to do with the 2030 force design. It was Chairman, if I may. Um, sure. Mr Secretary is the secretary of the Navy. You Certainly. Both of you would welcome really all three of you. Secretary, Former secretary. Web obviously incorporates the Navy in general, so I’d welcome, Actually, it’s a good point, Mr Secretary. All three of you to respond. Mr. Chairman, I just like to say first and foremost, Secretary Webb is an incredible patriot and great America, and I hold in extremely high regard his former member of this committee. Yes, sir. And an incredible accomplished Marine graduate from the U. S. Naval Academy, where I was fortunate to follow in his wake and a gentleman who I consider a friend and somebody that I’ve had many had discussions with. Um, but I would say that General Burger is a visionary, and I couldn’t say this during my confirmation hearing because I was told to throttle back a little bit. But I generally don’t throttle back, Senator. I lean in pretty heavy when I know and believe in my heart and in my head, something is right. Dave Burger is the visionary that the Department of the Navy needs today. It is his vision and his humble leadership off going up against all of the challenges that he’s now encounter to see something come to fruition that is long overdue. The world has changed in the last 2040 60 years, but what has been proven is the concept that a combined Navy Marine Corps team, not one subordinate to the other, the Marine Corps and the Navy in the commandant’s vision are one equal paired together. His vision gives a combatant commander another tool in the toolbox in order to fight the fight. If you have to do that, it takes the Marine Corps from being land centric to be an capable amphibious force again. His vision is predicated on those off Commandant Russell and common on Fuller, who through the Fleet Marine Force concepts of the 19 thirties created the success of the amphibious, marine oriented combat capabilities, coupled with the department with the United States Navy and being able to take the fight to the Japanese and win World War two. So I wanted to be on record to say, as the secretary of the Navy. I’m proud to be with our commandant whose vision is the one that we need for the challenges that we see emerging and global and great power competition. Thank you, Mr Secretary and Senator. Senator Kaine. If you’re if you’re okay with that, I’m gonna go a little long here for General Burger and Admiral Guilty to be able to respond on add toe what the secretary said and then try to you know, the criticisms. Um, General, if you can take this opportunity to dress what former Secretary Webb and others have been saying in how you and Admiral, how you view this, uh, new force designed for the Marine Corps. Uh, Chairman, I think the feedback, my view, the feedback from Secretary Webb and others is helpful. This is elevating the discussion. This is an ongoing debate that will continue for years. So it’s not hurtful. It’s actually helpful. I met with Secretary Web, as I have with the others who want to provide feedback. So I met with him in Arlington, and we’ve we talked for probably two hours. I didn’t know him that well, but it was a great discussion. I know him now. I didn’t know him that well before we talked in three broad areas. First of all, does the Marine Corps need to change? Second, If it does, does it need to change now? And the third part was the changes that we think that we’re considering right now. The direction we’re headed are those the right changes through in basic order kind of marine. Like we We broke it down into three categories. I don’t think there’s any. I didn’t see any daylight between us on. Do we need to change to the point you made earlier? We have to change now. Do we need to change now or can we wait to change in a year to when things were a bit clearer? This is this is a much a judgment call is anything but My assessment is we cannot wait. We have adversaries that are moving quickly. If we wait a year or two for a clear 90% picture will not catch up. To my opinion, we cannot wait. So then it came down to the changes themselves which you highlighted here. There are going to be differences of opinion, but what I emphasized to him is this is just where we are right now is on the front end, not the back end. We have a lot of experimentation. Ah, lot of learning to do. We cannot wait to move out. So we had a great healthy discussion and I take all the input from everybody else. Not in a negative sense, but in a positive sense. It elevates the discussion, but in my assessment, my professional opinion, we have to change. We have to move out now. And we have to preserve enoughto learn in the future over the coming years to make sure we get it right. Thank you, General. Admiral, would you care to comment? Thank you, Senator. Go back to what I said. My opening statement. See? Controlling power projection. And so Nimitz said it was timeless. President Kennedy said it’s timeless. If you look at the missions of the N. D. S today, they require those functions from the Navy Marine Corps team. But General Burger is doing is giving us another as the secretary said tool in the tool kit. So what changes today is not only what we fight with, but how we’re gonna fight and we have to look at that fight and every domain from the seabed to space. The Marine Corps brings a terrestrial capability to the problem of C control Ah, function that we still value. If the nation believes that we need the United States Navy in the United States Marine Corps forward so that the fight states forward and not in this country, then that’s an investment that you want to double down on because what what General Burger is bringing is an asymmetric advantage to that particular function. Something that the enemy is gonna be. It’s gonna be difficult to find difficult to pin down and difficult to take on. We’re gonna be coming at. It gives us many more options that presents more options. Is the secretary said to a combatant commander to confuse an enemy and to come at him with multiple vectors with multiple tools in the tool kit. So it goes without saying, Senator, I’m a huge supporter. I think we’re heading the right direction. That’s not to say that there still won’t be friction within the Department of the Navy in terms of where we put our next dollar with respect to capabilities and you’ll be asking the same question on whether on whether a capability for the Marine Corps with respect to see control is worth it or whether you get more flexibility, more maneuverability, more you know, better effects through another investment. And so I think we have to be open minded about that. And I think we have to look at the end of the day, the capability gaps you have to close in order to give you see control. Great, thank you. And your point, general, I think, is a really good one that all of this, whether it’s from former Secretary Webb, former Senator Webb as well and, um former common on it does elevate the discussion. I think the discussion also needs to be here, which is why I’ve highlighted it, um, in terms of the armed services committees, civilian oversight responsibilities and I think it’s going to continue So appreciate. This really is kind of the beginning of important discussion at the highest levels of our government because it’s a really important undertaking that the Navy and Marine Corps are advancing right now as part of our national defense strategy, and I come in all three of you for the seriousness with which you have undertaking this at this moment, Senator Kaine. Thank you, Mr Chairman. I’m glad you took extra time on this question because I think it is a very, very important one. Um, General Burger, I want to echo comments made by senators Duck Worth and Jones about your courage and taking the stance you took last spring with respect to display of the Confederate battle flag on Marine installations on because you have such family ties to Virginia. This was not a decision taken by an outsider or imposed by somebody who doesn’t deeply understand the dimensions of this issue on frankly, your ties to Virginia, I think are are such that the decision that you made in the way you articulated it, uh, maximized the acceptability of it within your ranks. And so I wanna echoed those comments. Your willingness to take courageous stands when you need to bears upon this last question is well, I changes. Needed, should change happen. Our Can we wait on it? I think the answers to those first two questions I think you’ve answered them correctly. Exactly. The dimensions of all the change that is needed, that is a profitable area for a lot of discussion now in in the future. But your willingness to, uh, take big steps forward is one of the reasons that you’re in the position that you’re in and that we have confidence in your leadership. A few questions. Um, the Navy’s developed the shipyard, um, infrastructure optimization plan. And that was Thio direct to deal with this lack of capacity of shipyards theory journal. Plan was estimated is a $21 billion investment over 20 years. The G a o suggests that’s likely underestimate, because the number of costs were probably not included in the original estimate. So I guess. And moral Gilda wanna What I would like to ask you is this. I, uh, still on track with respect to both time and funding, and if so, why are not we? Why are we not seeing it in budgetary requests to Congress, sir, But I would argue that we are. I mean, a zai talked about the investments in, you know, nine milk on projects underway right now, 3.5 billion in milk con at the four shipyards themselves invested over the fit up. We’re typically we’re spending a billion a year on on milk on. And so I think, relatively speaking, we are making We are sort of making it up. Uh ah. High priority. And we understand the importance of it. Thies Dry docks on average, is you know, we’re over 100 years old on. We’ve neglected him for too long. And this is a strategic decision by the department to make to make this a priority and put the money where we need Thio or we can’t sustain the fleet of the future way. As you know, we’re challenged to sustain the fleet that we have now. Thank you, Admiral. Um, Mr Secretary of the F Y 20 n d. A. Required the department to submit military installation resilience plans to help our bases prepare for extreme weather events, whether it’s sea level, rise in Hampton roads or whether it’s dwright, drought or wildfire conditions in other parts of the country in the wake of destruction observed over the last several years at Camp Lejeune, China Lake and elsewhere. Um, has the department completed any military installation, resilience plans? And when can we on the committee expect to see them? Yes, Senator. Thank you. for that question. You and I spoke about this in detail both during my confirmation hearing and, uh, in meetings between now and then. Um, you know, our department has looked into this. I mean, the devastating destruction Hurricane Florence on Camp Lejeune or the earthquake at Naval Air Station, China Lake. You have all have been wonderful. Thio help offset our losses there so that we can rebuild some of those structures. As you know, Senator, a lot of our structures on our military bases are old, their antiquated. They were built before, Um, you know, there were codes in place to ensure that our buildings could withstand hurricane of a certain, uh, severity or earthquake. Um, so we are in the process of developing the plans. Our installations are working on those. I don’t know if the CNO has any specific thoughts on this or the common on, but it is important to us as we look forward because we can’t be already force unless we ensure that we’re operating from bases that are resilient. Onda those homes on those bases where our dependence live which, of course, have a personal impact on on our readiness are have the ability to a sustained damage as well. Can I ask either Admiral Guild or General Burger? Do you know when when any of these plans are likely to be done so that we can review them on the committee? Sir, I do not. I’m not satisfied right now where we are. The patient reacting were acting on these plans. There are discrete projects that we have ongoing one down in Norfolk Naval Shipyard right now in terms of, uh, dealing with rising water tables in the vicinity of the dry docks as an example. Others at the Naval Academy where we’re seeing rising water levels. So we’re reactive and not proactive. And I owe you a better answer for the Navy in terms. And the second I owe the secretary of better answer as well in terms of when, when we can present those plans to both him and you, General Burger through, some of them were complete. Not all. And we prioritize the ones that we had to do first, which is Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where we had to rebuild so that every contract in the last 18 months that you all have resource to rebuild camp Lejeune is to the new regulations for for resiliency. So they’re prioritize. We’ll provide you the detailed breakdown, sir. That would be helpful. I think you know that this is a serious matter for the committee because the resilience plans will enable us to not just exercise oversight on Are you trying to be resilient? But it will help us prioritize investments. We would hate toe rebuild something in a way that substandard and doesn’t really meet the conditions that are likely to be there in 10 or 20 years. Rebuilding one off for being reactive, one off thio dangers or emergencies isn’t the same as having a forward looking plan. That’s likely Thio Thio involve a more efficient use of the dollars that air so competitively saw it. So I would like follow up on that from both the Navy and Marines. Here’s the last question I’d like to ask. I’m over Mr Chair, but with an indulgence, and I’d like each of you to address it, and it’s sort of like, ah, lessons learned during covert question. Co vid in the pandemic has been horrible. The death toll, the economic effect. It’s been horrible. Nevertheless, even in a horrible time. You learn some lessons. Americans were doing much more telehealth than they did before, And that’s actually had some significant benefits for people who might have a hard time accessing health care institutions because they live so far away. We’ve been able to do some committee work virtually eso. There’ve been some lessons learned that we wouldn’t want to just snap back to the status quo ante, when this public health emergency is over in each of your spaces. I’d love you to talk about maybe some lessons learned since the beginning of March, as we’ve dealt with Cove in that you think could be, um, that could lead to sort of continuous improvement or changes you’ve had to make that you won’t want to undo when we’re over this public health emergency. And if you get each address that question, that’s the last question that I have. Senator. Thank you. I’ll answer the question first because I will tell you that I believe the Department of the Navy, both the Marine Corps and the United States Navy have done on incredible job. Um, you know, this caught the department off guard as it did the entire world and the Navy in in particular, struggle through, uh, some of the early weeks of this because the close proximity of which are sailors live aboard ship made this real threat to our ability to operate at sea on DNA that was even Mawr important board our submarine or more challenging aboard our submarines. Admiral Gilda has done an incredible job to lead the effort to not only identify ways to mitigate the risk, but to keep our ships operating them. We have over 100 ships today that air at sea deployed on bond. There are cases of covert aboard some of those ships, but he and the leadership of the Navy have done on incredible job. It’s an amazing story of resiliency. To be able to address the issue toe, isolate the issue through contract tracing through all the protocols that C, D. C and N I. H have put out through social distancing masks. When I go aboard a ship, everybody’s massed up. I’ll let the CNO talkto more of the details, but we are today a better force prepared for nuclear biological chemical warfare in the future because of the lessons we’ve learned from this pandemic, and as you and I talked about, you know, carbon footprint and the ability to have our workforce tele work, that’s another great. We have finally busted through the fact there’s a former military guy you gotta form up in front of the flagpole every morning to get credit for actually being on the job. I think we’ve thought beyond that now to a point where we’re more realistic in the fact that we can do work from afar. We can be productive, but I’d invite the CNO who, believe me, it is an incredible leader who has done an incredible job on this. And, uh, I’m very proud to be his wingman. Thanks, sir. Sir, A couple of things. One of the things that strikes me the most aboard ship right now is just the change and behaviors is almost a cultural change on board ships because, as the secretary said, you’re operating in such close quarters and your success or failure comes down to individual responsibility. So that means that every sailor now understands that as a leader at whatever level they’re at on a ship, that they have a responsibility to their shipmates. That’s tangible, and they also have a responsibility toe hold other people accountable. If they’re not following this, they’re not following the protocols and standards that they should. So, with respect to the culture of excellence that we wanna that we that we wanna have in the Navy and the kind of leadership that we want people toe to exhibit, I think that’s been a positive. Um, there’s been a lot of second order effects thio telecommuting. So excess capacity with respect to least spaces where we can recoup over $100 million a year in spaces that we just don’t need, uh, on eso. Another byproduct has been a realization off, I think a better realization off what’s core and what’s non core in terms of what we need to really be focused on him working on and how we use that teleworking force. Another is an acceleration of I T. Uh, I t capabilities. I don’t want to say the specific company, but, uh, but capabilities that would have taken us you can imagine years to feel that have been accelerated by the secretary defense, tow weeks and months that have put us in a much better place, and I also mentioned real briefly training at sea because now we operating covert bubbles. We’ve said, Well, why are we just in a in a kind of a single production line, which ships to get ships trained and qualified? Why can’t I do that with six ships at once? Get a lot more out of the get a lot more out of the trainers, become a lot more efficient and actually increase the numbers of ships that I’m generating for the secretary to present to the secretary of defense to use out there at sea? And so, uh, I think overall, it’s caused everybody to think a little bit more innovatively on do be a little bit more efficient in terms of how they think about using their time. Kindleberger. Yeah, so I’ll be pretty short, I think. Yeah, it’s this is a virus were not the first virus that your military’s operated in. So it’s not. The pandemic is once every 100 years, but this isn’t an operating environment that’s new. You would expect us, in other words, not to take a knee, but to operate through it. And that’s what’s happened. Couple of things toe highlight. You said you asked for lessons learned. There’s not an exercise or a training event that we do in the military. We don’t take away nine ways to Sunday after arts, we do after action reports like nobody else, and we have a long list. I’ll just mention one or to recruit training. We had to continue recruit training, but we way can’t be taken to our knees. So what? We learned that we were going to continue to your question, Senator is spread out the racks in the squad base, put war stands outside the Chow hall, take specific measures that we’re going to keep in place afterwards because normally, typically every officer candidate class, every recruit training class gets some kind of credit in the first two weeks and it shuts them down. We haven’t had that problem. Why? Because we’re basically quarantining them for two weeks before first day of training. Why would we not consider continuing that later on so that when training starts, everybody can train instead of half the squad bay being sick? So, some to your point. Some of these measures we need to keep in place afterwards and I’ll just finish with you would I would echo the same Azad Miral Guild A you this committee, this subcommittee would be very proud of the small unit leaders. This is where discipline matters. We haven’t had large outbreaks because we’re a disciplined force. We follow orders way very much. Trust our leaders and and they’ve not let us down. Mr. Chair, I’m so glad I asked. That question is really important. One of the first visits that I did when we were in our kind of initial months of cove it and when we were home during April in the Senate was closed was I went to the VA Hospital in Richmond, the McGuire v A, which is dealing with a lot of these issues. And it didn’t really strike me until I walked into that massive facility that there was not a single thing that they did that they didn’t have to rethink. I mean touching an elevator button, the arrangement of, you know, tables in the cafeteria, everything. How do you check in if you’re a patient coming in? Every last thing that’s done in that facility, which is tens of thousands of square feet, it’s massive. They’ve had to rethink and on board a ship or a sub close quarters, people working in such close proximity to each other, that is even magnified. But I just think it’s really important for us in this committee and, you know, across the board that we do the lessons learned, Um, it would be foolish if we went back to the status quo ante. One of the things we did, for example, is we usedto, as a federal government reimbursed telehealth visits at a lower reimbursement rate than in office visits. We made an emergency change to allow on equalization of reimbursement rates for such visits, and that is dramatically advanced health. It would be foolish to go back to the status quo ante when this is done, because then we would sacrifice all that learning and slide back to a second best. So there’s gonna be a lot of need for us to look at what the changes that have been forced upon us and say, Hey, this needs to be the going forward norm. There are some things will be glad to let go, but there’s also, as you point out, General Burger, Why wouldn’t you have a 14 day quarantine period now forever tow avoid just the common kinds of, you know, infectious viruses or whatever That could take down a recruiting class early in their time in. So we’re gonna really need to do this. And you guys have offered some great examples that can, I think, inspire that work. So I really appreciate it. Thank you. Yeah, great question and great answers. And General Burger I mentioned I did see the I think it was a New York Times article or something that talked about the changes to Marine Corps recruit training, But how? It’s still working. And, you know, in my view, some of the best, you know, recruit training anywhere in the world. So, uh, kudos to the Marine Corps and the rest of the Department of Navy for doing such great work. I’m gonna end here with just a couple additional questions. Uh, appreciate the patients of the three of you gentlemen of General I wanted toe. Just want one additional question on the force design. You speak in your testimony of modernizing the Marine Corps infantry and recon units and is, ah, infantry and recount officer myself. And I am a Marshak marine officer. Currently, I’m interested in what you stated in your testimony that we’re modernizing our infantry battalions and traditional reconnaissance units to create um, or distributable formations with much greater organic leath ality in accordance with units traditionally associate with special forces in commando units. Can you unpack that a little bit more in terms of again? You’re forced design and what marine infantry and recon units can anticipate in, uh, Marshak is Well, Senator, like you, I have the same background. Yours is a little bit more distinguished. I think it’s way have common ground. Uh, I believe if we’re going to compete and we’re going to deter first of all, then much of who has an advantage is decided in the reconnaissance counter reconnaissance sort of effort that both sides and any competition are gonna do. I think we will rely Mawr and Mawr and Mawr on your Ford Expeditionary Forces to paint a picture of what’s happening in front of it. Because deterrence is really the foundational element of the strategy to do that effectively, yet have good reconnaissance forward to understand what’s happening in front of you to give decision makers the space, the situational awareness to make good calls as we reshape the Marine Corps, we will reshape our reconnaissance and effort and our reconnaissance units and infantry units as well. Infantry training will be longer. The product of infantry training on the enlisted side will be at a higher level than we’re producing right now. Right now. In other words, you complete basic training and you go through infantry training. You join your first unit. The rest of the way is on the backs of the platoon sergeant in that first platoon. We need to take that Marine to a higher level so that the whole platoon, the whole battalion, can get to a higher level. And we need to get to that higher level because they are going to be mawr distributed. We’re going to rely on them to make higher level decisions. As you know, serve from your service. We ask captains to make decisions now that Lieutenant Colonels, Battalion commanders made a decade ago. Why? Because they have the capabilities. Now we have to get them toe to ah, higher training level now. So infantry training, both on the officer, enlisted side MAWR, extensive longer reconnaissance forces, better capabilities, a deeper reach and the ability to commit to communicate to sense and toe Thio distribute what they’re sensing back and to laterally to the rest of the force. I think you’re gonna see a lot of our investments in ground aerial and surface reconnaissance so that we can give the combatant commander of the fleet numbered fleet Commander a better picture of what’s in front of us. Right. Thank you for that. Um, Mr Secretary, I we talked briefly on the Arctic and ice breakers. I want to dive in a little bit more. You know, I authored language in the end a a a couple of years ago that gave that congress put forward the authorization to build six polar class icebreakers between the Coast Guard and the Navy. And, um, as I mentioned, the president put forward a memo a couple months ago on how we operationalize that what ways we look at that. And then importantly, from my perspective, um, where you would want to home port some of these polar class icebreakers that, in my view, should have much more than just icebreaking capability. Should have intelligence capability, should have weapons capability the way the Russians are certainly viewing their massive icebreaking fleet. I think the latest numbers 56. And as you mentioned, we have 21 is broken. Eso we have a long way to catch up, but on this issue, uh, to me, it’s a no brainer that you would at least homeport some of these icebreakers that were, uh, building in the Arctic of America. And you, you and I had a great visit when you came out to Alaska. Really, really appreciated that. I know. My fellow Alaskans certainly enjoyed meeting you and Ketchikan and Adak and Kodiak and in Anchorage. Um, but do you have a view on this President is actually asked his national security team? I’ve talked to you the SEC def National Security adviser comment on the Marine Corps. I’m sorry, Common on the Coast Guard. Uh, I’m a little bit biased, but I think it makes strategic sense for America. If you’re gonna have ice breakers, you need toe. You need to base him in the place where the action is. And that’s the Arctic, not in Florida or other places where there’s no ice. Do you have a view on where we should be basing these? I know the president has asked that in the memo. Mr Chairman, I always have an opinion. Good. You know that. I love to hear it, especially if that’s the right answer. However, as you and I also discussed the United States, Coast Guard does not fall under the command in control of the Department of the Navy. I’m asking you and your personal, of course, we could change that. You could change that. And I’d be happy to incorporate the Coast Guard as part of the department of the Navy. A sister maritime service. I think that would be wonderful. Don’t take anything away from Homeland Security, but I love the Coast Guard. They are incredible partners, Andi. We’d like to see them to get all the resources they need. I’ve seen you know, some of the efforts in the shipbuilding when I’ve been down to Huntington Ingalls and building a new national security cutter. Um, you know, as far as home porting those ships, um, you know, if they fell under the control of the United States Navy, of course, we would, uh, homeport them closer to where they would be required to fulfill their mission. Um, but I’m not in a position Mr Chairman, to make a determination for the Coast Guard on where they should put those icebreakers. Um, if we are the ones who end up operating those icebreakers, I think, as Thean executive Order has indicated, that’s something that we the Department of Navy, would come back and work with you, Mr Chairman, on figuring out the best placement where we would have the kind of support I know. Going into Kodiak, I was extremely impressed with the Coast Guard facility there, meeting with the station commander again, a phenomenal, phenomenal, um, base with the infrastructure to support additional ships, being home ported there. So again, there are a lot of options here, but there’s a lot of work to be done. And unfortunately, it’s not a new A to Z Quick answer. I’m gonna press you a little bit. You have a personal opinion on this issue of where you at home port icebreakers? America’s interest in the Arctic You and I both served. You still serve in the uniform of our nation. So for 31 years, I wore the cloth of the U. S. Naval officer very proudly and, uh, in my role is now the secretary of the Navy. I still fall under the command and control the president of the United States, and I have tow follow the lawful orders of those appointed over me. So again, as the secretary of the Navy, I have personal opinions, and I have professional requirements of how I conduct myself each and every day. So in this case, the Coast Guard has the authority to operate those vessels, and I think they’re the ones who have to determine where they wanted to home. Port them. Let me turn to if Senator Kaine, I just have a couple more questions. And Mr Secretary on the USS Bond. I’m Richard. Can you? I guess the Navy made the decision just a few days ago that, um, this is gonna be a ship that’s decommissioned. Can you just give us a little quick understanding of what actually happened? It’s obviously an issue that this committee has a lot of interesting. Um, And then why you made that decision recently on the Decommissioning and what that does to our capability, both from a Navy and Marine Corps perspective. That’s quite an important ship. Absolutely, Senator. So, first of all the investigation is ongoing, and R N C s, uh has done a remarkable job in working through all the details of something that is not a straightforward. There was such extensive damage on that ship. Both the chief of naval operations and I went out Thio visit to the ship shortly after Thean student Andi Amazing performance of the crew to save that ship off. What What they did is is just remarkable and a testament to the training that they receive in damage control and firefighting. Um, I’m a businessman, Mr Chairman. And at the end of the day, there’s a return on investment. Onda return on investment of what it would have taken to rebuild that ship. Working very closely with the secretary defense doctor expert wanted to see that ship come back. And for all the right reasons to send the right message to say, You know, uh, we don’t give up our ships very easily. We have a battle flag that hangs in Memorial Hall at the Naval Academy that says, Don’t give up the ship, but using logic and looking at what it would have required to put that ship back together, it would have been um uh It would have been a foolish investment of our American taxpayer dollars to invest in a ship that was over 20 years old. Uh, instead of looking at the options of building another ship in the future, that would have mawr relative capabilities embracing the technologies that are emerging. So I would invite the CNO, uh, to go into some of the particulars of what? Have what We’ve determined the ship was not Thio deploy until 2022. So talking with the comment on about how we can ensure that we have the right assets to come in, um, in the deployment plan that the offset, uh, loss of the ship. We’re working all those now. But so, you know, do you have any thoughts about the Bonhomme Rashard? Thanks for just a couple eso sort of the ship’s 22 years old. About 60% of it was so heavily damaged it would have to be replaced if we try to rebuild the ship into Anel HD its original, to return it to its original state. Um, it would take 5 to 7 years to be straining the industrial base. We think there’s one shipyard in the Gulf Coast. Who could do that kind of work? Um, and it would cost almost as much as a brand new ship If we took a look at other options, like repurpose ing it. Could it be a commander control ship? It could be a hospital ship. Could it be a sealer vessel? It costs us less money to buy. One knew that it would be to restore order, repurpose Bonham Rashard to another function. And so, for those reasons, sir, that 30 million of decommission, uh, was the best decision. I think. And the secretary has all the consequential decisions come to his desk. And, uh, I supported that recommendation that we that we d calmer in terms of near term impacts. Operationally, we’ve mitigated those I think, longer term. Let’s say out the 3 to 5 years we’re taking a look at what those other options could be. Do we accelerate the, you know, the production of a of, ah, big deck vessel? What would that mean with respect to the amphibious force that we’re building for the future? Uh, you know, what are the priorities that we want to take a look at within the department um, what is the demand signal from the secretary of defense and the combatant commanders of those vessels? And so that’s work to be done. That’s ongoing right now. But in the near term, there won’t be any operational impact. We have mitigated that with moving some other deployment schedules around. Great. Thank you for that answer. And we’re gonna look forward to the report when it’s, uh, done. Both of it’s classified or unclassified on what happened and some of the actions. I know there was a lot of sailors that undertook very heroic actions toe save that tried to save that ship. Um, let me ask another for all three of you. Gentlemen, As you know, here in the Senate, we’ve got a number of important bills that were tryingto finish up prior to the end of this Congress. Both the covert relief bill, the endia and a final appropriations bill. Importantly, uh, that’s gonna have our military appropriations, but it’s not for sure. We’re gonna be able to get there. There’s a lot of work that’s being done to try to get compromised. Bipartisan bill. If we don’t get there and we have to settle for a continuing resolution, which is certainly not ideal better than a government shutdown. But it’s not ideal. I’d like the three of you to weigh in on what you think the impacts of ah C R. Would be on Navy and Marine Corps operations and think sometimes it’s not well understood that even though it’s continued funding, it is very, very disruptive for our military operations and readiness, which is the whole point of the oversight of this subcommittee. Mr. Secretary will start with you. Yeah, absolutely, Mr Chairman. And really, thank you for this question. When I worked on the hill, uh, we rarely ever had a c r. I worked for Senator Arlen Specter and, uh, passing are our appropriations bills are authorizing bills extremely important, especially to an organization like the department of the Navy s Oh, this does impact us. And we are looking at ways now that if in fact, we do have a CR how we, uh, minimize the impact, but it will affect readiness. We asked for an anomaly, and it appears that we have received that to continue to build the Columbia class are follow on SSB N to replace the Ohio class Without that anomaly, we would not be able, um, Thio, replace the Ohio’s, which are 35 40 years old. So on behalf of the department, we’d like to thank Congress a very much for that relief. Um, but the particulars of this, I mean, the way that we operate our fleet steaming hours, flying hours, all that will be impact impacted Pay Thio our sailors to our marines. There will be significant impact, you know, in the hazardous and special play pay spaces. Uh, I’d invite to the commandant or the CNO, you know, to talk Thio. Some of the more specifics of what they see is the operational leads for their respective services. Admiral, Yes or so is a is a secretary mentioned across the number of accounts. You begin to see the effects accumulate over time. So the 72 day CR it’s about a billion dollars have primarily effects our operations and maintenance counts. So think steaming hours, flying flying hours. You want to keep these people in the era of great competition on the cutting edge and the best that they could be on? You can’t when you’re dealing with f y 20 levels of spending. You see that begin to manifest itself more acutely at the six month point where we we have decisions to make with respect of moving money around with the next steps with the USS Gerald R. Ford, an aircraft carrier, that we want to get operational in 22 as’s fast as we can, or with with overhauls on on the on going all overhaul on George Washington refueling overhaul or a new start overhaul on the John C. Stennis, a carrier that’s waiting to go into waiting to go into maintenance mill purse, you begin to see the effects more acutely in those accounts as well, where you cannot hire the people that you wanna hire in numbers to get to where you wanna be. A. The end of the fiscal year a 12 months er The impact of that is in the order of about 18 billion for the United States Navy across a number of accounts, the overtime You begin to see significant impact with respect to both near term readiness and investments that we’re trying to make in the future. General, do you have any? I think they had to that that’s a really staggering number. You mentioned 18 billion, Chairman. I think if you asked any leader who has anything to do with executing a budget if they get if you get to have one thing you know what would you What would you ask for? They would say stable, predictable funding. They wouldn’t ask for a dollar amount. They would just say some predictability, some stable, predictable funding. I boil it down in the same two buckets. Is the CNO readiness and modernization we’ll get by. We have gotten by so far on this CR on readiness, without any negative impacts, it will begin to impact going into the next few months. And this, you know, just really accurately highlighted those areas. They’re similar to ours. My bigger concern, frankly or my major concern is modernization. We’re turning our ship toe to make a new Marine Corps that we will need 10 years from now. That involves new starts if we don’t. If we don’t have the appropriations bill on time, you’re gonna delay the modernization in the Marine Corps and and to the detriment of our readiness, that is gonna be for us. Sort of a double whammy. Not not a good picture. Thank you and appreciate it. I have one final question, gentlemen. And again, I appreciate the comments about my, uh, my my father. One of the favorite things I got to do with him every year was go to the Army Navy game, and, uh uh, as a member of the board of visitors of the Naval Academy, I was honored to be appointed by that by the former chairman of this committee. Senator McCain. So, um, uh, looks like it’s the game is going to continue, which is great. And I would appreciate ah prediction if you can’t make it, um, in your professional capacity, Mr Secretary, maybe your personal You on who’s gonna win that game? It’s very important question for the nation on. And if the other two uniform leaders, the admiral in general also have a view, I would welcome that. So, Mr Chairman, as ah, proud member of the United States Naval Academy class of 1980 for my personal and professional opinion on this one converge we will be army at West Point. We have a record of playing there three times the first Army game in 18 90 Navy one. We played it at West Point. We went back toe army during World War Two, when we were under some of the same pressures as we are today with Cove it. And when Secretary Ryan McCarthy and I talked about where we should play the game, we were committed to ensuring that every cadet and every mid shipment we get to attend that game being a Philadelphia and I live about an hour outside the city. It is always great to go back to Philadelphia, but Philadelphia would not allow us to go beyond 7500, which doesn’t cover all of the corps cadets or the brigade of midshipmen. So Secretary McCarthy and I, working with the CNO Andi Army chief of staff and the respect of superintendents of both the United States Military Academy and United States Naval Academy, determined that we will play the game even if we have to play it in a parking lot outside the Meadowlands. Um, this is it uninterrupted tradition that has gone on since 18 90 in the midst of the Spanish influenza World War One World War Two. And we’re not stopping now, so Navy will beat Army on December 12, once again for the fourth time that we play at West Point armies Home team. That’s where we went to West Point. Go. Navy beat Army. Are there any dissent? Dissenting opinions from the admiral in general, on that view? No, sir, I didn’t think so. Um Well, listen, gentlemen, I appreciate very much your time and your professionalism and your service to our nation. This has been a very, very informative hearing. I know that there will be additional questions for the record, and we will keep the record of this hearing open for two more weeks for additional questions. And the committee asked respectfully, if you get Q frs if you can try to get them back to the committee in short order again, we appreciate it. And thank you for your service. This hearing is now adjourned.

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