Top U.S. Navy Officials Testify Before Senate Committee

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro; Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael M. Gilday; and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger testify before the Senate Committee on Armed Services about Navy posture as part of the defense authorization request for fiscal 2023, May 12, 2022.


Meets today to receive testimony and the plans and programs of the Department of the Navy and Review of the President’s fiscal year 2023 defense budget request. I would like to welcome Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael Gill day and the commandant of the Marine Corps General, David Berger. We are grateful for your service for the service of the men and women under your command and for the support of all Navy and Marine families. The administration’s defense budget request for fiscal year 2023 includes approximately $231 billion dollars in funding for the Department of the Navy. An increase of $10.6 billion 2022 enacted budget. As the leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps, I understand you face significant challenges as you strive to balance current operations and readiness. Alongside broad modernization efforts, our naval forces continue to maintain an extremely high operations tempo across all areas, demand is overwhelming for attack submarines, air and missile defense, cruises, destroyers and strike fighter inventories. As a result, our ships in the fleet are not meeting maintenance requirements on time or within budget. A number of ships have been waiting several years for maintenance, including the USS Boise, which will spend another year at pier side without diving certifications because of deferred maintenance. I’m also concerned that the neighbor will not be able to maintain a larger fleet of ships when it is struggling to maintain its current fleet of 294 ships on a consistent schedule differed. Ship maintenance, reduced steaming and flying hours and canceled training and deployments have created serious readiness problems within the navy. These problems are not limited to one sector but are also being experienced by private shipyards and navy shipyards. The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act directed the Navy to study how to improve the capacity in our shipyard industrial base and the navy has since begun the shipyard infrastructure optimization program to modernize and improve the efficiency of the public sector shipyards. We look forward to seeing the results of that effort looking ahead. I’m pleased that the USS Gerald Ford has conducted full ship shock trials and we understand that she may be deployed later this year looming on the horizon over the next decade. The navy will need to buy new Columbia class ballistic missile submarines to replace the Ohio class fleet. This is an expensive undertaking on a very tight schedule and I trust the navy is making every effort to keep this program on track. I would ask the witnesses for an update on these plants this year. The navy is proposing to retire a number of ships before the end of their useful service lives. This includes a plan to retire nine littoral combat ships early, one of which would only be three years old. I understand the LCS program showed promise when it was first conceived, but the threats we face have changed and the navy no longer believes these vessels would contribute much to a high end conflict. The Navy made a difficult choice to retire some of the ships now and free up more resources in the future. On the other hand, it seems that this plan would take us in the opposite direction of the Navy’s goal for 355 ship fleet. This committee will want an update on this issue. Turning to the United States Marines. The Marine Corps is restructuring around two concepts, littoral operations and a contested environment and expeditionary advanced based operations. The key element of these concepts is the more flexible amphibious force that can support a broader naval fight once ashore rather than simply acting as a landing force. The Marine Corps hopes to help control the sea and air around them in support of the Navy and the other services To accomplish this. I understand the Marine Corps is prioritizing modernization of its ground vehicles, including partnership with the Army and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle or the J. L. T. V. To replace the Humvee and targeted investments in the high mobility artillery rocket system or high mars to provide marines with ground based indirect fire support. In addition programs like the amphibious combat vehicle, the ground based anti ship missiles and long range precision fires will provide critical modernization, increased force protection and enhanced lethality to marines. General burger. I appreciate your consultations and discussions with the members of this committee as you began this restructuring and I appreciate your continued engagement with the committee. As this process proceeds. There also may be discussions this morning about the appropriate amphibious force structure. I understand that the common not says he needs 31 large amphibious ships to meet his requirements. In addition to any smaller vessels invented to support the expeditionary advanced based operations concept. Others in the Defense Department have determined that only 24-28 large in figure ships are needed and I would ask for an update on these discussions again. I want to thank the witnesses for appearing today and I look forward to their testimonies. Let me now recognize the ranking member. Senator Inhofe, thank you. Thank you. Mr. Chairman and I’ll join you in welcoming these three great leaders. For four years. This committee has used the The 2018 National Defense Strategy Commission as our roadmap to meet the threats that we face. It’s operated very well during this time. Unfortunately administration has sent to the Congress a budget request that does not provide the resources required to combat that threat and other threats. The Department of Navy budget provides an increase of only 4% and more troubling. The Marine Corps. A portion includes just 1.8% increase. That’s nowhere close to the real the real growth and for the Marines. Once again you account for inflation. It’s actually a cut given the inadequate budget request, it is no surprise that Admiral guilty yo day and general burger under their unfunded priorities list that we call those. The risk list total of $7.5 billion. More broadly I’m concerned about the state of our navy and its downward trajectory and I I actually had four items I was going to mention on here. However, they were all four ended up being in the chairman’s opening remarks so I won’t use those. The real growth is going to have to be applied to programs that move the needle on that topic. I’d like to note general burgers uh initiative in implementing the national defense strategy and his efforts to keep this uh committee informed of his plans. So I look forward to discussing these topics and under from our witnesses and the risk that we have. Thank you. Mr. Chairman thank you very much. Senator Inhofe. Secretary del Toro, please, could you bring that microphone as close as possible? Mr. Secretary and Good morning Chairman Reed ranking member Inhofe. Distinguished members of the committee is an honor to be here alongside general burger and Admiral guild a to discuss the posture of the department of the navy. I look forward to working with you to ensure that our sailors and marines are equipped, trained and prepared to the best of our abilities so they can fulfill our vital role to provide combat ready forces in support of the joint force. The United States requires a strong Navy and Marine Corps. Our global economy and the self determination of free nations everywhere depends on sea power. Our national security depends on sea power. That’s particularly true in the indo pacific where Beijing’s aggressions threatens the rules based international order that protects us all. To answer that challenge, your Navy and Marine Corps must have the resources and the power to maintain credible integrated deterrents by campaigning forward forward from the sea on the shore and in the air. Thanks to the leadership of President Biden Secretary Austin, this budget does provide the right balance of capacity, lethality, modernization and redness that we need to execute the national defense strategy. We will invest these resources through the execution of a concise, clear and transparent strategy rooted in three guiding principles. First, maintain and strengthen our maritime dominance so that we can deter potential adversaries and fight and win decisively. Second empower our sailors, marines by fostering a culture of warfighting excellence founded on strong leadership, dignity and respect for each other. And third, strengthen our strategic partnerships across the Joint force industry and our international partners around the globe. We are executing this strategy through the integrated visions of the Marine Corps Force designed 2030 and the Navi Navigation Plan. I strongly support these visions and I’m committed to feeling the ready, capable and modernized forests required to ensure their success to maintain and strengthen maritime dominance. We have to be serious about fielding and maintaining the right capabilities to win wars. That’s why our budget strongly invested a nimble, networked and survivable navy with platforms like Colombia DDG flight three with enhanced cyber and autonomous capabilities that enable our fleet to campaign forward in a distributed manner. And this budget invests in a truly expeditionary and persistent Marine corps with the mobility and readiness to respond in force wherever and whenever needed for advancing cyber security and resilience efforts across the department with investments to expand in the cyber mission force teams, hardened networks and leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to defend information infrastructure to ensure the combat readiness of our platforms where more than doubling shipyard infrastructure optimization program, psyop investments over the previous budget. This budget invests in the climate resiliency of our force and our facilities while continuing efforts to substantially reduce our impact on climate change. We’re also investing in facilities that promote the quality of life of our personnel and their families. We owe it to our military families to ensure their safety and well being. And when we do fall short, we look our problems square in the eye and we take actions to fix those problems. We’re investing in our efforts to recruit, retain, train and promote the best from all of America and we are increasing funding for naval and cyber education and enhanced shipboard training and hand and enabling sailors and marines to build their careers wherever the service takes them. We appreciate the committee’s interest in ensuring our forces have the right facilities to train, fight and win, including the potential expansion of the Fallon training range complex. We also appreciate the committee’s efforts to include new tools within the N. D. A. To deter destructive behavior and prosecute sexual assault, domestic violence and other offenses at every level of leadership were determined to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment, hold offenders accountable and create a safer, stronger and more inclusive Navy Marine Corps team. I want to close by noting the importance of strategic partnerships from the joint force and our industrial base to our allies and partners around the world. I have seen our partnerships and alliances personally inaction from F 35 B operations in the indo pacific to NATO exercises in Norway and the Mediterranean right. Our most important partnership is indeed with the American people and that’s why I’m grateful for the oversight interests of this committee. And I look forward to continuing to work with you in the years ahead. Thank you. Thank you Mr. Secretary Admiral Guild a please Chairman Reed, ranking member in half distinguished members of the committee. Good morning and thank you for the opportunity to appear this morning with Secretary del Toro and General burger for nearly eight decades. America’s naval superiority. Maritime superiority has guaranteed security and prosperity across the world’s oceans and has played a unique and predominant role in protecting our nation’s most vital national interests, maintaining maritime superiority is fundamental to implementing our new national defense strategy. Global competition is heating up the pace of innovation is accelerating and the environment our naval forces are operating and every day is growing more transparent, more lethal and definitely more contested. Everyone in this room is familiar with these trends, particularly china’s massive investment and highly capable forces designed to deny our access to the oceans. Our Navy’s role has never been more consequential or more expansive. America needs a combat, credible naval force that can protect our interest in peace and they can prevail in war, not just today, but tomorrow. And for the long term competition that lies ahead. Our budget submission for PB 23 reflects that imperative. It fully funds a Columbia class submarine to ensure continuity for our nation’s most survivable strategic deterrent. It keeps our fleet ready to fight tonight. Funding maintenance accounts, filling magazines with ammunition, putting spirit parts in storerooms and giving our sailors the steaming days and the flying hours. They need to hone their skills. It modernizes our fleet by investing in weapons with increased range and speed, integrated systems to improve fleet. Survivability in a resilient cyber, secure network infrastructure and it invests in affordable, capable capacity building towards the goal of a larger distributed hybrid fleet in the decade ahead. And taking into account the insights that we are gaining on a monthly basis from our fleet. Battle problems with the United States Marine Corps with exercises like large scale exercise. 2021, the largest in the world last summer and also just a few months ago, the world’s largest international unmanned maritime exercise in the Middle East. These exercises an analysis and many others are helping us to refine our warfighting concepts, experiment with unmanned systems at speed and at the speed of innovation and grow the fighting power of our Navy Marine Corps team across all domains. The need to field already fleet today as we are simultaneously modernizing for the future has forced us to make difficult decisions, including the Decommissioning of platforms that do not bring the needle lethality to a high end fight in contested areas while building this capacity at the expense of readiness and modernization can sound like an attractive option. It is not one that I endorse. We have been there before and we have seen tragic results. I refuse to repeat it again. We cannot feel the fleet larger than one we can sustain and at today’s fiscal levels quantity simply cannot substitute for quality, especially as our adversaries are building advanced warfighting systems failing to modernize to meet those threats would erode America’s maritime superiority at a time when command of the seas will decide the global strategic balance of power for the rest of this century. The stakes in this competition are extremely high, which is why your sailors active and reserve uniform and civilian are committed to strengthening our naval power every single day. Thank you again for inviting me to testify and I’m grateful for the committee’s support to our Navy and Marine Corps team. I look forward to answering your questions. Thank you. Admiral Gold, a general burger please. Chairman Reed ranking member Inhofe and distinguished members of the committee as we sit here this morning in the backdrop of a war raging in Ukraine and the malign activities that are ongoing in the indo pacific. It’s a good reminder for me that we don’t have the luxury of building a joint force for one threat for one region. For one form of warfare. We have to be prepared for the full range of operations in places we might not expect and probably on timelines we didn’t anticipate. That’s why your marine core’s ability to respond to crisis in any clime and place is essential to our national security. three years ago, as the chairman and ranking mentioned, we embarked on a ambitious program of modernization in an effort to ensure that your Marine Corps could continue to meet its statutory role as America’s force in readiness and with the bipartisan support of the members of this committee. That modernization effort is on track and it’s building momentum over the past three years, your Marine Corps has self funded $17 billion dollars worth of modernization. Today, I’d like to offer you an update in three areas where we’ve seen significant progress Over the past 12 months. First Over the last 18 months out in 29 palms California, which is our live fire maneuver training site. We’ve conducted nine force on force exercises over the past year and a half. Here’s what we’ve learned and these lessons, these learned lessons have really validated what what we thought from the beginning, basically that’s smaller, more mobile, more distributed units. If they can employ 21st century combined arms and they have organic guy S. R. And they have loitering munitions, they are more lethal than larger units that employed traditional sort of force structures and traditional concepts. And that is entirely consistent so far with what we have seen in Ukraine. In less than two years, we formalized a concept for stand in forces and we built a capability that has dramatically expanded what we can achieve in support of both land and maritime operations. one of those stand in forces Is now four deployed in Europe. And as the Yukon commander recently testified here in D. C. His words, that forces precious for effective deterrence. Second, we achieved some important operational milestones this year. We’re gonna deploy the amphibious combat vehicle for the first time aboard ship on a marine expeditionary unit and we will retire the A. V. The aging A. V. Ahead of schedule. And we’re doing that because of the support of this committee this year marked the first deployment of an F 35 B squadron aboard an allied carrier, the first deployment of an F 35 C squadron aboard a Navy carrier, U. S. Navy carrier. In fact, some of you have probably heard the brief from VM. F A 2 11 aboard the H. M. S. Queen Elizabeth. That was in our opinion, significant advancement in not just interoperability but interchangeability with both UK jets and Marine Corps. U. S. Jets, F 30 five’s on board the Queen Elizabeth. That’s how you commit to allies and partners. The marine expeditionary unit. The mU, enabled by amphibious ships is the crown jewel of our naval expeditionary forces. No naval vessel in our inventory is capable of supporting a wider set emissions than the amphibious warship and Secretary del Toro. The Cno and I all agree that the minimum number of L class traditional warships, amphibious warships. The U. S. Needs is 31 your support for sustaining that minimum capacity is essential to national security. Finally, this past year we published a plan to modernize our personnel system that will allow us to better recruit, train, align the skills of individual marines, retain them, match them with the needs of the Marine Corps. All that said, What the Marine Corps does for this nation will not change. We remain America’s force in readiness were capable of a diverse set of missions across the operational spectrum. But how we accomplish those missions is changing and your support is critical to our collective success and in closing just like to offer The ranking member in half our sincere gratitude for the three of us for your 50 years sir of public service army veteran and a state legislator. Mayor US Representative center just on behalf of the sailors and marines and all of us here that say well thank you sir for your years of service and with that I look forward to your questions. Thank you very much. General burger. Secretary del Toro. One of the issues that is arising is the performance of shipyards we saw for example in the attack submarines. That’s a slippage in terms of both the delivery time and uh increasing cost. Um Mhm. The reason that most people give is the difficulty of securing appropriate labor and workers. Uh what can you do and what can the industrial base due to get back on track? Thank you senator. I’m also deeply concerned about the pace with which both our public shipyards and our private shipyards keep up with the maintenance that’s required by both our submarine fleet as well as our uh surface fleet as well. I have visited most of the yards all for public shipyards and most of the private yards as well. Met with the leadership of those shipyards to try to better understand the challenges that they face. Uh without question that the impact of covid over the last three years has been significant. Um We continue to cooperate very collaboratively thanks to the support of the Congress as well and making investments in those shipyards, both capital investments and also investments with regards to the talent management, that’s necessary to run those shipyards, I believe that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done and it does take a team to work this through obviously. But the other messages that I’ve also relayed to the leadership of these shipyards is that they also have a responsibility to deliver these platforms on on time and on schedule. And they need to divert the proper resources necessary to do so in terms of capital equipment. And also in terms of hiring the necessary workforce at those shipyards in order to increase the pace at which these maintenance uh, cycles are taken. And, and let me, um, and my, if I could ask to see another, just weigh in as well on this issue. Could I? Yes, sir, forgive me. I thank you because general burger uh, forced design 2030 recognizes this is a much different world than uh, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, certainly 30 years ago, Since World War Two, we’ve basically had guaranteed air superiority if we choose to fight. We also had relatively uncontested logistics. We’ve had uninterrupted communications and um, the concept of joint operations has been evolving for a long time, but it’s now more critical than ever. So when you look at all of these factors, uh, uh, the lack of air superiority, uh, logistics difficulties, communications that might be disrupted and the need to operate as a truly joint force. I assume that has informed your view of what you want to do with the Marine Corps in terms of your new design. That’s entirely accurate German. I don’t think any of the of the Joint Chiefs, if you if all of us were lined up here would say it any different, especially on the high end we will fight, we will operate as a joint force and we have we have to have a pretty keen understanding of the joint capabilities involved there and where each one of us, where the overlaps are and where the gaps are the areas that you highlighted. Air superiority, command and control. Logistics absolutely are part of the focus. We also know that we’re not gonna match the country like the P. L. A. N. Number for number. But that’s not actually how we’re going to deter and how we’re gonna dissuade them. It’s gonna be a symmetric. Lastly, I would say the the need to operate forward as the secretary and cno highlighted paramount. You got to know what they’re doing. You have to paint a picture for the Joint Force Commander 24 7. And that’s our role. Thank you very much question. I’ll address animal gilding And with time to general burger, is that Uh the Navy’s unfunded priority list is $4 billion 3.5 billion last year because of the committee’s support for Senator Inhofe’s initiative. We were able to cover all of your unfunded priorities. We can’t assume that this year. So I assume that these unfunded priorities are really in priority order. That uh if we go to the first one, that’s the most critical. The second one, the second most critical. Is that accurate? It’s absolutely accurate, sir. And so uh my priorities, everything on the unfunded list were high regrets that we couldn’t get into the budget and they’re primarily ready then it’s related. So as an example for weapons of range and speed, l Rasim jazz, um er Maritime strike Tomahawk sm six. What we’re trying to do is maximize domestic production lines to send a demand signals so we can fill our magazines with weapons and make sure that if The fight does go down tonight or in the 2027 uh time frame that we’re ready to go. Likewise. Uh those priorities include flying our steaming days, maintenance, spare parts in both the aviation side and for our ships as well. It’s uh funding for people. And so those are all those all have to do with near to midterm readiness. There also some modernization priorities there as well. Thank you very much. General burger. I will ask your response in writing for the record so that we can recognized center North Police. Thank you Mr. Chairman. We and General Berger. Thank you very much for your nice remarks. Um As noted in my opening remarks, um unfunded priorities total of $7.5 billion approximately $4 billion for the Navy and 3.5 for the, for the Marine Corps. The question I would ask you say yes or no question is everything on your list execute double today? Yes, sir. Same for the Marine Corps. Yes, sir. Yes. All right. Thank you very much. Secretaria del Toro and Admiral Jolie. It’s been 3.5 years now since I visited the USS Gerald Ford and at that time they had just completed their late that everything has been late on that effort. The catapult and the arresting gear’s I think at that time 3.5 years ago, we’re just just about completed. And my understanding is that the elevators now, which is the last thing are finally finally done, albeit seven years later in $2.8 billion dollars over budget the burden that this seven year delay of the ford has placed on the rest of the, of the aircraft fleet can’t be overstated And I’d like to get from All three of you who in whatever order you’d like the a couple of things. Several things here. One is what kind of a burden has that placed that seven year delay placed and then when, when will it deploy and and and probably the lessons learned that this would be the significant thing. I believe the lessons learned, I’ve talked to each one of you over a period of time on the, you know, how much of this could be a result of the sole source situation. So any comments you want to make just on the on the ford. Now that we have reached this important time zone, I’d like to hear from you. Thank you. Mr. Chairman first. I’d like to say that you charged me at my confirmation hearing to fix the elevators on ford. I’m at least pleased to say that they’re fixed on the ford now. Um I think when um acquiring ships of this nature which are extremely complicated, it’s very important to ensure that we fully understand the whole, we fully understand the maturity of the technologies that we’re gonna put on those platforms before we actually um acquire them. And I think that those are some of the key lessons that are being learned as we look at uh DDG Flight three as we look at our future DDG XRs SGX as well as the constellation class frigate. And so I’d like to say that the mistakes that were made in the past are being applied very aggressively to these new acquisition programs are gonna be rolled out in the future. I think the criticality of land based testing for example for the engineering plants is also very critical to this and the sub modules that are necessary to go onto these platforms. Um and I’ll ask the Cno to continue the conversation in the limited time we have. So the biggest lesson learned from ford and other platforms is that we need to drive down technical risk in these programs. And so we do that with land based prototyping. We do that with with plenty of testing up front before we become an informed customer and come to you for the money to scale these platforms. Like we have L. C. S. Would would be another example if I take a look at the Columbia class submarine, we’re at 85% design right now as we’re building that submarine. If I compare that to the Ohio class, we were at 4% Seawolf 25% Virginia Class 40%. And so we are learning our lessons with respect to ford and putting them to good work. Now we have money in the budget with respect to unmanned to actually have land based prototyping uh significant land based prototyping in Philadelphia as we’ve had with other ships so that again we can make informed decisions before we scale platforms. Yeah, let me comment before the third. I wasn’t being critical uh in terms of certainly the the three of you, but the fact that it did take a longer period of time does have implications on other vehicles that are out there. Yes, sir, it has uh obviously funds have been diverted in order to keep, you know forward moving along track. We’re very pleased to get her deployed later on this year. And likely again the following year I want to keep her in a high high degree of optempo uh this past year. She has had uh the highest, probably the highest optempo of any ship in the Navy. She was our carrier quo aircraft carrier off the east coast of the United States. She was qualifying our new pilots with their cats and traps and so we’re going to continue uh that high degree of optempo with her. Keeping in mind, of course, stressing the crew. But they want to go to see their proud of this ship and its operating to our expectations right now. Yeah. Thank you. Mr. thank you, Senator Inhofe. Senator Shaheen, please thank you. Good morning to each of you. Thank you for being here and thank you for your service to the country. Secretary del Toro. I would like to begin with you and Admiral Guild a because the Navy’s request includes $503 million in funding for the C. I. A multi mission drydock project at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire and Maine and I know that um you have both been up there to see this project but given the cost overruns that we saw last year, are you confident that that 503 million is going to be enough to keep the project on schedule this year, Senator. I think I’m confident that we’re moving in the right direction. These are extremely complicated programs. As you well know, it’s our largest capital project in the Department of Navy. Uh and I think that they’re going to be more discoveries that will be made. But I don’t think that there’ll be a lot of the nature and increases of the past mistakes that were made previously. One of the charges that I’ve given our acquisition for forces to ensure that we actually do take the necessary time to come up with accurate cost estimations for the projects that we have going on now and will propose in the future. That takes sometimes additional time to reach those answers. And so I’d like to think that we’re actually moving in the right direction with the necessary discipline to make accurate cost estimations. Well, I appreciate that. I guess it’s I’m trying to understand then why the Navy hasn’t adopted the G. A. O. recommendations from the 2017 report that just um this G. A. O. Report just came out recently that identified concerns with city planning including adopting best practices for cost estimation. And it also points out that the performance metrics that we’re expected to be done by now are not going to be done until 2025. So, can you talk about why the delay there and what needs to happen in order to get things back on track? Yes, ma’am. I can’t make it. I’m not going to make excuses for the ills of the past. I do know that certainly since I’ve become secretary, we’re taking this responsibility very seriously and trying to come up with very accurate cost estimations and being allowed to be given the time to come up with those cost estimations so that we’re not just flying by the cuff. And I recognize that um the war in Ukraine has happened since the budget was developed and that along with inflation have added to costs. So do you have any estimate on how that’s gonna affect the budget numbers that you’ve we have before us now. So I don’t today, but that is an accurate assessment that increasing inflation and the shortages in the supply chain as well to uh will have an impact on, on costs as we continue to evolve these projects. And, and so how soon will you be back to the committee? So I promise you the next several months we will have more accurate numbers. We’ve been working on this very aggressively in the time that I’ve been secretary, I’ve demanded that we have an accurate accounting of projected costs for the science program so that we’re on track. We’ve also made some additional adds to the program management team as well to make sure that we have the right skill sets on that program management team to address all the necessary risks that are involved. Thank you. General burger, Both the chair and ranking member talked about the challenges and you, you all have talked about the challenges of recruitment and retention in the marine corps. The marines historically have had the smallest percentage of women compared to the other services? Obviously that’s one place where there is talent that um, the marine corps could look to for the future. So can you talk about how Talent Management Management 2030 is going to look at more gender inclusivity in the Marine Corps and and how you expect to um incorporate more women. The system that we’ve had since the all volunteer force was put in place largely Replaced 75% of the Marines every year. Very young force. That’s what we needed at that time and it suited us fine. But going forward as you’ve highlighted and others, this is a competitive market for people and the requirements that we’re going to have for marines and sailors, all service members. It’s going to be even even more demanding, Even more challenging. So the, the change for talent management is instead of the view them as a whole body, each person matching their, what they have coming in and we have to do a better job of assessing that when they come in matching that with what the Marine corps needs and then a path for each individual to go forward? That’s the difference. And do you expect to have any particular focus on recruiting women or how do you expect to get those numbers up the recruiters across the country as you’ve highlighted? They’re the last two years of not being in high schools has been a real challenge during covid because their their exposure and the high school students exposure to recruiters is really tough. Do you have to have the right recruiters out there and they have to have access to the high schools which now they’re back in. Thank you. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, thank you. Senator Senator Fischer, please. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. Good morning gentlemen. Thank you for being here today. General burger. How is the Marine Corps looking to change existing logistics processes and procedures To better align with the force design 2030 initiative particularly looking at the Indo Pacific Theatre, the framework we have for logistics in the indo pacific theater that you highlight largely assumed a protected backside, it assumed that we would not be contested. We don’t assume that going forward. So the large depot style um like hub and spoke of parts and and all classes of supply and from there will be distributed. That’s got to change because we we assume that it’s going to be contested all the way from the most forward units back to the factory all the way and not just physically of course, but in cyber as well. So what does that mean for us? We have to have organically the means to move that move that sustainment supplies tactically to operationally. In other words, at that level. Organically, that’s why things like the 53 K ch, 53 K. The MV 22 unmanned systems that are gonna allow us to push supplies laterally. That’s what we have to have that we don’t have in in numbers yet. Everything that we do logistics has to be has to assume that they’re gonna try to contest it, which means we got a decoy it, we have to camouflage it. We have to move it in smaller numbers. We have to just operate in a different way. But that’s this is natural for marines to do. It’s not a it’s not a new thing but the the change probably is an assumption that all of that will be contested. Thank you Mr. Secretary, do you have anything to add? Yes, ma’am. We’re actually making major investments over the fed up in addition ng adding additional oilers for example, um to support the ships that will be necessary in the sea lift. That’s necessary. We’re also making investments in sealift, buying more used the lift as well too. All of this is integrated into force design 2030 along with the addition of an additional amphibious lift And and as well as the law is to provide the short ashore uh connectors that are necessary for the marines to be able to effectively execute their expeditionary mission. Thank you. General burger. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We’ve seen how small groups of war fighters armed with missiles and loitering munitions, they have real impacts on the ground. While I agree it’s too early to draw definitive conclusions from the ongoing conflict. How do you expect the Marine Corps to incorporate any insights that are gained so far in the future exercises as you test out new concepts of operations. One advantage that we have uh and the army is the same as were deployed. We have deployed units in Europe right now so they can see firsthand a lot closer than you and I from Washington D. C. What what is working and what is not? We have a built in model within the Marine Corps to feed that back in through our warfighting laboratory in Quantico into the the ideas, the concepts, the capabilities of force design 2030. There’s no filters, it’s a constant feedback loop. I think as you hinted, although you gotta be patient in terms of jumping on lessons learned too early while conflicts going on. I think the two for me, the character versus the nature of warfare, Some things in other words are enduring and those lessons learned haven’t changed frankly. Some of them uh that that my counterparts have highlighted in terms of the importance of small unit leaders and decentralized command and control speed, momentum inside the operating decision cycle of the adversary. Those are enduring things. But the things that are changing of course the character of war as you highlighted the unmanned, the sensors, the the growing importance of instilling confidence in those junior leaders to make decisions on their own quickly. There’s some, so some things are staying the same and validated some things in terms of the character of war, we need to absolutely feedback into the modernization effort and we have a means to do that. Have you um started any kind of consultation with our allies? Especially within NATO? Looking, looking ahead at situations that that are currently ongoing or that may develop in the in the near future in NATO specifically. Yes. Yesterday I met with the Chief of Defense of Norway. Um I traveled to Norway last month, met with my counterparts and the vice chad in Norway in Poland. Right now we have marine units operating in Poland and Latvia and Estonia. We have a good exchange back and forth about what’s working and what’s not. Okay, thank you very much. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, thank you. Senator officials. Senator Kaine, please thank you Mr. Chair and thank you to the witnesses. Um General Berger and his opening statement said, we’re all on the same page. We need 31 amphibious ships. I just want to make sure Secretaria del Toro and Admiral Guild a that is he was putting not putting words in your mouth but stating a consensus opinion. Uh, thank you Senator. This administration is very committed to amphibious lift without any question. Um as you all know, there’s over $2 billion in the in the budget this year alone in support of L. H. A. And LPD 32 as well too. I commissioned an amphibious study when I became Secretary of the Navy to try to get what the right requirements are that was coordinated closely between the Navy and the Marine Corps. Um, and we informed the Cape as well of all of our progress uh, that amphibious study is today being reported out um here in the next couple of weeks within the department. Uh the findings of that amphibious study will also be included in the ongoing force uh Naval structure analysis that takes place is taking place right now uh in preparation for Palm 24. And I suspect that as we conclude all those assessments, we’ll see considerable support for amphibious left moving forward and found guilty. Yes, sir. So the study that we uh, we just completed concluded 31 we actually took a look at three cases that are consistent with the NDS the new India strategy. We took a look at traditional and AM fibs by themselves, looking across the spectrum of war and what they contribute both in deterrence and also in the fight. We took a look at light amphibious warships in the future with those vessels and expect expeditionary advanced bases. And then we took a look at traditional AM fibs and light AM fibs together. And so we tried to take a look at holistically, not just in the first two cases, but at the total amphibious fleet. Um, uh postulating as best we can, how we use them in the future. That’s informing both the final number and then our acquisition path to feel them. Um Well this is good news that you know, there there have been mixed messages about this and the O. S. D. K. Pod numbers as low as 12 or 24. So I know the study will be out formally soon based on the testimony today. We expect to see that at 31. Um and I appreciate your testimony. Secretaria del Toro. I want to ask you about the George Washington. Um There’s been a series of deaths but also the underlying conditions that sailors endure while a carrier is undergoing an overhaul. Um these overhauls are unlike others which might be months at a time. They take several years. The GW has been an overhaul since 2017 and that means that some sailors will spend their entire career on a ship that never goes to sea and they’ll never perform the duties that they trained for after graduating from boot camp. I wonder if that fact the length of these births in the shipyard Is a challenging factor. And I know that you were in a shipyard with one of the ships you commanded for 18 months during your active duty career. Talk a little bit about how the Navy is looking at this George Washington situation. Not only the particular instances, but the particular challenges that result from these very lengthy shipyard births. Yes sir. And thank you for your question Senator without question. There is no greater responsibility than our safety of our sailors, our marines and particularly when sailors go into an extended overhaul and a shipyard shipyard life itself is challenging enough when you’re in the shipyard that long, that presents additional challenges. And I think institutionally the Department of Navy, we need to collectively do a better job to provide the necessary resources to the ship itself in the contracts that are negotiated with the shipyard itself to provide a higher quality of life for those sailors in the shipyard. Um, there are two investigations that are ongoing right now, command investigation as well as an additional investigation by the navy to look at some of these additional quality of life factors that perhaps played a role in this uh, in this very unfortunate situation. But we need to develop a plan that’s more robust than what we’re currently doing For especially aircraft carriers. Because you’re introducing upwards of 2500 sailors into uh, an already challenging environment. Thank you Mr. Secretary and finally General Berger, I’m just going to conclude My wife and I are moving this weekend from the family home of 30 years into a condo and everything every drawer we open is a memory and everything we throw away as a memory and everything we give to the kids or two refugee families is a memory. We’re excited. But change is hard. Change is hard And I’ve been thinking about that a little bit in connection with some of the comments about force design. 2030. I for one appreciate the fact that you’ve rethought fundamental assumptions and recognize the great things we’ve been doing, but also that the realities of the world mandate a marine court that can perform the same mission but in very different ways and that you’re willing to embrace some significant change. I appreciate it. Thanks Mr. Chair, thank you. Senator Kaine, Senator Cotton, please. Good morning gentlemen. Welcome thank you all for your testimony and for your service to the country. Um Mr. Secretary and Admiral. I want to thank you too for taking the time recently to discuss the findings of the report that I commissioned with a few House members about the state of culture and war fighting in the Navy, especially the Surface Navy. I wanna thank you for your thoughts on what you’re doing to try to address some of those challenges. Um, Mr. Secretary, I want to raise one of those specifically with you. Uh the What the report found was the so called zero defect mentality in the Navy, especially among the Officer corps uh in the Surface Fleet. Could you talk to us about the specific policies that you have enacted Um since you took over to counteract that zero defect mentality. Yes, sir, It’s more about an approach to our cultural approach in the Navy with regards to command um as you know, the cno um with my support and collaboration have initiated a a policy of get real, get better and part of getting real is coming to a very honest determination of the challenges that you face and things that have to improve in order for us to get better. Part of that cultural dynamic is is not having a zero defect mentality so that we can actually encourage our leadership at all levels, not just within the officer corps, but also within the noncommissioned officer corps, which is critical to our mission so that they can honestly face the challenges that they have and provide recommendations to actually make things better. So it’s more cultural change that just the issuance of individual policies. Do you think that Lieutenant Halsey or Lieutenant Nimitz would have made it past Lieutenant Commander in today’s Navy? Uh Probably not Admiral gilded. What about you, sir? One of the things that we did recently is II issued a new charge of command. So this is direction to our commanders and I specifically addressed uh some areas where we have a navy where where we don’t have tolerance, drug use would be an example, but we certainly can’t be a no defect navy. And so, um one of the things that in terms of changing the culture that I’m trying to say that we’re that we together trying to institute is this idea of embracing the red. So as as you see slides in the pentagon, they’re usually stoplight slides and people like to focus on things that are green things that are going well swimmingly well, uh, when what we really need to focus on and create an environment to address, uh, is to embrace the red and to fix the red. So this gets right to the fundamental need to be able to self self assess and then to self correct as individuals, as an as an as an institution. When we took a look at a major fires review and we took a look at uh, 15 different fires over the course of 12 years. And we took a look at the variance between units that performed very well and units that, uh, that, that don’t, it came down to the ability to self assess in an environment that allowed that to happen without being punished, uh, for basically communicating fearlessly up the chain of command. That’s what we’re looking for fundamentally sir. In terms of in terms of changing the culture, not just in the surface Navy, but across the Navy. It’s gonna take us a while, but I think we’re on, we’re in the beginning of the right path that’s been well received by the fleet. Okay, thank you both. Again, that was just one issue from that report and I thank you all for the time you took to discuss that and the other issues and look forward to continue to work with you to implement those reforms, make sure our surface Navy is strong and healthy and ready to fight and win wars in the future. General burger. There are a lot today about Your force 2030 concept. I think you’ve heard some support for it from the committee as well. Um, I just want to be direct about it though. So you seem to have kicked over a hornet’s nest among a lot of your fellow retired marines, I guess you’re not retired, but fellow marines who are retired, uh, even among a former marine who was Secretary of the Navy and a member of the Senate. Um, so I just want to give you a chance in in plain English to respond to their many public critiques of your plan. Why do you think they’re wrong and those critiques? Um, the genesis, the start point was really General Dunford during when he was commandant and then followed by General Neller when they in a setting like this articulated that the Marine Corps, although it was very healthy and capable at that time, was not organized, wasn’t trained, wasn’t equipped for what the national defense strategy called for. I agree with that. I also think that the speed at which we have to change is not necessarily driven by ourselves is driven by the adversary. It’s driven by the pace of change of the threats. The level of risk is probably where it boils down to between those who feel like we should go with a more conservative, slower pace. Um, I am driven by the pace at which the adversary is moving. We have to stay in front of that and my job like the CMos is not just to make sure that the Marine Corps is capable today, but five years from now that we have a margin of advantage over the P. L. A. N. Or whatever the pacing challenges. Five years from now, that’s our job. Thank you for the testimony and thank you for all the hard work you put in that. Um I hold you in the Marine Corps and high esteem. I hold many of your critics in high esteem as well though. Uh and I know the committee will be working through all of those arguments about what’s happened because we share the same goal about a Marine corps that trading not just to fight today, but fight tomorrow as well. Thank you. Senator Cotton. Senator are Haru. No, please thank you Mr. Chairman Secretary Del Toro, thank you for your support and commitment to deal with the Red Hill fuel installation situation in a way that helps restore Hawaii’s confidence in the navy So that the president’s decision to include $1 billion Recovery Fund. In his fiscal year 23 requests to permanently close Redhill not only protects the island’s drinking water but ultimately benefits our operations in the ndp calm. They are the closure of red tail is going to be a multi year and multi faceted in Denver and we require the Department of Defense to work closely with the Hawaii Department of Health and of the A. P. A. Secretary del Toro. Can you explain how the Navy is planning for the execution of these funds and any concerns you have related to the safety fueling of the tanks and closing of the facility. Thank you Senator. Thank you senator and thank you for your leadership on this issue. It means a great deal to our sailors, our marines, our air force or army soldiers and of course all the people of Hawaii as well too. And I’m pleased that Department of the Navy has collaborated very closely with all the agencies in on uh in Hawaii on Oahu and elsewhere on this very important task. Um We will continue to collaborate and work very aggressively with all the appropriate agencies. As you know, I have a requirement to submit to the Secretary of Defense, A P. O. A. And M. We are currently in the assessment stage of putting together that plan of objectives analysis memorandum to come up with the right steps that are necessary at the same time. There are several investigations that are underway that are going to be revealing matters and issues that have to be corrected as well to those findings will be included in our overall plan. There is a third party assessment as you know that has concluded and is being reviewed right now in the department Defense so that we can properly make the investments that are necessary to determine what steps have to be taken to properly and safely uh de fuel Redhill and we’ll be collaborating very closely in accordance with the executive order that was just issued revised executive order. Uh As you know, we’ve we’ve appealed the right to a hearing on that and we wish to continue to collaborate very closely with Hawaii all the involved agencies to get to the right result so that we could also inform the Congress in terms of the investments that have to be made to properly execute the plan. Well, what started off from my perspective as a situation where the state of Hawaii, the Navy D. O. D uh bit large, we were definitely not on the same page. And that’s why your commitment to collaborating and where I have seen that the state of Hawaii is withdrawing probably some concerns they had about the third party assessment and the Navy holding back on some appeals processes that they could pursue. I think that’s what we have to do that everybody needs to get on the same page and work together. So that’s what I’m looking for because this is a very complicated situation as you Well know, General Burger, we’ve heard a lot about the 30 commitment to 35, amphibious ships situation and this is a new number. So how we’re terminating the LPD line and having fewer than 31 ships impact the Marine Corps’s ability to respond globally. What I’m getting at is I too am committed to 31 ships and there are people who don’t, who don’t think that that’s the right number. But what if you if you have fewer than 31 ships what does that do to your ability to respond global? I’ll start off and if there’s time Ma’am asked the Cno if he has additional thoughts. But from my perspective with the rest of the joint force modernizing as it is, the Marine Corps is probably one of the best hedges you have right now in the next four or five years that we have to be forward, we have to be ready. This study that came to the result of 31 incorporated as the Cno highlighted not just scenarios that OSD uses, but how to deter, how to respond quickly. 31 is a floor. Even with 31 there is risk, of course there is. If we don’t have 31 there’s places and there’s things that are going to happen in the next four or 56 years where the US cannot respond in the worst cases, somebody else gets there first and they’re not a friend of ours guilty. Do you have anything to add? I do thank you, ma’am. Um, so this is all about speed, it’s about flexibility, it’s about agility. It’s about having options, not, not just in one theater, but around the globe. And so um so the fleet Marine force afloat provides options to every single combatant commander. Whether it’s in the High North where we see those forces exercising today or whether it’s in the Middle East or whether it’s in the Western pacific, everything from humanitarian assistance to they are perhaps Our best platforms for working together with allies and partners. Why? Because they’re they’re like, they’re like F150 trucks filled with hundreds of marines with bars and their teeth. They’re a motivator. Uh they’re a motivator for our allies and partners that there’s hundreds of different uses almost you’re almost almost only limited by your imagination in terms of how you can use that for us. So again, they provide options agility, Uh speed and I think the number 31 allows you to get more ships at sea and allows you to have, allows you to have more options. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, If I could just make two very short observations or comments regarding the R. C. Up. We better do a much better job of estimating the cost of of the the dry docks and and all of that because that is so that that was a huge difference in what was happening with Portsmouth. And the cost estimate was 750 million. And then the contract came in at 1.7 ah billion huge difference. We need to not have that. And then for um I brought up the 15 ship, multiyear procurement and I checked with the ship builders and they said that they could build an additional ships. So we need to kind of come together on whether or not uh, 15 ships is what we can actually get to. So I just want to make that observation. MR Chairman, thank you. Senator Hirono. Senator rounds. Please Thank you. Mr. Chairman, Gentlemen First, let me begin by saying, thank you to all of you for your years of service to our country. Admiral Gilda. Let me once again, thank you for the time that you’ve taken to visit with us most recently on Tuesday of this week. And your explanation of the movement that you’re making within the cyber operations for the navy and the improvements that you envision making as well. Uh, I would like to, to pivot from that a little bit and and move back in along a similar line too. Uh, what some other members you have talked about and that is with regard to the maintenance. Uh, and then the operations within our shipyards in particular. I’ve come back down to the same boat that I’ve talked about in the past. That’s the USS Boise. Uh, believe Los Angeles class attack submarine. Uh, This is a, an item which has been up for and it was supposed to be in the shop for its overhaul In 2015, 2016 time period. It’s been delayed for a number of reasons since that time and there’s been a constant discussion about moving forward. I understand that you are now moving forward uh, and that you’ve decided to begin that process. Could you share with the committee the thinking that you’re using and the thought process that goes into the decision that rather than scrapping that, that uh that that piece of machinery and actually rehabbing it and the other ones which are also behind it in line for uh, their upgrades. Yes, sir. So I think everybody in this room understands the utility of our submarine force and it’s important on a day to day basis basis and not only deterring adversaries, but when it comes to fight and win, they’re absolutely essential as are most survivable, stealthy, uh strike effective strike platform that we have in the Navy, perhaps in the entire joint force. And so given away any single submarine should only be. That decision should be made after great deliberation and exhaustion of other options. And so in the case of some of our um newer 6 88 6 88 submarines or 6 88 eyes which have a VLS capability. We have seven of them planned for engineering overhauls as an example to keep what, what some might refer to as a legacy legacy platforms continue to get four or five deployments out of these, uh, out of these submarines so that we can continue to keep them in the fight if you will. Um, the challenge with Boise really rests inside the private shipyard that is doing that work. So we have two private yards that do that work. Um, and we need their capacity. So based on the fact that we continue to build a viable submarine force and we know that we don’t have the capacity in our public shipyards to handle all of that maintenance. We need electric boat and we need Huntington’s angles to be able to do that work. They are underperforming. They are over cost and way over schedule. But um, because we need them, we need to hold their feet to the fire to those contracts. They need to pay penalties when they don’t meet their requirements. But we need them to be all in with us and the nation that they’re supporting in this critical effort. But we need to continue sir to, to press them to do a better job. We need, we need that capability. It’s it’s a, it’s a national imperative. Thank you sir. General Berger, I have looked at your force design 2030 and I know that Senator cotton led into this a little bit. There are some very well respected uh, former officials within the Marine Corps that had questioned whether or not it was the right direction to go. I appreciate the fact that you’ve continued to move forward. But I, I think perhaps just for the committee, we could walk away back a little bit in terms of all of the reasons for the need to move in this direction. And I think back to uh Uh, perhaps and I may be off on this, but in the Nagorno Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan which was fought between September of 2020 and November of 2020, we saw two countries that that really did not have huge armies and yet in a very short period of time, um Azerbaijan was able to have a very decisive victory using 21st century weapons systems including loitering munitions, a long range precision fire a lot of the items that you’re identifying as being necessary for the Marine Corps. Could you talk a little bit about the way that you envision the marines fighting? Not just when it comes to PRC, but other areas around the world that some people think we’re only looking at PRC. It appears to me that you’re looking at lots of different scenarios here, but in particular the reason why you’ve moved in the direction of loitering munitions and so forth. Some folks have written about the Precision strike regime, the the evolution of that over the past 15 years, 20 years. I’m in full agreement they’re combined that with the proliferation of sensors makes it a very different battlefield than we had 20 years ago. So we have to be able to operate inside the threats collection range inside their weapons range and belittle both. That meant adjusting the construct the warfighting concepts of the Marine Corps and the content of our own structure within to make sure that we can operate inside there persistently strip away the adversary’s ability to collect against the joint force and collect against them all at the same time. That’s where we’re headed. It’s a different force than we had in desert shield, Desert storm. It’s not a persistent it’s not a second land army. It’s what the nation needs us to be able to do. Thank you. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. Thank you. Senator around Senator King, please thank you. Mr. Chairman. I want to start with an observation center, Kramer and I the other night had dinner with a ah former member of the Ukrainian parliament from Odessa. And he told us this is a side effect of this war that I thought uh, reflected well on our support of the Ukrainians. Apparently a common name for a new male Ukrainian baby these days is javelin. And for female babies it’s javelina. And I thought that was an indication of of the importance of the support we’re providing to the Ukrainian people. Uh, Mr. Secretary. I want to start with a compliment which often doesn’t occur at these hearings. I want to compliment you because as I see it, your largest single increase in your budget is R and D. And I think that is absolutely essential. Looking back through history. Uh, technology often wins wars. They’re certainly has an important influence on on the outcome of of wars in World War two radar. And of course the invention of the atomic weapon which was pure R. And D. Ended World War two. Going back to the Battle of Agincourt was the Longbow. And even the homely stare up. Many historians I believe was the basis of Genghis khan’s ability to conquer the known world at that time because it provided stability to his, his archers on horseback. So I want to thank you for that. Now here’s the question. I believe the technological breakthrough of of this moment in time is the hypersonic missile. And my question is, are we um are we dealing with that issue both from a defensive and an offensive capability point of view with the requisite sense of urgency. My concern is that are, for example, our forward presence in the pacific is based upon uh, aircraft carriers. Ah and I realized this is an unclassified setting. But I want some assurance that this is a hair on fire issue at the pentagon to deal with the the what? This could be a strategic game changing technology. The hypersonic missile. Thanks for the question, senator. And let me assure you wholeheartedly that this is a hair on fire type of investment uh in terms of developing the necessary not just developing the R. And D. For it but also as it applies to all our platforms ensuring that we can quickly acquire that technology from the R. And D. Two capabilities that we could actually put in the hands of the war fighters across the board and with regards to hypersonic yes we’re making major investments and hypersonic I feel quite confident we’re gonna be seeing some of these uh tremendous capabilities, particularly CPS on Zumwalt class destroyers, be deployed within the next couple of years and then we’ll be aggressively deploying those ships in the in the pacific. Ah Well that would be most needed. Admiral guilty. Are you comfortable with our progress in dealing with the strategic no citations of hypersonic? I’m not but I’ll tell you what we’re what we’re taking a look at with respect to terminal defense, layered terminal defense. Right now we have we are deploying um directed energy systems on some of our ships. Were testing it real time against both swarming surface vessels as well as a ballistic missile defense system. Which gets your point about hypersonic, high powered microwave is another critical technology that we’re investing in. And a critical enabler for any of those terminal defense systems is going to have to be quantum computing. Another area where the secretary has us making additional advances with respect to R. And D. So in terms of giving us um decision superiority over the adversary and understanding applying both quantum computing with a ai capabilities helping us put a defensive weapon on a target. Like a like a fast moving hypersonic missile is going to be key. So those are some of the things that we’re working on right now sir. Inside of that R and D. Uh, I like it that you started your answer to my question with no rather than bland assurances because that indicates to me that you recognize the seriousness of this issue a quick final point. MR. Secretary on an entirely different subject. Um, there is data that indicates the most dangerous point for veteran suicide is in the first two or three years after they separate from the service. Uh, I believe that the services should be putting as much money and time and effort and thought into transition out as it is to recruiting in because this veteran suicide issue is, is serious. It’s uh, it’s uh, it’s a, it’s a, an embarrassment and, and, and, and it’s a tragedy uh, to be losing something in the neighbor of 20 veterans a day. But since we know from the data that that first year or so after leaving active duty is is a moment of maximum danger. I hope that you will think about how to make that handoff from active duty to the V A warmer and think about not only the physical pieces, but also the mental and the stressors that that impact our veterans as they become veterans senator. I have. And I do actually having personally made that transition myself. I know the challenges that one faces with regards to suicide and depression and things of that matter. I talk about it just about everywhere I go, I talked about how important it is for our sailors to take care of each other, to really care for each other throughout when a sailor shows up to the ship or the squadron wherever it may be while they’re there. And as actually as they transition from their command to another command or to the civilian sector as well too. So we are focused on that and we actually do work with the Department of Veterans Affairs on this issue. Thank you. I hope that will be an urgent priority as well. Thank you. Mr. Thank you. Senator King Senator Blackburn, please thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you to each of you for your service and for being here with us today. Um, I want to start with the nuclear posture review and Admiral Guild yesterday in the House Armed Services Committee hearing, you were asked about support for continuing slick. Um, and um, your quote was um, you supported continuing it while we get a better understanding of the world, we live in with two nuclear capable here competitors. And this is something that I’ve talked about with our commanders. Uh, as they’ve come before us for their hearings and I’ve mentioned it to our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and they have all expressed concern with the administration’s decision to cancel the sea launch cruise missile and um, have the administration’s position that that is redundant with our other capabilities. Uh, that is something that causes me concern. And so Admiral Gilda, I appreciated your remarks on this. So Secretary Del Toro, let me ask you, what’s your position on? Um, yes, ma’am. I agree with the President’s budget. I believe that we should zero out the slick online. I believe the president has all the tools in his toolkit necessarily to deter and deal with the threat of a tactical nuclear. You’re not worried about um Our capabilities. I I am not. I believe that the president has all the tools in his toolkit with the W- 76 and weapons as a with their push on great power competition. That doesn’t keep you up at night or were you? That absolutely keeps me up at night and worries me. But as far as deterring china’s nuclear capability, I believe that we far exceed what we have right now in terms of being able to deter the use of a tactical nuclear missile with the w what do you think it sends to our competitors if we’re going to reduce rather than bolster our nuclear capable. I think the message that it sends is that we’re actually using uh those resources into the tune of about $30 billion to make the necessary investments. You completely agree with the President. Excuse me, ma’am, you completely agree with the President. I completely agree with the President’s Secretary of Defense. That’s what I wanted to to know. Admiral Gilda, you also referenced a in your words, a particular gap in capabilities which slick um could feel so tell me what is that particular gap. So the the gap specifically is the tactical nuclear capability of specifically Russia but gaining steam is china. And the question is how do you best close that gap slip them in? Has been offered as a single point solution. I would offer that there are others to think about um including low, low low yield nuclear weapons that we deploy right now and had support of the Congress making those changes based on the previous NPR I also think hypersonic star important capability, the army’s fielding that capability this year. The Navy is gonna follow suit in 2025 as the secretary mentioned with that. So let me ask you about hypersonic because and by the way, thank you for mentioning quantum computing. I totally agree with you in Oak Ridge National Lab is doing some great work in quantum research. When we look at hypersonic X and we look at Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee which has the capability to support this hypersonic supply chain. Um talk to me about where you think we are with modernization for our testing facilities where we are with outsourcing. When it comes to our hypersonic capabilities, we continue to make investments in the testing facilities including the testing testing facilities that allow us to take a hypersonic weapon and to and to uh and to refine its capability so that it’s actually able to be launched from a submerged submerged submarine because we want to put that capability on board our new subs as early as 2028. So that’s an example of continued investment. As I look at the hypersonic X program that it’s a joint program among the services. We are meeting every benchmark and milestone in that program. So I’m confident I have a pretty high degree of confidence that, uh, in the army system that will feel this year in a mobile system and then the Navy system to follow suit. Ma’am, I think with the continued support of Congress and those funding lines and last year you actually did double the Navy’s funding uh, for hypersonic, which we’re grateful for. Well, I spoke to General Brand during the air force posture, hearing about this issue and the capabilities that we have at Arnold and also about looking at how we leverage risk and how we take more risk in pushing forward in this sector. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, you’re back. Thank you very much. Senator Black print, Senator Kelly, please Thank you. Mr. Chairman. Um General burger. I’ve got a question about the Marine Corps Air station in Yuma. Arizona is really proud to host the Marines and Yuma including F- 35 squadrons. I’ve had the opportunity to fly the F- 35 simulator a couple of times. Um, it’s nice to know that our fighters, our premier fighters out match those of our adversaries and we’re happy to have them in Arizona. Um so we’ve got this Premier Fighter but we also have a base that has some infrastructure problems, um critical infrastructure at Marine Corps Air station Yuma. Uh they’re currently planning to upgrade the water treatment facilities on the installation. And my understanding is that the current treatment plant was built in 1947, so It’s nearly 80 years old. And this treatment plant ah supplies water for a large part of the base. Uh bases the bases systems, but also supplies water for family housing and tenant commands. And the water doesn’t meet water quality standards. And I understand that the current budget plans would seek funding for this project, Would not seek funding for this project until fiscal year 2026. So I’m concerned that the system is not able to meet these water quality regulations for potable water. Um and this cannot be with, the current plan will not be addressed for a number of years. So, general, are you looking to expedite projects like humans, water treatment plant that affect the health and safety of our marines and their families. Um Thanks Senator. Haven’t lived at Marine Corps Air Station. Human 19 uh 91 2 94, I think I know exactly what you’re talking about. Um If you’ll allow me, senator, I’d like to look into this problem and come back to you individually with where that project is in funding and to your point. What might be done to accelerate it. But you’re you’re never gonna I don’t think you expect us to shoot from the hip. So if it’s okay with you I’ll do the homework and I will come back to your office with here’s where it lays right now and we and this is what it would take to accelerate it. I appreciate that. I’ve spent a lot of time down there on the base looking at facilities. You know, I really love looking at the airplanes and spending time there. But as as important as the airplanes are, you know, things like enlisted housing which also we my office would like to follow up on that issue as well. Um Got a totally different question for Secretary del Toro and Admiral Dilday. Um So in April the State Department announced that uh the United States and India had agreed at the recent 2-plus 2 dialogue too explore possibilities of utilizing Indian shipyards for repair and maintenance of ships of the U. S. Maritime sealift command. I was in India just a few weeks ago and had discussions about this with Indian officials, Deputy National Security Advisor, uh their Secretary of Defense. And they were really interested in this opportunity and optimistic about it. So in connection with this possibility. Mr. Secretary to what degree we’re doing this work enhance Navy and D. O. D. Operations in the indo pacific region and we’re doing this work in Indian shipyards strengthen us Indian relations. Thanks senator and and thanks for your dedication to this issue because um what distinguishes us from the Russians and the Chinese is the alliance is the strength of the alliances that we have with our partner nations around the globe And uh that is no better example of our relationship with India as it continues to grow. And while the specifics of this um deal is being negotiated, I think overall it’s a perfect representation of what we need to continue to do around the globe as well in order to support our ships deployed in the indo pacific um The Cno has been very engaged in this. If with your permission I’d like to ask them to discuss the matter further. Thank you sir. Uh So I visited India and I specifically asked to go to Mumbai to take a look at their civilian shipyards to see for myself what their capabilities are there. Cape This is a quick win for the United States India relationship. We’re just sending now a team over there. Uh to do a more detailed survey. My goal is to get a ship in there this summer to do voyage repairs. So it gives us more uh more um flexibility, more opportunities in theater to get ships fixed. Uh They have a high I have a high degree of confidence in their ability to do that. I think we’re on the right track sir And I’ll follow up with you as we nail down that deal. Alright. And if there’s any other, you know, gaps and authorities that you need from Congress, please let us know. And I’d like to figure out a way to get this, get this done uh India and the United States. We have the same strategic problem um in the region and that’s uh and that’s china. So it’s uh, wherever we can look for more opportunities uh to work jointly with the Indian government. The Indian military, I think it benefits us. Thank you. Thank you. Senator Kelly. Senator Tuberville, please. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much, gentlemen for being here today in your service, Admiral Gil Day after the fall of Afghanistan? We didn’t see a single senior officer loser job. I think that surprise many, many people here in the United States. You know, we’ve heard a lot today about current cultural problems plaguing the military, but I want to commend something that the Navy does exceptionally well, accountability. The Navy has a huge culture and accountability. For example, the USS Connecticut hit an underwater mountain last fall. Am I correct that you removed the commander, executive officer and the senior listed boat chief. Yes, sir. We did in your words, Why is the navy’s culture of holding senior officer accountable more important in maintaining standards and performance. Could you give me your your thoughts also, I think, uh, I think standards of command are very important. They’re grounded in the law. They’re also grounded in Navy, Navy, uh, navy regulations. But more importantly, uh, there’s the expectation that our sailors have that we, that we hold, our seniors hold our seniors accountable and perhaps even more important than that, the confidence of the American people that, uh, that were, that they, uh, they send their youth to serve for their country and that they be well led and if they’re not well led, uh, then we change those leaders out. Thank you. Your opening statement. There was a couple of things that struck me and this is also for general burger, um, recruiting, training and accountability. You said that you’d much prefer quality over quantity and I think we all agree with that 21st century military. I think that we all need to open our eyes about what just happened In the last 70, 80 days. Russia going into Ukraine, Russia had every hand up on Ukraine except Russia didn’t realize he hadn’t been in a war in a while and their midlevel officers failed. Their leadership failed. They had all kinds of weapons and they got their tails handed to them. Um, I think it’s very, very important that we understand this is a different era. I just came from coaching. The kids. Young men and women have changed over the last 2030 years and we need to change with it. And I take my hat off to general burger for what he’s done in terms of changing his philosophy of the weapons that they might use in in in certain ways. Uh what do you think about the future recruiting and training and accountability of today’s young men and women in our armed forces? Well sir, I think uh I think our recruiting there are definitely recruiting challenges based on the fact that the pool of qualified recruits is getting smaller. It’s not getting larger. Um I will say this. I think it’s important for the country to celebrate uh what a great military that we have so that our youth actually see that as a viable, attractive option for them uh for them to serve their country with pride and uh and to make their families proud. But it’s something that um you know, all too often uh you know, there are plenty of cheap shots out there. It’s easy to be negative. But boy, the further you get away from D. C. The better things. Look with respect to the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps and the quality of people that we have serving and the quality of leaders, the dedication, the passion, the commitment. It’s a great outfit with a great future for anybody that wants to that wants to join. So you mentioned Russia, other folks in here mentioned china, I think in the same way as some people contrast the democracy versus you know, autocracy. We have an all volunteer force not lost on us. Right? In other words, sort of like democracy is an experiment. All volunteer force. It’s not on autopilot. That I mean that’s where you’re driving at. We have to work at an all volunteer force. It’s not on autopilot. So all of us, every recruiter, all of you are part of the health of that force. They come into the military for a lot of reasons. Money is an incentive. But that’s not why they joined the navy. That’s not why they joined the Marine Corps. They want to be part of something bigger. They want to be challenged. They want to contribute to the U. S. We we all have to be proactive I think and how we bring them into the military. It’s not on autopilot is not on cruise control and we can’t lose our hard nosed training because you you just saw what happened with Russia’s military social media to those men and women fighting for Russia was a problem. They all had phones and they were able to read those. It’s a different different era and we need to make sure we can adjust to this era along with it because if we don’t then it doesn’t make any difference how much money we spend or how we go about recruiting. If we don’t look at the problems that we just saw from a superpower then we will not learn ourselves and and we could end up on the same side of the boat? Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, Thank you. Senatorial Senator Peters please. Thank you. Mr. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, Secretary Del Toro. In February of this year, a federal judge approved a settlement agreement in the class action lawsuit, Manker v. Del Toro. The lawsuit alleged that the Navy had systematically denied discharge status upgrades to corporal Manker and thousands of other marines and sailors who were suffering from PTSD or TBI I at the time of their discharge, these denials were in direct contravention of statute as well as internal D. O. D. Memoranda that both a federal judge and the Department of Navy agreed to settle to a settlement demonstrates the veracity of the claims put forward by corporal banker. This agreement is also in line with the earlier settlement agreement from Canada v. McCarthy, which dealt with nearly the same issue, but for the Department of the Army, as a sponsor of the fairness for Veterans Act, the issue of bad paper discharges and ensuring our veterans are, are getting the benefits they’ve earned through their service uh is a priority for me. And the allegations leveled in man curvy, toro are certainly extremely troubling for these folks who were suffering from PTSD and was not diagnosed at the time of that discharge. My question for you sir is why did the Navy choose to ignore the fairness for Veterans act as well as protections laid out in Hagel, kurta Wilkie and Carson memos when dealing with veterans appearing before the naval discharge review board. Okay, MS cetera. Could you bring the microphone closer? Please? Thank you Senator for your support of the um fairness for Veterans Act. Um, as to the question and thank you for your support. Our veterans in general. I’m committed to ensuring that our veterans receive the appropriate due process through the Navy’s discharge review board and I am pleased that we were able to settle on this matter. As I understand, the Department of Navy did not endure the fairness for veterans act or the protection is laid out in these memos that the Department of Navy did not clearly articulate that the memos were taken into consideration during the adjudication process itself. The memos provide that not all misconduct can be mitigated. However, there are nuances including when the memos were issued and which entities and classes of veterans were subject to them. And I’d be happy to set up a specific briefing with your office to discuss these nuances and your concerns? But let me assure you that we will continue to cooperate to the fullest extent as we actually um execute uh, the details of the agreement itself. Do you, do you see any difficulties uh, in fully complying with the settle settlement and what are the timelines you have? I do not and I’ll have to get back to you on the exact timeline, Senator? Well, I appreciate I love to work with your office on this issue going forward. Yes sir. General Berger forced forced design 2030 calls for, among many things, the Marine Corps to more enthusiastically embraced the use of drones, Both at the tactical level, through the use of Ravens and Pumas, but also at the operational level with the recent procurement of MQ 9s. If end up a. Com is the theater priority which it is and increasing the marines. Organic S. R. Is a priority of yours as well that I that I understand. I’m curious though, how you plan to embrace these new platforms as you also at the same time simultaneously seek to divest yourself of roughly 10,000 marines over the for the next decade. So my question for you is in an era of constrained budgets and static or declining personnel levels. How do you plan to leverage the manpower resources available to you in the Marine Corps forces reserves to bolster the Marine Corps I. S. R. Capabilities and use of drones. A couple of thoughts sir. First, the divestments for the Marine Corps are largely done. That’s what the last three years was focused on, including the structure. We’re we’re about where we’re leveled off at 100 and 77,000 plus or minus and that’s about where we were before 9 11. So that part is complete. The modernization of the Marine Corps is you highlighted um, will amplify the role of unmanned systems, air surface, ground and closing organically closing kill chains and kill webs is what enables that forward force to do what it do, what it’s going to need to do. So what’s the difference with some some of it is the change in the way that we operate. In other words, unmanned systems for the last 15 years had a big footprint on the ground in terms of ground control stations infusion all of that I think artificial intelligence and the modernization of the network will shrink that second. Frankly, the folks who operate those systems now are there. They’re digital natives. This is the this is the world they grew up in. So we’re not teaching somebody something from scratch. This is something they have lived with since they were a teenager. Right. That’s correct. Thank thank you so much. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, thank you. Senator Peter. Senator Sullivan please. Mr. Chairman, thank you. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, thank you for your service general. I want to stay focused on force design. Again, I appreciate like a lot of the senators, bald initiatives pursuant to the 2018 nds that you’ve undertaken with force design. I do want to go into a couple of the bigger issues that have emerged. One in which I I see probably the biggest risk to the force and the mission the Marine Corps that I’m concerned about is the rate of divestiture compared to the rate of new capability development being fielded. It’s in essence building on what Senator Peters mentioned in particular, a lot of the experts view one of the most dangerous periods in us China relations as In the late 2020s and as you have executed forest design, the Marine Corps has reduced the number of the number and size of infantry battalions divested all its tanks, reduced the number of aviation squadrons and cannon artillery batteries. Additionally, just last month, the light amphibious warship, a central piece to the concept of stand in forces and force design was announced would be further delayed Until 2025 1st shipment is not expected until 2027. Can you explain how the rate of divestiture in the rate of new capability development integration keeps the Marine Corps optimally prepared for conflict today and in the future. And is there risk and how do you mitigate? I believe there is risk. There absolutely is risk. I think in any organization that goes through force design, civilian sector or military. If you’re going through that effort, there’s absolutely some risk. The challenge is making sure you can see it, you can understand it that you share it with the stakeholders including this committee and uh, you, you have ways to offset that risk while you’re modernizing at speed. If we had waited, for example, Senator, if we had waited three years, let’s say we’ve waited this year to start divestment, we would never be able to stay in front of china. That’s the assumption going forward at the rate that they are modernizing and expanding. If we had waited, we never could have closed the gap, never would have stayed in front. Can I ask you general, uh, just to your comments that you just made to work with this committee to ensure that this again, there’s a lot of divestment going on right now. Pretty dramatic in capability development is further up. The laws are delayed. Some of these systems haven’t been fully developed. Um, can you provide to this committee a timeline and a chart that anticipates year by year Between now and 2030 or maybe even looking back when forced design 2030 began. Um, to what we’re divesting and what were gaining. And how will that make sure that the gap in the trough between divestment and combat capability is not so big that it poses risks to the forester mission. Can you provide that to you? Can absolutely do that. And that is the rationale that’s the reason behind publishing each year. This is where we are with force design. This is what we’ve learned today. The actions taken. This is the plan ahead, which we published last month for this year. I saw that. That is the goal. I appreciate you working with us on that. Let me go to another issue and you mentioned it in your testimony. But some of the criticisms of forced design is that it’s so china focused that it undermines the cores capability to be a lethal force in readiness to meet any contingency Anywhere in the world which of course is a hallmark of the Marine Corps. Can you describe in detail how the Marine Corps of 2030 will apply combat of combined arms across a range of global conflict scenarios and how that compares and enhances your current combined arms and mag taf capabilities anywhere in the world, not just china. Mhm The distinction but the understanding of what pacing means matters of course and that the term pacing of course predates 2018 when the National Defense Strategy first came out pacing. That’s that level. That’s the bar at which the capabilities if you have to either match or overmatch that in order to compete and win. It’s not about invading china, it’s not about fighting china, it’s about that is the level of capabilities that the joint force and the Marine Corps has to have has to have a relative advantage over So the whole force design effort, in fact the modernization of the joint force is meant with that in mind. Not us. What’s the likelihood of us fighting china but what is the level of capabilities that we will need in order to have a relative advantage now and into the future. Combined arms in the past of course was worked very well for the Marine Corps has ensured our success. It will be the foundation going forward that But how we fight combined arms will change the integration of sensors to shooters was step number one. The second one is the shortening the steps from the data to the shooting element. This is a progression of combined arms. That’s natural. This is evolution again driven by technology on the one hand and the threat on the other hand, Combined arms in 2030 or combined arms in 2027 will look a little bit different than today and it’s necessary but it was, it is still combined arms and it’s in support of or in conjunction with maneuver. Always. Thank you Mr. Chairman, thank you. Senator Sullivan Senator Rosen please. Well, thank you. Chairman read um for holding this hearing. Uh thank you for the witnesses for being here today for your service and uh Secretary Del Toro. It is really good to see you again. Thank you for meeting with me recently and of course I’m going to talk about a Fallon naval air station today and Secretary Del Toro as you well know, we are so proud, Nevada’s so proud to host. Fallon Naval air station is home to top gun in our nation’s premier carrier air wing and our seal training centers and the navy is seeking to expand Fallon by over 650,000 acres. And as we’ve discussed on several occasions this proposal would impact local communities or tribes, sportsman’s ranchers and others who currently access and operate on these lands and I really appreciate the visits you and Admiral uh Gildeyev made to Fallon your continued collaboration with me and the Nevada delegation. Thank you all the local stakeholders as we all work to reach consensus on the proposal that both supports the military modernization requirements. You’re speaking of keep up with our current and emerging threats while maintaining Nevada’s natural and cultural resources through land mitigations in the northern parts of our state. And I know we’ve been working with the Department of Interior to improve the original expansion requests and that O. M. B. Has just cleared the legislative proposal on Tuesday for congressional reviews. So now that it’s been released to Congress, could you speak a little bit about the specifics and how you think it addresses? The concern concerns raised in the original Fallon proposals? Mr. Secretary Yes, ma’am. And thank you for your leadership um and the leadership of the entire uh delegation on this critically important issue to our combat readiness across the Department of the Navy, both Marine Corps and Navy. Obviously, the expansion of Fallon is just simply critical to our combat readiness in the future to be able to deter aggressors and in in china Russia and anywhere else around the globe with modernized aircraft uh and missile systems and weapons systems. It’s just simply critical that our war fighters be able to train like they fight in order to create a culture of warfighting excellence. And I’m very pleased the Department of Navy has been able to uh come to agreement with all the stakeholders are, they’re involved in a very respectful way across the entire community to try to come to a better place that this legislative proposal can move forward here in the Congress and we do look forward to its possible passing this this coming year. Thank you. I want to talk critically about critical housing shortage though, at the naval air station, because it’s the only naval base in the Continental United States. Its designated is a critical housing area. So the housing shortage has just been, um, we’ve been briefed to leadership for future construction. Little progress has been made and the shortage, of course is only getting worse. So as we modernize and expand, this is going to place a bigger strain on housing. So, um, I understand that there’s about 400 acres of land adjacent to the current base housing and Fallon, which was once housing that was demolished years ago. Are there plans to re utilize this, and can I have your commitment to really increase housing in in Fallon and the surrounding areas? So, Senator, this is another issue that’s incredibly important to the quality of life of our sailors across the whole nation and specifically, um, to Fallon as well, to allow me to come back to you with answers that regard the specific issue there at at Nevada in terms of the timeline, but we are deeply committed to providing not just family housing to our sailors who have families, but also to our single sailors as well. To in order to provide them the quality of life that they deserve. Um, so, you know, would you like to comment any further on that? Or just a quick comment, ma’am? Um, Fallon is a national treasure. What we, uh, what, what it provides for our warfighters is absolutely unmatched. If you take a look at Russia, um, uh, showing up to a fight untrained, uh, it gives you um, that’s the reason why we need, we need Fallon the first time we use these weapons with these aircraft can’t be in conflict with respect to housing. Um, we are making an investment in Fallon and we hope to put, we’re on track to put, um, A contract for 172 new units in place about a year from now. Well, that’s that’s terrific because we know Fallon of course, is a small area surrounding there. There’s a housing shortage already and you can’t expand and modernize and bring the kind of staff that we need to even the surround workforce for the surrounding community support everyone unless we have at least affordable housing for our servicemen and women. So, uh, I appreciate you getting on this and thinking about it as quickly as we can and get it on the board because I we can’t have homeless servicemen and women. That’s for sure. Thank you. I yield back. Thank you very much. Senator Rose and Senator Scott please? Sure. Thank you Sheriff for for holding this meeting. I wanna thank each of you for your service, your hard work and try to make sure we have the most lethal military in the world. Can you talk about how you know, it doesn’t seem like our issue our our risk are are going down. China’s continued to be belligerent. They’re trying, they’re they’re building big navy. Um Russia is not getting any better. Um You know, there’s not, there’s no place in the world that seems like it’s getting safer right now. So the president budget has a shrinking our naval battle force from 298 ships today to 280 In um fiscal year 2027. So talk about how you’re gonna come, how you’re going to deal with the reduced capacity. How you know, what what plans do you have to be able to continue to provide the same support around the world where it might be needed. Morning Senator, um it’s incredibly important question. Um Yes, capacity does dip down in the next five years. But then it studies out again five years later if you according to the shipbuilding plan. But what’s more important is that although the size of the navy may dip the capabilities of the navy are actually going to be greater than they ever have been before. And we’re actually bringing online just over the next set of 50 battleships and supply ships that are going to be far more capable of deterring are aggressors, china, Russia or anywhere else that we face. Aggressors around the globe that we have been able to in the past with the type of R and D. Investments in modernization. That’s critical uh to deter them in every way. Emma garland, sir, we’ve under invested in the United States Navy for two decades for a good reason based on our priorities in Afghanistan and Iraq as you know, getting the industrial base, putting that rudder over and generating new capability at speed. That’s a challenge, particularly when you think about the complexity of the warships, the best warships in the world that we put to sea, manned by the best sailors in the world. And so it’s gonna take time and we have, I would draw a parallel to the, to the commandant’s challenge with force design 2030 when uh new capabilities always lagged the divestment but based on the top line that we have and based on the threat that we face, particularly with respect to china. We have to make sure that based on the budget we have, we are feeling the most lethal, capable ready for us that we can, you mentioned in your comments upfront that lethality manners matters. So I think we’re 100% aligned with respect to that and we’re trying to make sure that both the navy that we have today. The navy we have in the future has the best is the best capabilities but also is the best trained force that we can put on those ships. Can you explain what happened with the with the littoral combat ships that we just commissioned a couple years ago now? We’re talking about DK when what happened and we just did that our did our needs change or did we pick the wrong ship before? I mean it’s well that’s a pretty big investment to to get rid of. Yes sir. So uh the navy’s enduring missions or c control and power projection and we should never ever lose sight of the capabilities that we’re going to invest in contribute contribute to those two missions. I would offer that L. C. S. Was an idea 2025 years ago. Uh that just did not consider those two missions with respect to those two enduring missions with respect to a high end peer competitor like we face right now with china with respect to the nine ships that we have right now on the table in this budget proposal to retire. That is primarily driven by the fact that the systems that we were going to put on that ship just did not pan out in terms of technical capability against the threat that we’re facing and my my best advice would not to be put another dollar against those systems but to reinvest that in systems that really make a difference in the future and in weapons that we need today in the fleet. Thank you. Jim burger as you. Um as you revamp what the Marine Corps is doing, Can you talk about how you’re gonna have to change your working relationship with the other branches of government to be able to fulfill your mission? Your mission? Um I don’t know that it’s a fundamental shift. Are you talking about outside the Department of Defense Senator? Is that what you mean or? No, The other branches, the military, the other branches here? I think uh no fundamental change. No, but I think a more realistic view of where overlaps are between the services that are healthy and where they’re redundant and excessive. Um and in certain areas for the joint force to do what it needs to do? Overlap is healthy. Overlap is a good thing, but where it gets to be excessive inefficient. Okay. There we have to be able to we have to make the hard decisions and that’s part of what’s driving force design. All right, thank you. Thank each of you for what you’re doing. Thank you. Senator Scott. Senator Wicker, please thank you. Mr. Chairman. I understand there’s been a lot of discussion about LPD s. Let me just see if we can summarize general burger. Your requirement for traditional amphibious ships is 31. Is that right? That’s correct sir. And and um Admiral Gilda, you agree with that. Is that correct? Yes, sir. Our joint analysis supports that. Okay, now there there is a study that the Cno Admiral Dilday has told us today confirms that 31 is the requirement. So Mr. Secretary that is a fact, is it not? Uh this this study has concluded the findings of the studies are now being reported out and being discussed in the Department of Defense as well as by myself uh as well as in the Department of Navy. And that has. The findings of that study now has to be balanced by the forest naval uh Structure assessment that’s being conducted for Palm 2020 for that is aligned to the National Defense Strategy. So there is some additional work that needs to be done before the final determination is made. Mr. Secretary do Admiral Guild a and general burger know what they’re talking about? Yes sir. Okay. So if they made a misstatement today? No sir, they have not made it. Okay. And we were told we would have this study before today’s hearing. Um Assistant Secretary Secretary Stephanie said that. So um why do we not have the study yet? I don’t know why the Assistant Secretary told you that sir. He may have misspoken but certainly he did not consult with me and releasing that study because it hasn’t been reviewed yet by senior leaders of the Department of Defense. When do you think we will um have that study when all of these extra steps you mentioned are done? It should be if required. He should be released in the next several weeks sir. Let me just say. Also during the chairman’s opening statement, He talked about the 355 ship Navy and that is I think he may have mentioned it as a goal. You are aware Mr. Secretary that that is in the statute the law of the land passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States. Are you aware of that? Yes sir, I am okay. And are are you guided at all By the fact that the statute actually says 355 ships? Yes sir, I am guided by that. And if you actually look at the one of the alternatives in our shipbuilding planet actually meets the requirements of that statute. Okay. Uh General burger. Um will you elaborate On the update to force this design 2030? What does it mean in layman’s terms about the hider finder emphasis and its ability to support lethality and our ability to win future fights? Um hider finder reconnaissance. Counter reconnaissance goes by different names but it’s the same idea, senator, in that if you have the lethal means to engage your target, hold them at risk. There’s a presumption there you can find them and there’s also a presumption that you can find them first and get the first round downrange. So more and more as from satellites down to terrestrial down to sub terrain. Ian sensors are allowing not just great powers but a lot of powers to see what’s going on around them. So winning that. And when I say when we say winning the hider finder competition, it means the ability to detect, track and conceal your own location or stay within a displacement cycle that moves you more rapidly than they can target you. Winning that stays in front of the adversary. Losing that means they can engage you means you’re held at risk so it doesn’t decrease the importance of lethality. Absolutely. As important as it always has been. But more and more and more important is the realization that we have to have the means to detect to tract to hold at risk the adversary and do it first. Um Thank you very much. Mr. Mr. Chairman, I don’t in six seconds. I don’t have time to ask about the failure of the USS Sioux City and the reason for the class wide failure of the ship’s engineering plan. So I’ll I’ll see if I can take a second round or ask that on the record and I yield. Thank you very much. Senator worker, let me recognize Senator Tillis please. Thank you Mr. Chairman, Gentlemen, thank you for being here. Admiral guild a I enjoyed the time that Senator Gillibrand and I spent with you and Admiral Joyner. Thank you for giving us that time. I wanna I wanna talk a little bit about Finland and Sweden for a moment because we have a number of members. I think they need to increase their level of understanding as we move into. What will likely be an invitation from from NATO to join NATO after they expressed their desire to do so in the coming days or weeks. Just for uh edification purposes. Finland is a nation of five million people right now. They have 62 F eighteens, they have 64 F 30 five’s on order. Um There are already spending 2% as a percentage of GDP on military and they’ve announced putting in another $2.2 billion dollars in Sweden. They have 80 griping fourth generation, somewhere between and F 16 F 18 Capability. They’re spending 1.3 as a percentage of GDP today and they’ve expressed a commitment to getting to 2% by 2028. Um, we know that they embrace Western norms, they have the rule of law, they check all the boxes with respect to what would be a welcome member of NATO. Um Number one, would you refute any of that? And number two, can you tell me a little bit about your relationships with your counterparts in both Sweden and Finland and your observations on their participation and various joint exercises that we’ve had. And we’ll start with Admiral guild a and then uh, and then uh Mr. Secretary, you’re more than welcome to Opine. But I’m really interested in the mill two mill relationships first and how you would assess their capabilities. I for one think they’d be an exporter of security if they uh, we’re able to achieve accession into NATO. I’d like to get your view on that for the record. Yes, sir. I have a relationship with both heads and navy in terms of the Swedish c you know, she was just at my my home last month for dinner. And so we have ongoing dialogue with her. Um Both of those militaries as you stated, are very capable. Uh We like their geography as well. They are in a key position. Uh I would also just reiterate what the committee already knows and that’s they both enjoy special partnership as a, as a near ally, near ally status. And so we exercise and work very, very closely with those militaries. How we characterize our our ability to work together with them and exercises is highly interoperable. Um And so I see this transition into NATO if it happens as virtually seamless. From a from a military perspective, Jonah Berger, sir. I’ve probably like the Cno and some others. I’ve trained with both countries. Uh and also from Kosovo to Middle East, fought with them. Combat in combat, served with them in units. They’re phenomenal. Both countries, both very focused, very dedicated disciplined and well trained, Well led. Um Second part, I would say Finland because of the long border that they have with Russia and decades since World War Two have a unique insight into Russia. Very valuable for us just because of the length of the shared border. And and we just call it a unique relationship with that’s that’s very valuable. Norway just has a little short border with them. But Finland a long one. 3rd. I would say the unique relationship between Norway and Finland and Sweden Will be hugely valuable to us because Norway being a founding member of NATO and us working with them for 70 years. They their relationship with Finland and Sweden will be tremendous benefit to the us and and to the Milton mil relationship. Thank you Mr. Secretary. The only thing I’ll add senator is I think is tremendous opportunities for collaboration amongst all four of those nations that were mentioned um in the high north and the Baltic. Okay, I’m gonna submit a lot of questions for the record about F. R. C. East and resource requirements. Things like that. Admiral Gilda, I appreciate your comment when we had breakfast about getting back down there again and commandant. I appreciate your focus on that area. The last thing I want to focus on is whether or not you all believe that That Admiral Admiral Mullen’s concerns about our national debt back in 2011 when it was just approaching 12 trillion Is every bit as much a threat to us today in terms of national security. Now that we’re approaching 30 trillion. Now, he didn’t he didn’t state it if you read all that he he spoke on and wrote there, it wasn’t because of a dollar value. It was because of how disruptive that becomes with the ebbs and flows of investment for defense, for modernization. And and am I correct in assuming that at least some of what’s driving you all to rethink how we counter to the threat in an effective way in the future is driven by by the ebbs and flows and the lack of certainty that you get from Congress with respect to short and long term investments. And Mr. Secretary, I’ll start with you and then I’ll have either of the two. Um No pine as well. Thank you. Mr. Chair Senator. I’m always concerned about the nation’s deficit and the nation’s national debt as well and the impact it has on the economy. Uh those are challenging economic issues that have to be well balanced amongst all the other concerns that the nation faces. And certainly our nation has faced great challenges since 2001 economic militarily and with regards to covid as well. Yes, sir. Quickly, I’d say that a key piece of that is lack of predictability and stability and so not just inside the military and not just for the U. S. Industrial base, but also what we project to our allies and partners and potential adversaries. Zeno captured it. And I think that yeah, things like a continuing resolution hurt both internally and externally. Just the just the way that Admiral guild a highlighted so working closely with this committee to make sure we do get a budget on time in October absolutely instills the confidence that we need and I know I’ve run over and I try not to most of the time. Um and uh you know I just want to say that when we, excuse me, we have discussions about our disappointment with progress on certain systems, progress on implementing certain strategies that from time to time we have to look at ourselves and recognize that decisions we make here are part of the root cause for some of the challenges that you have to deal with. Not that their air free, but I think this is a joint um were jointly responsible for doing a better job and helping you all be more successful. Thank you. Thank you Senator Tillis Senator Blumenthal, please thank you. Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, thank you all for your leadership and your service um commandant. You know, I was very interested in one of your responses to an earlier question about the enduring lessons of war and the new lessons the technology changes. But some of the enduring facts about military strength remain. One of them has always seemed to me and it’s the strength of the marine corps are non commissioned officer leadership and if what we hear and see is true about the Russian military right now. One of their central weaknesses has been lack of leadership on the ground. Among the equivalent of our non commissioned senior leadership not so senior probably for us it’s men and women in there 20s and early 30’s who command units and are able to drive them in times of danger and need. And I think that is one of the enduring facts about the Marine Corps that is a source of its strength to the nation. And I’m assuming that you are focused on developing that kind of leadership wherever it may be regardless of geography, race, religion and gender. Two thoughts to offer back to your senator. Absolutely yes and I am so grateful that my predecessors like General Gray and others put the emphasis and the resources on the training and the education of the non commissioned officers Because without that they didn’t have the tools he he and others focused on that 25 30 years ago where we are reaping the benefits of that. Now. Um The second part of that I would say the the N. C. O. Corps itself as the officers have to have confidence in them and delegate to them without micromanaging trust that they’re gonna they’re gonna lead. Trust that they’re going to make decisions on their own And that’s the way that the Marine Corps operates. That is as you capture that that is the strength of of what we do is the N. C. O. Corps. Thank you. Ah Admiral Dilday. I know you made reference to earlier in response, I think to Senator rounds the ah value of having a private shipyard do submarine maintenance work. I think that electric boat has been a source of great strength in terms of maintenance. The Navy has not yet awarded the contract for work on the Hartford and I hope that it will do so fairly promptly understand it. Maybe in June am I correct in that understanding? So I’ll get back to the exact timeline. But yes. Uh just like to double down on my comments and how important uh both electric boat and Huntington’s angles are from a repair, not only from a reduction standpoint but from uh from a repair standpoint, they’re absolutely critical. I also want to focus on a somewhat arcane but I think important question about the unusually hazardous risk indemnity. This issue is complex. But again for contractors, it’s A very important one. I recently voiced my concerns over a change in the unusual, unusually hazardous risk indemnity policy. In an exchange with Assistant Secretary Stephanie last week. As a matter of fact, I’m not gonna have time and I know we’re at the end of a lengthy hearing but I would be interested in comments that you may have in writing the Navy risks losing its private partners and thus its ability to build major weapons systems and technologies for future conflict if it fails to take account of the risk that they undertake by reversing a decades old indemnification policies no longer cover those kinds of risks involving conventional weapons that rely on high energy propellants. It may seem like a technical issue but it’s one of great concern to the companies that manufacture these weapons and I’d appreciate your looking into it. Yes sir. Thank you very much. Thanks Mr. Chairman thank you. Senator Blumenthal santa Hawley please. Thank you. Mr. Chairman thanks all of you for being here. Thank you for your service. Um General Burger. I just want to start by saying that I was particularly pleased to see in the force designed 2030 annual update, your continued focus on China as the nation’s pacing threat on the Taiwan scenario and your continued use of those scenarios and that threat to benchmark. Uh the what the Marine Corps’s efforts are in your strategic design. I think it’s a bold vision which you’ve been doing much overdue and I just want to say I think you’ve done it in a very rigorous and thoughtful way. So um I think it’s a model. Keep up the good work. Mr. Secretary. If I could come to you, you said in response to a question a minute ago that one of the shipbuilding profiles, this is on the shipbuilding plan. One of the profiles are three of them. One of them supports the statutory requirement of a 355 ship Navy is that profile three I assume on the same plan. Admiral Navy officials told me earlier this week and last week, that profiles one and 2 of the ship building plan. Do not meet the Navy’s operational requirements for the pacing scenario in pei calm with regard to Taiwan. Is, can you confirm that profile three would meet the Navy’s operational requirements for three. Does a better job the constraint uh, constraint you still facing three is the ability of the industrial base to, to produce those for the production line to actually produce uh produce those ships at pace to meet to meet our requirements. So, the war fighting requirements in the Navy Marine Corps are what they are best reflected an alternative three. So, are you telling me Admiral we would get there in three, but we might, it might still be a push even under three. Am I hearing you right? We would get there with three. But that would require real growth in the budget. Let me just ask you how long it would take to get to the point under three where the Navy to be able to meet its operational requirements. So with respect to 3 55 sir, that would be out in the 20 forties in order to put us put us on that, Put us on that path, which I think is probably, you know, physically reasonable given again the constraints of the industrial basis. What what about the operational requirements for the pacing scenario in in a calm that is a defeating a fait accompli against. So capaci capacity does give you, obviously gives you greater capability and based on the way we’re gonna fight, which we believe is to be distributed, distributed fleet rather than massing forces. We would mass effects. Um, we want we need more ships of every of every different type. And so I’m not ignoring the need for capacity, but given the top line that we have uh in dealing with reality, what we’re trying to do, senator is make sure that the ships that we have and that we are building are the most capable uh and high quality that we, that we can feel. Um, I just want to say again for the record that I think it’s disturbing. This is no reflection on you, Admiral. Um, but I think it’s disturbing that of the three profiles in the shipbuilding plant, only one of them comes close. And you were saying even then it will be a push that comes close to meeting the operational requirements that the Navy has to deal with the pacing challenge and the pacing theater. I mean, if that’s not a wake up call that this committee, uh, I don’t know what is, Let me ask you about the danger of simultaneous conflicts, Admiral, and multiple theaters. So what would happen if the Navy, what let me ask you this way, what, what would the impact be on the Navy’s ability to meet its operational requirements in you calm. If we had to withhold navy forces from Europe in order to deter Chinese aggression in Peckham, I think we’d be challenged. We’d have to take a look at how you squeeze the most out of the joint force that you have and use it in the best, best possible way. But I think we’d be challenging. You know, right now, the forces not sized to handle two simultaneous conflicts, It’s it’s sized to fight one and to keep keeping a second adversary in check. But in terms of a two to all out conflicts, we were not size for that. Can you give us a sense of of what kind of capabilities that the navy provides? That would be in high demand are in high demand in both. You calm and pay calm. Uh First of all, it’s submarines. I think secondly, it would be carrier air, there would be amphibious ships and then you need destroyers with multiple weapons in order to uh in order to protect, protect those assets. So across the board, you need more of everything. Yeah, thinking about the constraints that we face in either theater, but particularly in you calm? What are some of the capabilities you would say that the Navy is currently providing in Europe, that maybe our allies in that region that could be doing more to provide on their own? Should we need need them in Peckham or elsewhere. I think, I think a submarines are a key, a key capability in any fight. And so that would be one message. I would give the Europe two to invest more heavily in those kinds of platforms. Yeah, thank you. Um, in my few remaining seconds here, Mr. Secretary, let me ask you about an interesting article I read from former undersecretary of the Navy Robert Wark, who recently said I want to make sure I get this right. He’s talking about forward presence. And he said over time, an emphasis on forward presence could lead to a decline in warfighting readiness with potentially dire results. Do you agree with the former secretary that presence operations can trade off with proficiency that are critical to combat. I don’t agree with his assessment that we need less forward presence. I think we need greater access to bases and logistics, uh, basis is in particular across the globe wherever we can find them. Let me ask the last question here, Mr. Chairman, I’ll finish with this. Let me ask you. If you agree with this statement, this is work again. The Navy warfighting material readiness should no longer be sacrificed on the altar of forward presence in the Navy should no longer confuse that with winning awards. You think that that’s right wrong over something sacrificed our worst wartime capabilities, uh, um, in exchange for for presidents. I think the two go together. I think that you know what we need is the right capacity, the right capabilities to deliver the right lethality. And that also demands access uh to the logistical bases throughout the globe working with our partners and allies. I’m not so sure about that. But we’ll follow up. Thank you. Mr. Chairman thank you. Senator Hawley. We’ve concluded the first round members have requested a second round. We also will have a classified session in S. V. C. To 17. So I will recognize Senator King first and then go to the other side. I would ask you to keep your questions concise and uh necessary for this open session because you’ll have another opportunity to talk to these gentlemen in a closed session. Senator King please. Just several quick points. Number one, I want to associate myself with Senator heroine knows comments about the 15 ship multi year for destroyers. And I know there’s some discussion about whether they’re the industrial base has the capacity to meet that. I think there’s a bit of a of a circular argument. Uh My experience working with Bath iron works is you give them the signal and they can meet it. If they don’t get the signal of the longer term uh multiyear then there’s then it makes it less likely that they’ll meet it. So I don’t think that should be a constraint that I think everyone realizes from this discussion that number one multi years are better for the taxpayers. They’re better for the industrial base and a longer multiyear sends a strong signal to the industrial base that, that the business will be there. They can make the investments and, and meet that requirement. That’s number one, Number two. Um, on the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, we’ve been talking a lot about readiness and I want to thank you for the investment that the, that the budget makes in completing or at least moving forward the capital improvements at the shipyard already. What that new dry dock Mr. Secretary that you and I saw the USS Cheyenne is in that dry dock successfully. So the next step of course, is to double the double the capacity of that dry dock. But I want to mention a sort of a side issue, uh, and in talking with people at the Portsmouth Naval shipyard, they’re talking about all the investments in the, in the infrastructure that’s really important, but they also have investments in the people and every, every worker, every business in America is short of workers. And they told me that the way to attract additional workers to Portsmouth Naval shipyard is childcare and parking. And it’s, as, you know, you don’t really think about parking as a naval function, but if we want good people and they’re competing for the, for the best in, in the region. Uh, we’ve got to think about those kind of quality of life things and that we were talking a lot today about new requirements of younger workers and those are the two things that have been brought to my attention. So I wanted to mention those to you as you think about the investment in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. And finally, um, Mr. Secretary, you have indicated in an excellent report about the collaboration and joint development that’s going on between Huntington’s ingles Bath Iron Works and the navy on the new DDG X. And I want to commend you for that report. And just if you could just state for the record why it’s important in the development of this new platform because where we’ve had problems in the past is on new platforms. And this is a case where I think we’re moving down a very, a very beneficial path. And if you would just state for the record your conclusions on that subject. Yes, senator. And obviously given the power constraints on our current classes of g g flight to us and flight three’s, uh due to the size of the whole um, DDG X is sort of that next transition to new technologies that take us above and beyond, such as the utilization of laser systems as one example. Um and so it’s important to have that that transition as we stated earlier uh today, it’s also important to ensure that the technologies that are going to go on that platform. Armature well understood technologies that work so that we don’t make the mistakes of the past. And finally, I would argue that we also need to ensure that DDG X is the concept of operations for its employment is well thought out so that we could also integrate the autonomous or semi autonomous uh technologies that we look forward to integrating well into the future as well. And in order to do that successfully working with the yards to be sure that what we design and and set for requirements can be built I think is an important part of that process. Do you agree? It is? Senator. Thank you. Thank you. MR Chairman thank you. Senator King uh Senator workers recognized test and I just for the benefit of everyone, I’m going to forced the five minute rule, I don’t do it usually very very good and and I think we can do this in less than five minutes. Um Secretary del Toro. Um just last Friday, it was reported that the U. S. S. Sioux City would be headed to the Arabian gulf. It has been spending time in the Mediterranean um this is a freedom variant LCS ship. Um the navy has announced it will decommission a total of 24 battleships including the 1st 10 freedom variant LCS. Um the Sioux City is reportedly going to be decommissioned only 4.5 years after it was commissioned in in part due to a class wide failure in the ship’s engineering plan. So um I want to ask this, how many ships have this class wide failure and the ship’s engineering plan? And if if the failure is that serious, why is it capable of being sent to the Arabian gulf for serious duty? Either it’s not reliable and not capable or it is capable enough to send it to be sent into harm’s way And and then uh we’ll leave time for Admiral Guild 8 to help answer that question also. Yes sir. It’s my understanding that the the USS Sioux City being of the freedom variant with the U. S. W. Module on it. Um and that that’s particularly the reason why it’s going to be decommissioned. Um as to the class wide failure, there are operational restrictions that were put on the utilization of the ships in general um which keeps them safe to operate um but not in their most extreme fashion. And perhaps I could ask to see, you know, to further elaborate on that. Secretary is right sir. We have operating limitations on those ships based on a known problem in the engineering plant that needs to be replaced over time. You know, we’re we’re replacing the combining, it’s called the combining gear. It gives you uh more flexibility with your engineering plan configuration and allows you to allows you to operated at high speeds to, to your point, we believe the risk is uh we can mitigate the risk using that vessel forward. Um uh given the operating constraints that uh that we’ve identified and the guidance that we’ve given to commanding officers. So we have trained that ship uh for combat and Senator sending her forward to be able to provide the capability needed by the centcom commander. Is the failure in Admiral. Is the failure in the engineering plan the same in all of these in all of this class? No sir. Just in the freedom. Just in the freedom And how many are how many of those are there? So sir there are about Between 15 and 20. And so the failure is the same in those 15 or 20. The fixed needs to occur in those 15 or 20. But one of the proposals is the decommissioned. nine. Right. And so uh and so as the secretary mentioned it’s not just the combining gear but also we were making an investment in an anti submarine warfare module for that ship That is technically has not met its requirements. It is incapable, in other words. What about the others that are going to be that are gonna not be decommissioned? So uh 15 of those will have a mine countermeasures uh module. So that particular capability is on track to be IOC this year. Uh And so those 15 ships are going to be required to replace our existing mind sweepers that operate on both Yokosuka japan and Bahrain. Additionally there are six um uh L. C. S. That we would have the existing surface uh anti surface module on those ships. And that’s a proven capability that when I O. C. Three years ago. Mr. Chairman, I yield back 49 seconds. We appreciate it. Uh And that’s the challenge with our other colleagues. So Senator Sutherland, you’re recognized. Thank you. Mr. Chairman um General burger. You mentioned that the the rate of divestiture and the rate of new combat capability development pose a risk and you’ve got to manage that risk. one of your assumptions on the overall force design was flat budgets that you had to make these difficult choices. Unfortunately, I think you’re seeing that that’s actually true and if you actually had more robust budget it would help mitigate some of the risk in modernization, wouldn’t it? General it would absolutely everything on the unfunded priority list for us accelerates modernization, correct? So Mr. Secretary I was disappointed and I’ve raised this with Secretary Austin General Milley, we have clearly a more um dangerous national security situation around the world. And yet the budget that was being put forward by the President for the Department of the Navy, that’s the Navy and Marine Corps combined Is a 4% increase from the enacted budget. We bolstered that again, the President put forward a week budget last year But with 8% inflation, that’s actually a 4% inflation adjusted cut. So Do you support a 4% inflation just to cut the commandant? Just showed that this would help mitigate the force design risks if we had a more robust budget but I’m concerned, very concerned and Congress is likely gonna have to do cleanup like we did last year and significantly increased the budget despite the president putting forward a week budget. He’s done it again. So how do you support such a budget? 4% inflation adjusted cuts. Senator, I do support the President’s budget completely. Uh it’s actually the first time in quite some time where we’ve actually proposed a budget that’s greater than the previously enacted budget for the president for doing that 4% increase With 8.3% inflation is a 4% inflation adjusted cut, correct? So it is today. However, budgets as you well know, senator are prepared well in advance of when they’re executed and inflation is always a difficult thing to uh predicting the future. And it’s part of the reason why the president’s 23 budget. We actually also enacted 4.6% increase for our sailors um and marines across the board and a 5% increase in and be a h. And I appreciate all those. But the reality is even those don’t keep up with inflation. But let me, I’m going to try to keep to my five minutes. I want to turn to force design but to you. Mr. Secretary Admiral um I was struck by the Navy’s documents, strategy documents which my team and I read the tri service strategy cmos navigation plan, the surface warfare, competitive edge plan and um how they don’t articulate how the navy will support the survivability and sustainability of Marine Corps stand in forces and otherwise facilitate the excess execution of the expeditionary advanced base operations. And those are all key parts of the Marine Corps Force design strategy. So here’s my question. Actually. When you look at the Navy documents, Standing Forces Force designer, I don’t even think they’re mentioned or alluded to. But much of these documents describe how standing forces will enable the fleet to control the seas and reposition to conduct naval strikes from a Marietta of different directions. But there’s little if anything in these documents about support in the reverse. And what I mean by that is the fleet support to enabling successful E A. B. O. Or standing forces. So MS Secretary, maybe start with you, admiral, our fleet Commander is ready to help execute this part of force design and standing forces to execute the E A B. O. Concept and other things which would put ships at risk and if so, how come None of that is articulated in the Navy strategies. That at least I’ve been reading this far, I would officer that you can get an inaccurate picture by just judging our commitment to uh to force design based on the tri service strategy and the navigation plan. And the reason I do that. But the reason I say that is because most of what’s been written publicly about standing about standing forces has been produced after the production, after the release of both of those documents. Now, if you take a look at the concept of operations that are, that are co signed by both fleet commanders and uh and meth commanders, whether it’s in the western pacific or whether it’s in Europe, uh they both rely heavily on standing forces as part of the war, as part of warfighting concept. I would also offer that today. Uh the uh the naval commander in Europe of the component commander under General Walters has marine elements. I would characterize them as E A B O E A B O S E A B S in terms of what they are doing in terms of sensing and making sense of the environment in terms of helping understand what effects that we can produce in theater. They are right now on the ground, in places like Estonia, in Iceland and in Norway. And so I would offer sir that it’s very much alive at the fleet level. In terms of how we’re integrating with the Marine Corps, I’ll have an update to my navigation plan within the month. Uh and I will take special note to make sure that I foot stomp Standing forces. Thank you. Sullivan Senator Sullivan thank you very much santa Holiday. You request recognition. Yes sir, please briefly. Um Admiral, just a question for you on aircraft carriers. I realized that by statute by law, Navy is required to maintain at least 11 operational carriers. But Absent that statutory requirement, my question is, is it the best use of the Navy’s allocation to maintain 11. Here’s where I’m going with this. If you had eight or even 10, that would free up a lot of resources to invest in other capabilities that might be more effective in deterring china and our pacing theater. So do you have a thought on that? Honestly, I think 11 is a conservative estimate based on, based on the demand signal from combatant commanders now, uh, there is no more survivable airfield in the world than an aircraft carrier. And in terms of what it brings to the fight in terms of sortie generation in terms of our move now with unmanned, unmanned refueling that extends the range of the air wing by hundreds of miles. My unfunded list tries to top off on domestic production of weapons with range and speed principally for the air wing. They remain along with our submarine force, the main batteries of the United States Navy with respect to offensive weapons. And so, um, so sir, I I remain very bullish on aircraft carriers and I can’t think of anybody out there in the joint force that is not, is how survivable though, is the carrier Admiral. If it’s parked in the Taiwan strait, I mean, I know they’re survivable off the coast of Hawaii but doesn’t it depend on where they are. So, uh, based on how we use those carriers here, we’re gonna put them in a place where they can be most effective. And we also are leveraging both space and cyber in terms of how we position those units. I’ll tell you that if you take a look at an airfield in an island in the middle of the pacific that was targeted when the lava cooled. You can move an aircraft carried to tomorrow. Reagan National’s gonna be in the same place. It is today. If that were an aircraft carrier tomorrow would be west of the Mississippi and Missouri. Or it could be off of Newfoundland or it could be off of key west Florida so we can move them around. That’s the that’s one of the real value of naval forces in general. Fair enough. Thank you. Mr. Chairman thank you Senator Hawley, thank you Gentlemen. We will recess or during the open session and let us attempt to reassemble S. V. C. To 17 to 12 20 for my colleagues. As a vote pending right now. We’ll vote and then we’ll attempt to get together again at 12 20 at spc to 17 again. Gentlemen, thank you for your testimony. The open hearing is adjourned

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