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TESTIMONY OF
LIEUTENANT GENERAL BENJAMIN GRIFFIN
DEPUTY CHIEF FOR PLANS AND PROGRAMS (G8)
UNITED STATES ARMY

BEFORE THE
HOUSE
ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON TACTICAL AIR AND LAND FORCES

UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

REGARDING FUTURE COMBAT SYSTEM AND FORCE PROTECTION INITIATIVES

 APRIL 1, 2004 

Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today along with my friend, Lieutenant General Ed Hanlon, the Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command.  As you are aware, Soldiers and Marines are operating "shoulder-to-shoulder" in the streets of Iraq and other dangerous places worldwide and performing magnificently.  We take pride in our close relationship with the Marine Corps, and it's appropriate that we appear together to address your concerns and share with you what we've accomplished and where we're going.

Let me begin by expressing the Army's appreciation for the Committee Members and Staff's outstanding support to our Soldiers who are serving our country around the world, as well as to their families at home.   Because we are here in part to answer your concerns regarding force protection, I would like to make a special point of expressing the Department's appreciation of the tremendous support this committee has provided for Army force protection measures and equipment.

I know that you are very much interested in ensuring that our servicemembers have available the best protective equipment in the required quantities.  We obviously share that concern.  In the last six months, I have visited Army units in both Iraq and Afghanistan, most recently in February, to specifically look at how well our programs are being executed to equip our Soldiers and units with force protection equipment.  In addition to these periodic visits by senior Army leadership, the Department of the Army has established a number of forward liaison elements in theater to facilitate information exchange and to solve problems.  I have a dedicated liaison officer stationed in theater at the Combined Forces Land Component Command headquarters and Combined Joint Task Force-7.  This officer reports to the Army Staff and theater commanders' staff, addressing force protection and other Reset issues.  We also have liaisons in two of the Divisions that are in theater.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to share what I have learned with you.  What the Army, with the essential support of the Department of Defense and Congress, has been able to accomplish in a relatively short period of time is truly remarkable, however we will not rest---nor be satisfied---until every requirement has been fully met.

I know you have heard from the Acting Secretary of the Army, Mr. Les Brownlee, that we are "an Army at war, serving a Nation at war."  For the Army, that means nothing is "business as usual."  Every aspect of equipping Soldiers for the challenges of operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom or the Global War on Terrorism is being intensively managed to ensure that equipment is tested, acquired, distributed and issued as quickly as humanly possible.  During my visits to the Area of Operations, every Soldier, from Private to Lieutenant General, has expressed appreciation for the efforts being made on their behalf to get them the latest force protection equipment.  Their thanks were nice, but I am fully cognizant that we still have work to do in this area.

The resources that have been applied to this challenge are considerable.  The funding provided in the FY04 Supplemental enabled us to accelerate production of a number of key pieces of force protection equipment, and we greatly appreciate this Committee's support in providing us the needed resources.  Additionally, the timely support this committee has provided in approving reprogramming actions to resource force protection equipment has been crucial and is appreciated.

I would like to take this opportunity to address some of the most important force protection equipping items in more detail.  First, Up-Armored HMMWVs.  As you are probably aware, theater commanders submitted their first request for additional Up-Armored HMMWVs in May 2003.  Since then, the requirement has steadily increased and stands today at 4,388.  Army leadership has worked closely with the commercial sector to meet this requirement, and as a result, by May, production will climb to 220 vehicles per month.  With the receipt of $331 million in reprogramming, we will be able to move 300 vehicles per month by July 2004.  As of today, there are over 2,349 Up-Armored HMMWVs in theater to meet Soldier needs. This has been made possible by means of production acceleration, worldwide redistribution, and with the great support of Congress and Industry. We are on track to meet the current requirement by October 2004.   With your consistent support, the Up-Armored HMMWV program has received over $400 Million dollars of additional funding to date.

Complementing this effort is the Army's program to add ballistic protection to light vehicles and selected aviation platforms.  At the request of the theater commander, and again, with the support of Congress and Industry, the Army is well underway with a program to add ballistic protection to over 11,000 vehicles and aircraft.  To ensure that these kits deliver the expected amounts of protection and do not create a separate danger to Soldiers by overloading vehicles or creating shrapnel, the Army has extensively tested these kits against a variety of expected threats.  Over 2,000 armor kits have already been installed, mostly on HMMWVs, and we will take delivery of a total of 6,900 HMMWV armor kits by May 2004.  We plan to take delivery of all kits to meet the current requirement by October 2004.  We are establishing multiple installation sites to install the armor and looking at innovative ways to accelerate this process.  This is complex work, because the commanders in theater need the vehicles to do their daily missions, so the installation must be carefully coordinated to avoid interference.   The vehicle armoring program to date has been funded at $650M when recent reprogrammings are included, again with the support of Congress.

The foundation and focal point of our Army is the Soldier.   Needless to say, protection of the Soldier is paramount.  Interceptor Body Armor provides the best individual ballistic protection available in the world.  Production of Interceptor Body Armor is operating at the maximum level that industry can support and is delivering 25,000 sets per month.  There is now enough Interceptor Body Army in theater to equip every Soldier in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.    Because of that, the Army will soon stop sending Interceptor Body Armor to the theater, and will instead equip Soldiers at their home stations before they deploy.  The Chief of Staff of the Army has decided to acquire sufficient amounts of Interceptor Body Armor to equip every Soldier in the Army in deployable units and to provide at US Army training installations. We look forward to working with this committee and Congress to accomplish that plan.

The Rapid Fielding Initiative or RFI, as it is known, has been a huge success for the Army.  This program provides Soldiers with state-of-the-art enhancements to their lethality, their protection, and their ability to operate.  Specific items include weapons optics, clothing, boots, kneepads and other items.  RFI is being issued to all deploying Soldiers, with tailoring of the "kit" based on the mission requirements.   Fielding for units on the second rotation of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the fifth rotation of Operation Enduring Freedom will be complete by August.  The Army has chosen to equip all Soldiers in deployable units with RFI by the year 2007 and again, we look forward to addressing that need with this Committee and others.

Other key force protection efforts have included the accelerated fielding of unmanned aerial vehicles to identify enemy forces emplacing ambushes, fielding of a lightweight counter mortar radar to pin-point enemy mortar sites, distribution of elevated sensors for fixed sites to give commanders an additional means of monitoring the key areas around their installations, and procurement of robots to help explosive ordnance disposal teams more safely disarm explosive devices.  The Army has also accelerated the fielding of countermeasures for improvised explosive devices.   The Acting Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff have established Aviation Survivability Equipment as one of the highest priority force protection programs in the Army.  In November 2003, the Acting Secretary of the Army Mr. Brownlee directed the acceleration of aircraft survivability equipment to deployed forces.  All aircraft have ASE.  We are upgrading our capability to enhance protection of deployed aircraft.  Each of the above items represents a success story in its own right, and I look forward to your questions on those topics.  Because information on some of these capabilities may have potential benefit to our adversaries, some of these areas may have to be addressed in a closed session.

Perhaps even more important than fielding equipment is the dissemination of new tactics, techniques and procedures for dealing with an enemy that is adaptive and learning.  For that reason, in October 2003, the Army activated an organization known as the Improvised Explosive Device, or IED, Task Force.  The IED Task Force has played a crucial role in assisting commanders in the training of their Soldiers, in the development of new doctrine, the dissemination of lessons learned, and the identification of new equipment needs.  The Task Force maintains teams in Iraq and Afghanistan to directly support the theater commanders and has played a major role in protecting our Soldiers.

As well as fielding the best equipment to our Soldiers involved in the Global War on Terrorism, the Army continues to improve Soldier equipment based on lessons learned.  A good example of this is the Army's testing of a new modular weapon system that allows the weapon to be modified to meet specific mission requirements.  A candidate being tested is the XM8, which provides multiple variants (compact, carbine, sharp shooter and automatic rifle), based on a core weapon system.  Initial feedback from Soldiers has been very positive.

In your invitation memorandum you indicated you were interested in our programs to sustain our armored combat and tactical vehicles; while that is an area not under my direct management, I want to provide you with some information on what is taking place in this area. The pace of operations and the environment of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait present clear challenges in maintaining equipment.  To meet these needs, the Army has established numerous current ground force sustainment programs in the Area of Operations.   We have established a Forward Repair Activity composed of select capabilities from both Anniston and Red River Army Depots.  This activity provides support to both combat and tactical equipment.  There has been a HMMWV Support Center in Iraq since October 2003 and it has serviced more than 2100 vehicles and applied 356 sets of Add-on Armor.  To date, these field repair activities have completed more than 12,572 work orders and validated the estimated cost of battlefield damage for more than 4,100 items.  The Rapid Manufacturing System has produced 972 piece parts.   The Field Repair Activity at Camp Arifjan has installed 355 sets of Add-on Armor.  Camp Udari and Jahra sites have installed 590 armor kits and 65 HEMTT wheel retrofit kits.  Similar activities are taking place for the commodities of electronic equipment, aviation, and other key items.  The Army has an activity in-theater, which provides theater level intermediate and selected depot support for all Army aviation systems. In addition to the in-theater sustainment programs, the Army received $1.2 billion dollars for depot level maintenance to set the force for future contingencies and missions.

As I said earlier, this is not "business as usual," we are an Army at War, and we know our Soldiers are relying on us to provide them the equipment, the training, and the sustainment to succeed--- we will not let them down.

You requested information on unfunded requirements and shortfalls in the Army's fiscal year 2005 budget.  On 19 March, the Army provided its prioritized shortfall list to Congress, in response to the request of the Honorable Ike Skelton.  Force Protection Items are the highest priority, and we continue to reprogram funds to the fullest extent possible, supporting procurement of Interceptor Body Armor, RFI items, vehicle ballistic armor kits, and up-armored HMMWVs.

I cannot stress enough the importance of the Army's Modularity initiative.  If we are to remain a relevant and ready force, the Army must modularize.  We are making great strides to meet this crucial requirement through shifting existing equipment assets to the fullest extent possible, but we anticipate that the procurement of equipment and vehicles will be critical to meet our desired end state.

The Global War on Terror is taking a heavy toll on existing equipment and vehicles currently supporting the War effort, and we are taxing our Army Prepositioned Stocks, or APS assets heavily.  Setting the Force, as we call this mission, will require new procurement to replenish APS, combat losses, and equipment that is worn out by excessive operational tempo.  Setting the Force requirements, resourcing and execution are reviewed by a 3-Star Army Staff General Officer Steering Committee every week.  As the theater commanders identify force protection or sustainment needs, the Army prioritizes these needs and applies resources, engaging both Congress and OSD as appropriate.  The execution of tasks like the shipping of Up-Armored HMMWVs, Add-on-Armor emplacement, IBA fielding, depot maintenance and pre-deployment equipping all receive weekly oversight from this group to ensure Army units are ready for the fight and our efforts are synchronized.

We appreciate the assistance of the Congress, and especially this Committee, in addressing these needs, and look forward to your continued assistance.

I mentioned earlier that I visited our Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan in February.  And I know many of the Members and staff from this committee have also taken the time, and endured the risks to do the same.  If you are like me, you simply cannot visit such magnificent Servicemembers and not come away in awe at their enthusiasm, their dedication, and their pride in serving this great country.

Mr. Chairman, in closing I would like again to thank you and the members of this distinguished committee for your continuing support of the men and women in our Army, an Army at war and a full member of the Joint Team deployed and fighting terror around the world.  I appreciate this opportunity to appear before you today, and I look forward to answering your questions.


House Armed Services Committee
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515