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For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2003

Contact:

Harald Stavenas
Angela Sowa
(202) 225-2539
Jeff Sagnip (Saxton)
(609) 261-5801

Opening Statements of Chairman Jim Saxton
Hearing on Department of Defense Transformation

Today, the subcommittee meets to receive testimony from our witnesses who represent the Department of Defense, Military Services, and Joint Forces Command. The subcommittee is interested in the many programs and initiatives aimed at transforming our nation's military and the Department at large.

On September 23, 1999, President Bush announced at the Citadel Military College in South Carolina that he would make military transformation a central theme if elected President. He stated that the real goal is to move beyond marginal improvements - to replace existing programs with new technologies and strategies, and use this window of opportunity to skip a generation in technology.

His election, and the events of September 11th, 2001 served as catalysts for some of the very changes that had been endorsed for several years past by both outside observers and experts within the military establishments.

Each Service has approached transformation with its own vision, and priority is being assigned to those initiatives organized to support interoperability and joint operations. Congress has an interest in transformation efforts because current choices will shape defense programs and influence budgets for years to come. A great deal of attention is being given to transformation so to understand its necessity, purpose, speed, and breadth of effort. For those watching, what are the metrics upon which one can measure transformation and how does one describe it?

While I believe that transformation is the right strategy to pursue, I would like to understand how the various service proposals are indeed transformational. Further, the subcommittee must understand how the new concepts and equipment will be funded and tested under stress conditions. These concerns are particularly important for information technology systems and survivability of new manned platforms, whether air or ground.

In short, with major changes being proposed, Congress must keep a keen eye on the process, the funding, and the experiments that will be conducted to evaluate new doctrine, equipment, and operational concepts. This is too important to take on faith. While the concepts may still be fuzzy, we are spending real money and real soldiers will risk their lives with these systems in the future.

For example, the Army's Future Combat System seems clearly transformational to me-but will the network prove too fragile, as some have alleged, and will the platform be survivable? I know these questions are important to Army leaders as well. With regard to these questions and similar questions in the efforts of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, I am gratified to know that the Department of Defense science and technology community, from DARPA to the service labs, are all working diligently on various aspects of these issues and making great progress.

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