ADMIRAL JAMES WINNEFELD: All right, thank you, General Sullivan. Thank you
very much for inviting me here this evening to the Strategic Issues Forum. I’ve
heard about this of late, and the people I’ve – I know I talked to Marty
Dempsey, who spoke here before, and he very much enjoyed the opportunity to
speak with this group. And I really do want to thank you for allowing me to join
you, sort of a lonely island of white uniform in a sea of former, current Army
green. (Laughter.) Even if you are in a civilian uniform, I know where you’re
But it’s always been a privilege for me personally to be
around the Army, beginning with a great introduction, a guy at airborne school
at Fort Benning. And I ask – whenever I go to Afghanistan and shake the hands of
a soldier, sometimes I’ll ask them, you know, how much – you know, I’ll give you
a coin if you can guess what year I went through airborne school, and it’s like,
oh, 1997? (Laughter.) Nah, try 1975. (Laughter.) So it was – and that was
obviously long before any of them were born.
But it was a real privilege
… 30 years later, in 2005, to support our soldiers on the ground in Iraq, flying
an F-14 in close air support missions a couple of times a week as a two-star.
That was a big thrill for me to get away from the carrier and get out over Iraq
and get outside the wire and help our troopers on the ground.
honored to live on an Army base, in a house once occupied by Colonel George
Patton while he commanded the Brave Rifles. We have his picture on the wall to
prove it. And I know this crowd knows what he looked like. If you saw the movie
and you think of a scowling, you know, Patton and you look at the pictures on
our wall, you know that the acting job is pretty good. (Laughter.) He – this was
before World War II, and he desperately wanted to get into combat, and so he was
pretty unhappy, and you could see it in the pictures.
I can also say
that given my last three jobs, I now probably know as many Army generals by
their first names as I do Navy admirals. And in this job, sometimes even call me
general, which always quickens my step a little bit. (Laughter.) I have an Army
guy as an aide, artillery officer, Brandon Anderson, who’s going to go head off
to battalion command here shortly down in Texas. Very, very proud to have him on
the team. As a Georgia Tech graduate, I can say that I’m somewhat – somewhat
neutral regarding Army-Navy football. (Laughter.)
When we’re together
this evening at the beginning of what promises to be a fall season full of
excitement – and not because of what might happen with the fortunes of your
favorite football team – rather, as we prepare to step onto the shaky field of
the financial future, we find ourselves with no idea how much money we’re going
to have, no idea of when we’re going to find out how much money we’re going to
have and no idea of what the rules are going to be when we find out how much
money we’re going to have.
Will the government shut down, or will we
have a budget, or will we have a continuing resolution, which seems to be the
most likely case here in 18 days? We found out today that the House was unable
to come together on legislation for a continuing resolution, so we’ll have to
see where that goes. Is the sequester mechanism going to kick in again on the
1st of January? Will our nation’s political leaders further harden their
positions as the election season comes upon us, or are they going to reach some
kind of compromise? Whether they’re going to take the temperature of the
American people – what’s going to happen there?
So if any of you are
“Men in Black” fans, of the movie, I could use the services of the character
Griffin, a multidimensional being who could see many possible futures at the
same time. I keep remembering him saying, “Uh-oh, this is the one where …” – you
know, and I can’t find a good one out there. The only future that seems clear is
that there’s no one from a secret nongovernmental organization riding over the
horizon ready to neutralize the giant, ugly bug of this turmoil.
put this in the – into business talking head speak, I calculate the odds of the
Defense Department enduring considerable financial stress for the foreseeable
future as being, well, pretty high. And as tempting as it is, I’m not going to
relay to this group, this very well-educated group tonight, in detail the
disruption that this has already meant for the department or for the finest army
on the planet, other than to mention the challenges associated with the
potential steepness of the resource cliff that we face under the current law,
the wasteful effects of not being able to plan decisively, the fact that
readiness seems to have no constituency in this environment, that elements of
our industrial base could be very much at risk, and above all the negative
effects of all this on our wonderful men and women in our services while we
still have troops in combat.
And we don’t have the luxury of muttering
what a shame it is and blaming the other side. We have to defend the nation. So
I want to talk a little bit about what we are going to have to do in order to be
able to do that. And I would say to succeed, we first have to be armed with two
fundamentally important weapons.
The first weapon we have to have is
courageous and effective leaders who are able and willing to face the new
realities of this evolving security environment and to lead change. Business –
and many of you are in business, most of you probably – business and
war-fighting in history are rife with leaders who got this kind of thing right
and those who got it wrong.
It’s all over the place in the business
literature. Max Depree, author of “Leadership Is an Art,” was so right when he
said the first job of a leader is to face reality, as was General Electric’s
Jack Welch when he said, “You must face reality as it is, not as it was or as
you wish it were,” as well as business guru Jim Collins, who said in his book
“Good to Great,” “Great companies confront the brutal facts of the current
reality,” or in our business, as Clausewitz, Liddell Hart and many others
described it, the commander’s coup d’oeil, the ability to discern quickly and
completely the advantages and disadvantages of the terrain or the situation.
We have to have leaders who will do this, who have studied and
understand the mistakes that have been made in the past by organizations in
similar crisis and who will then push forward with a creative answer.
And we also need leaders who have unselfish and unconditional support
from their bedrock institutions. In this case, the magnificent active Reserve,
Guard, and retired military and civilian men and women who make up the Army
community, including the AUSA. Fortunately, the Army’s blessed with such leaders
in Secretary John McHugh and Ray Odierno. It’s my very great privilege to work
with both of these gentlemen each day. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have
their work cut out for them.
And that leads to the second weapon that we
need to have: a solid intellectual framework to guide us across the line of
departure. My sense is that this framework finds its most solid foundation when
we strike the proper balance among the three elements of strategy, namely, our
national security ends, and the threats thereto, the military ways we go about
defending those interests, and the financial means we shape into the military
tools of capability, capacity and readiness to defend those interests. We’re
going to have to balance all three of those elements. And those who would
suggest that we should just articulate our strategic ends and then simply demand
the means to make it happen have never seriously done strategy in the real
world, and they would risk leaving us with a bankrupt strategy if we do so. The
harsh reality is that today we’re in a security environment in which the ends,
the ways and the means are all shifting under our feet simultaneously. And if we
don’t understand this reality or combination of realities or deny it, hoping it
will disappear, or if we allow our ends, ways and means to get out of balance,
then our strategy will be bankrupt and we will fail our great nation.
in the time that I have tonight, I’d like to elaborate a little bit on ends,
ways and means, beginning with the importance of ends, that is, the list of
interests that we who use the military instrument of national power, in what
rough order of priority we would protect those interests. This list has to be by
nature somewhat abstract, and usually begins with the survival of our nation and
ends with something we call protection of universal values. And there’s plenty
in between, depending on who is doing the listing. And you can make your own
list, but you might try preventing catastrophic attacks on our country – in
other words, no more 9/11s – maintaining secure, confident and reliable allies
and partners, and protecting American citizens abroad.
We can argue the
details, but I would say that these interests are enduring. What changes is the
degree to which we can comfortably cover everything on the list, and if not,
making sure that we can and do cover the most important things. I don’t know how
we can make decisions, especially in the department’s current financial crisis,
without referring to the touchstone of national interest. I turn to them in some
way every single day.
For example, the greater the number and importance
of our interests that are affected in a given situation – you pick it – the more
likely we are to use force, to do so unilaterally, to take great risk in doing
so, such as boots on the ground, to expend great resources doing it, to push
against international law and to accept opportunity costs elsewhere in the
world. And the opposite is also true. I’d also submit that we’re seeing this
model play out very well in Syria today. We’ve seen it play out in Libya and
elsewhere in the world.
Similarly, knowing how we prioritize, what we
intend to protect in this world, can guide our investment decisions. All of the
things being equal, the more a way or a means contributes to protecting greater
interests, more and higher interests, the more likely we should be to invest in
it. And the opposite is true as well.
Chairman Dempsey introduced this
concept into the chairman’s risk assessment this year. We changed that document
from a tour d’horizon of all of the various regions in the world to a tour of
our – what we believe are our national security interests. And it worked pretty
well for us, and we introduced this again into the process we used for the
strategic choices and management review, which we completed earlier this summer.
That brings me to the steady – actually, I’ll say it’s doubly important
that we use these interests now in a tough fiscal environment with the
operational investment decisions we’re going to have to make that are going to
be so hard in the near future. So that brings me to the steadily evolving
threats to those interests, to those prioritized ends, many of which threaten
more than one of those ends, beginning with major nation states who’ve watched
the U.S. military’s impressive capability, including the Army’s, with some
anxiety, and who are working very, very hard to catch up, in some cases using
advanced designs exfiltrated from our own industrial networks to help them
along. And where they can’t do so symmetrically, they will come after us
asymmetrically. This has huge implications for the way we might employ our
forces in the future, and thus what kind of forces we might buy.
there are the highly insecure authoritarian states, such as Iran, North Korea,
and of course, Syria, including those who murder their own people on a large
scale and those who have concluded that obtaining deliverable nuclear weapons
are the best insurance policy for their regime. This has huge implications as
well, ranging from – (inaudible ) – how we handle a dictator who murders his own
people with gas, to the importance of limited missile defense, to how we might
actually handle a conflict on the Korean peninsula.
Then there’s the
threat from violent extremism, which has morphed from a centrally controlled
apparatus within a supportive host nation over a decade ago to a group of highly
diversified, feisty and independent yet very weakened franchises living mostly
in poorly or ungoverned spaces. They’re growing operationally wiser over time,
and they still threaten American citizens and interests across the globe,
including right here at home.
There are a lot of other evolving threats
to our interests, including transnational criminal organizations and
hyperpowered individuals. Even the threat of disasters is changing along with
U.S. climate. And when I consider the interests that we have to protect and the
threats to those interests, I find that there’s plenty in there for the Army.
And that’s where we need to get into ways.
Ways are the vital connective
tissue between ends and means. The more we refine our ways, the more we can
preserve the ends we seek using fewer resources. There are two imperatives, I
believe, within this need for constant examination of our ways. First, we owe it
to the taxpayers to always search for ways to become more efficient so we can
preserve more front-end warfighting capability for our troopers. This is the
first place we looked in the secretary’s strategic choices and management
review. And ladies and gentlemen, we reinforce the fact again that it’s time for
us to lean this business out or we will not have the means to protect the
interests that I mentioned above. And we’re going to need a lot of help doing
it, and we’re going to need help from Congress in giving us freedom to maneuver
within our own budgets and by removing a host of restrictions on our ability to
become more efficient, such as limitations on our downsizing glide slopes in all
the services and prohibitions on the base closures and a mandated pay and
benefits growth glide slope that’s out of touch and simply not sustainable.
So let me elaborate just a little bit on that. Were you aware that
Congress prohibited us from decommissioning ships this year, or removing old
aircraft from our inventory, or that they placed limits on Ray Odierno’s ability
to downside on the profile he wants to downsize? Were you aware that contrary to
the popular narrative, the closure part of the 2005 BRAC only cost us $6 billion
and is now saving us almost $4 billion per year. And we need new closures
desperately because we have around 20 percent excess infrastructure in DOD.
Those of you out there in business know that no business can survive carrying 20
percent excess infrastructure.
Finally, if you go to the Army’s own
recruiting website – it’s a great website, goarmy.com – you’ll find that an Army
[Military Police] officer with four years of experience makes 43 percent more
net income, after taxes and health benefits are included, than his civilian
counterpart police patrol officer. I’ll be the first to say that our men and
women in uniform deserve more than the average bear, and we need to attract the
best. But we need help to control our compensation growth, or we’re going to
price ourselves right out of the national security business.
going to need help from you and your fellow institutions. We need you to help
Secretary McHugh and Ray Odierno in understanding and supporting their need to
find these efficiencies and manage compensation. Many will fight some of these
needed changes, but I would implore to this very important group to stand up and
understand that the most important benefit that we can provide our troopers is
to train and equip them to fight and win and come home safely. And we won’t be
able to do that unless we find savings elsewhere.
The second ways
imperative is the fact that the world is constantly changing – changes in the
ways battles and wars are fought because of new tactics and new technologies,
which you’ve known throughout your whole careers. Changes in the types of
conflicts most likely to be fought, and even changes in the way societies look
One of my favorite thoughts comes from a book called
“Surfing the Edge of Chaos,” and it’s very simple. “Equilibrium is the precursor
to death.” We have to look ahead and make sure we’re not stuck in the
equilibrium of the past and that we’re preparing for the next fight, not the
current or the last fight, or we will become irrelevant or worse. This is where
I think the Army has to take a hard look at what kind of operations it will most
likely conduct in the future.
Our nation will always need the ability to
take and hold ground. While others help, only ground forces can do that. But
future battlefields and the way we employ our nation’s Army to do that are very
likely to change.
I’d submit that we’re more likely to see a Desert
Storm type of operation, ejecting a nation that has invaded an ally or a friend
of the United States than we are to see another decade-long counterinsurgency
campaign. I simply don’t know whether the security interests of our nation are
threatened enough to cause us to need a future major extended COIN campaign,
though we very well might provide support to a nation fighting its own COIN
campaign as we continue to do today in – (inaudible).
himself made it clear in our defense strategic guidance that we will retain some
capability and – (inaudible) – but only on a limited scale. In any case, we’ve
learned all along the way that long wars are taxing. Many of us have forgotten
that the Civil War, which preserved our union, and World War II – somebody who
fought in World War II tonight – a global conflict that was a defining event for
America for so long, each really lasted only four years for this country.
We’ve seen very recently – the American people are very wary of getting
into an extended war of any type. We should take to heart three principles that
Fox Conner imparted to both Eisenhower and Marshall when they were both young
officers: never fight unless you have to; never fight alone; and never fight for
long. And none other than Sun Tzu said when the army engages in extended
campaigns, the resources of the state will fall short. So we’ve placed a bet on
that, even though we’ve hedged the bet, by retaining capability and capacity in
the Army for COIN, but it’s not going to be on a scale we’ve seen over the last
I will say if we get in another fight – and someday, we will
get in another fight on the ground – I think it’ll be a different fight, one
that’s short, faster-paced and much harder. The battlefield will be a more
hostile environment than it’s ever been. The fog of war, despite all of our
technology, will not clear for us, and the adversary will use the tools we’ve
employed so successfully recently – such as quality ISR and networks and
precision-guided weapons – against us, we will need ground forces that can
Speed of deployment, whether by being there already or
through pre-positioning or through lift, will become more important than it’s
ever become. Speed of maneuver and the effectiveness of combined arms are going
to be more important than ever. There are a lot of other imperatives and
opportunities for the Army as well – and you know them better than I do – but I
would say that I’d like to see the Army place more emphasis on the growth
industry of the national security interest of protecting American citizens
abroad. Don’t yield that entirely to the Marine Corps. It’s taking greater
urgency in light of recent events.
The good news is that the Army has a
long history of innovators, people like George Patton – in whose house I lived –
and Daniel Van Voorhis, who led the creation of the modern armor branch and
William DePuy who changed the way the Army trained for combat and in many ways
anticipated Desert Storm and OIF in the post-Vietnam period.
rapid changes in response to a new kind of battlefield in Iraq and in
Afghanistan are now a matter of record, and I will say in today’s environment,
we need to empower the “ways” innovators like we never have before, and Ray
Odierno has always been a key innovator, including in Iraq. No, he’s thinking
big about the Army’s leader development strategy, global responsiveness,
regionally aligned and engaged forces, strategic land power and how the Army can
contribute to our renewed emphasis on the Pacific.
I believe Ray has the
toughest job of any service chief today because the Army is under such pressure,
and that brings us to means. Means are ultimately the three tools of capability,
capacity and readiness. We use them to breathe life into our ways, and we are
all –all the services, including the finest Army on our planet – going to have
to do with fewer means, and that means adjusting those three levers I mentioned
a moment ago.
Now unfortunately, service chiefs tend to be graded both
by their alumni and their members, especially during a downturn, mostly by how
much capacity they’re able to retain in their service. How big did Ray Odierno
keep the Army? It’s the easiest and most obvious thing to measure, and we know
that every service chief kind of looks over his shoulder at these important
constituencies. However, I believe all of the services should instead be looking
at the optimal mix of capacity along with capability and readiness, which are
much harder to quantify or explain, but that are going to be so terribly
important in our next fight.
And that’s why I don’t have some magic
number in my mind for the size of the Army, because I’m not smart enough to pick
that number. My sense, though, is that the kind of future battlefield I
described above, where we cannot expect extended campaigns, but the ones we do
fight will be very difficult and will have to be executed very quickly,
generally argues for capability and readiness over capacity.
case, I trust that the Army’s leadership will wisely and courageously find the
right combination of those three levers to provide new ways on a new battlefield
in support of the realistic ends that we’re all trying to service. And wherever
the Army goes, it’s going to need your support, and I know [its soldiers will]
And that takes me back to the very first weapon with which we
need to arm ourselves, namely, people who can lead change. Former IBM CEO Sam
Palmisano said about companies in crisis “you spend more time arguing amongst
yourselves over a shrinking pot and looking to the future, so you miss the big
turn.” I’m hopeful and confident at the same time that the Army’s leadership
will avoid this trap with the internal budget decisions that they’re going to
have to make and that they’ll be submitting in the next couple of weeks.
There are going to be tough choices as our Army makes its next big turn.
Mid-grade and senior leaders will have to look beyond the wars in which they
grew up and beyond the branches in which they grew up, will have to get the
balance right between the active component and the Reserve component. Everything
except perhaps cyber will likely get smaller. Sacred cows are going to have to
be gored and rice bowls overturned.
The strongest arguments will be tied
to the ends of our national security interests, and the ways that are most
innovative and best correspond to those ends will be the ones that mostly will
be empowered to shape our means. But if we get this right, emerging from the far
side of all this complexity will be an Army that’s maybe smaller but it’s going
to be newer, faster, more lethal and more capable. It’s a tall order, but as
always, our great soldiers, along with the operational, tactical and technical
innovations they’ll lead, will remain this nation’s biggest warfighting edge.
And I will tell you that if the Army were a stock, I’d be buying it right now.
You here at AUSA can enhance the value of that stock. Give the leaders
you have in the United States Army the intellectual space and backing they need
to make the tough decisions they have to make. So thank you for allowing this
humble naval officer to address you tonight.
God bless the United States
Army and the finest soldiers in the world and their families and the wonderful
nation we all protect. And after a couple of questions, I’m going to go back and
help my son fill out his application for West Point. (Laughter, applause.)
So I can take a couple of questions and then I’m going to leave you guys
to your own wisdom here. Let me take one first from a – from a retired ...
Anyone – all right, go ahead.
Q: Admiral, Sydney Freedberg from
breakingdefense.com. Having covered the Army for about 15 years on and off, a
lot of you say about your short, decisive campaigns, rapid deployment, you know,
fighting fiercer and faster, this all sounds terribly familiar, and the three
letters RMA come to mind.
You did say we’re not going to enter the fog
of war, but, you know, the confidence that we were able – that we were looking
to, you know, avoid long wars and be able to do things, you know, quickly,
virtuously and decisively led us down some dangerous paths and led the – led the
Army to, you know, make a major effort on the rapid deployment forces for a lot
– leaning on – (inaudible) – is FCS and, you know, things that were ultimately
irrelevant in the last decade – like the (inaudible) – strike group.
do we – A, how do we be confident about not getting stuck in for the long term,
and how do we avoid holding the same traps as Shinseki and Rumsfeld held 13
ADM. WINNEFELD: Great question. First I’d say that one of the
points that we tried to make when we put together the defense strategic
guidance, about a year and a half ago when we wrote that out, was that we were
going to try to avoid institutional hubris and that we admitted that we could –
we could be wrong on some of this. And I think – you know, many of you remember
Secretary Gates was fond of saying that, you know, we hardly ever get this
right. And that’s why we’re leaving barrier hedges in there.
But I still
would make the point that we don’t – we don’t see a situation in a – in the real
world where we will have a long counterinsurgency campaign. We believe that the
types of conflicts that we will be in would be shorter than 10 or 12 years, but
potentially we could experience four years wars in the past. We’ve gotten some
pretty clear guidance from the president on that and we also have a very clear
sense that the American people are just exhausted by long wars.
And I do
believe our political leadership has it in mind that they will do what they can
to avoid a long war now. And when circumstances get beyond their control, where
it just runs out of control and you find yourself stuck in some kind of a long
war, possibly. But we’ve got to make some very difficult decisions in a very
tough financial environment. And we are, you know, encouraging ourselves to look
soberly at what the shape and size of each service is going to be in terms of
capacity, capability and training.
And we’re very worried that we’re
going to lose on training piece because it doesn’t have much of a contingent –
constituency. If you are a Congressman who has an F-15 squadron in your
district, you don’t really care if that squadron is flying or not as long as
it’s there, OK? And so that is a powerful compeller of keeping force structure
at the expense of readiness. And you have to avoid that.
So we’re trying
– Ray is trying to get the balance right. We think that at the end of these two
wars there’s a lot of capacity in the Army. And we’re also not going to be able
to sustain that capacity with the budget we’re going to have. We got to kind of
mold this thing so we are able to keep the capability, keep the readiness and
keep the right amount – (inaudible). It’s a tough call.
Questions? All the way in the back.
Q: Sir, Colonel R.J. Lowbridge (sp),
Army fellow at Institute for Defense Analysis. Sir, I acknowledge your comment
about, you know, both the military and our policymakers, the American public
aren’t, you know, probably interested in future extended campaigns. I
acknowledge that, sir. But how do we remedy that with the reality that we’re
still in Kosovo 14 years after the fact, MFO and other treaties like that, sir
the common comment that we’re still in Europe, you know, 67 years after World
War II, Korea.
We still have long-standing commitments out there. And
you know, we have not drawn those down. There was an Army colonel. His career
kind of ended when he went into Bosnia in ’95 and said, you know, we’re going in
for five years and we were there 10-plus years after the fact. How do we remedy
that, sir, with the policy makers?
ADM. WINNEFELD: It depends on whether
you define Kosovo as a campaign right now. It’s – we aren’t in combat. There’s
risk – plenty of risk there. You know, we have to be careful, but I’m talking
about what we would commonly define as a long war. We do have commitments in
Korea. We’ve been there since the ’50s and in Europe since World War II. But
there hasn’t been combat in Europe – or there hasn’t – you know, at least –
(inaudible) – there hasn’t been combat on the Korean peninsula.
there are obligations we have around the world, but I’m talking about a national
commitment on a large scale to a long-term combat operation. We just don’t see
that happening in the near future. But we do – we hedge that bet by keeping up
capacity in case it’s wrong. This is where the defense strategic guidance – we
define that we would retain the ability to defeat another nation. You can call
that regime change if you want. And we would only have enough capacity to
simultaneously do a denial objectives campaign, which might be preventing Iran,
closing the Strait of Hormuz, what have you.
If we get into the full
sequester environment, we’re going to have to re-evaluate that combination of
the two things. And we may find that we would only be able to do defeat and
nothing else. Or we may find that we would be able to do two denial objectives
campaigns. But I think that Marty and I both would say that the nation needs to
keep the capacity to defeat another nation on the ground. That’s something
that’s the signature thing that we got to be able to do, if nothing more than as
a deterrent. But we don’t see that being a long fight. We can’t afford it.
Q: Sir, I’m – (inaudible). I’m a senior fellow here. Can
you just address whatever you’d like to say about the challenges of the current
compensation package, your views on telling Congress – whatever way you want to
ADM. WINNEFELD: Sure. One thing that we believe is that we have done
a wonderful job over the last 10 years increasing the compensation and all
manner of benefits for our wonderful soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. They
are better compensated now than they ever have been in history. And that’s a
great thing. We’re proud of them. They work hard. They deploy. They are exposed
to great risks. And they should be compensated, we think, better than the
average American that’s out there.
But we’re worried that if we say on
the same trajectory we’re on that we will price ourselves out of business, that
we will spend such a huge proportion of our budget on compensation and health
care and other benefits that we won’t be able to buy stuff. And we won’t be able
to keep the stuff that we buy ready. Now, the common rejoinder that we get back
is, oh, there’s money in there someplace. You just got to become efficient in
other ways. Well, we’re trying as hard as we can.
And if we can get –
even if we get BRACs and we get the other types of relief we’d like to get from
Congress in becoming more efficient, if you look at the financial outlook for
the department in detail, we’re going to have to find some relief on the
trajectory of compensation. You know, it’s not a pay cut. It might be a slowdown
in the growth of compensation. But we’ve got to address this or we’re going to
price ourselves out of the business of keeping our country ready. And you know,
I’m not going to get into the specifics of what that might be, but we are
looking very carefully at how to shape that so it’s as fair as possible for our
Q: Sir – (inaudible) – Army staff. Your vision for the Army was
sort of smaller, newer, faster, more capable. Is that the same for the Air
Force, Navy, Marine Corps? Or is there – I mean, where do they fit in this
ADM. WINNEFELD: Yeah. All the services are going to have to
come down in size. There’s no question about it. It’s just under the current law
– the current law is sequestration, $52 billion next year. And by the way, we
sort of experienced that a little bit in FY ’13. But it was – you know, a lot of
the expenses that we had to take care of were, you know, taking money out of
acquisition programs that, you know, owed money. We sort of survived that. Now
comes a gruesome $52 billion in FY ’14 is going to be a big hit in all the
So yeah, all the services are going to get smaller. I don’t
have the numbers memorized, but the Air Force is coming down considerably by the
number of fighter squadrons that they’re going to have. They’re going to have to
manage their readiness in that construct. The Navy’s going to be able to build
something like 25 fewer aircraft. And I don’t have the number of ships
memorized, but as you see the budgets roll out, all the services are going to
get smaller. You know, I don’t know if they’re going to be faster or not.
They’re already pretty fast. But they’re going to take a hit.
(Inaudible.) Have you and General Dempsey talked and what’s your – (inaudible)?
What do you see of sequestration? For a year? For the duration?
WINNEFELD: I really don’t know. I really don’t – I don’t know. The question was,
is sequestration here for the duration? It’s the law of the land. We see no
willingness on the part of the political leadership to compromise with one
another to make it go away. One thing we do believe is that we’re not going to
get the FY ’14 budget as it’s – we’d like to have what we submitted and we fully
support the president’s budget.
So the question is, if they do come up
with a budget, what’s that number going to look like and what’s the profile over
the long term? We believe that any cuts that we take really need to be back
looking. And we’re often accused of saying that because, hey, if it’s –
(inaudible) – you can wish it away and somebody can fix it in a few years. And
that’s not it at all. It’s just many of you who are experienced budgeters know
that if you have to take a big cut early, the cliff is steep, that they’re – you
have to grab cash wherever you can grab it. And it’s very, very disruptive. It’s
about wholesale cancelling programs. It’s about maybe even restricting
promotions and accessions. You have to take out – it’s about drastic cuts in
readiness accounts. And it’s wholly disruptive to what you’re trying to do as a
service if you take that steep cut right away. And this is – what we’re facing
under sequester is this – it may not be the biggest cut proportionally, frankly,
the department’s ever taken, but it’s the steepest one they’ve ever taken. And
it’s very – (inaudible). So whatever happens, we need it to be back looking.
Q: Admiral, you mentioned the Defense Strategic Guidance – (inaudible).
Do you think that’s an adequate articulation of national military strategy? And
do you want the force sizing that we’re talking about – do we need a clearer
national military strategy as we go into our – national defense (panel ?) and
all these other things – (inaudible)?
ADM. WINNEFELD: The way we’ve
characterized it is that the Defense Strategic Guidance was a starting point for
ADM. WINNEFELD: And when you look back at what it was
intended to mean and do, it actually a pretty good document. It’s not a perfect
document, but it’s a pretty good document. Remember that when you trace the
history, that Secretary Gates had challenged us with a $300 million not savings
but redistribution inside the department, and then the president challenged us
later that spring and summer with a $400 million – he said by August 3rd or 4th,
it was 470 – whatever it was – (inaudible) – which happened to be voted on and
enacted the same day that I took this job, so I – (laughter) – enjoy being, you
know, the guy that – the culmination of this thing.
And so we always had
declared that we were going to make strategy-based decisions on that. And I
would submit that through the spring and summer of 2011 that we were saying that
we were going to be doing it. Well, we didn’t really have a strategy on which to
base it. And a few of us pointed out we would really need to put together a
document that says – you know, some kind of strategic approach on which people
can base decisions. So we did that literally over about a four- or five-week
There are advantages to trying to write a strategy over a four-
to five-week period. I mean, you can really get it done, but, you know, it isn’t
going to be a perfect document. The only flaw I would really point out in that
thing is that it didn’t really prioritize a lot of things, because we didn’t
need to. We still had a lot of money back then. It really said the things we
want to do in the world – balance to the Pacific, still focus on the Middle East
and protect the industrial base – and it listed 10 missions, but it didn’t
prioritize them. We’re going to have to prioritize them now. And the QDR is
going to help us with that, and the SCMR, the Strategic Choices Management
Review, helped us with that.
So we’re going to take the DSG as a
baseline, use what we learned in the SCMR and what we’re going to learn in the
QDR, and that’s going to shape our decision-making for this year, not only this
year but in the future. But it is a fast-running train, and the traditional,
sort of de rigueur PPBS, you know, very orderly process that many of you grew up
with is in shambles right now because of all the changes and all the
uncertainty. And we’re doing the best we can.
Q: (Inaudible) – was
moving so fast that I don’t know – (inaudible) – survive.
WINNEFELD: Yeah, I agree with you as to there may be some goodness in here that
we’ve learned, that we’re more agile than we ever thought we were. It’s driving
programmers crazy. I mean, they’re having to come up with three different
budgets instead of one, and that’s going to be very, very hard for them.
The one thing we need, the thing I wish I had for Christmas last year,
was predictability, or some kind of stability in our financial outlook. That’s
the hardest thing for us. We are looking through a glass darkly, and it’s really