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US House Armed Services Committee

Statement of William Kristol
Chairman, Project for the New American Century

Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear today. The central question that we are addressing - "What are the roles and requirements for U.S. armed forces in the post-Cold-War world?" - is one that has gone unanswered for too long.

I am appearing today as Chairman of the Project for the New American Century, a non-profit think-tank established in 1997.  From its inception, the Project's goal has been the promotion of a Reaganite foreign and defense policy for America in the post-Cold War era - a policy that combines military strength and the bold promotion of American principles abroad.  I am gratified, of course, to note that Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz were original signatories to the Project's founding statement of principles, and that John Bolton, a Project director, has been nominated to be undersecretary of state for arms control and nonproliferation.

My remarks today will be based upon the Project's defense report, Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy Forces and Resources for a New Century, published last September. The report is a comprehensive one, translating the broad strategic approach I will outline into specific policies and programs. I ask that it be entered into the record.

As does our report, I begin today with the observation that the United States is the world's only superpower, combining preeminent military strength, the world's largest economy, and an attractive and universal set of political principles. Moreover, we stand at the head of a system of alliances that includes the world's other leading democratic powers. At present, the United States faces no global rival. Our strategy should be to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible.

There are, certainly, potentially powerful states dissatisfied with the current liberal international order and eager to change it, if they can, in ways that would endanger the relatively peaceful, prosperous and free condition that characterizes the world today. Up to now, they have been deterred from mounting a direct challenge by the capability and global presence of U.S. military power. More broadly, American military preeminence has been the precondition for American global leadership.

But, in recent years, we have shortchanged our military. As Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Henry Shelton told Congress recently, "We have 'nosed over' and our readiness is descending." We could soon, he continued, "find ourselves in a nose dive that might cause irreparable damage to this great force."

No one seriously disputes that the combat readiness of our current military force is slipping. Indeed, this committee was the first to draw attention to these problems back in 1994, observing that even then U.S. forces were in "the early stages of a long-term systemic readiness problem."

This committee also has led the way in highlighting the modernization problems that have marked the "procurement holiday" of the past decade and the declining quality of military life that causes people in uniform to begin to question the basic compact between America and the all-volunteer, professional armed forces. By any and all measures, the U.S. military is having difficulty meeting the many and varied missions that we ask of them and that our global responsibilities demand.

Further, it has become widely understood that we are in the midst of a "revolution in military affairs" that requires us to "transform" today's military to keep pace with new technologies and to respond to new strategic challenges. Indeed, we must lead the way in transformation if we are to maintain the battlefield edge our troops deserve and our strategy demands. Though we have understood the need to transform for some time, our efforts to do so remain, in the words of Andrew Krepinevich, "poorly focused and woefully underfunded."

In its final days, the Clinton Administration came to accept that the Pentagon had serious problems. For the past several years, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have reported to this committee that their budgets fell short of core needs -- what they called "unfunded" requirements -- by billions of dollars per year, $15 billion for 2001. In preparation for the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, the Clinton Pentagon estimated the shortfall at $30 to $50 billion annually. And F. Whitten Peters, the outgoing Secretary of the Air Force, estimated the gap at $100 billion.

It worth noting, moreover, that none of these estimates include the full cost of transformation, or of the robust global missile defense network that should be a core element in preparing our forces for the future. In sum, the size of what this committee has declared as the "strategy-resources" gap is large and getting larger.

The only real way to close this gap is with defense budget increases, now and in the future. We cannot easily lay down the burdens of leadership. With his call for a "distinctly American internationalism," President Bush understands the need for American global leadership. That leadership requires rebuilding today's force while inventing the force of the future.

The Clinton Administration chose to live off the investments of the Reagan defense build-up, employing the armed forces to meet our various responsibilities around the world while cutting defense budgets and the size of the armed services. This "live for today" approach has left our military underfunded for today and insufficiently funded to carry out its future modernization.

There are some who suggest that transformation is a low-cost way to preserve American military preeminence. "Skipping a generation" of weapons can sound beguiling when the scope of the Pentagon's problems is so large. But we should understand that the task of transformation is one we are adding to the missions the military already has. It is imperative that we not skimp on today's requirements in order to save money needed for future modernization.

After all, today's missions are important -- including constabulary missions in Iraq or the Balkans, or remaining ready to deter a larger war across the Taiwan Strait. Our allies -- the other great powers -- accept our preeminence because it serves their security interests; they view U.S. power as a benign force because we use it to defend a liberal international order that benefits them and us alike. This depends, in turn, on our ability to protect our global interests and our willingness to do so, every day. It is when we retreat, or hesitate to respond to a threat to our interests, that we invite others to take our place. The only real course, then, is to restore the current force to health while simultaneously creating the dominant force of the future.

To maintain American leadership, U.S. military forces must always be prepared to conduct four core missions: defend the American homeland; fight and win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars; perform the "constabulary" duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions; and transform U.S. forces to exploit the revolution in military affairs.

To carry out these core missions, we need to provide sufficient force and budgetary allocations. In particular, the United States must:

Maintain Nuclear Strategic Superiority, basing the U.S. nuclear deterrent upon a global net assessment that weighs the full range of current and emerging threats, not merely the U.S.-Russia balance.

Restore the Personnel Strength of today's forces to roughly the levels anticipated in the "Base Force" outlined by the first Bush Administration, an increase in active-duty strength from 1.4 million to 1.6 million.

Reposition U.S. Forces to respond to 21st century strategic realities by shifting permanently-based forces to Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia, and by changing naval deployment patterns to reflect growing U.S. strategic concerns in East Asia.

Modernize Current U.S. Forces Selectively, proceeding with the F-22 program while increasing purchases of lift, electronic support and other aircraft; expanding submarine and surface combatant fleets; purchasing Comanche helicopters and medium-weight ground vehicles for the Army, and the V-22 Osprey "tilt-rotor" aircraft for the Marine Corps.

Cancel "Roadblock" Programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter, CVX aircraft carrier, and Crusader howitzer system that would absorb inordinate amounts of Pentagon funding while providing limited improvements in current capabilities. Savings from these canceled programs should be used to spur the process of military transformation.

Develop and Deploy Global Missile Defenses to defend the American homeland and American allies, and to provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world.

Control the New "International Commons" of Space and Cyberspace, and pave the way for the creation of a new military service -- U.S. Space Force -- with the mission of space control.

Exploit the "Revolution in Military Affairs" to insure the long-term superiority of U.S. conventional forces. We should establish a two-stage transformation process which maximizes the value of current weapons systems through the application of advanced technologies, and produces more profound improvements in military capabilities, encourages competition between services and joint-service experimentation efforts.

Increase Defense Spending to at least 3.5 of gross domestic product, adding $15 to $20 billion to total defense spending in annual increments until the military's present and future needs are met.

There is a significant cost to rebuilding our military strength, to be sure, but it represents a small slice of our national wealth and of federal spending. Not since before World War II have we spent so small a percentage of GDP on defense. Yet we enjoy a huge return from this investment: a global great-power peace perhaps without precedent in human history. Maintaining this peace and the prosperity and liberty it has fostered is well worth the price.

In particular, I hope this committee and this Congress will act quickly to supplement the Defense Department's 2001 budget and increase spending for 2002. Although you acted last year to partially reduce the JCS' unfunded requirements, you know as well as anyone how pressing this year's unmet needs are. It doesn't take a strategic review to recognize that troops need to train for combat, weapons need spare parts, military families deserve a decent place to live - or that the costs of the Defense Health Program will exceed the programmed budget by hundreds of millions of dollars. Rapid action is required to avert a readiness crisis this summer.

It's also necessary to increase the Pentagon's 2002 budget in a timely way, even while the administration is conducting its strategic review. By law you are to produce a budget resolution by mid-April, and the annual appropriations process will soon begin.

In recent years, Congress has not flinched from carrying out its Constitutional duties to provide adequate resources for national defense, even to provide funds "the Pentagon did not ask for." Because you understand as well as anyone the military realities of our global responsibilities, the many shortfalls in readiness and modernization that plague our forces, the true costs of missile defenses and transformation, I urge you to present the Budget Committee with a defense spending recommendation for FY 2002 that exceeds the current request - the amount originally proposed by the Clinton Administration - by $15 to $20 billion.

In closing, I can do no better than recall the remarks of your former chairman, Mr. Spence. In lamenting his inability to further increase defense spending, he said two years ago that "a 'high-risk' strategy is an unacceptable strategy, and certainly unworthy of the United States of America. Unless the nation fields the forces and provides the resources necessary.the inevitable alternative is for the United States to retreat from its global responsibilities and interests. This ought to be unacceptable to all Members and all Americans."

Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportunity to appear before you and the committee.

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

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