Hunter Opening Statement for Hearing on the Roles, Missions & Requirements of the Department of Defense

Jun 19, 2007
Press Release

Contact: Josh Holly; 202.226.3988

Washington D.C. House Armed Services Committee Ranking Republican Duncan Hunter (R-CA) today released the following opening statement from the committee’s hearing on the roles, missions and requirements of the Department of Defense (DOD):

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  Good morning Dr. Hamre and Dr. Krepinevich.  I appreciate you being with us today to share your insights on organizing the roles, missions, and requirements of the Department of Defense.  You bring with you many years of experience studying and influencing these matters.

“As well, I am pleased to welcome five members of the Afghan parliament who are with us today.  These distinguished members of parliament include the chair of the Defense Committee and chair and three additional members of the National and Domestic Security Committee.  Gentlemen, good morning.  I hope you will find today’s hearing interesting and relevant to the very decisions and plans you are making for your own national security.

“Although the U.S. Department of Defense, as it is currently organized, has been in existence since 1947, we continue to struggle to determine what the appropriate roles and missions are for the Department and what capabilities each of our military services should have in order to fulfill those roles and missions.  Since the end of the Cold War, it has become apparent that the Department must respond to both the changes in the geopolitical climate and to the adaptation of modern technology, which poses irregular and disruptive threats.  These changes require no less than a complete review of the missions of the Department of Defense and a re-evaluation of the capabilities needed to deliver desired effects.  This naturally poses a considerable challenge in today’s resource constrained environment. 

“Congress’ concerns over the roles and missions of the Department of Defense are not new.  One very relevant example is the need for high quality intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, or ISR.  In the current threat environment, where our enemies hide amongst indigenous populations and in which targets may be fleeting, the importance of integrated, timely, and accurate ISR cannot be overstated.

“In the 2004 Defense Authorization Act, Congress took legislative actions to address the lack of clear requirements, inadequate integration and management, and funding deficiencies in the ISR programs of the Department.  Of specific concern was the acquisition and employment of unmanned aerial vehicles.

“DOD responded by producing an ISR roadmap in 2005 that only met two of the six statutory requirements. A GAO review of the roadmap finds that it does not identify future requirements or funding priorities, and has no way of measuring progress in meeting requirements.

“Furthermore, a recent study by the U.S. Strategic Command determined that even today there is no baseline for determining ISR requirements or capacity.  Just this April, in a hearing held before this committee, we had general officers from all four services aggressively disagreeing about the roles and missions of the services in developing, procuring, and operating unmanned aerial vehicles.

“This is just one example of many in which the roles and missions of the services have become blurred to a degree that not only results in inefficiencies and duplication, but also hampers joint-ness.  If the roles and missions are not clear, then it becomes nearly impossible to determine requirements for capabilities.  Moreover, it tends to cause the services to think in terms of competing for funding for a program they would really like to have, rather than trusting on their sister service to bring the needed capability to the fight.  In a fiscally constrained environment, we simply cannot afford to have each service equipped for every mission of the Department.

“I believe there is little disagreement that these challenges are real and that corrective actions are needed.  There have been a number of studies, internal and external to the Department of Defense, that have looked at these issues.  For example, Dr. Hamre is leading the on-going Beyond Goldwater-Nichols project.  The Deputy Secretary of Defense, at Congress’ request, chartered the Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment project, which also reported several recommendations in this area.  The Department’s own Defense Science Board in its summer study on transformation made key findings regarding roles, missions, and the requirements process. Each of these commissions has been composed of seasoned professionals from the military, the civilian sector, and from outside organizations. 

“Each has agreed on the problem.  However, each has offered different recommendations on how to respond.  Similarly, the Armed Services Committee has taken a bipartisan first step to address these issues in the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.  The Committee relied on its own experience, as well as the recommendations from these groups, in crafting this legislation.  We understand that there will continue to be disagreement as to the correct approach for organizing the roles, missions, and requirements of the Department, and we welcome all feedback from interested parties – particularly from the witnesses we have with us today.  We will consider all opinions as we wait to conference the defense bill with the Senate and thank today’s witnesses for their commitment to these matters and for their perspectives.”