McHugh Opening Statement for Hearing on Army and Marine Corps Force Structure Process

Jan 29, 2007
Press Release

Washington, D.C.Rep. John McHugh (R-NY), ranking Republican on the Military Personnel Subcommittee, today released the following statement from the Military Personnel Subcommittee’s hearing on Army and Marine Corps force structuring process:

“There certainly is value in understanding better the process by which the Army and Marine Corps force structure requirements are determined and how end strengths relate to those force structure requirements. 

“Given the long-standing disagreement between the Congress and the Department of Defense over the issue of the proper size of the Army and Marine Corps, we ought to know the process by which the Secretary of Defense recently reached two conclusions.  The first, that the Army and Marine Corps end strengths needed to be substantially increased, and the second, that an Army sized at 547,000 and a Marine Corps sized at 202,000 were appropriately sized.

“As you know, this subcommittee has long believed that the Army and Marine Corps end strengths were too small for the missions given those services.  As early as May 2002, this subcommittee recommended and the House adopted an increase in end strength of 4,800 for the Army and 2,400 for the Marine Corps.  Since that time, we have continued to assert the need for a larger military.  The committee is on record that for fiscal years 2008 and 2009 the active Army end strength should be at least 532,400, and the active Marine Corps end strength should be at least 184,000 – levels substantially higher than what had been proposed in the annual Department of Defense budget requests.  

“Beyond the questions of end strength, we need to understand more about the process used to develop force structure requirements.  I say that because in just a very short period, with no seeming change to this Member in the mission requirements, conditions, or challenges facing the Army and Marine Corps, the processes within the Department of Defense for determining the Army and Marine Corps force structures have come up with substantially different numbers.  For example, the Quadrennial Defense Review, which was issued about a year ago, recommended no increase in the size or force structure of the Marine Corps or the Army.  Today, the recommendation is for a 15 percent increase in Marine Corps end strength and at least a 12.5 percent increase in infantry battalions. 

“The Army process would appear even more inconsistent.  As late as September 2005, the Army was briefing Congress that it required 77 brigade combat teams, including, 43 of which were in the active component. 

“Even prior to the QDR, the Army revised its force structure requirements to 70 brigade combat teams, including 42 in the active component.  Now, under the Secretary of Defense’s recently announced increases, the Army plans 76 brigade combat teams, including 48 in the active component.   What drove such changes is not readily apparent.

“So I look forward to the witnesses’ testimony today to help us understand more completely a process that to me seems to be extremely variable in its outcomes and, at times, geared more towards providing the minimum affordable military forces rather than the forces that this nation requires.