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Mr. Chairman, together we face an important year for the
future of our military forces.
Defense spending is not going to
grow at the rates we had planned, hence, manpower and personnel,
just like other defense programs, will be vulnerable.
One of the
greatest challenges to the Department of Defense and the Congress
will be to satisfy requirements for a smaller but fully trained and ready military force.
As I noted previously, people military and civilian, men and women are Secretary Carlucci's number one priority. They
and adequate pay, benefit levels, and quality of life initiatives
so critical to recruiting, morale and retention.
I pledge to
work with you to show our people, through our actions
that they are truly our number one priority.
Senator GLENN. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. ALLEN K. ONO, USA, DEPUTY CHIEF OF
STAFF FOR PERSONNEL
Senator GLENN. You wore your green uniform. I just wore my green complexion this morning.
General ONO. I represent almost 2 million individuals who also wear green. These are ones in the Active component, the Reserve components, as well as our civilian work force. And I am very proud to be representing them.
I have submitted a prepared statement for the record and I would like to give you a brief summary of that if I could, Mr. Chairman.
First is in reference to the quality of the force. We are extraordinarily proud of our leaders and our soldiers and our civilians, who have demonstrated that quality really pays off. Time and time again, they have showed that they are more productive, more efficient, more responsive to tasks and missions given them and there are fewer discipline problems.
Drug abuse is down, crimes are down, accident rates are significantly lower, damaged equipment is minimal, and they learn quickly and are responsive and dependable.
Again, thank you very much for your support and encouragement as we grew this quality force. But at the same time, as you know, it is a system that is fragile, and we ask that you continue to support the efforts to maintain this quality.
Part of the quality extends into quality of life, and that is my second point, Mr. Chairman. The family and quality of life programs are not only the right thing to do, but these programs are directly related to readiness as far as we are concerned.
Your support is essential in this area. We have one request. In the morale, welfare, and recreation program that we have undergone a number of changes in the past 2 years and we ask your indulgence in capping those changes for the next year so that we can get on with the program with greater stability.
The third point is to echo Mr. Green's opening statement with regard to compensation and to say that the military pay will lag behind civilian earnings this fiscal year by 11 percent. And if the growth in the pay gap is not stopped, retention will decline and the quality of our noncommissioned officers and officers in the next decade may be harmed.
We must have that 4.3-percent increase called for in the budget, and I urge your support.
I A part of that also is the variable housing allowance. The lack of inflation increases in the VHA budget in 1988 caused our soldiers to suffer. Sixty-seven percent of the VHA-eligible Army members had their allowances reduced, 67 percent.
And even considering the January 1988 2 percent pay raise, because of the VHA adjustments, approximately 10 percent of Army eligible VHA recipients had a net decrease in their paychecks. I know that this was unintentional, but I ask your support in raising the VHA amounts to that level for which it was intended.
The fourth and last point deals with officer cuts, Mr. Chairman. We were cut by more than 3,000 spaces in the last 2 years; 3,000 officers is a huge amount, and we need to get this situation behind
You demanded that we bring rigor to our justification rules and we have done that. Your points have been heard and they have been made and we understand and we will comply. You want a strong and ready national defense. You want priority on the warfighting capability. You want to institutionalize the justification process in regard to any further growths.
These have been accomplished. We ask that you free us from further cuts and hope that you will be convinced by the report that was submitted to you that this has occurred.
We ask as a bottom line that we put this behind us.
That completes my personal statement to you, and I look forward to answering your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Ono follows:]
MISTER CHAIRMAN, MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE, I APPRECIATE THIS
OPPORTUNITY AS DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR PERSONNEL TO ADDRESS YOU
ON BEHALF OF THE TOTAL ARMY
THE ACTIVE FORCE, THE ARMY
NATIONAL GUARD, THE ARMY RESERVE AND THE ARMY CIVILIAN WORK
THESE COMPONENTS TOTAL OVER 1.9 MILLION INDIVIDUALS AND
REPRESENT OUR MOST IMPORTANT ASSET
THE ARMY HAS DESIGNATED 1988 AS THE YEAR OF TRAINING.
VIEW OF OUR PRESENT CHALLENGES AND IMPORTANCE OF USING OUR
CONSTRAINED RESOURCES TO THE FULLEST POSSIBLE EXTENT, IT IS MY
JOB TO ENSURE THAT THE OFFICERS, NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, AND
SOLDIERS ARE THE BEST THIS COUNTRY CAN OFFER.
AND SOLDIERS HAVE DEMONSTRATED THEIR VALUE TIME AND TIME AGAIN.
THEY ARE MORE PRODUCTIVE, EFFICIENT AND RESPONSIVE TO THE TASKS
AND MISSIONS GIVEN THEM.
THIS IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL WHEN
RESOURCES ARE LIMITED.
THE CELEBRATION OF THE BICENTENNIAL YEAR OF THE CONSTITUTION
SERVED TO HIGHLIGHT THE ARMY'S HISTORICAL ROLE IN CARRYING OUT
OUR NATIONAL SECURITY OBJECTIVES.
SINCE THE SIGNING OF THE CONSTITUTION, WE HAVE CHANGED BOTH
AS A NATION AND AS AN ARHY, BUT THE NEED FOR A QUALITY FORCE
DEDICATED TO THE SUPPORT AND DEFENSE OF THE NATION HAS NOT
IT IS EVIDENT BY EVENTS IN TODAY'S HEADLINES THAT CONFLICT
CAN ARISE SUDDENLY AND UNPREDICTABLY IN TODAY'S COMPLEX WORLD.
THE ARMY MUST BE PREPARED TO ACT RAPIDLY AND EFFECTIVEI.V TO THE
"WINDS OF CHANGE" BECAUSE WE CANNOT PREDICT EVERY CONTINGENCY.
TODAY, I WILL ADDRESS A FEW OF MY MAJOR CONCERNS THAT MUST
BE MET HEAD ON.
I KNOW YOU CARE AND WANT TO MAINTAIN A STRONG
AND READY ARMY.
QUALITY OF THE FORCE
AS YOU KNOW, OUR FOCUS IS ON WARFIGHTING.
IT'S MY MISSION
TO ENSURE THAT OUR COMBATANT COMMANDS, INDEED, THE TOTAL ARMY IS
SUPPLIED WITH QUALITY PERSONNEL.
THIS IS MY NUMBER ONE PRIORITY.
TO RECRUIT AND RETAIN QUALITY OFFICERS, NCO'S AND SOLDIERS. OVER
THE LAST SIX YEARS, WITH YOUR SUPPORT, WE HAVE MET THIS
WE MUST ENSURE THAT THE DECISIONS AND ACTIONS OF
TODAY WILL SUSTAIN OUR QUALITY ARMY INTO THE FUTURE, AN ARMY THAT
RECRUITS AND TRAINS THE BEST YOUNG SOLDIERS AND LEADERS OUR