« PreviousContinue »
Secretary MACINTYRE. That is correct. Some of the families at Wethersfield, which is a little, small village up in Norfolk, are as far away as 35 or 40 miles.
Mr. BECKER. That is right.
Did you ever work out anything with them on the cost of their gasoline for the transportation back and forth! That was a terrible injustice to the men.
Secretary MACINTYRE. Yes, sir. We arranged last spring for the gasoline tax to be eliminated for all those GI's who are commuting back and forth.
Mr. BECKER. They are paying the British cost for gasoline, whereas in Germany our men living off the bases were getting gas supplied from the base at the base cost.
Secretary MacINTYRE. Right.
Mr. BECKER. And there is considerable difference—up to 50 cents a gallon, 40 to 50 cents a gallon difference in the gasoline cost. Secretary MACINTYRE. The biggest difference is in the tax. Mr. BECKER. I do not know the tax.
Secretary MACINTYRE. The tax is a tremendous proportion of the retail price of a British gallon-I forget what it is. But that has been finally worked out and our people get their tax eliminated, which has meant a tremendous boom to the morale.
'Mr. BECKER. I remember their having quite a discussion over at the Pentagon on this particular subject and I am glad to hear it has been worked out.
Secretary MACINTYRE. It was worked out last spring. Mr. BECKER. Now, one thing that is closer to me, that I want to ask you and that is the closing of Mitchell Field in Long Island, which is right around my district there. If that is closed, won't it be necessary-if that field is moved somewheres else—to take and duplicate the housing that is presently at Mitchell Field and have to spend millions and millions of dollars to reproduce them somewhere else!
Secretary MACINTYRE. It is kind of a speculative question because closing Mitchell is only talk.
The CHAIRMAN. Talk a little louder, Mr. Secretary. Can't hear you.
Secretary MacINTYRE. I say it is kind of a speculative question because closing Mitchell is purely talk at this point.
Mr. BECKER. I am glad to hear that.
Secretary MACINTYRE. But you can be absolutely sure that wherever we have housing, and even if we closed a base, we would try to use the housing if we possibly could, and I think we could.
Mr. BECKER. You mean move the housing!
Secretary MACINTYRE. No, but in one way or another, we would retain it for the use of military personnel.
Mr. BECKER. Well, that would mean, then, that the talk of this land
Secretary MACINTYRE. Right.
Mr. BECKER. All this acreage that is so valuable it would not then return?
Secretary MACINTYRE. There might be much less land available.
Mr. BECKER. So, consequently, insofar as the area around there is concerned, it would not be put in commercial-sold and put into commercial use?
Secretary MACINTYRE. Well, I did not say that entirely. I said if we considered it, we would have to take into account the housing, just as much as other factors, to try and come up with a conclusion that was the most sensible.
As I say, this is entirely speculative because there has been no decision to close Mitchell.
Mr. BECKER. I think-if I remember correctly, we have an investment there of probably 50 to 60 to 75 millions of dollars at Mitchel Field?
Secretary MACINTYRE. We have a very high investment.
Secretary MacINTYRE. We have the prospect of having to invest even more if we want to keep it as an operational base.
Mr. BECKER. Invest in that?
But still you would have to buy land elsewhere if you were to move it. You would have to buy land, you would have to put up new buildings and facilities and runways and everything else.
Secretary MACINTYRE. We might not buy anything anywhere else. This is a problem of concentration within the facilities we have, if we ever closed it.
Mr. BECKER. Then, isn't it a fact, Mr. Secretary, that if it were abandoned, we will say, as the talk has been going—and I know speeches have been made in that direction that the land will not necessarily become available to the public? It would have to be declared surplus
by all the agencies of Government before it would. Secretary MACINTYRE. Yes, it would have to be declared surplus. But, we might handle the housing there in one way and the rest of the base in another, perhaps.
Mr. BECKER. Thanks very much, Mr. Secretary. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other questions from any other members of the committee?
Mr. HUDDLESTON. Mr. Secretary, you say there has been no decision made to close Mitchel Field. There has been a decision made not to close Mitchel Field at this time, hasn't there, for the record?
Secretary MACINTYRE. Well, if you want to say that failure to decide to close it means that it continues, that is true.
Mr. BECKER. The committee held fairly extensive hearings on Mitchel Air Force Base the year before last, and the committee I know is concerned about that, about the expense that would be involved if the decision were made to close the field.
I just wanted to get something in the record to the effect that the decision has been made not to close it at this time.
Secretary MACINTYRE. As I said, there had been no decision made to close it. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. Now, Mr. Secretary, from your statement I see that you say that the amount carried in this bill is $1,400,000,000. Secretary MACINTYRE. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. As I recall, the amount in the bill was $986,271,000. But that might be adding— Secretary MACINTYRE. The $18 million, sir. The CHAIRMAN. The $18 million, that is right. Secretary MACINTYRE. Correct, sir. The CHAIRMAN. That is right. Now last year we authorized $601,781,000 and we were told that the justification for that was based around 118 wings, isn't that correct? The justification for the bill last year was to meet the needs of the strength in wings totaling 118 wings? Secretary MACINTYRE. I believe that is correct, sir. General RENTz. That is correct. The CHAIRMAN. Now, what is the number of wings upon which you are basing your request for $986,271,000? Secretary MACINTYRE. We are not basing it on wings any more. As I mentioned here, Mr. Chairman, we feel that from this point forward it is better to relate this to you in terms of force structure and squadrons because there are so many missiles coming into the inventory which we are setting up in squadrons only. The CHAIRMAN. Well, all right. Now then, the committee can understand that previous justification was based upon the total number of wings. For instance, the whole justification of this bill is based upon certain things. For the Navy, it is based upon the fact that we have six-hundred-and-some-odd ships in the fleet. For the Army, we have a strength of 870,000 men. Now, we have been previously basing the justification of the bill upon so many wings. Now the committee can understand now it is not any longer based upon the number of wings that we have, is that correct? Secretary MACINTYRE. That is correct, sir. I could express it to you in wings plus squadrons because certain of the missiles coming in are organized solely in squadrons. The CHAIRMAN. All right. Secretary MACINTYRE. Mr. Chairman— The CHAIRMAN. Let me get at it. You say: Under previous accepted terms of reference we had a major force structure of 117 wings at the end of this fiscal year. Secretary MACINTYRE. That is correct. The CHAIRMAN (reading): That number of combat wings had been used for many years as one of the measures of airpower and the size of the Air Force. There are, however, major disadvantages to the use of wings as a unit for measurement because the number of wings does not account for all the varying types of combatant units and supporting activities. Now that is your justification, in getting away from using your wings as your yardstick in justification of your appropriation? Secretary MACINTYRE. That is correct, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Now let's get this picture.
During the next yearthis is further what you said
During the next year there will be a decrease in the total number of manned aircraft and missile squadrons.
Secretary MacINTYRE. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN (reading): From that point on, however, there will be a significant increase in the number of squadrons, so that by the end of the fiscal year the squadron total would approximate those at the end of current fiscal year,
Now, you mean by that there would be 117 wings!
Secretary MACINTYRE. Yes, at the end of 1958. There will be the equivalent number of squadrons.
We are prepared, Mr. Chairman, in executive session, to give you the complete breakdown and are going to have a special briefing.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, we will have to have an executive session on certain phases of this bill.
Secretary MacINTYRE. That will give you the number of squadrons which we will have at the end of 1958 and show the squadron changes over the next few years.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Then the committee can understand from that-now I will read it again.
During the next year there will be a decrease in the total number of manned aircraft and missile squadrons.
Secretary MACINTYRE. That is correct, sir.
Secretary MACINTYRE. There would also be a wing reduction, but there are some units that are not organized in wings at all.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, from that would we conclude that the striking power is being reduced next year?
Secretary MACINTYRE. No, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Is it being increased, then? Secretary MACINTYRE. As I indicated, in terms of squadrons there will be some reduction in number next year and then they will increase in number so that several years from now--three years from nowthere will be approximately the same number of squadrons that we have at the end of 1958.
The CHAIRMAN. Now your statement intrigued me.
In keeping with the emphasis on attainment of powerful and effective deterrent capability, the largest portion of the program, $403 million, or 41 percent, is for construction of facilities directly related to the increased striking capability of the Strategic Air Command and the maintenance of SAC's constant readiness.
Now, nearly one-half of your $900 million is to be used for maintaining the Strategic Air Command facilities.
Secretary MACINTYRE. 40 percent, roughly.
Now how fast is the man-operated airplanes beginning to fade away and missiles, which you spoke about in your program, taking their place!
Secretary MACINTYRE. Within SAC they will change very gradnally. Within the Tactical Air Command there is a reduction in
manned aircraft over the next few years, but we believe the quality of the interceptors and fighters which are replacing present ones more than offsets the reduction in numbers. The CHAIRMAN. Now, this 41 percent of this money is for facilities such as extension of runways and barracks, and so forth, and so on for the Strategic Air &o. isn't that correct? Secretary MACINTYRE. Yes. Very little for barracks, however. May I explain, sir, that of the 40 percent half is in relation to construction for missile sites—almost half. The CHAIRMAN. For construction for missiles? Secretary MACINTYRE. Correct, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Now wait. You said down here that another item Secretary MACINTYRE. No, sir. $166 million— The CHAIRMAN. You said $207 million was for bombers and support tanker aircraft. Secretary MACINTYRE. That is correct. The CHAIRMAN. And for BOMARC: Secretary MACINTYRE. That is separate from SAC. . The CHAIRMAN. Well, my point is this: Are we warranted in making such a large expenditure, 41 percent of your money, for Strategic Air Command, when you are gradually—as fast as the missiles come in the field, they are taking the place of the manned aircraft? Now, can we use the facilities that are being spent, the $403 million, in the missile field? Secretary MACINTYRE. Sir, of the $403 million, one-half is for missile sites—the intercontinental range ballistic sites, the intermediate range ballistic missile sites, the missiles of air to ground which aid the penetration of the bombers—approximately one-half, or 20 percent of all this money. The CHAIRMAN. All right. Then $200 million is for the ballistic missiles? Secretary MACINTYRE. Ballistic missiles and the missiles used by the airplanes themselves, long-range missiles. The CHAIRMAN. Then are we warranted in spending the other $200 million for the maintenance of SAC, the Strategic Air Command? Secretary MACINTYRE. The other $200 million is substantially for completion of those facilities which enable SAC to get off the ground on a 15-minute alert basis. The CHAIRMAN. Then can we understand Secretary MACINTYRE. And that is as essential as anything we can do during this immediate period of 3, 4, and 5 years, when the missiles will only be coming into the inventory and when you cannot rely upon them as a dependable weapon. The CHAIRMAN. Then we understand from that answer that SAC o get off of the ground now in the short time you desire them to O SO. Secretary MACINTYRE. Not as short as we would like, and we are trying to take steps to improve that in every way we can. The CHAIRMAN. All right. Are you in position to advise the committee the time that they can get off the ground now? Secretary MACINTYRE. A certain portion of the force could certainly get off within 30 minutes. Mr. KILDAY. (Aside.)