« PreviousContinue »
COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
GEORGE H. MAHON, Texas, Chairman
JAMIE L. WHITTEN, Mississippi
EDWARD P. BOLAND, Massachusetts
GEORGE E. SHIPLEY, Illinois
ROBERT N. GIAIMO, Connecticut
JULIA BUTLER HANSEN, Washington
DAVID PRYOR, Arkansas
FRANK T. BOW, Ohio
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS FOR
FISCAL YEAR 1972
THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 1971.
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
HON. MELVIN R. LAIRD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
ADM. THOMAS H. MOORER, U.S. NAVY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
ROBERT C. MOOT, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (COMPTROLLER)
RICHARD G. CAPEN, JR., ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS)
CAPT. ANDREW J. VALENTINE, U.S. NAVY, LEGAL AND LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT TO THE CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
Mr. MAHON. The committee will come to order.
We welcome before us this morning Mr. Laird, the Secretary of Defense, who is serving in that capacity with distinction. Likewise, we welcome before the committee the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Moorer, who also is serving with distinction in that capacity.
Mr. Laird, you, of course, were formerly a member of the Appropriations Committee and of this subcommittee and for many years a Member of Congress. You know that you are among friends here.
Admiral Moorer, you know you are among friends here. We are Defense-oriented. We believe in the security of this country as an indispensable first priority of the Nation.
I think you also know that, while we are your friends, we seek to be objective in our consideration of public matters.
Mr. Moot, we are pleased to have you before us. Your aid is indispensable to us and to the staff in our work.
We are glad to have Mr. Capen and Captain Valentine with us, also. We feel more comfortable with a small number of witnesses. Sometimes the room is too full. We feel we have you outnumbered this morning, and we can proceed with greater confidence with this hearing.
I have invited the members of the Military Construction Subcommittee, headed by Mr. Sikes, to sit in on these hearings. I think it very important that they do so in order to get a better grasp of the overall military problems which confront the country. I have written each member of the Military Construction Subcommittee and explained
that we must reserve the major time for the questioning of our witnesses for the members of the Defense subcommittee who work directly with this bill, but we do not mean that that excludes participation otherwise.
We will not release the statement of the Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs because the Secretary, as I understand it, has a prior commitment when he has a hearing next week with the House Armed Services Committee, and the statement will be released at that time. Is that correct, Mr. Secretary?
Secretary LAIRD. Mr. Chairman, the House Armed Services Committee asked that I first appear before them on the authorization bill. I made an arrangement with them so I could come here this week to appear on the appropriation bill. They were informed that I would be giving a classified statement to this committee, and an unclassified version which they can release on Tuesday of next week. So, they will be releasing the unclassified version of the statement on Tuesday of next week.
I thought it would expedite the hearings if I could come before this committee this week, and I appreciate your arranging this.
Mr. MAHON. This, I think, is fully satisfactory with the committee. Secretary LAIRD. The unclassified version will be ready and delivered to your offices on Monday morning, but the unclassified version is not ready as of today.
Mr. MAHON. The statements before us are rather lengthy. We are glad to have your full statement on the situation. Your statement, Mr. Secretary, is 232 pages long. You appear to be trying to outdo former Secretary McNamara.
In addition to the 232 pages, there are 26 pages of charts and tables. I would say that is not too much if we are adequately to do our homework on the gigantic program of the Department of Defense.
Admiral Moorer, your statement is 61 pages plus 26 charts and tables.
We will probably need to call you back at a later time, because I do not believe we can fully explore during this 2-day period all the matters that we may want to explore. We would like to have that reservation, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary LAIRD. Fine, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MAHON. It would seem to me, Mr. Secretary, that it might not be unreasonable to ask you to read your 14-page summary, and not to take the time to read the general, broad chapters I, II, and III; and then you might read chapter IV in section 1 of your statement. We can see how the time runs, and will change our procedures if we feel it appropriate to do so.
At this time we recognize that the defense of the Nation is the highest priority, as I said. We want to spend as much as is necessary to maintain an adequate degree of strength and readiness from the standpoint of military security. We want to continue to deter war as a nation; that is, deter all-out war, world war III. We want to continue to deter it as we have in the past, because we know that world war III would be catastrophic, not only for the United States but for our opponents and the world at large.
That is one of the reasons that we are so anxious to maintain adequate military strength. In fact, I feel that we have military superiority at this time. I feel that we should maintain military superiority for the future with as many refinements as can be made.
One of the things that troubles us is the war in Vietnam. I think it fair to say that the House has supported the President in his efforts in Vietnam. The majority of the Members of the House voted, in fact, to endorse the President's program of Vietnamization and of withdrawal at the earliest practicable moment of our forces in Vietnam. We will want to get into a discussion of the war in Southeast Asia and whether or not the withdrawal program is working, whether or not we can safely withdraw all our forces at a certain date at a later time.
We are interested in the modernization of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. We want to know if we are doing an adequate job there and if this budget contains satisfactory funds for that purpose.
We are wondering if the 240,000 plus servicemen in Europe must continue to remain there, or whether we can make significant withdrawals of our forces from Western Europe without endangering the security of the United States.
We are concerned about the incursions of the Soviet Union in the Mediterranean area, and the Middle East problem generally, the continuing problem in Berlin, and the situation in the Indian Ocean area.
We are interested both in our short-range and long-range plans. We will do our best to cooperate in the interest of the United States in the legislation which we will finally present to the House of Representatives.
Have you any general comment to make before you get into your statement, Mr. Secretary?
GENERAL STATEMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
Secretary LAIRD. Mr. Chairman, we appreciate this opportunity to appear before the committee. As you know, Admiral Moorer has a very comprehensive briefing and assessment of the threat, in which he has put a great deal of time and effort. It is a briefing that assesses the threat to the United States from some of the possible opposing forces.
I have also brought with me the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Bob Moot, who works very closely with this committee. I know from my service on this committee the respect and admiration that we had for him as Comptroller, and I continue to maintain even greater respect and admiration for the job that he does in the Department of Defense and the manner in which he makes every effort to assist this committee in its operations.
I have no difficulty in following the outline that you suggest as far as my testimony is concerned. The statement is long, but I tried to anticipate the various questions that would be asked by the committee in connection with this budget and program in all of the broad areas for which we have responsibilities. It is a comprehensive statement.
I will not read the entire statement. I was not trying to outdo my predecessor, Secretary McNamara. I was somewhat critical sometimes of his reading the entire statement, so I will not make that same mistake.
Mr. MAHON. The entire statement must be read and studied and pondered by the committee, of course, but in order that we may have more time for the interrogation during this 2-day session, I think it would be good to follow that procedure.
In view of the conditions which beset the world, Admiral Moorer, we shall hear you with special interest. Have you any particular thing to say at this time?
Admiral MOORER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, but rather than read my statement, I plan to just brief it with the hope that questions may follow later.
I have prepared a comprehensive statement of the capabilities of the United States in relation to the capabilities of other countries that might be opposed to us. I believe this may be the first time in many years that this committee has had an opportunity to view an overall presentation of the U.S. capabilities as they stand in relation to the capabilities of our most probable opponents.
Mr. MAHON. All right.
Do you have anyhing to say at this time, Mr. Minshall?
Mr. MINSHALL. No, I have nothing to add at this time, Mr. Chair
Mr. MAHON. You may proceed, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary LAIRD. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee:
I am privileged today to present the first comprehensive 5-year Defense program of the Nixon administration and to discuss the associated fiscal year 1972 budget, which is presently before this committee for consideration.
Mr. MAHON. I want to commend you, Mr. Secretary, for this 5-year program in which you try to look at the short- and long-range objectives. I think this will be very helpful. I want to congratulate you upon this approach to the problem.
Secretary LAIRD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.