Dunford: Adjustments Needed in Demands Upon Navy
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
WASHINGTON — The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) have implemented a new process for managing its global force deployments, including those of Navy ships, in order to prioritize better and meet more of the combatant commander requirements while improving sustainment of the force, the JCS chairman said.
“In the past, we had a bottom-up process for global force management, meaning each one of the [combatant] commanders provided us with all their requirements and we leveled across and met all those requirements,” Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. said in response to a question from Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing for confirmation for a second two-year tour as chairman.
“This year, we implemented for the first time a top-down process where we fence certain numbers of forces as a result of the services needing those forces to be back in the United States to generate readiness or somewhere else located where they are generating readiness and not allocated so we can continue to sustain the force,” Dunford said. “We realize that what we’ve been doing in the past is unsustainable moving forward. The demand does exceed the supply and we need to make an adjustment to the demand as well as the supply.
“I anticipate managing risk in a different way until we can grow the capacity to meet the demand. What we have to do is get to the point where we have a balance the time that units are at home station training and developing their capabilities and the time that they are deployed,” he said.
Dunford said he visited the Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer USS Barry some months ago.
“The USS Barry had been at sea 70 percent of the time in the previous 12 months,” he said. “When we go back and look at, were they able to do all of the training necessary and what was their life like during those 12 months? Seventy percent of the time underway is an unsustainable rate, so we’re going to have to make adjustments in the demand. That will incur managing operational and strategic risk, there’s no question.”
Asked by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., if the 355-ship requirement for the Navy’s battle force is valid, Dunford said, “All of us know that the Navy is smaller right now than it needs to be to meet all those requirements. That requirement you’ve identified is based on analytic rigor and it should be a target that we shoot for. It would be good to get there as soon as we can.”