Press Release

Air Force officials testify regarding importance of space

By SpaceRef Editor
March 29, 2004
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Air Force officials joined those from the U.S. Navy in congressional testimony March 25, speaking before a Senate Armed Services Committeeís subcommittee on strategic forces, about future plans for using space.

Peter B. Teets, undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office, joined Gen. Lance Lord, commander of Air Force Space Command, to speak about recent successes in the acquisition of space-based platforms. They also discussed established priorities for the years ahead. Joining them on the panel was Adm. James O. Ellis, commander of U.S. Strategic Command; and retired Vice. Adm. Arthur K. Cebrowski, director of the office of transformation for the office of the secretary of defense.

Senators present for the hearing included Chairman Wayne Allard of Colorado, Bill Nelson of Florida, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Secretary Teets told the subcommittee that space capabilities have grown in recent years, particularly because of cooperation between each of the armed services.

“I see substantial improvement in the capabilities in every mission area we have as we recapitalize our space assets for the years ahead,” said Mr. Teets, whose responsibilities as director of the NRO include the acquisition and operation of all U.S. space-based reconnaissance and intelligence systems.

As the Department of Defenseís executive agent for space, the undersecretary said he had set five priorities for national security space efforts in 2004. They include achieving mission success in operations and acquisitions; developing and maintaining a team of space professionals; integrating space capabilities for national intelligence and warfighting; producing innovative solutions for the most challenging national security problems; and ensuring freedom of action in space.

“These priorities have shaped the fiscal 2005 budget for DOD space programs,” Mr. Teets said. “Planned investments for new space systems will provide significant increases in performance, according to the full range of intelligence and military operations, to include the global war on terrorism.”

The comments prompted favorable comments from each of the senators present, particularly Senator Allard, who complimented the undersecretary for his efforts.

“Secretary Teets, I commend you for your reforms of the space acquisition process as you try to control risk and minimize problems,” Senator Allard said. “Space is a very challenging environment in which to operate.”

General Lord thanked the senators for support of the Airmen of his command, and commented on the use of space operations in recent and ongoing U.S. military engagements.

“On behalf of the 39,000 hard-working men and women of U.S. Space Command, Iíd like to thank you for your continued support of our people and our programs,” General Lord said. “We conduct space and missile operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and we could not do so effectively without your support.

“Space capabilities provide what we see as a greater real-time dimension,” he said. “What we have seen in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom is that space capabilities are a helping hand to both joint and coalition forces. And we certainly demonstrated that in recent combat operations.”

SpaceRef staff editor.