Status Report

Background Interview on Missile Defense

By SpaceRef Editor
July 11, 2001
Filed under , ,

(Background interview on missile defense by two senior Defense officials with a small group of reporters.)

A: This describes what we’re going to do and will bore you with the technical details.

Q: We have to memorize this, huh?

A: The visual aides are important, I think. I’d like to walk through this if you don’t mind. This is the same thing we did yesterday.

There are some key points and there’s some discussion about this test bed idea that people want. Inevitably you’ll be confused about that I wanted to get into explanations so you can understand it.

Now the summary’s up front. This is an RDT&E [research, development, test and evaluation] program that recognizes the technical challenges we’ve got ahead of us. There’s no single architecture and there’s no procurement program attached to this until we’re ready. That won’t be next year.

This takes care of some of the risk problems we’ve had in the program, and in my view takes care of an awful lot of the criticism we’ve been subject to, especially against missile defenses against long range missiles.

We take an RDT&E program to be multi-layered, to shoot for a multi-layer, multi-faceted which means from the air, land and sea primarily. And that will give us a capability to go against the boost phase course and terminal phases of all ranges of missiles. That’s what the RDT&E program is designed to go for.

This idea of operational use of test assets is only as directed and warranted because it’s very disruptive to the technical development program. So it is not a directed feature of the program, it’s a planned for feature of the program. That’s what this thing is all about.

What I want to do is give you more detail on how this is going to be done because it is rather significantly different than our past program.

The next page is how. It’s an evolutionary program with realistic testing embodied in it. We were testing these types of systems especially against long range missiles. It’s very difficult, and I’ll explain that a little bit more. Primarily because you’ve got intercontinental range challenges to overcome and you’ve got to have a pretty solid test program in order to handle that type of test [flights].

We’re going to do it in an evolutionary way, like we do most of our programs and not try to set an architecture and spend any amount of time and possibly money building to that requirement. It’s quite a change by saying we’re going to do what we can, recognizing the technical uncertainties of this approach, and then build on what we can do as rapidly as we can do it.

So this is a bold move to a layered system, based on the fact that we’ve got an aggressive RDT&E program to start out with what we can do to build a layered system over time. I hope that’s clear.

There is very little in terms of target dates that we’re doing anything here because quite frankly we haven’t been very good at predicting dates because of the difficulty of the technology. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a plan and that we won’t be working towards doing the best we can in terms of schedule. But in the end, those expectations are at the planning level, not at the program level.

Now let me take you to page four. You guys know this but I’m going to do it anyway. Here’s the problem on page four.

You’ve got a boost phase, mid-course and terminal phase to every ballistic missile that has ever been shot. Most of the time it’s spent out in space. The boost phase is anywhere from 100 to 300 seconds; the terminal phase is about 30 seconds for an intercontinental ballistic missile; mid-course phase is about 20 minutes. And they’re all ranges.

If you start on the left-hand corner you’ve got a small short-range missile. That’s defense of Tel Aviv from Saddam Hussein. The 1300-kilometer [range] missile is defense of Japan from North Korea. The intermediate range is defense of Northern Europe from Libya. And the long range is the defense of the U.S. from wherever. And we’ve got to be effective against all those ranges of threats, and that becomes a very complex problem because no one system, whether it’s from the sea or the air or space or anything can conjure up has ever been postulated to solve all these problems.

Now what technologies are we using? There are two of them. Kinetic energy, what we call hit to kill; and directed energy. We’ve been working on this for a long time. It’s the legacy of the $60 billion or whatever figure you want to pick, what we’ve spent on missile defense so far.

You can do this job with nuclear missiles. The Russians do that today. We choose not to do that because there are a lot of problems associated with using that even though they are effective, and it certainly solves the countermeasure problem.

A: That’s the approach we took back in the Sentinel days when we actually started… We had deployed a site at Grand Forks, North Dakota with that concept.

A: That’s right.

The hit to kill is the sheer force of collision with the warheads by the interceptor with no explosive power involved at all. We can probably get many times the power capability by those closing the blocks of the intercept. But you’ve got to hit it very accurately, in a spot that big, going many thousands of miles per hour. That’s where countermeasures come in to some degree.

Q: Have we ruled out the nuclear tipped interceptors, or are those still something we’re looking at?

A: We always look at them, but if there’s a better way to do the job without… If there’s a way to do the job without using nuclear, that’s the preferable way to do that. That’s our approach.

Q: Is there an R&D program still looking at the nuclear tipped interceptors or…

A: No.

Q: That doesn’t exist.

A: That doesn’t exist. It’s a concept issue and my view would be a national decision of last resort.

Now… Because we have the capability to do it a different way. We believe.

Now airborne laser activity or laser activity, directed energy, and that comes into play by the fact that you have… Imagine trying to do a kinetic energy intercept of a boost phase missile where you already have the missile in flight, it’s accelerating. Now you try and shoot another missile at it while it’s accelerating. Tough problem.

If you have the speed of light, you have a big advantage in getting there over a kinetic energy missile. That’s why this is attractive for a boost phase activity.

In addition to that, missiles are more vulnerable in [blue] space. Severe technical problems here, however, just like there are in kinetic energy.

So these are the two types of technologies that we will emphasize at least initially on this program.

Page seven then says let’s talk about how you would employ this technology using layered defenses.

Well, if you have a boost, mid-course and terminal phases, there are certain characteristics. If you start on the boost phase side of it, you can destroy missiles that threaten all locations. In other words, if you’re close by and you can shoot it, no matter where it’s aimed, you will destroy it and protect basically everyone.

If we’re on the terminal side, that’s a lot different because you’re protecting a patch of [their] territory because it’s from the world of threat. So that’s more of a point defense.

The mid-course area, you defend wide regions of the world.

When you start looking at layers in these things and have multiple shots along this trajectory, with a shot in each phase of the trajectory, you get to the classic effective defenses that we like to see.

It also very much complicates the adversary’s problem. You’ve heard the Union of Concerned Scientists say the mid-course is susceptible to countermeasures. We agree with that. But they have to be tailored to the mid-course. If we have a layered defense that goes boost, mid-course, and potentially terminal, then those countermeasures are much more difficult to rely on by our adversaries, and that’s the layered defense approach that we want to explore rather aggressively.

Now the space sensors are always contributing here. You want to know when they’re launched and you want to track them if you can.

Q: You’re less susceptible to countermeasures because countermeasures don’t work at the launch and the terminal phase.

A: Well, there are countermeasures tailored to boost phase, but they don’t work in mid-course. You’re not going to put out mid-course countermeasures while the booster is boosting. It’s physically not doable. So there are a lot of things that have to be tailored to the phase of flight.

Q: But in general there’s fewer countermeasures you can use in boost phase. Is that fair to say?

A: Yeah.

I alluded to this earlier, page eight. The idea here is, and we use two-year timeframes for convenience here. In an evolutionary development program we want to develop programs based on what we can do and then grow them versus on trying to build a full up system at some date certain and try like heck to get there.

So the evolutionary approach seems very amenable to technology that we have available today to solve this problem, and could be very effective in the management of the program we believe.

And I think Secretary Aldridge would agree, we tend to do these on our military systems anyway. But we shoot for a date certain with a certain configuration to start off with. In this particular case we are going to do what we can do rather than a requirements-based approach.

Q: Is this an actual schedule? Does…

A: No. These are blocks for planning. So that we could, for instance, plan at an RDT&E level to have something available in the Block 2004, which includes 2004 to 2006. Sometime in that timeframe.

However, if you can’t develop it in that timeframe, it may be available in Block 2006. So it’s a cascading effect that you can get out of this thing where you get flexibility in the time period in which you can insert it into your system, based on the development piece of the program.

Q: Do we know what the programs are in each of these blocks? I mean 2004…

A: We have a plan to look at where these blocks, what we would try to do in each one of these blocks. It’s a development plan. It’s not a deployment plan.

Q: I understand.

A: It’s not a production plan. But we will plan it out based on where we think we can join these capabilities.

Q: I don’t know if you’re going to get into this later, but can you tell us what block 2004 is and what block 2006 is, and…

A: I’m not going to do that in this briefing. But eventually we will be able to discuss that.

The reason is some of the planning still needs to go on.

A: Block 2010 might change as a result of a failure in technology back here.

A: That’s right.

A: So the program allows for things to start and stop as the technology becomes apparent or the technology failures become apparent.

Q: Why two-year blocks?

A: Two-year capability blocks for potentially developing capability or even procure capability is about the amount of time that people need to get comfortable with it, based on my experience. You want to have something available in the field for at least two years. Otherwise training and everything gets really hard to do.

That’s also a reasonable amount of time to plan for the system to be in a certain configuration.

Now on page nine it starts getting a little bit more specific. It actually kind of gets to your question.

The idea here is that we would start many different paths in basing and in technology, and within those paths we actually have subsystems on parallel paths. We now will be able to afford to do that to a certain extent based on the way we’ve constructed this program. Then every year we intend to offer Secretary Aldridge and the department a decision process, whether we should accelerate or change the program as we demonstrate the capabilities, or not demonstrate those technologies. And all that can lead to this idea of having test assets that can be made operational if the situation warrants it. But that’s not our intention to make those operational right off the bat.

Then in the boost, mid-course and terminal segments you can see about the earliest timeframe, and I would not at all put anything other than a two-year time horizon on that earliest date as to when we think we can actually have a system fielded with some confidence.

Q: What sorts of capabilities are we talking about when we talk about the three emerging capabilities…

A: They’re the most mature parts of the program. Those will be a ground-based mid-course system; an airborne laser possibly; and then an Aegis capability as medium range threats. That’s the best we can do based on what we know today. Hopefully something will happen to change that, but that’s where we are.

Q: And the Aegis would be mid-course as well, and it would be…

A: Again, shorter-range missiles, right.

Q: And the ground-based is what you’re working now. What you’re testing now.

A: Right.

A: And the hope is to have three available so you have, there will be some kind of emergent… Layers.

A: That’s right. And you can see how it will actually be a layered type system against long range and to a certain degree shorter-range missiles as well.

Then we have the Patriot that’s very successful. We intend to push it into production in the terminal phase against shorter-range missiles.

So these things can proceed at their own pace, at their own time schedules and join the configuration of layered defense when they’re ready and adequately tested from our point of view.

Q: Is it clear that the ground-based mid-course is the most mature?

A: In a mid-course sense against long range missiles, that’s correct. I’ll go into this later. If you look at sea-based or land-based in the mid-course against long range missiles, there’s no difference in the technical bomb here.

So if we went to a sea-based configuration in the mid-course against long range missiles, it still has the countermeasures problem, it still has its kill problems, it still has all the things that we’ve been working on on the ground-based system. And that’s what people tend not to understand, is when you’re in the mid-course, you’ve got a mid-course problem.

Now what the advantage of a sea-based mid-course system is, is that you can move it. It’s mobile, so you can move it toward the asset phase of the mid-course which is one of the principles of missiles — the farther forward you get it the better off you like it.

Now the ground-based gives you more stability in terms of 24×7, 365, operational life cycle cost. So these things all have to be sorted out, but they have the same technological challenge.

Q: When is that, the thinking that that might be up and ready?

A: There’s no decision taken on that. It will be looked at all the time from now on as to when the right time to do that type of deployment would be and whether it should be at Shemya.

Q: So that’s not even decided, whether it should be at Shemya or some place else?

A: That’s right.

Now page ten, we’re taking a different approach to the program in terms of financing it as well as managing it. Instead of the 23 program elements that the Congress has seen, a well defined, very rigidly controlled major defense procurement program, we are proposing that there only be six, potentially seven or eight because of some headquarters type of funding. But these are the bulk of the systems so that we don’t have the rigidity of the major defense procurement program that we had before in these various program activities that we put together. But we have the flexibility to do it in a very illusionary way.

Q: These are all your program offices?

A: These are program elements that the Congress will see. It’s a budgetary structure.

Q: Okay.

A: Now the organizational structure has not been decided and we have to dialogue with Secretary Aldridge over that in the coming weeks. But it will require a new management structure to do this.

Q: Does this combine things in acquisition plus, rather than funding programs, you’re funding… Sort of piles of money or approaches.

A: There will be some legislative changes required to do this and they will be proposed as a part of the budget, I am told.

Q: The ’02 budget or the ’03 budget?

A: ’02.

Q: What would need to be changed?

A: We have, it turns out, I think I was right, that we have authorization language from years past, because of some things that Congress got upset about and mandated our program elements for our career. And that’s the type of changes we’ll have to get changed.

Now on page 11 it gives you…

Q: I’m sorry. When we talk about mid-course defense, does that not include… That includes ground-based, it includes sea-based?

A: And sea-based. And I’ll show you that.

Q: And the reason it’s different from the current system is because the sea-based is now with the Navy essentially? You’re consolidating it under…

A: We funded NTW [Navy theater wide] out of BMDO before. Some of the money was shared because of the ships. But this structure makes very clear that the funding was increased and comes from BMDO.

Don’t mix up the management structure with the funding structure. The management hasn’t been decided yet, but this allows…

Q: Purely the funding.

A: Right.

Q: …the ability to say hey, we want you to spend more on ground-based and less on sea-based because they all have one high/low budget. Is that right, or is that…

A: In my view if the Congress wants to tell us that, they all say we’ll tell you that for sure. And the structure of it is such that this gives us a little bit more flexibility to blur the lines in the year of execution so that we can move more rapidly.

The whole idea here is to get shorter cycle times on our decision, but we don’t expect major changes in the year of execution that the Congress would appropriate, and certainly our intention is to consult with Congress if we do anything that we know they would be concerned about.

Q: …breakouts within this?

A: Yes. These are legal definitions that we’re changing here. The project definition, I’ll show you on the next two pages, are traceable at the project level.

Now let me walk you through the next two pages just to give you the flavor of what has happened budgetary wise. And over on the left is the program broken out into those different program elements.

In the middle is a program of record. The difference is those dollars I have on that. So the point here is that there will be traceability to what we’ve been doing before.

We basically did two things with the $2.5 billion addition to the DoD top line, or on that. That is we take it, programs we already had in work and oriented them in this structure and redirected them to some degree, and fixed the funding issues that we could pursue a lot more aggressively and we started some new things.

The new things are in the boost area for kinetic energy primarily, and the test bed idea that we were talking about mid-course.

So this gives you that traceability as well as the Congress when we give them the budget documentation.

So we’ve had a major increase and commitment by the department to missile defense here and in the pursuit of an RDT&E program for missile layered defense.

A: There’s also a point here that when the program gets ready for deployment it will in fact be moved out and get with the services for implementation as it has been done for the PAC-3 needs in the Navy area. That’s a philosophy that will continue on.

Q: Sir, I’m unclear what’s new on… You said the two new things are the test bed and what was the other one?

A: It’s in the boost phase. We’re going to put $110 million against kinetic energy boost as a hedge against the directed energy.

A: Kinetic energy.

A: Yeah.

Q: (Inaudible)

A: No, 110. Look at the delta. We haven’t spent any money in that area at all, prior, and we’re going to spend some more money in that area.

Q: Where is the money for the test bed in Alaska?

A: It’s in the mid-course.

I’m not going to tell you right now how much of that $3.2 billion is for the test bed. I’m working on the breakout of that right now.

Q: Have you guys figured out that you’re going to have a Democratic Congress in breaking ground, (inaudible) next week, or…

A: Yes. We have.

Q: Are you going to notify them or…

A: Read my testimony tomorrow.

Q: It would be wonderful if I could have a story.

A: Well, we intend to execute the program.

Q: I take that to mean that (inaudible)?

A: We intend to execute the program to the best of our ability.

Q: Can I interpret that to mean that you intend to break ground next week (inaudible)? Am I misinterpreting that?

A: That’s one element of the program. That’s the way I would say it. And of course these things could change, but our intention is to execute the program as we have it laid out here as soon as practical.

Now I can go through the balance of these and talk in great detail, but let me just skip, in the interest of time, because I think you’ve got the major focus here.

But there are parallel paths in each one of these areas, but I want to draw your attention to page 18 for a second.

This is a very complicated slide. All I want to do is tell you that we have a plan. But the most important thing as you look at those triangles at the front, we’ve talked about the test coming up on Saturday, but what we are about to do here where we haven’t been in a position to do in the past, is that we have probably a major test a month in sea and ground mid-course that is going to come up over the next 18 months. If we proceed on the plan that we have now, we will have many, many tests in this program, more than we’ve ever planned before, and we’ll commit the dollars to do that.

So the test coming up on Saturday is one of a series, just another in a series of the tests that we’re going to do here on the ground-based side. Then the sea-based was the former Navy theater-wide program coming on board and testing scenarios later this year and next year.

So this is a very important time period for us and illustrates that we’re very serious about the testing of these systems.

Q: Any test (inaudible) pop up against the ABM Treaty?

A: The ABM Treaty issues here are all in compliance review and we’ll have to let that process decide whether or not we have a problem, but until now we haven’t had a problem with treaty compliance on these tests.

Q: Do you anticipate when you might, or which of the…

A: I can’t be specific on that. It’s all under review.

A: And besides which, [reporter’s name deleted], that’s not [senior Defense official’s name deleted] bailiwick. There’s a whole separate group of guys, policy people, lawyers, that are looking at the compliance review and…

A: …technical, legal, there is an ABM Treaty compliance review group that looks at each one of these areas and says are there any indications here that this might have a problem with compliance with the ABM Treaty, and he doesn’t know, and so this group looks at all the aspects of it and makes them assess them. So far we have had no problems with any of those.

Q: …so far, was that based on the old treaty regime developed under the previous administration or is that under this newer…

A: He’s got a new program now laid in place, that is based upon the assumption that he’s going to build the very best missile defense system we can, without the consideration of ABM compliance issues. So what he has to do is he has laid out a program. What the ABM Treaty compliance review group has to do is now evaluate this program, come closer. Does it have any issues with regard to compliance with the ABM Treaty? And if it does, we will know far enough ahead of time to make a decision as to how to proceed.

Q: And they’ll make a judgment for each test. They’ve got details on each of these tests.

A: Yes. If it’s a test that has been done previously, obviously the compliance is not much of a problem. But if it’s testing a new capability, a new deployment platform or something like that, they have to assess those capabilities.

Q: Who makes up that?

A: It’s a group that works for [a senior Defense official]. It’s called the ABM Treaty Compliance Review Group, and it takes into account the technical issues associated with the test; it takes into account policy questions associated with the test; and any legal matters. So the general counsel is involved with it.

Q: How long have they been reviewing this now?

A: They’ve been reviewing everything from the time the ABM Treaty was signed in 1972.

Q: Right, but… Maybe I’m oversimplifying this, but I’m under the impression that you sort of gave them a new schedule…

A: This is a new program.

Q: So how long, they have started reviewing this new program, and can we say how long…

A: To the point where we had tests that were identified prior to the time this new program has been laid out, they were reviewing that.

They’ve now got a new program to review with a new series of schedules and they will start that process now.

Q: So they aren’t just literally starting.

Q: They haven’t picked up this new program and identified the…

A: To the point that we knew in the beginning of these programs that we already had laid in the sketch, for example, that sketch has been around for quite awhile, but to the extent they knew about it they have in fact been working compliance issues.

Q: Just on this test or on future tests as well?

A: Future tests as well. Now we’ve got a program laid out and it has a future to it. Before we didn’t have one of those.

Q: So they’re just taking it up now, so they haven’t looked at this whole plate of tests.

A: Not only tests. There’s a whole host of things that we have to worry about. So I wouldn’t just categorize it as…

A: Right. It’s testing, it’s deployment, it’s construction, it’s all those things that go along. Anything to do with the ABM Treaty as we now know it.

Q: But it’s fair to say that they now have the full package…

A: Now they can…

A: Not a full package. This is a living process. You know the old story of you have a top ten list? Well the bad news is you’ve always got a top ten list.

Q: You call this Fort Greeley site an interceptor site as opposed to a test bed.

A: No. I call it a… Well…

Q: Page 18, it says interceptor site. Ground-based interceptor site, Fort Greeley, page 18.

A: Well, you’ve got to have an interceptor site for a test bed. Don’t draw any conclusions…

Q: So you won’t be, when you’re testing you won’t be launching the interceptors from Greeley, you’ll be launching them from Kodiak. That’s my…

A: That’s our current understanding, but that’s an issue of safety that we need to work out, and we’ll look at that and decide whether we can do that at Greeley later on. But…

Q: Are you doing this primarily for testing purposes, or…

A: Let me go through this test bed because I want to make sure you understand what it is we’re trying to do here, so go to page 19. I know I’m taking a little bit longer, and I’ve got to go upstairs in just a second.

But let me just briefly talk about this test bed. This test bed answers a lot of criticisms that we’ve been taking over the fact that we’re not doing operational realistic testing.

Fundamentally here if you have a fixed site, or for that matter a mobile site, in the mid-course and for a layered system, in order for it to be operationally realistic, you’ve got to field that fight to some degree, to make sure that the communication links, everything works together in the way you expect.

In fact that was one of the chief criticisms that Phil Coyle had for us. So you’re either going to build it twice or you can build it once to some degree if you have that luxury.

So the point is you’ve got to build the system like you’re going to use it, just like you ought to test the system like you’re going to use it. That’s the theory behind this. All these things go on the test bed.

If you look at this thing, flight test six on 20 and 21, I think you’re all familiar with how we do our flight tests. A very complex thing.

Okay. We launch out of Vandenberg, go to Kwajalein Island. We have all these different tracking mechanisms. Look on 21. We’ve got airborne surveillance trackers, we’ve got Cobra Dane, we’ve got radars in Hawaii, we’ve got radars at Meck Island. All these things. Very complex test to make sure it works right. I can go into this in detail.

But even though this is complex, on page 22 our plan in previous activities has been to validate our models by flying from Vandenberg to Kwajalein and intercepting in that white circle. We never (inaudible) that, but it’s very expensive to do much more than this. It’s expensive enough to do what I did on those other two pages.

Now we’ve taken a lot of criticism for that as well, even though we didn’t like it.

Now I’m going to tell you what we’re going to do with this test bed. Go to page 23. We’re going to look at putting the Aegis short-range missiles in there, and eventually long range. And we’re going to put dual target and dual interceptor capability because eventually we want to get to simultaneous launches, right? Not just single launches.

On page 24 we’re going to start hooking up to communications because on the time lines we’re talking about here we’ve got to make sure the wait and see’s of our command and control system all match up with the communications list. Another area that we wanted to pay particular attention to.

Page 25, where would we be able to see operational linkage? Well, we’ve got Fort Greely that we talked about, and that is a potential operational site because of the configuration that we want it, and we have all our EIS’ [environmental impact statements] and those things done that allow us to build these types of things.

And in 26, we want to hook that up to the network. And 27 puts it all together. What this says is that if we’re able to put Kodiak and/or Greely, but I’d emphasize Kodiak right now, hooked up to Fort Greely into the net and put radars in the right configuration and add SBIRS [space-based infrared radar system] to this eventually, we can get to the point where we can start launch targets west to east instead of east to west, which is backwards, and we can start intercepting in those yellow circles in addition to the white circle, and eventually you have the whole Pacific range as an interceptor point to test the different geometries.

Now that’s about as realistic as we can make it, and that’s what this test bed idea is for.

Then when you add…

Q: When would that be, to have all these circles…

A: We would look in the ’04 to ’06 timeframe to have this available, depending on our current plan.

Then you can see where we have multiple target missiles in flight. We could potentially have an airborne laser shoot at one of the targets in a layered system, deliberately let one go, and have a mid-course engagement, do our command and control, and really check out and test a layered system. That’s what this test bed is all about.

Q: One thing I hear on the Hill, they say if you’re launching interceptors from Kodiak, why do you need to put interceptors for Fort Greely? You seem to say you can’t launch there…

A: Well, again, having a silo hooked up to the infrastructure that you would potentially eventually make operational, having the support infrastructure there, all is a very important thing for us to do. Otherwise, we do it for the first time when we build them, and we don’t want to wait that long.

So this test infrastructure idea is really important to us. I mean you all know, and you all have communicated the criticism we’ve taken on this. How can you be operational?

We told everybody they were development tests. If you build an infrastructure and you pay for it, this is expensive. Then we can build the top of this way beyond where we were able to go before.

Q: Do you have a sense of how much the budget’s going to continue to increase, ’03, ’04, ’05, ’06?

A: We have a planning number, about the same level as we have in the budget today for the RDT&E program. I don’t know what they’re going to give us in future years, but this is affordable within the program as best we see it today. And we’ll start on it in ’02. It’s very important…

Q: So the budget’s going to continue to be…

A: I don’t know what the number’s going to be, but it will be level at something. As [the senior Defense official] says, the key plan here is we’re not buying force structure with our RDT&E money. That’s for the services to do when they say they think we can build something.

A: That’s a very, very important distinction that a lot of the critics of the program have said that ultimately when we get to the procurement point you’ll watch that funding just go through the moon. But that’s not what [the senior Defense official] is describing. This is a relatively level of effort, or fairly stable level of effort over several years to do the RDT&E. That’s not a conventional way to do a program.

A: We do a major MDAP [major Defense acquisition program], and you’ve got to have procurement funds and everything else, you’ve got to have a budget for it before you know what you want to build. We’re not doing that. And this legally gives us a chance to make some very important decisions a lot quicker than we would ordinarily do. Based on demonstrated capability and/or (inaudible). Then we can start making these things work and grow them as rapidly as we can grow them. Then we can move extremely rapidly into procurement, eventually with some very sound decision-making underpinnings.

Q: You show an X-Band here in Hawaii and not in Shemya.

A: Let me talk about one of the reasons why we need to adjust the test bed. Looking at the early warning radar, California that chart. Look at the way that phase is pointing. In the test on Saturday, that’s where it’s going to be pointing.

Where is the target launch point? It’s going away from the early warning radar. Same way with GBRP [ground based radar prototype]. We can’t see these things early enough because of the placement of that radar. We need to change the placement of the radar.

So this idea of a test radar in that general location is good for this test configuration.

Now we’re got some work to do there, whether that’s going to be actually the land-based one or we’re looking at some sort of a mobile configuration. We can move that radar around, just like we would the target. We have much better geometry and testing that we had with a fixed line of sight.

Q: Would you be on that ship or a barge?

A: We’re looking at that. We haven’t made any decisions on it.

Q: Is that an ABM problem also?

A: Everything is. We’ve got a compliance review group that goes through…

Q: Why are we just talking about upgrading Cobra Dane instead of just moving ahead with the…

A: The quickest way we can get early warning radar up and running, it was the right orientation for the test of air-launched targets.

Q: Well, the quickest under ABM or quickest…

A: Couldn’t you build because it’s built. And we would do the same with that radar we would do to the UHF radar if we were planning on using the old configuration. So the software upgrades for that would kind of test out what our capabilities…

Q: How long would it take to build an X-Band at Shemya?

A: It was going to take us three years I think on our plan.

Q: Whereas the Cobra Dane can be upgraded in what, a year?

A: A lot less time than that.

Q: There’s been some criticism that congressional oversight tradition on programs go from RDT&E to EMD [engineering manufacturing development] and to procurement, and Congress has (inaudible) phase. But here there don’t seem to be that many… There are some phases that (inaudible) don’t require.

A: I think that the oversight will be there. I know the oversight will be there. Just as we had a mandate to go to the moon in ten hears, to build Polaris, build ICBMs in a national way, the Congress had oversight of those programs, and I’m sure that we will have the right oversight.

How we do it will always be contentious, but there’s no intent to avoid oversight the way these plans are built. In fact that’s a very valuable part of our system.

Q: Can I just go back to that issue of how you need to change the current legislation to allow you to do this final development? I’m still not completely clear on that.

The way… I can sort of understand this structure. What I don’t understand is how it compares to the current system.

A: We have well defined program elements for, let’s take NMD right now. Or a better one being Navy Theater Wide. So we have the program elements for Navy Theater Wide.

Q: Right.

A: And there are 23 like those. All well defined, and there are barriers around each. There are legal barriers to (inaudible) each one of those (inaudible).

By consolidating those things as projects under a PE [program element] it gives us more flexibility but it doesn’t mean that those lose their identity.

Q: So what happens is Congress essentially funds just these, whatever, six programs. And then that gives you folks the flexibility to say that one’s not working. Let’s move some more money to the…

A: It’s run into problems and we need to add more resources to it, which is more likely.

Q: So you can shift the money around within these groups.

A: Right.

Q: How do you have oversight over these groups?

A: That’s the way we would propose to make it work.

Q: And that’s going to be in the ’02 budget request.

A: We have requested, we will request it as part of ABM. And whatever legislative changes required for that will be part of the package. I’m not… The legal community’s putting all that together.

Q: Did you make any conclusions about whether you need to get Russian approval to move ahead with the tests at work and Greely and Kodiak?

A: I’ve had the secretary (inaudible). We have a hard enough job just trying to figure out how to go field this thing, and you can see how complex it is. So we’ve been focused on that, to build the most effective development program we know how to build and you can see we listened to our critics, and we didn’t like some of the things ourselves. So we’ve done that.

Now there’s the whole process of legal reviews on treaties as well as the strategic frameworks — those are for others to talk about and we need to discuss that.

Q: We just thought that that would be a fairly urgent question. If you’re going to be asking Congress in the next week or two to start that work, that you’d want that issue resolved.

A: We will comply with the law. The treaty stands. And we will tell the system when that spot is reached, and then we’ll be told what to do, I am very confident.

Q: Breaking ground at Greely is not going to be, is not a violation…

A: That’s a contractual action that has been through all the legal framework. It’s clearly marked trees for (inaudible). That’s what it is.

Q: Why did they burn?

A: Because they had a forest fire two years ago.

Q: It was (inaudible) conditions up in Alaska.

Q: I’d like to follow up on [a reporter’s] question (inaudible). Let’s say we’re talking about the boost phase box, and in that box you’re got a Navy boost phase and the AB and the ABL [airborne laser]. And that Navy boost phase was having trouble so you might shift somebody from ABL to maybe boost phase and that becomes the way it’s structured.

You don’t have to wait a year to do a new budget cycle, you can just shift money within the box without having to go back to Congress every time to do it so it gives you more flexibility. Is that right?

A: We have that flexibility now in the reprogramming rule that we use, for up to $4 million. Anything over that we go to committees on the Hill to reprogram; we have to inform them. And what we’re doing is essentially by doing this, kind of raising the thresholds on those. But in the year of execution, massive amount of money changes, appropriated money. I just don’t see massive, the kind of changes that would cause great heartburn to our oversight.

Q: So what’s the big advantage of doing it?

A: The big advantage is that it cuts down the cycle time of the decisions that you do have to make. And one of the main features of this program, I’m hoping to ensure gets into the management is that we do everything we can to shorten the decision cycle time on developing these technologies. And do it in a rational way.

Q: What do you mean by decision cycle time?

A: Decision cycle time, you have to go… I don’t mean to pick on that reprogramming action, but if you send a formal reprogram, you’ve got a coordination cycle in the building, you’ve got a coordination cycle in the Congress, you could be months before you get authority to do that. In the mean time you’ve got a problem brewing and getting worse.

Q: Now you have to do the reprogramming. You just make the decision and…

A: We’re hoping that will shorten the decision cycle time so we don’t have to wait. But that doesn’t mean we don’t tell people that we do.

Q: One more question about how you’re finding Saturday’s test, how you see the importance of Saturday’s test. …it doesn’t work exactly as planned, your critics will…

A: I will tell you, we’re focused on trying to make this develop. I’m sure there will be two major lines of argument. One is if it fails, it will never work, I told you so, this thing is a waste of time and effort. And if it succeeds, somehow somebody is going to say well it was rigged, it was fudged or whatever terminology you guys want to report.

The truth of the matter is that this is a major, complex development test. It’s the next in a series of the ones we’ve been trying to do and if it succeeds it will give us more confidence. If it fails, we’ll learn more. Okay? That’s the way we’re looking at it.

Q: The other argument is that if you can succeed you might want to speed up deployment. Is there any reason to think that one success is enough to push ahead after?

A: I don’t think… We’re not thinking about this test in any way other than we hope to make the hit to kill more reliable and demonstrate it in our test program.

There’s no deployment activities associated with that program. At this point in time, that’s not being proposed. At some point if we have the next six or seven of these tests or series of tests, I don’t know what the number is, we will build enough confidence to maybe do something a little bit more aggressive in a procurement type sense with the ground-based program. But it depends on a lot of things.

But this test is a developmental test. And it’s one in a series.

Q: And clearing the burned trees in Alaska begins in ’01 or ’02?

A: It will be this construction season, FY ’01.

Q: Okay.

Is there a (inaudible) before you buy (inaudible), you’ve got to get Congress to (inaudible)? Or am I making that up?

A: Notify the Russians. But again, I’m not aware so you’ll have to ask…

A: Sometime on Friday, we don’t know exactly what time, [a senior Defense official] will be down in the briefing room again. You’ll probably see some of this again.

Q: Will those slides be publicly available tomorrow after your testimony?

A: Beats me.

Q: You’re giving it to the Hill.

A: My testimony will describe what I told you today and go probably… But we have tried very hard to carry out the secretary’s guidance. So that’s the program we have. My interest is getting this technology stuff taken care of.

A: Thank you.

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SpaceRef staff editor.