Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld provided to Congress today his assessment of the report of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization. The Commission's report, published on Jan. 11, 2001, addressed the importance of outer space and space activities.
A text of Rumsfeld's assessment follows:
"This is in response to section 1624 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (Pub. L. No. 106-65) which requested my assessment of the findings of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization.
"The Commission has presented a well thought through, independent and objective assessment. It identified the importance of outer space and space activities to the security and well being of the United States, our allies, and friends. The following are my views on the Commission's recommendations.
"First, a new and comprehensive national security space management and organizational approach is needed to promote and protect our interests in space.
"Second, a Policy Coordinating Committee for Space is being established within the National Security Council structure. The Committee will provide a senior, interagency forum to develop, coordinate, and monitor the implementation of the President's policy guidance for space activities.
"Third, the Director of Central Intelligence and I are meeting regularly to address intelligence matters and are establishing an Executive Committee that we co-chair to review intelligence issues of joint concern. We have requested the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to examine how to establish an Office of Space Reconnaissance within the NRO and report back to us next month. We will keep the defense and intelligence oversight committees apprised of our future course of action.
"Fourth, I have directed my staff to prepare guidance for implementing the following recommendations to improve the leadership, management, and organization of national security space activities. I have asked my staff to keep Congress informed as part of this process.
"The Secretary of the Air Force will be directed to assign responsibility for the Command of Air Force Space Command to a four-star officer other than the Commander in Chief of U.S. Space Command (CINCSPACE) and the Commander in Chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command (CINCNORAD).
"The practice of assigning only flight-rated officers to the positions of CINCSPACE and CINCNORAD will be discontinued to ensure that an officer of any Service with an understanding of space and combat operations could be assigned to the position.
"The Secretary of the Air Force will realign headquarters and field commands to more effectively organize, train, and equip for prompt and sustained space operations. Air Force Space Command will be assigned responsibility for and provided the resources to execute space research, development, acquisition and operations. The Commander of Air Force Space Command will be assigned responsibility for managing the space career field within the Department of the Air Force in accordance with the Secretary of the Air Force's guidance.
"The Department of the Air Force will be assigned responsibility to organize, train, and equip for prompt and sustained offensive and defensive space operations.
"The Department of the Air Force will be designated as the Executive Agent for Space within the Department of Defense, with Department-wide responsibility for planning, programming and acquisition of space systems.
"The Secretaries of the Military Departments will be directed to enhance space Professional Military Education at all levels to ensure our forces have a direct understanding of how to integrate space activities into military operations.
"The Departments of the Army and the Navy will be directed to continue to establish requirements, maintain a cadre of space-qualified officers, and research, develop, acquire, and deploy space systems unique to each Service.
"The Under Secretary of the Air Force will be assigned as the Director of the NRO, designated the Air Force Acquisition Executive for Space, and delegated Milestone Decision Authority for defense space programs through the Secretary of the Air Force. This will align Air Force and NRO programs and permit both organizations to use each other's "best practices." The National Security Space Architect (NSSA) will be realigned to report to the Under Secretary of the Air Force and Director of the NRO.
"The Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Service laboratories will be directed to undertake research and demonstration of innovative space technologies and systems for dedicated military missions.
"The Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer will be directed to establish a space program, budget, and accounting mechanism to increase visibility into the resources allocated for space activities.
"Finally, I have decided not to request legislation to establish an Under Secretary of Defense for Space, Intelligence, and Information. I have asked staff to review the responsibilities and functions of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence and provide me with recommendations for ensuring appropriate senior-level policy, guidance, oversight, and advocacy for space, intelligence and information activities.
"I have consulted with the Director of Central Intelligence on this matter, and he concurs with these decisions.
"With your support of these initiatives, we can arrange the Department of Defense to focus on meeting the national security space needs of the 21st century and sustain the United States position as the world's leading space faring nation.
"Originals of this letter are also being sent to the leadership of the defense and intelligence oversight committees."
A signed copy of this letter is available on the Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/May2001/d20010508space.pdf . The report of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization is available on the Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/space20010111.html .