Tuesday, June 20, 2000 - 1:15 p.m. EDT
(Special Briefing Regarding the National Missile Defense Program. Click here to view the slides that accompany the following briefing.)
Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon. Many of you have asked for interviews on the Integrated Flight Test 5 with either Jack Gansler, the undersecretary for Acquisitions, Technology, or with Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish, the director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. We don't have time to get the program going, keep it going, and give interviews to everybody, so we decided that we would try to accommodate you this way. We've left plenty of time for questions. And we'll do this in two parts. First Dr. Gansler will make a presentation, and then General Kadish. We have some film to show which I think has been distributed or will be distributed to TV organizations. And then after both presentations are made, we should have about 40 minutes for questions.
So with that I'll turn it over to Dr. Gansler.
Mr. Gansler: Thanks.
What I thought we would do is, since as Ken said, we haven't been giving lots of interviews and talks, to sort of try to encapsulate, if I could, what we're doing, why we're doing it, how we're coming along with it, some brief comments on the independent assessment that General Welch has just completed with his team, and then briefly on the next steps, and then General Kadish will go through the details of the flight.
I might start off by commenting on what's driving us and why we've been so focused on the flights and on trying to achieve the dates that we had talked about. And it's very clear that this comes from the Rumsfeld Commission, partly in terms of the time and the types of threats we would see. In other words, we would anticipate seeing ICBM-type ranges from North Korea, possibly even Iran, in the 2005 time period. These would be relatively simple in the sense of sophistication of decoys and things, and I'll cover that in much more detail, but that with the increasing proliferation that the time period is one that is certainly a significant factor in how we go about the development and why we picked the approach that we took.
I might mention, however, that there is also a law, which the Congress has passed, which says we "shall deploy" the system "as soon as it is technically feasible." And so naturally that's not something we can just ignore, but it's part of the reason for the time-dependence of this program.
Now, the other area that I wanted to touch on; people have talked about, "Well, why did you pick mid-course?" As you know, some of the people have been commenting, a number of very distinguished people have commented, on the potential benefits, say, of a boost-phase system or even a terminal-phase, but most of the focus has been more on the boost phase.
This chart highlights some of the sort of obvious points associated with the options that you have:
In the boost phase, you have a variety of ways you can approach this. You can do it from land, as the Russians have perhaps suggested -- in other words, a Russian-based boost-phase intercept system -- or you can do it from a sea-based either surface or subsurface system. In both those cases, you would need to be very close to the booster. You would also need to have a very rapid response because the first signal you'll get is from a satellite telling you there has been a launch, and that comes as soon as it recognizes that there's been a launch.
You could then try to -- with a high-performance interceptor, one that we don't have now -- try to get out quickly and shoot down that booster. It of course makes the assumption you know that it is an ICBM beforehand -- you might have shot down a satellite launch or otherwise -- and so there's some command-and-control issues very clearly associated with this system and, as I said, the development of systems.
Now, another alternative that people have suggested is the space-based systems. Here you have the choice of either a space-based laser system or a space-based interceptor of the same sort that you might use from the ground. Of course, if you are going to use a convention intercept from space, you have to have a very high-performance interceptor or intercept it in the mid-course phase. Or if you are using a laser, then you'd have to develop that and put it into space. We have, as you know, the space-based laser under development. The time period for the first experiment of that is around in the 2012 time period, and then the development much further out than that.
So besides the obvious point that these other systems do violate the treaties, you also have the development time associated with them. And essentially, none of these are compatible with the 2005 time period; so that one would essentially be starting over to develop the high-performance capability for the boost-phase intercept of the interceptor. Or certainly from the space-based system, the time period is far different.
Now, the other extreme would be the terminal-phase system. Now, that has some very distinct advantages to it in terms of being able to sort out decoys. The earth's -- the atmosphere will do that in sorting out the decoys for you. The disadvantage associated with that is that you have to have lots of interceptors because this is a point defense system, and if you are trying to defend 50 states, then you've got lots and lots of places you have to have intercept. Very expensive system, and it's a terminal defense system, so that essentially it's intercepting right over your head, which has some obvious disadvantages also in terms of both nuclear, biological and chemical warheads.
So, while all of these have disadvantages, including the mid-course which we selected, it's very clear that, at least if you are trying to get something against a relatively simple system, that the shortest time period system, and the one that was selected, was the mid-course. Now, the big disadvantage of the mid-course is the fact that it's quite easy to generate decoys in the mid-course phase. And so I'm going to talk a lot about discrimination and what we've been doing to address discrimination, because that is the obvious weakness associated with the mid-course.
The news is, you have plenty of time to make decisions, plenty of time to do sorting and, in fact, even to get man-in-the-loop capability so that you can decide whether you want to launch and how much you want to launch. Another advantage of this mid-course because you have lots of time is you can do a shoot, and then look and see if you were successful, and then shoot again, so-called "shoot-look-shoot" capability, so you have multiple shots at it.
What we will do, in fact, is not just use the shoot-look-shoot, but on the ones heading towards continental United States, we will probably also use a multiple launch against them so that we will have a multiple probability of being able to hit the target; and if we are unable to discriminate between, say, a decoy and the warhead, we'll shoot them both down, so that we will have a multiple fire as well as the shoot-look-shoot capability because of the long time period associated with it. That was the approach that we ended up taking to do that mission and to try to do it, as I said, by 2005.
The other approaches that you've heard some about I suppose I should mention. The theater missile defense approach, that the Russians have been talking about, clearly does not have the capability of defending against -- for long-range capability against the United States. But those are the options that people have been talking about and why we picked the mid-course phase.
Can we have the next slide.
Now, in terms of the basic system, the overall system elements, I think you're all pretty familiar with this but let me just briefly highlight what the pieces are. It's a very complex system, obviously.
It begins with the space-based warning system, the system that picks up the fact that a booster has been launched. This is already in space. The Defense Support Program, the DSP program, has been there for many years to detect launches, and that is being upgraded with so-called SBIRS-High. This is an infrared system, space-based system, that will improve the ability to project the trajectories. And that's the only difference between the two -- greater sensitivity, greater ability to predict trajectories.
Then when that detects something, it is passed on, through the command and control system, to the early warning radars. These are also in place today at a variety of places around the globe. And these then will track the targets as they come towards us, doing some preliminary track information so that we can determine where it's going and it can give us information for the intercept.
That is then transferred to the so-called X-band radars, small frequency radars, that can do an excellent job of discrimination. That's the reason that these are selected. This is primarily where you start to sort out the decoys and the warhead, or multiple warheads, if you have them. So that's a key element, and I'll come back and talk a lot more about it. This is the one we're talking about putting on the end of the Aleutian Islands in Shemya, which I'll talk about considerably.
Then we come to the -- assuming you know it's a track and it's coming towards you, then you would launch the ground based interceptor. This has two pieces; it has the booster and it has the interceptor vehicle itself, the kill vehicle. We are using now a booster as a surrogate for the booster that we're going to be using. The booster is a combination of three off-the-shelf commercial boosters, but they're being modified. And you may have heard that that's one of the areas that we've run into some problems, just simply modifying the commercial boosters. That was one we hadn't expected in terms of technical problems, but it's an area that has had some impact on the schedule. And as I said, we're using a surrogate for the booster so we can continue on with these flights. And the interceptor is the one that's shown here. This is actually a half-scale model of the interceptor here.
The key to this whole system working is the battle management system that integrates all of this -- the multiple sensors and the discrimination capability.
And then, lastly, I should point out that we will be adding later, in order to do even more discrimination, a space-based infrared discrimination capability, the so-called SBIRS-Low.
I think you probably realize how these work, so I won't spend much time on it, but I thought I'd put the puzzle together a little bit. Here you have the launch of the threat. We have the detection from the satellite. You then have the transfer of that information over to the large radars that give you the predicted envelope so you know approximately where it's going to be going. We can then commit the interceptor, based upon the projected trajectories, since this is basically a ballistic trajectory. You then can put the X-band radar on for refinement, and you can then use your interceptor -- you can send data, by the way, from this X-band radar up to the interceptor to give it some corrections after it's been launched. This, as General Kadish will point out, is one of the areas we're adding for this next flight, that wasn't in the prior flight.
And then, of course, the interceptor itself, the kill vehicle, goes on its own, does the final sorting among the decoys and the target, and then does a hit-to-kill direct intercept.
(To staff.) Next slide.
Now let me just touch briefly on some of the schedule characteristics of this.
One of the key aspects of this program is our intent to continuously upgrade and evolve this system. I think it's an important point, and it was intended originally and continues to be the intent.
We start off with the single-site system, with a single x-band radar, the multiple radars that, as I said, are already available but need to be upgraded, and then the SBIRS-High, which is the replacement evolving for the current DSP, and the 20 missiles.
For larger -- that's just to handle the very small-quantity threats. As the threat gets larger and as the threat gets more sophisticated, then you upgrade first that x-band radar, you add some additional missiles, up to 100, and then later you add in the SBIRS-Low for additional discrimination capability as the threat continues to evolve.
Obviously, with the small quantities we have here, that is not a threat to the large quantities, the Soviet systems; it was clearly intended for the small quantities that we expect from the countries that I identified earlier.
The important point here is that this is largely software upgrades that we're doing and then this addition of an additional discrimination capability.
(To staff.) Next slide.
Those are all funded. As the system becomes more sophisticated in terms of the threat, we can continue to add additional capability for additional funding. I'll cover some of that in a minute.
We have had the four flights that are shown on here to date. The first two flights were not intended as intercept flights. The first two flights are actually intended to try to get a better information on the complex target arena. There is a variety of sophisticated and unsophisticated decoys that we would then get discrimination data for both the radars and for the interceptor seekers, so that we can see how they behave.
There was actually two contractors -- this was during a competitive phase, and there were two contractors at that time. There was a Boeing TRW system, and there was a Raytheon system. Both of these were flown. The reason it's called 1-A, by the way, is that on flight one, the target flew. When they turned on the interceptor to launch, it turned out that someone had misprogrammed it, and it didn't take off, so that we essentially wasted the target, in effect. We just simply reused the interceptor, and that's why it's the 1-A. So these two flights were both successful, and particularly here what's important, not only were they successful in the flights, but they gathered an enormous amount of data on more sophisticated targets.
Then, as we went to the intercept phase, we naturally simplified the targets because we wanted to show the whole system working and the intercept operating, and so we -- some people have said, "You dummied it down." That wasn't what we were doing at all. What we were doing was we were trying to gather a lot of data here for later use, but for the early intercepts we wanted to be able to show that, against the expected threats, that we would have the capability.
We still felt it was important to have at least some decoys there, to be able to test the discrimination capability. What we had, essentially, was a tank fragment, a balloon and a re-entry vehicle. And what was interesting about this particular flight -- as you know, this was a success -- but it actually locked onto the decoy and then said, "Hey, that's a decoy. That's not the target. I'm going to shift and look some more, and I found the target," and went and hit the target, rather than homing in on the decoy. So that was successful in not only it showing intercept, but also in showing some initial discrimination capability.
Then the IFT-4, the fourth flight, was intended to start adding much more of the system into it, and we added a lot of the system in terms of being able to show the transfer of data from radars to command-and-control to boost; got up to the boost, went through the phase until we got to the last five-plus seconds and at that point, as you know, one of the infrared seekers on the missile didn't cool down and so we didn't pick up the target and we missed in that last five seconds of flight.
So we demonstrated a lot of the integration. We did not demonstrate the intercept. And the one that's planned now is the one that General Kadish is going to be covering with you for our July 7th flight.
To put those into perspective and put the decision process, which we're going through now, into perspective, let me go through first the decision process and then how that relates to the flight tests.
There are basically four major decisions that will be made. The last one is the easiest one; that simply says the system is ready. That's the one in which you say, "I have 20 interceptors. I'm ready to go." It's these three that are the major decision points in the development process, the first of which, the so-called Deployment Readiness Review, is the one that is scheduled this year. That one is the one that -- the secretary of Defense will then make a recommendation to the president as to whether or not we have done the technical demonstration adequate to show that in fact you could, if you decide to do so, make a fiscal-year '05 impact.
Between the time the secretary makes his recommendation and the president makes his decision, in the fall of this year, there is some time period there for the decision-making process. I'll come back in a minute and tell you exactly what this commits us to, in terms of that radar on Shemya that I mentioned earlier. But the primary things that have to be done at this time, if you want to make a 2005 schedule, is you have to select the site, authorize site construction for the radar in Shemya, start to do the design and then the build of it. And I'll show you the schedule of that in a minute. And there are a few early long-lead parts that we might want to order at that point.
The second key point in terms of the decision process is next year, when again to make the 2005 schedule, you have to actually start the building of the radars and the communications. They become the second long-lead item. And you will authorize some long-lead parts then for the interceptors, which are the third major decision. This is the decision at which you actually commit the interceptors. And in terms of the typical program, this is when you say, "I am going to build my weapons." This is the decision that actually gets made in 2003. That's the real decision, in terms of commitment, to building weapons.
So here you commit to construction of the radar at Shemya, the X-band radar. Here you commit to the other radar upgrades and the communication systems and the building of the radar or the X-band radar. And here you commit to the actual interceptor builds. And then, as I said earlier, to the IOC.
Now, there are a series of flight tests that are planned all the way through this program. These are the two that I told you about -- this 1 and 1(a) -- and two that I told you about for the seeker calibration against the sophisticated targets. This is the one where we hit the target. This is the one where we tested the rest of the system and -- the last five seconds didn't work -- and then this is the one that's coming up right now. These will give you the indication of the technical feasibility for this decision point.
Then there are a series of additional flights. This Flight No. 8 is critical because it is the place in which we are going to first be testing that next-generation booster that I mentioned, the booster that we have planned for the production. So it's important that that booster be tested before you have this next decision. It's a milestone point.
And then the third one here is the point at which you actually make your decision to release for the interceptors. And here you'd like to be using the production design interceptor. Now, the interceptor functionally is the same for the ones we're testing right now as for the one that will be built in production. But as you know, when you go from engineering to production, you do a lot of quality changes, process changes, and you want to make sure that the production -- the interceptor, in this case the kill vehicle, is the final proven design. And so that will determine this. This "DAB," by the way, is Defense Acquisition Board. This is the review board that I chair that makes the recommendations to the secretary what we do next.
So as you can see, then we -- during this process, we are adding increasing sophistication to the decoys and to the system to counter those decoys as the system evolves.
There's also a series of test flights that we have that are not intercept flights but are actually putting up additional decoys and additional demonstrations on the target side just to try to check out the radars, check out a lot of the rest of the system. These are risk-reduction flights, we call them. There's a whole series of those, in fact, that have been going on and that will continue. We had one not long ago where we had actually 22 different objects in space to test out the radar for its discrimination capabilities. That's the sort of thing that I was thinking of in terms of improving our discrimination capability.
What I want to do next is highlight the fact that there have been independent reviews taking place of this program as we've been going along. I think we passed out to you the most recent, and I'll cover that in a minute, of the Welch reviews. We had a series of reports from General Welch's task force earlier on, and many of you realized that in fact they been used by the critics of the system because they were quite critical of the way we were going about doing it.
In fact, he had basically three criticisms that he highlighted in his earlier report. In fact, one of them, the so-called "rush to failure" criticism, was the fact that we were being too schedule-driven and not enough event-driven. And so in fact we modified the overall program. Remember, we had a three-plus-three, and as a result of that earlier report that General Welch put out, the schedule was modified from 2003 to 2005, giving us more time. And then we made a major change philosophically, namely to be event-driven rather than schedule-driven. And those milestones that I showed you on that prior chart where we have certain things we want to do before we make commitments were these events that would then drive our activities.
The second thing that General Welch had in his earlier reports was that we were trying too hard to do too much too soon, that we should have more of an evolutionary approach: start out with simpler decoys and start out with -- and evolving the system over time. That's exactly what, as I showed you, we are now doing.
And thirdly, he felt that we didn't have enough testing being done and we should add additional tests. And we added a significant amount of testing as a result of that.
Now, more recently, Secretary Cohen asked General Welch to reconvene that whole group, all the scientists and the people with experience, and come back and do another independent assessment of where we were. And that's the one that we just passed out to you in an unclassified version. Of course, there's the classified version that he did that has the back-up for all of those findings.
We were very pleased with that report. As you notice in his transmittal letter to the secretary, General Welch stated -- and I'll read you this from his report. It said the independent review team believes that with the adjustments to the schedule and the phased decision approach that was implemented in January 1999 and, quote, "the program is on track to achieve the earliest capability to meet the defined limited threat." Now -- that's the end of the quote. He also told us in the briefing that he did with it that that was the unanimous finding of the task force.
Now, he had specifically four recommendations that he felt were very important for us to recognize. One -- and this is the one that I basically was quoting about -- namely, that the technical capability to develop and field the limited system to meet the defined threat -- the C-1 is the threat that's been defined initially. This is the relatively limited threat -- is available. It's the available technical capability that he's commenting on here.
Secondly, he says that it's a high-risk schedule. Well, as we have been saying for a number of years now, it's a high-risk schedule. Secretary Cohen has said that, General Kadish has said it, we've all said it, it's a high-risk schedule. And he continues to state that, which we agree with. The important part of this is that, however, no technical reason at this point to change the schedule. So we are continuing with the schedule that we have now, based on both his assessment and our own, that we have the ability to meet the 2005, if things go according to plan.
The third thing he said is that there are inherent restrictions in our flight testing that will be very limiting in terms of this program. And that's true. For example, you know, objects falling onto fisherman in the South Pacific. So we have range limitations. There's a law about putting objects in space, and you can see we're doing our intercept at mid-course and putting objects into space, because we shatter this booster, is a serious violation. So we have limitations of debris in space, we have limitation on impact area. Our intent is to try to come up with some ways that either through changes in those restrictions or other things, we can in fact satisfy what he is looking for, because it's clear that you'd like to have the ability to have longer-range flights, higher-speed intercepts, and that's what his objective is, and it's our objective as well. So we're doing to look into trying to do that. It will obviously add some cost because it will add some additional flights and probably even additional launch points for the targets.
And then, he has also addressed, as we have, the discrimination capability that has to evolve with this system. As people develop more and more sophisticated decoys, we have to develop more and more discrimination capability. What was really encouraging about the findings that he's had in this area was the fact that he felt we have the inherent capability in our design, should we choose to add the additional sophistication, to be able to handle those sophisticated decoys. And that's a question then again, about money and time, spending the extra effort, adding the extra discrimination capability to the systems, and then later, adding on to the SBIRS-Low in order to get that additional discrimination from the infrared capability. No question in our minds, or his, that more advanced decoy suits are likely to escalate the problem and escalate the demand on us to do something about them, but with the inherent capability in the system to be able to handle those.
This is the other chart I was going to use from his finding, because I thought it was kind of interesting, he made the same points, but he did it in a somewhat quantitative fashion in the sense of the risk. He's highlighted the risks associated with these three decision points that I mentioned to you earlier, associated with the flight that we have coming up, and then the one that's scheduled in the fall; the flight that we have coming up with the new booster, and of course, this is the booster development, but then this is the booster with the intercept, with the kill vehicle; and then the production kill vehicle. And these are the gating items in terms of schedules, and so these events are, in a sense -- are the things -- these events are the ones that drive these decision points. He labeled these decisions a feasibility assessment for the first one, a decision to purchase for the second one, and a decision to deploy for the third one. That was the terminology that he used, and that's consistent with the way I described to you what those decisions are going to do.
(To staff.) Next slide.
The last point I wanted to cover is associated with Shemya. It's not a place that you'd go for your vacation. It's a very small island way down at the end of the Aleutian chain. You can get a scale here, but that's an airport runway, and that's basically the whole island.
It's a terrible place in terms of weather conditions, but it happens to be a perfect place in terms of geometry, because it's right where you'll see everything coming up from, say, a Korean launch. And so we will need to put a power plant and a radar in that area, and that's the problem in terms of the schedule for 2005.
(To staff.) Next slide. In fact, let me just put the next one up, just so they can get a feeling for it, and then we'll put this one back.
This is a sample of wind conditions in Shemya, and this is 30 miles an hour, which is not the conditions you'd like to land your barge with equipment on. And there are a limited number of days in which the winds -- per month -- are less than 30 miles an hour. There are days when it goes over 100 miles an hour. Apparently, they broke the meter at 101 miles an hour, and that was as high as they recorded, because they hadn't planned on getting it any higher than that. There are less than one day per month, even in July, in which it's less than 10 miles an hour.
It's not an attractive place in terms of high seas and in terms of bringing in equipment on barges and in terms of construction. So you have to do your building in the summer in that location.
(To staff.) Next slide.
And so my last slide basically points out why we are now going to be -- if we're going to make the 2005 date, we are required to start the construction in the summer of 2001, and therefore we need to make a contract to do that, probably in this calendar year, and why we need to get our request for a proposal out very shortly, in order to then have the contract award and then to begin the building. Obviously, the contract award will be dependent on the president's decision with regard to this decision point here, and then, as we start to build, then you have a variety of lawyers' opinions as to when you begin to violate the Arms Control Treaty.
Key points for this construction are the release for the RFP; we're going to put a sort of an announcement of it forthcoming and then there will be like a 15-day period after that for people to have read it and then a response time for contractors and then the (BART ?) season, as I said, just in the summer of '01 and then, of course, the construction time that is required to build it. That is surprisingly, maybe, but it is the long-lead item in deploying this system for the year 2005.
Now, as I said earlier, there will be lots of flights between now and that 2005; another 16 flights. But on the other hand, the decision to begin digging ground and pouring concrete and getting the framework for a subsequent radar decision later on is the part that's the single long-lead item right now on the system.
With that, let me pause and let General Kadish describe the flight that we have planned and then both of us will answer questions for you.
Gen. Kadish: Good afternoon. Yesterday, we gave the final approval to proceed with the intense preparations for conducting this Flight Test 5 on the 7th of July, and between now and then, there will be an awful lot of people out at Kwajalein Island, Vandenberg Air Force Base and other places in the country working hard to make this flight test a success.
The objectives of this flight test are basically the same as we have had for our previous two flight tests. But we have an important element of emphasis where we want to actually put the integrated system together. As Dr. Gansler pointed out, we have a complex system of ground-based radars and kill vehicle and interceptors hooked together by a communications and computer system that controls it all.
So this test is important in that we want all these elements to work together in an integrated whole so we can accomplish the intercept. And the way the intercept is accomplished is basically having all the ground-based elements with the computers controlling, getting this kill vehicle right here, that is half-scale, into a point in space at which it could go autonomous and intercept the incoming warhead. And I'll talk more about that a little bit later.
The last flight test we had had a lot of these elements already operating with the exception of the in-flight communications system. And this system is important to us because it's the system that actually tells the kill vehicle what the other radars in the system are finding out from the target complex through the battle management system. So this is a very important element.
Now, the kill vehicle, as you know, had a problem in the last flight test. And I think I'd just take a minute to recap what we have done in order to get ready for this flight test to correct that particular anomaly.
This kill vehicle is, as I said, half-scale, and it weighs about 130 pounds, and it goes very fast to do its job. There are no explosives on that kill vehicle. There are no other kill mechanisms other than a collision at very high speed with the target vehicle. But what there is is an awful lot of complex electronic sensor and the associated cooling mechanisms to make the infrared spectrum work. This telescope here has an infrared detector set -- two of them -- that require nitrogen and krypton cooling -- very low temperatures -- in order to sense the target arrays in the backdrop of space. Heat sensors, in other words. What we had was some moisture in this krypton system that prevented the proper cooling at the time. We went back and spent about two months fixing that problem, understanding it, analyzing the data, and we believe we have fixed that problem by adding a number of things into the system. And that took us about two months. We originally were going to do this flight test in April, and now we're at 7 July, about 11 days off of where we thought we would be a few months ago.
So we're ready from a kill vehicle standpoint. Now, let me take a minute and describe this test and its complexity in some detail, and then I want to show you a film that kind of puts it in perspective as to how we're actually going to do this test.
It's an intercontinental range test. This will cover about 5,000 statute miles, from Vandenburg Air Force Base to the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific. We will launch a target vehicle out of Vandenburg that will include a re-entry vehicle, a balloon decoy, a decoy that we call a balloon, and its associated carrying vehicle. At the time that this is launched, our satellite in orbit, that has been there for some time and that we will use in the operational system, will detect the launch and send messages to our battle management capability in Colorado Springs, where the Command Section will analyze the data and authorize release of the weapons and the execution of our battle management software. That data will go over a satellite communication and into a battle management node in Kwajalein. As these target complexes are flying over Hawaii, we will have test assets tracking these things to make sure that they're on track for range safety purposes. We don't want that target vehicle going anywhere except where we want it to go.
About the time that we need to, the battle management system will direct the launch of the interceptor and also tell the X-band radar where to look for this kill vehicle -- for the kill vehicle intercept point and find this target complex. It will do a discrimination on that target complex and tell the battle manager where the reentry vehicle is headed, and it will update the in-flight booster to get that kill vehicle in the proper position.
As the kill vehicle separates, the kill vehicle will do two navigation star shots -- and I'll describe those in a little bit of detail here shortly -- to orient itself in a position in space. It will get two separate communications from the battle management center -- that's the new part of this test -- where that communication will use the X-band radar and early warning radars to update the kill vehicle as to where that target is and what is in that target complex in terms of what to hit.
Q: That comes from the Kwajalein Test Center?
Gen. Kadish: Right. This radar is at Kwajalein. But it will operate with the battle management system that we are developing. And this is a prototype X-band radar.
Once the kill vehicle gets a second communication from the ground, it is totally autonomous and uses its on-board electronics and computer system to discriminate the target vehicle from the decoy and its associated debris, and home in, in the last hundred seconds, for the intercept. And as I said before, the intercept is hit-to-kill kinetic energy, which essentially ionizes the warhead in space.
So that's the test setup. And what I'd like to do now is to kind of visualize this in a cartoon film to give you a perspective of the complexity, as well as the technical challenge, we have ahead of us.
As I said, this is an intercontinental type of flight. This is the world, if you can hardly see it because of the resolution here. But California is here. And Vandenberg Air Force Base is where we have the target vehicle. And out of Vandenberg, we launch a Minute Man II rocket that's 37 years old right now, into space. And this starts the process of the test.
As it rises from Vandenberg, it will do its first-stage burn and head out into the South Pacific. About this time the space sensors are detecting the launch because of the brightness of the plume. Here is a satellite in orbit, and it will be detecting the launch as it stands and looks for launches as it does every day.
It reports that launch to our Battle Management in Colorado Springs, and that begins the process of weapons task planning to plan the mission to launch the interceptor. And there is also a human in the loop to authorize the weapon to be released. As the target flies on, it will do second-stage burn and gain into altitude for an insertion of the warhead.
Here's what we call the bus. And this contains decoys and maneuver capability. It orients itself in space, releases the reentry vehicle. The reentry vehicle spins up in order to reenter the atmosphere adequately, and then we release the decoy, which happens to be a large balloon that is representative of a threat that we expect to see. And all three of those objects are now traveling through space towards the South Pacific to present a threat complex and a challenge to the system.
Now, about that time, the Battle Management is telling our X-band radar at Kwajalein to start searching for that target complex, and it does so. It puts intense beam, it can measure things very accurately, and we expect it to discover that target and to tell the battle manager where it's going. It will release the weapon; the weapon will launch from Kwajalein Island. There will be a first-stage burn. All this time the Battle Management is working to precision it. This is what we call an energy dissipation maneuver, because in order to stay on the range, we have to dissipate energy for that booster because it has a lot more than is required. Very stressful.
It releases the kill vehicle, and the kill vehicle immediately goes into a navigation mode; it looks for stars -- two of them -- and it does an upgrade of its inertial navigation system, as well as its pointing accuracy. And then it orients its antenna in the rear towards the ground to get its first communication of upgrade from the radars and what they're seeing. It does an adjustment of its flight path and then goes into a second maneuver to again look for stars to confirm where it is in space and its pointing accuracy, and readies itself for a second update as to where that target complex is.
As it approaches the acquisition phase, it will open its sensors eyes, as depicted here, to spot where that target complex is. And if everything goes right from the ground, we should see in the center of the complex the warhead that is the target. And that's depicted here. If it doesn't go right, it has the capability of searching a volume of space to find these threat objects. It'll do onboard discrimination. At this point, it's totally autonomous, doesn't talk to anybody. It will discriminate. Hopefully we will have the balloon pass by and other debris, and it will lock on to the warhead and collide at a closing velocity of 4.6 miles per second. And at that speed there won't be anything left of that target reentry vehicle -- if everything goes right. (Laughter.)
You can see that we have a very complex test: many launches. A lot of things have to happen. And when it gets to the end game and actually goes against that warhead, it will look to hit that five-foot-long warhead in a space about this big. And that's what happened on Flight Test 3, when we did a successful intercept. So we have a complex test ahead of us and a big challenge to make this work.
Could I have that last slide back, please?
I'd like to take just a second, because in the Welch report, and one of the things he's been very -- his group has been very helpful to us on is to understand this unprecedented nature that we have of our test challenge in how to do intercontinental-level testing on a magnitude of this scale and do it in as good a way as we can from a national standpoint. The constraints that we have I think I ought to point out at this point in time based on the nature of this test and the way we conduct it.
We are limited, as Dr. Gansler said, because of policy and rules about space debris and making sure that we have range safety, and that whatever we put up in the air, we know where it's going to come down, and that it doesn't contaminate the environment. So the first thing that I'd like to point out is that because of the position of these radars that we have, our expanded Kwajalein and our early warning radar in California, they are out of position to do the testing the way we would like to do them. It's a fact of life. So we have to use surrogates in the process. But we're using them as minimally as possible. For instance, there'll be a radar at Hawaii that we call the FTQ-14 radar that's been there for some time that monitors the overall test progress and will be a surrogate for our early warning radar, because since we're shooting this way, the early warning radar is out of position to actually looking at things going away from it instead of coming towards it. We get good data out of it and we analyze it, and it's part of the system, and we'll get a cue from it -- properly -- but in order to do the mid-course-type of early warning we need a surrogate.
Now, that radar out there is not powerful enough to see that small 5-foot long reentry vehicle, so the reentry vehicle has an acquisition aid on it for that radar. And it's called a C-band beacon, and it helps that radar acquire the activity.
Now, because we have a beacon on the warhead, I want to make it clear what that beacon does not do. That beacon does not help the kill vehicle in the acquisition phase of that requirement. It is only for this radar here. And this radar is a surrogate, using the same type of data we will get from this into our battle manager. So it's a very complex arrangement. But we have to do that because of the out-of-position nature of our radar.
The other thing we do is we have global positioning capability on here, as well. And the reason why we do a lot of this location of the target warhead is because we need to have a range safety; we need to know where that warhead's going, over Hawaii and into the South Pacific. And the other thing we need to know is that, when the test is over, we need to post-process this data so we know what truth was, in terms of where these positions actually were. So when we do very intense analysis of our test, we can compare it to what actually happened, as opposed to what we thought happened. And that type of global positioning does not enter this situation at all, unless we have an anomaly where something breaks down, and we don't expect that to happen.
So there are a lot of constraints on our test program. It's very complex. The tests cost about $100 million to accomplish, so we want to make every single one of those things count in the process. And as a result, we do a lot of things to back things up here, to make sure that we can accomplish the test and get the most out of it, even though we have the possibility of something not working right during the test process.
Q: Do you have $100 million tests?
Gen. Kadish: Yes.
Q: General, it seems to me that, if test five does not hit the target, your program is in deep kimchi as far as the president's decision. Do you agree or disagree? And secondly, what's the actual dollar cost that you figure to put 100 interceptors and the radar on Shemya? And where do you expect to get the money?
Gen. Kadish: (To Mr. Gansler) Do you want to handle the -- (laughter)?
He joined me up here, so I --
Mr. Gansler: No, no, no, go ahead. (Laughter.)
Q: Decoy! (Laughter.)
Mr. Gansler: I'm a decoy. Fire at me.
Q: Possibly the kill vehicle.
Mr. Gansler: Go ahead.
Gen. Kadish: Okay. The fact that we don't hit the second test being in trouble for the president's decision, we have always been working as developers to the criteria that we set out some time ago to have two intercepts prior to a decision process this summer. And we're still on track to do that. The test is very difficult. We have another test available to us, Flight Test 6, that we think we can handle before the end of the year, in the fall time frame. So we have plans to continue to achieve a criteria of two intercepts that we've been asked to do. As the Welch report and group said, however, you know, we have gathered a whole host of evidence that gives us great confidence in the technical capability of the system right now.
Mr. Gansler: Just let me comment on this, though, because the dilemma here is meeting the 2005 date versus if the flight were not totally successful, and then you have to ask yourself the trade, and that's the decision that the president would have to make. It depends, of course, on what caused the failure. You know, if everything worked fine but the target didn't work or something, then you have to do an analysis of it. But, you know, there are too many what-ifs in that case to be able at this point to answer it. But it is very clear that if you don't -- and that was the point of that chart that I had up there -- if we don't make a decision now to start to build that radar on Shemya, then you are sacrificing the 2005 date. That's the kind of trade that one has to make if we have an unsuccessful --
Q: What about the money? I asked total cost of the 100 interceptors plus the radar; and where do you expect to get it?
Mr. Gansler: Right now our cost estimates, they're under review. We put in the president's budget last year $14 billion for the -- I'll get you the exact number, but it's around $14 billion acquisition cost for the entire system of 100 interceptors. That number is under review, and the Welch recommendations will have an impact on what it is that number is. But that does cover the 100 interceptors.
Q: And the follow-up was, in this, you know, realm of very tight money and expensive weapon systems, like the F-22 and others, do you really expect Congress to pony up that much money for this?
Mr. Gansler: So far, Congress has been adding money to this program.
Q: Dr. Gansler, I just wanted to clarify, if you would. Was your point that it's still possible that the 2005 deadline could be met -- or target date could be met in the instance of this test not being a success?
Mr. Gansler: In terms of the technical feasibility issue, which is what we're addressing, that that, I think we could say, that it's possible. It depends on what the type of failure was. In terms of the president's decision, that's his decision to make.
Q: You've noted that this is a high-risk schedule; that is to say that a lot of things have to work out the way you hope to make the 2005 deployment goal. What would you say -- in laymen's terms, what would you say the chances are at this point that you're going to make that? Would you say it's excellent, good, fair or poor?
Mr. Gansler: I'll give mine and Ron can give his. But I would say it's a medium assessment. In other words, if you put that statistically, it's not 95 percent, you know, because you have too many uncertainties here; there are too many things that could go wrong, including with the target or with one of the radars on the range or with the communications system or with the interceptor, and so forth.
And recognize that this is the third intercept flight and this is early in a development program. You look back at a typical missile development program, not as complex as this, and we had lots of failures before we had lots of successes. Remember the THAAD is the most recent example of it. But we've made lots of efforts here to address the quality, partly because of the high cost of each flight, as General Kadish mentioned, but partly because of the very fact that we won't have a lot of them, and so we have to spend a lot of time on each one of them.
But I would say, you know, it's clearly a high risk overall program, and it's not a high probability of being able to precisely get everything to work on this flight.
Q: General, would you say --
Mr. Gansler: I don't want to play that game. I just don't know what the numbers --
Q: Dr. Gansler, could you -- (word inaudible) -- the technicalities for a minute and address the core criticism of Professor Postol which I thought provoked the media interest, which in turn has provoked this briefing. I mean, as I understand it, what Professor Postol said, looking at the sensor data from the IFT-1A, and reworking it, what he said is that there is no differentiating signals that come from the warhead as opposed to the decoys; that is that there is no information out there which enables an IR sensor, however good, and enables an algorithm, however good, to differentiate between a tumbling decoy -- between a tumbling warhead and the range of possible decoys. You can't discrimination, there isn't enough information specific to the warhead. Could you address that core point?
Mr. Gansler: It is a core point. I should point out, of course, that the 1-A was not the seeker selected, and that was the Boeing-TRW one, not the Raytheon one. But it is important to recognize that we have had lots of independent assessments, including the Welch group continuing to do so.
The types of decoys that are being hypothesized, and not just his criticism but lots of other criticisms, are things that all of us have worked on, and I worked on anti-missile systems -- I hate to say it -- 40 years ago, and I've been working on them ever since. And every one of those decoys has been hypothesized and, in fact, most of them have been tried, you know, by the United States and others. So these are not unknown phenomenon they questioned. They're also not as easy as some people hypothesized to make, some of the more difficult ones.
On the other hand, the likelihood of what we will see in the early term period, I think, is very clear, that the experts, all the experts -- the physicists and the engineers and so forth -- all anticipate the types of decoys being relatively sophisticated as they evolve. And for that, we have looked at how to discriminate those. And there's a large variety -- a couple of dozen different things that we'll be using. You know, a tumble rate and sensing mass and using the x-band radar, using infrared, using the infrared detectors on the seeker. As the threat is evolving, we are going to be using a large number of discrimination techniques, not just the simple one that was referred to in that particular report. So the experts -- in fact, the people working for us on the contracts and the independent assessors -- have all felt that this system has the inherent capability to be able to deal with those threats as they come along, and we will, of course, continue to make it more sophisticated as those threats evolve.
Q: Just to follow up on that, if I can. Can you just explain why you've decided in the tests that you've done, the last two tests and in the third intercept test, IFP-5, why you've decided to use a decoy that is a different shape and different size than the warhead? And can you explain in a little more detail the basic science of how you would discriminate between an actual warhead and a decoy that was the same shape and the same size as the warhead?
Mr. Gansler: Well, in fact, we will later be using decoys that are a similar shape and size, because -- that's an obvious decoy -- and --
Q: So how come you didn't use it in this test?
Mr. Gansler: Well, actually, it was kind of interesting. In this early test, what we were trying to do was to pull it off and so used something that was even larger and much more obvious, and we figured that might pull the interceptor off to the target, and in fact, it did, in the flight. It found this decoy first because it was larger, did have more radiation, and it found it first, and it said, "Oh, there's the target," and started to go for it, because we didn't have the link that General Kadish mentioned before that would point out where it thought the target was. And so it searched and it found that one first, started going for it, and its software said, "That's the wrong target." And then it shifted to the target that had the characteristics it was supposed to have had, in this case purely in terms of the infrared characteristics because that was all that seeker had.
Now the system, the complex system that he just described will have other ways of measuring the characteristics, as I said, a couple of dozen of them. The one thing I don't want to do is to get into the details of which techniques we're using and which ones we're not using, which ones work, which ones don't, which target. That's where the Welch report goes into it in terms of classified information. But in terms of recognizing that you have to have multiple discrimination techniques, not a single one, and in fact recognizing that likely things will have -- they'll go to the trouble of making some that have similar characteristics in heat, some that have similar characteristics in radar reflection, some that have similar characteristics in size, some that have similar characteristics in tumble, and so forth. The problem for them is to make things that look alike in all those characteristics. And that's difficult. And it's that combination of characteristics that we're trying to take advantage of with the software.
Gen. Kadish: Let me say one thing. And I don't want to be naive in this answer. But a balloon does not look like an RV to a human. I mean, it's obvious. One is a balloon and the other is cone. But to sensors from a distance, even to the human eye, a balloon and an RV present the same dot if you will, to IR sensors and to radar sensors. And it's just kind of like looking at the difference between a pickup truck and a car at two miles. I mean, they are different in their orientation. So a balloon is a very effective, in certain circumstances, decoy even though it doesn't look like an RV, and is relatively straightforward in terms of its capability to be deployed and potentially proliferate.
So that's why we have, in our early tests, balloons to go after. And there are many other, as Dr. Gansler said, ways of discriminating. But each has a unique signature. So, just because it doesn't look like the RV doesn't mean it can't be a decoy.
Q: You mentioned the phrase, "sensing mass." Can you just explain what you mean by that?
Gen. Kadish: I'm sorry, I missed the question.
Q: He mentioned -- Dr. Gansler mentioned the phrase, "sensing mass." I'm just curious what you mean by that, how that works.
Gen. Kadish: The x-band radar can measure -- take measurements that could actually -- I'd rather not get into that. (Laughter.)
Mr. Gansler: That's where you get into some of the -
Gen. Kadish: It is not helpful to have a public discussion of this type of activity.
Q: Dr. Gansler, you've spent your whole adult life on this business. Realizing it's not your call, is it your personal opinion that it would be good for the country to deploy missile defense, and what is your rebuttal to those who say it will just provoke an action-reaction phenomenon, including the Russians mining space with mines, and whenever there's a period of tension they just blow one off to blind our detection systems. Address your personal view in the possibility of escalating this into a war in space.
Mr. Gansler: Well, I guess I should say, luckily, I've spent my career on the engineering side, not on the public policy side, so it's really not the kind of issue that I should be addressing and would prefer not to, because it seems to me that it's -- the kind of questions that you're raising are the ones that the president's going to be trying to address. My job is to determine whether the system can technically work and whether we've addressed what we think to be the likely threats, whether it can be done in the time period with a reasonable confidence level. Things of that sort, I can answer for you. Whether or not, you know, how it affects arms control, how it affects the arms race, how it affects things of that sort, I can't.
I can tell you, in terms of the threat assessments that we're trying to address that those seem to be quite realistic; that proliferation of this type of weapon, both in terms of delivery and in terms of the kill mechanism vehicles -- you know, the weapons of mass destruction -- seem to be quite realistic, in my personal opinion.
Q: Well, you discussed those policy questions in your books.
Mr. Gansler: Yeah, I'm allowed to do it as an author, not as a public figure. (Laughs.)
Q: Dr. Gansler --
Q: Why are those threat assessments quite realistic? I mean, what is the evidence --
Mr. Gansler: I said they are. I think the ones we're --
Q: Where is the evidence that you're --
Mr. Gansler: Why are they?
Q: Yeah. What is the evidence that you're seeing that makes you believe that? Because just yesterday, I think it was, our secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, is now no longer calling North Korea a rogue state. They've gone to "states of concern." So you've got the State Department downgrading that and yet you guys on this side --
Mr. Gansler: Well, I'm not sure if that's downgrading or whether that's just changing the semantics. We didn't have time to change our chart, so we just fill out "rogue nation." (Laughter.)
I do feel that the threats that we're addressing are realistic. I mean, this is based upon the intelligence assessments that we get from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the military assessments of those, and then independent looks that have been taken by a variety of people. The most public one, I guess, is the Rumsfeld Commission, but there have been a lot of other assessments.
I think generally, the interesting thing I have found in my discussions with the Europeans and Asians is that the general acceptance of this threat seems to be quite growing now on a worldwide basis. And, of course, even the Russians said they accepted it, but then backed off a little. But I think there's general acceptance of this in this time period, from proliferation, from the arms sales that are going on, from the development by these nations of states of concern, in fact, I think it makes it quite realistic.
Q: Dr. Gansler, you mentioned in the time frame for building the radar at Shemya that there were a variety of legal opinions about exactly at which point you'd rub up against the ABM Treaty. Is it possible that initial construction of that radar could begin and that you wouldn't absolutely have to have a deployment decision this first -- the DRR decision from the president this year, that that could be pushed into a future year and that you could still technically keep to this schedule?
Mr. Gansler: The lucky thing is -- (inaudible) -- because I have the same problem here, luckily I'm not a lawyer! In fact, I talked my three kids out of being lawyers --
Q: We're all grateful for that, too! (Laughter.)
Mr. Gansler: -- and two of them ended up being lawyers. We have enough of them, I guess. But, you know, the joke is, you ask three lawyers, you get three opinions. And of course, there have been a variety of different opinions given as to when in fact it might be a violation of the treaty. As you know, there's no precedent for this and, therefore, it does become much more of an opinion question. And so, as far as we're concerned, we give them the schedule and the lawyers decide, and the president, frankly, will make that decision on the basis of a set of options that the lawyers are giving him.
Q: What kind of response will this system be able to make to a North Korean threat, let's say a multiple missile -- or multiple warhead threat? How many interceptors can operate on how many warheads at once?
And I'd like to ask you, why are the Chinese upset about this? Can't they route their missiles so that they cannot come into the envelope of this system?
Mr. Gansler: A couple of questions in there. Let me first take the multiple launch question. I think that is one of the scenarios that we certainly have been looking at. In fact, we had an all-day session that General Kadish ran last Saturday in which we ran through a series of simulations, which did assume -- I guess it was five missile launches from North Korea, just for simulation purposes, with multiple intercepts.
And in fact, as I indicated in the talk, we would probably use multiple interceptors against -- in one case -- you know, one missile coming in might have two launches against it. And it might even have a -- look for a third one, if you wanted to. We will have 20 interceptors in the initial deployment. We would assume like five possible launches against it so that we could have four shots at each of those five.
Subsequently, as the systems in quantity might grow into a few more, we would have a hundred interceptors to handle it. It's not in any way capable of the thousands of, you know, Russians or anything like that.
The Chinese are a somewhat different question in that they have been building up their forces. There's clearly questions about whether this should have any effect on them or not. I think the general opinion is they're building up their forces and they're, you know, going to go about doing that. And so the system has the capability for this limited smaller numbers of intercepts, but not for large quantities.
Q: Mr. Gansler, you addressed some of the very distinguished former administration officials who have pointed to different ways to go about this. And they are Deutch, White; we all know Harold Brown and so on. And although some people have characterized them talking about boost-phase, they are really talking about, I think, a mid-course or early-mid-course, using naval systems and again, having the capability of taking several shots perhaps, depending on where your ships are and so on.
Other than the fact that you might not be able to have that by 2005 -- in fact, you probably couldn't have it by 2005 -- what's wrong with that approach? And the other advantage they point to is that it doesn't bump up against the ABM Treaty, particularly. Well, maybe it does, but in different ways -- not assume --
Mr. Gansler: "Particularly" is a hard term. (Laughter.)
I think -- well, first of all, it's very clear that there may well be some distinct advantages to a sea-based capability, and we have been looking at that. And I think most of the reports that I have seen actually argue for it as a complement to the ground-based system. In fact, a number of them even use the ground-based radars that we are talking about because one of the big problems with the sea-based, if you want to add this kind of discrimination capability, you need a very, very large capability for radar. And so you may use ground-based radars and sea-based launchers to get into certain locations. We are definitely doing studies and analyses about complementary aspects of the sea-based capability. It also may have some advantages in, for example, a European integrated system capability. You do have to worry about the cost. You do have to be there at the right time if you have a ship that has to be at the right place in the right time. If you're going to use it for a boost intercept, you have to be very close and be high-powered in terms of your interceptor to get there in time. But as you say, you could go into the mid-course phase with it, and then you basically have the same discrimination problems that we have here. So then you need this high-powered radar capability, and in some cases you're kind of in a chase mode. But you can configure systems, we think, that have that capability, and why we're looking very seriously at it as a complement to the system we have here.
Q: (Off mike.) I mean, you talk -- CBO has priced this phase two capability at $60 billion; you're talking we may very well make that sea-based, and then you talk about the space-based beyond that, and global coverage. I mean, what kind of price tag are we talking about with this thing? Is this just --
Mr. Gansler: Well, the price tag that we're talking about is the one General Kadish mentioned. Maybe it's $14 billion, maybe it's, you know, $17 billion. It depends on how much of the additional testing and complexity we add based on the Welch report and other projections of threat evolutions. But it's in that kind of a perspective, and you put -- that's over the full development, you know, time of this hundred interceptor system.
Now, the question is how will the threat evolve, to answer your question. I mean, I think that's a question that the nation has to decide as the threat evolves. For the kinds of threats that we anticipate now, those are the dollars that we're talking about, and that's -- if you divide that over a, you know, 10-year period, you're talking about a relatively affordable system out of the -- well, out of our $300 billion budget we spend about $180 billion now on acquisition and support-type dollars. And there's $60 billion on procurement, $40 billion on R&D, $80 billion on logistics. And that's kind of the -- that's my budget, you know, if we do well. And so this -- per year. And so, you put that at a two or three billion a year numbers, that's affordable in that perspective. But, as you say, you could easily spend all your money on this and not deal with the local wars that you have to deal with and the normal things that we have. This is part of the new asymmetric threats that we have to start spending money on: biological/chemical defense, information warfare, ballistic missile defense.
Q: And you're not worried that -- and this equation is not inherently to the offensive side -- they can build more missiles cheaper, and decoys, than we can build defenses against those missiles and decoys. Because some people have postulated that it's a game we can't win.
Mr. Gansler: This is a game where the offense clearly has an advantage. In that sense it's similar to information warfare, where the offense can continue to come with new techniques, and the defense is kind of chasing to keep up. On the other hand, the tools, at least for the hypothesized threats that we see, including the ones that have been hypothesized by some of the critics of the system, we think are handleable within the system or too difficult in the near term for them to develop.
Mr. Gansler: I might add also that the barriers to entry into the missile field here are higher by having a defensive system now, because we start in somewhat of a level playing field, with the offenses being developed the same time the defense, as opposed to having a very mature offense that we're trying impose a defense on.
Q: The Russians and the Chinese are clearly not worried about the first phase of this program. What they're worried about are the add-on capabilities. Your reply is, "Well, we're going to renegotiate the ABM Treaty and stop this at a particular point." What's to prevent another administration from coming in and saying, "We want to go to space-based, we want to go to sea-based"? What are the prohibitions, and why should the Russians and the Chinese trust our verbal assurances?
Mr. Gansler: It is important to recognize that this system is not the designed for that threat. It doesn't expand to that dimension in terms of quantities. The radars, for example, couldn't handle that saturation. The complexity of those systems is not what we're trying to design to. So we're not trying to match that Soviet or Chinese sophisticated and large-quantity threat.
Somebody could decide, you know, in 20 years that they want to worry about that threat, and then they'd try to develop a system for it. The closest thing, I guess, that's even being conceived of right now, which is the space-based laser system -- the first experiment for that is now scheduled for 2012, I think, and -- you know, and so that has a much -- the horizon for development of a system that's of that magnitude, that's worldwide, is way out into the future. It's not the next president; it's two or three presidents down, I suspect.
Q: What's to prevent the next administration from coming in and expanding on this system?
Mr. Gansler: What's to prevent it from doing it now?
Q: Once you've already got the nose under the tent, in terms of amending the ABM Treaty, what's to prevent us from going back again and saying, "Hey, we want to amend it again"? Where do you stop?
Mr. Gansler: I mean, the assumption here is that this is understandable by the Russians and the Chinese, in terms of the threat. As I said, even -- they even said they accepted it. Now they're coming up with different approaches, which we want to consider, very seriously consider, as the ways to address that threat. That threat is a different threat.
Q: (Off mike) -- for a moment and get your response to the basic criticism that critics have been leveling at this program for weeks now, which is that it's fundamentally flawed and that it does -- it's not going to work, and it's probably never going to work, and it's a waste of money? Can I just get your -- both of you -- your basic response to that criticism?
Mr. Gansler: Well, basically, it's the same question. I mean, our opinion and that of the experts that we have consulted with and all of the analysis that we've done is to say that they're wrong.
Q: Jacques, can I just --
Gen. Kadish: And let me follow up on that. The -- this is not an easy problem. We have been addressing it in a very prudent analytical and responsible way, and that nothing that we see today says we can't do this.
Q: General Kadish, you talked at a congressional breakfast recently of the need, over time, you thought, for your successors to consider individual layers. So what sort of layers did you have in mind?
Gen. Kadish: All the ones we talked about.
Mr. Gansler: SBIRS-Low was an example.
Gen. Kadish: Yeah. We -- you could have weapons in other domains, sea-based as well as space-based. You could have sensors. We're going to add -- we're planning to add SBIRS-Low to aid in the discrimination process here in the '010 time frame. So there are potential upgrades that could be done, based on the country's perception of the threat. And that's what will drive these things, just like it's driving it right now.
Q: Could you go back one minute -- even if the flight test works and all of that, what kind of show-stopper is the environment on Shemya? Just how concerned are you that you're absolutely technically going to be able to build the x-band radar there?
Mr. Gansler: Now you can land there. General Wells tells the story that he tried seven times to go to Shemya during his career, and he made it twice. And so you can get there, I mean, and people do go there. (Laughter, cross talk.)
(Chuckles.) And then --
Q: (Off mike) -- get off --
Mr. Gansler: Yeah, two out of seven, they can get off as well.
Nonetheless, people, you know, live there, work there. You can operate there. It's not a friendly environment, it's a hostile environment. But people build systems there. I think there's a radar there now. And so it's not as though you can't operate there; it's just that it's a very limited time period when you can actually come in, in the barge, land all this equipment that we need, do construction, and -- but that's not a limiting factor in the system technologically; it's a limiting factor schedule-wise.
Q: Can I just ask you one other very quick question? Which is, when you were talking about decoys, does that also apply if someone were to develop submunitions or you were going to go against a MIRV'd system, your discrimination factors, or do you need another set of discrimination factors against submunitions?
Mr. Gansler: No, against a MIRV'd system or submunitions, you're in a situation where you are actually going to shoot down the multiple reentry vehicles, because you can't discriminate something that is a warhead. I mean, you want to -- that is the warhead. So you can discriminate the -- let's say you have a MIRV'd system with three warheads. You could distinguish that from 20 balloons or jacks or darts or other things that were up there, but you would not be able to distinguish Warhead I from Warhead II and Warhead III unless they have some just different characteristics.
Q: So if you're going against -- if someone were --
Mr. Gansler: You'd want to shoot them down.
Q: Do you believe that any initial threat could be a MIRV'd warhead? Because if you were going against MIRV'd, your postulation that you could have five missiles coming at you, which is what you're war-gaming against, if they're MIRV'd three times, that's 15 warheads initially, and you only have 20 interceptors to start.
Mr. Gansler: The advantage to us in this case is the fact that they have a limited payload on the threats that we anticipate coming out of, say, North Korea, so that they -- they will use their payload to put in a warhead with the kill mechanism in it. As you start to go to multiple warheads, you use up a lot more space and weight. You need a bus vehicle, for example, a dispersal vehicle. And it's not an efficient way to package your limited capability, and so that's not the anticipated near-term threats. And so when -- that's the reason that the small quantities are okay.
Q: Can you talk about the booster problems? That was supposed to be the easy thing.
Gen. Kadish: The booster is rocket science -- (laughter) -- so even though we know how to build rockets, we're doing it on a schedule that, as we've said, has been high-risk, which means we compress an awful lot of activities. And in a program like this, we always have problems emerging and being solved. In the booster case, we have a schedule delay based on our modification of our commercial booster parts that we're putting together, and we're intensely working a recovery plan there that makes sense and fits the needs of the program.
Q: The fact that there's been some easing of tensions on the Korean peninsula, and the fact that North Korea says that it's suspending its missile program, does that change the threat assessment from a year or two ago when it was thought that they'd have a capability by 2005?
Mr. Gansler: Not in the -- certainly not from what we've just seen in a few days worth of activity. Obviously, we're all optimistic, you know, that this will in fact be a positive movement. But in terms of the overall proliferation that's taking place in the world, literally, and certainly in terms of their actions relative to proliferation, I think we have to go on the actions rather than the speeches.
Q: Back to the booster. I know that you wanted to have at least one flight of the prototype booster with the prototype kill vehicle before the currently scheduled 2001 DAB. Should there be further delays to the booster schedule, is it more important that that DAB take place on time, or is it more important that you get that flight before that DAB?
Gen. Kadish: We want to be event driven, which means that we want to accomplish what we had set out to do before we hold the decision milestone. And we're going to do everything we can to preserve that.
Q: The first flight of the booster is IFT-8 now, not IFT-7? Did I hear Dr. Gansler correctly?
Gen. Kadish: Our target is for IFT-8. But we're trying to move it up as quickly as possible, and we're running into trouble for schedule, as I said earlier, and we're working that real hard.
Q: General, this whole issue of shoot-launch-shoot, when you talk about multiple launches, at what point in the IFT schedule are there multiple pits scheduled? I think it's -- isn't it all single warhead against single interceptors?
Gen. Kadish: One of the things we're doing continually is to evaluate our test program. And part of what General Welch's group has pointed out to us is maybe some different ways we can accomplish more testing if we do things differently.
Right now, multiple launches in flight at the same time is very difficult to do from a range safety and a cost and a technical complexity standpoint, from a test point of view. But that's something we have to look at very carefully, especially in the later stages of the program.
Mr. Gansler: Yeah, we have actually built a second launch capability --
Gen. Kadish: Right, we built a second launch capability. That's more for schedule capability rather than simultaneous launch.
Mr. Gansler: So you could do it, but there's a lot of safety concerns.
Q: Well, how do you know it's going to work then? I mean, simulations only take you so far in a multiple launch scenario.
Gen. Kadish: Well, we have great confidence that a combination of flight ground testing with all the hardware hooked up, as well as the digital simulations of all this, will tell us that we get good confidence in the --
Gen. Kadish: The multiple launch case is, you know, quite similar to the kind of multiple launch cases you run into in simple anti-aircraft maneuvering and things like that. The problem here is not a technology one as much as it is a range safety problem with the multiple launches. I mean, it will complicate somewhat the command and control system and that sort of thing, but it's not a major technological issue. You just code the two signals up to the two missiles and that's the difference between the two.
Q: But you're not going to test it at some point in the sky, and you said the potential threat is --
Mr. Gansler: Oh, we may test it. It's not -- we mentioned that there are going to be a lot of things, like in the range safety area, that we're going to have to start to question if we can try to make more valid flights in terms of things you'd like to do, like you're asking about. The problem of space debris, the problem of the fishermen at the longer ranges, you know, and so forth. Each of these are going to have to be evaluated. This is a whole new domain for us. We haven't been shooting ICBMs down recently, you know. And so that all has to be tested in terms of the safety issues.
But the important point here is that that's not a particular technological breakthrough. I mean, the challenges technologically are probably much more in the discrimination and the overall system being able to work together, and the hit-to-kill achievements, things of that sort. Those are the real technological breakthroughs.
Q: A taxpayer question. There's a myth going around that the United Sates never deployed a missile defense, and of course they did in Project Spartan, in -- Safeguard, excuse me. So what assurance can you give that the same thing won't happen now if you deploy this system than happened to Spartan -- I mean, to Safeguard; namely, that after it's deployed, you decide we don't need it, the offense can overwhelm the defense, and therefore, all kinds of money was wasted? Is there a difference here, where we're not going to see a repeat of the Safeguard path; we deploy it and then we say, "Well, gee whiz, it's not worth it because the other guy can penetrate it"?
Mr. Gansler: I think, at least my personal opinion, my assessment would be that both the offense and defense have changed significantly since that time period. That, A, you're likely to see hostile threats more likely with this proliferation taking place, and the fact that the battlefield now has become increasingly larger. Even in the tactical environment, we're talking about, you know, battlefields that are greatly expanded, as we saw in the Persian Gulf. And I think you're going to see that expansion of the battlefield dramatically over time, and that's why this becomes important.
From the defense side, I think the technology is here now to be able to do this, where at that time period, the technology was probably much further behind.
Mr. Bacon: We are running out of time.
Q: So in that --
Mr. Bacon: I'd like to --
Q: -- (inaudible)?
Mr. Bacon: -- excuse me -- I'd like to limit this to people who haven't asked questions.
Mr. Bacon: (Inaudible.)
Q: Can you just tell us this -- (inaudible) -- you said it took 30 minutes from the launch of the missile to bring it down, how much time is involved if a missile were launched in North Korea?
Gen. Kadish: About the same.
Mr. Gansler: That depends where it's going.
Gen. Kadish: It depends where it's going.
Mr. Gansler: If it's going to Hawaii or Alaska, it would be shorter.
Gen. Kadish: (Inaudible.)
Mr. Gansler: But if it's going to the continental U.S., it's a similar time.
Q: General, when you said all along you wanted to see two successful intercepts on this system, now -- I want to hear from both of you -- it's just getting kind of squishy on that point -- that you don't think there is a failure coming up -- the Pentagon could well recommend going forward with this?
Gen. Kadish: Well -- I don't know if you want to comment but -- from our -- my charge is to do what we're asked to do. And we set a criteria as a department to have two. So we're going to go after two intercepts.
Gen. Kadish: Every -- it has to be -- we have to evaluate where we are at any given time point, and that's the prudent thing to do. And that's what we always did in these weapon-system programs is to make the best decision given the data we have at the time.
Q: But at this point here is this wiggle room, that if it's a small problem, a wire misplaced and so forth, you can still recommend going forward with it if it's a small --
Mr. Gansler: Well, I think as part of the answer to that is that neither of us are the ones recommending going ahead; that's the secretary and the president's options. Our issue --
Mr. Gansler: -- is it technically feasible? And depending upon the types of failures, we may still be able to say it's technically feasible. But that's the issue that we are addressing.
Q: Mr. Gansler, I just want to ask, apart from the Welch report and this commission issue, it said that your potential growth in the system to accommodate future threats or growing threats, is that it's "well defined," "clearly defined" -- I think from the different portions of the system -- and "funded now," the implication being that that is not the case on those three issues. I mean, can you tell us -- (inaudible) -- that's something you are trying to do or whether you think that is a --
Mr. Gansler: There are two areas in the Welch report that would require additional funding. One is these additional flights out of other ranges in order to be able to cover the longer-range and higher closing velocities that he recommends. And the other is how far you go in the discrimination, not in terms of necessarily new equipment but in terms primarily of new software. And I mean, that's something you can keep spending more on, and how far you go is essentially a function of the threat definition.
Q: Dr. Gansler, you said a moment ago that, "The battlefield is expanding" -- I think is the phrase you used. Does that mean inevitably that, if this system is successful, that we are going to have to replicate this system in other places around the world as the battlefield expands?
Mr. Gansler: Well, we are now doing theater-missile defense work, a great deal of it. General Kadish has the responsibility for that, as well. As you know, we have been doing both ground-based and sea-based in the theater range. When you think about Europe, some of that is theater and some of it is longer range. It is very clear that we need to begin thinking about our allies and the defense -- now, this system is intended for 50 states.
Q: But it's only intended, as I understand it, for a threat coming from a particular area. If you had, for example, someone able to threaten launch from a ship in the South Atlantic, this system wouldn't be helpful against them.
Gen. Kadish: We certainly have the intelligence that tells us where we ought to be looking for points of origin, but at the ranges we're talking about, if it was far enough in the South Atlantic, we could handle it, given where we put our radars, okay? And those types of things. So the system has the flexibility to deal with it, especially if we add more tools to the kit, and it's a function of what we believe the perceived threat is.
Q: And on that TMD issue, what is your stance -- and, actually, both your stances, please, on Russia, even as to seeking participation in any sort of European BMD?
Mr. Gansler: No, we're assessing the Russian proposal, particularly both the TMD and -- and they've started off an NMD boost intercept and then was talking also about a TMD, and we're assessing both of those in a serious way.
Q: Is it technically feasible?
Mr. Gansler: That's what we're assessing. I mean, you have a lot of issues here in terms of new developments and also a command and control that's located on the Soviet soil. And certainly the theater version of it would not be capable of protecting for us for intercontinental range capability, but I think we need to take seriously the proposals that they've offered, and we're doing that.
Q: Can I follow up to that? I'm sorry, can I follow up? Defense News reported that NATO and the United States have set a date of 2001 for awarding contracts of any sort of TMD, NATO-U.S. TMD, feasibility studies. Has that date been set for a while, or is that a recent development? And is it related to Russia's --
Mr. Gansler: No, that's been set for quite some time. In fact, that's come out of a series of meetings that I've held, literally, every six months. These are (armaments ?) directors meetings that take place in Brussels, and we've been encouraging them to go ahead with these two studies, and there are going to be two studies awarded, and that has been planned for quite some time. In fact, I would guess it's probably over a year.
Mr. Bacon: Steve?
Q: Gentlemen, how inflexible is the decision the president has to make this fall? I mean, looking at your schedule for construction at the radar site, it's due to be done in the summer of 2004. Could that not slip into 2005 or, conceivably, a little bit into 2006 if the decision were not made in November? Or are you saying that it has to be then?
Mr. Gansler: If you want to keep the 2005 date, and if you have that system certification and evaluation and so forth that's shown there, then you're pretty much pressed all the way back to that schedule.
Q: There seems to be no wiggle room in that schedule, though.
Mr. Gansler: This is -- in coming up with this, we asked that same question and tried to compress it as much as we could. And the constraint primarily was the environment in Shemya. But we've made this a pretty tight schedule, actually.
Do you want to comment on that, Ron?
Gen. Kadish: No, I think that's right.
Mr. Bacon: Thank you very much.
This transcript was prepared by the Federal News Service, Inc., Washington, DC. Federal News Service is a private company. For other defense related transcripts not available through this site, contact Federal News Service at (202) 347-1400.