(Also participating in this briefing was Army Col. Steven F. Fox, director, Army Space Support. Slides shown during this briefing can be found on the Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2003/g030312-D-9085M.html.)
Staff: Good morning. Today we're going to have an on-the-record briefing on the support that military operations in space provide to our warfighters. The first briefer will be Major General Judd Blaisdell, the director of Space Operations and Integration for the Air Force. And then he'll be followed by Colonel Steven Fox, the director of Army space support.
Blaisdell: Thank you very much.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. You have a great opportunity today, a great opportunity to say how our space forces make a difference in the fight. And that's what I'm going to spend a few minutes with you on today.
I've been introduced. I run space ops for the Air Force. And so let's get right to it. Let's see.
First slide. Ninja (ph), you've got my slides, so we'll get right into it.
That's what we're going to talk about.
Next slide, please.
Ladies and gentlemen, space truly is a worldwide mission. We've got 33,600 folks spread in 21 different locations here in the United States.
Next slide, please.
And 15 places around the world. So you're dealing with a real synergistic effect here. It's not just the continental United States.
Let's talk a little bit about the advantages. And I've given them to you here somewhat up front. I'm going to go through each of them and give you really what space does for air, land and sea. It's a force multiplier.
And we're the number-one space-faring nation. We are extremely dominant. It's the ultimate high ground. And here is an opportunity to not only move from day-to-day operations but to continue to make a difference in any battle that we enter. Air, land and sea is used to working together and has for many, many conflicts. Space over time now has -- since Desert Shield, Desert Storm, which was really the coming-out portion of that -- has really made a difference. And you see it today in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. So an opportunity here to really make a difference. We'll talk a little bit about that.
As you see, it started late '60s, early '70s. Remember Gary Powers used to fly over Russia, other U-2 pilots. One satellite, this Corona Satellite, was able to get those kind of snaps and take the place of 28 U-2 missions. The important part that you need to recognize here is space assets will save lives. It keeps folks from putting our troops in harm's way.
It gives you that persistence and perspective and penetration. Here you have space assets that are able to get over areas that you wouldn't normally be able to get over with manned platforms, and you can stay there, you can loiter there. And for a warfighter, you have an opportunity to know what's going on there, that real situational awareness, that real-time battle management, unimpeded. And that's a synergistic opportunity. Each of those capabilities that you see we'll go into and I'll explain to you. But first, let me give you a hypothetical scenario here.
Bring up the next slide.
And the first one. What you see there is a DMSP -- stands for Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. That's our weather satellite.
Bring up the next one.
You need good weather in the theater. In this case we've shown a carrier with carrier air. They're going to depend upon weather in the littoral area to launch airstrikes, no matter what the theater may be.
You see the reconnaissance satellite come up.
You need good reconnaissance. You need a good picture of the target if you're going to go in with your bomber sorties and be able to hit the target.
Communications, both commercially and militarily. Many folks forget from time to time that we depend quite a bit on commercial communications.
This enables our -- that says JFACC -- that's Joint Forces Air Component Commander. This is the individual that runs the air war. You need good communications if you're going to get to theater and you're going to be able to make a difference.
Here come our fighters.
A system that you're very familiar with. Some of you may even have these units, the Global Positioning System.
Delivering weapons. These are Joint Directed Attack Munitions. You've written an awful lot about JDAMs.
So fighters, Global Positioning System, the accuracy necessary to deliver precision-guided munitions to avoid collateral damage on innocent civilians and still hit the target that we're looking for.
A Defense Support Program satellite. This is a warning satellite. Gives an opportunity to give a heads up to our commanders in theater of possible incoming missiles. It also gives them an opportunity to get the impact point and the origination point, if you will, for enemy forces that launch that missile.
And what you have finally, we've chosen to use the THAAD (Theater High Altitude Air Defense) system -- it could have been an Aegis cruiser, could have been Patriot -- to try to shoot down enemy missiles.
Here is a notional scenario, if you will, and why space makes such a difference and why this country is so dominate, and why anyone that goes against us is in for a real tough go, because they don't have this, ladies and gentlemen. We are the only ones that have this kind of capability.
Looking at Defense Support Program, a system that has an infrared sensor on it, primarily for warning; was born in the early '70s to look for intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Was adapted during Desert Storm for theater warning. And today helps out civil authorities, because of that infrared sensor that's on it, for natural disasters like forest fires and what not.
You see the future -- and you've written a lot about space-based infrared system. This is a system that we're going to need. Defense Support Program, since the '70s, is getting old. We need to replace that. The enemy is getting better and better at the weapons that they have, and we need to have a good revisit rate to be able to detect warning.
Next slide, please.
Communications. Talked a little bit about communications, but what I want to point out to you here is that with the new Global Hawk and Predator, our unmanned aerial vehicles, they take an awful lot of bandwidth. And this bandwidth that we're so reliant upon gives us an opportunity -- because we have less forces forward now, gives us an opportunity for reachback. And so what you see on the slide there is we're reaching back to the United States. We have an awful lot of headquarters here that can provide us with necessary information and opportunities that we need in theater. That is not just Air Force, obviously, that's for the Navy and for the Army. But communications, good communications is needed to ensure that we have that information superiority for the fight.
Bandwidth is an issue -- let me have the next slide. Let me show you the insatiable appetite for bandwidth, if you will, by -- for each of the wars that we have entered in. And this shows you from Civil War all the way out to what we may face 2010 and beyond, from tens of bits per second all the way out, in 2010 and beyond, to billions of bits per second.
And you can see the technology down there at the bottom, what has generated that. Every one of you are using the computers and probably use video teleconference, Web tools and whatnot. Those same kinds of tools necessitate an increase in the bandwidth, and therefore that requirement is there. It is a force multiplier, however, because others don't have that opportunity to be able to use it.
Global Positioning System. What you see going around there is a very robust constellation of 28 satellites, gives us precision guidance information. Go ahead and run that clip. I'll show you B-2 and how -- you've seen several of them, but this will give you a reminder of how accurate we are. We're hitting tank locations in our own area in the desert. This is a Tomahawk land attack missile from the Navy that is coming out of a ship, also hitting the target -- designated target. It's doing that through an upload of Global Positioning System information.
What you also see on that slide is what our chief, General Jumper, and our secretary, Secretary Roche, have told you several times. This is Sergeant Leonhardt (sp). This was our opportunity in Afghanistan to make a difference with the enemy about 800 to a thousand yards from us. We made a difference in 20 minutes, calling -- using, on horseback, laser range finder precision target and satellite communications equipment radio to a B-52 that was loitering and the joint directed attack munitions that went on the target and killed al Qaeda and Taliban within 20 minutes of the request.
Ladies and gentlemen, I pity anybody that comes against that kind of power.
What I've shown you here is imagery. There is -- we've got an al Qaeda camp. We've got Serbian garrisons. We have -- the bottom left there is the Iraqi buildup of one of their missile sites. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not only military satellites, but there are a number of commercial satellites available -- IKONOS, QuickBird, French Spot. You've written about several of them. They can get you down to one meter or better. So the commercial opportunity at imagery -- and as a matter of fact, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, NIMA, does that for the United States and is in charge of all the contracting for that. But civilian imagery as well as military imagery gives us that look at the battlefield that's so necessary.
The high ground. Here is the importance of weather for all services. You would no more go into a battle in any region of the world without weather than a number of the other capabilities that I've shown you. For the Army, obviously, they want to know moisture and soil content. They don't want their tanks bogged down. The Navy needs to know winds and sea state; if you're in a cold climate, iceberg opportunities. But those carriers point into the wind and you need to know all of that type of information. Obviously, the Air Force, we're not going to do refueling operations in thunder storms. So, very, very important. Contrails, for example. What's the temperature in the air? We don't want to show flight contrails of our aircraft coming in. So very, very important opportunity here, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program that we have up there.
Let me talk a little bit about space control. Space control, an area here, primarily space situational awareness. Ladies and gentlemen, we need to know what's happening in our space environment, not only for what we have, but what other countries may have. And so we have an opportunity with ground systems. There's a system called Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System. That's a mouthful. But it can read "Spalding" on a basketball out there about 25,000 miles. But it's a ground system, weather-dependent. I mean, if the weather's not good, it's hard to see through.
Each of our radar sensors has a secondary mission of cataloguing what's up there in space. We need to know. We need to have good situational awareness. If something occurred, we need to know if it's of natural causes or if somebody is trying to mess with our satellites. There's your space control piece. You'll see more and more of that in the years to come. As a matter of fact, I believe Mr. Teets is testifying today. That should be part of his testimony and what he tells Congress.
Our launch systems. I'm proud to stand before you and tell you that we're 27 for 27 in our launches. Day before yesterday, Delta IV, the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Program. That's Boeing's variant. Lockheed Martin has the Atlas, and they've also been successful. But both of those companies are vying for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle contract. What you see up here at the top is the Titan and the Atlas and the Delta. Those systems are what we call legacy; they're aging. They've been work horses. They're still very good, but we're running out of them and they're getting a little old on us. And so we have an opportunity here to not only replace older systems, but we have an opportunity to package it such that everyone that comes to put a package in orbit has a standard configuration that they'll be able to put on this Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle and put it up. Saves the taxpayer money and allows us to be a little cheaper to orbit. So Delta IV was successful here Monday night. They put a Defense Satellite Communication System. It was the first military satellite system that went up. We're really depending on both these contractors -- America is -- and they're doing a great job for us.
You say, "Okay, General Blaisdell, what's the so what here?" The "so what" is several items as I've gone through. But here you can see our B-2, our great stealth bomber, and it carries 16 Joint Direct Attack Munitions individually targeted within 20 feet of the target at least. And we haven't had that capability in years past.
I mean, if you go back to World War II, even with control of the skies, a thousand bombers, 9,000 weapons, one target, 3,300 -- that CEP is Circular Error Probable -- that's how good we are. That's the miss distance, okay? That's how close we can get. And that's what it took back then.
Moving a little closer to today -- next slide -- Desert Storm to today, you say well, okay, what's the difference here? In Desert Storm we were a little more weather dependent. We did have some precision targeting, and I've shown you the platforms, 117, F-15s, and F-111s. But as you can see, there were only 9 percent of the weapons that we delivered were precision guided. Today we are day and night/all weather precision targeting, and you can see several more weapons that are able to deliver those. And in Operation Enduring Freedom, 70 percent of what we're delivering are precision-guided munitions. We want to limit collateral damage. We want to make sure that we're hitting just the target. We've come a long ways, ladies and gentlemen.
Q: Is that -- I'm sorry. Is that Air Force munitions alone or --
Blaisdell: Those are just Air Force. I could have given you others. This particular slide is just Air Force.
Again, with space and some of the ones that I've gone through. The "so what" here is look at the reachback I've got. With satellite communications, I can go get that; theater missile warning, you have it. Weather, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Without it, I've got to deal in the theater, if you will, in that particular area, under-sea cables, land lines, inter-theater, and weather -- you know, I'm going -- I would have to go back to observers. Most of your weather is global -- is space-based.
Intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, as you see, would be confined to just that theater -- a big difference.
F2T2EA -- find, fix, track, target, , engage and assess. That's what we -- there's a test here. No, I'm just kidding. (Chuckles.)
This is a notional time line, if you will. We want to hit a bridge. I've given you a bridge. And you want to use space assets. So we need to go -- we need the image of the target, and then we need to -- within that image, we need to figure out exactly what we want to target and are there any areas there that we don't want to hit. In this particular case, we have a civilian farmhouse.
Weather I've talked to you about. What -- that will dictate what kind of munition we're going to use.
And then we deliver the weapon, and then the -- we characterize, with our defense support program, how well we did -- kind of quick look, initially. And then we use our intelligence assets. Could be commercial -- they're good to one meter -- to go over and see our BDA, battle damage assessment, how well did we do.
Ladies and gentlemen, nobody comes close. Your air and space forces are extremely dominant. We control the high ground. Air, land and sea is better because space forces are there, and we're getting better and better at it every single day. It's -- a machine-to- machine interface is what we're driving to. But as I've shown you here -- and soon Colonel Fox will give you the Army side of it -- it's a good thing that the United States has the space capabilities that it does. And I pity the enemy.
Fox: Good morning, everyone. Appreciate the opportunity.
I'm Colonel Steven Fox. I'm the director of the Army Space Program Office, but I'm also the project manager for the Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities, often referred to as TENCAP.
The -- today space enables virtually everything we do, from detection of missiles immediately upon launch, so we (can prepare?) to intercept them, or to deal with the effects, if necessary. We use long-haul communications for command and control, and we collect data for analysis. And we also use space for dissemination of intelligence capabilities.
We use GPS for other space-based systems to locate targets, and as you heard before, we use them to guide our weapons. We can also keep track of supplies, and we use them for logistics operations. Recently we're using the Army track system, as an example of that, and of course we use space-based systems for our navigation.
Next slide, please.
The Army really considers themselves the largest user of space capabilities. And most recently, our Afghanistan involvement highlights how much we do rely on space. One of the systems, the Tactical Exploitation System, combined some of the, what we call TENCAP capabilities into one single multi-intelligence capability where we're allowed to merge many different pieces of information together. We saw it for the first time in real world operations during this Afghanistan operation.
We also fielded a new system called Grenadier BRAT, which is what we call a blue force tracking device. This allows us to keep track of our soldiers that are way beyond line of sight of normal communications. It's important, as you will understand, in the modern battlefield with all the different actions that are going on and how vital it can be.
We also fielded the Joint Tactical Ground System, often referred to JTGS. This is a system that we use in concert with some of the sensors that you just heard about. It allows us to disseminate missile data warning very quickly to the soldiers so they can take the appropriate action.
We also deployed for the first time Army support teams, which was well received.
But primarily, the bottom line is space ensured that we had an uneven playing field in favor of the United States and our allies. Space is fundamental to the way Americans are going to fight warfare. And the true meaning of air and space is shrinking the time it takes for the attack chain, and we're changing it to an instantaneous attack chain.
Next slide, please.
Q: Can I just ask one quick thing, while you're on keeping track of soldiers. They carry a small transmitter, right?
Fox: That's correct.
Q: And it communicates with a satellite?
Q: How big is it?
Fox: It depends on the version, but we have various sizes in various platforms. Whether they're on aircraft there's one version based on air-worthiness requirements, and then there's man-packable versions.
Q: And do they carry it in a pack or on a belt or --
Fox: Yes, to both. They can -- it depends on the version that we have available.
One of the essential tasks that were identified by the Army Chief of Staff was to enable situation understanding what we call "off the ramp." What this requires is a situational awareness and an understanding that the instant we are alerted at the home station that we're going to be deployed, we continuously build through the deployment process, and when we conduct early operations, either conduct early entry operations, whether they're in a hostile or permissive environment, we understand what the situation is. Space- based capabilities are the key enablers that allow us to do this. As the space environmental monitoring of weather that you've heard about, mapping, terrain analysis -- it brings up-to-date information so that we can understand the terrain and the climate of a distant land.
Additionally, if you combine this with intelligence support from our National Imagery and Signals Intelligence Systems, it allow us to bring to the warfighter these capabilities that provide increased detail and information of enemy activities, and to support our intelligence preparation of the battle space. The uses, in essence, help protect the soldiers and making them more effective.
If you amplify the situational awareness along with the greater standoff, the more rapid, accurate warning, increased accuracy and weapons to ensure communications of increased military effectiveness, we have increased the lethality and the survivability of our soldiers on the battlefield.
If I can digress and move back one -- I don't even know if that's possible -- I did forget to mention one thing about that slide. You saw the first slide, on the lower left-hand side, what I like to refer to as the low-tech meets the high-tech. You had the soldiers on the horseback and as well -- airmen, at that time, meeting with -- having GPS receivers as well as satellite communication devices. And so if you take a look at the upper right-hand corner, you see the soldiers; that is a Christmas card to the Army space support team back at Colorado Springs, thanking us for the support for the blue force tracking systems. And of course the (other postage stamp ?) is basically what we call our JTAG system, Joint Tactical Ground Station.
Let's go ahead and progress. Sorry about that.
And the final slide. Mr. Teets, the undersecretary of the Air Force and the director of the National Reconnaissance Office, recently pointed out in a news conference just how important space has become to operations. And it may sound cliche-ish to say it, but still it's true, that space is ultimately the high ground.
Blaisdell: Great. We'll go forward with the question phase. Yes, ma'am?
Q: I have a question for each of you. You talked about what would happen to communications in military operations without space. Could you describe what threats exist to space capabilities? I know this is part of the space-control thing, but is there anybody out there that has the capability, I don't know, like an EMP pulse or something, to sort of shut all that down?
And for the Colonel, could you address what we heard a great deal about during Afghanistan, of soldiers buying off-the-shelf satellite communications devices to bring with them; why they did that; if you encourage that or if that's something that you think you've taken care of, that they don't need to do that anymore?
Blaisdell: Want me to go first?
Fox: Go ahead, sir.
Blaisdell: Okay, great. I think your question was, are there any threats out there against some of our communications systems and what not. There are a number of threats. And there's always an opportunity for an enemy to perhaps jam a satellite or try to blind it in some way. As to the specifics of that, you know, we're getting down into the weeds in the tactical side of that; I'd prefer not to do that. But that's why you need the space situational awareness. As I was telling you, you need to be able to understand whether you had a problem with your satellite out of natural occurrences or whether or not somebody was intentionally trying to mess with your satellite. And so we'll be into trying to detect that.
Q: How often do you see that ever? I mean people messing with your satellite.
Blaisdell: Okay. Let me use -- let me try to demonstrate this. Let me use an example that General Estes used when he was head of Space Command. It's been a few years, but let me use what -- this. Okay?
In -- most of your communications satellites are out there a long ways. They're out in geosynchronous orbit, about 22,300 miles. Don't hold me down to the exact mile, but pretty close. It moves as the Earth moves. Okay? So we're geostationary.
Within that belt, there is an opportunity for countries to lease slots. The country of Tonga did that and the country of Indonesia did that. And we have had, in many years past, an incident between the two countries where you had one country ask the other country to turn off its satellite and quit engaging in activity that would affect the country. The country refused, and so the other one jammed their transmission. So it did not include the United States. We had nothing to do with any of that. But you see in the world that in the course of commerce, that we have instances where one country and another country may disagree and try to take action.
Q: These are commercial satellites?
Blaisdell: Yes, they were. And so the ability of other countries to perhaps try to disrupt at times is there.
Q: I presume that our satellites are resistant to Tonga's jamming?
Blaisdell: Some of our satellites may be resistant. Others may not be. But --
Q: Can you say whether the Iraqis -- whether that's within the capability of the Iraqis?
Blaisdell: I knew you were going to go -- first of all -- (chuckles) -- the briefings that you get, space-wise, ground-rule- wise, are the tremendous advantages of space. I want to try to avoid any tactical-type questions in terms of what we might do in Iraq, if I can. But I'm sure one country or another would try to --
Q: I mean, if Indonesia is capable of jamming a satellite, is it fair to assume that Iraq also would be?
Blaisdell: The capability of countries to attempt -- to attempt -- to jam -- like you're out there 22,300 miles and the link -- you know, they could possibly attempt.
Q: We know the Chinese --
Blaisdell: One moment, please.
Blaisdell: Yes, ma'am?
Q: A question for Colonel Fox. One of your charts says the Army relies on space for tactical imagery. In what instances would you use satellites for tactical imagery and in what instances would you use UAVs for tactical imagery?
Fox: Let me come back to you, because I think I need to answer one question and I'll come right back to you on that question, because I think -- I owe a question here on this GPS receiver aspect.
I have heard reports that soldiers have bought what we call off- the-shelf GPS receivers. I believe there's really two reasons for this. And it's kind of like your favorite cell phone. Everybody's got a favorite brand of cell phone, I believe. And so I believe that soldiers that are used to a commercial product like to have it and they use it. That's one aspect.
The second aspect of it is, is that -- and I used to work for the GPS Program Office earlier in my career -- is that when we build our military GPS receivers, we build them to counter threats, and in that process of doing that, the size increases slightly in order to accommodate some of the issues associated with threats. And so if you're a soldier, you're trying to do -- to keep as light as possible, and so often they may grab their personal device prior to taking the true device that they might have issued to the squad or to the platoon or to whatever level.
Q: (Off mike.)
Fox: I'm sorry?
Q: Isn't that -- don't you discourage that?
Fox: Oh, I believe it's discouraged. But my point is, it's like soldiers also buy cots when they go overseas; they buy themselves a new mattress also. I mean, it's just -- it's their money; they can buy what they want. But ultimately, if a threat does occur, they can always rely upon the military-procured system, which is designed to counter the threats.
Blaisdell: Do you want to restate your question, ma'am?
Q: Yeah. The question was on tactical imagery. When do you know -- I mean when do you decide to use satellites for tactical imagery, and when do you decide that you may want to use UAVs or another type of asset?
Fox: In the -- the discrimination between how -- what sensor you're going to use in order to gather data or information is determined by a process, and it's usually -- we call that in the Army the collection manager. The collection manager has at his disposal tools to determine what is the best asset to use to determine which makes sense.
Heuristically, you can understand that if we're not in a particular theater yet, it's nice to have something that has reach; that you don't have to have folks on the ground or near the ground in order to receive what information you need. So you can see immediately maybe in an early operation you may prefer a system that can have access to an area that perhaps you're denied. And as we gain access to an area, you can see easily how perhaps airborne platforms become more readily available, and then even after that, you can see perhaps even tactical systems become more prevalent.
Q: So when you're in theater, you prefer to have organic assets, not space necessarily?
Fox: Again, I have to say it depends; it depends on the operation and the situation.
Blaisdell: You have a synergy between both of them. See, that's why you have a great opportunity with a combination of air and space assets. That's why Secretary Roche, Mr. Teets, General Jumper, General Shinseki, Admiral Clark are pushing so hard to bring those together. And I think they're doing a pretty good job of it. If you're over the theater with Predator, it provides you a very focused look. Global Hawk, I think you've read material, will map something the size of the state of Illinois. And then the higher up you get, obviously, you can get a better expanse.
So the access part that Colonel Fox talked about depends again: Is the enemy controlling the area, you know? Can we fly weapons-free, if you will? That's what dictates.
And I promised I'd come back to you.
Q: General, I wonder if we might just go back to Iraq very briefly, because I --
Blaisdell: And I know you want to, don't you?
Q: I mean, we know what the Chinese and other countries have active, electronic counter-comms programs that they're building, I mean, for the 21st century. Could we ask if the Iraqis -- I mean, the Iraqi military seems kind of a depleted and demoralized bunch. Are they in any way into this? Did they try to do it during the Gulf War, for instance? Are you aware of the fact that not only might they try it, but are they likely to try it? And have they any -- did they show any abilities during the Gulf War in this kind of thing?
Blaisdell: I'm not familiar with their attempts at trying to do any of that during the Gulf War.
How about you?
Fox: No, sir.
Blaisdell: So I am not an expert on all of Iraqis' capabilities. And -- but I'll tell you that they're going to have a pretty hard time doing it.
Fox: I would say that we do understand what threats are possible. I mean, we do design our systems from an acquisition perspective. We take them in consideration.
Q: I believe that -- I'm not sure, but I believe that in the last war, last gulf war the United States bought off the commercial surveillance capability, I guess you would say. Has that happened this time around? Have you acquired the capability of commercial --
Q: -- imagery people.
Blaisdell: Un-huh. Commercial imagery was bought up. You're correct. The commercial imagery is controlled by NIMA, and all of the activity in terms of what we would do commercial-wise goes through NIMA. They're our collector. So DOD leans to NIMA to control all of that. So I would allow them to answer that question, to be honest.
Q: This is a follow-up to that, actually. How much does that cost? I mean -- and oh, yeah. How much money does the Defense Department shell out for commercial imagery?
Blaisdell: Like I said, NIMA handled that. I'll have to take that one for the record on how much we did. In OEF I think we can get you that.
Q: I have a question to do with GPS and selective deniability. Since the entire commercial aircraft industry totally depends on GPS for navigation, do you have the capability to ensure that if you selectively deny GPS, you can do it in such a way that it does not disrupt commercial aviation in a particular region? Or do you have to basically warn that region to shut down commercial activity for a certain period of time? How do you work that?
Blaisdell: America's policy -- I thought that you might ask me that. America's policy with respect to GPS selective availability is that we do not degrade this global navigation support service from its advertised capability, and so we will not do it.
Let me try back here. Ma'am?
Q: Colonel Fox, you mentioned the tracking devices small enough to either wear on a backpack or a belt. Is this something every soldier going into the Gulf is now equipped with, or is it used in select spots? Or are you telling me every soldier has a tracking device?
Fox: Every soldier does not have a tracking device. There are selected units in selected -- I'd say units, basically, that get the devices.
Q: But if you have this capability, wouldn't it be useful, especially in helping to avoid friendly fire incidents?
Fox: Yes, it would be. And it's just a matter of, I would say, an amount of resources available at this time in order to outfit the force, although we have within the last few months made tremendous progress. And we're not really focusing so much right now on soldiers as I believe we're focusing on platforms, because those are the important aspects, we think, right now.
Q: How much are these devices, the individual devices, the soldiers carry, give or take -- (off mike)?
Fox: Well, the capabilities vary tremendously. The -- one program that I actually run is the Grenadier BRAT program.
Blaisdell: Grenadier BRAT.
Fox: Grenadier BRAT, yes. And this program -- the initial buy was about $14,000 per unit, and we did an initial buy of about 400. It was really just a prototype. It was just to prove out the concepts. The world changed, and all of a sudden the prototype became a very important piece of equipment to be used immediately.
Q: And that was used in Afghanistan?
Fox: Yes, it was.
Q: And how -- I'm sorry. How many more have you purchased since then? Can you tell us?
Fox: Yes. We've gone in for a second buy of another 400. That's of -- just of the program that I run. There are other programs out there that are -- that I'm familiar that are also using the same technology that I'm using, in order to get out to the thing. I will -- I can say there's over a thousand devices that I'm aware of right now, based on the same Grenadier BRAT technology, being used.
Staff: Let's go back up --
Q: General, could you talk about what advantages space provides you for either offensive or defensive weapons? The Missile Defense Agency has started a space interceptor program. They've got a space-based testbed that's being built. Can you talk about what your view is and what work you're doing, maybe even in the policy area, of getting this idea out there, getting it kind of cemented as a national policy?
Blaisdell: I would leave missile defense and MDA to General Kadish. That's his responsibility.
I would tell you that all of the services -- Army, Navy and Air Force -- are cooperating there. As a matter of fact, my particular folks sit with the Missile Defense Agency in trying to work through just those policies that you outlined, as I know the president has asked for operational capability here in 2004 on the system that General Kadish and his fine folks are putting together. So there's a lot of activity that will occur here. We have several meetings coming up. But I would prefer to let General Kadish speak to that, if I can.
Q: Well, what about from a service perspective? I just mentioned MDA because they're the first ones who are sort of in that program. From your perspective, what opportunities do you see for the Army and the Air Force?
Blaisdell: There are a number of opportunities. I know the Army here is working -- and obviously Colonel Fox can jump right in -- but they are working the close-in and mid-course intercept, and have successfully tested a number of opportunities off of Vandenberg (AFB) out there in the Pacific and demonstrated their ability to do that. The shipborne piece for the Navy -- and again, mid-course a part of that with Aegis cruisers -- is also an opportunity, in my opinion. But I'd let the Navy talk to that.
Air Force-wise, I would tell you that doctrinally, it is offensive/defensive counter-air. And an offensive counter-air issue for the Air Force would be to actually try to strike any threat against the United States or allies prior to them coming out of a silo or whatever. And so that whole doctrinal piece between Army, Navy and Air Force is exactly what we're working, and that's kind of what my shop is engaged in. But that's about as far as I want to go with it because it's still kind of in draft.
Let me try --
Q: General, I understand you don't want to get into the tactical applications of your technology vis-a-vis Iraq, but you did talk about our dominance, your pity for the enemy. Then there's the timing of this briefing, sort of coincidental to the prospect. Are you sending a message, by your briefing today, to Iraq?
Blaisdell: Am I sending a message? I am providing you a rundown on how great your space capabilities are and the dominance that we have in that area.
Q: What message would like this to convey? (Laughter.)
Blaisdell: I would -- whether it's Iraq or any enemy of the United States and its allies, I would tell you that we are so dominant in space that I pity a country that would come up against us. The synergy with air, land and sea forces and our ability to control the battle space and seize the high ground is devastating. And so, I -- many of them, unfortunately, I don't believe they really understand how powerful we are. And you see several demonstrations, I think, in different areas of that. I would tell you not to single out any countries, but all countries respect the power of the United States and they respect how dominant we are in this region.
Q: General, may I follow up on that just a little bit, picking up on your line about if you're going to make a difference in any battle, can you just sort of specify what it is that might make this battle particularly more successful, say, than the 10 years ago in the Persian Gulf --
Blaisdell: Which -- which battle might this be, ma'am?
Q: Any future battle you might be facing. Say, in Iraq? (Laughter.) Why -- what -- any particular thing that you can point to that could demonstrate the power, that would demonstrate the capability this go-around.
Blaisdell: Well, the slides that I have have given you -- the speed, the lethality, the persistence, the information dominance, the precision, the battle space characterization, bombs on target, real- time battle management. That's what we're about. And that's what we are able to deliver through space, air, land and sea, and the capability of all of those to come together. We started that in Desert Storm; we've done that in each conflict since. And we get better, and better, and better.
Q: Isn't one of the major advances you've made since the Gulf War, speaking of instant communications, is, can't you now re-targets TLAMS while they're in flight, as opposed to having to target them before they leave the ship, set a target then? Aren't -- aren't these --
Blaisdell: I'd rather not discuss our ability tactically to be able to do different things. But I can tell you that the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile is a very potent weapon. I just showed you a clip of it there. It does use global positioning system information. Beyond that, I'll let the Navy talk for their system.
Q: But could you say you have -- could you at least say you have communications with it while in flight?
Blaisdell: Like I say, let me let the Navy talk to their system. Is that okay?
Q: Yeah. Could you talk a little bit about how satellite windows and your space tasking might affect the decisions of a combatant commander? And also, could you talk about whether the Army and Air Force space have any piece of homeland security?
Blaisdell: (Pause.) On your first question, the windows, are you looking -- you want to clarify a little bit more in terms of -- are you looking for gaps, or --
Q: (Off mike) -- it's something I don't understand very well. If you could help clarify for me and for us how a combatant commander is sitting down and what they're seeing in a space tasking order and how they make their decisions based on things that you're doing.
Blaisdell: Absolutely. First of all, let me tell you that the air tasking order and the space tasking order are combined, and that any combatant commander, no matter what the theater, is able to look at both of those and understand what we bring to the fight, what space assets are available when and where.
To help him do that -- and here's another change somewhat from Desert Shield, Desert Storm -- the Air Force and a number of Army -- and Colonel Fox talked to this because he mentioned to you Army support teams. The Air Force has very highly qualified personnel embedded in our Air Operations Centers, Combined Air Operations Centers, or CAOCs. And they have at their disposal on the screens tools that tell them the best availability of Global Positioning System data. They have when, what's the best opportunity for warning, what's the best opportunity in weather. All of those tools that I was showing you here, those prime pillars, are all brought together and integrated in the Combined Air Operations Center
If they need additional expertise in space we have a reach-back capability through Air Force Space Command and to their component at 14th Air Force, or SPACEAF, which is at Vandenburg Air Force Base, commanded by Major General Hamel. His folks right there in their Combined Air Operations Center, with the communication diagram I told you, are able to provide that kind of instant update, if you will, or clarification, for the space folks that are already in theater.
So you've got great people, a weapons school, qualified individuals that are right there with your air component and space component commanders. We've got those kind of folks that are with the Army and the Navy and the Marine Corps. And they understand what's available to them. And more and more, this is integrated into the fight.
Q: Are there certain types of missions that, say, would not be flown at a particular time or on a particular day because the constellations might not be aligned the way you'd like it, or do you have pretty much persistence to do whatever you want whenever you want?
Blaisdell: We have the persistence to do whatever we want when we want.
Q: And on homeland security, could you just mention, do Army and Air Force bases have any homeland security pieces?
Blaisdell: Do you want to try a little homeland -- let me try, and then I'll let Colonel Fox go. General Eberhart, of course, has got that. He is a receiver of the data from -- what we're working out with a newly defined Strategic Command that Admiral Ellis is putting together. Air Force Space Command, which is now carved out under General Lord, supports both of those component commanders. So when you say homeland security, General Eberhart has that responsibility here within the United States. He is supported. And Admiral Ellis at Strategic Command, with General Lord as his air force component, are supporting him in his homeland security duties, is pretty much how I would characterize it.
Fox: I can only say I'm not familiar with the parts of the command that might have interest in it, but I have been -- received requests about technologies that I'm familiar with, and I've passed that on to those that have asked the question.
Q: Sir, what sort of capabilities or technologies the military would be providing to homeland security?
Blaisdell: Sure. Warning -- any warning, which is back to some of the missile defense questions, but warning of any possible attack against the United States. Those sensors. Supporting through Strategic Command, General Eberhart with his homeland responsibilities, for example.
Let me try right here. This gentleman's been very patient.
Q: Yes, with your bandwidth capacity, has that improved any since OEF last year. You've got 1.5 megabits capacity (balance now ?). I mean, has that grown in any way?
Also, how are you working to manage the capacity crunch that you're probably going to have, and how you manage that and how you get the operators in the field to make that less of a problem?
Blaisdell: The bandwidth has grown. Let's see -- let me give you some rough orders of magnitude, okay? I think we're at 100 -- 250, I think I showed you on the chart, for bandwidth, Desert Storm. That was roughly half a million troops. And now we're at probably -- Operation Enduring Freedom, our allied force I believe was two and a half times that, roughly. And then -- and now Operation Enduring Freedom, less people -- six times the requirement.
And in answer to your second question, what are we going to do about that? What you see out there in 2010 and on is the transformational communications system that we're trying to put forward that has to do with laser packaging, a push-pull Internet in the sky, if you will, where you can go up and pull down information if you need it, or push information if you need it. And that's kind of where we're trying to get to.
Q: But more immediately is where I was going. If, say, a major contingency comes up in the next week or two, there's obviously, you know, 250,000 troops that are involved. You know, if you're going to have a major bandwidth crunch, how do you work to deal with that? How do you --
Blaisdell: Okay. What many folks may or may not know is that most -- our commercial carriers assist us in terms of the broadband width responsibilities. What I showed there, video-teleconference type, message-processing type. Very similar, the satellite we just put up, the Defense Satellite Communication System, is a broadband type operator. Let's see, let me give you some statistics.
Within Kosovo, I believe approximately 50 to 60 percent of our broadband capability was off commercial transponders that we leased. I would expect that commercial activity to occur again here in the event that we had any hostilities somewhere.
All the way in the back.
Q: Thank you. There's been some reporting about the availability of relatively cheap GPS jammers made by Russians and otherwise. How real is that as a threat to targeting of our weapons and that kind of thing?
Blaisdell: There has been a lot written about possible availability of GPS jammers. We are the country, obviously, that puts up GPS. We've done a great job of doing that. We understand the system. We understand the pros and cons of the system. We design in what's needed to be able to operate that system, especially militarily. And we have opportunities, if you will. We have tested that possibility.
And let met put it this way, I think General Leaf mentioned to you not too long ago, I think he said any enemy that would depend upon GPS jammers for their livelihood is in real trouble, is in grave circumstances, let's just put it that way -- if that's where you're going with the question.
Q: Yes, a related question. The system's getting old and the satellites haven't been replaced as quickly as you had hoped. I notice in some parts of the world when I use the military system, that I'm having -- taking more time to grab satellites now than it had been even a few years ago. Can you guarantee to the troops that when they need GPS, it will be there for them?
Blaisdell: I can tell you, ma'am, that the constellation we have is better than the requirement that we generated -- right now.
Q: In the 1970s.
Blaisdell: Much better.
Q: The requirement you generated many, many years ago --
Blaisdell: Much better.
Q: -- when things were very different.
Blaisdell: You know that the requirements of the civilian community are pretty demanding as well. And you know what? They are absolutely ecstatic with the types of accuracy, timing and precision that they get. So I can tell you, since global positioning system's up there at 11,000 miles in the Van Allen belt, not easily accessible in low earth orbit, than -- that our satellites, as a matter of fact, are doing pretty well. And, as a matter of fact, we're looking at a follow-on systems called GPS-III that you'll hear Mr. Teets talk about, which also has a number of discussion items in it that goes to your question on jamming, those kinds of issues. GPS-III is even better than what we have today, and what we have today is absolutely superb.
But, I have to tell you, the enemy doesn't stand still. I mean, they get better, systems get better, and you're right. You know, there's a life span on those GPS satellites. And they get old. And they deteriorate. And we need to replace them. GPS is not just U.S. Because the United States has really made it an international resource, we need to deliver on that. And we will.
Q: General, just as a follow-up, does thick smoke or intense fire have any effect on GPS, or would you send the same message, anyone relying on fire as a defense mechanism would also be in trouble?
Blaisdell: We'll have no trouble with the GPS. No, ma'am.
Q: Sir, I've been thinking about your discussion about precision and timing and with more and more people using your space application. What changes have you made either operationally or doctrinally to make sure that the critical information or data that's being sent by an individual perhaps on a horse can get through the enormous clog to the right person so a precision weapon can be used? And the same question would go to the space tasking order. Are you considering pushing down controls further down than the -- you know, the commanders talk up at -- the combatant commanders' centers?
Blaisdell: I think you're getting into the issue of encryption, perhaps? We have an --
Q: Not really. I'm just -- it -- I'm -- just to -- if the gentleman on the -- the sergeant on the horse takes a digital picture, sends the information, and there's other soldiers with other information, what makes his information go faster so that the target he's looking at doesn't move by the time that critical but specific data gets there? What good's a precision weapon if the things move? How does he get through this bottleneck that we keep hearing about since Desert Storm?
Blaisdell: You know, a lot of that is not just technology. A lot of that is tactics, techniques and procedures. And we know where our folks are, we understand what they're engaged with. And the priority associated, whether you are engaged with the enemy in a particular target area, you're going to get the priority. And so the frequencies that you're on and the systems that you have through a Combined Air Operations Center or the Land Component Commanders Center, who is engaged in the fight and who has the priority -- you know, everything is a priority, but we understand -- we have good situational awareness. I think you're making my point here in terms of space assets. You need good situational awareness, and that's what space will provide to you.
Before, we had to fight a number of those conflicts, and we didn't have a good view of the battle area -- real-time battle management. Now, between air resources, land, sea and space, we have a much better opportunity to do that. We know who needs the immediate opportunity for additional forces -- I think is where you're headed with it -- and that allows us tactics, techniques and procedures, not always the technology.
Q: Well to follow-up on GPS III just a little bit ago, Secretary Rumsfeld got a (snowflake?) a few weeks ago, -- (inaudible) -- are taking issue with the Air Force's decision to postpone the launch of GPS III, the program. You know, from an operator's perspective, how important to you in transformation is GPS III, and how fast do you think you need to get into the field? Are you comfortable with the Air Force's plans to postpone the launch?
Blaisdell: Let me tell you that Secretary Roche and General Jumper, in concert with the secretary of Defense, we will work all of those issues. I will tell you that GPS III obviously is important to the United States Air Force, and it's important to the Army and the Navy and the Marine Corps, and it's important to our allies. It's important internationally.
And so when you go a budget question on me and where we're going to go, since I'm here with an operator brief, but in terms of the budget, there are always tough choices. And as you move up the ladder, what General Blaisdell, with two stars, thinks is important -- and as you obviously gravitate up and try to make the tough decisions which they have to make -- and they're very tough, because you never have enough money for everything; you don't in your household budget. So here they're going to have some tough choices to make. GPS III is one of those tough choices.
Do we need it operationally? Yeah, we do.
Q: Thank you.
Blaisdell: Very good. Ladies and gentlemen, you're a great audience.
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