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Gen. Myers Special Briefing on Current Activities of the U.S. Space Command

Presenters: Richard Myers, General, USAF, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Space Command
January 05, 2000 10:45 AM EDT

Wednesday, January 05, 2000 - 10:45 a.m. EST

Special Briefing re: Current Activities of the U.S. Space Command

Also present: Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA

Mr. Bacon: Our briefer today is General Richard Myers, who is the commander-in-chief of our Space Command in Colorado. He is a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours in the cockpit. I don't think he's ever flown in space, but he spends a lot of time thinking about space --

General Myers: But he's willing to fly in space --

Mr. Bacon: He's willing to fly in space.

General Myers: Nobody's offered me the opportunity.

Mr. Bacon: Well, maybe we'll get you to go up with John Glenn some time. At any rate, I'll turn you over to General Myers.

General Myers: Well, good morning, everybody, and it's -- thank you for the opportunity, and Happy New Year. Before we start, I'd like to just make a couple of comments and outline where we've been in space and where we think we're heading, at least in a brief format here.

Truly, space is becoming very important to our military, a center of gravity, if you will, a very important aspect of how we conduct our operations. It's also an economic center of gravity for this country and I would say most people probably don't realize how important space is to their daily lives. It is definitely, to use a phrase, a growth industry, and I think we're just beginning to tap its potential.

I would point to Kosovo operations as a place where space was very important in enabling our ability to conduct our response there. It set a new benchmark. You know, since Desert Storm we've been working very hard to bring space capabilities to the war fighter at the operational and tactical level, and I think in Kosovo we finally got there, even though that was limited in scope, to some degree. But we provided, I think, unprecedented support to our forces there.

It was truly a space-enabled war. You think about the global positioning system and the precision-guided munitions that were GPS-aided, enabling us to do things we have not been able to do before, and that is not just use precision-guided munitions, but use them -- that could go through the weather, and as Admiral Ellis said, after the conflict, that it's not good enough just to have precision-guided munitions. You have to have munitions that can go through the weather, because the weather was such a factor over there.

For the first time in combat, we pushed what I would call real-time information to the cockpit. We put some strap-on systems on the B-52s and the B-1s that enabled them to get the latest intelligence, the latest tactical situation, if you will, overlaid with lots of digital products, maps and so forth and some imagery, and we pushed that to the cockpit. And it's being reviewed right now by the Air Force and Air Combat Command to determine if that's something they want to do in a permanent modifications sort of basis.

We also used some very old technology we have, the Defense Support Program satellite, the satellite that looks for infrared energy, or "hot spots," on the earth, initially designed to pick up strategic ballistic missiles. We used after the first time for battle strike indications.

And sometimes it was the only indication of strikes that had been ongoing. And we had an outfit, a squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, that was in direct support of the Combined Air Operations Center in Vicenza, Italy, and would provide these strike indications. Of course, the squadron at Schriever had to have the flight routing and the targets and so forth, and that cooperation was the first time we had done something like that. And it provided useful information to the folks that were actually executing our involvement there.

And we did all that with just pushing very few people into theater. We actually deployed only 91 folks into the European theater to support the Kosovo conflict, so our tooth-to-tail ratio is very favorable. We can bring space assets and space capability to the war fighter with very few folks forward that leverage all that capability and that tremendous investment that we have on orbit.

Let me shift now to Y2K for just a minute. We've probably over-Y2K'd ourselves at this point, but, you know, everybody in the Department of Defense worked very hard on that particular issue. We in U.S. Space Command and Air Force Space Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command worked extremely hard. And our view is it was really worth the effort because we had no mission impact on any of our systems from the Y2K rollover end of year date. It proved essentially to be a non-event.

As you know, we are sitting side by side at Peterson Air Force Base today, and we will until the middle of this month, till the 15th of this month, in the Center for Y2K Strategic Stability with our Russian partners out there, sharing early warning on missile launch events around the world, the idea being, of course, just to ensure there is no miscalculation or misperception of what's happening in the world with the two nuclear superpowers that would lead to some bad judgments. That's working very, very well. And I think it's a good precursor to the agreement that President Clinton and former President Yeltsin agreed to, to set up a shared early warning center, a permanent one, in Moscow. And so this is a good test case of how that all ought to work, and it's working very, very well.

In terms of other growth areas, we can talk about computer network defense. As you know, 1 October of this year, we picked up the computer defense mission at U.S. Space Command. And again, we've been working on the implementation of that. It will follow 1 October of this year to pick up the computer network attack mission. We are just in the beginnings of drawing up our implementation plans and our concept of operations. It will be some time before we can be more definitive in that particular area. But we think it's a logical fit with our command structure and what we do on a daily basis, and the fact that we have a global perspective, which is needed for both those new missions.

The last thing I'd like to talk about is the launch broad area review, to study the launch problems that we had in the previous year. As you probably know, there were 19 recommendations that came out of that, 10 for legacy systems, the systems that we're going to use to launch into the early end of this decade, and then nine recommendations that went towards the new system, the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.

The secretary of the Air Force jumped on the recommendations. We are building action plans as we speak. I think, philosophically, we have no disagreement with any of the recommendations. We think they're very useful. And it was a very timely study of our launch process. And in fact, we have already made some changes because of the broader review.

So we think in the end, that's going to prove to give us more reliable launch capability. We know EELV is going to give us a less-expensive launch capability. And the first launch of the new rocket will be in fiscal year '02.

Well, those are a few of the issues, I think, that talk about the past and a little bit about the future. And with that, I'd turn it over for questions.

Yes, sir?

Q: General, could I ask how safe are U.S. military computers from cyberattack? And what do we know about -- the Chinese, I understand, are developing the ability for cyberattack. What other countries are doing that?

General Myers: I think there -- in general, cyberattack is deemed useful by those countries that perhaps don't have the conventional military capability the United States does. And so it's a way of, asymmetrically perhaps, attacking adversaries, not just the United States but potentially other adversaries. So you can read in a lot of the military literature that people more and more, of most of the world, are looking at this as a potential area for some growth.

We think that the Joint Task Force for Computer Network Defense, which was fully operational this past June, June of '99, has done a good job. You know, we anticipated that over the Y2K rollover, that that might be used as a cover for computer network attack. And in fact, we didn't see any evidence of that. We had plans in place, and the activity was absolutely normal during the rollover.

And I think we are pretty well prepared. We have invested a lot of resources in defending our capabilities. And it's not just the JTFCND, and it's not just the intrusion software and the firewalls and so forth; it's also the training of our people. And we are working on all pieces of it.

I think Dr. Hamre talked yesterday about the public key infrastructure, which is another part of ensuring that our information gets to the right place and is secure en route.

So I think we're in reasonably good shape, but it will be like everything else we do, you know, we come up with the defense, somebody else comes up with a different offense and back and forth. And so it's not that we're going to sit back and rest on our previous work; we're going to continue to work it.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: I understand that it's still in the formative stages, but could you amplify the computer network attack mission? What will it look like to the American public? There's a war and you folks out at Space Command are the ones doing the keystrokes that take down an adversary's power system?

General Myers: Probably a little different focus than that. We did not envision that U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs is going to be the focal point where the keystrokes are made. This is an issue of bringing certain tools to the operational and tactical level. The analogy to space is a very good analogy. This is not something that's going to be kept behind in Cheyenne Mountain and only be turned on by that level. These are tools that need to go to the operational and tactical level.

So our first job is to figure out what our capabilities are out there. Every service has some capability in this area. We need to round those up, focus them, apportion them to the war fighters and then ensure that they are tested and that we work through the policy and legal implications, which there will be, and there are. And that will be a very big part of what we do is to work through the policy and legal parts of that.

But we see our job more as focusing what we currently have, giving confidence to the war fighter that these tools are available, that they have been tested, that they have some assurance that they will work, and that we have worked through the policy and legal implications of using them and hopefully, they'll be able to count on these kind of tools. So that's where we're headed.

Q: Can you give us an example of the tools?

General Myers: Well, I think there's -- I mean, in the open-source, there are several examples of things that you might want to do, but it gets into the ability of denying, disrupting, degrading systems. It could be in the area of air defense, for instance. If you can degrade an air defense network of an adversary through manipulating ones and zeros, that might be a very elegant way to do it as opposed to dropping 2,000-pound bombs on radars, for instance. So that's -- you know, the whole idea would be that we can do this, as you mentioned before, perhaps with keystrokes, preventing casualties on our side and collateral damage on the adversary's side.

So, you know, it has -- it's an elegant solution in some cases, and as I said, there are going to be some policy and legal ramifications of all this that we have yet to work through, for the most part, and that's going to be one of our --

Q: One more.

Is it simply a matter of appropriating the tools now in use by hackers against DOD systems? Or is it something --

General Myers: No, it's more sophisticated than that. And when I said the first part will be focusing what capability we have today; it will also be developing new capabilities, as things change.

So we see that as one of our major responsibilities at the unified command level, at the U.S. Space Command level, is trying to articulate that requirement for the other war-fighting commanders, like we do today for space systems, and then -- and having the services actually execute the budget that would bring those tools on board.

Yes, sir?

Q: I know the Navy exercises -- sort of does Red Team exercises with -- hacking into their systems before every battle group deploys. I assume -- you can probably tell me if the other services do the same sort of exercises. And is this the pool of where you'll draw your cyberwarriors from for CNA?

General Myers: A lot of that is to be determined. Of course, we "Red Team" essentially everything we do. In fact, we have a Space Aggressor Squadron that we are just standing up at Schriever Air Force Base to do that for the exercises that we run traditionally, to bring a force in there that would try to disrupt our ability to take advantage of these space resources. So that's another analog.

And we would do the same thing of course for computer network attack. And that is being done -- it's a very prudent thing to do. But it's -- a lot of the other issues are to be determined, as we work through our implementation plan this year.

Q: This would be a logical place to look for talented people?

General Myers: Yes. Oh, absolutely.

And you bring up a very good point. People are what is going to make all this work. It's not the software, it's not the hardware; it always boils down to competent people. And that's a real issue for us in U.S. Space Command and for the Department of Defense as a whole.

Now, the services are trying to attract the best and the brightest to come into this area. We think we can do that because we are going to be working on leading-edge technology, we'll give them the right tools, and they'll be doing something for their country. So we think all of that will make it appealing.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: What do you think the major policy and legal implications are that you still really have to address in this area? And is part of it whether or not you can attack the so-called dual-use target? Is that what needs to be resolved?

General Myers: Well, I think that's absolutely part of it. And then it's the secondary and tertiary implications of an action; you know, "What will the reaction be?" and, "How can you assure that?" And there's just a lot of things we are going to have to work through.

And I think we're off to a good start, but to say we have a process in place to look at that and work it on a very timely basis, or even perhaps pre-approval in some cases, that's not the case today, we're still working with that, but we're getting good cooperation.

Q: Would the concept of the U.S. military undertaking information attacks be -- how fundamentally different or what kind of fundamental direction would that take the U.S. military in, where it's never been before?

General Myers: Well, I think it's just going to be one more arrow in the quiver, if you will, in terms of the tools we can use. You know, today, if you -- I'll use the air defense analogy again. If you want to take down an air defense system, we know how to do that kinetically. We know that we can drop bombs, we can send cruise missiles against it, we can use attack helicopters against that kind of system. And as I suggested, there might be other ways to do that, and I don't know, I mean this is premature, but there might be other ways to do that similar job. And I don't think it's going to fundamentally take us in too different a direction, although I would say that I think the ones and zeros part of this equation will be more important in the future than it is today, I mean dramatically more important; will never supplant, probably, kinetic weapons. But --

Q: Then in terms of a reaction -- just my last question is, if we sort of start attacking on a ones and zeros basis, what's the implication, and how vulnerable do we become to retaliatory attacks with somebody attacking us on a ones and zeros basis?

General Myers: Well, that's obviously a very big worry. We are probably, I think without question, the country that is most dependent on information technology, so we know we have those vulnerabilities. It's just like in space, we know we are the most dependent on space-based capabilities and we're vulnerable there as well. And we have a mission that we're assigned in U.S. Space Command, called Space Control, to deal with that. And we'll deal with this piece just like that. But obviously, all that plays. And much of this is premature. We have just been -- we haven't got the mission; the mission comes 1 October of this year. We're doing implementation planning and the execution planning, and we're going to have to wait until a lot of that gets done before we can be more definitive.

Q: But it is the cutting edge, which is why, as you may detect, we're interested in it. Can you help me understand what are the legal issues, for example, if you're going to take down an enemy's air defense system, dropping bombs versus doing it in an IO kind of fashion? What's the --

General Myers: It's -- again, it's the --

Q: -- (off mike).

General Myers: It might be. There may be unintended consequences, depending on how you work that.

If you're working on a communications network, for instance, it does more than just air defense. They use it for other things. Then there is the question of what are the consequences of perhaps taking down a communications system that may support other needs that may have no direct impact on the conflict, and then you'd have to study to see if that's --

Q: The same thing happens when you take out a power grid with a graphite bomb.

General Myers: Yes. And so -- absolutely right, and so I think as we work through that, one of the questions I got earlier today was, is this going to put war fighters at odds with their legal advisors? And I don't think anything like that at all. I think it's going to be the legal advisors and the war fighters thinking our way through this. And it's just something we haven't spent an awful lot of time doing, and we just need to do that.


Q: I want to ask you an industrial base question on the space side. Export policy right now. Because of our export policies, the Germans have said don't -- industries have said don't use U.S. contractors, or use them less. The RADARSAT contract from Canada just went to a European company, not two of the U.S. bidders. I know these are commercial programs, but are you at all concerned that our export policy is undermining our space industrial base?

General Myers: Clearly, it's in our best interest to have a very robust space industry in the United States. That helps not only the commercial side, but it helps the Department of Defense and specifically our missions out at U.S. Space Command. So we're -- our policy is, and it has been for some time, it aligns with -- the national policy is to have policies that encourage our industry and enable our industry to be world leaders in this area. And we support that.

Q: The process is clearly broken.

General Myers: Well, there are some instances where there are some issues, and the Canadian issue was wrapped around ITAR and probably nothing more than that. And we just need to continue to work that. We think a healthy industry is really good for us, so we don't want to do anything that would impede that.

Yes, sir, in back.

Q: Can you tell us more about that satellite base where intelligence systems went down over the weekend?

General Myers: I can't tell you any more than Dr. Hamre told you yesterday. I went through the transcript. There were 14 or 15 pages, and most of it was on that subject. That system belongs to the National Reconnaissance Office, it does not belong to U.S. -- I'm sorry?

Q: Who does it belong to?

General Myers: The National Reconnaissance Office. It does not belong to the U.S. Space Command. And I just refer you back to Dr. Hamre's comments yesterday.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: There's been some discussion of building an information corps or a cybercorps. Is that an idea still being kicked around?

And would the CND and CNA be the basis for that?

General Myers: I have not heard that. I know we want to build not a corps, but a group of individuals that can work in this area. And you know, in the way it's kind of grown up is that this had been a sort of a pick-up ball game. I mean, we don't have specialties in the Air Force; it's a you-are-an-information-warrior. And that's one of the things, I think, that we will bring to the table are, should we create specialties that encourage, you know, a career path in this kind of work. Right now it's, for the most part, it's those that are most inclined or like to do it, and that's fine for the time being, at least on the active duty side. Of course, on the contractor side, which we use heavily, we can get real specialists and real expertise.

I guess my overall comment would be that creating a special corps would tend to put this in a stovepipe that would not be -- would tend to revolve in its own world and not -- the product of their work would not necessarily get pushed down to the operational and tactical level like we're trying to do for information operations. That needs to be -- everybody is -- for instance, in computer network defense, U.S. Space Command has the overall mission for DOD that does not relieve the unified commanders in PACOM, EUCOM, CENTCOM and so forth. They have their own responsibilities to protect their networks. We are the ones providing the global view and trying to coordinate all that, but it's not our responsibility alone. I see the same thing in the total realm of information operations. At least the attack and the defense piece would be similarly worked.

Yes, sir?

Q: Can you give us a sense with this computer network attack, do you need new funding for it? Have you already received some new funding for it? And is this something that will save money over time, over using conventional weapons?

General Myers: Again, we are in the middle of our implementation plan, so we have not identified our resources yet. We have just finished that process for computer network defense and in the budget deliberations that are ongoing right now, in the budget that will go to Congress and so forth, they are deciding how many resources, manpower and dollars we're going to put to that mission.

We'll do that similar exercise, probably, next year for computer network attack in terms of what we're going to need at U.S. Space Command to discharge our duties, so that's a little bit premature. But clearly we're going to need some resource help to make this happen if we want to make it happen in the right way.

Q: Over time, will it save money over -- in some instances -- (inaudible) -- weapons?

General Myers: We think -- for instance, in computer network defense -- we think the focus that was brought to that by the Joint Task Force for Computer Network Defense here in Washington that now reports to us, that that will help and save resources. They will probably be on the margin in most cases.

I would say in the computer network attack area, we will probably wind up spending more resources because this is a growth area. And so in the end, we may -- we'll save ourselves in terms of organizing ourselves better for it, and so there may be some savings there. But in the long run, it's probably going to be a growth area, like I mentioned.

Yes, sir?

Q: During last year's war in Yugoslavia, was there any consideration of using computer network attack tactics? And if not, was it because this policy hasn't matured yet?

General Myers: In many cases -- you know, we are just -- again, this is relatively new stuff for us. And I would like to say that -- without giving you a lot of detail -- that we worked through some policy and legal issues during Kosovo that will hopefully help us in the future because we addressed some issues like you suggested and, I think, came up with a good resolution. And I think that portends well for our future capability in this area.

But, as you know, the opposing forces in Serbia were not reliant, for instance, on space systems. They were not reliant on systems that were heavily involved with information technology; so limited opportunities there.

Plus again, we are on the cusp of this. And a lot of the existing capability is very immature, has not been tested. And we need to operationalize this like we do for everything else. It needs to be thought of like that. And the planning for that needs to happen up front and early, so people like General Clark can say, you know, "I have got this arrow in my quiver, and I'd like to use it here." We are short of that capability right -- (inaudible) -- today.

Q: So for this to work then, the enemy or the opponent would have to also be reliant on information technology like, to the extent the United States is or some --

General Myers: Well, or perhaps you know, have some reliance. And I think that's -- most everybody, you know, is using information technology more and more every day. We seem to be in the lead in that area, but -- of reliance.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: You said that there were some limited opportunities in Serbia. Did we take advantage of them?

General Myers: I'd rather not comment on that, for -- reasons.

Yes, sir?

Q: The perception of cyberwarfare is that it's bloodless, that it's sort of like a video game and so forth. That perception may be wrong, but do you worry that the threshold for committing acts of war in cyberspace is maybe lower, and that policymakers might be more inclined to use this weapon than they would be to use 2,000-pound bombs? And does that trouble you?

General Myers: I'm not sure we can say that. I think our experience to date has almost been the opposite, that we understand the effects of a 2,000-pound bomb. We know the laws of armed conflict and all that, and so we -- we're much more comfortable in that realm than we are in the other realm, and I think it's going to be a long time before the reverse is true. That's my personal opinion on that.

But again, we're just starting to wade into this, and so --

Q: If you drew an analogy to the early days of aviation, when, you know, people in biplanes were flying around and they were plinking at one another with pistols and dropping an occasional hand grenade on the enemy --

General Myers: Right.

Q: Is that where we are?

General Myers: Well, I think that's a pretty good analogy. I think that's where we are and, you know, that the potential here is much greater than has been realized, probably, but -- that's probably a pretty good analogy.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: Could you just explain the bureaucracy a bit, here? So, what has to happen? Does this all have to go to President Clinton for some sort of presidential decision directive? Is it a secretary of Defense decision? What would get you to the decision point that you could go ahead and use this stuff?

General Myers: Well, it's -- any time we prosecute war, decisions, certain decisions, have to migrate up to the national command authorities, and I think certain aspects of this would. I think our hope in the future is that we've thought through it, and for certain capabilities that we might want to use that it would become understood what the effects are and that that would be something that would be very easily approved. Other capabilities might have to go all the way to the president for approval. That would not be unusual. We do that today in a conventional sense, as you know.

Q: But when you say that the policy and legal implications have to be resolved, it sort of suggests that you're not quite there yet and --

General Myers: Well, I think I said that. We're working through that piece of it right now.

Q: So, what is sort of the next step? I guess that's what I'm trying to ask.

General Myers: Well, the next step is to -- you know, we are just trying to get ourselves organized for it. That's why the mission comes to us 1 October, we're working through, again, the implementation plan, the concept of operations. That'll all have to be approved here on the joint staff and by the office of the secretary of Defense staff and folks that say, "Yes, you're on the right track," and that's the first thing we have to do to get organized.

And part of that, getting ourselves organized, it'll be a further step to say, okay, what tools are out there that can be used? I mean, what's been developed? And then to bring that into the tool kit and then at that point start working through the policy and legal ramifications.

Q: If the policy and legal implications haven't yet been resolved, it sort of strongly suggests that perhaps we -- the infrastructure, or the framework, is not in place to have ever done any of this in the past, because you're saying we're not there yet.

General Myers: Well, we have -- I think it's fair to say that we have done this in the past on a case-by-case basis.

And of course if you're in the middle of a conflict, you'd prefer to not work this on a case-by-case basis; that usually takes longer. So, you know, we would look to a process to be a little more robust in that area where we could have, like I said before, pre-approval of some capabilities -- I'm not talking -- this is all very notional -- of some capabilities, and then there will still be -- no doubt there will still be some case-by-case issues.

It's a lot like the space business today too. I mean there's issues there that we still haven't operationalized and normalized, if you will, and we don't treat the same as we treat other capabilities. And there's no reason not to, I mean, we ought to be able to do that. But it's just new enough and different enough.

Q: So information attacks have occurred on a case-by-case basis, then, when you say we have done "this"?

General Myers: We have done certain things on a case-by-case basis; yes.

Q: Yeah, a couple of questions. With the CNA, who has the mission now, anybody? Because you've assumed the CND from DISA.

General Myers: Yes, it's -- you know, the story on CND is pretty good. It was after Eligible Receiver where we found out we had all these vulnerabilities. And I think it was Dr. Hamre who tells the story, he looked around the room and he says, "Well, okay, who's responsible for Computer Network Defense?" And nobody raised their hand. And so that obviously pointed out the problem, and that's why we tried to organize ourselves to address that, and that's why Unified Commander got the mission.

The same thing is true today on Computer Network Defense. It is -- or Computer Network Attack -- excuse me. For the programs that we have, most of those are -- if there are programs, and I don't even -- I mean, I don't have a window into most of that, but they're service programs and they reside in service channels to work fleet issues or air issues or ground issues. And what we hope to do is bring some focus of that and make those capabilities -- operationalize that capability.

Q: And why Space Command? How did you guys draw this?

General Myers: I think for -- first of all, a lot of the information we're dealing with in warfare is either space enabled or travels through space. We have a global perspective, and you need that for the defensive mission; in particular, you need to have the global perspective because you may have an attack originating in one theater that's having an effect in another theater, and there has to be somebody in the middle there that has that view and can coordinate responses, and so forth.

And the other reason I would say is that we're used to working in the virtual world.

You know, we control satellites with keystrokes. We never see the effect other than the data coming back down that said, yes, the command was taken. So we think it fits nicely. I was there when the decision was made. I was brand new on the job. I'd been in the job one month, came to a meeting where the service chiefs and the other unified commanders all said, "We think we need a war-fighting commander in chief to be responsible for this mission area."

Q: (Off mike.)

General Myers: I was -- again, I was new. I was very quiet. I didn't -- I made no comment. I just was listening. But I thought, at the same time, and I had given it some thought previously and had some discussions with people that were influencing this area, that it probably was the right thing to do. And we think it's fit in -- the computer network defense piece has fit in very nicely.

Q: And one more. On the space maneuver vehicle and space attack vehicle, could you give us an update of where those two stand?

General Myers: Space Command has a lot of interest in the concept of a space maneuver vehicle. We think you can do lots of things with that. You could service satellites. You know, one of the limiting features of most our satellites is they eventually run out of fuel. And otherwise, they may be perfectly fine. Not in all cases, but in some cases. So you could use a space maneuver vehicle for that. You could use it for other applications. And so that's in the area of reusable vehicles. That is primarily NASA's role. And so we partner with NASA. Partnership's very important to us, as you know. We partner with NASA, and the United States Air Force puts money into that program to ensure that as NASA moves along its business with the X-37 and so forth, that we are part of that, and if it turns out to have military utility, that we can take advantage of it. So we are partnering with that.

Q: What about space attack vehicles?

General Myers: Only conceptually. You know, one of our missions in U.S. Space Command is force application. But we have no capability today from space to apply force from space. And before we do, it's going to require, you know, a national decision by the president and the Congress and the rest of the national command authority. So we're only in the conceptual area there.

Q: One more. You said this morning -- you talked a little bit about how you need to maybe red team satellites to see what effect ground-based lasers could have on them. Do you see any plans for that sort of program in the future, or is it just your wish list?

General Myers: No, I think that is a program that needs to be developed and fleshed out. We're not there yet. But we know the need's there.

Yes, sir?

Q: I just want to follow up on Pam's question on space maneuver vehicle. Given that NASA is having major problems with their single-staged orbit program, in a general sense, technically and programmatically, is it time to revisit that gentlemen's agreement on EELV and RLV, splitting those two between the agencies?

I mean, are they really serving DOD's needs at the pace that they are going right now?

General Myers: I think they are, and we are pleased with that.

We have got -- you know, there is a Partnership Council, where Dan Goldin from NASA and Keith Hall from NRO and myself sit down semiannually to work through lots of issues. This is one issue -- and we have lots of them -- where we have mutual interests. Maybe the end product or the end effect is different, but the basic science and technology is the same. And so there is no -- I don't think there is any other way to do this. We have to partner with NASA. There is no budget big enough.

Q: Thank you, sir.

General Myers: Thank you.

Thanks everybody.

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.

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