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Sustaining the Strategic Space Advantage
Prepared statement Air Force Gen. Howell M. Estes III, commander in chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command and, Senate Armed Services Committee,, Thursday, March 13, 1997

Defense Issues: Volume 12, Number 15-- Sustaining the Strategic Space Advantage The United States is the world's most spacefaring nation. It currently enjoys tremendous space capabilities -- but with these capabilities come vulnerabilities and risks.


Volume 12, Number 15

Sustaining the Strategic Space Advantage

Prepared statement of Air Force Gen. Howell M. Estes III, commander in chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Space Command, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, March 13, 1997.

I am pleased and honored to appear before you today as commander in chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), and the commander in chief, United States Space Command (USSPACECOM).

Today, I'll be discussing NORAD and USSPACECOM, and I want to emphasize how remarkably close these two commands work. The synergism between NORAD and USSPACECOM benefits both Canada and the U.S. On the one hand, NORAD has an unblemished record of coalition operations between our two militaries and 38 years of experience in the space and missile warning business. USSPACECOM, on the other hand, brings to the relationship all the benefits inherent in our unified command structure. Both commands perform their missions superbly.

Without question, the men and women of NORAD and USSPACECOM are the driving force in achieving these missions. As the commander in chief of both commands, I'm committed to creating a climate where our people can reach their full potential regardless of national alliance, race, gender or creed.

There are two parts to creating this right climate. The first is human dignity, and the second is quality of life. We've worked hard on human dignity. Everyone in both commands is treated with dignity -- we demand, expect and deserve nothing less. We practice zero tolerance and have strict policies against any type of discrimination or harassment. We are doing all we can to make sure discrimination or harassment of any kind doesn't exist.

Quality of life remains important if we are to keep the caliber of people in today's military. Reforms this past decade have already cut by over 20 percent the value of retirement for a service member leaving at 20 years. Additionally, both active duty and retired members are concerned about the DoD's new health care program, TRICARE, and whether or not it will meet their medical needs now and in the future. We are working hard to ensure all who fall under TRICARE understand their options and select the most suitable plan for their needs, but the fact remains that many active duty and retirees feel they were promised free medical care for life and are extremely displeased with the change in their health care plan.

Further, we need to make sure our people have the right place to live, work and recreate. They must have suitable facilities in all areas, and they need to feel secure. Protecting our forces against today's threat is a mission for every member of the armed forces. It's important to remember the men and women of NORAD and USSPACECOM are stationed throughout the world and subject to a different threat than we face in Canada and the United States. Through our anti-terrorism policy, we are doing all we can to safeguard their lives -- and I have received full cooperation from our Canadian partners in this U.S. initiative. The men and women of NORAD and USSPACECOM are doing a tremendous job fulfilling the missions assigned to them, and I am committed to seeing they have the right climate to reach their full potential.

In this statement, I want to highlight where we are in NORAD and USSPACECOM, how we fit together, our successes and our plan for the future. We're preparing for the 21st century to sustain our strategic advantages, particularly in space, and meet the challenges ahead.

In 1958, our two governments signed the first NORAD agreement recognizing that the best way to defend our nations against the Soviet long-range bombers -- the most likely threat at the time -- was through a binational command. Although the threat facing Canadian and U.S. citizens has changed, the basic premise that binational cooperation enhances the defense of our continent remains true today.

Highlighting this, on March 28, 1996, the U.S. secretary of state [Warren Christopher] and Canadian minister of foreign affairs and international trade [Lloyd Axworthy] signed the renewal of the NORAD agreement for the next five years. With this renewal, Canada and the U.S. are postured to enter the 21st century and the fifth decade of our binational, combined command.

As CinCNORAD, I work equally for both Canada and the U.S. with forces and missions agreed to by both governments. Homeland defense is the most basic responsibility of our military. NORAD provides aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. In short, the command monitors any potential air or space threat to the two nations, provides warning and assessment of that threat for both governments and responds defensively to any air-breathing threat to North America. Through aerospace control, Canada and the U.S. maintain sovereignty of their airspace.

The collapse of the Soviet Union has not ended all threats to our continent. A considerable nuclear weapons arsenal remains, and more importantly, the proliferation of cruise and ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction will increasingly threaten the U.S. and Canada. The NORAD agreement provides a solid and enduring foundation for dealing with these threats.

USSPACECOM was created in 1985. In essence, USSPACECOM provides the bedrock to which the bridgeheads to other organizations, agencies, industries and nations are anchored. Specifically, USSPACECOM provides the central focus for mission execution and is the central clearing house for identifying and prioritizing joint space requirements. This past year, we completed a mission revalidation study where we looked at the enduring value of USSPACECOM to national security. We went back to Day 1 and walked ourselves out to 2010. Here is what we found:


  • Original charter for USSPACECOM is still valid today.
  • Missions have evolved in the UCP [unified command plan] to keep pace with the times.
  • To address U.S. national security interests in space, the organization of a CinC with service components is exactly correct for today and will remain so for the forseeable future.
  • As U.S. interests and investment increase in space so will the threats to these systems.
  • Changes in the way USSPACECOM operates will be required in the future to accomplish assigned UCP missions.
  • Missions will evolve from "supporting from space" to "operating in space."

In sum, the study led us to a unanimous conclusion that USSPACECOM is essential today for many of the same reasons the command was formed in 1985 and will become even more important in the future as U.S. interests and investment in space continue to grow.

Today, we are the world's most powerful space force; however, we are in a shifting environment where space operations are becoming ever more vital to U.S. and global economies, and military space capabilities are becoming increasingly indispensable to U.S. national security. Space power is inextricably linked to military operations on land, sea and in the air. Key military functions have already migrated to space --intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); ballistic missile detection and early warning; weapons guidance; position location; communications; and environmental monitoring. Space is truly the fourth medium of military operations and represents to our terrestrial warfighters the ultimate high ground.

We are faced with two major space challenges in the immediate future. One is to assure access to space, and the other is to protect U.S. interests and investment in space. There are over 500 satellites in space today -- over 200 of those are U.S. satellites, about half of which are military. They are technical marvels, and we are critically dependent upon them both in peace and war. We depend on space power to enhance our ability to carry out our terrestrial responsibilities; hence, we must be able to assure our access to the critical space-derived information we require, while negating our enemies' exploitation of the medium. We need to better understand any potential threat and take necessary measures to protect our space interests and investments.

We also need to not only get the word out on just how dependent both the civilian and military sectors are on space assets, but also on what is real and what isn't. The American people think we are more capable than we are -- approximately 70 percent believe we already have a national missile defense system in place, and almost 100 percent believe we have total protection against air attack. Neither are true, so we have some work to do.

That said, we are the world's most spacefaring nation. We currently enjoy tremendous space capabilities -- but with these capabilities come vulnerabilities and risks. USSPACECOM's job is to protect those capabilities and our nation's interests and investment in space.

In the past year, we've moved ahead in the space profession. The framework for our direction, planning, acquisition, operation, support and employment of space forces is the National Space Policy.

In 1996, we:


  • Made major improvements in launch operations, military satellite communications, theater ballistic missile warning, space-based navigation and operationalizing space;
  • Ensured space systems provided direct support to the warfighter;
  • Made better use of things already available from space; and
  • Ensured operators understand what is available, how to access it and how to include it in their plans.

Now I want to share with you what we're doing in both NORAD and USSPACECOM ... our programs and how we're preparing to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

In part, because of the emerging cruise and ballistic missile threats to North America, Canada and the U.S. agreed to extend NORAD into the 21st century. NORAD's missions, as defined in the 1996 NORAD agreement, recognize the widening scope of NORAD's responsibilities in the post-Cold War world.

(As I mentioned earlier, this agreement assigns to us aerospace warning and control for North America and allows for consultations to expand missions.)

As these missions illustrate, the focus of NORAD is homeland defense. Because the most likely weapons to strike Canada and the U.S. must be delivered through air or space, NORAD stands as the guardian against these emerging threats and has a number of programs to enhance homeland aerospace warning and control.

We are aggressively modernizing our command, control and communication system to give us the most effective capabilities to meet today's and tomorrow's threat. Among these programs, we are modernizing our region/sector air operations centers, upgrading outmoded computer technologies -- progress has been outstanding. This is my No. 1 NORAD priority.

The new system will be much cheaper to operate and will have greater capacity and processing capability. We've taken advantage of off-the-shelf capabilities in the acquisition process and worked closely with our Canadian colleagues.

Both nations have approved the funding to move the program towards a fiscal year 1998 fielding. A request for proposal has been released, and source selection activities are under way with participants from NORAD, Canada and the U.S. The modernized R/SAOCs will vastly improve our ability to control the airspaces of our two nations.

As well, we have been actively upgrading our battle management system to give us a commandwide, open architecture battle management capability. In October 1996, we installed the NORAD system prototype in the Alaskan and Continental regions, and the Southeast Air Defense Sector. We will complete the installation at remaining locations in 1997.

In addition, our command and control system, the Global Command and Control System (GCCS), ... has become the system of choice ... and significantly increases our capability to push and pull critical space information to the warfighters. We have taken the first steps to take GCCS into the international arena and are making progress on establishing an initial capability to provide releasable information to our Canadian partners. It is possible that the lessons we learn in NORAD can be applied to other allies around the world. This is extremely important as we must have a common command and control system if we are to effectively conduct coalition operations.

As we look into the future, we see the ability to defend against cruise and ballistic missiles as vital to homeland security. We are working issues to give us better defensive capabilities against the cruise missile threat. Fighter upgrades and next-generation fighters, such as the F-22, will improve our ability to defend against such weapons. Interconnectivity with adjacent commanders and CinCs is vital to our ability to detect, track and destroy such threats. We do not have the capability today that we would like to have to defend North America against cruise missiles. However, we are working through the Quadrennial Defense Review Modernization Panel's Defense of the U.S. Task Force to identify an integrated approach to developing the capabilities we will need to ensure we have the necessary defensive systems in place before the threat becomes painfully real in the future.

In addition, we have no capability to defend ourselves from a ballistic missile launched against North America. The intelligence community assesses the likelihood of a ballistic missile attack from emerging forces in the world as a "remote possibility" and that we will not face such a threat for some time. However, it is still prudent to begin the process of developing an NMD [national missile defense] system in case the threat emerges quicker than anticipated.

Our policy guidance is to protect the 50 U.S. states against a limited ballistic missile attack. The NORAD areement provides the fundamental basis for the operation of such a system for the protection of the peoples of both nations if that is the decision made by the civilian leadership in Canada and the U.S. Now is the time to work with Canada to determine its interest in participating in the development of a system that would extend the U.S. national missile defense system program to a ballistic missile defense for North America.

From my perspective as CinCNORAD, it is vitally important that any ballistic missile defense system we ultimately deploy must be effective. When the political decision is made, we must deploy a system that is capable of meeting our national objective of protecting all 50 states and if both governments agree, protecting North America. Finally, let me re-emphasize that the administration's three-plus-three program will enable us to deploy an NMD system in time to field a missile defense system before the threat places our citizens at risk.

Our space-based assets for attack warning are aging, and more accurate systems will be required in the future. Development and deployment of the full architecture of the Space-based Infrared System (SBIRS) as well as a robust ground-based surveillance system is critical to completing our integrated picture of the air and space enveloping North America. We've already begun the upgrade and replacement of programs for missile and atmospheric surveillance requirements, but need continued support for these programs.


  • The Clear Ballistic Missile Early Warning System upgrade to phased array radar will give us better ballistic missile surveillance capability.
  • The FAA Radar Replacement Program will help us watch all our borders.
  • The Surveillance and Tracking Radar Processor will improve our integrated picture of the southern U.S. border.

Key to our requirement for such programs are system integration among existing and future capabilities and our ability to fuse sensor information, at a U.S.-Canadian releasable level, directly to the NORAD warfighters.

Finally, given the emerging cruise missile threat mentioned earlier, NORAD needs a capability to detect and characterize any potential atmospheric threat to North America. We need an all-weather, continuous detection, track from origin, reporting capability. In short, we need a wide-area surveillance system.

Moving this mission to space in the future is the right answer, but we are also exploring integrating other existing national systems, both Canadian and U.S., as well as supporting research and development in a myriad of surveillance capabilities. Once we've cut the Gordian knot on how to provide round-the-clock surveillance of such a large area, our military forces around the world will benefit. NORAD was the first command to advocate an airborne surveillance system, which became the AWACS [Airborne Warning and Control System]. We believe our efforts in wide-area surveillance will be just as fruitful.

NORAD performs vital missions, and we believe that tomorrow the security of our homelands will be more, not less, threatened. We must ensure NORAD has the resources and forces necessary for an effective aerospace defense of the homelands. Our binational alliance will continue to serve us well as we move ahead to defend against tomorrow's air and space threats.

Space plays a large part in NORAD's defense of our homelands, as well as contributing to our overall military effectiveness. Today, we primarily use space to enhance the operational effectiveness of our terrestrial forces. Tomorrow, the contribution of space to the overall success of joint and combined military operations will only expand. This is why USSPACECOM, its capabilities and its operations are so critically linked not only to NORAD but to all U.S. unified commands.

We in USSPACECOM have a big job, and in the past year, we've had some great successes as we continue to build toward the future. I will tell you of some of those successes in areas such as supporting the warfighter, shared early warning and launch. Then I'll outline the importance and progress of our key space programs and tell you how we're preparing for the 21st century.

We are proud of our efforts in supporting the warfighter but know much remains to be done. Our focus on operationalizing space has helped all warfighters maximize space capabilities in executing assigned missions. We've started institutionalizing space power. It used to be a stovepipe. Now we're breaking down the barriers and integrating space with land, sea and air.

The unified warfighter is our No. 1 customer.


  • We've established homepages on the Global Command and Control System and INTELINK that provide the status of our assets, points of contact and general information on space-based military capabilities.
  • We resourced a space operations center that provides continuous support to our customers. This center serves as a single entry point for other CinCs to access information on military space systems tailored to their specific regions. It also serves as a single focal point for CinCs to come to when they need assistance on any issues, dealing with military space systems and as a conduit of information to and from this command.

The synergism gained from the joint space support teams deployed to the unified CinCs, and the service provided by the Space Operations Center are important steps forward in our goal of providing the support needed by our military forces. Our customers tell us they like what we are providing and want more. We've also been focusing on efforts to support our theater missile defense (TMD) warning mission.

We have streamlined the acquisition process and are ready to field the Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS) for the warfighter today. JTAGS is the transportable, in-theater element that provides theater commanders with the capability to process data and disseminate warning of tactical ballistic missile launches.

While we've made some improvements, we still have more to do. Long-range solutions like the Space-based Infrared System for TMD cueing and airborne laser for missile engagement are important. However, we need an interim TMD warning capability that will serve as a pathfinder for these future systems. That's why we need systems like the Theater Airborne Warning System which provide a fused space-based and airborne infrared warning capability to the warfighter. With a more accurate missile launch and impact point prediction provided by this system, we can better protect our forces and destroy the missile launchers before they can hide.

In 1996, the U.S. began providing shared early warning (SEW) to NATO, Japan and Israel. This has been a major success story. Our SEW partners receive theater ballistic missile launch information with the same timeliness and accuracy as U.S. forces through both automated warning data and voice confirmation. We believe the cooperation with our friends and allies is aiding regional stability and promoting counterproliferation goals.

The final success I will address is our improvements to the launch scheduling process -- they are paying big dividends. We chair a quarterly senior-level meeting with all affected DoD agencies, NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration], our commercial customers and the Department of Transportation to work out changes to the launch manifest for both East and West Coast launch sites.

We've been able to successfully launch several Atlas and Titan missions over the past 12 months and continue sustainment of our Global Positioning System constellation through the Delta launch vehicle. Today, successful space launches have become almost as commonplace as successful aircraft operations. Of significance are our continued commitment to NASA and our ability to ensure its maximum use of our facilities while we maintain launch support to the warfighter. NASA and the commercial sector have enthusiastically supported our efforts to "launch on time" and work issues as a team.

As the DoD manager for manned space flight support operations, we provided direct support for NASA shuttle launches in 1996. In addition, we provided launch, range and flight safety support and contingency support for each flight with a full complement of air and surface assets. I am convinced our forces are well prepared to handle any major shuttle contingency. The entire DoD launch team works extremely hard at ensuring each and every shuttle launch is safe and successful.

In 1996, USSPACECOM and its components have had a successful and busy year, and we are continually improving our space operations. Our space forces are ready now to support U.S. military operations that are or could be tasked by our civilian leadership.

Today, the readiness of space forces in very high. However, as warfighting demands for space support and space-derived products continue to increase, capabilities must expand to meet these requirements. I continue to advocate for space-based warning of ballistic and cruise missile attack; national/theater ballistic and cruise missile defense; space control; command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I); navigation; space-based weather systems; space-based intelligence systems; launch systems; and military satellite communications.

Our space programs are important, particularly those outlined below, and continued support is critical to establishing

and maintaining space dominance now and in the future.

Through its relationship with NORAD, USSPACECOM is perfectly organized and ready to assume operational control over a national missile defense system for the 48 contiguous United States, Hawaii and Alaska. From a purely military doctrine point of view, a threat posed by a nuclear or biologically armed aircraft violating U.S. air space is of no consequential difference to the threat posed by a nuclear or biologically armed ballistic or cruise missile entering U.S. or North American air space. The threat is the same.

The only difference between the air and missile threat scenarios lies in what you can do about countering them. Right now, we rely on the threat of a retaliatory attack to deter an enemy from launching ballistic missiles against the United States. We can't do anything about countering the ballistic missile threat except to warn everyone they're on the way. We accomplish this warning using the strategic missile warning components of space-based infrared launch detection satellites, terrestrial radars, and the command, control, communications and intelligence systems plugging them all together.

As USCinCSPACE, I have the responsibility to develop the requirements for an NMD based on policy guidance provided from the National Command Authorities, to plan for its operation once the decision is made to field the system. Although USSPACECOM will conceptually operate the systems to support NMD, NORAD is assumed to be the supported command and responsible for the overall mission to negate limited ballistic missile attacks against North America as a subset of its aerospace defense of North America mission. In this regard, we:


  • Developed the parameters for the definition of a "limited attack" based on the National Intelligence Estimate and our beat operational judgment;
  • Received JROC [Joint Requirements Oversight Council] validation of our "limited attack" definition and JROC approval of our Capstone Requirements Document for a "limited attack" NMD system;
  • Developed a draft concept of operations which describes how we plan on operating a NMD system if and when deployed;
  • Conduct command and control simulations twice a year with members of the operational community and Ballistic Missile Defense Organization during which we refine and validate our concept of operations, work out operational relationships with the National Military Command Center and National Command Authorities, and exercise rules of engagement that have been developed in conjunction with the Joint Staff.

Today, I have two key issues regarding a national missile defense system:


  • First, we are developing a system which could, if the threat develops, be deployed by 2003.
  • Finally, when our civilian leadership decides it's time to deploy a national missile defense system, it must be capable of doing the job it was designed to do. The administration plan will ensure that whenever a decision to deploy is made, the system will be the most technically advanced possible at the time.

Our SBIRS system consolidates DoD's nonimaging infrared systems that fulfill national security needs in areas of missile warning, missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace characterization.


  • We coordinated the effort between warfighter, developer, CinCs and Congress to balance requirements and cost.
  • SBIRS consists of high and low components:


    • High: four geosynchronous satellites plus two sensors, critical to improved strategic and theater missile warning
    • Low: 24 (est) low earth orbit satellites --improves warfighters' capability -- improves missile launch time, launch point and impact point predictions; cueing of interceptors and missile trajectory hand-off for missile defense; better technical intelligence, battlespace characterizations and space surveillance -- improved global awareness.

SBIRS Low is critical to a full NMD capability and improved capabilities in major mission areas. We anticipate the first launch in 2004, which is an acceleration -- 2004 is the earliest SBIRS Low can be deployed with acceptable risks. However, SBIRS Low should not be funded by changes to the SBIRS High schedule or funding which put SBIRS High on-time deployment at risk. The SBIRS High system builds on a known architecture and proven technology capable of replacing the aging DSP [Defense Support Program] system in the time frame required.

I believe the "high now; low later" approach is the best way to meet our requirements with acceptable risk. Some have raised the possibility of an all-low system; however, there isn't enough analysis to support the theory that an all-low system can meet our requirements. An all-low system requires major advances in technology, especially in the ability to crosslink data between satellites and from individual satellites to the ground.

SBIRS High must remain on schedule to support my No. 1 priority as USCinCSPACE: timely warning of missile attack against both North America and our deployed forces.

The military's reliance on space capabilities is high and will only continue to grow. Our freedom to use space and to deny such use to an adversary in conflict is essential. The National Space Policy recognizes the freedom of all countries to use space peacefully, but also reconfirms the need to control space for national security reasons. USSPACECOM must be prepared to defend and protect our space-based systems and capabilities.

The ability to ensure space control will become a keystone for the future in ensuring the benefits of space continue to contribute to America's growth and prosperity. USSPACECOM's ability to execute the space control mission is becoming a prerequisite for success on the battlefield.

Current space launch systems -- derived from early day ICBM designs -- meet DoD needs, but they are costly to use. National Space Transportation Policy seeks to balance efforts to sustain and modernize existing launch capabilities with those aimed at developing new capabilities. The DoD seeks to reduce costs while maintaining capability, reliability, operability, responsiveness and safety.

Current space policy dictates NASA take the lead in reusable launch vehicles. I am pleased to report that we are working closely with Dan Goldin and his NASA team as they define the requirements for and build the reusable X-33 vehicle. We see this technology as very useful to our consideration of a military space plane, so it serves our mutual interests. If all goes well, a full-scale reusable launch vehicle (RLV) is expected to fly in the 21st century.

In DoD, we are responsible for the next generation expendable lift program. We fully expect EELV [evolved expendable launch vehicle] to pay for itself by 2007.


  • By 2020, EELV will have saved between $5 and $10 billion.
  • EELV system will provide more affordable and reliable access to space for the U.S. And
  • Reduced cost for launch will enable the U.S. commercial launch industry to be more competitive in the international marketplace.

EELV evolves from current medium- and heavy-lift vehicles (or their components) and consolidates manufacturing, infrastructure, support systems and operations to provide up to 25 percent to 50 percent savings to the U.S. from 2002 to 2020 when compared against the cost to launch current systems over that same time frame.

The ability to launch medium- and heavy-lift vehicles from the same launch complex eliminates inefficiencies. By consolidating this infrastructure, the EELV will provide flexibility in choosing the optimum weight and cost to get specific capabilities in orbit. We are building smaller satellites that can be launched on medium-lift launch vehicles; however, a requirement remains for a heavy-lift EELV as well.

EELV is predicated on improving space lift above and beyond current systems within a limited $2 billion development budget. Standardized procedures, a common launch pad for each coast for all vehicles and standard payload interfaces are cornerstones of the program. Synergy among DoD, civil and commercial needs will increase the economies of scale for this system of systems and drive the cost of EELV-based space transportation even lower.

Another critical program is GPS [Global Positioning System], which provides incredible benefits to both the military and civilian community. The military forces of the U.S. and our allies are becoming increasingly dependent on GPS for precision navigation and precision strike. Additionally, the civil sector is relying increasingly on GPS as well.

We are currently engaged in efforts to include the teaming of industry with DoD to create a navigation warfare (NAVWAR) initiative to identify the most promising and affordable measure to overcome GPS vulnerabilities. This initiative includes:


  • NAVWAR advanced concept technology demonstration showing GPS prevention and protection capabilities;
  • Award of a $10.6 million contract to three key industry leaders to help us find the most promising and affordable ways to protect GPS; and
  • Producing a concept of operations for NAVWAR.

NAVWAR was developed because the accuracy of this system will provide a significant threat when used for hostile purposes. This creates a bit of a dilemma for DoD. While we support both civilian and military use of the benefits of GPS and differential GPS, we must protect the warfighters' needs which do not support making precision navigation and positioning information readily available to the adversary.

Steps must be taken to meet the requirements of both civilian and defense communities. I am ready to work with the Department of Transportation to come to a satisfactory solution for both communities.

The Joint Space Management Board (JSMB) approved the architecture developed by the DoD Space Architect for the next generation of military satellite communications. The challenge the DoD now faces is how to affordably implement that architecture to meet the demands of new weapons systems and doctrine. Precision strike, dominant battlefield awareness and sensor-to-shooter require more information transfer and satellite capacity than we now provide. This is not just an issue of replacing our legacy satellites. The DoD must fund and protect the critical links new weapon systems will rely on in the future.

SATCOM [satellite communication] provides the assured connectivity to support the mobile and deployed warfighter information needs. USSPACECOM is on the deputy undersecretary of defense for space, DUSD (Space), team working to determine the "right mix" of DoD-owned systems and leased commercial services that does the best job of meeting our current and future requirements while fitting within constrained budgets. USSPACECOM is leading the process to capture warfighters' needs in a capstone requirements document which is complemented by Space and Missile Center's acquisition costing efforts and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) efforts to integrate satellite communications into the Defense Information Infrastructure.

Our partners in industry have told us that there are enduring military needs that the commercial sector is not able to meet in an unpredictable threat environment. These include coverage of the polar regions, open oceans and other remote areas; support of highly mobile users requiring rapid set-up and deployment; and robust protection from jamming, nuclear effects and interception/detection.

We're going to need some of our own DoD systems to do those things for us. We have a clear vision of the types of affordable systems that leverage commercial advances and cost reductions in information and communications. We are incorporating significant acquisition reform measures and acting more like a commercial customer in buying those systems we must own.

We've got some real success stories going with UHF [ultra-high frequency] Follow-on (UFO), Milstar [Military Strategic and Tactical Relay System] and planned enhancements to the last four Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) satellites. But these systems won't last forever, nor will they keep up with the growing warfighter demand. A piece of our overall "right mix" is when we should field new military satellite communications systems. Unfortunately, we can't instantly cut over to the new systems. It will take time to procure them, particularly the terminal infrastructure. We must sustain the existing military systems and keep the force structure ready to fight while we evolve to the future architecture.

To meet our warfighters' needs we will also continue to rely on the commercial market to supplement our military systems. In addition to negotiating more favorable leasing arrangements with the service providers, there may also be some opportunities for DoD to reduce life cycle costs by getting in on the ground floor with future commercial market systems. We are exploring ways we can invest early in emerging commercial systems as strategic partners to influence their design and gain affordable access once they are operational. There are many issues and ramifications that we are sorting through to determine the viability of this innovative acquisition approach, but we are excited about the potential benefits it promises.

Our task is a very complex one. We'll have our recommendations for the "right mix" determined by the end of the summer and a roadmap on how we'll accomplish the transition to the next-generation systems by January 1998.

DoD must have assured access and use of the radio frequency spectrum for effective C4ISR [command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], weapon system deployment and effective strategic missile warning and assessment. Loss of any part of the spectrum for military use reduces our mission capability and forces costly re-engineering of our systems. For example, reallocation of portions of the UHF spectrum adjacent to our terrestrial and space operations bands has reduced our ability to support the National Command Authority and provide substantive early warning to NORAD.

Current frequency allocations place the DoD on equal footing with civil systems. DoD fixed and mobile systems, which are normally of high power output, must operate on a noninterference basis with low-power commercial systems. We are conducting studies of the long-term impact to our missions and may be forced to re-engineer our systems in order not to interfere with civil systems and still provide critical data to the military and civilian leadership.

Future space-based systems, such as the Space-based Infrared Radar System, will be designed to operate at higher frequencies that are not currently allocated to the commercial sector. However, SBIRS capabilities could be affected if this frequency reallocation to the commercial sector continues. Commercial reallocations will also force us to redesign the communications backbone of our satellite systems awaiting scheduled launches.

I strongly urge that consideration of the impacts of spectrum reallocation on cost, military and space operations, and ultimately national security must be a priority.

The final program I will address today is NPOESS [National Polar Orbiting Operational and Environmental Satellite System]. In 1994, a presidential directive was signed to integrate Department of Commerce and Department of Defense programs into a single, converged weather satellite system. We signed an agreement in 1995 with a concept of operations defining four phases.

Currently, DoD Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) and the Department of Commerce/NOAA's [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] Polar-orbiting Operational and Environmental Satellite System (POES) satellites are involved in a convergence program. The next generation replacement -- NPOESS -- for both of these systems will also be involved. There are four phases of convergence operations:


  • Through 1998, separate DMSP and POES operations;
  • 1998-2007: NPOESS Integrated Program Office is fully operational and capable of controlling DMSP in Suitland, Md.; Falcon AFB [Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colo.] is backup;
  • 2007 through 2010: integrate DMSP and POES into NPOESS; and
  • 2010: final NPOESS configuration operations.

We are pleased to say that military requirements will be met after the convergence, and the JROC has validated the DoD's requirements for NPOESS. NOAA will operate the converged program satellites. During wartime, no reconfiguration is required since the constellation is configured in peacetime to support military wartime operations.

Space remains on the cutting edge -- support to our warfighter, even the potential for war itself, is moving from Earth into space. I've talked about some of our more significant programs today; however, all available space capabilities are critical if we are to achieve our national security objectives in the most effective and efficient way. Continued support for space programs such as SBIRS, EELV, NMD, GPS, ... and follow-on MILSATCOM remain crucial if we are to assure access and control of space now and in the future.

While fundamental U.S. interests will endure, the global context in which they are pursued will almost certainly change, although the pace and direction of change remains uncertain. Broad national security and military strategy will evolve to respond to new and changing conditions. The 21st century will be distinctly different from the Cold War from which we recently emerged. We can expect a rapid pace of change, unpredictable developments and high levels of uncertainty. The timing and pace at which adversaries' capabilities are introduced will be critical factors in determining the nature of future threats. At a minimum, adversaries will have access to selected high-tech weapons; at a maximum, emerging global competitors will possess capabilities comparable to that of the United States.

In addition, in the spring of 2000, we are faced with the next solar maximum space environmental activity, which impacts DoD radar, communications and space systems not to mention commercial space systems as well. We have a lot of satellites in space -- the communications links they use and their on-board electrical systems are particularly vulnerable to these space environmental disturbances. However, with accurate, timely forecasts and warnings of environmental activity, we are able to work-around these unfavorable environmental conditions.

As we look to the 21st century, we need and expect continued improvement in our space capabilities and in our ability to use them. We have a lot going on in the space business today, but our biggest challenge is developing a road map for the future. It's up to us to determine where opportunities and priorities are and which to migrate to space. Military operations are transitioning to space, and space will be an increasing focus of capabilities and a medium of conflict. What does this mean for us?


  • Our space capabilities will be vulnerable to enemy attack.
  • Increased reliance on space systems means improved capabilities, but also new vulnerabilities. The U.S. must be able to control the medium of space to assure our access and deny the same to any adversary.

We must:


  • Develop robust capabilities for control of space;
  • Continue to use viable nonmilitary space capabilities, services and products when it's beneficial and cost-effective;
  • Fully integrate space capabilities into air, land and sea; assure space contribution into the joint planning and execution phases; and
  • Develop concepts for the Unified Command Plan assigned mission of force application so that if and when our civilian leadership decides it is in our national security interests to pursue these alternatives, we will be ready.

We must dominate the military space dimension and integrate

space forces into our overall warfighting capabilities across the spectrum. As the number of spacefaring nations grows, space superiority will become a must for the United States.

We see USSPACECOM as having a greatly expanded role as an active warfighter in the future as space becomes a more and more important part of military operations. We must be prepared to carry out these missions to protect the U.S.'s growing interests and investment in space if so directed by our civilian leadership.

We have USSPACECOM and NORAD visions that fully support U.S. Defense Strategy and the chairman's Joint Vision 2010; the NORAD vision is also consistent with Canadian Defense Planning Guidance 1997.

Our NORAD vision recognizes the evolution of NORAD to meet the emerging cruise and ballistic missile threats. To effectively counter those threats, our vision directs us toward programs which will provide us with precision tracking and engagement, an integrated battle management and information superiority. We have briefed this vision to the Air Force leadership of both nations so they will know our future requirements. Finally, we are in the process of implementing this vision through NORAD's Planning and Requirements Program.

Joint Vision 2010 provides the conceptual template for our armed forces that will channel our people and leverage the technology opportunities to get the best in joint warfighting. The USSPACECOM vision is our "way ahead" based on the strategic environment and the implications from the projected information age and proliferation of technology.

This vision will guide our journey to the future and involves four operational concepts: control of space; global engagement; full force integration; and global partnerships. We envision control of space through surveillance, assured access, protection of our assets and negating enemy space assets.

Global engagement will see certain terrestrial missions migrating to space. Worldwide surveillance, information dominance, NMD and precision strike are a few examples. Space forces will be fully integrated with terrestrial forces to synchronize and multiply combat effectiveness. This includes getting the right information to the right people at the right time. The complete integration of information on future battlefields requires interoperable standards and fused information systems to enable sensor-to-shooter systems. Finally, the movement toward global partnerships should reduce the military space infrastructure, acquisition cycles and overall costs, freeing those resources for increased military space operations.

Clearly, we are in an uncertain, dynamic environment with a range of concurrent challenges before us between now and 2010. It is safe to say the U.S. will continue to be engaged. We must continue to promote regional stability, prevent and reduce conflict and threats, and deter aggression day-to-day.

We must also be able to respond to the full spectrum of crises. Military superiority remains a necessity in the face of evolving changes. We look forward to the results of the ongoing Quadrennial Defense Review, which seeks to balance current requirements against the need to prepare for the future while sustaining our ongoing efforts.

In the 1996 Annual Report to the President and Congress, the secretary of defense said DoD can no longer afford to rely solely upon defense-unique capabilities and must rely upon commercial or dual-use technologies, products and processes. Global partnerships with governments, corporations and consortia should allow for shared costs, shared risks and increased opportunities. This is part of the USSPACECOM Vision -- it is a living product, and we can implement these ideas through our Space Planning and Requirements System.

It's clear that space systems will help revolutionize warfare because of their present unique capabilities in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; command, control, communications and computers and future unique capabilities regarding space control and force application. Achieving our national security objectives in the most effective and efficient way will require all available space capabilities to be fully utilized for national defense. We must build a space force structure based upon available capabilities and budgetary constraints.

Space operations already play a significant role in military operations and will become increasingly important to the successful completion of most missions in the 21st century. In addition, space control and force application will become more important in the 21st century as access to space becomes more available to many countries in the world. I think it is also clear that although today we use space power to enhance the effectiveness of our terrestrial forces, space power will become a dominating force in the United States.

In closing, from a NORAD perspective, homeland defense is the most basic responsibility of our military. I'm proud to lead the binational command, made up of men and women from Canada and the U.S., representing land, sea and air services, assigned the responsibility of defending our citizens against aerospace threats.

As we execute that responsibility, we are drawn more into the realm of space. So while protecting the homelands with our Canadian allies is Job 1, our current space force structure continues to be a major contributor to worldwide military operations.

In USSPACECOM, we've made good progress in the space business in the past year in areas such as operationalizing space, shared warning and launch.

There's no question the men and women of USSPACECOM are the driving force in the outstanding space support provided to the warfighter -- our space forces stand ready now to support U.S. military forces around the globe throughout the spectrum of conflict. We must keep them trained and ready, and provide adequate quality of life for them and their families.

Our biggest challenge remains the road map for the future. Space and space systems are becoming synonymous with effective operations. We must dominate the space dimension of military operations and continue to integrate space forces into our warfighting capabilities. How well we do this in the future will be a major determinant of how effective the U.S. military is in providing for this nation's national security needs.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. I applaud the support of Congress in the past year, and rely on your continued support in the future.


Published for internal information use by the American Forces Information Service, a field activity of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), Washington, D.C. Parenthetical entries are speaker/author notes; bracketed entries are editorial notes. This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without permission. Defense Issues is available on the Internet via the World Wide Web at http.//