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Remarks to American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Space 2000 Conference
As Delivered by Deputy Secretary of Defense Rudy de Leon , Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, California, Tuesday, September 19, 2000

Mayor [Beverly] O’Neill [of Long Beach], I want to thank you for the comments and the welcome here this morning.

I recall the time about four years ago, a few weeks before Secretary of the Air Force Sheila Widnall signed the largest multiyear contract in the history of the Air Force, $17 billion for the C-17. I read, as we came in at the airport, [that the contract was for] 121 [planes] and more. We’ve just finished work with the British on the lease for four, which we hope opens the door for additional procurement.

I’ve now had the chance to fly the C-17 into Kosovo and into Bosnia with a group of World War II veterans who had flown the hump between Calcutta, India and Kun Ming, China as they resupplied the allies during World War II. We recreated what they had to do in DC-3s and other aircraft flying through the Himalayas. So the C-17 has changed airlift, and I think is one of the remarkable success stories of the 1990s. So I want to thank Boeing for being our host here today.

What a great opportunity to be here in Southern California at Space 2000. This was the heart of America’s aerospace industry in World War II and during the landing on the Moon. So I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge just a few people that are here.

One person that I want to acknowledge is someone that I’ve recognized many times before and have explained how he was a true role model for me in life. But since he’s going to be speaking later, I would like instead to introduce one of the most gracious women in America, a person who just epitomizes everything you would want to know in a great human being -- Annie Glenn. Annie, if you would stand. [Applause.] Of course Senator, astronaut, United States Marine John Glenn is here and will be speaking later. Senator Glenn, it’s always a pleasure. [Applause.]

You are within almost jogging distance of TRW where they designed that throttleable engine for the lunar module. The first man to pilot it was Buzz Aldrin; if you would stand for a second. [Applause.]

Also here is [Lieutenant General] Gene Tattini [Commander, Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center] and John Douglass [President, Aerospace Industries Association] and also one of my previous bosses, a fine Secretary of the Air Force whose tenure was marked not only by her commitment to space and moving the Air Force into space in the 21st Century, but also by her integrity as a person -- a real rocket scientist -- MIT Professor Sheila Widnall. [Applause.]

I would also like all of the military men and women that are here in the audience today to rise for just one second. [Applause.] In a society that is searching for heroes and role models, you’ve just seen several. So we honor those who are wearing the uniform for their commitment, for their great skill and their great professionalism.

Throughout this conference you’ll be hearing from others in the Defense Department about many of the issues facing America’s space program. But I want to take a few moments to offer some broader thoughts on where we are and where we’re headed.

This is a very stirring time to be involved in space. The decade of the ‘90s is behind us and a new decade and a new century are starting. What did you do on your summer vacation? I’ll tell you what I did on mine. I did what I’ve done on several summer vacations. I took my family to Florida for a couple of days. Yes, I took my three-year old and nine-year old daughters out to Walt Disney World. But on the other days we got in the car and drove through Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. And what I came back with after this summer visit, particularly to the Cape, is that the enthusiasm on the Air Force side of our space business -- the military space business -- has never been higher.

Now from the Officer’s Club at Cocoa Beach you can look back at the Cape jutting out there into the Atlantic Ocean, and you can find a few beaches with almost as good surfing as Hermosa and Manhattan and Redondo. And you can look across and see that point -- the Atlas pad and the Delta pad. On a clear evening you can see the lighthouse still shining out there.

Then as you look further you can see the new construction that’s going on there at the Cape. You can see that new Delta pad and how it stands out. It’s a remarkable site. I went there and visited with some of the engineers that are working on it. It really dominates the landscape.

So from the promontory of where the booster will be positioned for launch, you can look back at America’s past space programs. You can look back and see the residual of Complex 34 where the Apollo I astronauts were killed in 1967, and it’s on their shoulders that we’re taking these new steps with Delta.

But let’s also give equal time and equal credit. Just a few miles down from where the Delta pad is going up, there is the new Atlas pad that Lockheed is working on. And if you talk to the young majors and lieutenant colonels who are there who have chosen the launch business and the space business as their profession, you can hear the enthusiasm in their voice when they talk about the new Atlas with the RD-180 engine roaring off the launch pad with such power that it leaves the pad at 60 percent thrust, because at any higher thrust the power would essentially overwhelm the launch complex.

The construction of the new Delta and Atlas pads at Cape Canaveral point the way towards the next decade and the next steps that we’re going to be taking. Indeed, when I recently traveled with a congressional delegation to the Farnborough Air Show, I had a discussion with our colleagues in the French launch business. They asked the question, "How many launches will the United States field? How many commercial launches?"

I said from my perspective as Deputy Secretary of Defense, you’re going to see a strong Delta program and a strong Atlas program for the foreseeable future. And indeed, I think they are paving the way for us. And you can measure it with the confidence and the enthusiasm of the young Air Force officers and other military personnel who are working at the Cape right now. It’s real, it’s there, and it can be measured in the progress that you’re seeing with those new launch pads.

Incidentally, on our Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, the restructure has been completed. This is critical to its financial solvency. We notified Congress yesterday. So from my perspective, everything is clear and go with respect to the Delta and Atlas. So the work is now with industry, with you and your partners at Lockheed.

Additionally, the Department of Defense and NASA are collaborating greatly. I want to thank Dan Goldin [Administrator of NASA], because we’ve had an open door policy with each other. We’ve tried to share issues where appropriate, and I think we are building a very strong relationship between the Department of Defense and NASA. Indeed, he and I spent a week with Senator [Ted] Stevens [of Alaska] visiting Kodiak Island and Shemya Island discussing our future both in military space as well as the very successful last several months that Dan Goldin and NASA have had in terms of the international space station orbiting above.

I was at the Cape a week ago Friday when the space shuttle Atlantis launched. I’ve had the chance to go to the Cape many times since I first went there with my grandfather in 1967. I remember seeing the Apollo 17 launch that took 10 seconds to clear the tower. Indeed, within 10 seconds today, that shuttle is going hundreds of miles an hour, paving the way.

In addition to being at the Cape, one of the great satisfactions of these last several months was to stand in the front of our home in Arlington, Virginia this past Saturday morning at 6:09 a.m. looking Southwest to East-Southeast and seeing the ISS [International Space Station] and the shuttle come over the house. And for my daughters -- who were there watching, not quite sure what they were looking at -- I told them about how when their dad was nine years old we used to sleep in the back yard waiting to catch a glimpse of the Echo satellite as it went across the sky. And I told them that perhaps in 50 years when space travel and space exploration is again something that our society is more preoccupied with than it is today, they’ll be able to tell their children that they stood in their back yard and saw the space station go over.

At the Department of Defense, space forces have taken their rightful place alongside our sea, air and land forces and are now integrated into almost every aspect of modern warfare: identifying targets in our ongoing effort to prevent Saddam Hussein from threatening his neighbors, guiding precision munitions last year in Kosovo with astonishing accuracy, and coordinating our operations all over the world. Indeed, it’s part of our core business and part of Gene Tattini’s core business. And when my friend, General Ed Eberhart, [Commander-in-Chief of Space Command], is here tomorrow, he’ll talk about that. But I think that this speaks volumes about our military’s commitment to space.

Jim [Albaugh, Vice President of Boeing], I thank you for the introduction and for describing my job as Deputy Secretary of Defense. Yes, indeed, I am Rudy de Leon, Deputy Secretary of Defense. There are a number of people, though, in the Pentagon, who think that my name is Jerry McGuire. [Laughter.] General Wehrle [Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs], the Air Force Programmer is here and he knows that the most frequently asked question that I receive is "Show me the money." The Deputy Secretary of Defense has many jobs, but the budgeting aspect is his most critical.

Ten years ago when I was Staff Director of the House Armed Services Committee, I felt that one of the critical issues that was constraining our military programs was the deficit. In fact, the military buildup of the ‘80s started to decline not with the fall of the Soviet Union and the breakup of Communism, but rather with deficit reduction coming from the Congress, specifically, the Gramm-Rudman bills of the late ‘80s.

The deficit was still a principal factor that we were dealing with when I entered the Pentagon in 1993. It was the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in every meeting that dominated the discussion of future planning.

It’s sometimes difficult now to recapture the atmosphere of the fiscal freeze that governed so many of our decisions a decade ago. Looking back at the headlines of the early 1990s we’re reminded of what we faced. One said, "R&D Budget Collides With The Deficit." Another read, "The Deficit Is Job One." And one publication ran a long story entitled simply, "The Long Dark Night Of The Deficit". With mountains of deficits as far as the eye could see, few dared to think in terms of real growth in spending for investment.

Well, less than a decade later we have achieved a sea-change in the financial affairs of the nation. Indeed, the deficit is something that we did, in the middle of this Administration, come to grips with. In fact, the record deficits have become record surpluses.

I note this shift from red to black because it has had an enormous impact on our decisions today and it’s going to have an impact on our security tomorrow. What this translates to at the Department of Defense is new investments, putting dollars aside in the investment category for missile defense, for pay raises for military personnel and for the investment in a Delta and Atlas expendable launch vehicle.

Indeed, over the last several years we’ve undertaken a dramatic program to offer tangible improvements both in terms of meeting the dollars for our procurement numbers, and also for improving the quality of life for the military men and women who serve our country, adding $112 billion in additional dollars to defense through fiscal year 2005.

The Congress supported the President’s plan and added an additional $6 billion in fiscal year 2000. Then in the budget for fiscal year 2001, the President understood the need to break the cost caps on defense and added an additional billion dollars, to which Congress added even more. Now the 2002 budget, which we’re right in the middle of, has additional investment that is coming forward through the President. In less than two years, we’ve added almost $150 billion to the DoD top line for pay and benefits for military personnel, for O&M to make sure that readiness is strong and that spare parts are in the pipe line, and then for the new investments in procurement and research and development that is going to be so critical. Through these actions we’ve reversed a 13-year decline in procurement with increased investments in new tools and technology.

There are a number of other critical issues in addition to the budget and in addition to the excitement that is being generated as new systems come on line. One is how can the industry retain, recruit, and attract very young and capable people? We found that we’re at a critical shifting point in terms of demographics when it comes to recruiting and retention. In the late 1990s there were almost five million fewer 18 to 22 year olds than there were in the 1980s during the buildup. We’re working our way out of that, looking to attract some very capable people from the best and brightest students going on to college.

Mayor O’Neill, you’ll appreciate this. When I was a young person, California and a few other states were the ones that guaranteed some kind of college to every student that completed high school. That has now spread across the United States, to almost all 50 states. So we’re competing with college in ways that we never have before. Indeed, the demographics now are moving in our direction. In fact, by the year 2003 and 2004, they’ll be equal to what they were in the early 1980s.

Just as we have worked at recruiting and retention vigorously on the uniformed side, Secretary Cohen will shortly be approving new modifications to the acquisition regulations that will allow the payment of recruitment and retention bonuses to fill critical positions among our aerospace workers. This is a very, very critical step to take.

There are many challenges that will be discussed in this conference, in the next six weeks, but also in the course of the next year as the new administration frames the issues that will be shaping its tenure. But make no mistake, we are moving in new directions. There is new excitement and new energy, and I think indeed it is reflected in the young military professionals that are working at the Space and Missile Command in El Segundo, that are there at Cape Canaveral, that are there at Vandenberg and Colorado Springs, and indeed, even Shemya Island out there in the Aleutians. A new generation is moving forward and accepting its mantle and its proper role in the development of space in the 21st Century.

In one of his last visits to Cape Canaveral, President Kennedy told the story of two Irish brothers that were crossing a field and then came to a large wall that served as an impediment. Now, the two brothers could have turned back, but instead they threw their hats over the wall and said there’s only one direction for us to go -- and that’s over the wall.

We have some great heroes in the audience: John Glenn, Mercury astronaut; Buzz Aldrin, Gemini and Apollo astronaut; Dan Goldin, who has led NASA in this great decade of transition; Sheila Widnall, MIT engineer and Secretary of the Air Force. And there are many others – [former Secretary of Defense] Bill Perry, [Secretary of Defense] Bill Cohen and others -- who have brought us to where we are today. Indeed, we have set the stage for the 21st Century. It is going to be a time where America will continue to see its future in space and incorporating that into land, sea and air. It is a time of great challenge, but it should also be a time of optimism and encouragement.

So Jim Albaugh, I thank you for the chance to be here today to speak to this conference. I think we’ll have a chance to have questions and answers later on. But I think this will be a vigorous discussion. So for all of my colleagues in the Department of Defense, I thank you for coming here today. Thank you. [Applause.]