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Under Secretary Aldridge Briefing on Acquisition Programs and TIA

Presenters: Edward C. "Pete" Aldridge, USD(AT&L)
February 07, 2003 2:00 PM EDT

(Briefing on acquisition, technology and logistics and Total Information Awareness. Also participating was Michael Wynne, principal deputy assistant under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.)

Aldridge: Good afternoon. I thought most of the people would be shoveling driveways right now rather than being here. (Laughs, laughter.) Something I've got to do when I get home.

Well, I'm Pete Aldridge. I'm the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. I have a few opening comments this afternoon, and then we'll open it up for any questions you have.

I will first address some actions we've taken to modify our operation of the Total Information Awareness project being undertaken by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). As you know, TIA, as we call it, is a project to demonstrate information technologies that can be used as tools to prevent future terrorist acts anywhere in the world. There have been some concerns expressed regarding the protection of the privacy of individuals, and to address those concerns, we're establishing two oversight functions.

The first is a -- we're forming an internal TIA oversight board, which I will chair. This board will establish policies and procedures for the use within the Department of Defense of these technologies and will establish the protocols for transferring those technologies to entities outside of the Department of Defense. Other than myself, the internal board will consist of the undersecretaries of Policy and Personnel and Readiness, the assistant secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence, the assistant secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, the assistant secretary for Public Affairs, the General Counsel and the assistant to the secretary of Defense for Intelligence Oversight. The first meeting of this board will be held at the end of this month.

We're also establishing an external federal advisory committee that would advise the secretary of Defense on the range of policy and legal issues that are raised by the development and potential applications of TIA technologies. The charter of this committee and its members are included in a statement that I believe was released just earlier today; that will give you the names and what the purpose of that external board will be.

I would now like to turn to management and improvement issues and to some of the weapon systems decisions that we've made as part of the president's FY '04 budget quest. Dov Zakheim briefly covered some of these at his budget briefing on Monday, but I'll give you the opportunity to question -- ask questions if you need more detail.

The DOD 5000 series, the documentation that establishes the DOD weapon acquisition system, is ready for the deputy secretary of Defense's signature. We expect that momentarily. The DOD 5000.1 directive is now three pages, with a 5-page attachment. Five- thousand-point-one tells us what we want to accomplish with our acquisition system: Flexibility, responsiveness, the innovation discipline and streamlined management -- streamlined and effective management. The DOD 5000.2 instruction is now 12 pages, with a 24- page attachment, telling us the management framework and the elements that must be incorporated in our acquisition plans, such as evolutionary development, milestone decision points, technology plans and criteria for entering the various stages of the programs. Those are some of the things that they cover.

You can actually read this document and know what to do. And I will -- the old documentation was 250 pages, and I will assert was never read. Hopefully, this one will be.

Q: (Off mike) -- 5000.1 and 5000.2 were 250 pages --

Aldridge: Yes. The directive, instruction and regulation it was a total of 250 pages.

In accordance with my goals, most of our major weapon systems now have an acquisition strategy that includes evolutionary spiral development, and to the best of our knowledge, are properly priced to meet the schedule and performance objectives. We have budgeted these programs, for the most part, based upon independent cost estimates that tend to be more accurate than those provided by the military departments.

I believe these two elements -- spiral development and properly pricing programs -- are essential if we are to deliver the weapon systems to the warfighter on schedule and within the performance that we have promised.

Regarding major acquisition activities, we've added funding -- about $1.3 billion -- for the Army's Future Combat System. The Army has made a conscious decision to defer modernization of some of its legacy equipment in favor of investing in the future of the Army. A major decision is planned for May of 2003 to enter into system development and demonstration Milestone B. We're having monthly reviews with the Army as we lead up to this decision point.

We've restructured the Comanche program. It's now reconfigured for reconnaissance and light attack, and we've reduced the numbers to about 650 -- that's roughly half -- pending the outcome of the review of the Future Combat System of the Army. The program was having some difficulty in achieving its performance objectives for the full attack capability, and we decided to limit its capabilities for now.

Missile defense. The president has directed we provide a limited capability for defense against long-range ballistic missiles by upgrading the missile defense test bed with interceptors, a sea-based component, improved land-based radars, and a plan to evolve this capability through evolutionary spiral development in the future.

The first missile defense component ready for deployment -- the PAC-3 -- is being transferred to the Army in accordance with our management plan for missile defense. You may recall that our management plan calls for the military department to assume the deployment operations after the capability has been developed by the Missile Defense Agency.

We've increased the shipbuilding rate from five ships to seven in FY '04, and plan to gradually increase this rate through the FYDP period. We're continuing with the conversion of the four Trident submarines to very capable conventionally weapon armed SSGNs (Nuclear Powered Cruise Missile Submarine).

The DDX (destroyer) program continues with its focus toward technologies applicable to a family of ships -- cruisers, destroyers, and littoral combat ships -- consistent with last year's restructuring.

The CVNX (aircraft carrier, nuclear, experimental) program has been restructured to place as much technology as possible on the lead ship, now called the CVN-21.

New propulsion plant, electric catapult, reduced manning, improved survivability and more efficient flight operations are the keys to this new carrier, planned to be available in the 2011 period. And plans for a second ship for a start in 2011 will further enhance carrier effectiveness.

F/A-22. We've had some delays in the flight test program that has result in a transfer of some funding from procurement to R&D (research & development). Recent results have shown that the flight-test program is recovering, but we've had to slow the production somewhat in the near term. This has not increased the cost if the program since we have a "buy to budget" plant or the F-22.

We're continuing production of the F/A-18E/F at a rate of 42 per year. We will introduce the production of the F/A-18G, which is the electronic warfare aircraft, in FY '06, and the combination of the Es, the Fs and the Gs will total 42 aircraft a year throughout the FYDP (future years defense planning) period.

V-22. The flight test program for the V-22 is going well, with over 250 hours of testing since its return to flight. They're doing high rate of descent and shipboard compatibility testing now, the more difficult and challenging testing period. I will travel to Patuxent River next week to review the results and the future plans for the flight test program.

The Joint Strike Fighter development is progressing well. There will be a major engine test this year, and we're a little over 2-1/2 years away from first flight of the development aircraft. Our eight international partners are heavily involved in the development, and their local companies are winning contracts for various components. As you know, the United Kingdom picked the STOVL version, the short- takeoff-from-vertical-landing version of the Joint Strike Fighter, for the aircraft that will go on their new carrier, the winner of which we just announced last week.

We're finalizing agreements with Israel and Singapore for potential purchase of the JSF through a security cooperation and participation arrangement. This is much like a foreign military sales activity.

We've accepted the results of the Navy-Marine Corps Tactical Air Integration Study. Better integration of the elements of the Navy and Marine Corps missions and the integration of a more reliable, available and improved capability Joint Strike Fighter has permitted the Navy and the Marine Corps to reduce the number of aircraft required to accomplish their mission. There should be no effect of this decision in the near term, and we expect international sales to more than offset the reduction in the Navy's Joint Strike Fighter numbers.

Other transformational programs are continuing. The Transformational Communication System, TCS, which is the equivalent of putting fiber optics in space; the acceleration of the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) and UCAVs, unmanned combat air vehicles; and a serious start on a spaced-based radar are in the budget. We've accelerated our efforts on hypersonic technology and have allocated about $1.3 billion in our S&T budget -- science and technology budget -- for high-speed hypersonics and space technology.

Let me close by commenting briefly and in general on the president's budget requests. We've done a lot of good things in this budget to address deficiencies and problems. We've balanced our needs for our people, our readiness, our modernization and transformation; we've balanced the near-term risk versus the far-term risk; and we feel comfortable that this balance is right.

However, there are some things we did not do. We would have liked to eliminate sub-standard family housing units faster; we would have liked to have recapitalized our infrastructure at a faster rate; we would have like to have bought more tactical aircraft at a faster pace to reduce the average age of our tactical Air Force; we would have like to have gotten our shipbuilding rate up to 10 ships a year, vs. the seven to sustain the size of the Navy; and we would have like to have gotten our Science and Technology budget up to our goal of 3 percent, vs. the 2.7 percent that's in there now. Again, balance is the key, and we believe overall, it's about right.

Questions? Yeah?

Q: Sir, John Guardiano for Rotor & Wing Magazine. Mind if I ask you a couple of questions about the Comanche program?

Aldridge: Sure.

Q: You mentioned that the numbers were halved, and you attribute that, it seems, largely to the fact that the role is limited to recon and light attack. But I'm hoping you can elaborate upon this. My understanding is that, you know, before the DAB (Defense Acquisition Board) in the fall, the program really was in serious jeopardy. And there was a lot of analysis, there was a lot of reworking, restructuring the program that was done, basically, as I understand, that gave you and gave your staff a comfort level with the program. Can you elaborate upon what sort of restructuring, what sort of analysis gave you a comfort level? And why these numbers, as opposed to the 1,200?

Aldridge: Yeah, the Comanche -- the original Comanche program, which was over 1,200 aircraft, including variants that included light attack plus attack versions. And as we looked at the weight required to do -- hang on more and more capability on the Comanche, it was very clear that the risk was extremely high as we got further and further into heavier and heavier requirements. And that was causing the program to slip, it was causing them to spend a lot of money on capabilities that we weren't sure we really needed. And so we looked at that program to try to reduce the risk, there was an independent look done by IDA (Institute for Defense Analysis), General Larry Welch, who felt that the -- there was too much risk in these high-end requirements. And we decided to slow down the program, focus it on what we could achieve with high confidence, which was the light attack plus reconnaissance, and then look at the structure of what the Army needed for their Future Combat System. All of these are related decisions.

The decision coming up on the Future Combat System (FCS) of the Army in May is really going to be a major decision relative to the future composition and size and components of the Army. We felt that the Comanche program, with its 650 aircraft, looking at the FCS, then we can make a decision on how all those fit together at that particular time. But risk was the key thing behind it.

Q: Can I just follow up on that?

Aldridge: Yes.

Q: One thing in particular, the UAV component of it, you know, a lot of people wonder why can't the armed recon mission be done by a UAV. And there's a big push at the DOD level in the Army to pursue the UAV. There was some analysis done, as I understand it, that basically addressed that question. Can you talk about that?

Aldridge: Well, that was one of the other factors that went into the question of what is the size of the Comanche we should be planning for now. Given we don't know how all that fits together, we can define the structure of the Army that could use 650, roughly, Comanches, and then let these other issues -- Future Combat System, the role of UAVs -- play out before we made a final decision into the direction of the Army.

Q: Adam Clymer of the New York Times. The Senate passed an amendment designed to severely curb both research and deployment of the TIA system. Do you think that the advisory committees, which you have announced today, should lead the conference committee to drop that amendment? Or what do you think about it?

Aldridge: We're working with the Congress on their amendment. We've actually briefed Senator Wyden on that concept, and we think we can probably come to a compromise that is acceptable to us.

Q: But do you think these elements address some of their concerns?

Aldridge: Yes. Yes.

Q: Can you say a word or two about the Boeing tanker lease proposal and how far along you are? You've had a series of meetings. It looks like you're getting close to a decision.

Aldridge: It's hard. We are -- you're right, we have had a series of meetings within the building. We've had Boeing in to talk to them some more. It is a major investment required by the Department of Defense. It's something new, which is -- anything new, people have some questions about whether or not it's doable. But we are working it now. In fact, we're having meetings this week, and we'll try to wrap up some direction, hopefully next week, on this whole idea. But we're looking at the military value; we're looking at then how do we do a lease that would protect the taxpayers' interest; what are the other alternatives, lease versus buy? Those kind of things are all being assessed at this point. No decision has been made as of yet, but we're trying to work those out and come to a decision soon.

Yeah, you had a follow-up?

Q: Yeah, I just want to follow up on that. You say that you're going to come to a decision soon; you want to try to make a decision next week. Did I understand that correctly?

Aldridge: We would like to. Whether or not we can, it depends on a lot of external, whether people can focus their attention on those things.

Q: And did you -- can you talk about the funding for that program and how that is reflected in the budget that you sent up to the Hill?

Aldridge: There's no funding at this point in the budget that's gone before the Hill. There was -- the Air Force had a plan to purchase the aircraft in their program objective memorandum. That is reflected in the out years. But as of right now, there is no funding identified in the FY '04 budget.

If we decided to proceed, we would have to go in with a reprogramming request and work with the congressional committees to find the funds.

Yes, sir?

Q: Yes. Wayne Madsen, Intelligence Online. Did DOD actively solicit participation from the privacy groups to be members of the external oversight board, specifically those groups that had expressed serious reservations about the concept of TIA?

Aldridge: No. What we've done is we formed this external group we have -- which have the expertise to go look into these issues. How they proceed and how they may hold their hearings and maybe they would solicit the groups to come and give them their view -- that would be something that would be worked out by the external.

Way in the back. Yeah?

Q: The UAV/UCAV road map -- isn't that -- the latest version of that about due now?

Aldridge: I saw it as of yesterday -- the draft version. It's --

Q: Talk about it.

Aldridge: (Chuckles.) It is really good. (Laughs.)

Q: How might it affect what you do and how much money may be involved?

Aldridge: Well, let's see. We've -- as you know, we've put a lot of money into UAVs and UCAVs into our budget, both in Predators and Global Hawks. We are working on a joint program between the Navy and the Air Force for a follow-on UCAV. All those are still a little bit in the out years.

The road map really does -- lays out what we want to accomplish, shows the programs that we have currently under way, tries to rationalize a way ahead that avoids duplication. But it's still a little -- it still needs some coordination work to be done. But --

Q: So Northrop Grumman hasn't captured the Navy UCAV with X-47 that -- are you going to reopen the competition in that?

Aldridge: We are looking at what a joint program looks like and what the competition element of that joint program should be.

Q: So you may compete the X-45, X-47 --

Aldridge: We still are working that. We haven't made the final derision on it yet. But we will have a joint program.

Q: Do you have any other details on the UCAV Joint Program Office, where it's going to be --

Aldridge: No. It's being discussed now, and we haven't -- who's going to lead it -- I would speculate and project it will be done -- run much like we're running the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, where there is a lead service program manager, and the other services have the acquisition, and when those services switch, they switch.

Right now, like the Air Force general officer, General Hudson, is Joint Strike Fighter program manager, and the Navy acquisition executive, John Young --

Wynne: I can help a little bit -- (off mike).

Aldridge: Okay. Good. This is Mike Wynne, by the way, my principal deputy --

Wynne: We -- (off mike).

Q: (Off mike) -- the microphone.

Wynne: I'm sorry.

Aldridge: Yeah. Go ahead.

Wynne: We had a session on that very thing. And what we want to do, I think, is let DARPA combine the programs, because they're both DARPA programs, and then move towards a first flight or some objective event before we begin to assign it to an executive agent or service.

The Joint Strike Fighter, what used to be called the JAST (Joint Advanced Strike Technology) -- and even they had a name before that -- started out as a DARPA program. And so it is very much similar to that. But we're going to let it mature under the DARPA umbrella, even if it has interservice program managers.

Aldridge: Okay. Good. Thanks, Mike.

Yes?

Q: Yes, sir. Secretary Rumsfeld told the House Armed Services Committee the other day that if the V-22 doesn't perform satisfactorily during its flight test, it could be cancelled.

What's your own assessment of how that program's working? Are you still as skeptical as you've always been about --

Aldridge: Well, I'm always skeptical until I'm proven otherwise. And they have done -- their flight test program is laid out very well. They are not skimping on doing hard tests early. They're right in that high rate of descent, where the vortex ring state problems exist. They're doing shipboard compatibility testing right now, another problem where you get different flow fields across the ships and integration with other helicopters. They're working on that. My trip next week is to go down and assess where they are, how well they have done, what's the plan for the future, what's the reliability look like in the airplane so far, because they've done a lot of work on that. So my trip next week should give me a little bit better indication of how they are progressing. I haven't heard any real problems yet, but we'll see after my trip.

Yes, right here.

Q: Can you talk about the downsizing plans that you have for the office, the AT&L office? And are you transferring functions to the services, for example?

Aldridge: As you may recall, I had a re-engineering plan for AT&L, both of which includes a reduction in staff by about 15 percent. We're on the track to make that happen. Also we're trying to move some elements of AT&L from the management of certain projects back to the services. I had a listing of those, about $700 million worth of activities that were joint programs that could be given to the services for management. Congress, in their authorization and appropriations bill, have instructed me not to do that.

Q: So you're not transferring that?

Aldridge: We have to -- well, they have told us that they do not want us to do it, even though they did this before I even asked. It was going to be part of the FY '04 budget. We're going to continue to address that and work with the Congress to see if we can --

Q: Why are they opposed?

Aldridge: They're concerned that these joint programs, many of which they provided, once they moved to a military department, that since the military departments tend to look for things that are unique for their spending, that they will raid these joint programs at the detriment of the department and other services to pay for service- unique, and so the result is these programs will go away in some way or form. They're afraid of that. I think we could fix that, but that's their thing.

Let me go right here. Yes?

Q: Under the '04 budget, in the projections, what's the total number of F/A-22s envisioned for the Air Force? And do you think that will ultimately be the number?

Aldridge: As I've mentioned before, we have a plan called "buy to budget." As you may recall, last year when we agreed to proceed with the F-22, there was a big debate between the cost of the Air Force estimate of F-22 costs and the CAIG, the Cost Analysis Improvement Group's estimate -- that was my independent -- of about $7 billion.

We established a program by which we would use the Air Force estimate of cost, but we would only buy the number of airplanes the CAIG says you could buy at that cost, and that was the buy-to-budget. That number was roughly 295, but it permitted the Air Force, if they could in fact achieve cost savings, to buy more, up to the 339 that they would have liked to have had.

As this flight test program has proceeded, and the cost of the flight test activities have gone up, we have deliberately moved money from the procurement account to R&D to pay for that. Therefore, the number of aircraft has to drop. So the number now estimated to be procured at the estimate of the procurement cost is about 276. But the incentive is still there for the Air Force, as they go out into the future, to invest in cost-savings measures, and we will permit them to buy more aircraft within those cost limitations, if they can do that. But right now, it's around 276, which is affordable -- and again, I'm projecting out to the year 2010 now, which is not easy to do, but that's roughly the number.

Right back here. Yeah.

Q: Assuming the V-22 is able to pass its flight test program, when would the program be returned to a full production status? And is that budgeted for in the out years?

Aldridge: There is an increase in the procurement account for the V-22 in the out years, under the assumption that the flight test program is successful. We will have to make the decision on whether or not to continue that production profile probably this summer through the fall, for the FY '05 budget submission that will go next year. So I am very much on top of the flight test program to make sure that so long as it's proceeding in a successful direction, we will continue to do that. If we start seeing some problems occur, we may have to readdress where we go.

Right here. Yeah?

Q: Sir, a study called the ISAT 2002 (information, science and technology) study, "Security With Privacy," said, among other things, that DARPA currently has a number of programs in its, quote, "information offices," meaning Information Processing Technology Office, Information Awareness Office, and Information Exploitation Office, which involve the potential use of information derived from distributed systems, government and private databases.

Aside from the TIA project, which has been widely discussed, what other projects in those three information-related offices raise these type of privacy concerns?

Aldridge: I don't think any of them do. What we're -- a lot of the -- information technology deals with protection of information from outsiders; computer protection for increasing the bandwidth available to communicate, which has always been a restriction. There's lots of these information technology activities.

I am only aware of the one TIA activity that might -- that has raised concerns regarding privacy, but that's the only one I'm aware of.

Mike, do you know --

Wynne: No, no.

Aldridge: Okay. Okay right here.

Wynne: That's the only one I'm aware of, as well.

(Cross talk.)

Q: (Off mike) -- ISAT study though, right?

Wynne: I haven't read that particular study, but I'm aware of the implications.

Q: Thank you.

Aldridge: Right here at the end. Yeah?

Q: The Joint Staff has discussed naming an executive agent for Blue Force Tracking program. Is this something that's on your radar screen yet? And what would you think about it? And how would the services get the money? Because my understanding is that the '04 budget doesn't account for that.

Aldridge: I'm not familiar with the Joint Staff proposal. I am quite familiar with Blue Force Tracking. I think it's an excellent idea. We don't have enough of it. It has a lot of implications for our ability to have a more effective force and certainly to avoid collateral effects, you know, combat deaths and things like --

Q: Is interoperability a current problem, though -- what each of the sources are doing? Do you think --

Aldridge: Absolutely. And I think that's why the Joint Staff is proposing a joint office where we can solve those kind of problems.

Yeah, way in the back.

Q: The Navy's estimating the cost of CVN-21, the first ship, at $11.7 billion, including R&D. Has that number been reviewed by the CAIG? Is that a CAIG number? And are you comfortable that that ship is going to deliver, what, more than two times the value of a Nimitz class carrier?

Aldridge: Well, let's see, I haven't seen the number. I don't know what year dollars that is. If that is in year 2018 dollars, it makes a big difference versus the dollars today. I have not seen it. We are going through the process now. The CVN-21 will come to a DAB for review, and the CAIG, as far as I know, has not reviewed those cost estimates. In fact, we're not even sure exactly all the details of what's going to be in the carrier -- the first unit carrier versus the second. We are very much involved with spiral development of carriers, as well. We don't want to overload the first carrier such that we increase the risk so much that we have to increase its cost even more so. So, the capabilities of what I've seen look very attractive, including not only reducing the manpower, which saved us some money, but also the survivability and effectiveness.

Yeah?

Q: If I might follow up just on that question about the study, I think this is a DARPA study, the ISAT 2000, and it does say a number of programs raise these concerns about private databases. Would you have any objection if I were to talk to the heads of these three offices just to sort of go through this? Because I know there's a lot of issues here.

Aldridge: I think I would talk to Tony Tether (director, DARPA) first. I don't object, but Tony Tether, who's the director, he's the one who puts this all together. I'm not familiar with the study, so I can't comment on the validity of what the study is or not.

Yeah, right here?

Q: On TIA, is Admiral Poindexter still a part of TIA?

Aldridge: Yes.

Q: And do the reforms you mention mean a reduction in size and scope of what TIA could do? Does the --

Aldridge: No. What we're talking about is to give myself and the Department of Defense one more degree of confidence that we're doing the right thing with the project. And there are protocols, that if the project gets -- if the technology is in fact successful -- yet to be proven -- and that the technology -- and an agency outside the Department of Defense wants to use it, we've got the right protocols to transfer that with all the necessary provisions of privacy and things that give us the confidence, supplemented by the external board, which will also review this, and to give us additional confidence that we're doing the right thing.

Q: All right. Just to follow up, if Congress gives you the go-ahead, when do you plan to have TIA operational?

Aldridge: I don't know when it will be operational. It's a technology project. We're -- the FY '04 budget has $20 million in for the TIA project, and I believe FY '03 we had 10 million. And if things proceed in Congress, we'll be spending the money and determining the feasibility. That has yet to be determined. It is still a technology project.

Yeah, Tony?

Q: (Inaudible) -- transformation and a potential war with Iraq?

Aldridge: I think the secretary wants to use the word "transforming" -- (chuckling) -- but that's okay. I-N-G, rather than I-O-N.

Yeah.

Q: We talk about transforming, transformation, whatever the word, in the future. It's always the future.

Aldridge: Mm-hmm. Yes.

Q: We face a possible war with Iraq. Now can you talk about some of the resident technologies that are in field today, that might have some impact on the tactics, techniques and procedures the U.S. would use to fight a fast and furious war, as the president said? What's out there today?

Aldridge: Well, I think -- yeah, what -- I think what you're saying -- what do we -- what is transforming -- transformational today, as opposed to transformational like the future, the -- the transformational comms (communication) system, space-based radar -- those are transformational for the future.

I would say what's transformational today is how we're using the equipment we've got. Clearly, the Special Forces guy on a horseback calling in a B-52 with a -- you know, with precision-guided munitions is a transformational way of using forces we currently have. But stealth was transformational before. It's -- we're using it. Bandwidth is increasing the communications system. The integration of these things together, through the COAC (Combined Air Operation Center) that's in Riyadh or in Saudi Arabia and Prince Sultan Air Base, those are -- we're using -- UAVs are transformational.

So the things that we see in the field, like precision munitions, UAVs, stealth technology, long-range strike aircraft, B-52s, even though not transformational, are certainly being used in transformational ways. So -- and the integration of all this stuff, to be able to pull a lot of different -- lots of information together and go after a target using not only satellites, but JSTARS (Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System) and AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) and P-3s and AC-130 gunships and Predators, all of that information being fed together, and watching the young kids on the chat box in their computers talking -- that's transformational.

Q: (Off mike) -- digitization equipment?

Aldridge: I'm sorry?

Q: The 4th Infantry Division's got the digital equipment -- (inaudible) --

Aldridge: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Q: And a follow-up.

Aldridge: Yes.

Q: One of the worst problems in the Gulf War was fratricide. It was alluded to on this (inaudible). And that's the neutral way of saying killing your own forces accidentally. What progress has been made since the Gulf War in that issue, in the technologies or procedures? There was a BCIS (Battlefield Combat Identification System) system that was cancelled a couple years ago that was supposed to solve all that. You indicated some concern about interoperability problems.

Aldridge: Well, I'm afraid we haven't solved all of it. We saw the problems with some unfortunate deaths of Canadian soldiers quite recently. And we need to work on it. We are making progress. I'm not sure I can tell you exactly how far we've gone, but we do have some blue force tracking capabilities. We'd like to get more of it. I think combat ID and combat identification is a very good thing for us to do.

Progress is slow, but I -- we need to make more progress, I would say.

Let me go to somebody else here. Yeah, right here.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about changes to the B-1? There's talk of it being -- (off mike) -- extended range. It was built to penetrate, and that seems to not be the case anymore. And what that means for the bomber fleet.

Aldridge: Well, as you know, we had roughly, I think, 97 -- 96, 97 B-1s. We took 33 of them out and used the money to modernize the other ones that were remaining. So we've put improved equipment on it. And as the B-52 ages and our weapons systems, or precision weapons systems get developed, we try to adapt the airplane, which has basically now become a truck, to deliver the munition. It's not the airplane that's important, it's delivering the munition on the target that's important. And the B-52 is quite capable of doing that, but we need to make sure we continue to improve it in its defensive capabilities against more aggressive threats and to give it survivability by giving it a longer-range munition and things like that. So the B-1 is continuing to -- you did say B-1?

Q: B-1, yes.

Aldridge: Yes. Okay. I had a thought maybe you said B-2. (Laughs.) No, but it's going go be around for quite a while, but we'll improve its munitions as time goes on.

Yes? Way in the back. Right there. You.

Q: I'm just wondering if you could tell me whether Admiral Poindexter will remain in charge of the Total Information Awareness project for the indefinite future; and if so, will his role change in some way by having a board overseeing his activities? And I also wondered if the outside board will have any binding nature to its recommendations.

Aldridge: I don't want to get into personalities. And I really don't want to debate the merits of TIA. Let me talk about the board. The board -- the internal board, certainly as I will chair it, is focused upon what we in the Department of Defense are doing to make sure that we feel comfortable as one more checkpoint that things are going right and that we have all the restrictions in place, and if we ever do transition it to another agency, it's done in a proper manner.

The external board, which will be set up as a -- under the law, the Federal Advisory -- FACA -- Federal Advisory Committee Act -- something like that -- will have -- it will be set up and it will run just like one of those federal advisory boards. There will be -- in accordance of that, there will be meetings which will be established and public in some cases, unless they get into classified information. There will be opportunities for people to come and talk to the board, provide their advice. They will be run just like any other advisory committee, under the chairmanship of Newt Minow, and other people who are named in the press release. All have credentials and expertise in this area. And I think that gives us one other dimension that checks but not -- it's external and it will be reporting to the secretary of Defense, it's advisory to him. And I'm sure there are lots of issues regarding privacy and other things that go beyond just what the TIA does; there's things of how you handle detainees and things of that nature that this board can in fact advise the secretary of Defense about.

Q: Just to follow?

Aldridge: Yeah.

Q: So he is still in charge of that?

Aldridge: He is still there.

Q: You weren't suggesting anything other than that?

Aldridge: No, I'm not suggesting any changes.

Q: Sorry, I have an early deadline. Do you have -- can you run through that list of the internal board quickly again? It's something I --

Aldridge: I don't have it in front of me, but --

Q: (Off mike.)

Aldridge: Is it on the --

Q: Is it on -- because I don't see it on --

Aldridge: Let -- can you take that question, go to somebody else?

Yes, right here.

Q: I just wanted to follow up on the 5000 series pages, your streamlined acquisition roles. Beyond sort of incorporating or putting more of an emphasis on spiral development and properly funding, is it also intended -- is it your intention with these simpler rules to make it easier for non-traditional companies to get into contracting --

Aldridge: Yes, exactly right. What we're trying to do here is that we're trying to tell the program manager in the acquisition community: This is what we want you to do; we want you to be flexible and innovative and responsive, and we want you to streamline the process, but I don't want to tell you how to do that. When you do it, I want to be -- I'm interested in interoperability, I'm interested in safety, I'm interested in properly pricing programs, I'm interested in a whole series of things -- and you'll have copies of this when it's signed -- of all the things that we want you to incorporate in your processes that are important to us.

And we lay out in the instruction: Here is a series of milestones. We want you to do Milestone A, Milestone B, Milestone C, and here are some criteria to how you should enter these various milestones. And we're interested in spiral development, and we're interested, again, in properly pricing, we're interested in reducing risk, we're interested in the technology plan.

So it's prescribing what we want you to do, but not the recipe of how to do it. And that's what was happening in the old series -- the 250 pages. We were giving them gory details about how to do something, and that's not -- and nobody was reading it. I read something the other day, an article that said, "Well, the new series really doesn't do anything different." And I said, "Well, how do you know? Nobody's ever read it. You have to get the two together and understand it."

So, anyway, that's kind of a thing.

Yeah, right here.

Q: In the proposed numbers for the fiscal year '04 and 05 budgets, I notice there is a decrease for DISA procurement by several hundred million dollars, and there is an increase by '05 for something like 600 (million) or $700 million in procurement funds for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. What correlation is there between this shift in numbers? It's almost an equal number.

Aldridge: I have not a clue. (Laughs.) Sorry. I don't know whether DISA (Defense Information Systems Agency) -- they had bought something in '03, they weren't buying it in '04 and therefore the numbers went down. And I don't understand -- is it for procurement? I just don't know.

Q: It's specific to procurement. And just to follow up on that, an analyst from the Center for Strategic and International Studies surmised that possibly this is related to efforts over the years to centralize buying power in DOD rather than having it --

Aldridge: No. In fact, it's just the opposite. That's what my proposal was, to decentralize, get the buying stuff out of OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense)`. Our job in OSD is to provide policy and guidance and not to manage programs. And what was happening is, my office was -- everything that was a joint thing and they didn't' want to give it to the service, they were giving it to my office, and I was having to manage almost $2 billion worth of effort a year. And we are the wrong people to manage things like that. It needs to get back to people who have the management skills.

QIs there anybody else here who might be able to explain why suddenly the Office of the Secretary's --

Aldridge: I would address --

Q-- (inaudible) -- to 700 million?

Aldridge: Well, why don't you ask one of the public affairs, and we'll just go ask the comptroller and we'll find out.

Yeah?

Q: As it's currently worded, the Wyden amendment, if that were adopted, how would that impact the development of total information awareness?

Aldridge: Again, I'm trying to avoid getting into this big debate. It would restrict the activities of -- Mike? It seems like -- what I'm worried -- what I'm thinking about, there were versions of it. Go ahead.

Wynne: (Off mike) -- because we've seen so many versions of it. But what it would do is simply require more reporting to Congress over the activities that are in place now. And I think while we want to share as much as we can with the Congress, especially on this sensitive issue, we really don't think it merits that kind of day-to-day oversight. So what we are trying to do is work with the Congress, in fact, to point out to them that with this kind of resolution, with the inside board and the outside board, we are instituting the kind of oversight that in fact they wanted us to.

Aldridge: Great.

Yeah. Let me go right here. Yes?

Q: You talk about the Navy family of ships. The Navy is trying to push the littoral combat ship, get it fast as they can. And Ronald O'Rourke and some of the outside analysts have said the Navy has not done the analysis to determine whether this is the proper ship to doing the kind of missions it's being sent to do.

You've seemed to have signed off on this as a program, and you're normally a little more calculating about, you know, requiring analysis on how these things proceed.

Aldridge: No. Let me clarify. I don't know what the littoral combat ship looks like either, and neither does the Navy. But the concept of a littoral combat ship, where you have a smaller ship that's not -- that can do a better job -- and you could buy more of them -- that can handle the littoral areas, is a direction which we've all signed up to in the Defense Planning Guidance and the Quadrennial Defense Review as something that's necessary. And we don't want to have this ship really big so we can't buy very many of them. We want them to have a lot of capability. And what it looks like is yet to be determined.

That process is ongoing in the Navy, and when we get to the point where we have to enter into Milestone A and Milestone B, we will have all those answers. Otherwise, we can't go into those milestones.

Q: Yeah, but if they want to have -- buy the first ship in '05, from a standing start of just months ago, and have the first ones in the fleet in '07, you know -- I know you guys are trying to speed things up, but can you do it that fast?

Aldridge: I will be a skeptic, again, on this one. It's going to -- it has to be proven to me that we can do it that fast.

Yeah, Tony?

Q: The F-22 question --

Aldridge: Yeah.

Q: -- you said very cryptically that if the test program appears to be recovering --

Aldridge: Yes.

Q: -- Zakheim (Dov Zakheim, DoD Comptroller) alluded to this the other day -- what are some of the benchmarks of recovery?

Aldridge: What was happening was, because we didn't have spare parts, and we didn't have airplanes, the test points -- we have a drawdown, a number of test points -- and you can go down to where you get to the point where then you enter into OT&E, or operational test and evaluation. We weren't going down that slope as fast as we would like.

They've reenergized it, and now we're coming down that slope as fast -- faster than we were before. And it looks like we can meet the schedule, if those test points can be flown as rapidly as they say. And it looks like they can.

The other part of it was the avionics package, and that was a question of two things. One is the reliability. That's when you turn it on, what's the probability it's going to work, and then once they turn it on and it's working, how long does it stay working? And those two are called reliability and basically sustainability or stability for the thing.

We were having some problems there of -- the reliability coming on was down, and it didn't run very long before they have to reboot it. And that was causing us some problems in the software package. That seems -- that reliability and the stability numbers now seem to be on the rise, which gives us some confidence that the thing will work. So --

Q: How long -- how many more months do you want to see the trend rise before you declare a success?

Aldridge: (Chuckling.) Declare victory?

Q: (Off mike.)

Aldridge: Well, I think the key to that is that we have to have a certain number of points done and the avionics package stability to where we start OT&E, operational test and evaluation, and that is in the summer period. I'm going to say July/August period.

Q: There is an objective criteria, and not a subjective --

Aldridge: Right. Well, they have to have so many down to where they can enter into it with a production representative airplane to start OT&E.

Yeah, right here.

Staff: We need to break, sir. So let's take about two more.

Aldridge: Yeah.

Staff: Maybe somebody that hasn't had a chance to ask a question first, though. Maybe Hunter in the back there.

Aldridge: Yeah, okay, I'm sorry. I didn't see you back there. Go ahead.

Q: A question about the Marine Corps in the upcoming '04 budget cycle. There's a big study underway now about expeditionary warfare and forcible entry.

Aldridge: Right.

Q: The Navy looks like it's made some decisions to delete some research and development funding out of the AAAV (Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle) program. And you yourself have, you know, considerable questions left in the V-22 episode. Does all of this add up to, you know, essentially a major review getting underway now of the whole Marine Corps modernization process and where they're headed with their --

Aldridge: Yeah, the study is a review of forcible entry, and that is a question of what do you mean by forcible entry? Does that mean going across the beach? Going over the beach? What does it mean about the equipment it carries -- the Marine Corps and the Navy -- to the beach? All of that is under review, and it could, in fact, have an impact upon the modernization of the direction we take for the future, very definitely. That's why we have it underway.

Let's see. Right there -- I guess that's you.

Q: I wanted to ask you a question about Joint Strike Fighter costs. One of the benefits of having international partners in the program is that U.S. buys are reduced; foreign buys could offset the price difference that usually comes along with that. The international partners in the program so far have expressed interest in the Air Force, the STOVL version of the plane, not the Navy's carrier version -- that's the version that's being cut by the Navy at this point. What's the cost effect of that going to be? And does that affect just the Navy or all the services?

Aldridge: Well, the -- look, first of all, I have no idea how many airplanes we're going to buy in Joint Strike Fighter in the year 2020, which is when all of this occurs. But the unit cost numbers, in spite of the reduction, are holding at what we set ourselves for a goal; roughly for the conventional airplane, $37 million a copy in FY '02 dollars. The carrier version is a little more expensive because it has to carry more weight and some leading-edge flaps and things like a bigger wing to make sure it can do it with the right attitude. And that number's around $47 million. And the STOVL version, strangely enough, is actually less -- it's only $46 million in current estimates. Those are holding. And it is very important that we keep those -- that affordability number. And if we can get any additional international sales beyond the -- roughly, the 2,600 that we plan for the U.S. and U.K. in our purchase, then those costs will come down even further.

Yes?

Q: My name's Jim McGee from Congressional Quarterly. And I apologize if I'm not that familiar with the conventions of these briefings. I received an e-mail that said you would be providing a program update of Total Information Awareness.

And so I'm not trying to draw you into a debate, but I'd like to ask the question, can you tell us how much money has been spent, of whatever funds may be available, on this research and its components so far today?

Aldridge: I can tell you what's in the budget. I don't know -- I can't tell you precisely how much today we've spent. We had $10 million for this project in FY '03. The project for the president's budget is $20 million in FY '04. And beyond that, I haven't a clue because we haven't really laid out --

Q: And the contracts have not been let, or have they been let?

Aldridge: There are some contracts have been let for people to work on this. I don't know which ones they are.

Q: Thanks very much.

Aldridge: Thank you.

STAFF: Thank you, sir, for coming down. And thank you all for coming today.

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