(Special Briefing on missile defense. Slides shown during this briefing are located at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jun2002/g020625-D-6570C.html .)
Staff: Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us this afternoon. Today we welcome back to the briefing room Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish, the director of the Missile Defense Agency. I kind of feel as if he's a man that doesn't need any introduction. He's certainly not new to this room, and most of you that follow this important issue and this important program know him. But it's been a while since he's been in our room, and we thought it would be a good idea to invite him back here to give you an update on the missile defense program.
As director of the Missile Defense Agency, General Kadish is responsible for research, development and testing of all the components of the program. He's prepared today to give you a brief update on the current status of the program and to discuss in some detail what lies ahead. He has a few brief remarks -- actually a presentation, probably about 15 minutes or so, and then we'll be prepared to take some of your questions. We have about 45 minutes today for this briefing, so let's go ahead and get started.
Q: Does it work?
Kadish: Yes. Well, good afternoon. I guess it's afternoon. It's been a number of months since I've been here to update you all on what we're doing in missile defense and to kind of put it in context. And so I thought it would be good to start with a presentation; to go back to basics, explain where we are, and then show some of the results of our test program and explain some of the problems we're going to face in the coming weeks and months. Some of you may be familiar with this in some detail; others will probably need a refresher.
So, with that, I'd like to just show some charts. And these will get complicated, but if you'll bear with me, I think I can work through and explain what we're trying to talk about. So let's go back to basics to review what we're trying to do in terms of solving the problem that is missile defense and what we're trying to defend against.
But before I do, I'd like to make basically two points about the program. The first is, on this first chart that we no longer make a distinction between theater missile defenses and national missile defenses like we did in past years. And this will become apparent in a little bit when I talk about the threat of the basic ballistic missile. And our goal is very simple: to defend against limited long-range threats and robustly against shorter-range threats. And this will also become important to understand as we go through this.
Now before you ask, the withdrawal from the ABM Treaty occurred last week, and it was a major event for the program because the treaty was very good at what it did and for many purposes was a governor on the program.
What this withdrawal allows us to do now is to explore the potential of different elements of approaching the missile defense problem in greater detail and provide more realistically for the testing of these types of systems. And it allows us to discuss this problem more in detail with our allies, because the treaty prevented that type of discussion in the past.
Now let's talk about what exactly are we trying to do in defending against a missile attack. And of course you know there is no missile defense once the missiles are launched today.
This is a basic depiction of a ballistic missile trajectory. And if you'll bear with me, I'll go back to basics, because what I'm going to talk about later will become very important to understand this problem.
First, it has to boost.
Secondly, once the warhead separates and goes ballistic, if you will, through space, it coasts in the midcourse, and then, as it reenters the atmosphere towards its target, in the terminal phase, it actually zeroes in on the target complex it's being aimed at.
Now each one of these phases have a different set of countermeasures, and they have a different set of problems for a missile defense system. In the boost phase, you tend to protect the world from a specific location, so geography counts very much in this problem. And the time lines are extremely short.
In the terminal phase, when it's reentering, you have kind of the opposite problem. You're defending a particular territory or location from the world of the threat.
And then in the midcourse, because the time lines are longer, up to 20 minutes, you're defending regions, if you will, depending on the range of the missile.
Now the countermeasure problem we've been talking about for some time occurs mostly in the midcourse -- this idea of decoys and replicas that might confuse the defensive system. But there are countermeasures in each one of these phases, should we try to address each one of the phases.
Now you also have what's depicted on this next slide -- the ranges of missiles. And this is why we no longer talk about theater- national distinctions, because even though that ballistic trajectory is the same, it could go different distances, depending on the type of ballistic missile we're talking about, all the way from short to ICBM class.
And just take a minute to explain what we're talking about here. If you look at this chart, we have basically short-range missiles in the zero-to-600-kilometer range. And to put that into perspective, that's what we would classify defense of Tel Aviv from Iraq during the Persian Gulf war. You move over a little bit to that medium range, 0-1,300 kilometers, and that's defense of Japan from North Korea -- that range. And if you move over still to the intermediate range, around 3,500 kilometers, that's defense of Northern Europe from, say, Libya, or the Middle East. And then you've got the overarching ICBM class that could threaten the continental United States.
So when you look at this problem, no one-system element could handle all these ranges and all the different phases of the trajectory. So it's a very complicated problem. And it's been insoluble for -- since the ballistic missile was invented.
Now, what's our solution to this. Well, we have postulated what we call layered defense, depicted in this chart. And the idea is very simple. When you have a layered defense, you try to overcome the missile in the boost phase, in the mid-course phase, and potentially in the terminal phase. And you have multiple shots at each phase. And that's what we're trying to do with our program today, is build this layered system as best we know how to do and as quickly as we could do it against all ranges of threats. And this, then, becomes the very effective counter-countermeasure at the system level that we've been looking for in terms of the decoys and the various ways you can defeat a system, because countermeasures that work in one phase will not work in another. Countermeasures that work in boost will not work in mid-course, those types of issues. So if we can build this type of system, then we can have a very effective counter- countermeasure and complicate our adversary's tasks tremendously.
Now, in order to do that, we postulated a program last year that builds on where we are in terms of our investments to date and we manage it as one single defense program. And this outlines on the left-hand side the different phases of the trajectory that we're trying to counter and the different options we have within each one of those phases to actually accomplish this mission. And we intend over time to meld these different elements that we've been working on for some years into an integrated layered missile defense against all ranges of threats. And we've been talking for a number of months now about in the process of developing this layered system we could have individual emergency capabilities that could be used to defend the country in our deployed forces and allies: very limited, but it exists nonetheless. And we've requested close to $8 billion a year to get this job done.
Now, inherent in each one of these very aggressive RDT&E efforts is our -- this idea of a testbed that we have in the Pacific. And I think a lot of you have watched with some interest our long-range missile tests from California to Kwajalein, and some of them have been very spectacular. But this test range as we currently have it architected, as complex as it is -- and it is very complex to do these kinds of tests at intercontinental ranges -- is not where we need it to be in order to robustly test this system and make it more operationally realistic over time. It requires a major investment to upgrade.
And what this chart depicts is the trajectory from Vandenberg to the South Pacific, over 4,500 miles away, and that little circle that you see on the chart is where we do the intercept. And if we don't change anything in the test structure today, that's all we'll ever do, is in that one little area. I have to remind you again, that's still a very complex test and very worthwhile, but we want to expand our ability to do that. And that's what this very complex chart is attempting to show, is that we want to put more of those circles where we do intercepts over the Pacific Ocean with different geometries, different decoys, if you will, and add the different elements as we develop them in the boost phase and in the terminal phases, against all ranges of missiles, and make this a very effective national test asset to answer some very difficult questions that are facing us.
So this is what the Fort Greely groundbreaking was all about as one of the first steps to make this a more realistic, more complex and more challenging test environment in order for us to answer those tough questions.
Now, one thing I didn't talk about was how we actually accomplish the missile defense intercept and the phenomenology we use. And I'll just remind you again what that is, what actually happens in those circles at very high altitudes in outer space. What we're trying to do is get two bodies -- a threat reentry vehicle and our kill vehicle, what we call the EKV, for lack of a better term -- and we get them into the same space at the same time so that they collide, and the sheer force of that collision destroys the warhead that's threatening us.
Now, that requires an awful lot of computers and sensors and communications lines and phenomenology that we've been working on for some years, and we've made good progress along those lines, especially in the last 18 months to 24 months, and in building a record -- to answer one of the three questions that we have facing us.
Now, I'm going to show you a very complex chart, but I'd also like to spend some time explaining it because this is the heart of the point I was just trying to make. Each one of these depictions on this chart is an intercept attempt since 1983. And there are a few things you need to know about this chart. First is that the dividing lines that go across the chart horizontally are representations of the altitude that the intercept occurred. So the bottom bar is in the atmosphere, the middle bar is in the trans-atmosphere area, and then the top bar represents outer space. And you can see we have been attempting a series of intercepts to prove this hit-to-kill concept since 1983.
The second thing you need to know about this chart is green is good, all right? Where there's no green, we had some sort of a failure to accomplish the test objective. So you can see a smattering of green on the left-hand side in the early years, where we were demonstrating the basic concepts of hit-to-kill, and then you see in the right-hand side, in the last few years, where we've actually been having great success with the concept of hit-to-kill. And the question we've, I think, answered by depicting these intercepts this way is that in the last year or so, we have answered the question that we have; basically, can we do hit-to-kill? All right? And I think we're developing a confidence that that answer is going to be yes.
There are two more questions to be answered, however: Can we do it reliably? And the third question is: Can we do it reliably in the presence of countermeasures in this particular mid-course system?
I'd point out that if you look in the top left-hand corner of this chart, where it says HOE, the Homing Overlay Experiment, that vehicle was 2,400 pounds. Very large vehicle. You go over to IFT-8, the one on the right-hand side that we just accomplished six months ago almost now, that vehicle was 123 pounds. So the idea is that we have this very sophisticated robot traveling at very high speeds with computers on it and sensors on it that could go tell it where to hit a very small warhead in a space about this big.
Now, if I might, I would like to spend just a minute with the video now, because what I want to show you is a perspective of these types of tests. We've had our share of failure, there's no doubt about it -- but a perspective on these tests, when you string them all together in the atmosphere, in the trans-atmosphere, in outer space, against short-range, intermediate-range and long-range missiles, to demonstrate a perspective that I think we've answered that first question, and that is, can hit-to-kill work? So, if you could roll that film, I'll narrate it.
Q: How much is the hit-to-kill -- how much is the kill vehicle? How much does it weigh?
Kadish: The EKV is 123 pounds.
Now, this is layered defenses, and I'll try to put each one of these flight tests into a context of boost, midcourse, and terminal phases. And then they go long-range, medium-range and short-range. And we'll brighten up the various phase that we're trying to actually accomplish here.
The first one is a Patriot 3. It's against short-range missiles in a terminal mode. So, it's a point defense system. We're seven for 10 out of this particular test series against ballistic missiles. This is a target launch at White Sands on the sixth test. And it gives a pretty good perspective of what happens.
This is the Patriot launching after that target, and it maneuvers into a place where it'll actually hit the kill -- the incoming warhead and destroy it through sheer impact force of kinetic energy. And at the end, you'll see these little rocket motors firing to get it very precisely lined up. And here it goes. So, you see, we're seven for 10. We've had some problems in the operational test arena, but we will work through those and we'll make this system very effective.
The next one is the terminal phase, the THAAD [Theater High Altitude Area Defense] program that we did about a year and a half ago, two years now. This occurs in the trans-atmosphere or on the edge of outer space, 140 kilometers or so up. This is a THAAD launched toward the target. You can see it's a very energetic missile. And you have another view here of it taking off and doing a maneuver to dissipate some energy to stay on the range. And then it climbs to meet the RV, or the reentry vehicle.
The next shot, you'll see the actual kill vehicle for the THAAD maneuvering towards the target. And then you'll see the intercept at slow motion. So, we very accurately placed that, and that's real time.
Now, the next sequence will show what the exact last frame that the seeker saw before it impacted the target. And you'll see it in the infrared, so it'll look strange, but imagine yourself being the kill vehicle and seeing this in slow motion. And you can get a picture of how accurately we actually hit that target.
Q: So, how's it done?
Kadish: Two out of eight. We have a lot of problems with it.
Now, in the midcourse, we have ground-based long-range missile tests, the ones that I've been in this room explaining before. This is the target launch out of Vandenberg. It's 4,500 miles downrange to Kwajalein Island. This is a Minuteman. This is the interceptor at Kwajalein at the Reagan test site with the kill vehicle on top, the 123-pound kill vehicle. It rises to meet that warhead at 240 kilometers in outer space. And that's the prototype interceptor boosting the kill vehicle. And you'll see the target in the infrared approaching in slow motion and doing the actual intercept. And then you'll see a radar trace on the left and the visual on the right, and we confirm the hit in many different ways.
Now I'm going to transition to the sea-based or the Aegis Leap Interceptor program. It's also in mid-course, but against intermediate range missiles. And we've done two of these tests. The first one is depicted here. The target launches out of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands, and the Lake Erie Aegis cruiser was downstream about 500 kilometers. And that's the Standard Missile 3 being fired from the Lake Erie to do the intercept.
Now, the first test we didn't have as an objective to actually hit the target, but we did so well we did actually hit the target. And this is what the seeker saw -- right before it hit.
And we did the last one a week or so ago, on the 13th, the second one in a row against the same target, same test, but this time the objective was to hit the target. And I'll show you what it looked like. Here's the target out of Kauai. And again, this is an intermediate-range missile. This is the Standard Missile 3 interceptor leaving the Lake Erie, climbing into outer space to do the intercept. And this is a picture of the kill vehicle maneuvering, and the target coming in and seeing the intercept happen. And again, the last frame will be what the seeker saw in the kill vehicle as it approached the target and we actually cut it in half.
Q: You're two for two on the Aegis --
Kadish: Two for two.
Q: We're seeing what we're seeing. Is that really -- is there a camera on the lens, or is that kind of --
Kadish: That is exactly what the kill vehicle sees in order to do the intercept. We just transmit it through telemetry back to the ground station to see it. And, of course, it disappears as soon as it actually hits, but that is exactly what the seeker saw. So you're seeing what the kill vehicle saw right before it hit. And we're able to do that because we have telemetry back to the ground test infrastructure. And again, that's what the testbed does. It allows us to gather that data, to be able to sort it out and determine what truth is and how it actually performed versus our expectations.
Q: So it's like a TV camera on the seeker?
Kadish: It is an infrared sensor, and we take the data off that sensor, and it's the same infrared sensor that guides the kill vehicle into the intercept.
Q: Do you know the rate of closure, particularly on the high- altitude midcourse?
Kadish: The ground-based rate of closure is about 15,000 miles per hour. And on this particular test, I have to get you that number. I don't -- Rick Lehner can get it to you afterwards [closing speed for both the target and the interceptor for the two sea-based tests was approx 4km per second].
Now we've had a lot of activities in the calendar year 2002. (To staff.) And if you can go back one, in the summary -- before the summary, I just want to point out that on the 3rd of January we were basically reorganized and named the Missile Defense Agency from the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. And we've had an awful lot of events since that date over six months ago. And we intend a very aggressive program over the next six months to two years to further bring this layered system into reality.
Now again, I point -- I show where we are with that missile defense -- kinetic hit-to-kill concept primarily because sometimes we don't put it all in context. But we have a long way to go in maturing this technology. We have -- next year we will have 100-year anniversary of manned flight. And we're still pushing the edge of the envelope with our weapons systems -- the F-22, the JSF. In missile defense, we've been basically at this hit-to-kill concept since the mid-80s. So the maturity contrast between building fighter aircraft or aircraft in general and what we're doing here is a very big contrast and a big challenge for us in missile defense.
And I told you earlier we are trying to answer three questions: Will hit-to-kill work, hit a bullet with a bullet? Will it work reliably enough to be effective? And will it be effective enough against countermeasures of all types?
Now we think we've answered that first question. We are actively pursuing those second two. And before you ask me, I won't know exactly when we will answer them, but I will be here explaining them as soon as we do.
So, in summary, we've made a lot of progress. This is a very intense RDT&E program. We're making big investments in our test infrastructures and in our program elements in order to move this technology as quickly as possible towards a deployable and effective weapon system.
That's all I have for you in terms of the formal briefing. I hope that wasn't too basic for you, but I thought it was important to get back to basics on missile defense.
So now I'll take your questions.
Q: General, you've raised the possibility that the sea-based, the intermediate-range defense might be -- could be, possibly be deployed in 2004. Would that be the first system deployed aside from perhaps PAC-3, which is end-phased for a battlefield-type attack. What do you think will be the first defense actually deployed?
Kadish: First --
Q: And could it be deployed as early as 2004?
Kadish: The first defense we are actually deploying is Patriot 3. And we have declared an operational capability on this last September with 16 missiles. And we are building on that rapidly. We had some problems in OT -- operational test -- over the past few months that we're going to correct. But basically that system is ready to be used by our deployed forces for point defenses.
In terms of the sea-based, we are in a very interesting and enviable position in terms of that particular project, the Aegis LEAP intercept project. We have accomplished, with those two successful intercepts, and looking deeper into what we intended to do in terms of our specific objectives, we've accomplished all of our objectives for that project in the first two flight tests. So the question then becomes, what do we do with the rest of the flight tests in order to move this particular effort faster than we would if we had some failures in the process. So we're evaluating that, and the idea here is -- and we've said this and it's embedded in our program proposal, is where we could accelerate and take advantage of our testing successes and the confidence that they engender in our approach, we ought to do that. And this is one where we're going to consider that on.
Q: It's possible, again, that that might be deployed as early as 2004, given the caveat?
Kadish: We're going to work -- we're going to work as hard as we can to deploy our systems as soon as possible. And I can't tell you the exact date right now, but we're heading somewhere in the mid- decade time frame, in the four to six to eight-year time frame of this decade.
Q: Can I do a follow up on that, if I may, General? Intel has told us here, you and others, that the most immediate threat, foreseeable threat, is from North Korea as early as 2004; ICBMs that can hit Alaska and, with a smaller payload, hit the West Coast of the United States. If I read you, what you're saying is we may not necessarily -- we being the United States -- ready to counter those missiles by 2004. If we can, obviously, an Aegis system requires picket ships off the coast of Korea. How would you do it with a Patriot 3?
Kadish: Patriot 3 has no capability against long-range missiles. They're a short-range missile site. But, if you're in Korea, in South Korea, they make a lot of sense for that particular threat.
So, one of the things I think everybody has to understand is you just don't develop -- I just showed you a chart that we've been working on hit-to-kill since 1983, and we're just now beginning to realize the benefits of that investment. It takes time for these systems to develop. But once we actually get the basics down, I would expect, just like any other system has experienced, rapid progress in meeting the threat as soon as we can do it. I would point out the airplane analogy again. If I got my numbers right, the airplane we first flew in 1903, big surprise to a lot of people. Eight years later, we had systems being used in warfare. So, there's a time frame here we've just got to be patient about.
Q: May I do a follow-up just to press you about it, if I may? You really didn't answer the question. Are you going to be ready by 2004 to meet a threat from North Korea, if they have operational ICBMs by 2004?
Kadish: We are going to have -- we will have a test bed by 2004 that could have some emergency capability against long-range threats from North Korea.
Q: That doesn't mean 100 percent though, does it?
Kadish: It'll be the best we can do at the time. And if we can do better, we will.
Q: General, do you -- two things. When is the next task, and is it ground-based or sea-based? And number two, can you explain the decision that was made three weeks ago not to review information about countermeasures and so on beforehand and even afterwards -- the test results other than you hit it, you didn't hit it?
Kadish: We are currently projecting our next ground-based midcourse system test in mid-August. And right now, that looks pretty good for a number of reasons. We track a lot of indicators on that. The next sea-based midcourse test, we're talking about November time frame at this point. But we have some decisions to make based on the fact that we've accomplished our -- most of our objectives already in that particular project. So, those are the basic time frames.
In regard to the idea of classifying our work in terms of countermeasures now in the ground-based program, I think the basic answer to that is, is that we're to the point in our testing where we are going to aggressively pursue what we can do against countermeasures, and that might and has a great possibility now to be a part of a war-fighting system, a defensive system, whether that's part of the testbed or any follow-on activity. And once we reach that point, there is no responsible individual that would make that type of information available to our adversaries so they can defeat our system. And in my view, this was the proper time to start classifying those details. That doesn't mean that those people who need to know what we have as a part of that process won't have access to it; they will. There are a lot of people responsible. But we will not give our adversaries a free ride as we develop the system.
Q: But how will members of Congress, the public, how will people know, you know, the level of success you're having with it and, you know, using that to base decisions on whether this particular system should go forward, this should be cancelled?
Kadish: We have a very important responsibility to make sure that the Congress and our elected representatives and the administration decision makers know what the system can actually do, and we will fulfill that responsibility. It will be done in a different way in terms of the way we handle classified information against any system that we have in the inventory. What will be important for people to know is that the decisions on to move forward on specific elements will be based on factual information, based on the test results, about what it is they are able to do. And people should have confidence in that. Exactly how they do it will be closely held not to give our adversaries an advantage. And that's no different than any other military system.
Q: General, on sea-based systems, as you look to be able to defend against longer-range ICBM-class threats, will have you have to move to a new missile design beyond the Standard Missile 3 which you're looking at now? Would you have to have a faster, more advanced missile or a different design?
Kadish: The fundamental answer to that question is yes, I think. But there are a couple of tracks that we're using right now. One is to look at designs that could meet the high-speed challenge of ICBMs, and that may imply a new interceptor and a new kill vehicle for sea-basing. However, the Standard Missile 3 capability that we have against intermediate-range threats, from an overall perspective, without the treaty now preventing us from doing so, can possibly be improved in its performance by adding sensors that don't necessarily -- are a part of today's Aegis cruisers, for instance. And we are looking very closely at that and what it might mean. So at some point it may have some ability against faster missiles. We don't at this point in time know for sure exactly how far that might be extended. But I think it's a little bit better than what we currently have in the design.
Q: If you had to have a new missile, do you know when you would have to make that decision approximately, that time line you would have to --
Kadish: Well, we're working on that right now in terms of decisions that we need to take internally to start development of such things. And I think those plans would probably become more visible as we develop our '04 budget, which will be submitted early next year.
Q: If we have to go to war tomorrow against an adversary that had SCUDs, would we -- what would we be relying on tomorrow? Would be the 16 PAC 3's, or what?
Kadish: We have more than that now. We've produced some since then. So -- but your answer is yes, that's what we'd be relying on.
Q: They're ready, they're operational, they're --
Kadish: They -- they could be used in an operational defense scenario, yes.
Q: General, could you describe in at least more detail these new deals that we would like to make with allies? What countries would you most like to have these deals with, and would we like -- is it our goal to have in addition to sort of ground sensors, would we like to have perhaps a missile field forward deployed -- deployed at these places as well?
Kadish: I think -- as I said earlier, geography counts in missile defense. Where you could put things matters an awful lot. That's why the mobility of sea-based assets are attractive, just as the stability of ground basing has attractiveness. But -- so we got to worry about how those things are put together to be the most effective.
In regard to our allies, I think you know we have three -- four program efforts over many years now that we've been working with our allies in the shorter-range missiles. We certainly have the Israeli Arrow program -- it's been very successful. We're working on the Medium Extended Air Defense System; the MEADS program, with Italy and Germany. That's in the very early stages. Again, a Patriot 3 class system. And we are working with Japan on some of the Standard Missile 3 type of intermediate range missile capability technologies. And then we have with the Russians the Russian-American Observation Satellite program, RAMOS. Now these have grown up, for various and sundry reasons over the years, to handle our basic needs with each one of these allies.
The treaty specifically prohibited us sharing blueprint-quality type of information with our allies, certainly against long-threats. Now that's gone away.
So we are in an environment now where we need to start talking to our allies about what their desires might be, what our needs might be, and see if we can come together in some agreement, either bilaterally or multilaterally, with the way ahead. And we have a framework that we've been working on to discuss those issues with each one of our partners. They all have different needs or different perspectives. And that dialogue should continue during the summer.
But I can't tell you in detail what that might be. It may be a government-to-government agreement. It may be an industry-to-industry agreement or both in the process.
Q: I'd like to ask a follow-up on that. Wouldn't Congress stand in the way if the Pentagon wanted to do deals that would bring in foreign contractors? I mean, wouldn't Congress insist that this business go to American companies?
Kadish: Well, I think we've done an awful lot of deals. I think the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-16 over the years have accommodated a lot of the industrial issues. And I'm sure we'll have an active dialogue with Congress over those types of agreements, but I'm confident that we could work out those details.
Q: You said one of the unanswered questions is how well the system will perform against decoys. Can you give us a sense of whether you'll increase the number of decoys, how many, and will there be more sophisticated decoys in the future? Do you have any sense of that?
Kadish: I'll leave what we'll be doing --
Q: Well, can you give us a sense of the numbers?
Kadish: Well --
Q: These use one decoy now per test pretty much, or --
Kadish: No. In fact, with the last test, we had three decoys of different classes. And we will be expanding on that test regime as soon as we are confident that we could understand how the system reacted and whether or not we could build the decoys that are necessary to actually test against.
Q: Can you give us a sense of the final number of decoys, or is that classified or --
Kadish: Well, it -- we -- the number of decoys and all eventually that the system can handle we will keep very close hold. But what I will say is that is a never-ending journey once we have missile defense capability, because it's like anything else in the military world. We have countermeasures and counter-countermeasures that people develop so they could get the advantage. And this will continue throughout the whole time we are either working on an RDT&E program or trying to improve what we've actually deployed. We will never want to get into a situation where our adversaries can easily defeat the system, so we'll have to test continually.
Q: Can you say in any way how sophisticated -- much more sophisticated the decoys will be?
Kadish: They will become increasingly more sophisticated in the mid-course arrangement.
Q: Can you expand on that at all?
Kadish: They'll be balloons, by replicas, many ways of trying to fool the system. And we're going to have to decide how to improve that system to handle those types of decoys.
Q: Yes, General, you started the briefing by saying that the goal of the agency is to develop a defense against limited long-range and robust short-range threats. So when you say "limited long range," are there some things that you're leaving out that's --
Kadish: Limited numbers is what we're talking about.
Q: Not the capability of the --
Q: Sir, you've been talking a little bit about taking another look at how missile defense systems are produced. And I wondered -- that's part of acquisition, which is also trying to be transformed. Are there other areas you're looking at besides production, full-rate production and LRIC? Are you looking at other areas of acquisition where you might want some revision?
Kadish: Yes, I think that's part of our struggle that we started late last year and certainly earlier this year with the secretary's implementation memos. The basic thing that we're trying to accomplish in this very difficult development program is to reduce our decision cycle times in order to make better and faster decisions that lead to a deployed set of systems. And what you find is that what works in mature technologies and stable type of long-term procurement programs -- if we can use the word "stable" for these types of things -- does not necessarily work while we're trying to advance a revolutionary technology, like, for instance, the airborne laser or like the ground-based mid-course system using hit-to-kill. So we've got to be able to react very quickly to what we know and learn over time, and that's what these ideas about different ways of looking at production, different ways of looking at contract incentives, different ways of looking at reliability and demanding quality out of our efforts, whether they're contract or government based, all come from, and that is to try to get the cycle times down.
And a good example of that is the Standard Missile 3 performance I just showed you; is that if we are able to accomplish a test program in two flights rather than the four or five or six or nine that we planned because we thought we might have failures, we ought to be able to take advantage of that. And the traditional departmental processes tend to be longer term to get those decisions. And what we're trying to do is shorten those cycle times.
Q: Just as a follow, does that mean -- we would you still have a full-rate production review and decision for Patriot, PAC-3, as planned right now for the fall?
Kadish: That's under discussion, and that's part of what I was saying a few days ago, that we're trying to look differently at how we procure these. So that decision still needs to be taken, and I'm not sure how it's going to turn out.
Q: General, could you discuss what ideas you have about developing either common components or maybe even a common kill vehicle between the ground-based and sea-based systems?
Kadish: That's something we're very seriously looking at, because we're worried about affordability and costs. Given that we no longer have the constraints of the treaty and the way the services have put together operational requirements documents that kind of isolate these systems, I think it is now possible to think and actively pursue commonality that makes sense and a common interceptor with a common type of kill vehicle. As much as practical, given the basing mode differences here, makes a lot of sense, and we're going to spend a lot of time working on it.
Q: When you said the base mode, is there a question of weight on that? Because the Navy right now -- what it's using is the lightweight E -- you know, kill vehicle. You've got a competition out there for a complementary EKV. Is it possible that that may be something that could be used both ways?
Kadish: Yes. And we're taking a very serious look at that, and we may have to change some of our original ground rules on that.
Q: You mentioned that so far you've answered one of three questions on hit-to-kill. Can you talk at all about what you're thinking about as a back-up if need be? I mean, if you find that hit- to-kill with lots of decoys doesn't work or isn't effective enough, what are you looking at other than some of these proposals for a nuclear kill vehicle? Are there other technologies that you -- in the R&D phase you're looking at as a possible replacement?
Kadish: Yes. We -- I showed the vision that we have for a layer defense, where you attack in the boost phase, where you attack in the midcourse phase and potentially in the terminal phase. And many times within each phase. And we have -- and so, that becomes the fundamental counter-countermeasure, if you will, because if we can attack it in the boost phase, we don't have to deal with the midcourse countermeasures. Or if we can thin out the raid in the boost phase, the midcourse countermeasures might become easier to handle, if you'll allow me to use those terms. So the layer defense is a fundamental approach we're using.
And in the boost phase, I showed that we have the airborne laser that is a revolutionary technology -- it's not hit-to-kill -- using directed energy at the speed of light to give us an advantage in the short time lines in the boost phase. And we are looking at the kinetic hit-to-kill potential in the boost phase, as well. And those technologies are being aggressively pursued, although not with a lot of money in our budget allocation this year. But we'll be ramping up rather quickly.
Q: On one of your charts, I noticed that Shemya -- the Shemya X-band radar was part of the program. Some folks had questioned whether that was going to be built eventually. Is it still a definite in your program?
Kadish: We are pursuing building a big -- I'll call it -- instead of calling it the Shemya X-band radar, I'll call it a big X- band radar, because this thing is five million pounds. It's rather significant in size. And that allows us to get great range with this class radar. We have analyzed the need for a large X- band radar in our testbed at this point. And that will give us what we need in terms of viewing technologies. We're trying to decide, however, whether that should be land-based or sea-based if we can figure out how to do it. And I think over the coming weeks and months, that will become clear to all of us, how we intend to pursue on that. But we do, I believe, need an X-band radar in our testbed. And then we can decide whether we build them as a part of a deployed architecture.
Q: General, how sophisticated are the countermeasures? Countries like North Korea, Libya, Iraq, how easy is it for them to add countermeasures and therefore make it more difficult for you to develop counter-countermeasures? Or are such countermeasures a pretty difficult thing beyond the very basic?
Kadish: We could have a great time on that question at this point because there's a lot of differing views on the problem. The working assumptions we're making is that we are trying to put effective missile defenses out as quickly as possible, and we may start with basic understanding of what an adversary can do in terms of countermeasures and then deal with that by improving the system over time. That's our basic approach into a layered defense system.
As far as specific capability on countermeasures, is that at some point we have to assume they will have the capability to build as sophisticated set of countermeasures as can be conjured up. And our system is going to have to deal with that.
Q: Is that a difficult thing to do, to expand these countermeasures?
Kadish: Well, if you talk to people who have tried to build countermeasures for our own use in our strategic arsenal, most people will tell you that that's a very difficult challenge to integrate them properly and make sure they work as intended. The counter argument to that is that anybody who can make a ballistic missile can integrate a countermeasure. And we have some definite opinions about that and we're going to be testing our systems to handle what we think we'll be facing.
Q: Can this X-band radar that you just referred to, can this be finished by '04?
Kadish: Probably not, given our current constraints. But we have to look at that time frame. Somewhere in the '04 to '06 timeframe, I think, is reasonable.
Q: Can you provide us with more information on upcoming tests? I mean, do you have a blueprint of the tests you're gong to have for the next five years, keeping in mind that, you know, it's all very flexible, and if things are more successful than you expect, then you would compress it? But is that something you can provide us?
Kadish: Well, we can certainly provide you the next year's worth of testing in detail and then keep that up to date. And I think we have for the most part. Rick, you probably need to take that on. And you get much out past three or four years, you got -- we've got basic plans, but the implementation of that will change so much I'm not sure it's worthwhile for you to analyze.
Q: And when's the first sea-based boost phase and first ABL boost phase test?
Kadish: The ABL test against short-range missiles we're projecting now for the fall of calendar year '04. And we're making good progress. But that's a challenging date for that revolutionary technology. I don't have a date for the rest of them because we've got some work to do. We haven't worked on boost phase kinetic kill for many years, so we're still putting that program together.
Q: Sea-based, I want to back to that a little while. You're leaving a distinct impression today that by '04 you might have an emergency sea-based capability that can defend the United States from ICBMs.
Kadish: That's not -- I hope that's not the impression I gave.
Q: That was the impression from those stories last week, and, you know, that you're leaving -- very clear what you may or may not have, because you look at the OT&E reports from the last two years, and they're very pessimistic about the pace. This current one that was taken off the Web, by the way, says that the current test flight scenarios are not operationally realistic for functioning -- functionally stressing, nor are they representative of the final missile or the Aegis radar. So given those caveats, what can you have by '04 that would be any kind of effective?
Kadish: Well, we had -- the ALI project was an important step on the way to getting a capability against intermediate-range missiles. And I hope I can -- I made that clear as much as I know how to do --
Kadish: Intermediate range. Any expansion of that one way or another is going to require more work and potentially new hardware. These early tests, as I've stated for the ground-based program and the other efforts, we walk before we run. You don't try to make a Cadillac when you're -- basically have the knowledge for a Model T, if you will. So the approach we're taking is a very step-wise testing approach. What we can say is that after many years of working on this, the ALI project is successful, and that it accomplished its objectives. And now we can move faster than we ordinarily would have planned to move. And given that circumstance, we may be able to have an emergency capability of some sort sooner than we thought. And that's basically all we're saying. But it's a major step forward for the sea-based program.
Q: And how many more intercept tests will you need to accomplish so you can show the repeatable -- repeat capability and the reliable capability --
Kadish: Well, certainly a lot more than we have right now.
Q: You're going to do two.
Q: So, what, four or five?
Kadish: Well, if you use Patriot as a guide, we got seven out of 10, and we're building those missiles.
Q: The other point I'm trying to make is by an '04 emergency capability, you're not going to just base it on these first two tests --
Q: There's a test plan laid out.
Kadish: There will be further confidence-building tests, and that -- we -- the last thing we want to do, Tony, is to put a system out that we don't understand enough and don't have confidence in. Now that doesn't mean that we wouldn't have a basic capability that's less than what we want.
Kadish: But what we do have, we need to be able to assure the people using it, as well as our decision-makers on the program side, that we know what we're talking about in terms of its capability.
Q: Is it fair to say, though, that increasingly difficult testing is to come --
Q: and that it may fail some of these tests --
Kadish: It may fail.
Q: and it may derail your plan for '04 -- your potential idea?
Kadish: At any time. The idea, again, is to capitalize on success to the maximum extent possible and use failure to learn how to fix the system and deal with the delays that failure encouraged. And that's what we're doing.
Q: How, if it all, will the merger of STRATCOM and SPACECOM affect MDA?
Kadish: Well, I think it'll have an effect, because we deal with those commands as the fundamental user -- certainly Space Command. So we'll have to wait and see how that turns out, and then we'll adjust accordingly.
Q: Would you fall under that command or remain a separate entity?
Kadish: That's to be determined, and we'll have to wait and see how it turns out.
Q: Sir, on the architecture and the national team, when do you expect to see product out of that? And will they be ready in time, since they got a late start, for the '04 budget decisions?
Kadish: We've already seen products out of that group. We've been in operations six months, and in a problem of this complexity, with the talented people we've got working on it, that's rather significant progress, I think.
I do believe we will have their inputs for the '04 budget. We're working them pretty hard, and I'm expecting a lot out of them. But I'm pretty confident we'll be able to use what they have, and they'll make major contributions to our efforts.
Q: Can you give us a sense of what it was you -- what you've already seen out of them, what kind of input you've gotten, what kind of decisions they've effected?
Kadish: I think they've given us some main ideas on how to approach using different sensors differently than what we originally had in our systems for autonomous operations. They've -- we've looked at some decision architectures that could be embedded in battle management to handle a layered defense. And so they're -- it's that type of work that's coming in right now, and that'll be further engineered to make the trade-off decisions that will support us in the future.
Q: Could you speak about the space-based laser program? I know that Congress took away most of the funding -- (inaudible) -- integrated flight experiment, but there were some recent requests for information that went up that seemed to indicate that you're at least kind of re-looking at the program and where it's going to go in the time frame. Could you speak to that at all?
Kadish: Well, the space-based laser experiment that we had envisioned is no longer part of our program. That was going to occur in, I think, 2012. Right now we're into a technology level of effort to get some of the basic technologies down for space-based laser. And we will be discussing, over the coming weeks and months, how we roadmap-out what we will do with space-based laser. So I can't give you a definitive answer because we're still in the discussion process.
Q: The Missile Defense Agency's Office of Internal Management Review is investigating, as well as the General Accounting Office, some allegations of improper contracting practices on the GMD program. Can you comment on the status and the nature of those investigations?
Kadish: We have -- from time to time these types of allegations come up and we turn them over to the proper authorities to do the investigation, and I'm confident that they will. I don't have any information to share with you today on what the status of those are but -- because I haven't received the final reports. But I can assure you we will take any proper action recommended to remedy any problems that we have. But right now, I don't have any specific information.
Q: Could the sea-based mid-course system be used in a boost- phase or ascent-phase role, particularly between now and 2006? Or is that out of the question?
Kadish: No, it's not out of the question. You have to be precise about the definitions of "boost" and "ascent." You kind of lumped them together. Boosting under-power flight, we probably will not test against that type of regime.
The mid-course is compromised of ascent to the apogee, where it's the highest point, and then a descent phase. We have tested the SM-3 in the descent phase of the mid-course system. We are actively looking at now moving to the ascent phase, because that's the advantage of a mobile platform, given the geography constraints, is you can move it into such position that you could actually attack the missile in its ascent phase. And this is a basic rule of missile defense: The farther forward you do the attack, the more advantageous it is to the defender. So I think the next test or the next series of tests, we will very seriously consider moving into that regime. And then, of course, it has a number of potential paths for our success.
Staff: We'll do just a couple more.
Q: Follow-up on that question. You were saying before the SM- 3 wouldn't have a capability against an ICBM, even in that ascent phase you were just talking about?
Kadish: That's true. Speed is the issue. However, we are looking at the missile defense problem much differently post-treaty environment than we did before. And if a sensor can be matched to the capabilities of the SM-3, we ought to look at it. But right now, I don't expect that to be significant.
Staff: The general's last question.
Q: A program cost question. In the SAR for the first time put a $48 billion price tag on missile defense programs. You know, this cost issue has been all over the map the last few years. What exactly does the $48 billion buy? What are the assumptions behind the number?
Kadish: The Selected Acquisition Report that we submitted was for an RDT&E program only. That's the nature of how we structured this. The procurement decisions are yet to come, based on our performance. So, the number in the Selected Acquisition Report, the SAR, is reflective of the budget allocated to the RDT&E phase.
Q: For what portion of time?
Kadish: For -- I think the last budget was, what, five years?
Q: So, what would you estimate the price tag to be for a deployable system?
Kadish: Very expensive. And I don't mean to be flip when I say that. We don't know what the final system's going to cost.
Q: Do you have a range?
Kadish: We have a range of what it's going to take, I think, to develop the various aspects of the system, as I just pointed out. And we are working to refine those numbers very carefully so we have a good handle on that. What it will cost to procure, operate and maintain for 30-40 years, a particular system set of elements, we do not know what that will cost right now. But when we propose it, we will have our best shot at what we think it'll cost.
Q: Just to make sure, the $48 billion is for research and development.
Kadish: That's what is in our budget, yes. Now, that could -- that's subject to all kinds of different changes, and it's a planning factor that we're using, and I can probably guarantee you that it will change significantly over time.
Q: At what point along do you think you would have a cost estimate for a deployable system?
Kadish: I'm sorry. I didn't get that all.
Q: At what point along do you think you would have a cost estimate for a deployable system?
Kadish: When we define the deployable system elements. Again, you've got to understand that this is not a grand design that we're trying to build, where we have every bit of it totally understood. These elements will mature at different rates, and our intention is to offer for deployment an effective warfighting capability for missile defense and then improve it as rapidly as possible. So, we can specify a cost for just the first increment or we can specify a cost for the salvage value of the last missile in the year 2080. And that's the range that you see in these numbers.
So, it's a big challenge. And it is very difficult for someone like me to stand up and say I don't know what it's going to cost because we haven't defined it well enough, but that is the case as we stand here today. And most of the cost estimates you've heard in the past have one characteristic in common. They've all been wrong, including the ones that we've come up with. So, we're taking this very carefully and very seriously because the Congress needs to know, we need to know, but we need to do it in a measured way that makes sense. And then we can define what we think we're going to build, and then cost it out as best we know how and then go off and do it. That's our plan right now.
Thank you for your patience, and see you again soon.
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