DoD News Briefing with David Altwegg from the Pentagon Briefing Room, Arlington, Va.
MR. ALTWEGG: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
Briefly Secretary Gates stated, "We must balance this department's programs, in order to institutionalize and enhance our capabilities, to fight the wars we're in today and the scenarios we're most likely to face, in the years ahead, while at the same time providing a hedge against other risks and contingencies," unquote.
We are not cutting missile defense capabilities. Rather we are reshaping and redirecting our technologies, to improve and enhance our capabilities now and in the future.
MDA's mission is to develop capabilities to defeat the very challenging threat posed by ballistic missiles. Ballistic missiles are becoming more mobile, survivable, reliable, accurate and capable of striking targets over longer distances.
BMs are asymmetric weapons that reduce military options available, to combatant commanders, and decrease the survivability of regional military assets. BMs increase the number of anti-access weapons available to adversaries.
In light of these challenges, we are reshaping missile defense to provide a better balance of capabilities, requirements and risks to deter aggression, project power and protect U.S. and allied interests; respond to warfighter requirements, to counter the most pressing, near-term regional threats; and to pursue cost-effective and operationally effective missile defense capabilities, to hedge against future threat uncertainty.
Missile defense program strategy will include the following. Enhanced protection of our deployed forces, allies and friends, against existing threats. Field more THAAD and Standard Missile 3 interceptors.
Convert 6 additional Aegis ships with an engagement capability, with an objective total of 27 ships with an engagement capability. Maintain a ground-based midcourse capability to defeat a limited, long-range, rogue-state attack or accidental launch against the United States.
Complete emplacement of 26 GBIs at Fort Greely and four at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Continue upgrades and rigorous testing. Shift focus from midcourse to ascent-phase intercept. Terminate the midcourse Multiple Kill Vehicle program. Terminate the Kinetic Energy Interceptor program. Leverage emerging ascent-phase intercept technologies to hedge against threat growths. Reduce cost and increase operational effectiveness.
Ascent-phase intercept is key because it would allow us to kill targets before countermeasures deploy, create shoot -- look-shoot opportunities, and maximize stand-off opportunities. Affordable technologies have evolved to pursue this course of action.
Finally, our new program strategy will strengthen test and target programs. Testing's important to boost credibility amongst stakeholders and dissuade foreign investments in ballistic missiles. We are nearing completion of a major test review of our program and will complete that effort early in the June time frame.
I am ready for your questions.
Q Would you elaborate on your plans for the construction of missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic?
MR. ALTWEGG: I'm going to take this opportunity to quote the president: The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles. As long as the threat from Iran persists, we intend to go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven. If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile defense construction in Europe at this time will be removed. Today we are actively pursuing such a capability in Europe, subject, of course, to the statutory restrictions that are extant.
Q (Off mike) -- the budget to pursue that capability in Europe.
MR. ALTWEGG: Now, we have spent very little of the '09 money, which, of course, is multi-year appropriations. In the '10 budget, there is $51 million for the European sites.
Q How is that spent? That's for the start of construction?
MR. ALTWEGG: First, we would have to complete the design of the sites, because again, we don't have a host-nation ratification (sic), and therefore are proscribed from proceeding to execute or implement the European sites.
Q Is there anything -- (off mike) -- for the fact that it looks like in our docs the line items for radar and for interceptor were zeroed out and there was a new line item called the European capability --
MR. ALTWEGG: Here's what happened.
Q (Off mike) -- one million.
MR. ALTWEGG: Most all of the European sites were in other program elements. Going into the '09 budget, the Congress took the money out of the mid-course and created three separate new program elements, one of which was a two-stage interceptor, as an example. And then, of course, there is the radar site, and there is the missile site itself in Poland, if it comes to pass.
Q Just to follow up, on the GBI issue, then, you're halting production of GBIs? Is that an appropriate --
MR. ALTWEGG: No. We will have 30 silos; 26 at Greely, and four at Vandenberg Air Force Base. We will procure an additional 14 missiles, to take us up to 44. Ten of those will be for testing; four of them will be as spares. And the approach we are going to use is, as we produce new GBIs, we will put those in the silos, remove a counterpart missile, overhaul it, and then it will become the test asset. So we will be refreshing what is already emplaced, as we proceed to pursue a vigorous test program.
Q Admiral, the plan had been to put 44 GBIs in the ground in California. Now it'll be 30.
MR. ALTWEGG: Correct.
Q Okay. Was there an analysis done showing that the United States can still be protected with 30 GBIs in the ground, as opposed to 44? Or are you just assuming greater risk?
MR. ALTWEGG: Risk may go up somewhat, but our intelligence data and the threat at the present time permits us to restrict the number of emplaced missiles to 30.
Q But is that from a new intelligence review? Because last year the program had been 44. So in the succeeding year, intelligence looks and said, you know --
MR. ALTWEGG: Continuously evolves. And we also will, of course, be producing the additional 14. And the silos -- most of the equipment to equip the silos, in addition to the 30 I'm discussing, has already been purchased.
Q Thank you. How much money in this budget is for the cooperative program with Japan to develop a new type of SM missile? And do you still intend to pursue full development of that missile, in conjunction with the Japanese defense agency?
MR. ALTWEGG: The Block IIA missile is a prominent feature of our future, and we believe the kinematic capability provided by that missile will allow our imagination to expand. And I could foresee the day not only will that ship be prominent in the fleet, but -- may well show up ashore as a standard missile, three Block IIA ashore capability.
Q Budget for that?
MR. ALTWEGG: I don't have that number available right off the top of my head, but it is not insubstantial.
Q The MKV and KEI cancellations -- by virtue of you cancelling MKV and KEI, does this mean that the requirement for such a missile is gone now -- is no longer extant now?
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, first, it is our value judgment that the track we were on with the -- those capabilities was, in fact, going to turn out to be unaffordable, and the technology really was not adequately harnessed as of this time.
We have some efforts on the drawing board that we believe will provide apt replacements for those capabilities. I can't discuss them here today, but over the coming months you will be informed.
Yes -- you haven't had an opportunity. I'm sorry. Go ahead.
Q Those things you just mentioned, those "adequate replacements," is there money for those things somewhere in the --
MR. ALTWEGG: There is money in the '10 budget.
Q Money --
MR. ALTWEGG: Special programs, RDT&E. I can't talk about how much at this time. But it is in the program.
Q The KEI termination: As I recall, Secretary Gates did not announce that on April 6th. What happened between April 6th and now? Was there a revelation? Or was this always in the books?
MR. ALTWEGG: Nothing happened. It was zero when he spoke, and nothing has changed.
Q And the --
MR. ALTWEGG: Wait a minute, I have an -- I'm -- I need -- in fairness. In fairness.
Q Last year you asked Congress for money to start an operational STSS program beyond the demonstration satellites. And it was not funded. It doesn't look like you've requested any this year. Have you given up on an operational STSS?
MR. ALTWEGG: Absolutely no. We deem a follow-on program as probably second to none in our priorities of future efforts. But at the same time, to continue to send requests to the Congress for a follow-on STSS program where they guarantee that they probably would not approve because we have not yet demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Congress that the STSS -- a constellation would provide what we deem necessary for the future of the MDS. We will launch the two -- STSS satellite in August of this year, and we believe before the PB '11 is submitted we will have adequate justification for a follow-on program.
Q Since KEI is zero now and we're not going to buy any more airborne laser aircraft, we're just going to have a research program with the prototype, does this mean that the administration has made a judgment that we don't need boost-phase capability, at least in the near term?
MR. ALTWEGG: Our studies tell us that this -- a send-phase interceptor effort will provide the margin of superiority needed and replace boost-phase as we now know it. In other words, we believe there is a period of time available that we will be able to intercept missiles before achieving apogee and before the -- before the spread of counter-measures.
And that's the effort -- I previously had referred to that -- we're not ready today to share that -- those programs. But I think in the coming months we will be able, to some degree, to do exactly that.
Q What happened to the $5 million or so that the Senate put in for the start of a space-based test bed last year? Is there any request for that this year?
MR. ALTWEGG: Yes. Here's what we're going to do -- and we're going to do it probably before the end of June. We are going to compete amongst the FFRDCs, as envisioned in the non-enacted SASC language of last year. We are going to put that $5 million out using exactly the language which was in the unenacted SASC bill, and that will be the statement of works to do the study.
Q But why wasn't it put out last year, then?
MR. ALTWEGG: You mean in previous months?
Q In previous months, yes.
MR. ALTWEGG: One, this is a study that is not without controversy.
But all parties, to my knowledge, have now agreed that what we're doing is acceptable. The money is good for another 17 or so months and will allow us adequate time to conduct the study.
Q Is there any request for similar money in this year's budget?
MR. ALTWEGG: We did not request additional funds for a space-based test bed in the '10 PB. Again, as you know, we have now tried, unsuccessfully, and perhaps we've learned a lesson there.
Q Is NCADE one of those boost-phase intercept programs you're looking at?
MR. ALTWEGG: We have a small amount in the '10 budget to continue the NCADE effort.
Q Separately from that -- (inaudible) -- can you sort of break down where -- how much extra money each program is getting?
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, in total, it's about $900 million. It's substantial. You may recall, the warfighters conducted a study called joint capabilities, a big study, number two, recommended more of each. And we are adhering totally to the study results.
Q Of that $900 (million), how much is going to --
MR. ALTWEGG: I may be a little off. But we're buying the amount stipulated.
Q What effect will the size of the Missile Defense Agency's budget have on the staffing and personnel and footprint that the agency has here and also in your other locations?
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, of course we are subject to BRAC. And we are restricted in the number of people who can reside at our new headquarters facility at Fort Belvoir: that number is 292. So all over, that number will be moving to Huntsville or wherever else we are located in our country. And the rest will be, we hope, employed successfully -- and we'll do everything we can to abet their future employment. But it's 292.
Q Do you anticipate any reduction to go along with the reduction --
MR. ALTWEGG: There will be efficiency reductions in our budget because, one, the budget is going down. And how many -- that's -- there will be no government personnel affected. There will be some SETA contractors affected. That effort is yet to be completed.
I should also add Secretary Gates indicated he wanted growth in the government acquisition workforce and conversion of private contractors to the public sector. And we're going to be active and enthusiastic participants in that.
Q Very recently a senior military official testified before Congress that in the event of an intercontinental ballistic missile launch from North Korea, there was a, quote, "high probability" that the current missile defense infrastructure could intercept that launch. Does the Missile Defense Agency agree with that assessment?
MR. ALTWEGG: We have very high confidence in our program and its ability to take on the known ballistic missile threat posed by the rogue countries Iran and North Korea today.
Q Could we just get some numbers? We talked a lot about programs. Could we get a top-line number and maybe some specific numbers associated with, you know, SM-3, THAAD, MKV?
MR. ALTWEGG: They're all in the overview that we're going to hand out, both the total budget by P -- so that you'll have all those data. Our budget, though, for '10 is $7.8 billion.
Q Okay. And then one specific question on a number. You did say STSS was -- you didn't have a follow-on laid in yet, right?
MR. ALTWEGG: That's correct.
Q But it looks like there is $180 million earmarked or outlined for R&D.
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, that is to -- we're going to launch the two satellites. We've got to operate those satellites. And we're going to launch targets against those two satellites to demonstrate the worth of a follow-on constellation.
Q How much money is going to be saved by killing the KEI program off? What's the program of record right now?
MR. ALTWEGG: The program of record, I believe, this year was in -- well, I just happened to --
STAFF: (Off mike.)
MR. ALTWEGG: I think it's $385 million.
Q But did we think that $501 million for '10 --
MR. ALTWEGG: No, but it's zero.
Q What's the status with '10 though -- $500 million roughly?
MR. ALTWEGG: I guess one could look at it that way.
Q What's the overall program value, though? Is the contract about $6 billion today, or what's --
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, because it had been previously reduced to a booster program only, it wasn't really a complete program.
Q But you don't have a feel for much the program is worth?
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, at one time I can remember it was a $6 billion program. But it's had modifications throughout the life of the contract.
Q Admiral, what's the plan for the ABL program following the shootdown test that's scheduled for later this year?
MR. ALTWEGG: Shootdown right now is scheduled for September. And we intend to immediately conduct additional flight tests. And we're funded at about $150 million a year to, one, advance the technology and to conduct flight tests.
A decision, though, could be made sooner or later on the future of the program because there are operational considerations that need to be looked at in additional detail, and there's the affordability issue.
And so as the secretary has directed, that will be done in '10.
Q As you sit here today, would those flight tests include additional targets?
MR. ALTWEGG: Oh, yes. We have targets. We've got five in the magazine ready to be launched against ABL.
Q The new program you were talking about -- that is a boost- phase weapon system?
MR. ALTWEGG: No. Ascent-phase intercept.
Q And does the leverage affect any of -- either the technology --
MR. ALTWEGG: It leverages technologies that are available in the department today.
It shows the advantage of the department having a very, very healthy S&T program. Because these technologies are not confined to one service or one mission, they have the capability of being exploited across the -- all domains.
Q Is it akin to the ABL or the KEI? Which of those programs does it borrow technology from?
MR. ALTWEGG: I'm talking about technologies from other places within the department, not necessarily from within our Missile Defense Agency.
Q Is the U.S. continuing -- is the U.S. funding development of the Arrow-3 with Israel?
MR. ALTWEGG: As the Congress appropriated $30 million in '09 for the Arrow-3 program, that money will be released once the Missile Defense Agency and the government of Israel sign a project agreement on how that money will be spent; how it will be managed; how it would be contracted for, so that there is clear understanding, because we are stewards of your tax dollars and we have to be satisfied that they will be wisely spent and managed.
Q What's the issue there? What's sort of holding it up? Is there any --
MR. ALTWEGG: The biggest issue is the ability of the Israeli government to achieve knowledge points en route to a capability of -- for Arrow-3.
We have agreed on what the knowledge points are. We think achieving the schedule that they -- had been stipulated by the Israeli government is very ambitious and very high-risk. And therefore, that would affect the cost of the program, and we believe there are probably options like Standard Missile-3 ashore that need to be studied; investigated; risk-assessed, both from a cost and schedule standpoint; and then we get on a path to what is the way ahead.
Q Well, pending any Standard 3 Missile ashore technology, what about Aegis?
Is that another solution that the United -- that the Missile Defense Agency would favor? The stationing of ballistic missile-capable Aegis ships --
MR. ALTWEGG: That certainly is an alternative, but the Navy fleet is -- I can't speak, obviously, for the Navy, but I believe is adequately stressed around the globe that for me to stand here and endorse a permanent stationing of a ship either in the Eastern Med or in the Persian Gulf is better left to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Back there, please.
Q (inaudible) my question is about the conversion of six additional Aegis ships. How many of the ships would you -- would the United States be deployed to Japan or PACOM?
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, as you know, the first 16 were Pacific Fleet ships. We are adding three more as I speak, East Coast ships, and then we're adding six on top of that, total 27. Those six ships to be added have not yet been identified.
Now, I should hasten to add that sometime the period post-2015 to -- into the third decade of this -- of this millennia, we will have open-system architecture in the Aegis fleet, which means that everybody -- if we're willing to spend the money -- can be BMD- capable. But that's something in the future.
Q I realize you don't want to get into a lot of detail about this ascent-phase interceptor, but can you tell us when you expect for it to be fieldable?
MR. ALTWEGG: Yes, I do. Because most of the technology is available now, we really are looking at 2013-2014.
Q And it's one system you're talking about, or a --
MR. ALTWEGG: Oh, no. We have multiple initiatives in play here.
Q (Off mike) -- in particular --
MR. ALTWEGG: We haven't gotten that far yet. These are -- these are new ideas that have been fostered over the last several months.
And of course, they're in the '10 budget, they're not in -- so they've got yet to be defended on the Hill.
Q Admiral, is the agency continuing to negotiate with Boeing on the GMD core completion contract? And do the changes to the GBI effort this year have any impact on that, on where you want to go with Boeing on that contract?
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, the core completion contract for development is something we're negotiating as I speak. For O&S, we have assigned a contract, but will compete O&S in fiscal year '11.
Q So Boeing will carry it through FY '10, and in '11 --
MR. ALTWEGG: Correct, for O&S. And then we have the --
Q Whoever else wants to respond to that. Is that correct?
MR. ALTWEGG: There has been some interest expressed by other contractors in the O&S effort.
Q Admiral, last year you -- MDA rejiggered the way it does, it blocks funding for pretty much all of its missile -- (off mike) -- rights. Do these changes make -- make any -- have any impact on that?
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, as you know if you follow GAO reports, there has been expressed concern about baselines and then cost adherence in those baselines. We believe that the blocks one through five that we've developed to date provides the transparency -- oversight, if you will -- that they expect, and Congress expects to have. We shall see.
Q When Northrop won the contract in '03, there was great -- they highlighted this as their entry into missile defense. It was a big deal. Comment on Northrop's performance now, five years later. And was this their biggest missile defense program?
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, they, of course, are the prime, but the people who are the companies that are their subs are very prominent in missile defense. Raytheon would have done the missile -- the boosters, done by Orbital, subbed to ATK. So it's pretty much the same people.
Now, have they had technical difficulties? Absolutely. The first flight test of the booster stack was to have occurred months ago. It's now looked at -- and of course, that was prior to the termination -- was to be done now not until November of '09. Again, plagued by technical difficulties.
Q (Off mike) -- manager.
MR. ALTWEGG: They are the prime. They're the ones who get the award fee or suffer the consequences of not getting award fee. So, I'm sorry, that's the way contracting goes. They are the prime.
Q Is this going to hurt them in future competitions, though, because past performance --
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, I mean, past performance is becoming a bigger and bigger aspect, as it should, of our business. And the Levin-McCain bill, that looks to be imminent for passage, emphasizes that fact. And I think all of you would agree.
Q The budget you sent to Congress, is this all R&D money or is this --
MR. ALTWEGG: No. No. No. As required by law, most of it is R&D. Some of it is milcon, $50-some-million that I acknowledged earlier, and procurement for things that have completed development, meaning we're starting to buy THAAD missiles with procurement and we're buying Standard Missile 3 Block 1A's with procurement.
Q (Off mike) -- the agencies identify procurement money --
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, there was a desire on the part of the Congress that we buy 1A missiles in '09 with procurement funds. For whatever reasons, all good, that did not happen. So the Congress did not appropriate the money in R&D, they shifted to procurement funds. So we're buying 1A missiles now with procurement.
Q You're going from 44 operational missiles to 30 now. If you're to go back -- if at some point during the next year the determination was made that you had to go back to the 44, how much more money would you need and would be required?
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, we'd have to complete the silos. We bought (sic) the 44 missiles, so they're in the can, so to speak. It would not be an exorbitant amount of money.
Q (Off mike) -- actually be done -- (off mike) --
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, the decision would have to be made within the department at the SECDEF level, and then the Congress would have to agree.
Q When does the production line end, then, for the GBIs? With --
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, with the 44, circa '12 or '13, when the last dollar would be spent.
Q And then you were saying that as a new missile rolls off the line, you put it into a silo and take the old missile out and use it as --
MR. ALTWEGG: Refurbish it, then test asset. And of course, we have a refurbishment program going on as I speak.
Q The decisions to kill MKV, to kill KEI, and to cap on ABL -- the changes with ABL -- did that originate within MDA, or was that a decision that was made at the OSD level?
MR. ALTWEGG: It was a decision made by us and supported by our superiors within the department. Affordability has got to be something honored not in the breach, but throughout the life of the program.
Q Did OSD say find this much? Did --
MR. ALTWEGG: No, there were no -- I mean, everyone likes to believe that somebody said, "You got $7.8 billion now, spend it wisely, but your call." Wrong. Our budget was approved by the Missile Defense Executive Board some months ago and then became THE budget. In other words, the Missile Defense Agency does not determine the content of THE budget. The Missile Defense Executive Board makes that decision based on our recommendation. And, of course, the warfighters give us requirements called the priorities capability list, biannual. We then take it and report back, here's what we can achieve in near, mid and far term with the requirements you've levied on us. And then they give us a report card on the ACL.
Q Can you summarize the problems that were encountered with the boost-phase programs, and the reason you're going now to an ascent-phase solution?
MR. ALTWEGG: The biggest problem has, of course, been affordability. With KEI, of course, the program was curtailed and became a booster program last year. And we've had problems with materials, with electronics. We've had multiple problems with the materials. By that I mean cases bursting during static-fire tests or pre-testing of samples. All of those are not behind us, hence, a test that we thought at one time this year was going to be in August of '09 has now slipped into November. But with the termination of the program, there will be no flight test.
Q Land-based SM-3 missiles-- land-based SM-3 missile -- I think this budget implies that MDA would accelerate to develop these. And my question is, which phase are you in? I mean, how long will it take to develop that?
MR. ALTWEGG: We believe we could field a (SM-3 Block) 1B missile ashore by '14. That's 2014. But right now, we have -- the program would really start in '10.
Q (Inaudible) – consider to deploy land-based SM-3 missiles to East Asian theater, such as Japan someday?
MR. ALTWEGG: That has not been an item discussed. To date, it's been confined to Israel. But we think there is a need for an SM-3 ashore capability globally. But there are other alternatives. There is the THAAD missile system, which of course has performed flawlessly in testing to date.
Q So the KEI and MKV contracts are canceled, will be canceled, for default.
MR. ALTWEGG: No, not default.
In the case of MKV, it is an IDIQ contract. We just let the tasks that have been assigned play out, during the year of the budget. And the program is over. The KEI program of course is a completion contract. And we'll have to issue a stop-work order.
Q So that will still be considered a cancellation of inconvenience? The government just decides --
MR. ALTWEGG: Right.
They're not considered default. The contractor is not at default.
Q Are there any disclosure costs?
MR. ALTWEGG: There will be some.
Now, for the MKV, there will not be termination liability. There will be for the other program, because we've not, you know, we've not been able to talk about the budget. So this is all news, to a lot of people, what I'm standing up here saying.
Q (Off mike) -- wasn't informed before now.
MR. ALTWEGG: Oh, no.
We were -- I can tell you, well, you must all know, the security behind this budget has been unprecedented in this city. We have, in fact, until I got up here today, the program manager for KEI did not know that his program had been terminated.
Q (Off mike) -- decided at the time that Gates gave his remarks on April 6th.
MR. ALTWEGG: We had decided before that. But we did not share it, with the program manager, because we had been proscribed for sharing budget data.
Q Why did the secretary fail to mention it on April 6th, as far as you know?
MR. ALTWEGG: I can only think it must have been an oversight. But I -- it's none of my business.
Q One question about -- that is your business. The Services are all asked by Congress to submit what's called --
MR. ALTWEGG: We will not submit a UFR list. I --
Q If you were -- if the MDA were submitting such a list, what would you personally want?
MR. ALTWEGG: I don't believe in that process. We have been on a fixed budget in the seven years I've been at the agency, so that when there are program overruns, we either take money from you or we stretch our program. We have never gone to the Department and said we need more money in our budget because we have not managed it properly or it's too complex or whatever the reason. Never in the seven years that the agency has existed have we gone and asked for more money.
I should also toot our horn that our overruns, totaled over the last seven years, are about 6 percent of our budget. And we are, after all, into rocket science.
Q Is there anything that you personally would like to see funded that is not being funded?
MR. ALTWEGG: If I did, I would not tell you. Discipline is an important aspect of our job. And we should speak with one voice, not multiple.
Q So is it reasonable to expect that this sort of reshaping that you spoke about, is it reasonable to expect this $7.8 billion number to be sort of an average over the coming years? I mean, I realize that we don't have a funding tail to work with, but is that your expectation?
MR. ALTWEGG: I think the state of the economy will probably have an impact on that. And there is no question that what Iran and North Korea do on an annual or more frequent basis certainly must influence the decision-makers.
Q (Off mike) -- that ascent or boost phase line will grow, then, as these technologies are --
MR. ALTWEGG: Right, but I think you -- when we are able to share more information with you, you will find -- I wish I'd have thought of that.
Q (Off mike.)
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, because it could occur over a longer period of time, in our view.
Q So you're still considering doing a boost phase.
MR. ALTWEGG: We want to intercept this -- these targets immediately after their boost phase ceases and before deployment of countermeasures.
Q But that does not include boost phase?
MR. ALTWEGG: Not in our parlance. It's the period after cutoff of the engines. And now it's observing Kepler's laws. From there to apogee is the ascent phase.
Q Do you view that as easy?
MR. ALTWEGG: I don't pretend that anything we do is simple. No, it is not easy.
Q Yes, but it's coming out of boost phase.
MR. ALTWEGG: Yes.
Q Admiral, when you were talking about the money that's going into THAAD and SM-3, in response to the combatant commanders and the capability mix study, the authorization bill last year said that -- that Congress said that they were concerned there was no adequate requirements process for MDA to determine force structure inventory levels to meet the combatant commanders, and they suggested that DOD establish an adequate requirements process -- (off mike) -- for such inventory, to meet that command.
MR. ALTWEGG: We believe that exists, particularly since Mr. England, who at the time was the deputy secretary, in September of '08 signed the business rules on how we were going to do business with the warfighters, with the military departments and the major staff offices, principal staff offices in OSD.
Q And do you believe those business rules that were signed that -- provides adequate direction for this requirements process to be able to --
MR. ALTWEGG: Absolutely. And the MDEB, of course, which is the centerpiece, also has four standing committees -- one on forces, one on budget, one on tests and one on policy -- that work on issues as assigned by the Missile Defense Executive Board. This is really working very, very well, at least in our estimation.
Q To your knowledge, the THAAD/SM-3 money, is that split right about down the middle? They both get about 450 apiece?
MR. ALTWEGG: Again, the 900 may be a little off, but, yes. It about doubles the inventory of each. And of course, we should also not forget, in addition, we will buy up to seven THAAD batteries.
We were -- scheduled for four. Three additional are part of the package.
Q Congress gave you additional money for THAAD and SM-3 last year, too.
MR. ALTWEGG: Yes. And they -- of course they've been prompting us the last -- at least -- two years on the need for more missiles; we agree; the budget reflects it.
Q You just said that you thought that the ascent-phase intercept would be easier than the boost-phase --
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, I -- easier may be a poor choice of words, but we believe that to be the case.
Q But if so, why was all this money spent over these years for boost-phase systems like ABL and KEI?
MR. ALTWEGG: Well, one, I would not yet dismiss ABL. We did not terminate. We canceled the second aircraft. Let's wait and see the results of the shootdown before we dismiss or terminate ABL, if you will.
Otherwise, we believe technologies now available, not previously available, make this a more suitable, more affordable enterprise. Time will tell, and we don't have a 10-year wait period to demonstrate. We'll be off and running soon.
Q I'm curious -- so you seem to say that we're going to have a -- some sort of revelations in the near term on this ascent phase? It sounds like we might learn some more fairly soon.
MR. ALTWEGG: Yes. And the reason -- I'm not trying to avoid the questions. What we're going through right now is a security review. Because we never want -- we studiously avoid disclosing information that will demonstrate vulnerabilities. This security review is not going to be prolonged.
Q So there could be a public debate in Congress about this?
MR. ALTWEGG: I -- yes. It will probably come out of being a classified program.
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