United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Transcript

Press Operations Bookmark and Share


DoD News Briefing - Dr. Kaminski, 25 July 1996

Presenters: Dr. Paul G. Kaminski, USD, Acquisition and Technology
July 29, 1996 1:30 PM EDT

July 25, 1996 - 1:30 p.m.

Kennett, director, Directorate for Defense Information, and Jack Bachkosky, deputy under secretary of Defense for Advanced Technology.)

Colonel Kennett: Good afternoon. First of all I'd like to note two groups in the audience today. We have 13 members of the Reserve Component Army Public Advanced NCO Course from Fort Meade and DINFOS, and 11 Air Force officers from Hanscom Air Force Base, here to watch the interaction of the news media and democracy at work in our Pentagon. Welcome.

This is a single subject news briefing. Dr. Paul Kaminski, under secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, will announce the Fiscal Year '97 Advanced Concept Technology demonstration candidates. He'll be making some remarks from briefing slides and you should have a copy of those as well as one-page summaries of each candidate. Following those remarks, he and Jack Bachkosky, deputy under secretary of Defense for Advanced Technology, will take your questions. Those among you who are interested in a detailed briefing of the '97 candidates, are invited to bring those questions to a round table discussion with the advanced technology staff on Monday, July 29th at 10 a.m. in the Public Affairs conference room located directly across from this room on the hallway.

With that, Dr. Kaminski.

Dr. Kaminski: Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming.

I'm here to announce our list of 18 candidate ACTDs for new start in fiscal year '97. The titles of all 18 of these programs are tabulated in alphabetical order on the chart to my left.

These candidates have come through a very rigorous screening process. We began over the past year starting with a list of 104 ACTD candidates that had been submitted to us by the Military Services, the Joint Staff and our Theater CINCs. The Joint Requirements Oversight Council has reviewed this list of ACTD candidates and provided their recommendations on prospective user sponsors and lead services for each of the programs.

As all of you know the last few years have been years of great change for us in the Department. We have been and are challenged continuously to adapt our forces to new missions, to new challenges, and to prepare our military forces for military missions that, in some cases, we hadn't conceived of a decade ago.

Today our forces are gaining access to technologies and capabilities not considered just several years ago as we are doing our planning. Many of these are being developed commercially. For this reason, we are developing what I would describe as building blocks to allow us to be able to assemble systems, or in some cases even systems-of-systems, that will lead to concepts in anticipation of some of our future needs. Some of these kinds of needs are dealing with situations where we will need to counter weapons of mass destruction; to deal with counter terrorist activities and also to enhance small unit capabilities in operations in urban built-up areas -- just some examples of needs we see for the future, for which some of these ACTD components will serve as future building blocks

Let me share with you our fiscal year '97 funding requirements for these 18 candidate new starts. This chart shows $52.8 million in FY '97 in an OSD line which is leveraging the two lines below -- a total $118.6 million from the military services and $106.4 million from various DoD Agencies like DARPA.

The amount shown for the Services and the DoD Agencies are a portion of their science and technology programs supporting the candidate ACTDs. The OSD line is the funding required to actually integrate the technologies, provide support to the operational users in their evaluation, and their field demonstration, and to run those demonstrations.

The point I would wish to make is that the OSD funding line for ACTDs leverages a significant science and technology investment by the Services and by defense agencies.

I would like to highlight just two of these 18 candidates. All of them will be available to be discussed in the announced session to follow. The first here, is to look at promising new technologies and operational concepts for improving awareness of the battlefield by integrating unattended ground sensors into our overall Command, Control, Communications, Computers Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance -- the C4ISR systems-of-systems architecture. The goal here is to develop concepts of operations to integrate existing, available, often commercially developed, unattended ground sensors into a coherent ensemble for use on the battlefield, and for use in some of the future missions that I described. It is a part of our overall plan to provide our warfighters with this "Dominant Battlefield Awareness."

As these concepts mature, we expect to be able to fuse together the inputs collected from these unattended ground sensors and combine them with information collected by unmanned aerial platforms for example, like the Predator UAV vehicle. This platform is one of the better known systems that was fielded and evaluated as one of our early ACTD programs. Predator progressed from a concept to a system operational capability in a period of a little less than 30 months -- employing mature technology that had already been developed under several other programs.

The Predator ACTD was initiated in 1993 and the first flight occurred in July of 1994. It was deployed to the Bosnia theater in July of 1995. And on March 1st of this year Predator again deployed as an ACTD to European Command to support Operation Joint Endeavor. We are now nearing completion of the Predator ACTD and are in the [process] of transitioning to a formal acquisition program to buy out the force. The technical and operational lessons that we learned during the Predator ACTD will permit us to realize the military potential of this capability far earlier than possible had we done it using the normal method of doing business.

The Unattended Ground Sensor ACTD will have Central Command and Special Operations Command as the sponsoring users and the Air Force will be the lead service for this activity. DARPA, the Central MASINT Office and SOCOM will serve as the acquisition agents. There are many applications of these building blocks -- again to I would highlight -- in addition to broad battlefield situation awareness, will be applications to counter weapons of mass destruction, and counter terrorist activities as well.

A very different application is an application I would highlight in improving the safety and maintenance reliability of our helicopters force.

In this ACTD, the Department's Army and Navy participants will work with the rotorcraft industry to make use of a common industry health and usage monitoring standards and architectures.

The Navy will be the lead service and the sponsoring user for this ACTD. A fiscal year '97 start is planned with the integration of new equipment occurring aboard six H-60 and six H- 47 helicopters in FY '98 and flight test demos and data collection scheduled in fiscal year 1999. The idea behind this application, is in essence, to be able to develop signatures or fingerprints of behavior in normal periods of operation; and the kind of fingerprints that we can begin to attach to problems developing. For example, increasing vibrations is one example -- to know that we are going to be required to do scheduled maintenance earlier than anticipated or to know that we may be developing some safety of flight problem.

Finally, if I might have the last chart, I'd like to conclude my formal remarks by sharing with you a summary of the FY '97 budget request now before the Congress. Our total request for ACTDs for these 18 new start candidates as well as our commitments from those programs we started in prior years is $98.6 million. That to is leveraged in the way I described in the earlier chart, with $415 million of funding from the services, and $550 million from Defense agencies for a total of just over one billion dollars.

As I look in perspective at this program, my sense is our ACTD initiative is a key program in allowing us to examine new, often mature technologies and their ability to be applied to emerging missions; and to do so in a setting which permits us to not only explore the military utility of the new technology but to allow us to develop operational doctrine and tactics to optimize the effectiveness of the capability for our military forces. Through the ACTDs, we are establishing a process to permit us to foster the innovation which is so critical to ensuring that our military forces are prepared for the future.

By introducing new technologies in the field, prior to the initiation of formal acquisition, we allow our operators, who have experience in combat, to evaluate and to assess the military utility and develop the tactics to ensure that we can realize the full potential of our substantial technology base that's available to us -- both Defense and commercial. ACTDs are not a means by which to circumvent the formal acquisition process, but rather a means to enter that process based on a user assessment of the value of the new capability -- to reduce the user acceptance risk. This process will help us make more informed acquisition decisions and improve our acquisition cycle time.

The DoD is committed to maintaining technological supremacy of our forces at an affordable cost. In a period where the life expectancy of many technological systems is measured in months rather than years or perhaps decades in the past, our ACTD approach provides an affordable means of rapidly moving new capabilities into our operational forces. ACTDs also provide a vehicle to explore the utility of new technologies combined with new concepts of operation or organizational changes that will help realize this revolution in military affairs. In order to do this effectively, it is critical to closely integrate the warfighter into all aspects of the technology transition process.

I'd be happy to take any of your questions. Yes.

Q: Sir, the House was not enthusiastic about the way that the Predator was transitioning out of the ACTD status. Can you talk about what you've done to allay their concerns to affect the way they respond to your funding requests?

A: We are still taking some steps to allay concerns about Predator. For example, we found some shortcomings in the system; one of which is the requirement to provide a anti-icing capability to the system. We are setting up an organization responsible for operating Predator. The Air Force will have that responsibility and manning up to provide capability. One of the things we have found, through ACTDs in our UAV programs, is the same kind of discipline that's required to operate manned aircraft, is also needed to operate unmanned aircraft. That was a useful learning experience in the ACTD and one of the steps we're taking is to set up a well leveraged and well supported office to do just that. We are in the throws now, of transitioning our acquisition program -- a joint program office under the responsibility of the Navy acquisition executive -- who will have responsibility for that acquisition. Yes, Charlie?


Q: Dr. Kaminski, a UAV crashed in Bosnia today. Can we assume -- was that a Predator and do you know what --?

A: I think that was a Pioneer vehicle. We have had several pioneer crashes in the last week or so. We have been averaging slightly higher crash rate with the Pioneer and we have been experiencing historically, and in fact we are looking at causes of this. There are some training issues. There is a problem with an engine bearing that we've had. We have an investigation team looking at that and I have not received their report as of this date, but I have an investigation team in place.

Q: On these unattended ground offenses. Are these only motion sensors, or are they [inaudible] from electronic signals to telephone conversations?

A: They sense a variety of elements, vibration, acoustic information. There's potential for some combined multiple element sensing as well.

Q: [Off mike] coned shaped, so that they stick into the ground or jam into the ground when they're dropped?

A: There are various means of delivery. Jack, do you want to address a more detailed response?

Jack Bachkosky: The unattended groups sensors that we're looking at can be, and are being designed, so that they can be both air-delivered and they do have a conical configuration similar to what you're describing. We have others that can in fact be hand emplaced, and there we have a variety of installations that we might be looking at.

Dr. Kaminski: Yes?

Q: What is counter-camouflage concealment and deception really looking for in that case?

A: The idea is to be able to counter someone else's use of camouflage concealment, and deception. So the ability, for example, to do multi-spectral sampling so that -- exploiting the fact that it's hard to have good camouflage at all sensible frequencies -- the ability to look through foliage with foliage penetration radars. There's a whole family of techniques to defeat commonly used techniques to camouflage, conceal, or deceive us about what equipment might be there. Yes?

Q: Could you maybe talk a little bit about the "informational warfare" planning tool. What exactly that would be?

A: Jack, you want to talk a little bit about that?


Jack Bachkosky: This is basically trying to exploit the fact that in addition to our placing very heavy reliance on the use of information warfare as a weapon, if you will, it will give our field commanders the ability to look at how they might exploit weaknesses in our enemy and be able to attack any vulnerabilities in his information warfare and information warfare planning tools.


Dr. Kaminski: Yes?

Q: Dr. Kaminski, last year with the ACTDs, you -- as a lesson learned from previous ACTDs -- you asked them all to have a transition plan as if you were going to production. That wasn't there in the previous round. Is there something similar you have done in this round, or lesson learned from -- ?

A: We will be developing transition plans for everyone of these ACTDs that's approved.

Q: My question is there anything in addition, that you've learned over the last year that you've added, in terms of process, to these ACTDs?

Jack Bachkosky: I think one of the things that we learned and we learned it, again, as Dr. Kaminski pointed out earlier, on a Predator program, was the need to create and establish an integrated product team early on in the actual implementation of the ACTD. We did this in the case of Predator, but we are now doing it at the initiation of all the other ACTDs. That IPT will have representatives, not only at the technical and operational community, but the test and evaluation logisticians, maintenance, training people, and all others who would become involved in the transition into a formal acquisition program. So we, as Dr. Kaminski pointed out on Predator, we learned; and we are taking advantage of that lesson on all of our future ACTDs.


Dr. Kaminski: I think that as maybe one other thing we learned, and we're still in the process of learning about, and that is some of the ACTDs themselves, while designed to be a closed concept -- a usable military concept -- end up providing for us building blocks to build bigger concepts. The INFOCOM initiative that I had discussed with you all several months ago - - fielding the use of the direct broadcast satellite for our forces in Bosnia -- that was enabled -- that initiative -- while it was not an ACTD -- was enabled by work we had done in an earlier ACTD effort -- working with data dissemination on the battlefield.

So what I'm seeing here is a capability, for example, to take a piece for one ACTD, and put it together with another piece, which we had not intended at the start of the ACTD program -- and build a system or systems-of-systems based upon it. Yes?

Q: Is there another risk that's too secretive for you to tell us about today?

A: No. There are some things that we're doing in classified or special access programs that relate to these ACTDs, but there's not a big separate special-access ACTD list. Yes?

Q: Dr. Kaminski, can you explain why the portion of OSD funding in the '97 candidates is in the neighborhood of 20 percent, whereas, in a total it's more in the realm of 10 percent? Why is there more OSD funding this year?

A: I'm not sure I can explain the systematic trend in this process. I think earlier on we saw a leverage of -- if I look at those numbers -- I guess it's almost 10 to 1, as I look at that base Jack; and the question is now, "well, gee it's only about 5 to 1." Any trend you want to comment on?

Jack Bachkosky: I think if you go back and look at the ACTDs that were initiated in fiscal '95, for example, you find some fairly large, and major, system orientations -- the three unmanned airborne vehicles -- the high altitude and the medium altitude -- the Predator were very heavily funded out of DARPA and DARO.


The cruise-missile defense phase one activity that was pursued in fiscal '95 was also very heavily funded out of the Navy. I think as we migrated into fiscal '97, if you look at this list, there really are no "major system type" ACTDs on there and I think that we are picking up a higher percentage of the total funding, and that's the reason for it.

Q: Are there smaller programs than that?

A: Yes.

Q: That share of overhead therefore is larger?

A: Yes.

Q: Let me just follow-up. Why aren't there anymore of these? The last one we had was the T-UAV, a major system that became an ACTD. Is this a trend that you're going away from -- doing systems to go to sub-systems, or is this just free luck for this year -- or bad luck?

A: It's probably too strong to say that it's a major trend. But on the other hand, what I think I see happening in the process, is we're seeing a situation in which they're high leveraged. That is a big capability they can be developed for a relatively small number of dollars by putting together some of these pieces -- some of which have been developed commercially -- and doing it on a smaller scale.

Q: How much of that just budget-driven in that you have less S&T money?

A: I don't think it's -- I would say it's not budget- driven, because with a fixed amount of funds, what would have happened here is rather than have 18 on this list, we might have had four big ones on the list. So, it wasn't pushed by budget. Yes ma'am.

Q: I just wanted to check and make sure that it's safe to say that at this point, the big challenges are in C4ISR and not in platforms? Most of these look like these are very information related?

A: Well, what you see here is very much just what you described; C4ISR -- integrating things together -- putting things together.

One of the things we're using -- we're really looking to do in these situations, is to define limitations as well. For example, given all the large number of pluses in the INFOCOM initiative that we fielded in Bosnia, one of our lessons learned from that fielding is that we need to put some more energies into how best to be able to use that information. This information is coming out of 24 megabits per second, and if it does that for a large number of seconds, pretty soon there is a large amount of data piled up on the floor.

Q: Is that because there are more challenges in that area then there are in the platform areas right now?

A: Both more challenges, but also we think very high leverage -- to leverage many existing platforms.

Q: What's involved in the secure cell phone systems; is that like a STU III hand held cell phone or something?

A: My simple explanation is that using code division multiplex technology developed commercially to set up a cellular- like phone system that we can deploy in the field, but have it operate on a secure basis.

Q: [Inaudible]?

A: We have pieces of this, but not in this kind of a deployable way. But we have the ability to use -- to add encryption modules to cellular phones. This is setting up our whole system that we can deploy in this field. In fact, on Monday we will have one of the cell phones that has this capability built into it, and we'll describe this system in considerably more detail.

Q: Is it kind of like a -- like a small-scaled [inaudible]?

A: Actually, a small-scaled portable STU III, if I have to use that analogy. Yes?

Q: Two short questions; one just for clarification -- why are these called candidates ACTDs? And then, two, can you just elaborate on the -- on the armed reconnaissance on the digital battlefield?

A: They're called candidate ACTDs because we do not have a budget yet from the Congress and how many of these we fund depends upon on what that ultimate budget will be. In fact, there were some cuts to this program in the appropriations process. We have been working with the Congress to get those restored and I think having a good reception on that, but without a final dollar number, I can't commit to the final list.

Q: So, you make the Department's request to fund all of these?

A: Yes.


Q: Okay. And then -- and would they drop out in some order of priority?

A: Yes.

Q: From 1 to 18?

A: Yes.

Q: And then could you also just speak -- the armed reconnaissance on the digital battlefield?

A: This is an Army program we're frankly -- we're looking at our ability to take reconnaissance vehicles -- helicopters, UAVs -- tying together the reconnaissance capability that exists and tie that back in an automatic way to our ability to engage weapons that might be found during a reconnaissance operation. It's providing a more lethal light force, in a sense -- if I can use that terminology for it.

Q: Dr. Kaminski, just to clarify; the order we have here is not in priority?

A: It's not in priority order.

Q: Can you tell us what you're highest priority one is on the list?

A: First on the list that -- I don't want to get started going down the whole list -- but at the top of the list is our work at Rapid Battlefield Visualization -- the ability to be able to bring together, tools for our forces to, in essence, have a 3- D view of the battlefield.

Q: Are you saying that the two that you've announced -- that you came to announce here will also make the cut, or [inaudible]?

A: They're also both high priority items.

Q: Which will be the first to go?

A: Pretty soon we'll have the whole list. No, I think I've said enough about where our priorities sit. Thank you all very much.

Additional Links

Stay Connected