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Department of Defense Press Briefing on the President's Fiscal Year 2020 Defense Budget for the Missile Defense Agency

STAFF:  Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming.  Appreciate your attendance after a pretty long day, I know, this is going to be your last briefing of the day.  Welcome, I'm Mark Wright, PAO for the Missile Defense Agency.  Let me introduce you to your speakers for today. 

On my -- on your right is Ms. Michelle Atkinson.  She is the director for operations, the acting director for operations for the Missile Defense Agency.  And to her right is Rear Admiral Jon Hill, the deputy director of the Missile Defense Agency.

They'll give an opening statement and then go through some slides for you and give you some additional information.  I know you've already -- should have picked up an MDA packet with information from OSD/PA.  Make sure you get one if you haven't yet.

Right after that, she’ll go through the budget slides for you and then we'll have time for some questions.  I ask that when time for questions, the admiral doesn't know you, neither does Ms. Atkinson, so please identify yourself and where you're from and then we'll answer your question as best as possible.

We should have about 20 minutes for each if everything works out all right.  Admiral?

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN REAR ADM. HILL:  Okay, thank you Mark, and good afternoon.  As Mark mentioned, we are well aware that this is your last brief of the day and so we'll try to keep you excited here.  It's great to have an opportunity to talk to you about the importance of the president's budget request.

And as you know, MDA has an incredibly important mission.  We develop and deploy missile defenses to protect the homeland as well as to protect our deployed forces and allies all over the world from the threat of missile attack.

I'm incredibly proud of that mission.  It is a noble mission and I'm incredibly proud of the men and women of MDA that make us -- make this possible.  So at this point, without any further ado, I'd like to turn it over to Ms. Michelle Atkinson, who is our director for operations.  So she can run you through the particulars of our budget request for FY20.  

And then we'll be happy to take your questions.

MICHELLE ATKINSON:  Thank you, Admiral.  Good afternoon.  I appreciate the opportunity to brief you today on the Missile Defense Agency fiscal year '20 budget request.

Our budget request is consistent with the president's commitment to expand and improve our missile defense capability, while at the same time recognizing that we must be able to address tomorrow's threats, which continue to expand and advance.  Next chart.

In FY 20, MDA will continue to strengthen and expand the deployment of defenses for our nation, deployed forces, allies, and international partners against increasingly capable missile threats.  The missile defense program will support our war fighters and the needs of the combatant commanders by developing, integrating, testing, and deploying interceptors, sensors, and improvements to the ballistic missile defense system.  Next chart.

MDA's priorities for missile defense are nested within the national defense strategy priorities and are as follows:  First, we must continue to focus on increasing system reliability to build warfighter confidence.  We need to increase engagement capability and capacity and also rapidly address the advancing missile threats.  

Our budget request maintains operational missile-defense capabilities for existing homeland and regional defense forces, continues to increase interceptor inventory, and will use existing technologies to improve sensors, battle management, fire control, and kill vehicle capabilities to address the evolving threats.  Next chart.

The current BMDS can defeat the current ballistic missile capabilities of our adversaries but we require additional capacity and advanced capabilities in order to stay ahead of the evolving threat. 

The projected missile threat is complex and volatile, and it includes evolving ballistic and hypersonic missile threats.  It is critical that we continue to develop innovative and breakthrough technologies to outpace rogue state offensive missile capabilities against the U.S. homeland. 

This evolving threat demands a globally present and persistent sensor network to be able to track it from birth to death.  

Next chart. 

The recently completed Missile Defense Review recognizes the evolving missile threats that we face and underscores that missile defense must remain a high-priority investment in our National Defense Strategy. 

Indeed, the missile defense mission is expanding to include non-ballistic threats.  Aligned with the current National Defense Strategy, the MDR strengthens our posture as we continue to make progress in the development and fielding of a BMDS to defend our homeland, our deployed forces, our allies and partners. 

The MDR supports the critical need to pursue new concepts and technologies to address tomorrow's threat.  The MDR also emphasizes our continued pursuit of cooperative relationships with allies and partners, to field interoperable and effective regional missile defenses.  

Next chart. 

MDA's FY '20 budget request is a total of $9.4 billion to continue the development of a reliable, increasingly capable and state-of-the-art missile defense for our nation, deployed forces, allies and international partners. 

Our priority in this budget remains the delivery of greater missile defense capability and capacity to our warfighters, and includes investments in advanced technology development and future capabilities. 

Next chart. 

MDA remains committed to delivering, expanding and sustaining our nation's homeland missile defenses, and we request $1.8 billion in FY '20 for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense, or GMD, program.  

In FY '20, we will continue to have 40 ground-based interceptors deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska, and four at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. 

We will strengthen and expand homeland missile defenses by continuing the construction of a new missile field at Fort Greely, and work to deploy 20 additional interceptors at Fort Greely, which will increase the total deployed GBIs from 44 to 64. 

This budget also continues development of the Redesigned Kill Vehicle, or RKV.  We are committed to using a rigorous engineering and test approach that provides a system to the warfighter that is both reliable and effective. 

A two-year delay to the RKV program was necessary in order to complete design modifications and perform the testing to demonstrate that the RKV system will meet its requirements.  Also in FY '20, we will conduct a GMD flight test using a GBI launched from Vandenberg.

For the Long Range Discrimination Radar -- or LRDR -- we are requesting $136 million in FY '20.  This radar, which will be available in 2020, is a critical midcourse sensor that will improve BMDS target discrimination capability and support a more efficient use of our GBIs.

We are requesting $128 million for the Sea-Based X-Band Radar, which provides precision midcourse tracking and discrimination to protect the homeland. 

As of now, SBX has been at sea for more than 500 days without a port visit.  The FY '20 program continues to provide extended SBX sea time to maintain its important contribution to homeland defense. 

Our budget also requests $20 million for the Cobra Dane radar, to continue radar refurbishment and life extension in partnership with the U.S. Air Force. 

Our P.B. '20 request also includes funding for two additional radars, which will help provide persistent discrimination, precision tracking and hit assessment to support defense of the homeland against long-range missile threats. 

We are requesting $275 million to continue the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii, which is scheduled to be available in 2023.  We are also requesting $7 million for the Pacific Discriminating Radar, to be available in the 2026 timeframe at a location to be determined. 

Next chart. 

Moving now to regional defenses.  Our FY '20 request for Aegis BMD is $1.7 billion, which includes sustaining deployed Standard Missile 3 fleet, and upgrading Aegis ships to add BMDS capability. 

We will procure 30 Aegis SM-3 Block IB missiles for deployment on land, at the Aegis Ashore sites in Romania and Poland, and at sea on multi-mission Aegis BMD ships. This will bring the total number of SM-3 Block IB missiles procured to 361 by the end of F.Y. '20.  In FY '20, we will also continue the multi-year procurement for the SM-3 Block IB missile.  

We will procure seven SM-3 Block IIA missiles, for a total of 54 missiles procured through F.Y. '20.  In FY '20, we will also continue SM-3 Block IB modernization, and the SM-3 Block IIA software upgrade programs. 

We will also continue work with the U.S. Navy to integrate the SPY-6 Aegis Missile Defense Radar with the Aegis weapons systems.  

Our FY '20 request for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense -- or THAAD -- program is $854 million.  This will allow us to support the maintenance, sustainment of all BMDS-unique items for the seven fielded THAAD batteries and all of the THAAD training devices. 

This budget also procures 37 THAAD interceptors in support of the U.S. Army, bringing the total to 568 by the end of FY '20.  

Additionally in FY '20, we will continue THAAD's software development and upgrades, and integration of missile defense capabilities on the Korean Peninsula. 

We are requesting $543 million to support and sustain 12 TPY-2 radars, which includes the forward-based mode radars in Japan, Turkey, Israel and U.S. Central Command. 

This funding also continues software development to improve discrimination capabilities, and other upgrades to improve the TPY-2 radar performance. 

Our budget request of $500 million in FY '20 for Israeli programs continues MDA's longstanding support of U.S.-Israeli cooperative programs to include Iron Dome, David's Sling and the Arrow weapons systems.  

Finally, in support of phase three of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, or EPAA, our P.B. '20 budget request includes $64 million to complete the Aegis Ashore site in Poland to be available in 2020, and also to make capability improvements at other Aegis Ashore sites. 

Next chart. 

MDA is developing advanced missile defense technologies for integration into the BMDS to defeat the rapidly evolving threats.  The investment strategy for these technologies balances the need to address the most dangerous current threats with the need to position the U.S. to respond to threat developments in the future. 

We are requesting $157 million for hypersonic defense.  The FY '20 plan includes software modifications to current BMDS assets, and further defines the architecture for future capability demonstrations. 

Our request for technology maturation initiatives is $304 million.  This includes the new effort for the development of a neutral particle beam that will leverage past and current work on particle beams, related enabling technology, laser pointing and laser stability to provide a component technology for a future system that will offer new kill options for the BMDS and will add another layer of protection for the homeland. 

This funding also provides laser scaling efforts to scale up power levels to support DOD-wide capability objectives.

Our FY '20 budget request also continues discrimination sensor technology development and supports advanced technology testing.  We are requesting $63 million for MDA space efforts in FY '20 to sustain the two Space Tracking and Surveillance System satellites operating in low earth orbit and to continue development of the space based kill assessment sensor network.

We are requesting $14 million for the Multi-Object Kill Vehicle, or MOKV, to fund technology risk reduction efforts to establish a foundation for killing multiple lethal objects with a single interceptor.  Next chart.

We are requesting $564 million in FY '20 for the Command and Control Battle Management Communications system, or C2BMC.  We will continue to support current C2BMC capability in CENTCOM, EUCOM, INDOPACOM and NORTHCOM, with upgrades that integrate the Aegis engage-on-remote and LRDR capability.

We are requesting $554 million in FY '20 to develop threat representative targets and $396 million to conduct BMDS flight and ground testing.  Critical flight tests in FY '20 include FTM-44, which is an Aegis BMD test against a long range target, and FTO-03, which is an integrated THAAD, Aegis and Patriot operational test against multiple targets.  Next chart.

In summary, the MDA F.Y. '20 budget request continues to focus on sustaining and increasing system reliability for BMDS elements such as THAAD, GMD, Aegis, TPY-2 and Cobra Dane.  It also focuses on increasing engagement capability with efforts such as the new LRDR radar in Alaska, and it also addresses the advanced threats with efforts such as the hypersonic defense program.

In FY '20, MDA will continue to make progress in the development and deployment of a reliable layered Ballistic Missile Defense System to defend our homeland, our deployed forces, our allies and partners from missile attacks of all ranges and in all phases of flight.

The Admiral and I will now take a few questions.

Q:  Hi, good afternoon, thanks for doing this.  My name is Tom Squiteri, I'm with Talk Media News.  I had a -- two questions, one off of what you said and one from something that had happened yesterday.  The radar in the Pacific that you didn't say where it's going to be yet, is that -- is that going to be on United States territory or is it going to be some place offshore?  Can you answer that or is that classified?

REAR ADM. HILL:  So I'll -- I'll go ahead and give you the best answer that I can, given where we are today.

Q:  Right, that's always the one I prefer.

REAR ADM. HILL:  Right.  So you know, capability and capacity increase for the overall INDOPACOM region is an important enough priority and it's part of a broader sensor architecture, right?  So in coordination with the department and with the combatant commands, we are continuing to assess potential sites.

And so I would say all of the above.  You know, as we assess the threat and different sites, then we'll determine where it should be.

Q:  The reason I asked that question, it leads to one I had in my mind when I came here.  Yesterday, Austin Long spoke at the Hudson Institute and the -- the topic was hypersonics, and he noted how far -- this is a Pentagon person -- he noted how far China is on hypersonics and the idea of having a network to -- to determine hypersonics, including a sensor network, that the United States had a road map while China has investments.

How do you judge the timeframe to when we'll have some type of sensor-based network that they spoke of yesterday, to help fulfill the goal that Michelle had said at her conclusion?

REAR ADM. HILL:  Yeah, I -- so I think it's a -- it's a mix of investments and really understanding the projections of where the threat is and where it is going.  

So Ms. Atkinson mentioned the -- pardon me, that's -- she lets me call her Michelle every now and then -- so she -- she talked about the -- the initial investment on existing sensors today and how we can bring those together to handle those advanced threats, and -- and that's kind of where you normally start, right?  

And then we moved to radar technology and place those in specific places to give us as much of the track custody as was mentioned earlier, from launch all the way to intercept point.  We have very -- been very consistent in the need to take sensors and go into space so that you have that global coverage, particularly for advanced threat that would overfly or under-fly field of view of a radar.

So we're working with the department now to work through that architecture, make those investments and be a part of a multi-mission sensor layer capability for the department.

Q:  Thank you.

STAFF:  Tony?

Q:  Tony Capaccio with Bloomberg.  You flicked the problem with the -- the Redesigned Kill Vehicle.  How much is -- how serious are the technical problems, or is this more quality of parts issues that Raytheon is having?

REAR ADM. HILL:  Yeah, so I'll just, for -- for those who may not be familiar with it -- so the RKV is the Redesigned Kill Vehicle.  We -- we went down this path, signed an acquisition plan back in 2015, the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics at the time, signed that out and we're moving through -- came through a preliminary design review as we approached the Critical Design Review at the end of last year.

And those of you who aren't familiar with what a CDR is, when you get there, you're satisfied with the robustness of your design, you've done all the modeling and simulation, and you believe that you're ready to go to production.

We have specific entrance criteria to take us there.  We do not believe as a government team that we are ready to take that step into that Critical Design Review, and so through coordination into the department, all the way up to the Undersecretary for Research and Engineering, we determined that the best thing to do was to go back and assess that design and take the time to do it right.

We could do what some programs do and what the Missile Defense Agency did years ago, which is to go ahead and produce what we've got and then deal with reliability issues in the fleet and erode the confidence of the war fighter.  We know that is the wrong step.

So we're going back to assess that design and do the proper testing, do the analysis, and then we'll go to the Critical Design Review when we're ready.  We're following our normal process of rigorous engineering, data reviews, and milestone driven methods.

Q:  To what extent (inaudible) these quality of part issues?  I obviously understand there's been parts failures and thermal testing of late parts in the production lines.

REAR ADM. HILL:  No, this is the -- we've got to take a look at the whole design, which is what we're doing.  We're assessing that and we're looking at the impact to -- to what that means over the long haul.  So over the course of the next few months, we'll have a better feel, but we're working that very hard today.

Q:  All right, well to what extent is -- is the fielding expansion of 64 now jeopardized because of this?

REAR ADM. HILL:  OK, so since the additional 20 ground-based interceptors were going to be tipped with the Redesigned Kill Vehicle, a two year delay, again up to two years based on our assessment today, would mean that those interceptors will move to the right by two years.

Q:  Thank you.

(UNKNOWN):  Thank you.

Q:  And a follow up on that, they were initially supposed to be ready in 2023 and now they'll be ready in 2025?

REAR ADM. HILL:  That's correct.

Q:  Thank you, and just to follow up -- sorry, my original question.  Your directed energy budget for the year, do you have a break out for that one please?

REAR ADM. HILL:  Michelle, I'll turn to you.

MRS. ATKINSON:  Yes sir, so I'll take -- I'll -- I'll have to get back to you on the specifics, but our budget, as I stated in my briefing earlier, our budget includes funding for laser scaling and for other directed energy like the neutral particle beam-type efforts.

STAFF:  We'll come back to you.  Jason.

Q:  OK, Jason Sherman, Inside Defense.  So the -- there was -- there has been an effort to accelerate the RKV program.  Is that effectively off the table now?

REAR ADM. HILL:  We're -- we're re-assessing the whole program, right?  So in terms of any sort of acceleration, we're very focused in on following the system engineering rigor and getting it right.  So that's where we are.  

Q:  What are the key milestones between now and that review in two years?  Can you say a bit about who the key industry players are working on the RKV?  

REAR ADM. HILL:  Yes, so the key is when we reset getting to a critical design review, you move those milestones to the right.  So it's all the run-ups that would normally take you between a preliminary design review and getting to critical design.  So it is the testing phase that is required is the modeling of the results of that, and then the full-up analysis before you get to the critical design review.  

Q:  Great.  And last year the MDA asked Congress for permission to put together a multi-year procurement of the SM-3 block 1B.  The FY20 request that MDA is putting forward shaves about 64 missiles from the plan that you told Congress you were going to execute on that multi-year procurement.  

It originally said that you could save 13 percent.  Does the cost avoidance go up in smoke here?  What's the reason for cutting the missiles from the plan?  

MRS. ATKINSON:  Well, I can answer that.  In FY20 the number of missiles decreased because in FY19 Congress did not appropriate the advanced procurement funding.  And so that enabled us not to start those interceptors in '19.  So we have to start those in '20.  So that provided a ripple effect through the FYDP of the quantity of interceptors.  We fully are committed to the multi-year procurement.  And we plan on pursuing that and moving forward this year.  

Q:  And will there be any savings associated with the multi-year procurement as a result?  

MRS. ATKINSON:  Yes, sir.  We are still projecting about as much savings...

Q.  Oh you are, great.

MRS. ATKINSON:  just a year later.  

Q:  And can you tell us what the status of the SM-3 block IIA production is?  Uh, production decision is?  

REAR ADM. HILL:  Yes.  So we just recently completed an independent technical review that is driven by the undersecretary for R&E.  And the focus of that review was really on the overall reliability.  So although we've completed the live fire test campaign and believe that we are almost ready to go to production, part of being almost ready to go to production is to complete the assessments on overall long-term reliability and to ensure that we have an absolute producible design.  So it's just normal course at this point coming through the engineering to make sure that we're ready.  But we anticipate that we'll be able to go to production this year.  

Q:  An independent technical read review?  An independent technical review before the production decision?  

REAR ADM. HILL:  Yes.  Just to...


Q:  Do you have a lack of confidence in the capability?

REAR ADM. HILL:  It's being driven by Dr. Griffin.  And we fully support -- we want to have those outside looks.  So we invite that in.  And what we want to do is to ensure that because -- you know, we're in a cooperative development on a complex system, we want to make sure that when we do go to production it's a robust design and it has got long-term reliability.  

STAFF:  Sandra.

Q:  Thank you.  Sandra Irwin, SpaceNews.  We were told by DoD that they're actually making some changes in how they resource missile defense.  In terms of what the priorities of the Missile Defense Review, they said that they are actually shifting from traditional to non-traditional.  

It was not clear to us what exactly that meant.  So I was wondering if you can explain what traditional -- or resources from traditional missile defense are being shifted, and why do they call it "missile defeat and defense"?  Is that a new thing?  

REAR ADM. HILL:  I'm not familiar with the statements that you said.  But I will state that missile-defense -- investments in missile defense don't all go to nor should they go to the Missile Defense Agency.  As you listen to Ms. Atkinson's overview brief, we discussed the other services.  We're wedded closely to the Navy on Aegis Ballistic missile defense, for example, closely wedded to the Army with the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense system and closely with the Air Force when it comes to the operation of large radars around the globe.  So I would say the best way to answer your question is that is a broad DOD-wide effort.  It's a complex threat and it requires a full up, all hands on deck response to it.

Q:  For the space discrimination -- space based discrimination for hypersonic defense is there investments being made now outside of MDA?

REAR ADM. HILL:  Absolutely, and so what I mentioned earlier is that it will be a multi-mission, department-wide effort to deploy the system that has more than just a missile defense mission.  So we're tucked into that overall architecture and fully supportive of the department's efforts to get a multi-mission capability deployed.

Q:  Then why defeat, why do they have in your name defeat and defense. What is the difference?

REAR ADM. HILL:  So that has been around for a bit but I would say it is the integration which is important between the left of launch operations and the actual passive and active defense measures.


Q:  Hi, Jen Judson with "Defense News."  

You had mentioned a GMD flight test for FY 20 and you said that you're using a GBI launch from Vandenberg and I seem to recall back when the big GMD test in May 2017, Admiral Syring said at the time that there would be a plan to have a test of the GMD system in 2018 in the fall or early winter, that involved two interceptors.  Are you walking back from testing with two interceptors at this point and can you detail that GBI test that’s scheduled for FY 20?

REAR ADM. HILL:  Sure. So I -- I will tell you I believe what you're talking about is the FTG 11 which is what we refer as the salvo shot and so we will be launching against an intercontinental ballistic missile range, ballistic missile range target, an ICBM, and we'll use the salvo of a newest version of GBI and an older version to characterize the interaction of those interceptors as they go after the ICBM and that's scheduled for this year actually.

Q:  Ok.  And so then what -- what would the FY 20 test be accomplishing?

REAR ADM. HILL:  The FY 20 test will be focused in on an upgrade to the booster.  And so once we do that test in 2020 then we can marry it and evaluate the upgraded RKV downstream.

Q:  OK, all right.  Thank you.

STAFF:  In the back.

Q:  I think we're living in a neutral particle beam research.  Is that -- because that's sort of a crude sounding thing?  Is that something that you can actually test this year and where do you test that?

REAR ADM. HILL:  Yes - so neutral particle beam like any new technology--the focus will be on technology maturation and also feasibility for that kind of capability.  And as you know it traces back to the strategic defense initiative.  We think it's got a lot of promise for the missile defense mission and so our focus in FY 20 is to lay the foundation to get to an on orbit demo - I think in FY 23.  And so we will be doing the ground tests, doing a demonstration on the ground before we're ready to go to the on orbit demo.  And again, focus on maturing the technologies and focus on feasibility.  

Q:  And that's something that's fundamentally different from the studies that are being done elsewhere on space-based intercept and the feasibility of those?

REAR ADM. HILL:  It is separate and distinct.  It is a technology effort that will point in that direction.

Q:  Thanks.

Q:  Dan Watson with Janes, you mentioned the space-based kill assessment. When were those sensors deployed and how many are there and what does that technology have to prove or go through before it can be integrated into like the operational actual system?

REAR ADM. HILL:  OK, so we did leverage commercial lift and that capability is deployed today.  I'm not going to tell you the number that's there but it is there and they are operational now.  What they haven't been -- what we haven't done yet is completed the integration with the ballistic missile defense so they've been operational through a couple of the last flight tests and we're working very closely with NORTHCOM and STRATCOM to ensure as we bring it in for integration that the war fighters are satisfied with the interfaces and those sorts of things, but they're operational now and provides us the capability that we need to ensure that as we move with salvo doctrine or hit policy, those sorts of things, we can actually detect that in space.

Q:  When you say flight testing, you mean GBI tests or...

REAR ADM. HILL:  No.  We can -- we can leverage that capability on any live-fire test.  It doesn't matter what the system is.

Q: But you said you've used it already?

REAR ADM. HILL:  Yes, and we're going to use it the salvo test that was asked about earlier.

Q:  Steve Trimble with Aviation Week, I was going to ask about the neutral particle beam but is there anything in the budget for boost phase defense?

REAR ADM. HILL:  I think that the closest that we can get to in the MDA budget would be our -- our efforts in the directed energy side of the house where we're focused in on scaling that laser -- those different types of lasers that we're working with (inaudible) and the FFRDC’s and with industry to mature the power levels and to get it to the space, weight and power that's required for a missile defense mission.  Michelle, am I leaving anything out?  No, so that is the focus for boost phase.

Q:  Still the identity as an airborne application versus space application?

REAR ADM. HILL:  There is an option there.  There are investments being made on a potential kinetic energy options from aircraft, yes.

STAFF:  In the back.

Q:  Paul (inaudible) from the Washington Post.  I just wanted to ask a broad question.  You know the President was here earlier this year and the Defense Secretary made a lot of comments -- ambitious comments about the future of missile defense and I think some people will therefore be slightly confused by why then the Missile Defense Agency's budget is declining.  And is that because most of those investments are happening outside the Missile Defense Agency or is there some other explanation for that?  Can you just give us a sense of -- of how that squares?  

REAR ADM. HILL:  So I'll -- I'll start with the fact that the Missile Defense Review was approved by the President of the United States and so we're aligned to the Missile Defense Review.  If you look at our budget, that's a significant investment in missile defenses.  And as I mentioned before, there are investments being made elsewhere because it makes sense. 

Q:  And do you have an overall figure for missile defense, including Missile Defense Agency and other investments outside and whether that's increased or decreased?

MRS. ATKINSON:  Yes, so first of all I'd like to mention also just to add to the Admiral's remarks that what you're seeing is actually – that in FY 18 and FY 19, MDA received significant increases for the missile defense and defeat and enhancement related items and other Congressional plus-ups.  And what you're seeing in '20 actually looks like a decrease but it's really just the declining funding as we complete those efforts and those tails.

I do not have a dollar figure.  That would probably, for the funding elsewhere in the department that would be a question for the department.

Q:  I want to follow up on the question about the sensors that you were talking about that will already be -- already working in the system.  When did they go online and he specifically asked you about North Korean launches, would that be able to detect those?

REAR ADM. HILL:  OK, so again back to Space Based Kill assessment, leveraging commercial lift.  I'm not going to talk about the numbers – yes, so they were deployed through last calendar year and put on station and we're going through the final integration of those as a system now and they will collect data and operate during FTG 11.

Q:  But what I asked is, when would have been the first time they would have been able to detect something like (inaudible)?

REAR ADM. HILL:  So, remember, there weren't any launches coming out of the INDOPACOM arena from the countries I think you're mentioning during FY '17 which is when we were deploying the system.

Q:  OK.  Thank you.

STAFF:  Jason.

Q:  Thanks.  I wonder if you could talk a little bit about the difference between what the space-based kill assessment is -- is doing and what the agency is looking for from the space sensor layer, how those two overlap or how they're similar, how they're different.

REAR ADM. HILL:  OK.  So I'll use an Aegis model...

Q:  If I could also just ask you to give us an update on space sensor layer, what's happening now and where is it going to go in 2020?

REAR ADM. HILL:  So, just to kind of simplify what can be a pretty complex story, right, so you have indications and warning, there's a set of capabilities that do that, so think of that as when you have a launch, right, so indications of warning.  And normally you would hand that over to radars to get to a track so you can build a fire control solution, right?  So indications and warning happen first, and so let's just say rather than passing to a -- to a radar to get that track, if this is some global advanced threat, then now you would go to the space sensor layer, a department-wide capability that can not only do indications and warning but also handle the tracking capability.

And when you get to the backend and you start to intercept, and let's just say it's a kinetic interceptor coming from the ground, then the space base kill assessment would be that capability that determines whether or not you hit.  And then you can make decisions on firing again.  It affects your salvo policy.

Does that make sense?

Q:  It does.  And what's the status of the space sensor layer effort?

REAR ADM. HILL:  So -- so now we're making investments across the department to get to that multi-mission capabilities.  So there are -- I would tell you where we are today is going through a deep assessment on what that architecture should look like, not only the numbers and capabilities but how you would spread those capabilities because you may not put them all on one bird; how many do you need and on what orbitology.

Q:  Right.  And so what are the main goals for FY '19 and FY '20 for space sensor layer?

REAR ADM. HILL:  It is the development of the sensors that would go on as part of the payload.

Q:  And that was one of the things that was highlighted during the missile defense review rollout here, yet it's not mentioned at all, I don't believe, in the presentation that you gave here.

REAR ADM. HILL:  Right, because it is a broader department initiative that we are a part of.  And I say multi-mission and maybe that's just too broad of a term, but I mentioned indications and warning, I talk about detection and tracking, there are other capabilities that that system will be required to do and we're just part of that.

Q:  But who has the lead on space sensor layer?

REAR ADM. HILL:  It's at the department level.

Q:  OSD?

REAR ADM. HILL:  It'll be -- it's within the department.  I'm just not prepared to talk about it today.

STAFF:  Yes, sir.  Gentleman in the back.

Q:  Hi, I'm (inaudible) with NHK Japan Broadcasting Corporation.  I have a question regarding the Homeland Defense Pacific radar.  So, do you already decide where are you deployed and if not, when do you decide it?

REAR ADM. HILL:  So, I talked about it earlier, maybe you weren't here.  But the overall sensor architecture and the drive from our warfighters, particularly in the INDOPACOM region drives us, as part of the architecture to need another sensor in the area.  We are going through a site assessment today.  We have made no decisions on the location but really, the decision for it will be driven by the evolution of the threat.

So as the threat becomes more complex, that'll drive a decision and that's a department-level decision.

Q:  Follow-up on that, is that going to be similar in capability to the LRDR?

REAR ADM. HILL:  They're all -- I would say that you tailor the sensor for the needs in the area.  So LRDR, geographically where it's at, has a particular view.  We are going to be defending Hawaii, we're going to increase our defense capability of Hawaii with a radar that we're placing in Hawaii and we're still coming through that site selection process as well.  And so as we think about where it might go in the Pacific and hone down on locations and sites, it'll be tailored both in size and the power requirements.

STAFF:  Yes, ma'am, probably our last question.

REAR ADM. HILL:  Mark, can I just go back?  Just back to the space sensor layer, right, because you asked who specifically is doing it.  We're in very close collaboration with the Air Force and we're tied very closely to the efforts that are being executed by DARPA today.  And that's probably the answer I should have given you earlier but my mind was elsewhere.  OK, I'm sorry.

Q:  Yeah, I'm looking for an update on where you are with Aegis Ashore in Poland...


Q:  It’s my understanding that it looks like you're delayed to FY '20, is it for operational capability, initial, full?  Can you update us on what some of the issues were around that site since it looks like it's about a two-year delay?

REAR ADM. HILL:  Yeah, the best way to summarize it is that we've had construction delays.  In fact, Lieutenant General Greaves was just out there last week in Poland meeting with the team that is bringing it forward.  I talked to him during his trip and he talked about the amazing progress that was made since the last time he was there.  So we're progressing along.  We believe that we will complete that effort this year and that we'll be able to install the combat system which is on-site now, we're phasing that work in now, and then we'll complete it in '20.

Q:  Did you switch out construction companies?  Or what did you do to resolve the issues?

REAR ADM. HILL:  I tell you, it's been a lot of hardcore heavy leadership and partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and with the combatant command EUCOM, the local governments there in the area directly engaging with Poland and with senior leadership in those companies.  So everyone has banded together, the commitment is there to get it done.  As you know, we had some tough weather last year which contributed to the delays but it's really been about just completing the construction so that we can move in with the weapon system and get that installed.

Q:  So what specifically were the problems with the construction?

REAR ADM. HILL:  It wasn't a quality issue, it was really just the speed of getting it done and not sticking to the schedule.  Again, weather was part of it, expertise, number of people onsite to get the work done.  And so there's been a lot of senior leadership pressure, all the way up to the deputy secretary of defense helping us to bring this one through.

STAFF:  All right, guys, I think that's all we've got time for.  Thank you very much for coming.  Ma’am, sir, thank you very much for your time today.

REAR ADM. HILL:  Thank you.

Q:  Thank you