May 21 2009
Strategic Forces Subcommittee: FY10 National Defense Authorization Budget Request for National Security Space and Missile Defense Programs
Subcommittee Chairman Tauscher's Opening Statement
|Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chair Ellen Tauscher
Hearing on the FY 2010 Budget Request for National Security Space and Missile Defense Programs
|May 21, 2009|
"Good afternoon. This hearing of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee will come to order. Today, the subcommittee will receive testimony on the President’s fiscal year 2010 budget request for national security space and missile defense programs.
“Traditionally, the subcommittee would have held separate hearings on both of these topics. After all, unclassified national security space programs account for over $11 billion dollars of the President’s request and the total request for ballistic missile defense programs tops $9.3 billion dollars.
“Unfortunately, the timing of the budget submission and the committee’s legislative schedule make it impossible to hold two hearings before our markup.
“That said, the good news is that the subcommittee has held four hearings and two briefings on specific aspects of these programs already this year.
“Appearing before the committee this afternoon are two well-known witnesses. Both of them are well-equipped to address these two major elements of the President’s defense budget. First, General Robert Kehler, the commander of Air Force Space Command, will address the national security space aspects of the budget. Second, Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency, will discuss the missile defense budget request.
“I want to thank both of our distinguished witnesses for appearing before the subcommittee today.
“Before turning to our witnesses, I would like to briefly identify some of the key issues we hope the witnesses will address in the course of their testimony today.
“National security space systems provide a wide variety of capabilities to our warfighters by offering global access, unhindered by geographic or political boundaries, and unrestricted by surface or air defenses.
“While the funding requests for most major space programs remain consistent with past plans, the fiscal 2010 request contains several significant programmatic shifts:
“First, it recommends terminating the Transformational Satellite Communications System or TSAT program; second, it expands funding for other military satellite communications systems; and, finally, the request provides a significant increase for space situational awareness programs.
“During the past decade, most national security space programs have experienced significant cost increases and schedule delays. General Kehler, I would ask you to discuss how the budget before us today will help deliver satellite systems in a more timely and cost-effective manner.
“More specifically, what are the administration’s plans for ensuring that the warfighter will have sufficient protected communications bandwidth in the next decade after the termination of the TSAT program?
“And what will happen with the engineering and technical talents who have focused on this problem?
“The subcommittee has also focused significant attention on the vulnerability of space-based systems in recent years. In that regard, General Kehler, how will the budget before us address the increasing vulnerability of our satellite systems?
“Turning to the issue of missile defense, Secretary of Defense Gates has incorporated key decisions into this budget that, in my view, refocus the program to its original purpose, and on the most pressing threats to the security of the United States, our deployed troops and allies.
“In 1999, Congress passed, and the President signed, H.R. 4. That law established the policy of the United States to, quote, ‘deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective National Missile Defense system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate.’
“Secretary Gates announced three key decisions to refocus the program on their original goals and to address the most pressing threats:
“First, he has proposed capping the deployment of long-range missile defense interceptors deployed in Alaska and California at 30, arguing that these 30 interceptors would be more than sufficient to counter rogue threats or unauthorized launches for the foreseeable future.
“Second, he proposed cancelling three programs – the Multiple Kill Vehicle, the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, and the second Airborne Laser prototype aircraft. These are programs that have been pursued to counter long-range missile threats that could develop in the future. Each has experienced technical challenges, and some are unlikely to be cost-effective if deployed.
“Finally, the Secretary has recommended a $900 million dollar increase in funding for theater missile defense programs such as the AEGIS ballistic missile defense system and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system. This decision will better protect our deployed forces, allies and friends against the existing short- and medium-range ballistic missile threat, and it is consistent with the demands of our combatant commanders for more interceptors for theatre defense.
“General O’Reilly, in the course of your testimony today, could you describe how the Secretary reached these decisions? Were you consulted in the decision making process? Did the Missile Defense Agency recommend these actions? And do you have any reservations about the Secretary’s decisions?
“As we dig into the details of the budget, I would also like to hear about your new plans for exploring ascent phase intercept technologies to hedge against more complicated threats in the future.
“With that, let me turn to my good friend, our Ranking Member, Mr. Turner, for any comments he may have.”