SUBJECT: U.S. National Security Space Programs and Issues
STATEMENT OF: Mr. Keith R. Hall
Director, National Reconnaissance Office
Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Space)
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I am pleased to join General Estes in discussing our National Security Space programs. I would like to discuss our efforts to increase Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) integration and highlight specific points you should be aware of in the
Fiscal Year (FY) 1999 National Reconnaissance Program (NRP).
Criticality of U.S. Space Capabilities
Today our U.S. space capabilities are the indispensable tools of global
leadership. In the next century, this will be even more true. Our national
and military leaders rely on overhead systems to provide global awareness of
threats and to focus instantaneously on specific areas of crisis. They are
accustomed to basing decisions on the remarkably solid, broad, and detailed
foundation of information provided by satellite reconnaissance.
Our leadership in the field of space, particularly space reconnaissance,
gives the U.S. a significant edge in any potential hostilities. Space systems
communications, precision navigation, accurate meteorological data, early
warning of missile launches, and near-real-time signals and imagery support to
the commander in the field. The warfighting Commanders-in-Chief and the Joint
Staff have repeatedly underscored the necessity of assured and continuous
availability of these systems. They have stated requirements for, and we are
providing, real time reporting on the operational status of our space systems.
Joint Vision 2010 is predicated on the continued information dominance
provided by our space capabilities.
Enhancing Cooperation and Integration of Black and White Space
As the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space and the Director
of the NRO, I have worked to strengthen collaboration between the Air Force
and the NRO to deliver a preeminent space capability, sooner, better, and
cheaper. Let me review the steps I have taken over the past year to increase
the integration of so-called black and white space:
First, we have made significant progress in building the framework for
the oversight and management of defense and intelligence space programs.
Based on the 1996 agreement between the NRO and the Department of Defense
(DoD) to follow a "Two Architects, One Architecture" policy, we pursued
several joint architecture efforts which produced new levels of cooperation
and integration between the two communities. In collaboration with the DoD
Space Architect we produced a joint space control protection architecture
study. This groundbreaking effort was presented to the Joint Space Management
Board last May. This year, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Defense Reform
Initiative Number 11, "Reorganization of DoD Space Management
Responsibilities," presents us with an opportunity to take that final step
forward and integrate the NRO and DoD space functions into a single national
security space architecture. That effort, when combined with new approached
for streamlined oversight, should lead to more capable, integrated, and cost
effective space systems.
We have moved aggressively to bring military insight to bear in every
phase of the design, development, and construction of new satellite systems.
There was a time when the NRO built systems for intelligence purposes, and
then looked for military applications for those systems. Today, our systems
are increasingly responsible to operational needs and the military is an
integral partner and participant in our space mission. As we begin a
revolutionary research and development (R&D) program and new acquisition
efforts for Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Imagery Intelligence, our
military partners are helping shape the next generation of satellites.
We have formed an Air Force-NRO Integration Planning Group, a small team
which will search out new collaborative ventures that will enhance our
capabilities, reduce the costs of space services, and improve our support to
the military customer. This team will develop and promote new ideas and serve
as the focal point for examining and coordinating innovative Air Force-NRO
program integration concepts.
We continue to undertake new programs to educate and train military
users in how to utilize space capabilities effectively. The NRO and U.S.
Space Command Customer Support Teams in the field assist warfighters in
integrating space systems data into their operations. The NRO Training and
Exercise support project, a joint project of the NRO and the Defense Space
Reconnaissance Program, uses simulations to ensure that military users
understand and effectively employ NRO systems and products in real-world
operations. This past year, the NRO supported over 80 exercises world-wide.
These are just a few examples of our educational programs.
Our efforts to reduce the classification of our product means that much
of our data is now available at the secret level for direct use by the
warfighter--this has been a major factor in the military's revolution in
We have continued the effort to improve dissemination concepts and the
application of data collected from space. To give you just one example, we
are developing a system of feeding
up-to-date imagery and targeting information directly into the cockpit as a
pilot is en route to the target. This system has already been successfully
tested in Bosnia.
We have undertaken joint technology demonstrations with the Air Force.
Most notably, we have reached an agreement among the NRO, the Air Force and
the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to proceed with a space-based, ground moving target indicator (MTI) technology demonstration program
in FY 1998. This demonstration will be jointly funded among the three
participating organizations. While the resources we are devoting in FY 1999
are relatively modest, this effort will pay significant future dividends to
both the NRO and the Air Force. It will not only enhance our ability to
provide a quick and agile response to military requirements, it will provide
experience that will serve us well in future joint ventures, and in the design
of the Future Imagery Architecture (FIA).
I would like to acknowledge the role of the Congress, the Defense
Science Board, and DARPA in getting the MTI program defined and underway.
A Strong, Responsive National Reconnaissance Program
The NRO has just submitted to Congress its FY 1999 program budget
proposal, which is, from top to bottom, a product of the debate over the
future of our space systems. Contention over the use of smaller satellites,
the nature of certain technology demonstrations, cross-collection synergy, and
other critical elements of our space programs has generated innovative
approaches to a host of challenges. The MTI is one of those solutions, there
are many others on which I cannot elaborate in an unclassified setting. I
would now like to provide the basic outlines of the FY 1999 NRP. The details
are contained in our classified submissions to Congress.
The NRO continues to introduce and develop the collection architecture
of the future that will ensure U.S. Information Superiority as called for in
Joint Vision 2010. In designing this architecture, we accepted the challenge
to build smaller, less expensive, and more capable satellites through a
streamlined and more open acquisition process. We are on track to meet our
objectives and we have the support of our product users, who have
been involved in all aspects of system architecture definition. I want to
emphasize that the cold war inventory of satellites for our future programs to
minimize the risk of outages and gaps in coverage.
In the area of imagery intelligence, we are completing the development
of the Enhanced Imaging System in response to growing customer demands and
large area imagery collection shortfalls. At the same time, we are developing
FIA, which will capitalize on available small satellite technology to address
the needs of tomorrow's customers in the most effective way possible. I would
note that FIA responds to an exhaustive study of customer needs. General
Estes and U.S. Space Command have played an instrumental role in ensuring
warfighter needs are represented and prioritized.
In the area of SIGINT, we are introducing an Integrated Overhead SIGINT
Architecture (IOSA) that will improve SIGINT performance and avoid costs by
consolidating systems, utilizing medium lift launch vehicles wherever
possible, and using new
satellite and data processing technologies. At the urging of Congress, we
have initiated the study phase for the follow-on architecture, IOSA-2.
We are developing a Future Communications Architecture (FCA) that will
be critical to the success of these future imagery and signals intelligence
systems. The FCA will consist of a network of satellites and ground
communications systems that will allow us to move and process large volumes of
information from operational collection systems. It is the essential element
in our emerging system-of-systems concept which will enable better integration
of data from all intelligence sources, and ensure that collection
architectures work together effectively.
To move these programs forward, we are undertaking "revolutionary"
research initiatives that will allow the Air Force and the NRO to successfully
support critical national security objectives in the next century. Major
General Richard Paul, Director of the Air Force Research Laboratory, and I
have agreed to coordinate our research and development programs, and
to rotate talented individuals in key assignments across both organizations.
The NRO has stepped up to this commitment by increasing our R&D Budget to 8
percent of the total NRP in FY 1999, with a future goal of 10 percent. We
have created an Advanced Systems and Technology Directorate to identify
promising technologies and to push revolutionary concepts from the development
stage into flight demonstration. Here, we are also supporting and leveraging
advances in commercial space. I fully support commercial space initiatives,
and believe they will enable enhanced national security capabilities and help
If our military forces are to accrue the full advantages of space, we
must have a robust space architecture. I have great confidence that we have a
balanced, affordable program that will provide such an architecture. With
support from the Congress, it will give us space systems that are less costly
and better able to serve our customers, both national and military, today and
into the next century.
The Need for Budget Stability
As the U.S. dependence on space has grown, so have the risks--and
potential costs--of an interruption in space services. If we are to deliver on
the promise of the NRP, we must have budget stability. To close the FY 1998
program, we had to slip acquisition schedules, cut products that had been
enthusiastically received by our customers, and reduce to near zero the margin
of funding that we rely on to respond to the unforeseen problems that are a
"given" in inherently risky development programs. Continued program
instability could limit our ability to respond to crises, blunt the pursuit of
revolutionary improvements in capabilities, and threaten the continuity of
service in overhead intelligence collection.
If we cancel or re-plan an NRO program, it should be a conscious and
considered opinion, with the risks to our national security carefully weighed.
Without such an approach, the result will be increased risk to our national
security with no savings in resources to the taxpayer.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, allow me to emphasize to this committee that
our intelligence satellites are a truly extraordinary national resource; they
have played a silent, but crucial role in making this the American Century.
They are our daily workhorses which provide global access and data that
ensures our information is superior to that of our adversaries.
I believe that our space capabilities will be not only essential to U.S. national security in the next century, they will be a tremendous boon to U.S. world leadership, technological robustness, and economic competitiveness. I ask that Congress support the NRP and provide the budget stability that will allow us to maintain stable and reliable support to our national and military customers.