U.S. Department of Defense Officials Speak to House Committee on Missile Defense Budget

John F. Plumb, assistant secretary of defense for space policy, Navy Vice Adm. Jon A. Hill, Missile Defense Agency director; Space Force Lt. Gen. John E. Shaw, U.S. Space Command commander; Army Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command commander and John D. Sawyer, Contracting and National Security Acquisitions acting director, meet with the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on Strategic Forces about the fiscal year 2023 budget request, May 11, 2022.


The purpose of today’s hearing is to receive testimony in the 2023 budget request for DOD missile defense programs. Our witnesses are dr john plum of Assistant Secretary of Defense for space policy. Vice Admiral Hill, Director of the Middle Missile Defense Agency. Lieutenant General Cobbler. Commander of the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command and joint functional component command for Integrated Missile Defense. Lieutenant General john Shaw, Deputy commander of the U. S. Space Command and Mr. john Sawyer, acting director contracting and national security acquisitions for the government accountability office. I suggest that I forgo my brilliant opening statement and due to time pressure, I would suggest that my ranking member also forgo his opening statement due to time pressure. So um unfortunately and I want to apologize to the witnesses. We are not able to control the congressional schedule but votes are expected to start fairly shortly and could last four hours. So ideally we would have a very truncated public session, go immediately to closed session and I think that that is much more productive for at least the members who are here present. Mr. Chairman. I agree totally with that schedule, I’ll submit mine for the record. Right. We will submit our statements for the record and we will submit the witness’s statements for the record. And is it premature to suggest that we quickly go to 23. Do you want to have no questions? Well, would Mr. Desjarlais like to ask a question. Okay Mr. Landesman, I see that you’re in. Mr. Wilson. Is that okay with you? I apologize for the truncated nature but I don’t want to keep the witnesses here until 78 or nine o’clock tonight. I know these are busy. Mr. Chairman. If I if I could ask one brief question, go ahead. Mr. Nachman, you’re recognized. Thank you very much. Thank our witnesses for being here. Uh, so as we all know, directed energy weapons such as lasers and high powered microwaves can effectively engage a variety of threats with speed, flexibility, precision and on the whole cost per shot basis. Despite this, the Fy 23 budget request has cut all funding for a critical directed energy effort. Specifically the diode pumped alkaloid laser oedipal despite its recent history of success and the proven value D technologies provide to our war fighters. So for the record, I wanted to ask you to speak more to MDS development and pursuit of a rapid prototype and demonstration of the people. And most importantly, please describe how valuable this asset would be in your arsenal. Does the gentleman want this question for the record? Or do you want a verbal answer to your question right now. Well, if we could get that from DR Plumb, that would be, that would be great. Thanks Congressman Langevin. I’ll just say uh, fully agree that directed energy uh, is part of our future architecture and we need to be investing in it. As for the specifics on decals and other laser or other directed energy systems. My understanding is those have been transferred to our Andy Admiral Hill may have some additional pieces, but I’m as you know, I’m keen on this particular issue and I do intend to that for that to be part of my uh deep dive as I get deeper into this, into this position. Thank you. Well, this is going to be a priority for us and I hope that it will continue to be So last question Mr. Chairman. I’ll submit this for the record and uh, I can get that they get back in writing. So we face conventional and asymmetric threats from our adversaries around the globe on a daily basis. And one of those emerging threats is hyper sonics. We’ve seen recent tests by china and north Korea and of hypersonic and use on the battlefield by Russia against the Ukrainian people here at home and in this setting. Well, since you’re gonna get back to me, you can both get probably get a classified answer on this. Can you discuss our layer defense against hypersonic missiles. I’ll submit that for the record. Mr. Chairman, Given the constraints on time and I’ll yield back. Thank you. I thank the gentleman from Rhode island. I understand that the gentleman from south Carolina. Mr. Wilson has a question. Yes, I do. Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you for um, your service. We’re gonna miss you in congress. And you tend to be enterprising today facing the bizarre circumstance. We have of these votes and I want to thank all of our witnesses for being here today. And for the record, I’ve got um uh four quick questions uh and for Admiral Hill that is that Israel faces the threat of larger, more sophisticated rocket and missile arsenals in the hands of terrorists. Additionally, in the last three weeks there have been a number of Hamas terrorists, missile attacks from Gaza against the people of Israel to address this mounting threat. Israel, the United States are working together to develop and deploy a multi tiered missile defense system. The US Israel Memorandum of understanding on the security assistance provides for $500 million dollars in funding for the annual defense uh systems that in cooperation with Israel uh Admiral Hill, you recently were in Israel to view the new elevated sensor missile detection system. Can you update the committee on the State of the US Israel. Missile Defense cooperation in the funding levels that are being brought forth this year to include Iron Dome David’s sling and arrow. The next question animal would be in regard to missile and rocket threats from Iran and its proxies, um how horrible this is across the Middle East. And we’ve had the most recent attacks on our valiant allies of the U. A. E. And Saudi Arabia. And we’ve seen that Iran has targeted us and allied forces in Syria and to reveal in Iraq in the wake of this, we have the cooperation of the Abraham accords. And so what is being done of working together with our Middle East allies? And then third, I’m really grateful for the extraordinary uh strategical and strategic and vital location of Guam and uh I hope that the department will continue in every effort to invest $892 million dollars for an integrated air and missile defense system to defend the terrific people of Guam against Cruz, hypersonic and ballistic missiles. And a final short question, I was truly grateful to learn that our German allies are moving forward purchasing the arrow three anti missile defense shield from Israel, Assuming that Israel procures the Arab Arab System three uh system. How will we integrate that with our missile defense and strategic uh and strategy in the European theater particularly to hopefully address and defend the people of Ukraine Moldova and Georgia. Thank you. I thank the gentleman, I appreciate his kind words about me and do any other members have questions they would like to bring up now? It appears that there are none. But it also appears that we might have some room availability issues with the skiff. So would the gentleman from Tennessee like to ask something? Mhm. Right. I think it’s going to be another few minutes and they’ve already called a vote. So we’re really running into crunch time here. Okay, I’ll take a minute or two are Admiral Hill. Um what is our current capability to defend against hypersonic threats from our adversaries, particularly threats posed to critical assets like our aircraft carriers. Is this question for the record? Do you want me to answer now? Okay. Yes, sir. So today deployed with the aircraft carriers on destroyers, is the sea based terminal capability which was designed to protect the carrier base against the advanced maneuvering threat. That is the hypersonic defense. Today, that is hard kill. Uh and as you know, we are investing in PB 23 into the glide phase interceptor. To add a layer of defense capability. We’re leveraging all sensors available today. We’re bringing that data down to the ships through our command and control battle management communications. Okay. You requested additional funds for the glide phase interceptor in the M. D. A. Unfunded priorities list. Can you describe how these funds would be used and would they help accelerate the timeline? Yes, sir. So when I when I think of an unfunded priorities list, I think if given another dollar, where would I put it? Uh, and the items that you see listed there specifically to glide phase interceptor is to risk reduce key technology areas. That’s a new regime up in the glide phase and so seeker work, propulsion work. Um, you know, the old thermal protection system issues that will help to de risk the program. Okay. You mentioned earlier and I don’t know if this was for the closed settings. So if it is just let me know. But you mentioned the successes we’ve had with the bad deployments overseas and uh in the Middle East and I was going to give you some time to tout some of those successes if that was for an open setting or was it for the clothes we can talk about in the open setting because it’s it’s made its way into the press. But the United Arab Emirates one of our foreign military sales customers has used the US built that system effectively in June I’m sorry in January of this year and were successful in all those engagements through some work with central command and with my good friend, General Cardinal here we now have access to that data so that we can pour through it to see if there are any improvements we need to make either to the system or to the techniques, tactics and procedures that the soldiers employed. Thank you sir. Very good. And I don’t want to be greedy with my time, I didn’t know ranking member. It’s sadly it’s looking like we’ve got plenty of time now because it looks like with the permission of the witnesses, we will only do a brief opening session today and we will sketch rescheduled to another date. The closed session. So the witnesses will be free to leave after this. Um So well I’ll yield back and then come back if we have more time. Mr. Lambert asked questions yes. Since we have a few minutes before we head over to the floor for our votes and then we’ll see you all gentlemen at another time for the classified portion. But Admiral Hill uh we discussed hB TSS in our office earlier today and you said that hypersonic missile defense is one of your top three priorities. Um How satisfied are you with the current plan for H. B. T. S. S. And can you describe for the committee your vision of the full architecture? Yes sir. Ranking member Landlord. Thanks thanks for that question. Um so the hypersonic ballistic tracking space sensor has two major roles. The first is to pick up the dim targets that cannot be seen by the current architecture today. So from a ballistic perspective we’re seeing changes there that make that fight much more challenging. But when you get to the advanced hypersonic threat which has a global maneuver capability, we need the ability to see it from space. So global coverage uh and that very close proximity from space to track those sensors. We are on track to take to interoperable uh prototype satellites to space in March of 2023. We will put those in an inclination where we can monitor a test in the indo pak calm region and we’ll collect that data as a way to prove out the concept did a lot of work on the ground to show that we can extract those hot targets over warm Earth. Now it’s about getting it into space and pulling that data down. we’re staying very close to the Space force as we make decisions on the overall architecture and our vision is is that the H B T s s will be a part of the overall constellation for dealing with that global maneuvering threat and just as kind of an update, as much as you can say here an open setting, are we getting closer to a decision where we’ll find a contractor or contractors who will help us with the defense against hypersonic vehicles? Yes sir, you’re talking about the defense capability beyond the terminal capability that we have today? Yes sir. We have a other transaction authority agreement in place with three separate companies that are competing. Now we are evaluating those concepts for a down select later this year. So we will go from the current three down to the to perhaps the one depending on the maturity of those, those different proposals. But it goes right back to what congressman George Arliss asked which is, you know how how much de risking needs to be done? We we don’t we don’t have a good sense yet as we’re going through that that work now and those evaluations. But if we see areas where there are major risk areas that we want to help industry overcome. That’s what those investments will be tied to and in general Charles. Lastly, what can you say? As far as the Space force’s role with hyper sonics when it comes to testing and fielding were behind our two near pure potential adversaries. So what can you say where we stand in terms of catching up congressman. Thanks for the question again. Probably best targeted for the Space Force and and but I’ll give you my best answer from U. S. Space command. We’re interested in any capabilities. They’re gonna help us with any of these threats and as A M. D. A. Has pursued this particular program. H. B. T. S. S. It’s the advantage of this is that we have a perspective from space that is invaluable and will allow us to get after a lot of these threats to get after the actual technologies themselves. I think that we uh need to pursue every possibility to hold enemy at risk from longer and longer ranges. I think that’s where warfare is taking us on. Hypersonic will play a role in that. Thank you Mr. Chairman, I yield beck I thank the gentleman from Colorado. I think the gentle lady from new York has recognized if you have any questions you would like to ask. Thank you. Chairman Cooper. Um I represent Fort Drum home to the 10th mountain division that has been designated the third continental interceptor site. I know that many of you have answered questions on this matter in front of this committee. Beforehand. My question today goes to Lieutenant General Cobbler who commands the 100th ground based missile defense brigade, a multi component brigade made up of soldiers from the active duty army and army National Guard forces. They are the 300 soldiers defending 300 million people as the designated third continental interceptor site. If ford drum were to receive a missile defense unit. Would the force structure mirrors that of the 100th Gmd Brigade with the mix of active duty and National Guard soldiers? Congresswoman thanks very much for the question. I would hope that it would be a total force uh solution to that. We’ve seen great success in our missile defense element. Soldiers in Colorado as well as in Alaska who helped man missile defense. And and I see no reason why this wouldn’t be a month why we would not pursue a multi compost soldiers solution. Thank you. Um My follow up is a broader question. So I’ve been very concerned that President Biden and his administration and many house democrats have asserted that improved missile defenses provocative when unfortunately the U. S. Has not taken any moves to dramatically alter the balance of power in the nuclear and missile defense areas. Yet all of our adversaries are modernizing their offensive and defensive strategic capabilities. This question is for dr plum how has the war in Ukraine Russia’s nuclear threats and the strengthening of the Russia china relationship unfortunately altered or updated this administration’s view on missile defense. Thanks congresswoman. I’ll just say that you know the classified missile Defense review has been released. There have been some unclassified talking points. I’m happy to just ah for the record. Just put that we are committed to developing the next generation interceptor with M. D. A. Uh and so improving our missile defenses. That’s both in capacity and in quality is a thing that the administration is in fact dedicated to uh the Ukraine issue. You point out is an excellent An excellent one. Because what we have seen there is that Russia is using missiles not with the precision you might expect of a modern military but more as a broad area terror weapon in my opinion. Uh And so the need for missile defenses has only increased in my opinion, at least by by watching that conflict play out. And is that shared by the entire administration and by President joe Biden? Why are we not hearing that from the President of the United States? Ah as far, I mean, I can’t speak for the President’s view on this specific issue. I will note that we have uh I think Already provided over $4.5 billion we have made very strong statements against Russia. We have declared we will defend NATO every square inch. Uh we’ve shipped about 1400 stingers, thousands and thousands of javelins and other forms of armaments. So I think uh you know, my my version of that would be that there is a very strong response there. And deep concern. What is this administration’s position on a third continental interceptor site which has been designated in the previous national defense authorizations. Acts on a bipartisan basis. What is the position of joe Biden and the Department of Defense about about that third site given the changing and increasing threats around the world today? Uh yeah, the congressman the position remains the same. There is no military requirement for that third side at this time um given the increased threats from North Korea and other adversaries around the world again and the need that Congress has on a bipartisan basis asserted for a third uh site. So the administration is just going to ignore. Congress is important role in making sure that we have robust missile defense. Congressman in the United States and the Department of Defense are both absolutely committed to a robust missile defense program that is in the missile defense review that is in our efforts to improve missile defense of the homeland through the next generation interceptor and the service life extension of the G. B. I. We were buying over the horizon radar is to work on cruise missile defense of the entire homeland. Um, and there’s there’s literally billions in the president’s budget request, including Nearly five billion for a more robust and resilient architecture to track ballistic and hypersonic weapons and that includes making sure that the time has expired. Thank you. Um, I would remind the gentle lady that I personally have tried to work with you on the third missile site. Um, I am worried about the partisan tone of your questions. We have been given the largest missile defense budget by President Biden and his administration. I think at least in many, many years, if not in history. Um, you have the statements from Dr plumb um, I think that the aspersions you were trying to cast are are misplaced. I should remind you that President trump I think did very little if anything to help with the third missile site while he was president. And I recall him trying to be like the best friends. Good buddies with both Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong un. So chairman Cooper, I’d like to respond to that. I’d like to you to give your leniency as chair to respond to that. You have my permission. Chairman Cooper, I appreciate the work that you and this committee have done to work with my office and other members to ensure that ford drum was as it should have been designated the third continental interceptor site. That in fact designation happened during the trump administration to say that there was no movement forward on investing in robust missile defense during the trump administration is absolutely wrong. As a member of Congress, I can ask panelists or witnesses any question that is pertinent to constituents in my district. I will continue to do that in the oversight capacity. Uh, this administration was clear that they do not support locating missile defense site at Fort Drum, which puts them at odds with the majority leader of the United States Senate. That would be senator chuck Schumer who has made this a priority. So to get that on record is an important answer for my constituents to here again, we have a strong bipartisan working relationship on this committee, but these panelists and the witnesses deserve to answer tough questions. So I would push back on that. And with that I yield back. Do any other members of the subcommittee have questions hearing? None. It looks as if this public portion of hearing is adjourned and we will try to reschedule. Mr. Wilson, Mr. Wilson. Hey, one final question for the record. And that is when I think of missile defense. I am so disappointed Uh, that our NATO ally, Turkey ally of 73 years, only 100 years um that they are now dependent on Russian S 400 then India, the world’s largest democracy. Additionally, uh, as four hundred’s and it could be off record. Uh, but I would like to know what we’re doing to try to work with these two very important allies in the United States to do foreign military sales, whatever can be done uh that America be who they work with and not Putin. Thank you very much. I thank the gentleman for his question. Um, if there are no other points to be made, I suggest that the public portion of this hearing be adjourned. We try to reschedule for a later date of the classified portion of the hearing. I thank the witnesses participating. Sorry for the unexpected delay. Thanks. Thanks.

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