U.S. Department of Defense Space Leaders Speak to Senate Committee on 2023 Budget

John F. Plumb, assistant secretary of defense for space policy, Frank Calvelli, assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration, and Space Force Gen. David D. Thompson, vice chief of space operations, meet with the Senate Committee on Armed Forces subcommittee on Strategic Forces to discuss the defense authorization request for fiscal year 2023, May 11, 2022.


Called this Hearing of the Strategic Forces subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Armed Services to order. And I want to thank our witnesses for joining us today before this subcommittee and thank you for your service. The purpose of today’s hearing is to examine the fiscal year 2023 budget of the space force, A separate title 10 service which was recently authorized in the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2023. The face 0.5 billion A 7.1 billion or 40% increase over fiscal year 2022. Of the 7.1 billion. However, three billion is for inter service transfers As the space force assumed satellites and people from the Army and Navy and the remaining 4.1 billion is for programmatic growth. Still a 20% increase over fiscal year 2022, I’ll be looking to hear what is being transferred into the Space force, especially with the transfer of uniformed army and navy personnel. The administration has submitted a proposal for a new personnel system that would treat Space Force Guardians as either full or part time components. The reserves would fall into the part time component. And I want to know more about this given competing proposals for a Space National Guard. Finally, since the space forces a title 10 service, its purpose is to train and equip guardians to defend our assets in space which is now a war fighting domain. Given the action of Russia and china against our satellites. I will want to know how our policy is developing to defend our space assets and if necessary, ensure a near peer adversary space systems cannot be used to help assist an attack on our forces on the ground or at sea during a conflict. Again. Let me thank our witnesses for agreeing to appear today and after opening statements, we will have a five minute round of questions to the witnesses. Senator Fischer, thank you Senator King. I join you in welcoming our witnesses. Thank you all for being here with us today and for the work that you do on behalf of this nation. Dr plum, it’s good to see you again. I understand you will be testifying before this panel again next week three times in a row. That has to be some kind of record. We appreciate your service sir. And we look forward to hearing from you and the other witnesses today about the continued evolution of the department’s National Security Space Enterprise. It’s been 2.5 years since the founding of the Space Force. We welcome the panel’s views on what progress has been made, particularly toward developing an acquisition system that delivers capabilities on a timeline that is responsive to the needs of our war fighters and paces. The actions of our adversaries. Thank you. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Thank you. Our witnesses today or Mr. frank cal valley. Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for acquisition technology and logistics. Dr john plum, Welcome back Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy and general David D Thompson. Vice Chief of Space Operations, United States Space Force so Mr. frank, Covelli, German king ranking member fisher and distinguished members of the subcommittee. It is an honor to appear before you to discuss the future of space acquisition. Thank you for asking me to testify. I am excited to join the department and for this important work to come as we optimize space acquisition as you know, we must do more and quickly to accelerate and improve space acquisition. Our adversaries are catching up or in some cases exceeding our capabilities. Strong partnerships between the department, Congress and the commercial industry are critical to outpace china and other adversaries. As I step into this new role, I would like to share with you my initial goals and priorities. These include one driving speed into our acquisitions in order to deliver new capabilities faster to outpace our adversaries and maintain the technical logical advantage we get as a nation from space two. Making our space architecture is more resilient so that it can be counted on during times of crisis and conflict three, integrating our space architecture with other warfighting domains to give our warfighters a strategic edge four driving program management discipline across our acquisitions in order to ensure that we deliver new capabilities on schedule, on cost and meeting requirements and five ensuring that our space and ground systems come together as a system and that our ground systems are more readily available before launch to take advantage of new capabilities that we just put into space. I look forward to working with you over the coming months to continue the strong partnership between the department and the Congress to optimize and strengthen space acquisition processes and outcomes and I look forward to your questions. Thank you dr plum thank you. Chairman King, ranking member fisher members of the subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to testify today and get my frequent flyer miles. Um as the first ever Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space policy. I am committed to continuing dvDS close partnership with Congress on advancing national security space interests. Space plays a critical role in American security, prosperity and way of life. It enables and supports the entire joint force. It helps protect service members in harm’s way and it enables them to execute their mission and defend the nation. Space provides indication and warning of emerging threats and attacks. It delivers the GPS signals supporting rapid and precise global power projection. It generates intelligence to allow national decision makers to anticipate risks and de escalate crises and enables those same decision makers to command and control forces globally. And the tremendous growth of commercial space, largely due to us. Business innovation is fueling an increasing important part of the U. S. Economy. The growth of the U. S. Space industrial base affords D. O. D. New opportunities to leverage commercial advancements to support national security and space is once again capturing the imagination of a new generation of Americans. Uh This will inspire more students to pursue careers into the stem disciplines and that will pay dividends to our national economy and national security in the future. Looking at the threat environment, China and Russia both seek to increase their military use of space and to exploit the perceived US over reliance on space based systems. China remains our pacing challenges. Secretary Austin has said they are developing and fielding a wartime space architecture. China has dramatically increased their quantity and quality of space and counter space systems including ground and space based anti satellite weapons to target U. S. And allied satellites. Russia maintains a large network of reconnaissance, communication and navigation satellites and they also are developing testing and field and counter space weapons including ground based and on orbit capabilities to target U. S. And allied satellites. These threats require the US to consider new approaches to ensuring our use of space, including developing more proliferated and therefore more resilient constellations. So to that end, the president’s fy 23 budget request seeks 27.6 billion for D. O. D. Space capabilities including 4.7 billion to fund the transition to a new resilient missile warning and missile track architecture. 1.8 billion to procure to GPS three follow on satellites and to continue testing and integration of military GPS user equipment. 1.6 billion for secure. Survivable and jam resistant SAT. Com And 1.6 billion to procure six national security space launch vehicles in November, Russia conducted an irresponsible destructive test of a direct ascent ASAT missile creating more than 1500 pieces of trackable debris, hundreds of thousands of smaller pieces that threatened safe space operations in low earth orbit. In contrast, the department is committed to promoting norms of responsible behavior in space to ensure the space domain remains secure, stable and accessible. The deputy secretary of defense stated in December at the nation’s National Space Council meeting that the department would like to see all nations agree to refrain from anti satellite weapons testing that create debris. And at Vandenberg last month, vice President Harris announced the U. S. Commitment that the U. S. Will not conduct destructive direct ascent ASAT missile testing. These types of tests jeopardize the long term sustainability and safety of space for all this includes human spaceflight programs and all commercial satellite operators ending destructive direct ascent. ASAT missile test is therefore in our national security interests and our national economic interest. The US has demonstrated leadership with this commitment and encourages all nations to support responsible space behaviors. So conclusion, the threats facing the U. S. In space and from space continue to grow in both quantity and quality. Countering those threats requires that we continue this longstanding bipartisan cooperation between D. O. D. And the Congress. I’m committed to sustaining those efforts and I’m honored to work with this community to do so. Thank you and I look forward to your questions. General Thompson, Chairman, King ranking member, fisher and distinguished members of the subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. It’s an honor to appear before you on behalf of the Secretary of the Air Force, the honorable frank Kendall, The Chief of Space Operations, General Jay Raymond and the 14,000 Guardians around the world executing our space missions today, US military success and great power competition depends on access to and freedom to operate in space while denying the same to our adversaries. In 2019, Congress established the space force to organize, train, equipped and present forces to deter hostile action and protect U. S. Interests in space and to secure the domain for stable peaceful use. Space capabilities are a cornerstone of integrated deterrence, not just in space but in every domain. And those space capabilities that we operate underpin every aspect of our national security. At the same time, our space systems and uses of the domain remain under threat by competitor nations. China remains our pacing challenge. In 2021, the PRC continued to accelerate the integration of space capabilities into its military operations, especially space based surveillance intelligence and reconnaissance, which puts the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. We protect and support at great risk. Additionally, Russia’s overarching strategy remains to challenge the US in space that is unchanged for decades. It is continuing to improve its military space capabilities as well. Both nations are also developing and deploying an array of kinetic and non kinetic counter space weapons that threaten US systems in every orbital regime on the ground and in cyberspace. In response to these challenges. And in keeping with the reason the Space force was established, we continue to make substantial progress in the design, development and fielding of space capabilities that maintain our freedom to operate in space. We advance recruiting, training and educating the workforce that’s demanded to operate in such a highly technical domain and in putting in place the intelligence analytic and test foundations that ensure success of our forces forces in future conflicts. The president’s fiscal year 2023 budget request for the space force does this in several ways. As examples, it initiates the first major transformation to a resilient force structure with a proliferated missile warning, missile tracking architecture which is also capable of of tracking hypersonic and maneuvering vehicles. It enhances our awareness of all activities in space and the ability to command actual forces In this increasingly dynamic domain, it begins to build out of an operational test and training infrastructure that will generate the military readiness appropriate to the challenges we face. And it allows us to assume full authority for the preparation, Training and management of the 14,000 Guardians who there are the space force’s greatest asset and its primary instrument. I look forward to discussing these and many other aspects of our requests in more detail with you in today’s hearing and as we partner in the coming months, your support and enactment of the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill will enable the Space force to remain the world’s leader in space and to continue to preserve freedom of action for the nation. Thank you for your continued advocacy and support. Were eager to work with your committee to build the strategy and make the investments needed to secure our nation’s vital interests. Thank you. The first point I want to make is that we’re in the process now of putting together the National Defense authorization Act for this year, literally in the in a matter of the paperwork is moving. So we’re talking about a matter of weeks to the extent any of you or the secretary has or the or the commanding general have suggestions or needs or thoughts about authorities or modifications to current statute as it as it as you have grown into this new force. Please let us know as soon as possible so that we might consider those uh as amendments or as proposals in this year’s National Defense Act. So I hope you’ll consider that an open invitation. And the other way to put it is don’t complain next summer when you didn’t get what you want. If you don’t tell us what you need. Uh dr plum section 16 02 of the 2020 to act requires the Secretary of Defense to to designate the Chief of Space Operations as the forced design architect for the space systems By March of this year, 2022. This is important. We give the same designation to the Chief of Naval Operations for the fleet at sea and the Chief of the Air Force for planes in the air. During our Air force posture hearing, Senator Reid asked the Chief of Space Operations whether this designation had occurred and he said it was still residing in the office of the Secretary of Defense Space Policy. Why has this not occurred? And when will it occur? Thank you Senator. Um I have spoken with General Raymond about that and I spoke with your staff about this. So I was really alerted to this just last week. I immediately took it to my office. So my office is now responsible for it. I have initiated conversations with ogc office. General Counsel on getting this right, I will get that done. It is a little bit new because it has all spaces in it. But we will, we will get that designation done. I will point out that I think functionally speaking and general Thompson may want to weigh in but that functionally speaking. I believe that the Cso is the force design architect at this point, but that’s not the same as uh formalizing it as you’ve asked. So I will do that. It will take a little bit of time to get it through the building. I hope a little bit of time is measured in weeks and not months. Yes, sir, thank you. Uh This is a somewhat difficult situation because we’re talking about some things that are public and a lot of things that aren’t and we have to be careful in our in our discussion, but as your testimony indicates, we know that both china and Russia a are establishing a major presence in space, be, are establishing a capability to hold our our satellites and our space assets at risk insofar as you can testify in open session, uh please outline our strategy if you will for protecting our assets and dealing with what is now a highly contested domain, which wasn’t the case until pretty recently. Mr. General mhm uh Senator, I’ll outline that, I’ll say in three primary points today. The first element of the strategy is to fully and deeply understand all of the activities and and in the domain uh what objects are out there, the things that they do, their capabilities, whether or not they propose or they pose a threat to us our capabilities and our assets, um the capabilities, techniques, tactics doctrine that might be used in their employment and to be able to ensure we have indications and warnings shouldn’t attack becoming and a lot of the investment in our budget and the work that we have been doing to date creates the space domain awareness, infrastructure and architecture that we need to do that. The second thing is many of the space systems that are on orbit today and will be for years to come. We’re not designed to operate uh in a in a domain like this and under threat. However, there are things that we can and are doing to them to increase their ability to be defended and to contribute to their own defense. Things like um ensuring that additional fuel remains on board in case we need to maneuver, looking at ways to make them more difficult targets to track and ultimately to attack. And let’s just say in this in this um uh setting other systems, other capabilities and other tactics that will make them more difficult to attack and destroy, destroy shouldn’t adversary attempt to do so. And the third major component of our strategy is to create those resilient architectures going forward that are much harder than that are survivable by designed and less vulnerable in terms of attack. And the primary mechanism by which we do that and we intend to do that is rather than architectures today that are consists of a relatively small number of very capable, very sophisticated satellites, building architectures with larger numbers of less capable, less expensive satellites that in aggregate give us the same capability. And in fact in this, in this budget, our request for the missile warning, missile tracking architecture that we have proposed is the first major step for the architecture is in that regard. So I’ll in this setting out, those are the three major points of making us more defendable and more resilient in space. Thank you. Excellent. Thank you. Mr. Chairman General Thompson. I appreciate the State Force Space Force’s effort to pivot towards proliferated satellite architectures. The resilient missile warning missile tracking program that I discussed with General Raymond at the full committee hearing last week is but one example of that, I agree with the conceptual advantages distributed architectures provide. But how ready is the industrial base to meet production needs associated with those much larger constellations? Uh Madam? Senator Senator, I would say that it is probably as ready as it has been in the last several decades and for several reasons. One is we’ve maintained maintained some sort of capability in terms of the production of our current satellites and some of the investments in technology and prototyping. But a great portion of the industrial base is expanding because of commercial investment. And while there are some specific aspects of military and national security space systems that don’t lend themselves to commercial investment, a vast majority of the the the operating techniques the subsystems used would apply both the commercial investment and to military and national security investment as well. So while there are some very specific niche capabilities that we have pursued and we have maintained with competition in various aspects. I think the investment we’re seeing in commercial space has served all of us while in creating a more robust and more capable industrial base to address our space needs. Do you see limitations or bottlenecks on certain things like refrigeration units? For example, I would say there are a few very boutique capabilities for which we probably have a few bottlenecks. Some of the sophisticated sensors that we use, the sensor elements and those aspects of them. We do. But generally speaking, when you think about the subsystems onboard a spacecraft, whether it’s power, subsystems, propulsion, subsystems, attitude control. Generally speaking, there are not bottlenecks in that regard, but there are for some of the very specialized capabilities and specialized technologies, there are a few you don’t you don’t find that a limitation, I would say it is, but I cannot point specifically today to any space system whose development is being held up due to the lack of the readiness of a capability or or a provider for this. When the Space Force’s looking at architecture design, Is there a process through which it takes industrial based limitations into account so that we don’t produce plans that are technically sound, but not feasible. Yes, ma’am, There is. And and really what happens is and and and it’s part of a longstanding process, but part of our new exist new process. One of the new processes that we created in our Space warfighting Analysis center was to bring in industry early in any forced design activity that we are performing, providing them with our requirements are design concepts, the results of our analysis as to how in fact we intend to accomplish missions, provide them with all of that data and asked them to provide input directly or come back later after the fact, that’s one point in time in which we can have the conversation about whether the technology is there. But the second point is when we then take those designs and hand them over to MR CAl valley and the acquisition team, that’s where they truly begin. The extensive review of all the expected technologies and as part of the system acquisition process, determine whether the technology is available, whether it’s ready, whether there’s risk, risk reduction and prototyping work that needs to be required and assess the risk and effort required to either deliver the system or come back and say unfortunately the technology is probably too risky to pursue it. That did you have anything MR Secretary, you wanted to add to that? Now? I think general Thompson nailed it really well and you’re right, ma’am, you, you don’t want to start down on the acquisition that you can’t execute because of the supply chain or technology issues. So you’ve got to take a really close look up front and make sure whatever you’re gonna decide to put out a request for proposal and then put under contract or something that you actually can achieve. You know, we have to, we have to meet the needs of combatant commanders uh stratcom especially and and there has been um I would say some questions raised on on the ability to meet those needs and what what is needed as a resource to do that. Thank you, Senator Cotton. Thank you Gentlemen. The secretary from where I sit on this committee, the Intelligence Committee. It it seems like the Innaro has been slightly more successful in delivering space capabilities um in a timely um and efficient fashion. You can talk to us a little bit about your experiences there and what your plans are to help replicate that success in the department. Thank you, Senator. The the NFL has a culture of program manager discipline. It is, it was it’s an inheritance D. N. A. If that we expect our program managers to understand technically their programs to understand their contracts and to deliver on cost on schedule and meeting the requirements. Uh from my position where I was as the deputy there and the director working with the director, we always sort of oversaw and made sure that culture continued and we managed our programs, we manage our program element officers and our program managers to deliver. I mean, so that became just part of the culture over the last decade or so that you know, it’s really important that you hit your plan. The other thing is, you know, we learned some some things about making sure that when we put proposals out there that we really get realistic cost proposals back and realistic schedules, especially in a competitive environment, that’s really a key to ensure that you have that so that, you know, whatever they’re delivering to you is actually going to be executed all and when you review proposals to make sure that you put in place the right contract strategy, the right contract incentives that we can incentivize success. Hey, Jennifer Thompson, what do you think about that? Mr. Senator? I would agree. I’ve got some experience, not on the acquisition side, but in the operational side of the N. R. O. And it really is that aspect of uh, discipline in the execution of a program from start to finish and and the tendency not to decide that each successive article needs to improve in capability, but rather to provide consistent and expectations upfront and throughout the schedule. That makes it important. Okay. 11, mm hmm, interesting note from the war in Ukraine, is that uh, most people assess that Ukraine’s communications or internet access would be cut off in the first days. Probably really the first hours of the war that did not happen. It still has not happened. I think that’s in part based to on uh, satellite based internet. What lessons have we learned about what we can do? Um, should we ever face a similar conflict with Russia and china where they’re trying to deny us that I think the one lesson that I’ve seen is that by adding and integrating commercial capabilities that you’re gonna diversify your architecture and make it much more resilient. And so that’s really been a great piece of the puzzle to actually watch happen how commercial commercial technology capability has added resiliency along the way. And I would add to that that um I think what we’re seeing as a result of their ability to to be prevented from using space capabilities is also a reflection of these new proliferated architectures that are very difficult to deny. Overall you may be able to deny a piece of it but you can’t eliminate the capability large. And as we look, we’re beginning a new force design activity to look at the future of space based communications and data relay, not only bringing in commercial capability but absolutely that proliferated architecture that makes a network that’s very difficult to to meet to defeat in total is another element of what I think we’re learning from Ukraine Mr. Plum? Any thoughts on that? Yes, senator, I just add I think it’s uh it’s a really good example of resilience means different things for different constellations and functions. So for I. S are for actually from missile warning missile track that’s a proliferated set of orbits with the IR sensors but sat com in particular on your question. Uh there’s a lot of commercial capacity. There’s more coming and using that as a totally different approach to get to the same end which is resiliency, it’s really important. All right, thank you. Um General Thompson. The budget brief highlights at $36 million investment in climate initiatives. Can you tell me a little bit more about that? Yes or 22 things. First of all is it is really a matter of understanding our base infrastructure, the facilities, the power infrastructure. Most of our space capabilities Are operated from home station. They operate 24 7. They have to operate in peacetime and wartime. And most of that is focused on ensuring that the power systems and the means by which our bases operate under all conditions can be sustained regardless of peacetime conflict, climate conditions and things like that. That’s part of the second aspect is we do own part of the weather and meteorology, Meteorological Mission for the Department of Defense and the Nation. And part of that investment includes our space based environmental monitoring and some of the tools and techniques that we used to do that as well. Okay, thank you. Mhm. Turn around thank you. Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, first of all, thank you for your continued service to our country. Mr. cal valley, massive amounts of data are sent and received through space every second. In order to maintain our technological edge integration of artificial intelligence and quantum computing will be necessary to process all this data in a timely matter. What are your thoughts on how we acquire this type of capability and general Thompson to the extent that you can in this open session, can you describe and assess what our adversaries specifically china are doing in these areas. Mr. California. I think one of the challenges on the Ai front is making sure that our our data is accessible by algorithms down the road. And so so, you know, we’ve had a lot of historical closed architecture is, what you really want to do is make sure your ground systems are open, that your data is exposed through application programming interfaces and that future algorithms, whether that be machine learning algorithms or ai algorithm actually can access the data. I think that’s when we’re gonna be 11 of the biggest key is getting the data access as far as quantum computing go. You know, we’re really as a nation, I believe in the research and development stage of that and I think that the nation needs to continue that, I honestly don’t know upfront what sort of the role of the of the services in that in that area. But I do believe that we need to as a country really spend money and foster the ability for this nation to develop quantum techniques. It’s going to drive a whole world of encryption down the road and high speed processing that I think we want to stay the leading as a as a as a nation. If I could just to clarify because when we talk about this, I think people kind of pull everything together on it ai is here and it’s being integrated now, fair to say yes, I agree. Thank you. I’m general Thompson uh senator. Just a just a few comments in regard of Russia and china and I will say primarily china but but it applies to Russia as well. I would argue that while the creativity and ingenuity and energy in our academic and commercial sector is tremendous and in many cases our asymmetric advantage, the Chinese for sure have a plan and an expectation to lead the world in a I by 2030. They have made that public. They are making great advances in some cases on their own in some cases because many of their scientists and engineers studying American university. So they have a plan to outpace us in that regard. And they are certainly capable adversary. So I’d say this is absolutely an area of competition that that we need to expect and be attentive to in the years to come. Thank you General, I just want to follow up on that because I think the next step on this is talking about the other areas we’ve been competing against our adversaries and air, land, sea cyberspace and now we see them most certainly challenging us in space. Both china and Russia have conducted anti satellite operations and have weaponized space. I mean weaponized space in an attempt to deter encounter us effectiveness in space to the level that you can in this open forum can you describe the threats are adversaries are posing to us in space. And do you have the authorities and resources needed to be able to respond to these threats? The reason why I bring it up once again is is as as the chairman of the committee has has indicated if we need to make policy changes to respond now is the time to get that out or we’re gonna end up waiting another year? Uh In terms of their their capabilities. In fact, we’ve become much better at at Dundee classifying and commuting those capabilities in an unclassified sense. I said in my opening statement that they can they can threaten us kinetically and non kinetically in every domain. As you referenced the Russians uh conducted a destructive anti satellite missile test in November 2021. The Chinese did that in 2007. They’ve been rapidly filled in capabilities ever since. Both have on orbit capabilities that attack our satellites directly. Both also have multiple ways to attack us through cyberspace, uh laser dance dazzling on our f and so I would say absolutely they can threaten us in every regime and by every means available. What would be your response general to those that may say that space is not or should not be thought of as a warfighting domain senator. I would say that first of all, Russia and china have voted and they have already decided that it is and our primary purpose is the Space Force is to ensure we can deter them from making it a true domain of conflict in the direct sense. And if not should they go to that, it’s our job to ensure that we can continue to operate effectively in space regardless. Thank you. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. And now I want to call on the only person in this room who has ever been to Space Senator Kelly. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. Um and I do miss it, especially when how was I going to say that? Um uh no, but it’s great to have the opportunity to serve again uh in a different in a different role. Uh General Thompson, I got a question about Space National Guard. So, um and this topic came up last week’s Air Force posture hearing. Um and I understand that currently the National Guard space capability is organized in 17 units across seven states and Guam and is made up of nearly 1500 airmen or 15% of the space force. And as General Raymond mentioned last week, the National Guard has been involved in the space mission for 25 years. When asked about the prospect of a Space National Guard last week, General Raymond indicated that there are two ways to ensure that we maintain that capability. One was to either have a separate Space National Guard and the other was to take the capabilities from the Guard and move them into one combined active duty and Reserve component. Now, that second option assumes that current Air National Guard members will transfer to the Space Force under a mixed, full time part time active component model. This ignores the fact that many folks who joined the Air National Guard, they did so because of geographic stability that it offers the members and their families as well as the opportunity opportunity sometimes to serve their state. Uh So general Thompson, what are your thoughts on the advantages of establishing a Space National Guard And to your knowledge is the Department of the Air Force assuming that those nearly 1500 guardsmen would transfer into a combined active duty and reserve component. If we did take that approach, Senator, you certainly characterized the current state and and situation very well. Um the Guard has served effectively uh in the Air Guard. Besides Space Forces of the at the time, the United States Air Force for decades. Um we cannot do without the capability and missions that they provide today moving into the future. And so if in fact we do not create a Space National Garden. As you stated, the administration has come out with a statement of policy to say that we do not want to create a Space Guard. We do have to do that assessment and ultimately planning and preparation to move to move those forces. We are doing an assessment right now of that, we do not make the assumption that any number of guard members will make that transition. That that option would certainly be presented to them. If it came to that point, we are making no assumptions about whether those members would accept or desire that transfer or not. We are certainly as part of our assessment determining what would be required to replace those members by Space Force members. The numbers, it would take the training time, it would take the training resources it would take and the corresponding degradation and mission as we bring those those uh units back up to full status. So there are some that think that that that a large number of guard members may transition. There are others that don’t believe that’s the case in our current assessment. We are not making the assumption that a large number of guard members would transition. And when do you think you’ll have this evaluation analysis done? Uh so where it is ongoing at this time? Um we anticipate that it will be done in time to support the next budget request. Okay, thank you. Uh another quick question general about my remaining time about uh space debris. My understanding is that the Space Surveillance Network is currently tracking over 25,000 objects. Um So does that mean you have a state vector on 25,000 objects? And how small can you currently? Yes, sir, the updated number is now approaching 40,000 objects. And that is correct. We have what we call custody which is a which is a state vector that is updated routinely. And we reliably track objects down to about 10 square centimeters and radar cross section. So if you made a fist the size of your fist or perhaps the tennis tennis ball, that is the size of the object we can Track reliably, I will say even conservative estimates say there are probably at least 10 times as many other objects that are smaller than in space that we cannot track. So that 40,000 number um presumably would go up. Not necessarily because uh there are more debris objects populating leo, but just that you’re finding more is that accurate? It could if in fact we had more advanced sensors that had the ability to reliably track smaller and smaller objects. How often do you, how often do you find yourself, you know, looking for something? And uh despite having the state vector, you no longer can find it uh Senator, I would say that we encounter hundreds to thousands of objects a day that we need to go back and and decide what the state vector is. And that’s because they are in odd orbits. Um They are on the edge of being large enough or small enough and in some cases because of their size and shape operate unlike most of the objects in orbit, which is to say not in a capillary in manner as you understand. All right, well let’s uh work together to continue to refine this because of these number of objects. Um go up. I think we’re gonna need, you know, better capability because it just puts our assets and those of our allies at risk. Yes sir. And referring back to the last question, this is a perfect application for ai artificial intelligence and machine learning as well to help us with that problem. All right, thank you. General Senator Yarborough, thank you very much. Just follow up on that one satellite is destroyed. How many pieces basically everyone average would come from one satellite. Average satellite senator depends on method. When the Chinese destroyed their test satellite in 2000 and seven completely destroyed, completely destroyed. They created over 3700 pieces of debris that we could track. And again there are a large perhaps 10 times as many smaller pieces we could not The Russians which was last year. Right. The Russians last year created more than 1500 pieces of debris that we’re currently tracked. So it depends on in many cases exactly what you’re talking about. Thousands of pieces of debris with a kinetic destruction. So that’s gonna be a huge huge problem in the future. Uh If they continue to do so, I would say yes, that’s right. In fact, that’s one of the reasons for the tennis for responsible behavior that were released by the Secretary of Defense last year. And the statement made by the administration about destructive testing. They’re there forever. Right? Ah not quite forever, but for for years to decades. Certainly depending on the orbital regime our lifetime. This is kind of for all of you, you know, very simple. What would you say is the most successful aspect of the National security space launch program? What’s the most successful thing that we’ve done? Thank you senator. I think that the ability to do uh one make sure we’ve got the two providers and uh do these things and block buys. It seems to be driving down costs. We were just talking about this before the hearing and it provides some stability of those contractors. So I think it’s uh it looks like a success from where I sit. There’s a cost going down or up as we speak. I feel like my acquisition colleagues should answer that if that’s all right sir. So I know what I would say is that over the life of the program based on the previous approach to launch and what we pursued today in the National Security space launch program. We believe we have saved over $7 billion dollars in terms of what we would have paid using the past program. And I will tell you based on the current growth in the commercial launch industry in recent years. The addition of that competition is helping to drive costs down and may very well drive them further down in the future. We couldn’t make it without the commercial people. Could we or would be very expensive. No question, it would be more expensive without commercial provider. Yeah, I read into that by saying having two distinct companies providing launch services I think is great for the nation. The more the merrier. Yeah, Senator, if I may I have the most So the uh major D. T Thompson was the investigating officer on the last national security space launch accident In 1999. And I will tell you one launch at a time for almost 100 national security launches and more Mission success in every one of those launches is the most important factor of the National Security Space Launch Squadron or Program for 22 years. Uh, Mr. gravelly as a transition from the single launched procurement awards to block buys reduce the price of space lines, has it reduced it? So I don’t know specifically on NSF but my understanding in general of spaces, when you do things in the block, it does help you to reduce the cost. Yes. Yes, Senator. Absolutely. Absolutely. As the department considers the next launch procurement contract, what new requirements will be included to ensure the US beats china and Russia efforts to impact our space capabilities. You don’t want anybody Yes, center in terms of new requirements from an operational sense right now, the answer is not many significantly in this specific sector, we still have the same sorts of reference missions and and and payload designs that we need in this phase where I’ll tell you the the new opportunities and new requirements are in a couple of areas. The first is in smaller and responsive launch to deal with things like the potential uh rapid replenishment of capabilities is one area of potential growth. The second is as we see a lot of interest and energy in on orbit, servicing and maneuver. And so uh an approach that not only launches the satellite’s orbit or perhaps moves them around in orbit refuels them, replenishes them. Those are a couple of areas of what I’ll call the space launch enterprise that are growing specifically related to the national security space launch in phase three. Very similar in terms of the requirements for the next phase. Yeah, thank you. I was excited about seeing the I. G. Report yesterday ah move a little bit closer possibly to get space command to Redstone arsenal and you know, we’re we’re military friendly and look forward to that possibly happening. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you for that advertisement for the state of Alabama. Senator Cramer. There’s nothing wrong with advocating for the hometown. These laws. There aren’t too many of you know, it’s all good. Thanks you guys for for being here for your service. Thanks for this morning briefing as well. It was really important and it was interesting, you know at least the parts I understood and I was encouraged. So thank you um Secretary calvary and in general Thompson, I want to talk a little bit about one of my favorite topics under your direct command. That’s of course the Park’s radar facility at cavalier. And I did ask General Raymond and General Brown about this last week. You might have heard that or watched it. If not, I’m gonna ask you the same question anyway. Um, I noticed that it’s not it’s not funded for in the budget at the modernization and I brought it up because I’m concerned because this year’s budget documents say that this radar has a quote high risk. The equipment failures will cause unacceptable mission downtime. And I don’t want that to happen. I don’t think you want that to happen is a 50 year old radar that’s that’s doing important work. And um I I know there’s an analog to digital modernization effort that the program office is looking at and General Raymond told us the Space Force would address the Park’s issue in the coming budget years. I just want to make sure you’re aware of the precarious situation the cavalier seems to be in. And do you agree that this important 50-year technology needs a complete overhaul. If not this year. Soon. Each of you, if you want to speak to the Park’s radar in general, that’d be fine. Uh Yes sir, Senator. I will absolutely say, first of all, it does feel a critical role in our missile warning enterprise today. Um part of the assessment and we need to sustain it for that role into the future, part of what we’re looking at in that regard as well is as we look at advancing threats as we look at hyper glide vehicles as we look at um fractional orbital bombardment systems and and the ability to basically fly around the South Pole to be able to attack the United States were in the process of of understanding what the the future missile warning and missile defense are tracking architecture needs to look like. And the role that parks may play in that we’re still doing that assessment but certainly in the near term must be sustained. Uh The other thing I’ll say is that it’s the to the some of the discussion I had with Senator Kelly. It plays a vital role in space surveillance today as well. And we need to ensure that that capability remains. All right. Thank you. Um I want to spend spend a little time now on um S. D. A. Because I know that we’re at that moment here in a few months when it gets rolled in when we set up Space force. Um Of course one of the goals was and you all are doing well at it is streamlining acquisition obviously speeding up R. And D. All of those important things that you’re here to talk about. Um But sda when we stood that that up in 2021 it really were noting the importance of this and and of developing preserving, preserving really an independent culture which I think is best for innovation. Um So now once it gets rolled in, maybe you guys could help me understand um your commitment to that S. D. A. Will preserve at least some of its independence and autonomy while it also does important work for for you and the joint force of course. Um if you have a sense of how that might be managed, that’d be helpful. Yeah. Actually you’re thinking along the same way I am. I’m excited about SDA coming on board. I think they’re doing some really neat stuff with their proliferated leo system and trans juan for the communication satellites. I think it’s gonna add new capabilities quickly because they’re doing things onto your centers. I think it’s gonna add resiliency of the architecture. I like their culture. I’m looking forward to them coming on board and I don’t see any major changes in terms of how they do business or their culture. That’s great, thank you. Thank you for that. Um continuing along that topic then for a moment and the culture of innovation and rapid acquisition M. T. A military acquisition pathway was designed to facilitate rapid prototyping and feeling the new threat driven capabilities and timeframes not met by the traditional requirements process. Do you support granting SDA middle tier acquisition authorities so that they can continue to move fast then. Yeah from what I’ve seen. You know I think on the spacecraft is about eight or nine programs that are using 804 authorities. It’s allowed them to go a little bit quicker. Um, we talked earlier about the fact that speed is really what this nation needs. And so yes, I would support them having 804 authorities. Well, maybe since you’re on such a roll and and I’m tracking with you, maybe talk a little bit um more about the procurement enterprise and the reorganization and how you see that playing out. So we can, I always like to say move at the speed of china. Um, I’m not sure if that’s the right way to put it or not. But I just know we, we need to be fast. Yeah. So so I’m still getting my arms around her and uh the, so clearly, you know, and under my portfolio now is Space systems command. Then you have SDA coming on board in October 1st and then you’ve got space our CEO, you know, all three are unique in their own way and all three have sort of their own unique characteristics. I am not a big proponent of re orcs. I just, I just think they’re boring, They’re messy and they get nothing accomplished. So I’m looking forward to actually having these three separate elements in the portfolio and let’s make sure they have the authorities responsibilities and we have the right things in place to go ahead and gain that speed and take advantage of each one’s distinct strengths. Well secretary plan the amount of time. But I was gonna ask you basically the same question about cyber and probably the role of commercial and the integration of all of that. If you have a quick answer, just as I thought that’d be helpful. You know Senator, I think that the cyber peace here, if that’s what you’re asking is really important and I don’t think we fully have our hands around at defense and depth for satellite architecture is hard for ground stations is hard and I’m in a lot of meetings about this where we have to break through this idea that there’s just a defensive perimeter and people know this now. But getting to this is a a journey. We’ll be open with us and how we can help whether it’s a policy issue or an oversight issue or because we need you know we need that culture cultivated. But thank you. Thanks Mr. Chairman. Thank you. We’ll have a second round Senator fishery. Um Very practical question. I’ve heard the word GPS mentioned maybe six or eight times so far this afternoon. What if you’re an F 35 in a conflict situation? 35,000 ft above the pacific and GPS goes off. What is that pilot able to do general Senator? I need to be careful because I’m neither a pilot nor that familiar with the F 35 but I will tell you absolutely, there are concerns with many of our systems today, uh and and their inability to navigate effectively over the long term uh with GPS denial. Now, now obviously we do train, in fact, before I left the Air Force and transition to the Space Force. We do train our pilots and our their systems in a GPS tonight environment and how to respond. And so their ability to aviate and fly safely is generally assured, but obviously there’s likely to be a mission impact. Um but it does absolutely go to your point that GPS while GPS is the world standard, it is perhaps um uh not fair to say that we’ve become too, we’ve come to rely on it solely and exclusively and too heavily and certainly within the department there are activities ongoing to augment it, to supplement it to provide additional means of being able to navigate and and position and conduct missions. I would think that would be a high priority. I remember several years ago hearing that Annapolis was re it was going back to teaching celestial navigation, but I understand they really aren’t that they they’re they’re talking about it but they haven’t really done it. But of somebody’s got to be thinking about this because in a conflict if I’m the adversary, the first thing I’m going to do is try to knock out GPS to in order to blind us Senator inside, inside all of the services, especially inside the army is probably leading right now. The navy is not far behind but but the Air Force as well. Uh there looking at a host of technologies and methodologies for positioning and navigation. Um the one that you specifically referred to, in fact they’re developing techniques for celestial navigation automatically. Without a navigator. A human navigator required. There’s gotta be a way to to to automate a sextant. Yes sir. Absolutely. And frankly to be able to do it in daylight when the human eye can’t see stars. There’s technology in that regard. Many years ago. Um onboard navigation, inertial navigation systems were the way we conducted business in the fifties and sixties before GPS was rampant. It’s time to reinvest in those technologies and those capabilities I think to advance them. Um There’s even techniques that allow systems to measure the magnetic field of the earth and based on the variations in the Earth’s magnetic field figure out where you are terrain mapping. There are a lot of ways to solve this problem and I would say probably inside the Department of Defense. I think we finally have enough people who have woken up to the fact that GPS is the world standard will remain the world standard for a long time but we have to be prepared for those who wish to deny us GPS and operation to be able to fight through defective. Thank you. I appreciate that and hope that that is an urgent consideration. Um Mr. plum you you mentioned uh dr plumb in your testimony, You said something touched on international discussions, international negotiations. How is that going? Is that real? Is is there any interest, I mean, this strikes me as an area where we could have a space version of unclos, not that we could get that through the Senate, but uh that is uh I will I will leave that joke on the table. Um but senator, so actually the United Nations open ended working group has uh is just meeting. I will just point out that Canada has joined us in their commitment to not conduct destructive asset testing, which is one small piece of this. There are several other like minded nations and support our goal there. Ah it’s a, you know, a few fold. One is to go in with an open mind and welcome ideas on ways to increase transparency and ensure a stable space environment. The fact that these discussions are ongoing and looking the way to both build norms and hopefully keep debris mitigation standards enforced right now. We have um mitigation guidelines, but not everyone follows them. There’s quite a bit going on. Ah we’re right at the beginning of it, but I think there’s there’s value and there’s momentum. I do think the Vice President’s announcement gave us a little bit of a kickstart which helps to um final question is there systematic coordination and by that, I mean an organized council or some body that does the coordination between Space Force and roo NASA? I mean I just worry that we’re there may well be duplication and overlap in terms of launch and and satellite development. I’d hate to mean I know from the Intelligence Committee we spend a lot of money with N. R. O. On satellites and I would hope that there would be a coordination so that there were not duplicating. Actually there is from my from my time at the N. R. O. There actually used to be and I think there still is Corley means within our own Nasa and the Air Force to now the Space Force just to make sure that they do coordinate and understand what each one is working on. So there’s actually a pretty tight relationship across all three of those organizations. And inside the Space Force there’s the Space accession council that this committee put in place that helps to integrate across all the services across the pentagon for space features and then SSC and others teams have a lower level Council called Program Integration Council does the same as well. So there’s actually a lot of teamwork going on across the community for space. Good. Thank you. Senator Fischer. Thank you. Mr. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. DR plumb a section 16 09 of last year’s N. D. A required the department to review the classification level of space programs to determine whether they could be reduced or declassified and it’s my understanding that you’re leading this effort. Can you update us on the status please? Yes. Thanks senator for this opportunity. So uh I have been looking at that. My team has been looking at, I’ve been looking at with General Raymond staff um that is an enormous tasking. It is far beyond uh Any 90 day deadline I think fundamentally the place I am going on this and I’m speaking for myself here, not the department yet. Is that probably all of those things, the hundreds and hundreds of things that are classified for the Space Force are probably appropriately classified. And the fundamental question is does the classification guide need to be redone which is sort of a follow on tasks? So I’ll be working with uh with you and this committee as well as on the House side to try to find the right way forward to make this uh scope correctly. And if that’s the test we need to get addressed then we need to get to that. Mhm. Are there any efforts being made to declassify threat information that we received? So that of course is not that 16 09 piece but it is important. I will note that D. N. I. Haynes uh annual threat assessment that just I think she was on the hill yesterday on it. It’s stamped February but I just saw a copy of it yesterday. So uh does go farther than I think previous things on both as general Thompson has been pointing out as well, you know, China and Russia both have on orbit and ground based anti satellite systems targeting us allied us and allied satellites. I think that’s a new statement. Um, so there is some effort there. You could argue whether we could do more. But you know, all of these things we have to be careful about what would we do. You know, what’s the intelligence gain loss on any of these issues? Senator Fischer, if I may, the Defense Intelligence Agency just released a very extensive unclassified report about competition in space. I have not seen that level of communication on an unclassified sense in absolutely thrust systems in a long time. It’s a very good product and I think has taken us a long way where we need to go in terms of communicating those threats. Okay. I think it’s extremely important um without without putting any of our people or our systems are are ways that we find information in in jeopardy to be able to get some kind of information out to the public but also to certain think tanks who assume that they understand what’s taking place in classified briefings and they don’t um sometimes even come close to what what is discussed in those briefings and they make they make statements and generalizations and they take positions on false information. But I think it would be especially helpful as I said for the public to understand threats that this country faces and and I believe our people would be very very supportive of programs that are in place or that are being put in place to protect this country. Thank you. That’s one crazy question here. Okay. Is there with the need of speed in the future? Is there many thought of nuclear power and space? Okay. Absolutely. There is uh Nasa I think has a large portion of lead if D. O. D. Is working on it. I haven’t uncovered that piece yet, but roughly there’s a lot of advantages to some form of nuclear propulsion. Uh long duration missions including manned missions uh you know, larger larger power source. Uh and these are being looked at uh but space nuclear propulsion is an expensive thing to look at and do safely and practice. But it is being worked. I think Nasa has the lead. Uh Yes, senator, recent recent national space policy has reinvigorated to look at nuclear power for electrical power generation and for nuclear propulsion. In fact, the defense advanced research projects agency has a nuclear propulsion uh research uh prototyping activity going on. Um But in terms of Nasa, Nasa is looking at potential nuclear power for use for moon basing. We are absolutely looking at for propulsion and power generation on orbit going forward. We’re going to do any planet hopping, you know, getting there a lot quicker is gonna make it in the future. Uh you know star trek and all that stuff you know. Uh I’ve got one company, my en esa told me about E. S. O. Defense systems that they’ve got a low cost method of removing space debris. You ever heard of them? Out of Huntsville? Uh Senator I have not um specifically I will tell you that our space works are innovative engine for space activities in a project called orbital prime. Just put out a call for research activities and proposals Um recently awarded 125 different initiative contracts to go forward. It’s very possible. I don’t know for sure. It’s very possible there one of those companies but it’s specifically focused on that young innovative early companies looking for ways to help us with the debris prop. It’s very possible they are part of that but unfortunately I can’t tell you for sure that’s a good idea. You know commercially doing it making money out of it. We can send those names to Russia and china so they can clean up their mess as we go. So thank you all very much. Thank you Mr. Senator Cramer. Any additional questions? Thank you. Well thank you very much, been a very informative hearing. I appreciate your testimony today and as I say I want to reiterate what both Senator Fischer and I and Senator rounds mentioned any thoughts, ideas, suggestions, desires in terms of the National Defense Act. Get them to us in a very short order. Thank you very much. This hearing is adjourned. Mhm.

Share with Friends:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.