Defense Department and military leaders testify about the DOD’s missile defense activities before a Senate Armed Forces Committee subcommittee. Testifying before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces are: John F. Plumb, assistant secretary of defense for space policy; Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command; Navy Vice Adm. Jon A. Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency; and Army Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, commanding general of the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command. May 9, 2023.
General Carb and Admiral Hill for your many years of service to this country. What you do every single day may not be known by every American, but you keep every American safe. Thank you. We appreciate you appearing before us today and we look forward to hearing from each of you as we continue to develop and field integrated air and missile defense capabilities. It’s important to recognize that the threat landscape has evolved significantly since the inception of our missile defense programs. This evolution of adversary missile and offensive strike technology including hypersonic weapons and unmanned aerial systems increasingly holds at risk, not only our military installations but also civilian populations and critical infrastructure as you know, for many years. Now, this subcommittee has strongly advocated for getting more capability on Guam and getting it there as fast as we can. I look forward to hearing more about the department’s plan for the defense of Guam and how the investments proposed by this budget would strengthen the missile defense of the island, the incursion of the Japanese. Excuse me, the incursion of the Chinese spy balloon earlier this year also highlights the need for increased domain awareness. We cannot intercept what we cannot see and track. It’s critical that we continue to invest in terrestrial over the horizon radars and space, space missile warning and missile tracking systems including the hypersonic ballistic tracking space sensor or H BT S. Si look forward to hearing more from our witnesses about these issues and about how the F Y 24 would impact their mission. Thank you, Mr. Chairman Secretary Plum. Are you leading off?
Yes, sir. So thank you uh Chairman King, ranking member Fisher, distinguished members of the committee. Thank you for this opportunity to testify today on uh the fiscal year 24 missile defense budget and I am honored to appear alongside my colleagues here, General Van Huk and uh Vice Admiral Hill and Lieutenant General Carb. And if it is all of your last uh hearing, then I I just, I I have really appreciated working with all of you. Look how, look how sad they are, sir. Uh Today, our competitors are using advanced offensive missile capabilities as a principle means to execute their war fighting strategies. We know China is our department’s pacing challenge. China has accelerated its efforts to develop test and field thousands of missile systems across all classes and ranges. Russia remains our acute threat. Russia has conducted thousands of missile and drone strikes to terrorize the civilian population of Ukraine and degrade Ukraine’s war fighting capability. Iran has launched missile attacks into neighboring states and provided rockets and drones to non-state actors who in turn, use them to target us, forces and partners. And of course, they’ve also provided us systems to Russia, which is using them in the, in the battle in Ukraine. And North Korea continues to conduct ICBM and other missile tests to threaten and coerce its neighbors given these threats, missile defense has never been more important. The 2022 missile defense review was released in unclassified form last fall and this review updated us policy to reflect the current security environment with three kind of large updates. One emphasizing that we will stay ahead of the North Korean missile threat to the homeland through a comprehensive missile defeat approach which will be complemented by the credible threat of direct cost imposition. Second, it makes crystal clear that an attack on Guam or any other US territory by any adversary will be considered a direct attack on the United States and it will be met with an appropriate response. We are committed to the missile defense of Guam to simultaneously protect us civilians, us forces and our ability to project power in the region. And third to deter attempts by adversaries to stay under the nuclear threshold and achieve strategic results with conventional capabilities. The US is pursuing active and passive measures to decrease the risk of adversary cruise missile strikes against critical assets in the homeland. The president’s budget invests 29.8 billion in missile defeat and defense capabilities this is an increase of nearly three billion over the last year. Well, this year, actually F Y 23 specific to missile defense. This includes 3.3 billion for the ground based mid-course defense including 2.2 billion for the next generation interceptor, 1.5 billion for the defense of Guam. Nearly five billion uh for a missile warning missile track both the new P LEO constellation and the next generation overhead persistent infrared architecture. 2.2 billion for S M three Thadd and pack three interceptors. Nearly 1.5 billion to counter lower tier missile threats and hundreds of millions of dollars for over the horizon, radars, hypersonic defense and directed energy development. Finally, the F Y 24 budget continues to prioritize us, support to allies and partners. The US does not face missile threats on our own missile defense cooperation, strengthens our common protection, enhances deterrence and provides assurance that bolsters the cohesion of our alliances. So the president’s budget makes significant investments in missile defense. Those missile defenses are foundational to integrated deterrents. I’d just like to thank the committee for your tireless support of the department and US national security and for your support of the president’s budget. And I look forward to your questions, Hill, uh Chairman King, a ranking member of Fisher, distinguished members of the subcommittee. Uh Thank you for the opportunity to discuss missile defense today. I’d like to take a quick moment to thank the uh women and men of the missile defense agency for the hard work they do every day delivering capabilities to the services to meet joint uh command command requirements to counter ballistic maneuvering and hypersonic missile threats. Uh If I were to summarize missile threat, it’s three things. It’s large numbers, it’s high speed and heavy maneuver. Those are the challenges right now and they are the challenges for the future. MD is requesting as mentioned 2.9 billion to continue our mission of meeting these threats. And I’m gonna talk to you about three priorities. The first is homeland ballistic missile defense. And then I will talk about the defense of Guam and hypersonic defense. The first priority of homeland ballistic missile defense which includes Alaska and Hawaii. The ground based Midco defense system has protected the homeland from rogue nation ballistic missile attacks. Since 2004, our current focus is on new capabilities to counter the limited but advancing North Korean long range ballistic missile threat. The GMB system is undergoing a service life extension program to improve reliability and extend the GB I fleet, the ground based interceptors beyond 2030 these upgrades mitigate the risk until the nation feels the next generation interceptor which is on track for first in placement no later than the end of 2028 N G I development is executing to deliver advanced interceptors featuring multiple kill vehicle technology which we will add to the current fleet of interceptors at Fort Greely, Alaska and Denberg Space Force Base in California. Finally, we are on track for operational acceptance of the long range discrimination radar in clear Alaska next year, this advanced radar will ensure a stronger homeland defense posture against long range missiles to achieve priority to the defense of Guam. Also part of the homeland. The department is developing an integrated air missile defense system to defend against diverse missile threats. Working with the services and other stakeholders we are driving to meet in Pecos requirement for a persistent 360 degree layered defense capability on the island against simultaneous raids of cruise ballistic maneuvering and hypersonic missile threats. We are delivering operational capability and phases to meet these clear war fighting needs for the third priority. Hypersonic defense. We have integrated tracking capabilities into existing space, ground and sea base radars. That capability is here today. Today’s sensor architecture and command and control can track hypersonic threats to support warning and domain awareness aegis ships equipped with a sea based terminal capability can engage some hypersonic threats in the terminal phase. Today, due to the global maneuver capabilities of hypersonic missiles. A space based tracking and targeting capability is a clear need. In collaboration with the space force. The missile defense agency is developing the hypersonic ballistic tracking space sensor. Later this year, H BT S S will start on orbit operations to demonstrate unique tracking and targeting to support hypersonic engagements H BT S S will participate in flight tests and real world threat collections. Throughout F Y 24 the capability will be proliferated and operated by the Space Force. We continue to work closely with the Navy to upgrade sea base terminal defenses to counter more advanced maneuvering and hypersonic threats. And based on threat evolution, we will deliver the next S BT incremental upgrade in 2025. A sea based terminal is the only active defense available today to counter hypersonic missile threats. In order to expand the battle space against hypersonic threats. We have initiated the AEGIS glide phase interceptor program. GP I leverages proven AEGIS weapons system engage on remote network sensors to provide the depth of fire needed to thin the raid for terminal defenses. One final regional defense note, we continue ship upgrades and S M three block one B and two A missile deliveries and have made significant progress with the shore site in Poland which is on track for operational acceptance at the end of this fiscal year. Also, we are working towards fielding Thaad and Patriot integration enhancements that were successfully delivered to the United States Forces of Korea to other thadd batteries to expand engagement, battle space against shorter range threats. Chairman King, ranking member Fisher, members of the subcommittee. Thank you and I look forward to answering your questions. It has been an honor serving as the director of MD A. Thank you very much Admiral General Ben hurt Chairman King, ranking member Fisher and distinguished members of the subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear today and to represent the men and women of the United States, Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. To address today’s strategic environment for nearly three years, I’ve focused on four key priorities, domain awareness or the ability to see and detect potential threats in all domains, information dominance, which is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to process data more rapidly for strategic advantage, decision superiority, which is the dissemination of data and information to the right leader at the right time, from the tactical to the strategic level. And finally, global integration. Addressing today’s environment with a global and all domain approach, vice legacy, regional policies and practices. Those priorities are critical to the successfully defending the homeland and providing our national leaders with the only thing I can never give them enough of. And that’s time time to create deterrence options and if required defend and defeat options, I believe the greatest risk for the United States stems from our inability to change at the pace required by the changing strategic environment. Homeland defense must be recognized as essential to contingency plans at home and for power projection abroad. And it is vital that all military planning account for that in reality, in an area of incredible innovation and technological achievement, inflexible, outdated processes are greater impediment to success than many of our competitors. Advancements. I’d like to highlight two areas for the subcommittee. First. Today, I remain confident in our current capability to defend the homeland against a limited D Pr K ballistic missile threat. Looking forward, I’m concerned about future capacity and capability to respond to advancing D PR K ballistic missile threats, making it crucial to field the next generation interceptor on time, if not faster. Second Russia and the PR C continued to aggressively pursue and field a number of advanced capabilities including hypersonic weapons and delivery platforms designed to evade detection across multiple domains to strike targets anywhere on the globe including North America. Hypersonic weapons are extremely difficult to detect and counter given the weapon speed, maneuverability, low flight path and unpredictable trajectories, hypersonic weapons challenge Norad’s ability to provide threat warning and attack assessments for Canada and the United States. Finally, I’d like to recognize the tremendous work done by Vice Admiral Hill in the missile defense agency. In my view, the missile defense agency should be the department’s technical integrator to best leverage, ongoing multi domain design and experimentation efforts against current future air and missile threats regardless of geographical area. It’s clear that the missile threats we face at home and abroad will only continue to grow. And I’ve been fortunate to work together with a great partner like Vice Admiral Hill in the ongoing efforts to outpace those threats. I look forward to your questions. Thank you, General General Carb, Chairman King, ranking member Fisher, distinguished members of the subcommittee. I’m honored to again testify before you and to represent an incredible people. First, organization of 2600 soldiers and civilians across 13 time zones in 19 dispersed locations every day. These amazing professionals provide space, high altitude and missile defense forces and capabilities to the army and joint war fighters. First, let me express my sincere appreciation for your steadfast support of our people and their families. I serve as the commanding general of the US Army Space and missile defense command, the commander of the joint functional component command for integrated missile defense. And as the army’s proponent for air and missile defense or A MD, I provide us Northern Command, the soldiers who stand ready to defend our nation from intercontinental ballistic missile attack, serve as the army service component commander to both us strategic command and us space command. And I am the chief of staff of the army’s a MD enterprise integrator. I’d like to first discuss the threats that confront us worldwide. In Europe. We see daily the continuation of the largest employment of offensive missiles since world war II and the unprecedented use of attack U A V S in Russia’s nearly 15 month war against Ukraine in the Pacific against the backdrop of multiple missile tests by the D pr K in China. Threats of regional and trans regional complex missile attacks still loom in the. Our adversaries continue to attack partner nations and us forces using missiles, uavs and rockets, artillery and mortars. I have been an air defender for 36 years stationed and deployed in the European Pacific and Middle Eastern theaters and I have never seen adversary threat activity whether that be test or operational use as great as I see it today. Adversary actions in the space domain are equally as aggressive as they continue to challenge us across multiple space enabled mission areas critical to supporting our missile defense mission, to address these threats. We must strengthen our capabilities to deny our adversaries the benefit of aggression. We must continue investment in sustainment of combat, ready, capable and lethal space and air and missile defense capabilities. Fortunately, we do not face these threats alone. We have allies and partners who contribute significantly to the air and missile defense and space missions. Please allow me to briefly outline just a couple of milestones accomplished by our space and missile defense soldiers and civilians. This past year, we have partnered with us, army Special Operations command and us army cyber command to create a space cyber special operations triad to provide deterrent and response options through the integrated use of our unique capabilities. We’ve continued to mature the triad through multiple exercises to include the army’s project convergence. 22 us Army Special Operations Command Capability exercise which was held just last week. Recently, we reached a historic milestone in the air defense enterprise with the full rate production decision for the integrated air and missile defense battle command system I B CS. This any sensor best shooter construct allows us to integrate the right quantity and mix of air and missile defense capabilities across all echelons, building an effective tiered and layered defense. And we need to rightly add incredible soldiers to the any sensor best shooter construct. As these men and women will play the most critical role in this transformative capability. This is the linchpin of the army’s broader air and missile defense modernization efforts crucial to enhancing our air and missile defense capabilities well into the future in closing and on a personal note, this will be my last opportunity to address the distinguished members of this subcommittee. And I want to again, thank you for your support. I’m confident in the direction and momentum of the army’s air and missile defense and space enterprises. I look forward to addressing your questions. Thank you. Thank you. I’m gonna, I’m gonna start with a sort of odd first question because my problem, Secretary Plum is, I don’t know who to address my question to. And does that suggest that we need a more integrated central functionality?
We have three people in front of us, all of whom have different responsibilities. Maybe Admiral Hill, you’re nodding. I mean, I, I, I just wonder if we need to need to clean up the, the organizational chart a bit. It bothers me that we’ve got missile defense and then you’re the operational piece, generally, you’re, you’re in, in the middle of it. Uh, for homeland defense is, do we have the proper organization to allow, uh, uh sufficient timely response and deterrence frankly, who wants to take the question?
I’m happy to start, Senator. I, I do think we do have a good organizational structure here and I think, uh what you’re seeing is that missile defense kind of runs throughout our forces, right?
The Navy needs missile defense, the army needs missile defense, the homeland needs missile defense. And so, and of course, the Pentagon has multiple layers, but I actually think this is structured quite well. I think we have good working relationships and I think we’re making significant progress. You don’t think we need a kind of combatant command that would centralize these functions. Well, since you asked, uh so the U C P change uh of course, we have north com will do defense of the homeland. And so General Van he can speak to that much better than I can. Uh And uh the U C P change uh that has just been signed uh will transfer uh I MD to space command uh which makes sense because we’d already transferred all the sensors to space command. And so that aligns missile defense sensors and space domain awareness, sensors are often the same sensor and it’s good to have a kind of a global sensor management piece there too. So I think you know, but every, every, every combatant commander with the geographic responsibility still has missile defense responsibilities. Well, all right, let me go back to my, what would have been my first question and I’ll, uh, I guess I’ll ask it of, of uh Admiral Hill, uh GB I Patriot do all are all or any of those systems uh effective against a Sonic missile?
Thanks. Thanks for the question. Um I would say that we have um capability within Patriot. Uh It is not uh it was not a requirement that flowed to the system, but it’s got the natural ability to do it because it’s a, it’s a cruise missile killer. And if you have a fast maneuvering cruise missile, it can bite off part of that threat. Uh When you look at the S M six uh within uh has been dealing with maneuvering low on the deck uh threats uh for years, I would say decades and taking that missile with its ability and going after hypersonic makes good sense, which is why we use it for sea base terminal that operates right on the edge of the atmosphere. It’s an energetic missile. It’s got a great hit to kill uh record behind it. Uh We haven’t tested against hypersonic threats, but I believe there’s like Patriot and like just there’s likely some capability that can be leveraged there. Um Why not more emphasis on directed energy?
A bullet on a bullet is an expensive proposition. How much?
Well, let me ask that question, how much is a, uh, a single thad bullet?
I’ll, I’ll give you a range between patriot up to uh S M three and they range everywhere from four million, up to 10 million or so per shot, per shot. Yes, sir. And then I’ll also, uh, just to kind of follow up on direct energy, you know, to be effective, you have to be on a target for some period of time with high energy, right?
Uh Today, that high energy uh is scaling its way there. It’s also got to be on a platform where it can be transported uh that scaling effort to draw down the amount of power usage and the space and weight that that work is being done today. Uh But when you done with a sense of urgency, I’ve been asking these questions for about five years and I don’t get a sense of urgency in the in the department on on directed energy, which to me is clearly preferable to a $4 million bullet. Yes, sir. And I agree and I think the department has done great work by consolidating those efforts to specifically talk to scaling in terms of power, uh power out of the laser. Uh what it takes to put that laser on the target. But let’s talk about the target for a second, right?
We’re using them now generally for uh unmanned air vehicles, right, smaller loitering uh kind of vehicles when you talk about very fast moving targets that were designed to operate in very high heat environments and you’re gonna try to take them out with high heat. That’s a really tough equation to close. Um So more investment is required more uh focus on getting to those areas, but it is, it is science and engineering right now. That’s, that just happens to be where we are today, sir. Thank you, Senator Fisher. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Uh Doctor Plum. How does the budget request support the development and fielding of an integrated air and missile dispense system for Guam?
Uh Thank you, Senator. There’s a $1.5 billion in the budget for F Y 24 between I think roughly 900 million in MD A and 600 million for the army, although I may have those reversed. Uh But there’s a lot of money towards that. Uh And we are working to try to get initial capability there and then build out on that. And I actually think uh well, actually, frankly, I think Admiral Hill might have something to add on the, the sequencing of that. But the goal is how fast can we get some capability then build out on it?
And of course, the challenge of 360 degrees against all the different uh types of missile threats is a new one for that sizable area. Admiral Hill in this setting. Uh What can you add to that and, and the progress that we’re making. And um if you can, um some of the challenges that, that you’re facing on deployment. Uh Yes, ma’am. First, I’ll say we have a great partnership with the army in terms of the system development, great partnership with the Navy in terms of identifying the sites on where this equipment would go. And we have a really tough customer named a Laino who uh constantly uh drives us to get there as early as we can and he removes barriers for us to do that. One of the hardest things we’re doing right now this year in 23 is site selection and the start of the environmental impact surveys, you have to do that. Um We have the sites selected. Uh we know that once we go to those sites and do more work that we may not be able to land on all those sites. Uh There’s uh a dozen or so sites uh about uh half of those are for MD A and the other half army, that’s a real challenge. But the good news is while we’re doing that, we haven’t slowed down on the development. The army is moving very quickly. The I B CS system. Uh MD is moving very quickly on the capability and we’re doing something different with, it’s not a consolidated deck house like you see on a ship, it’s not radars overlooking the launcher so they can immediately capture the missile upon launch, the radars are external to get to the 360 degree coverage along with the army radar systems associated with I B CS. So it’s a tough engineering challenge just because of uh the physical lay down and the land use and the environmental impact surveys are definitely challenged. But we’re gonna come through those within the next couple of years and you’ll start to see the capability land on the island progressively. And I owe Admiral Alino a year by year status update on where we are with the integration and the operations of that material. Thank you. Uh Secretary Plum Section 16 60 of the F Y 2023 N D A A required the secretary to designate a senior, a single senior official to be responsible for the Miss missile defense of Guam. How close is the department to making that designation?
Uh Senator, we’re pretty close. We already held a missile defense executive board that’s run by uh under Secretary La Plante and under Secretary Xu. On this issue, we still have to get the, you know, recommendation staffed up and through the secretary, but it it is in train. Ok. In general. How does the high ups tempo rate for air defenders on Guam impact the quality of life for soldiers with uh their families that they have there as well?
I think it. Ok. Uh We’ve had uh soldiers on uh Guam since 2013. So for 10 years, we’ve had the Thaad Battery there. Uh Initially it was a year deployment and then we transitioned that into a three year P CS so that they could bring dependents and families there. So we’ve learned lessons from the Thaad Battery being on Guam that we will apply as we go forward. Uh One of the, one of the critical elements is the fact that the infrastructure in addition to the missile defense capability that we, that we will bring. We also have got to ensure that the infrastructure is there to support soldiers and family. And that is a key point that that we have brought up. And I know General Flynn at is making sure that he emphasizes as well. Thank you as, as we move forward on the timeline that that the admiral pointed out, it’s important to get that infrastructure in place correct. Yes, ma’am. And that structure will be added to the army that will not come from the current structure that we have recognized in the temple of challenges that we have within the air and missile defense force today, General Van Hek North com and NORAD are required to track various threats to our homeland. And I appreciated our discussions earlier this year on some of the items on your unfunded priorities list that would help increase that domain awareness. Are there additional changes that the department can make in order to field capabilities faster?
For example, using digital engineering during the development or increasing testing uh tempo. We had some good examples that you gave us earlier on limits that you face. Certainly, Senator, I think culturally we’re an industrial age department transitioning into a digital age. Um I recently went to a major uh defense uh firm. I’ll just say that who’s building a capability, who has embraced the digital aspect of uh buying down risk during uh multiple portions. So I think there’s things that we can do in a virtual environment, we can do things. Now, what I would say is in parallel, not serial as we develop capabilities to buy down risk and to go faster in the long run. Can I just have one follow up there?
Uh Secretary Plum, do you have anything to add to that?
You know, um to me what, what the general just said, it kind of shows the importance of the organ organizational set up that is uh currently in place with you guys here at the table that, that uh Senator King referred to in his uh first question to you. Am I reading that right?
You can so you can work in parallel instead of in serial or am I just gonna he?
So he is my colleague here. I think uh what General van he’s getting at is if you can uh transition to digital design, you can change uh your plans and your structure and even what you build faster because you have a much quicker feedback loop into your system. And I think some of the more forward leaning, uh, parts of the industrial base and even the commercial base have figured this out. And, you know, I’m, I’m happily not the acquisition person, but I fully support moving faster, uh, and smarter, especially when it saves money and gets this capability sooner. And we do as well, which I think is important to be able to have, um, the focus that, that General Carb has and that Admiral Hill has to be able for them to have that focus on, on what they’re trying to accomplish and get done under the current organization. Does that make sense?
No. Yes. Thank you, Senator Brown. Thank you, Mr. Chairman General Van Huk. Last July, you told reporters at the Aspen security Forum, that arrow’s formation did not change how no ad did business following the events involving the Chinese high altitude balloon. And three U A P S has no ad increased its coordination with arrow. And have you begun to identify a higher volume of unidentified aerial phenomenon?
Senator Ab Absolutely. As a matter of fact, uh uh the lead of a came out to NORAD North gave us a visit, uh, working much closer on the challenges that we face. Uh ensuring that we’re sharing data and information uh from anything that we see or do not see, uh to ensure that we pass it to the organization so they can further investigate it Absolutely. And um the last time we had a hearing with a, we discussed uh investing in over the Horizon radar and other type of new sensors that would help with collection. Have you been consulted on any of that discussion?
I’ve been heavily involved in the discussions on over the rising radar with both Canada and the United States. Uh The department is funding over Horizon Four for the United States and Canada has announced too. Uh So, absolutely yes, I’m directly involved. And have you um been in the discussions about the type of sensors that could be used or deployed to garner information specifically for the air space that we don’t really look, look at because it’s not related to missiles. I’m not sure I understand that. So I uh more broadly, uh I would, I would just tell you that over the rising radar is not the end all be all solution that will give me domain awareness further away from the homeland. I’m still confident in my ability to detect the balloons that we saw the PR C high altitude balloon and the subsequent uh objects that we we saw and shot down. But that’s not the end. All be there has to be domain awareness between the over the horizon radars that links the data from there to an in game effector. And so there needs to be additional domain awareness. We need to look more broadly at the rest of the uh infrastructure the radars as well. Uh and ensure the data from those systems is incorporated in an integrated air and missile defense system that can lead to effectors. And I’ll go back to the comments of the chairman. Um I’m focused not on in game kinetic kill. I’m focused primarily on of the policy for what we must uh have in game kinetic kill, but more broadly for developing capabilities such as the use of the electromagnetic spectrum, non-kinetic effectors to deny and deceive in limited area or wide area defense capabilities to include the use of autonomous unmanned platforms with domain awareness capabilities that could be maritime and airborne. And are you coordinating that those recommendations and those plans with Arrow?
Um I not directly with Arrow right now, uh Senator uh into the department which I’m assuming the department’s gonna pull in arrow uh as part of that. So right now, uh we’re, we’re rooking the policy for homeland defense. Uh I have provided my commander’s estimate, which is a plan for that. Uh I’m also in the middle of developing what I call homeland defense design. 2035 which gets after exactly what I talked about a new way of defending the homeland. And that’s vastly different than the way we do it today with fighters, tank tankers, a wax those kind of things. I appreciate that. And I’m looking forward to that myself. Um We’ve heard uh that our radar sites depending on who you asked are based on 19 eighties technology or 19 nineties era technology and 19 sixties era decision process. Um How I assume based on your last answer that you are improving the Northern war warning system and bringing other critical defensive infrastructure to be fully modernized. So the over the horizon radars will be addition to the, the north warning systems. The department hasn’t made a decision on modernization of the north warning system uh or uh further replacement of uh the radars associated with the north warning system. But that has to be a discussion like I said, 00 T hr is not the end, all be all solution understood. So are you gonna give us recommendations for updating the northern warning system uh as part of the re look at homeland defense uh and the policy study ongoing right now, that has to absolutely be part of uh the, the way forward. I look forward to seeing that um Admiral Hill, I still have time, right?
30 seconds. Ok. I, I, I, I didn’t know if your tap was hurry up. I didn’t know it was a hurry up tap. Ok, Admiral Hill, while at the House Armed Services Committee hearing in March General Milley told Congresswoman Stefani that he believed a potential third missile defense site at Fort Drum would be strategically worthwhile. Do you agree with that assessment?
And what advantage does this provide us when dealing with a potential nuclear threat from Iran?
Uh Yes, ma’am. Uh During my last testimony, I did mention that I support the uh the chairman’s con uh comments. Uh I think uh another site uh you, you can never have too many sensors, you can never have too many uh factors uh to deal with the kind of threats that we’re dealing with. Um I do think it’s part of uh a mix of other options that we can look at. And so we’re, we’re doing a study now that we owe back to the hill uh by the end of June. And so we’ll complete that and deliver that. Ok. Uh Mr. Chairman, I’m gonna submit a question uh for the record concerning Cyber to Secretary Plum. Thank you, Senator Kramer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Vice Admiral Hill. I’m gonna start with you just to relieve um, General Van Huk, who’s thinking he’s gonna ask me about parks?
I know he’s gonna ask me about parks. He always ask me about parks. Um, so I, I maybe building on what he has just been talking about, maybe I’ll get back to him as well to, to uh Senator Gillibrand, what role does ground based radar play?
And since I brought up ground base and what about parks and what, what do you see as the future for parks in, in this transition, at least to, to more space, space, I, I believe the parks radar is owned and operated by the Space Force. Um We, we did and, and continue to assess the utility of it um based on where our threat uh regions are and our focus for our sensor architecture. Uh Right now, Park is not a part of the overall missile defense architecture. Uh I think the space force has ideas for it. I’m just, I’m not familiar with them yet, so I’d probably have to go back and do some. So does that mean I have to ask General Van?
He again, um to, to, to remind us of the importance of Park’s short term, uh you know, midterm, maybe long, long term General, there’s 100 and $80 million there’s 100 and $8 million in the, the president’s request in F Y 24 for Parks to go forward. It’s crucial for missile warning today as we go forward. Uh And uh the proliferated low earth orbit capabilities come online, then I’m sure the department will reassess the need. Uh And I’m confident if uh if it’s still required, the department will continue to fund it. The policy that you’re visiting with uh Senator Gillibrand about, when would we expect that?
And how would that affect?
Say a budget a year from now?
Two years from now?
Um As we’re, as we’re trying to, you know, be, move at the pace of China?
Yeah, I defer to the department on that. I, I expect that policy within weeks to a few months. Uh and it should inform the next budget cycle. Very good. Thank you. I’ll yield back Mr. Chairman. Thank you all. Thank you, Senator. Um, my impression and perhaps you have the figures, Mr. Secretary is that we’re spending a lot more money on developing hypersonic missiles than we are in defending against hypersonic missiles. Is that true?
I don’t have, I don’t have hard numbers on that, sir. Uh Take that for the record, please. Yes. And, and if, if I’m correctly informed that that is the case that we’re spending more. It seems to me that, that we uh we ought to be reconsidering that in terms of the importance of defense. Uh Let me go back to my question. Admiral Hill. Can, can we stop a hypersonic missile today?
You’re on an aircraft carrier in the Western Pacific, a hypersonic missiles, fires coming at you 7000 miles an hour. Do we have the capability to stop that missile?
You have the capability to stop it in two places. Uh One is in its ballistic flight uh and it’s a hypersonic missile. Does it necessarily go into ballistic flight?
Not all of them do?
Uh but the ones that are currently uh you know, in the, currently in the theater we’re talking about, uh will, will normally start with a uh a boost and then go into a glide and then to the terminal phase and in the terminal phase, it can be defeated. And do we have it, it can be defeated by a ship at sea by a destroyer uh guarding the carrier. Yes, sir. Um Why are we testing more?
I can’t, I couldn’t find it in my notes, but I think China is testing something like 20 times as many missiles as we are. Why, why are we?
So uh they, they seem to be uh more tolerant of failure and they learn more and we, we have to, our tests have to be perfect. Uh Talk to me about testing. Yes, sir. Uh Yeah. So, so testing is really the end of the system engineering loop, right?
You’re validating that you’ve met your requirements through the system development. So clearly, they’re moving faster than we are. Um I would say that many of the tests that we do in some of these uh more um high end uh threat areas. Uh We, we don’t report out publicly because of the classified nature of them. So there, there is, um I would say a reasonable amount of testing that is occurring against those sort of advanced threats. We just don’t publicize them. Well, I think it was you and your testimony that said we’re not reacting fast enough that this climate is changing so rapidly that we’re not. What, what should we be doing?
What can this committee do in the way of additional resources, additional organizational changes so that we’re not uh continually trying to catch up because we’re, we have this is a strategic change in the in the in the world that we’re not adequately addressing. What do we need?
I’m talking about hypersonic. What do we need to do to be able to address that more effectively?
Yes, sir. So uh we, we have uh addressed the policy so the hypersonic defense that we do today is regional based, meaning we will take care of forward to sea bases and forward deployed army maneuver forces. That’s our focus today and we want to do layer defense, which is why I’ll talk about glide phase. I’ll talk about kill it in the boot phase. We know how to, how to kill aircraft. And when we’re down in that terminal phase, we have to have a robust capability to do that and the load out on the ships. So that’s our focus today is on regional. Uh We have, we, we do not have the policy to go after the strategic hyper. So that may be where you’re going. Senator, I’m not sure it’s, it, it seems to me that this is a deterrence gap where we need our adversaries to know that this weapon is not going to be effective. Uh The whole idea of deterrence is that there’s a level of resilience and that’s what worries me is that, that by not having the defensive capability, uh you’re inviting in effect a uh a strike, we do have the defensive capabilities within the sea base today. Uh I, I want to work with the army to uh build out uh the patriot capability that we talked about earlier. And to add to that capability, we have a program in place called the phase interceptor to thin the raid up in a different part of that uh flight regime. Uh Because we, we from a layer defense perspective, we want to attack every part of that trajectory and particularly where they’re uh where they’re vulnerable, which is an account of chaff and, and subversion and decoys and all of that kind of thing. General Car. Um Can you see a hypersonic from space single missile uh depending on the uh platform delivery systems or yes, if it’s uh if it’s on the uh end of a uh boosting uh missile, we will see the initial uh we’ll get an initial indication of it uh of it launching. But once it starts going into its flight phase, it becomes a very uh difficult target to track uh to keep it from, to keep track custody of it really from, from birth to death as it would, particularly if it’s at a low altitude. Is that correct?
Correct. This is an entirely different question. Uh Obviously, missile defense is very important to the Ukrainians. Why isn’t Iron Dome being deployed to Ukraine?
Secretary Plum, we help pay for it. We’ve sent something like $3 billion to Israel to develop it $500 million a year. My understanding is, wouldn’t this be a very important resource for the Ukrainians since their principal problem right now is air defense. So, Senator, what we are using for supplying Ukraine with missile defenses from the United States stock is things we can draw down from our own stock. Uh, you know, we’ve supplied patriot batteries, for example, we spread significant investments in missile defense and we’ve encouraged allies to do this. Understand. A patriot just took down a Russian missile yesterday, I believe. Um, it certainly has been in the news. Yes, open source. There was a patriot intercept of a Killjoy hypersonic missile in the last few days. Yes, sir. What about Iron dome?
I’m not aware of an iron dome system being offered to Ukraine, but that could be incorrect. I just don’t know maybe someone else at the table, but I’m not sure any other thoughts. So, so our two iron dome batteries that we have right now, uh One uh completed its um new equipment, train new equipment fielding. It is prepared for deployment. The second one is uh wrapping up its new equipment fielding right now. So, uh so the army does have one battery available for deployment pending uh a request for it. Thank you, Secretary Rosen. I was gonna say I got, I promoted you. If I got a promotion, Senator Rose, I’m sorry. It’s a, it’s a flying day. So uh it’s a long flight from the West Coast. Uh So there you go. Just got in. So thank you very much. Uh Chairman King ranking member Fisher. Appreciate it and appreciate all of you and uh uh for your service, everything you’re doing here today. So, um I’m gonna talk a little bit about safeguarding Domain awareness. So General Van He as you well know, our adversaries continue uh to field advanced capabilities across domains that have the potential to threaten the homeland. So in light of these threats north com and no ad must ensure that the systems providing the homeland with domain awareness are survivable, adaptable and modern. In addition, these systems must be hardened as they’ll be subject to an array of cyberattacks uh during any contingency. And so I’m encouraged by North cons continued efforts to modernize legacy de detection systems such as the over the horizon, radar detection alone isn’t sufficient operators have to have the ability to effectively communicate the operational picture to other commands as well as to our partners and allies often under highly compressed time frames. And we see those with the hypersonic and and others. So General Van He, what steps are you taking to sufficiently harden our command and control nodes particularly in the cyber domain so that we are able to effectively share the operational picture during a potential conflict?
Senator, uh thanks for that. So I’m advocating to the department that the, the foundational infrastructure, the I T network and backbones that the data and information rides on that allows us to share data and information internally and with the allies and partners and my fellow combatant commanders is resilient uh and, and uh redundant in the way we go. The department this year has put several billion dollars into foundational infrastructure which I think is crucial as we move forward to get. After the cyber vulnerabilities that you talked to. Uh candidly my most concerning domain awareness problem is exactly that it’s the limited knowledge of cyber vulnerabilities for the critical infrastructure that we rely on to project power from our homeland, to defend our homeland, to do command and control within our homeland. So I continue to advocate for that to the department. Thank you. I I appreciate that because I, I think the resiliency, redundancy and and the agility of those systems are gonna help us be successful and um uh in the technology space, of course, Admiral Hill, as you’re aware, China’s missile missile defense strategy heavily emphasizes developing anti access aerial denial capabilities which use the combination of ballistic and cruise missiles launched from air land and sea to target the US. And of course, our allied military assets in the Asia Pacific Theater such as those in Guam or Okinawa. So Admiral Hill with the rapid increase in China’s technological advancement and missile accuracy. What kind of measures are we employing to increase the survivability of our own platforms to ensure that we can operate in and around these highly contested environments in the Pacific?
Yes, ma’am. But thanks, Senator. Um I used the aircraft carrier since Senator King, I brought that up a little bit earlier. That’s where we focused our energies on increasing the ability to take on the hypersonic threat. The ships currently are outfitted with ballistic missile defense. So from a missile defense perspective, ships moving forward into the island chain have the ability to defend against ballistic missiles. They have their own capability to do self-defense against cruise missiles and we have hypersonic defense. Um a ship has to worry about a lot. Uh So I’m not gonna speak for the navy. I can just speak to the missile defense missions that we provide in, in coordination with the navy uh with the army. Uh We’ve talked a lot about uh the maneuver force in terms of patriot that station forward. Uh defense is important if you want to, to either buy time or to ensure that you can live to fight another day. That’s right. Well, thank you. And, and I know that uh uh Chairman King talked about hypersonic weapons. So Secretary Plum Russia and China, no secret, they’re fielding hypersonic weapons. They’re highly maneuverable vehicles that fly around more than five times the speed of sound. The weapons have the potential to overwhelm our US missile defense systems undermine our strategic deterrence. So I, I know we’re not in a classified setting. So I’d like to hear a little bit about your assessment of our hypersonic missile defense programs, our space based sensors. What do we do to neutralize the threat?
And I notice as I uh read some of the background, um and, and you alluded to this earlier that um of course, we have the notification, we know much earlier on a ballistic missile where it’s going and we have cannot able to track the hypersonic once it may have left its uh uh uh launch. And so that time frame of difference, and I know we’re not in a classified setting, but are we able to be agile enough to track it to notify our allies and partners to make adequate decisions across the spectrum?
Uh So thanks Senator, uh just a couple of pieces. Uh If, if, if I may so just to start, um you know, five times the speed of sound is all the ballistic missiles travel pretty fast, right?
So it’s not, it’s not really just a speed piece. It’s the maneuverability of a hypersonic weapon that bothers everyone at the table because you can’t predict, you can’t predict the end point by knowing the initial launch conditions. And there’s a lot of ballistic missiles in the world that still maneuver at the end, but they still give you a better a bass, you kind of know about where they’re going to end up if you do your math, right?
But you can’t do that with a cruise missile because it can keep maneuvering. So one of the things we’re really heavily investing in is a space based architecture that can uh can at least have awareness of where these things are through their flight. Uh Admiral Hill is working on something called H BT S S which I call hobbits. I don’t know if anyone else does. Uh But that the idea there is to actually be able to do custody of it and be able to track a piece all the way through. So we are working on this and that’s a big problem because you can’t just rely on one vector or one radar face to tell you a thing is coming. And so it’s a hard problem. We are working on that. So that’s one piece. You gotta have that domain awareness and ability to track these things and we’re working hard on that. Uh Also you have to have something to be able to actually shoot at it otherwise all you can do is watch it. And so working on, we’ve already talked about it turns out Patriot even has some ability against a hypersonic. But the glide phase intercept program is one thing uh that is being worked on. For example, uh Admiral Hill has already spoken at some length about uh sea base terminal mode of the S M six, which is good for uh ship defense and point defense. Uh So we’re working on all these pieces together. Thank you. I see. My time is up, Senator Kelly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Senator Rosen for the lead. In to my question, which is about thank you, which is about S M six. Um So uh Admiral Hill, Secretary Plum, uh the S M six uh ship launched anti air anti surface interceptor. Uh This missile is produced at Raytheon in uh Tucson Arizona, Admiral Hill last year. During this hearing, you noted that the S M six is the only weapon in the country’s arsenal capable of engaging highly maneuver, maneuverable hypersonic missiles, threats, incoming threats. So, in the context of potential adversaries, can you please speak a little bit more um about how important it is for the US to have an arsenal arsenal capable of engaging highly maneuverable hypersonic threats. Yes, sir. And it, and it’s a full kill chain answer, right?
Uh Secretary Plum already talked about our ability to detect and track them. If you can’t do that, you can’t fire anything at it, right. Uh And it’s a very complex, uh once it comes into the glide phase, it’s got the ability to maneuver globally. So that’s why we need to see them from space and have a total track cuss all the way to the end game. And when they dip into the atmosphere and start that maneuver, you have to have the shooting battery, whether it’s a ship or some sort of a land base unit, uh that can do that fine-tuned tracking in the end game to launch and control that missile. But it’s important to have an arsenal of, when you say arsenal, I translate that as an inventory, uh you need a large inventory of them because again, the threat can be defined as big, big numbers, very high speed and maneuver it before we get to the procurement and the inventory numbers. Can you comment a little bit about when we get to that end game when we and maybe you can’t because this is not a classified setting. But when we look at like cross range for an S M six, can it match the cross range capability of any hypersonic missile that you know, China is currently developing?
I think in this environment, I can say yes, that we are matched very well with the threat and where it is today, we’re going to have to continue to improve our missile capability at some point, we will over, over match the g capability of that missile frame. And then Secretary Plum uh on the, you know, uh Admiral Hill mentioned that we would need a lot of them. Um I understand dod is requesting a multiyear procurement in the next budget request to include 825 S M six missiles. Can you explain why it’s such a critical request uh as we face this uh capable adversary and and why doing large lot procurements is the best way to do this. Uh Well, first of all, Senator, again, I’m not the acquisition professional at this table. Uh but I will just say that uh once you have a proven capability of being able to buy in large lots, gives you uh insight into how the miss will perform. So you, you, it, it’s much better than just building a few at a time. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a much better way to do your statistics on your manufacturing and, and how it works. And, you know, if we have a high value target and we’ve got an incoming hypersonic missile, I imagine the, the, you know, the ops plan there is not to just launch one of these things at it. Hence the 825 number to protect that, protect the fleet. And the high value targets are in air defense. It’s really an operational question because it’ll vary. But uh most commanding officers of a ship, uh most commanding officers of a battery will determine what their salvo size is based on the threat and numbers that they’re dealing with. Yes, sir. Thank you. Uh Another subject. So, uh the request I think is for $1.6 billion for a in fiscal year 24 which gets us 27 uh S M three block one Bs and 12 S M three block two A s and develops upgrades to the system. Um The site is expected to be among the first to receive the S M three block two A. Uh And I think this is gonna be at the site in Poland is my understanding. Uh Can you provide a status of a assure um in Poland and what it will be able to do when fully operational?
Uh Yes, sir. So as in Romania operational today, uh Poland is going through uh the board of inspection survey today. So we’re leveraging the navy processes there that drive us to Chief of Naval Operations acceptance uh by the end of this fiscal year. Uh it’ll then go through uh European command and NATO acceptance uh throughout next year. So we’re uh right now operating the site, but uh we’ll come through those different certifications over the course of the next few months and it’ll be fully operational. And what it provides is it completes the European phase adaptive approach phase three. Uh which means that we can defend against uh ballistic missiles from road country, road countries to protect Europe and the United States in my uh remaining 15 seconds real quick when I was over in the Middle East in January, Israel and some of our Middle East partners, um you know, made a request and looking for support for an integrated missile defense architecture in the Middle East between Israel other countries and the United States. What are your thoughts on an integrated regional missile defense for the Middle East?
For me, it’ll be more of an operational question. But from a acquisition development perspective, we work very closely with Israel. Senator King mentioned that uh 500 million of our budget every year goes to building out the defense capabilities. Uh for Israel focused mostly on upper tier arrow uh David Sling and Iron Dome. Um We integrate uh as far as we can integrate, uh whether it’s across the sensor architecture to provide tracks or if it’s a deeper set of integration as uh general Carly does uh within the army on Iron Dome. But I think there’s nothing wrong with being integrated across uh you know, friends and allies. Thank you. I want, I want to thank all of you for joining us today. I have a couple of concluding thoughts. One is it, it strikes me as bothersome that all three of you are leaving at the same time. It also strikes me as bothersome that I think that chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Chief of the Navy, I believe the Air Force are also all leaving this summer. At the same time, there ought to be a staggered system so that there’s continuity in this critically important function. That’s not your problem. But it’s one that Mr. Secretary, I think we ought to think about to have the entire upper echelon of this particular critical function walking out the door, essentially within months is strikes me as not a not a good organizational structure. Uh Secondly, the three of you are in an extraordinary position to be able to give us some strong Agnes exit interview data. In other words, as you’re leaving?
What would you change?
What would you suggest to the committee in terms of authorities, organizational structures, priorities?
Uh Where do you think we could improve uh this entire missile defense enterprise?
Uh As I say, all three of you are in an exceptional position to do that. And uh I, I’m not in the position of assigning homework here, but it would be very important to the committee if you could give, just give us two or three pages. Here’s what, here’s what I would change. Uh, as I’m going out the door to improve the functioning of this critically important, uh, part of our, uh, uh, deterrent and our National Defense Posture. So I want to thank you all again for your service. Congratulate you and look forward to your suggestions. And, uh, the only other thing I would say is do it soon. We’re about to do the National Defense Authorization Act in about five weeks. Uh, and would love to have your input as the subcommittee, makes it its report to the full committee. Thank you again and, uh, thank you for your service to the country. Senator Fisher. Did you want to add any conclusion?
Well, I would say, well, said Mr. Chair, thank you all. Thank you. Hearing is adjourned.