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Navy and Air Force space--shared achievements and shared challenges ahead.

James G. Roche, secretary of the Air Force

Remarks to the Navy Element of the National Reconnaissance Office, Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C., April 29, 2003

Thank you, Rand (Rear Admiral Fisher, Director, Communications Directorate, NRO) for that kind introduction and for inviting me here to speak. I am honored to represent the Air Force at this gathering of august naval space professionals. But I suspect I'm not here because of my surface warfare experience, nor my very limited my space warfare experience. I would, however, like to note the similarities between Maritime Law and Space Law, and the applicability of Mahan's theories of lines of communication in space, so maybe my surface warfare experience could come in handy.

Aside from my personal delight as an old salt among fellow sailors, as an Air Force representative, I'm pleased to be here tonight with the Navy element of the NRO because of the long and constructive relationship we've enjoyed. Our history of cooperation in space dates before 1962 when Program C was stood up as part of the National Reconnaissance Office, along with Program A, the Air Force element. This was the lay of the land--so to speak--when I served on the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence. Since the reorganization of the NRO in 1992, that cooperation has only increased between both services as the stovepipes of "Navy country" and "Air Force country" were broken down and members of both services were integrated, along with members of the other services and the intelligence community, to do the critical work of providing space capabilities that feed vital information to our nation's decision makers and warfighters.

From the earliest days of the space program, both the Air Force and the Navy have worked hand in hand. The first astronauts were culled from the best pilots of both departments (including the Marines). Both departments were pioneers in space, developing systems that were the predecessors of the systems used today. The Navy led the way in a number of areas, implementing programs that have fundamentally changed the way not only the military but also the whole world does business. The Global Positioning System--the global navigational standard--began as a naval initiative, and the Navy's FLTSATCOM set the standard for Ultra High Frequency military satellite communications. Even before the official formation of Program C, the Naval Research Lab pioneered space reconnaissance with the development of the Galactic Radiation and Background (GRAB) satellite launched in 1961 to collect electronic intelligence. GRAB was the first space reconnaissance satellite and its progeny has provided intelligence that we could not have collected through any other means. This brief unclassified survey only scratches the surface of our shared history, yet it demonstrates the bonds we've forged in space. It attests to the promise of our collective future, and reaffirms what each of you knows to be true: the tremendous value of space to modern warfighting.

Not all recognized this at the time. I fought seemingly endless hours on behalf of my boss, Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson while on the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence (SSCI) and the Senate Armed Services Committee to bring into being a number of systems still classified--one of which remains especially important to naval forces. But times have changed. Reality is upon us.

Each of us should be proud of what our armed forces have achieved over the past month. While it is too early to fully digest and dissect the recent operation, the Air Force has been gathering lessons learned since the first day of Operation Iraqi Freedom as we proceeded through the war effort. We've learned that there is truth to the phrase "flexibility is the key to air and space power." We've demonstrated that the use of precision weapons can deliver effects with pinpoint accuracy, thus reducing the numbers of munitions needed to accomplish our objectives. We've also learned that, thanks to the reliance of a great many of those weapons on space capabilities, space is more critical to the way we fight than it has ever been before.

The American way of war has undergone a tremendous transformation: in the way we command and control warfare, the speed and range with which we can deliver decisive effects, and, most important to those here tonight, the global information dominance that enables our nation to see first, understand first, and act first. Years of development of integrated systems and the professional training of airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines in their application were on display for the world to see--and, by all accounts, our results are unprecedented. There has not been an example in the history of the world of greater speed, maneuver, and precision on the battlefield--all while simultaneously limiting collateral damage, delivering humanitarian aid, and saving the lives of combatants and civilians alike. This is a new age of warfare--you can be proud of the vital role space professionals played in making it possible.

Use of Space Systems

If the development of space capability is a multi-service activity, the employment of space capability is even more so. Today the Air Force finds that some of its most frequent users of satellite services are not airmen, but warfighters in our sister services. The Navy, reliant on information that can be transmitted to a ship in the middle of the ocean, has become a very efficient user of bandwidth, and benefits considerably from the force enabling power of space systems. The task of launching a Tomahawk, for instance, illustrates how dependent the Navy has become on space. Of the seven moving parts of the operation--intelligence preparation of the battle area, target location, strike command and control, weather, TLAM launch, navigation and battle damage assessment--only one, the actual launching of the TLAM itself, does not depend directly on space assets. And, it's important to note that these capabilities come from a variety of sources. It is because of this variety and the seamless integration of space into our planning and operations that our armed forces have been and remain as dominant in air and space, as we are on the land and at sea.

Executive Agency--The Air Force Perspective

Yet despite this dominance, the demands of our current national security environment have forced us to ask fundamental questions about the direction in which we are taking the Department of Defense and how we will organize, train, and equip our joint forces for the future. As you are all aware, one of the many hats Pete Teets wears is that of Executive Agent for military space. He also wears the hat of Undersecretary of the Air Force. He does so by design. The Space Commission that found space activities were spread across so many organizations and chains of command that there was no organized plan or unifying vision for space. Other organizational constructs had been tried in the past--you may remember the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Space--but under this earlier configuration, policy was separated from budget. Centralized control of military space within one of the services--with budget and programmatic responsibilities--matches perfectly with the services' role to organize, train and equip forces required by the combatant commanders. Hence, it was a logical next step for the SECDEF to delegate Executive Agency to the Air Force, particularly with our significant investment in space.

Yet, as the recent conflict clearly illustrated, all the services have a special interest in space. To remain responsive to our collective requirements and individual needs, we need service input and expertise in managing our national security space assets, both as programs in development and programs in operation. While much of that interservice interaction will occur through joint program offices, like those of MILSATCOM or GPS, it will also occur through a single service's procurement or operation of a system, such as the Navy procurement of the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), the Navy's newest Ultra-High Frequency satellite, and the Army operation of the communications packages on DSCS and the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite. As the recent Defense Space Acquisition Board for MUOS demonstrated, day-to-day management of space systems by the different services will not change, but the plan for space programs will converge into a unified plan, rather than having separate plans for the various military space programs. Let's look at MUOS as an example. Under this organization, it is considered part of the integrated transformational communications architecture in a way it probably wouldn't have been before.

But in addition to wearing the two hats as my Undersecretary and as the Executive Agent for space--God love him--Pete also wears the hat of Director, NRO, which ensures that all of national security space meets at a single point. But it would be a mistake to see Pete as the only point of convergence for all space programs, because we see convergence across the space community in this room. It's true that we are at a meeting of the Naval Element of the NRO, but there are space professionals here who have worked at the National Security Space Architect, U.S. Space Command, the Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Intelligence Community as well as countless other places where space and joint operations intersect. I did not have much exposure to the space community when I was in the Navy until I served on the SSCI staff. But, few if any naval or Air Force officers can afford not to be conversant on space in this era. Space power is on an equal footing with air, land, and maritime power.

The Need for Growing Space Professionals in All Services

The community of officers in each of our services who has a day-to-day knowledge of what it takes to get a space system built, launched and operating, or an understanding of the benefits space systems can bring to the fight is quite small. It takes time to understand the systems and the challenges inherent in developing and operating them, and time to develop "space-awareness." The pool of dedicated military space savvy professionals has diminished for a variety of reasons. Some have left dedicated space service to return to their larger services, sharing their knowledge of space and raising the level of space-awareness with counterparts in other communities. Others have decided to leave the service to join private industry. Although these former space compatriots aid in the larger mission of educating the public about the benefits of space, we lose people dedicated to the very difficult job of building and maintaining our space dominance. Our Air Force Chief of Staff, General John Jumper, used to say that the hardest things we do in the Air Force were flying and fixing aircraft, until he went to see a space launch, and then he added launching satellites to that list.

We have similar challenges in the Air Force with creating and maintaining a cadre of space professionals who are not divided by artificial titles of acquirer or operator. The cradle-to-grave ethos of the NRO should be our model for developing space professionals who follow a capability from conception through employment. If a delivered system is exhibiting anomalous behavior or signs of trouble, program engineers remain engaged and contribute to the trouble-shooting process. This is strength of the NRO approach, especially since they may have invaluable knowledge from development and test that could aid in the anomaly investigation. Operators do not hesitate to make suggestions to the program office from lessons they've learned while flying the system, and users articulate the capabilities they need to deliver the right effects in battle. There is a sense of one team united in a single mission. We need to learn from this teamwork and apply those lessons across all services.

In the Air Force, we are aggressively tackling the challenges of developing a space career path that allows our space savvy personnel to grow in their knowledge and employ that knowledge in all aspects of the development and employment of space capabilities. We are also taking a number of steps to attract and retain top talent, We introduced a Critical Skills Retention Bonus for scientists and engineers. We are establishing new opportunities for advanced education, including courses for space professionals and advanced space education at the Naval Postgraduate School and the Air Force Institute of Technology. We are also establishing a Systems Engineering Center at AFIT. While these are largely Air Force programs, we look forward to working with the Navy and the Army to share ideas about how best to develop space professionals throughout the uniformed, civilian, and industry workforce.

Space Acquisition

Not only do we need to create a space cadre, we also need to get space acquisition back on track. Our space systems have performed marvelously, but they are getting old, and we've had a lot of trouble replacing them. Frankly, several of our space acquisition programs were broken or in trouble. Some may still be. This problem is not unique to the Air Force, as I'm sure many of you are aware. Pete Teets has done a magnificent job at turning the tide; he's led the initial way out of the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) High debacle and has taken steps to try to ensure that it doesn't happen again on any program. This is one hell of a challenge. I fully support him in these efforts. He's developing an independent Space Cost Assessment Team; he's meeting quarterly with industry presidents and CEOs to discuss program status; and he's bringing the intelligence community, interagency, and defense communities together to share best practices and pursue innovative capabilities.

Ultimately, our goal is to create a space acquisition process that is both credible and agile. We have made progress in this direction with the new space acquisition policy, which draws from the NRO's acquisition policy, and recognizes the inherent differences of space systems from other acquisition programs, while forcing us to manage risk early on. It places great importance on system engineering at the outset. We expect there will be some continuing risk in our programs, but we now give our mangers the responsibility and resources to better manage their programs. I dream of the day when we can migrate these "best practices" to our other acquisition programs.

Pursue Innovative Capabilities for National Intelligence and Defense Priorities

We must also continue to focus on developing breakthrough technologies that produce new sources and methods for collecting intelligence. Our goal is total one-way awareness--the ability to see and know everything we can about our enemies while simultaneously denying them both the ability to do the same and the knowledge that there are capabilities in use against them.

To achieve this goal, we look to strengthening our ties between our space professionals and research labs, including the Naval Research Lab, to ensure that we incorporate those technological advances that will preserve our asymmetric advantage in information superiority.

Focus Space Science and Technology Resources and Programs

If we are to transform our warfighting and intelligence operations, we must continue to invest in science and technology efforts. But sometimes allocating scarce resources to Science and Technology development, which will bear fruit in the long term, at the expense of the quicker gratification of production programs, can be difficult, We know that effective development requires stable, long-term investment to produce incentives to suppliers and efficient production. And we recognize that much of what we have accomplished in National Security Space stems from past S&T investment. Thus, we will continue to make S&T investment a priority.

Ensuring Mission Success in Space Operations

The investments we have made to date have yielded a cornucopia of space capabilities that are integral to how we wage war and gather and process intelligence today. Our space assets provide critical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data, especially over denied areas that we can't reach safely with airborne platforms. They provide weather and earth-observation data, global communications, missile warning, and precision navigation to troops on the ground, ships at sea, aircraft in flight, and weapons en route to their targets. Space capabilities are no longer used only by a small, strategic community, but by a plethora of government agencies and virtually the entire warfighting force.

We need to keep these capabilities on-line and operating at peak performance because of their importance to joint operations. But we also need to do more. We need to increase our worldwide situation awareness, improve machine-to-machine data transfer, and integrate our ground, space and intelligence assets to create information that is instructive and predictive to the warfighters.

There is little doubt that our potential adversaries have taken note of the significant advantages we gain from space, and will in the future threaten our space supremacy by developing systems to defeat them. The proverbial first shot of space warfare has already been fired with the advent of jammers designed to defeat the capabilities our airmen derive from space. But I'm sure you enjoyed as much as I did the fact that our airmen took out the Iraqi GPS jammers--with GPS-guided weapons.

This is one threat to our advantage in space, but we must develop other space control capabilities. The space warrior must understand the complexities of conflict in this new medium much as the 20th Century warfighter teamed to adapt to the three dimensional battlefield. To do so, we must continue to improve our space situation awareness, develop attack warning, as well as appropriate self-defense capabilities, and the doctrine, strategies, and capabilities needed to conduct counterspace operations. Warfare is evolving; space is increasingly integral to modern warfare, and it is transforming the way we fight. It is the modern day application of the ancient game of chess--only it's three-dimensional chess.

This year we celebrate the Centennial of Powered Flight. In the first 100 years of powered flight, airmen have redefined the way we fight our wars, revolutionized travel and commerce, pioneered the development of groundbreaking technologies, and helped shape a world in which the nation's safety and prosperity would be accompanied by breathtaking scientific and technical prowess. This legacy has continued into the next medium, space. The space community has proven that it has done all that and more.

The contributions of the National Security Space and intelligence communities give the warfighter, our national decisionmakers, and all Americans a clearer picture of the world today than they've ever had in the history of mankind. With this knowledge, our space community enables us to defend our interests and preserve our time-honored values of freedom and equality, wherever and whenever they are challenged around the globe.

It is the contributions of people like you in the Navy space community and your counterparts in the other services who conceive the new technology that allows us to push beyond the limits of the known. And then you implement and employ it in ways that allow us to confound and confuse our enemy white achieving even better situational awareness. Your collective insight, experience, and leadership directly contribute to the security of our great nation. Thank you for your dedicated service. May God continue to smite upon your efforts and those of the United States. Fair winds and following seas, Shipmates!
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Publication:Air Force Speeches
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 29, 2003
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