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MISSILE DEFENSE: A 21st CENTURY STRATEGY

Remarks By
The Honorable Jacques S. Gansler
Under Secretary of Defense
Acquisition and Technology

BMDO-NDIA Forum ’98
Alexandria, Virginia
April 16, 1998

Co-ordination: BMDO, PA, Security Review

Thank you very much for inviting me here today to speak at this forum sponsored by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the National Defense Industrial Association. I feel right at home here. I have spent more than 40 years on both sides of the military/industrial complex, with most of my career in the missile field.

Back in 1960, I participated in the first successful test firing of an anti-ballistic missile - Hawk versus the Honest John Rocket - out at White Sands. I modified the Hawk antiaircraft guidance system to handle the higher closing velocity and reentry vehicle trajectory, and we had a direct hit! Despite this early successe – in a relatively simple case -- ballistic missile defense still poses considerable technological challenges for us. In fact, this is one of our most significant and difficult challenges for the next few years

To compound the problem, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization has taken on new responsibilities, this year, for developing a joint architecture for theater air and missile defense, including cruise missile defense. Its mission is no longer restricted to "ballistic" missile defense. In the near term, cruise missile proliferation could become at least as severe a threat as the threat we now face from ballistic missiles. One of the key assignments for BMDO will be to integrate our overall missile defense systems - achieving a single, integrated air picture and joint operational defense capability for the warfighter of tomorrow. General Lyles - and all of you involved in missile defense systems - have your work cut out for you.

This afternoon, I would like to address the issue of the emerging ballistic missile and cruise missile threat from rogue nations in the broader context of The Revolution In Military Affairs and Joint Vision 2010, the key elements of our early 21st century military strategy. I would also like to discuss how we are going to pay for the systems and systems- of-systems we will require to maintain our nation’s unquestioned military superiority against likely early 21st century threats -- i.e., through the Revolution In Business Affairs. The key elements in our business strategy are the issues of interoperability, jointness, life cycle costs, and affordability,

Today, we find ourselves in a world that is already far removed from the Cold War, from a time when our defense strategy relied almost exclusively on the threat of massive retaliation to deter ballistic missile attack on our nation . Our military strategy, for years, reflected the likely scenarios posed by a single super power adversary. The enemy’s moves were fairly predictable; many of our long-range programs could be structured to meet the limited range of hostile activity we faced; and retaliation worked as a deterrent.

Although we no longer face the threat posed by a global peer competitor like the former Soviet Union, we still live in a very dangerous world. It is a world marked by uncertainty and unpredictability, one in which multiple possible aggressors pose a wide range of potential threats and hostile actions; a world where individual terrorists, transnational actors, and rogue nations can unleash firepower in many ways as terrifying as that of a major global power. They represent a different and difficult challenge to forces organized and equipped around traditional missions.

We are no longer dealing with a few disorganized political zealots armed with pistols and hand grenades. We are dealing with well organized forces armed with sophisticated weapons and access to advanced information and technology. And, they often have little or no regard for human life.

These hostile forces are unlikely to attempt to match overwhelming U.S. superiority on a plane-for-plane, ship-for-ship, or tank-for-tank basis. They are more likely to use asymmetrical strategies against us -- including weapons of mass destruction, "information warfare", low-cost cruise and ballistic missiles, and the like. They can use commercial navigation, communication, and imagery satellites; buy advanced weapons technology, and skilled labor on the worldwide market; and project their destructive power anywhere and anytime – including attacks on our citizens at home.

In order to meet these new threats, the U.S. military must be prepared to conduct multiple, concurrent contingency operations worldwide. Our missile defense must not only protect our homeland, but, increasingly, our combat forces and our allies abroad.

As Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, I have set five priorities for maintaining our unquestioned military superiority in the face of multiple threats and accelerating technological change:

  1. We must achieve an interoperable and integrated, secure, and "smart" command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) infrastructure that encompasses both strategic and tactical needs. Enhanced situation awareness and information assurance are the critical elements of an effective 21st century warfighting capability and the backbone of the Revolution in Military Affairs. The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, for example, is working on a single integrated air picture for both theater air and missile defense. This is an important partnership with the JTAMDO, which develops the requirements, and BMDO, which develops the architecture.
  2. We must develop and deploy -- in sufficient quantities -- long-range, all-weather, low-cost, precise, and "brilliant" weapons for both offensive and defensive use. On the offensive side, this will allow us to achieve maximum fire power on fixed or mobile targets -- from land, sea, or air -- with minimum loss of life and to take full advantage of C4ISR systems that provide in-flight re-targeting updates to weapons launched from remote platforms. Similarly, on the defensive side, when we consider hit-to-kill interceptors -- whether in theater or national missile defense programs -- we are talking about precise, smart weapons that can defend against ballistic and cruise missiles. Our challenge here is to demonstrate both reliability and affordability.
  3. We must achieve rapid force projection, global reach, and great mobility for our military capability. With uncertainty over where our forces will be required, and the need for extremely rapid response to a crisis anywhere in the world, this capability -- when combined with the first two elements -- will provide us with overwhelming military superiority.
  4. We must develop and deploy credible deterrents and, if necessary, military defense against projected, less traditional early 21st century threats -- biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons; urban combat; information warfare; and large numbers of low-cost ballistic and cruise missiles. These threats represent priority issues for our resources – even if it means impacting some of our more traditional areas.
  5. We must achieve interoperability with our Allies -- essential for coalition warfare. We must insure that their technologies compliment those of our forces. To accomplish our goal of information superiority, we must make certain that the C4ISR and advanced weapons - such as theater missile defense systems -- are fully interoperable. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and development of longer range systems by rogue nations threaten, not only our forward deployed forces, but also those of our allies in many parts of the world. As these threats become increasingly sophisticated, the technical challenges multiply and become increasingly difficult to surmount. I might point here to our long history of cooperation with Israel on development of the ARROW weapon system and cooperation on the MEADS program with Germany and Italy. Equally important, we are working closely with our NATO allies to insure that existing air and missile defense systems can share information, communicate and defend together.

These five priorities form the building blocks of a strategy for maintaining our strength and building our security in the face of a new generation of threats. These priorities must become realities. As General Lyles put it in his recent Congressional testimony: "If we fail to invest today in a coherent and relevant manner, those component technologies and follow-on systems will not be there when we need them five, ten or fifteen years hence."

To reach our goals, we expect you to continue to provide leadership in advanced technology to support our overall range of responses to the growing threat of weapons of mass destruction from rogue nations - to dissuade potential adversaries from using those weapons; to disarm the threat through our counterproliferation activities; and, should all peaceful efforts fail, to defend against the threat. Unfortunately, absent a dramatic deterioration in the world situation, we must accomplish all this with no overall increase in defense spending.

Because of the top line limit on our budget, we must engage in a fundamental transformation in the way we do business. If we are to provide both adequate investment in modernization and the development of capabilities to achieve total battlespace dominance on a global scale, we must restructure not only what we buy, but how we buy it. This will require us to cut costs - not only on infrastructure and support - but on the weapons systems we purchase. Our goal must be to do the job better, faster, cheaper. The days of unlimited resources for major weapons systems are over.

Therefore, while continuing to explore long-term qualitative leaps forward in military technology, BMDO must simultaneously lead the way in low cost, advanced technology. Affordability is just as great a technical challenge as performance. Orders of magnitude advances in cost reduction will be required. The big challenge is to develop an affordable system of systems that will be ready when initially required and evolve as the threat becomes more sophisticated and longer range.

In this regard, one of my goals as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology is to institutionalize the concept of "Total Cost of Ownership" -- the requirement to deal with the entire life cycle of our acquisition process – from drawing board to decommissioning. We must seek ways to create a seamless architecture which links concept, design, manufacture, testing and evaluation, maintenance, and repair. Cost is a key element in our design process. If the enemy has lots of lower cost cruise and ballistic missiles, we must have sufficient numbers of lower cost interceptors, or we lose.

Furthermore, the Department of Defense must accomplish developments and deployments on much faster cycle times in order to make the best use of the continuing advances in technology. Our Year 2000 acquisition goal is to deliver new major defense systems to users in 25 per cent less time. We hope to exceed that goal; and we must. Information age technology cycles are 18 months, not the typical DoD cycles that can run 11-13 years. Cutting the cycle down to five or six years is impressive, but still not good enough.

We must learn to capture commercial technology (both product and process technologies) wherever applicable and apply that to defense-unique use. We are learning important lessons from successfully restructured world-class corporations -- to concentrate Defense Department energies on those functions that are inherently governmental: combat, policy, management, and oversight. For all other work, we will utilize competition to achieve the best performance at the lowest cost -- to get the "best value" for the government -- either from the public or private sector. Increasingly, we must look to the private sector to competitively supply a wide range of goods and services many of which they can deliver faster, better, and cheaper.

Next, we must recognize that there is still too much autonomy in the systems we are developing. This increases costs and makes testing much too expensive. That is why it is essential for us to accelerate "joint" missile defense systems -- systems built from the ground up with the ability to communicate and fight side by side in a joint battlespace environment. We have recently established a Joint Technology Board which is expected to play a key role in achieving our goal of merging technology efforts, resources, and technical experience. The Atmospheric Interceptor Technology program in BMDO is one of the first fruits of this effort. The program develops and refines endoatmospheric interceptors for the three services. All the services have been working together to map out critical technologies and develop them together. Promoting ‘joint’ programs and achieving interoperability with our allies are key elements in our vision for the future.

Lastly, let me observe that testing is a particularly difficult challenge in the missile defense arena. When we consider the interlocking strata of technical hurdles we must overcome on each of these programs -- each of the individual elements incorporated into a complex system; then each system combined with multiple systems into a "family of systems"; all of them operating in joint service and allied battlespace environments – we know that we require a high level of testing and evaluation.

But this can become very expensive. Techniques like simulation and modeling can help us in both areas by reducing the risk associated with new products and processes, by saving time in the development and production phase of new systems, and by making efficient use of scarce and increasingly expensive resources.

I have, in the past, been critical of the Department of Defense for designing tests that will not fail; for failure to include enough testing in the development process; and for discovering flaws late rather than early in the process - when modifications require huge cost and time outlays. If we are going to reduce cycle time, we must insure that performance and quality are built into our total system package; we must identify and resolve problems early in the game; and we must focus on overall program objectives, not pass/fail tests (developmental or operational) which can produce incomplete and/or misleading metrics of success.

One of our most important testing programs involves development of the proposed National Missile Defense -- a system designed to provide the nation with cost-effective protection against limited ballistic missile attacks from a rogue nation - when and if such a threat emerges at some point in the future. By the Year 2000, we must be in a position to make a decision on deploying such a system -- within three years -- if we believe that a credible threat has emerged by that time. As you know, this is a high risk program. We will be able to make a deployment decision in 2000, but it would be smart to continue to reduce the risks associated with a program of this magnitude, complexity, and cost [$962 million in FY99 alone – almost 30 per cent of the total $3.6 billion BMDO budget] until the threat warrants deployment. If a deployment decision is not justified in 2000, the capability to deploy the system within any three-year time period in the future will be maintained, while we continue to apply advances in technology and rigorous testing of systems to our NMD. And, as you are well aware, development and testing of the NMD must comply with the ABM Treaty.

The increasing threat from ballistic and cruise missiles is real. It is possible that, in spite of our best efforts to reduce the threat and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, a rogue nation will present a ballistic missile threat to the United States. At that time, we must be prepared to deploy our defensive capability. However, we can take advantage of any time at our disposal, before deployment is justified, to test and to improve the system we deploy. A constantly evolving and dramatically improved deterrent -- in and of itself -- can help to discourage any potential rogue aggressor who contemplates developing the means to launch an attack on the United States.

In summary, all of our efforts to achieve affordability, jointness, interoperability, and a seamless architecture in the life cycle of our systems will fail if we do not have the technical expertise, production capability, and dedication of industry on our side to make this happen. We fully recognize that the Department of Defense "manages" missile defense programs; it does not build the systems. Therefore, we need our industry partners to do the best possible job of building effective – and affordable – missile defense systems. As the nation’s largest buyer, we can and must expect the best prices, the highest quality, and the best service from our private contractors. This is too important a mission to provide anything less.

I know that I can count on all of you – military, DoD, and industry -- to help us make missile defense a reality. Our security depends on your continued hard work and commitment

Thank you very much.