News

Prepared Remarks

Lt Gen Ronald Kadish

Director, Ballistic Missile Defense Organization

To the

National Defense Industrial Association

September 20, 1999

Good Afternoon. I want to thank RADM Rempt for that kind introduction and the invitation to meet with you today to talk about ballistic missile defense.

Last week, I had the pleasure of joining RADM Cobb in Moorestown for an excellent hands-on introduction to AEGIS development and integration. AEGIS and the Navy have important roles in our missile defense program.

Having access to three fourths of the earth’s surface has an impressive mobility, flexibility and rapid response capability, that we have to pay attention to when we're talking about the technological challenge and the time line required to deploy at the theater level as well as national.

With that in mind, I’d like to share with you all a little information about where I plan to take both BMDO and the program. And where I view my role as the director of the organization.

I have one simple goal:

That is, to deliver what we promise. And what we promise is missile defense -- theater and national -- that responds to a changing and growing threat.

When you break that statement down to its various components, we have a lot of work to do to deliver what we promise.

But, if I can do that during my tenure, I will consider it a very successful tour of duty.

In order to achieve this goal, we need three things: the technology, the resources, and the support not only of the defense industry and the Services, but of our fellow citizens and our allies.

Why am I confident that we can succeed? One simple reason is that over the last few months I've seen the current and growing consensus in this country about the need for a ballistic missile defense. Those of you who have been associated with the program, know that that has not always been the case.

Where does this consensus come from, since, missile defense is a tough technical challenge.

This consensus, I believe, comes from the factual view in the press.

I know you've been in the details of technology this afternoon, but my purpose is to bring you up to the macro level of what we are all about.

Threat

I want to direct your attention to the National Intelligence Council Report released earlier this month that, again, confirms there is indeed a serious threat that needs to be met. I'll only touch on the high points because the executive summary of the Report is readily available on-line and I strongly recommend its reading.

It confirms that there is a serious threat to the United States.

The National Intelligence Council looked out to 2015 and its conclusions are sobering: It concluded that during the next 15 years the United States most likely will face ICBM threats from Russia, China, and North Korea, probably from Iran, and possibly from Iraq.

The Council pointed out that the ballistic missile threat is changing. Although the majority of systems being developed and produced today are short- or medium-range ballistic missiles, North Korea's three-stage Taepo Dong-1 Space Launch Vehicle demonstrated its potential to cross the 5,500-km ICBM threshold if it develops a survivable weapon for the system.

The Council tells us that other potentially hostile nations could cross that threshold during the next 15 years.

Needless to say, this is a serious challenge to our national security.

Why should some countries make this substantial investment in missile technology? The Council noted many that are developing longer-range missiles probably assess that the threat of their use would complicate our nation’s decision-making during crises.

While potential adversaries recognize our military superiority, they are likely to assess that their growing missile capabilities would enable them to increase the cost of a US victory and potentially deter us from pursuing certain objectives -- an asymmetrical strategy.

The Council's answer to why our adversaries would want to invest in a ballistic missile arsenal is this: Acquiring long-range ballistic missiles armed with Weapons of Mass Destruction will enable weaker countries to do three things that they otherwise might not be able to do: deter, constrain, and harm the United States.

In the face of this threat, active missile defense makes sense -- for our homeland defense and especially for theater force protection.

Now, as a nation, we have several ways to address this threat. We continue to rely on our strong conventional and strategic forces to act as a deterrent. We continue to use diplomacy and arms control measures to reduce the risk. And, we are developing active defenses to protect our forces, interests, friends, and allies overseas and our homeland.

BMDO, the Services, and industry are a key part of our Nation’s response. We are charged with developing and building missile defense systems that will take on those threats -- ground, sea and space based.

One of the key questions facing us is -- will it work? Two issues underscore our approach to this question -- "hit-to-kill" technology and layered defense.

Hit to Kill Technology

Several critics have derided our confidence in the hit-to-kill concept. I believe that 1999 has been watershed year for Hit to Kill. Successful THAAD and PAC-3 tests demonstrated that the concept is valid.

As most of you know, we have had a series of problems with the flight testing of the Army’s THAAD system. Throughout these tests, almost all of the system components performed flawlessly. On June 10, 1999, we achieved our first successful THAAD intercept. Then, on August 4, 1999, more than 50 miles over the New Mexico desert, the THAAD interceptor again hit another ballistic missile target. We believe these hits demonstrated that we have overcome the difficulties with THAAD. Based on these two successful intercepts and our renewed confidence in the THAAD program, we decided to authorize the Army to prepare for entering the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase.

In fact, this year has seen four successful hit-to-kill intercepts -- two PAC-3 and two on THAAD -- watershed events in my view.

On the NMD side, in the first week of October we are going to attempt our first National Missile Defense intercept. Based on the way we are going to demonstrate this, we are going to be looking only at the kill vehicle. We are very hopeful we will add a fifth intercept.

Let's talk about layered defense.

Given that hit to kill works -- how can we assure that this technology can negate both theater and global threats? And our architecture says we need a layered defense to keep the offense from winning.

Layered defense is critical to our warfighting success.

Lower and Upper Tier systems are critical to achieve success and prevent unacceptable leakage.

We are a global power with many needs for power projection. Naval systems provide an additional element. That is the flexible mobility that is inherent in navel platforms. They operate in environments where we don't have to ask permission for entry.

They have a power projection capability on the Theater level -- especially for immature theaters. NTW is now in Risk Reduction and proceeding to Flight Test rapidly.

As part of our Upper Tier strategy, NTW is ready to move forward with its flight testing program later this month. Since Aug of 1998 NTW has been making significant inroads in "testing" through key risk reduction activities. These are geared toward achieving one of my highest priorities for BMD programs - cost-effective lowering of risk to actual flight tests.

During Autumn Events 98, the AEGIS TBMD Linebacker equipped USS Port Royal and Lake Erie, the High Range Resolution Radar equipped USS Russell and the SM-3 Captive Carry Seeker aboard our BMDO Airborne Surveillance Testbed collected both radar and infrared data on BMD targets.

This week NTW will launch the first SM-3 round, designated Controlled Test Vehicle —1. Although no intercept will be attempted, this test is the next logical step in the rigorous incremental approach to testing that the NTW Program Manager has provided as his basis for keeping risk within acceptable limits.

After CTV-1, NTW will move into a seven shot Flight Test Round Series as part of the AEGIS LEAP Intercept program. Navy Theater Wide is on track and it is critical to our architecture.

Where do we go from here?

The threat is more diverse and widespread than at any point in the past. And, the intelligence community tells us that today’s theater-class threat is evolving into a longer-range threat within the next 15 years.

Missile defense technology similarly has evolved and improved to the point where active missile defense systems — for both theater and strategic threats — is feasible. On top of this we are moving our programs into the phase of development where we make them reliable, repeatable, and operationally effective and suitable.

Today is very different from the past because there now exists a pretty stable consensus that supports missile defense.

There is great patience on the part of Congress and our senior leaders in the administration to allow us to make mistakes in the development of these systems. However, my first thought will apply more and more, that is - - we have to deliver what we promise.

We are trying now to move our programs into a different phase of development and deployment. Where we can make them more reliable, more repeatable, more operationally suitable and effective. And prove that they are.

But -- and this is a big "but" -- the challenge we face in NTW is to reach consensus that TBM Defense is a mission that we can make work and make affordable in our architecture.

That's what this risk reduction program is all about. That's what this conference is all about. There are some tough decisions up ahead.

The bottom line still remains that Navy Theater Wide will provide us the flexibility and mobility required of our lower tier architecture. The challenge is -- will it work and is it affordable, especially on the timelines we need to meet the threat.

Conclusion

To do all these things - develop and deploy highly effective and interoperable missile defense — I need your help. Many of you here represent industry. Our defense industry makes missile defense a reality. We in the DoD simply direct or manage what you do, but you guys make things happen. The rubber hits the road or the ramp because of you — not because of the DoD. So, if missile defense is going to succeed, I need you and your colleagues to succeed.

We need industry to dedicate the brightest and best into the mission of missile defense. I know that you are doing this today and I encourage you to continue in the future to dedicate the resources necessary to ensure we succeed together. This mission is too important and the existing and emerging threat too important to ignore.

Second, I encourage industry to join me in the commitment to technical excellence, focus on quality, and an enduring dedication to ensuring missile defense systems are affordable.

I am proud to be a part of this important effort -- the policy debates and the critics will continue, but our country will sort out the consensus of the need for active missile defense. Our task is very simple -- to make it work, make it affordable, and deliver what we promise.

Thank you very much.