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Statement of Chairman Jim Saxton
Joint Economic Committee

Wednesday, February 25, 1998

Radio Frequency Weapons and Proliferation: Potential Impact on the Economy

      Good morning. Thank you very much, everyone, for being here.

      On June 17, 1997, the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) held a hearing called, "Economic Espionage, Technology Transfers and National Security," in which it heard testimony from Lt. Gen. Robert Schweitzer about a new class of weapons, radio frequency weapons (RF), and the impact of these new weapons on the civilian and military electronic infrastructure of the United States.

      Since the General talked about a terrorist threat and a proliferation threat, the JEC has continued to investigate these potential threats. I am pleased to welcome to the Committee an extremely knowledgeable group of panelists. Let me introduce them.

      Dr. Alan Kehs is with U.S. Army Laboratories and will discuss the overall RF threat. Dr. Kehs has a BS and a MS in Electrical Engineering, and a MS and a PhD in Physics from the University of Maryland. He is a recognized expert on the generation and use of intense relativistic electron beams for the production of high-power microwave radiation. Recent assignments include Chief of the Source Physics Branch and Chief of the Nuclear and High Power Microwave Technology Office. Dr. Kehs chaired the 8th national conference on HPM in April 1997 and currently chairs the tri-service HPM technology coordinating committee.

      Mr. James O'Bryon is the Deputy Director of Operational Testing and the Director of Live Fire Testing with the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon. He has received a BS in Mathematics, and he also has graduate degrees from George Washington University in Operations Research/Management Science and from MIT through the Electrical Engineering Department. The Director will discuss the role of Live Fire Testing and how it may play a role in testing our military equipment with RF weapons.

      Mr. David Schriner is the Principal Engineer directed energy studies with Electronic Warfare Associates and a recently retired engineer with the naval weapons testing facility at China Lake. He has numerous patents, has received superior service awards, and given technical presentations over 42 years of civil and military service. He will discuss the difficulty in building a RF weapon and the terrorist threat.

      Dr. Ira Merritt is with the Missile Defense Space Technology Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He has more than 25 years of experience in developing advanced technologies, systems requirements, system designs, and test capabilities for ballistic missile defense systems. He has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and advanced degrees in Nuclear Engineering. Dr. Merritt will discuss the proliferation of RF weapons primarily from the former Soviet Union.

      I look forward to the enlightening testimony from our panelists.