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11 March 2004

Missile Defense System Development on Track, Director Says

General Kadish testifies to Senate Armed Services panel March 11

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) continues to make progress in its effort to develop "a single integrated ballistic missile defense system," says its director, Air Force Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish.

In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee March 11, Kadish said his agency is "building, over time, layered defenses" with "the capability to defend the United States, our allies and friends, and deployed forces against all ranges of missiles in all phases of flight."

The missile defense budget request for fiscal year 2005 is $9.2 billion, an increase of $1.5 billion over the 2004 request, Kadish said. Of that total, he said, about $1.5 billion would help bring an initial system online and buy some improvements for the future. The remaining $7.7 billion would establish the research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) "foundation for the continued evolution of the system, to include a significant amount of testing," he said.

Kadish told committee members that "this initial capability" of the test bed would be "very basic." He reminded them that in last year's testimony, he had said "that instead of building a test bed that could be used in an emergency, we would field this year more interceptors, put them on alert, and continue to test." Now "despite some setbacks" the Air Force officer said, "we are on track to do just that."

"We have to strike a balance," the MDA director said, "between our need to continue to test and develop missile defenses, and our goal to provide effective defenses where there are none today. I believe we have struck that balance in this budget, and we can do both of those things starting this year."

Following is Kadish's opening statement as delivered:

(begin transcript)

LIEUTENANT GENERAL RONALD T. KADISH, U.S. AIR FORCE
DIRECTOR, MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY
MISSILE DEFENSE PROGRAM AND FISCAL YEAR 2005 BUDGET
BEFORE THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE
March 11, 2004

LIEUTENANT GENERAL KADISH: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Senator Levin, and members of the committee. Today I'd like to briefly summarize some key points of the fiscal year 2005 budget submission that we have before you.

Our direction from the president is to develop the capability to defend the United States, our allies and friends, and deployed forces against all ranges of missiles in all phases of flight. Beginning in 2001, we proposed development of a single integrated ballistic missile defense system, and we are building, over time, layered defenses to enable engagements in all those phases, against all those ranges, and make it possible to have a high degree of confidence in the performance of the missile defense.

Our program is structured to deal with the enormity and complexity of this task. Our budget request continues to implement that guidance in two ways. First, it continues an aggressive RDT&E [research, development, testing and evaluation] effort to design, build and test elements of a single integrated ballistic missile defense system in an evolutionary way. Second, it provides for a modest fielding of this capability over the next several years, so that we could rapidly improve our capability in the field.

We are requesting $9.2 billion to support this program of work in fiscal year 2005, which is [an] approximately $1.5 billion increase over the fiscal year '04 request. Now, about $1 billion covers costs associated with the continued fielding of the test bed and the first ground base mid-course defense and Aegis and sensors, and command and control, and battle management equipment that make that up, and also for the Block-Four [blocks are two-year periods used for planning and deployment] alert configuration. About $500 million of that amount will allow us to purchase long-lead items for further improvements beyond the test bed, in an evolutionary capability improvement for what we call Block-Six.

In other words, about $1.5 billion in the fiscal year 2005 request supports the initial configuration of the test bed and activities to place the BMD [ballistic missile defense] system on alert initially, and for systems improvements in Block 2006. And about $7.7 billion lays the RDT&E foundation for the continued evolution of the system, to include a significant amount of testing.

This budget is consistent with the approach I've described in many previous hearings. Last year, we made it clear that this initial capability inherent in the test bed would be very basic. We also emphasized that instead of building a test bed that could be used in an emergency, we would field this year more interceptors, put them on alert, and continue to test. As of today, despite some setbacks, we are on track to do just that.

So, with an evolutionary capabilities based acquisition approach, our aggressive RDT&E program, we can put together the capability to put [a ballistic missile defense system] in the field, to test it realistically, to train with it, get comfortable with it, learn what works well, learn what doesn't, and improve it over time as rapidly as we can.

Again, this is a unique, unprecedented capability in its early stages that we will continue to mature. We have to strike a balance between our need to continue to test and develop missile defenses, and our goal to provide effective defenses where there are none today. I believe we have struck that balance in this budget, and we can do both of those things starting this year.

We are working with Admiral James Ellis (Commander, U.S. Strategic Command) and the war-fighting community, as he said, to ensure that we can do both of those efforts -- RDT&E and operations. Once the system is placed on alert, we will continue to conduct tests concurrently to gain ever greater confidence in this operational capability.

We are working very closely with Mr. Christie [director, operational test and evaluation] and the operational test community. As our tests are planned, executed and evaluated, the BMD system combined test force, which brings together representatives from across the testing community, is combining requirements for both developmental and operational testing capability.

There are approximately 100 operational test personnel, full-time embedded in all facets of missile defense test planning and execution, who have access to all of our test data. They have the ability to influence every aspect of our test planning.

The missile defense test program helps define the capabilities and limitations of the system. The thousands of tests we conduct in the air, on the ground, in the laboratory, and with our models and simulations, help identify problems so we can fix them, and they highlight gaps so that we can address them. This accumulated knowledge has and will continue to increase our confidence in the overall performance of the system and its potential improvements.

The research and development program is working. We have focused on the development of the most promising near-term elements, namely the ground-based mid-course system and Aegis BMD. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, is progressing well, and we will add capabilities to engage in the late, mid-course and terminal layers.

Achieving a capability in a boost phase as soon as we practically could would be a revolutionary, high-payoff improvement to this layered system. In this budget, we increase investment in the development of that boost layer.

Two program elements -- a directed energy airborne laser capability, and a new kinetic energy, or hit-to-kill capability in the boost phase -- represent parallel paths, complementary to each other, but significantly different technologies.

Interest among foreign governments and industry in missile defense has risen absolutely considerably over the past year. Because geography and allied partnerships really do count, we are undertaking major initiatives in the international arena in this budget. We will begin in 2005 to expand international involvement in the program by encouraging foreign industry participation and investment in the development in the complementary boost and ascend phase of element component developments. Our international work is a priority that is consistent with the president's direction, our vision, and is supportive of our overall goals.

In particular, in December of 2003, the government of Japan became our first ally to announce its intent to invest more than $1 billion in the development in the multi-layered BMD system, basing its initial capability on upgrades to our Aegis -- their Aegis destroyers, and acquisition of SM-3 and Patriot-3 missiles. We have also concluded important agreements with the United Kingdom.

Mr. Chairman, thanks for the -- thanks to the tens of thousands of talented and dedicated people across this country, America's missile defense program is on track. The Missile Defense Agency is doing what we told the Congress we would do, and your support has been absolutely critical to the progress we have made. We've listened to your concerns over the years, and sought to address them in a responsible manner. Our tests and analysis will give us the confidence that we can take these first steps towards initial defensive operations while we continue to prove out new technologies and increase the confidence in the system through realistic testing.

I continue to believe there is tremendous benefit in putting the unprecedented technology that we have today into the field in manageable increments to provide some defenses where none exist today -- to learn more about it, to gain experience with it, to test it more realistically, and ultimately to improve it as fast as we can.

(end transcript)