The U.S. Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces today heard testimony on the Fiscal Year 2010 budget request for national security space and missile defense programs. Rep. Michael Turner, the Ranking Member of the subcommittee, released the following prepared remarks for the subcommittee’s hearing:
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The U.S. Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces today heard testimony on the Fiscal Year 2010 budget request for national security space and missile defense programs. Rep. Michael Turner, the Ranking Member of the subcommittee, released the following prepared remarks for the subcommittee’s hearing:

“Thank you Madam Chairman. We have two very thoughtful and accomplished military leaders with us today. General Kehler and General O’Reilly, welcome back and thank you for appearing before this subcommittee. We have an unusual task before us today. In a single hearing we must cover two broad areas—space and missile defense—that under normal circumstances would each merit its own hearing.

“We also have an unusual budget request to consider this year. During last week’s full committee hearing with the Secretary of Defense, we heard of profound changes in the budget that not only occurred outside the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) process, but were arrived at without what appears to be a commensurate level of rigorous analysis. As our full committee Ranking Member, Mr. McHugh, said, the ‘only unifying theme [in this year’s budget] is that the aggregate fits within the top line.’ This appears to be an apt description of the missile defense budget this year.

“During our recent subcommittee hearing on the nuclear security budget request, we learned that major program decisions at NNSA would not be made until the completion of the Nuclear Posture Review. Yet, over in the Department of Defense, sweeping missile defense decisions have been made ahead of the QDR and prior to the Administration’s completion of its missile defense policy and strategy review. By making such decisions now, is the Department prejudicing the outcomes of these reviews?

“We just observed yesterday a determined Iran successfully test its new 2,000 kilometer, solid-fueled Sejil-2 ballistic missile that Iran’s President suggested was linked to its ongoing nuclear program. There is a clear desire by some actors to emphasize the development of longer-range missiles. How good is our intelligence? We know short-range systems well. In many cases, they’re based on decades-old technology. What concerns me, however, is our level of knowledge about rogue nations’ longer-range systems. This detailed intelligence information is critical to having effective missile defenses. When such uncertainties exist, one usually compensates with increased margins and more diversification – not less.

“Given this growing threat, I am puzzled by the Department’s decision to: stop deployment of ground-based interceptors at 30 rather than 44, reduce the GMD program by 35-percent, and curb its development. I have not seen any analysis or formal force structure requirements to justify this decision. Nor have I seen any changes in the Intelligence Community’s threat assessments that would indicate a decreasing threat.

“Furthermore, what are we to make of the disconnect between Secretary Gates’ testimony that the Department will, ‘Continue to robustly fund research and development’ of GMD to improve its capability, and MDA’s budget overview which states, ‘We intend to… curtail additional GMD development’? MDA’s budget overview also calls for rigorous testing, which I agree with, but I don’t see more GMD flight-testing in Fiscal Year 2010. I hope today we can address these basic questions.

“We have also been introduced to a new concept this year—Ascent Phase Intercept. It sounds promising, but it also sounds a lot like parts of boost and parts of midcourse. I would like a better understanding of what this entails. It would seem risky to move away from ABL, KEI, and MKV for this—as yet—unproven concept. General O’Reilly, I would ask you to address what gives you confidence that Ascent Phase Intercept is more technically feasible, effective, and affordable?

“During our last missile defense hearing, we reviewed an independent study on MDA’s Roles and Missions requested by this committee. It recommended that MDA’s mission should be refocused on RDT&E, and that science and technology should receive renewed emphasis and increased funding. However, I am hard-pressed to find such emphasis in this year’s budget. How does MDA advance our missile defense technologies, and foster innovation and ingenuity, when net reductions are made in future capabilities like ABL, KEI, MKV, and STSS? I am unconvinced that a $126 million dollar increase in Special Programs adequately captures what we lose with the nearly $1 billion dollar cut to future capabilities.

“There is one area in the budget where Congress did see rigorous analysis. In previous hearings, we noted a Joint Staff study which recommended increasing the inventory of Aegis and THAAD interceptors. The budget request is responsive to these requirements, and I am pleased with that. However, the Joint Staff study only looked at these two systems. Do we know the force structure requirements for other missile defense elements? Also, why does an increase in Aegis and THAAD have to come at the expense of GMD and European missile defense—systems designed to protect the U.S. homeland and our allies?

“Looking across the $1.2 billion dollar cut to MDA, I believe that we have been presented with a number of false ‘either-or’ choices. We can do better. In contrast, the budget request for space appears relatively balanced. Important acquisition programs such as AEHF, WGS, MUOS, GPS, SBIRS, and NPOESS are provided stable funding.

“The one substantial change is the T-SAT termination. The Air Force decided instead to fund two more additional AEHF satellites and one WGS satellite, and acknowledged the importance of sustaining the industrial base. However, three satellites are not a long-term solution to addressing the military’s increasing communications requirements. Without insight into outyear plans and funding, I find it difficult to have confidence that the Air Force has adequately committed to, and budgeted for, these capabilities.

“The budget request for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) has doubled. It appears a large portion of this increase is allocated to the Joint Space Operations Center. General Kehler, I’d like a better understanding of the Department’s efforts to improve SSA, space protection, and our space intelligence capabilities. Additionally, can you discuss why Operationally Responsive Space is on the Air Force Unfunded Priorities List?

“Lastly, Air Force Space Command is in a state of transition. Can you discuss the status and challenges of divesting your nuclear mission and inheriting the cyber mission?

“On a final note, I would like to acknowledge the men and women serving in the organizations you lead. These are two worthy fields to have a career in and we are proud of their service and accomplishments.”