Full Replay: Defense Department Officials Hold Briefing/Roundtable For Congress On Space-Based Missile Defense


On September 4th, 2018, the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) hosted a Congressional Roundtable on Space-Based Missile Defense at the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Witnesses included:

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood

Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves

Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin

Riki Ellison, chairman and founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA)

ELLISON: We have probably the world's top three experts today to be able to discuss this with you and educate you on this really revolutionary and very positive movement that I think our nation is going to make happen.

I'd like to -- the format is basically a very open discussion. Each of our speakers will give about a 10 to 15-minute presentation and we'll open it up for questions after that. John Rood, the Undersecretary, will have to leave at 2:30 and our program will end at 3 o'clock this afternoon.

So, I want to -- I'd like to introduce our first speaker, good friend and just the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood serves as the United States undersecretary of defense for policy. He assumed his position on January 9th, 2018 and his -- in this role, he serves as a principal adviser to the secretary of defense for defense policy and leads the formulation and coordination of the national security policy within the Department of Defense.

Mr. Rood overseas integration of defense policies and plans to achieve the desired objectives, he is responsible for efforts to build partnerships and defense cooperation with U.S. friends and allies. Ladies and gentlemen, we welcome the Undersecretary John Rood. John?


ROOD: Well, thank you, Riki for those kind words. And the real missile defense experts of course are to my left who, Mike Griffin and General Greaves will talk about it. Looking around the room, there are so many people over the years that have been involved in missile defense, I feel a little sheepish presenting to some of them like General Obering or others who have usually been educating me on the topic, but I'm, great to be with you in this room.

A couple of things to mention at the beginning, it's become an overused statement for people like myself to say that the security environment in which we find ourselves right now is the most dynamic and complex in our lifetime. But if you'd stop and think about that for a minute, or what does that mean for half century or so about the range of threats, the complexity of them, how quickly they're changing and the degree of the threat to the United States and our allies, it certainly is the case.

And one of the things that we have sought to do in the Defense Department with our new National Defense Strategy is really emphasize the growth of that complexity in the security environment, and the fact that strategic competition amongst the great powers in the world has returned.

And whether we might like that to be the case or not, the reality is that countries like China and Russia are working to create a different international order than that which has existed since the end of World War II. And the post-World War II structures and approach to international security that the United States and our allies constructed is increasingly under threat and being challenged by these authoritarian regimes.

Now, you add to that mix what's going on in places like North Korea and Iran, in addition to this continuing threat that we face from terrorism, then you start to have a very dynamic environment. And at the departmental level where we are making trades across those areas, the National Defense Strategy is a clear guide to that which prioritizes this great power competition, prioritizes and makes hard choices about where we will spend resources.

And in the area of missile defense and missile threat, I think that certainly fits in this broader trend unfortunately of a growing level of threat, growing complexity, a dynamism and from different directions.

And so as I look across the morning read that I have in intelligence or other things about where are we concerned about hotspots, it -- it would be unusual not to see ballistic missiles or cruise missiles as part of that concern, whether that be in the places you might not expect like in Yemen where Houthi -- the Houthis armed by the Iranians, are conducting missile attacks on allies, whether that's in Syria where you see a persistent conflict, seeing the Iranians with yet another large scale missile exercise in the Gulf, Great Prophet, just sort of a series of these activities, North Korea where we continue to have concerns about the missile threat, and then certainly at the very high end with the activities that Russia and China are undertaking and not just in ballistic missiles.

Of course today, any discussion of the missile threat would also include the cruise missile threat and looking not too far ahead, unfortunately, the threat from hypersonic systems. And others to my left are -- are more expert and can describe the hypersonic threat to a degree that I can't. But I think that looking further ahead, that's one of the real threat areas we face.

Now, I mentioned in China's case that that's a particular concern to us, the broader strategic environment. With regard to missiles, of course, a key component of China's military modernization has been the growth in its missile capabilities, whether that's short, medium or intermediate range missiles or certainly intercontinental range missiles both based on land and at sea.

Now, these activities, or this is all part of China's attempt to create more options with respect to its neighbors whether that's Taiwan or regional neighbors, but also certainly to complicate U.S. military access to and support for our allies and partners in the Pacific, the Indo-Pacific region.

To mention, Russia is a concern in -- in the missile sphere. That is certainly the case, Russia is developing a new generation of advanced ballistic and cruise missiles that support its anti-access area denial strategy. And as I mentioned, hypersonic missiles being developed by both China and Russia. Now, certainly these are separate programs, separate countries pursuing separate activities, but nonetheless, we're concerned about both.

Over the past decade, we've also seen the growth in North Korea's capabilities which is very noteworthy. Certainly, we're engaged in diplomacy as you know with the North Koreans, and I see some of our friends are here from the media. They've been covering this story rather extensively with the president meeting with Chairman Kim and our diplomatic efforts continuing there. But from a defense perspective, of course, missile defenses are about dealing with capabilities, and the North Koreans possess substantial capabilities that have grown in recent years.

Of course, these are not only fixed land-based missiles but road mobile and pursuit of a submarine launched ballistic missile capability, so a very sophisticated effort there. Now, that sophisticated effort has produced quite a few systems which have been featured in various parades and other activities by the North Korean regime to show the world what their capabilities are, but they've also conducted six ICBM and SLBM tests in recent years, not to mention the six nuclear tests that North Korea conducted. So, all of that showing a substantial capability that we need to be prepared to deal with.

Iran is another area, of course, of great concern and they continue to develop sophisticated missiles with improved accuracy, range and lethality. They field an array of increasingly capable short and medium-range missiles and of course are working on longer range missiles, mostly in the guise of space-launch vehicles that could threaten the United States.

So, what are we doing about it? In this strategic environment, we're increasing the scale of our missile defense effort through the deployment of additional capabilities. And General Greaves and others can -- and Mike can discuss that, of course. But we're also looking at how we might adjust our approach. We're at kind of an interesting period where we've needed to assess the missile defense capabilities that we have and weigh them against this projected threat environment in a way that it's more dynamic than I think if I was sitting here three, four, five years ago. And this is always a consideration year after year, those that are veterans of the Defense Department annual program and budget reviews, but I think this year is -- is more so the case than in past years.

In line with that National Defense Strategy that we've put forward, we have to ensure that our missile defense investment strategy and priorities enable us to meet the most dangerous missile threats we face today. And our policy approach is that we keep pace or exceed the capabilities of the threat. We don't want to be in a situation where we are dependent only on offenses in order to provide deterrence. And after all, missile defenses are part of modern-day deterrence.

They're part of deterring someone from considering an attack, from pursuing capabilities and ultimately conducting it, but they're also part of assuring your allies and that you have the capability and the means to fight, to assure them of your ability to meet your defense obligations to them, and if necessary to defeat that attack. And after all, if you can postulate a case where a country like North Korea might launch an attack or a country like Iran or any aggressor, of course the ability not only to defeat the attack but to follow-up with offensive capabilities. All of these things as a whole strengthen deterrence. And so occasionally I'll hear people say, well why don't we rely on deterrence instead of missile defenses? Missile defenses are a part of contemporary deterrence.

Now of course we're here to talk about space and the contribution that space-based assets can play. And I'll just mention a couple of things and then obviously turn it over to two more expert panelists to talk about some of the specifics. But I will say as you get to the case where we have sophisticated, larger scale threats, the advantages that -- from a space-based defense are one of the things that we're looking at, certainly the president's national strategy for space highlights the importance of space to us as a national security matter, that we've got to protect our assets there, that we have to protect the ability to utilize space for our activities here on earth, for the capabilities that those assets bring to our force, but also for certainly scientific advancement.

And missile defenses can not only strengthen your ability in space, that is to say, missile defenses in space, your ability to deal with a missile threat, they can also strengthen your ability to -- to protect your space assets.

Now, the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act required DOD to develop a plan and proposals for a space-based layer, that is to say both sensors and interceptors. So, one of the things since the passage of that legislation is we have, as directed, been looking at that question and trying to examine what the appropriate capability mix would be.

Now, of course, some of the just generic advantages of space is that space-based sensors and interceptors provide persistent, continuous coverage, they can engage missiles launched by any adversary at anywhere on earth. They also, if the technologies in the intercept layer were cost effective and affordable, they could provide you the ability to do boost-phase defense which is very attractive because it both avoids debris, but also it begins to thin out the missile threat before your mid-course and terminal defenses have to deal with it. So, that's another reason we're looking at this capability.

Now, of course, there are certainly strategic questions, policy questions that would need to be answered in this area, but I will say space as a general matter is something which we are very focused on in the department. Another initiative of course is the president has discussed division for a space force, a sixth branch of the U.S. military. And we have submitted our report recently to Congress in which the department has talked about our progression towards that vision.

One of the initial focus areas would be the establishment of a four-star command, space command that will be led by a general officer. What that will bring is a focus in war fighting for space, someone that their entire role is operational coordination, to deal with this increasingly contested domain that we must be prepared to defend and utilize. So, you'll see us move forward with the creation of a space command that report to Congress, also talked about a space development agency to speed the progression at which the department can develop and field capabilities, get them into the hands of this war fighting, or operational I guess would be a better way to describe it, command, that we would have at space command.

And so the specifics of how we structure for that and do it remain to be determined and obviously there's a relationship with what the Missile Defense Agency would do in space-based capability. So, we're sorting through those kinds of questions. And I guess one of the things I want to leave you with is space is an increasing focus at the Defense Department. It's something that as directed by the Congress, we're looking very seriously at capabilities that could be employed for space-based missile defenses whether that be sensors or other capabilities and there are inherent advantages from space that we need to look very seriously on.

And so that's probably a good place for me to leave it and allow my more learned colleagues here, Dr. Griffin and Sam Greaves to discuss in greater detail. Thank you, Riki for having me and for convening this group.


ELLISON: Thanks, John. Thank you, John. So, we have one of the great experts on missile defense. I think Dr. Griffin has been involved with it as, earlier than you, Trey, I think, but he's one of the very few that began the program with SDIO before, and to where he's at in the new role. And let me introduce him formally, Dr. Michael Griffin is the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. He is the department's chief technology officer and he is responsible for the research, development, and prototyping activities across the DOD enterprise and is mandated with ensuring technological superiority for the Department of Defense.

He oversees the activities of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, the Missile Defense Agency, the Strategic Capabilities Office, Defense Innovation Unit, the DOD Library Enterprise and the undersecretary of staff focused on developing advanced technology and capability for the U.S. military. Dr. Griffin.

GRIFFIN: Thanks, Riki, and thanks to all of you who are here today. You're talking about the length of time I've been involved with missile defense. A little while ago, as it happened, a reporter asked me how I would, if I had to do it, sum up my career briefly. And my first reaction was well, I'm not done yet. But after that I said, "Well, I guess if I had to put it on a bumper sticker, it would be manned space flight and missile defense." And he said, "Well, those two don't have much in common." And I said, "Well, that's not my problem," but that's how I would sum it up.

My roots in missile defense go back to late 1984 after Lieutenant General Abrahamson as the first director of then-SDIO, and now the Missile Defense Agency was substantiated and I was lucky enough with folks who are actually here in the audience to be involved in a number of early proof of concept tests that we, and somewhat amazingly did quickly, and possibly because we were quick, they were also done well. And because of those two things, I find that I'm where I am today. If they'd been failures, no one would have ever heard of me.

So, space and missile defense, it is -- it is long past time to recognize that missiles from theater, to intermediate, to strategic range, seem to be the method of choice for adversaries to reach out and touch someone. And yes, you know, we used to hear all the arguments about how well we can -- we can put bombs in containerships or we can do this or we can do that and, you know, all those things can be done. But what people actually do is as soon as they can, they start to develop missiles to go after those they wish to aggress against.

And I just note that that's the way the world seems to be and so we need to respond to what is rather than what might be or could be.

Secondly, the number of nations and societies which are capable of so doing seems to be increasing all the time and there's still only one of us. Thirdly, we just can't do what we need to do in missile defense without space. Now, the Ground Missile Defense Program which Sam currently leads, Trey Obering has led. I don't know if there are any other former directors in the audience, many of us have had many years of involvement with that, is effective at what it does which is to handle a limited-sized raid in the mid-course.

It cannot, effect global persistence on the surveillance side, it cannot -- the missile defense system we have today from the sensor side detects an incoming threat after it is well inbound. It is not set up to detect hypersonic threats. It's not set up to detect short or intermediate range threats, and on the interceptor side, it is capable of going after objects in mid-course, but that's all. It's very good at what it does.

I have reason to know that our statistics these days are quite good, but it only does what it was designed to do. It is, in brief, not a system. We, today, do not have systems which give us globally comprehensive, persistent, timely, multi-mode awareness of what is going on on earth everywhere all the time. We don't have that.

John Hyten, a long-time friend and today, a close colleague again, remarked a few weeks ago at the Space and Missile Defense Conference in Hunstville, that we will never hit a target we cannot see coming and that the Chinese hypersonic threat, in particular, is one that, in today's world, we can't see coming until it's too late.

That alone would cause me to want to go to space for a space-sensor layer. I would add that if we wish to have our own hypersonic strike capability, and I think we do, that we have to know where the targets are. And if the targets are mobile, I need to know not where the targets were a week ago or even yesterday. I don't need to know where the targets are right now. I need to know where they're going to be 15 minutes from now or the best hypersonic strike capability in the world which might be capable of offsetting what China can do is of no value. I need to know where the targets are and I need to know from where the threat is coming and when.

Those requirements alone, if it did nothing else for us, would drive me toward a space-sensor layer. John Rood and -- and John, I don't concede that I have more expertise than you. I -- I might concede that we have different expertise, but I will be strongly in favor of being guided by you in the policy arena, not my thing. If we wish to effect comprehensive missile defense, we have to be able to go after it in the boost phase. If you wait until the mid-course, you've given the enemy a free shot. You've given them a free layer. Why would we do that?

Our de facto capability and de facto policy since the end of World War II has been that if -- if your -- whoever you are is if your airplane is in the air, it's because in the long run we permit it to be there because we have the capability to make you not be in the air if we want to as when we decide to enforce a no-fly zone. If your vessel is sailing upon the water, it's there with our tacit permission. If we didn't want that vessel on the water, it would not be there.

Now, the costs to the United States and our western allies and partners of making something like that go away are significant. There are significant political costs, and you have to get over a high threshold before we decide as a nation and as an alliance that you shouldn't be there.

But interestingly, the costs to us are political. The costs to the other side are existential. You're not around to participate in the discussion anymore if we decide that you have to go away. That is the kind of power projection that the United States has enjoyed since World War II. We paid a lot of money and many lives for it. It has led to the creation of a rules-based order which has held for over three generations now. As John mentioned earlier, the National Defense Strategy is, today, all about recognizing that there are threats to that rules based order and that the world is not likely to do better under a different regime than it does today.

So, it is up to us to defend that and in order to defend that order, we must now go to space. Our entire space architecture, our entire suite of space capabilities were designed in an era where it was a U.S. sanctuary. It is no longer. Our entire defensive posture was centered for decades around the idea that the U.S. homeland was a sanctuary, it is no longer.

If we are to deal with these facts on the ground and the facts of adversaries who wish to upset the -- as I said rules based order which has held for now three and more generations, then we have to go to space both for the sensory layer and the ability to project power, and that's fundamentally what it is all about.

I'll close by noting that I am very, very, very, very tired of people who say that we cannot afford it. Let me offer just a trial balloon kind of a number. I get -- I get tired of hearing how it would cost, you know, 100 or more billion dollars to put up a space-based interceptor layer. If I use as a reasonable, an entirely reasonable number based on experience of $20,000 per kilogram delivered FOB low orbit, and if I were to say that I would be content with a layer of 1,000 interceptors which seems to me like a lot and each of them weighs a metric ton which would seem, 1,000 kilograms, which would seem to me like a lot, then the entire cost of that would be $20 billion.

We've paid a lot more and gotten a lot less in the Defense Department over the years. I am impatient with discussions of life cycle costs, because the life cycle cost of anything is infinite. The life cycle cost for me to own golf balls is infinite because I keep hitting them into the water.

As long as the nation exists, it will have defenses and let's assume that we're not going out of business as a nation very soon and so, the discussion about life cycle cost is to me less relevant than the cost of entering the game and being in the game and being on top of the game.

If the United States is not on top of the game, then I don't know what becomes of the world, but I submit that it will not be a pretty place. Thank you.


ELLISON: Thank you, Dr. Griffin. The next presenter is the director of Missile Defense Agency, Lieutenant General Sam Greaves. His mission is to develop, test and field an integrated layer ballistic missile defense system to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies and friends against all ranges of enemy ballistic missiles in all phases of flight. Sam?

GREAVES: Good afternoon, Riki. It's a great pleasure to be here with you and of course with Secretary Rood and my direct boss, Dr. Griffin to talk about something which I believe and you've heard quite eloquently to be of significant importance to the nation.

I've got about seven charts to just lay the groundwork for I believe what we're going to talk about today, because most of where I -- from where I sit, it's the how do we get this done now that we understand the -- the strategy and the guidance and some of the expectations that have just laid out. Of course is how do we do this?

So, let me go to the first chart. I always start with the mission of the agency because I think it's important to ground us in why we're here, why the Missile Defense Agency exists, essentially to develop and deploy a layered ballistic missile defense system to defend not only the United States, our deployed forces, our allies and friends from ballistic missile attacks of all ranges in all phases of flight. And you've got some good indication here that we are seriously going after the all phases of flight portion of that mission statement.

So, today, the system is globally deployed. And some of the artifacts you can see on the bottom, left to right, all the way from ground based interceptors to the Aegis weapon system on ships, to the golden nugget within the ballistic missile defense system, the command and control battle management system, the multi-domain command and control system, you may have heard that term in other environments, anything from space assets that we're going to talk about that we leverage today to the terminal high altitude air defense system, THAAD, the ground-based radars and our sea-based X-band radars as examples of the overall missile defense system.

Next chart, so this chart is pretty important because there tends to be significant focus on the Aegis, you know whether or not it's the SM3, Standard Missile 3, the ground-based interceptor, everything in the middle swim lane on that chart. But the really, really important takeaway from this chart is the architecture, the capability that pulls the sensors together with the shooters to deliver an effective missile defense capability.

So, in the top swim lane that you see there, you see that term C2BMC, command and control battle management systems and the vision and actually in reality today, pairing the sensor with the shooter with any appropriate environment to deal with the appropriate threat.

You can see the sensors on the bottom, all the way from leveraging such sensors as the advanced extremely high-frequency satellite system that the United States Air Force deploys and operates to the space-based infrared system, that the Air Force also deploys and operates, ground-based radars, the TP2 radar in forward-based mode, the upgraded early warning radars that the Air Force operates and the Navy's Aegis weapon system, and of course the C band, X band radar.

But together with the elements there that formulate the shooters in the middle swim lane, the command and control battle management system knits them all together and provides the true power within the BMDS for this global capability, so it's the architecture and not strictly the components.

Next chart. Priorities, very, very key for the agency and the topline message here is that these priorities are formulated in supported of the National Defense Strategy and they are as follows on the left-hand side of the chart.

The top priority that we have today is to focus on increasing our system reliability and to build confidence in the combatant commander in these systems that we've got deployed today, whether it's NORTHCOM, or STRATCOM, PACOM, EUCOM, CENTCOM, the combatant commanders need to be able to state repeatedly with confidence that they can rely on the ballistic missile defense system that we've got in the ground today and -- on the oceans and in the air.

The second priority is to increase our engagement capability and capacity. And the United States Congress and the administration were very supportive last year in providing us significant additional funding to do both of those items, to increase both in our capacity as in buying more ground-based interceptors as an example, more standard missiles and more THAAD rounds. Capability is also something we're going after as part of that second priority.

Now, the third priority is of course rapidly addressing the advanced threat. And I emphasize this because the threat is coming. We know it is. It's not fantasy. Those with access to the reliable intelligence information have seen and know that the threat is demonstrating itself and will be operationalized in very soon.

So, today, as was mentioned earlier, the deployed ballistic missile defense system meets today's threat but additional capability and capacity are needed to stay ahead of that threat and I'll foot-stomp again what you heard earlier our goal is to stay at a minimum at pace but definitely in advance of that threat that we know is coming.

Next chart. Now, this is a space discussion and I'm using this chart to -- as a reminder to all of us that the missile defense capability and missile defense interest has been in and around about space for a very, very, very long time. It's not something that's new. If you can look at the missile defense capability leverages what is provided in the missile warning area, it was the defense support program and the space-based infrared system.

Communications, secure communications whether it's MILSTAR or Advanced EHF, Wideband Global SATCOM, data pipes that we use to transfer information, we're big users of position navigation and timing, primarily provided by the global positioning system.

And then going all the way back to the early '90s, a series of missile defense experiments, beginning with Miniature Seeker Technology Integration experiment back in the early '90s, essentially paving the way to assess how well we can do tracking as an example of ballistic missiles from space.

The deep space program science experiment better known as Clementine and its electro-optical laser ranging sensors that were on it, also initiating and blazing the path for the systems that we've got today and the systems that we intend to deploy in the future.

MSX and in fire and air field experiment in 2007, all the way to the space tracking and surveillance system that we -- the demonstration system we've got flying today. Those systems essentially demonstrated the capability to do everything from tracking to discrimination to queuing from space.

So, it's not a matter of if we can do this. We have demonstrated the ability to do it. And with STSS a few years ago, along with industry, we actually demonstrated the ability to send tracking information of high enough quality to initiate an SM-3 launch from an Aegis ship, to what we call launch from remote. So, it's not a matter if we can do it. The matter is how much and how fast.

The next chart is a notional representation of what the space sensor layer should look like. And it's information rich, so I'll go fairly slowly on it. Everything in orange, that you see, there are capabilities that would support the -- directly support the missile defense mission as well as what's in blue there. On the Y-axis, the vertical axis , you've got threat altitude, range is on the bottom.

Those two red dashed lines, the top one illustrates the ballistic threat that we know of today and we'll talk about that in a second. And that bottom dashed line is an attempt to illustrate the hypersonic threat, firing -- flying at much low altitudes, in and out of the atmosphere, which requires a different type and degree of sensing and capability.

So, if you go from left to right on the chart, it begins with the launch and of course the Bell Ringer system that we currently leveraged today that's flown by the United States Air Force, the space-based infrared system, does global scanning, alerts and characterization.

So, it essentially wakes the system up and says something is coming our way. What's new on this chart and what's going to be really important for dealing with not only the ballistic missile threat, but more importantly the hypersonic threat are the next two systems. One that does regional staring for it to do detection, warning, and queuing, and what's key about this, it's looking down at the warm Earth, which is a very different problem than the next system you see with a narrow field of view system that's looking against the cold background of space.

So, to effectively deal with the hypersonic threat, we need to ensure we know what it's doing from birth to death as in the phrase we use is birth-to-death tracking because it's able to maneuver.

Unlike a ballistic threat where you throw a baseball in, for instance in that direction towards the camera and it lands near the camera, the maneuverability of the hypersonic threat is of significant concern, so we must maintain custody of that threat from birth to death.

And looking down on a warm Earth, you've got things to consider such as clutter, relative motion of the target, things that make it somewhat difficult to very difficult to track it. So, you need one type of sensor to track that target.

We're working with such agencies at DARPA, United States Air Force and the other services to take a look at what that architecture would be like. We have a government reference architecture, but that is not the previous position answer.

We need to see what that, for instance, DARPA's Blackjack program may deliver as far as capability, the timing on that, to see whether or not that is the answer. And we're working very closely with my boss here, Dr. Griffin on ensuring we understand the pros and cons of what the government reference architecture currently recommends versus what we've been able to gather from industry, you all out there, what you told us, what capabilities you've got in the various orbits whether or not, whether it's GEO, whether it's MEO, whether it's low Earth orbit to make a decision hopefully later on this year as to which architecture we go after.

But we've done quite a bit of work over the last year, working with industry to narrow down the options and it will provide a robust discussion with Dr. Griffin as we head towards making the selection.

In the next satellite there, the satellite system which is going after what's happening in midcourse, above the atmosphere, cold background in space, a very different sensor that's needed for that to do what we call discrimination as in separating the countermeasures that the threat may deploy from the actual threat reentry vehicle.

And off to the right, what you'll see here is the kill assessment capability that we believe is a very, very important support optimization of our limited number of weapons to essentially let us know, let the combatant commander know whether or not we have in effect killed or destroyed a threat or have nearly just damaged it.

So, that's another system that we are experimenting with as we speak. So, again, it's the architecture, both Dr. Griffin and Secretary Rood previously explained why it's important to do this from space.

We don't have enough ground radars to populate distance from any threat to the defended area to do it with confidence, so space offers us the vantage point, the opportunity to do that. And as I mentioned earlier, and I think it's really important again, that this is not something new for the missile defense community. It's not something new for the Missile Defense Agency. We have been leveraging and operating at times capabilities from space. So, this is something we can do with confidence.

Now, this chart, next chart, I'm not going to go through all the details, but I will not miss an opportunity to tell any audience that to deliver any capability going from left to right, this is what's required to do it within the system we've got, with in the acquisition and the system that we've got.

It's a very robust, very disciplined set of activities that are involved in delivering any capability, so our goal is to under-promise and over-deliver, another way to put it, deliver on our promises to ensure that we don't over-speculate early on in the acquisition process. And then four or five or six years later, have to show up either within the Department of Defense or over here on the Hill, explaining why we relate, over budget, behind schedule.

So, it all begins, of course, with working with the intelligence community, because they help us define what the threat is and what and how we need to design our defenses against, so that's on the left side of the chart in the middle.

Missile Defense Agency also works very closely with the warfighters as in the combatant commanders, be it STRATCOM or NORTHCOM or CENTCOM or EUCOM. We work very closely with the services, we have regular meetings at the senior level. And we also work within the -- at times within the JROC structure. The intent of everything to the left of that arrow is to say that the Missile Defense Agency does not invent what it's doing. It's not off on its own doing what it's doing. It's receiving a significant amount of input and guidance and collaboration across the community.

Then you get to the middle part of that chart, which is the standard acquisition flow for any major program whether or not it's technology development, product development, testing, which is probably the most visible portion of what we do. And at times it's attempted to be summed up as failure or non-failure. I will tell you that those are very, very simplistic descriptions, even when we do not achieve the objective, even when that is classified as a failure, we learn a tremendous amount from going through the testing event and the process event.

And I tell folks that if the enemy is learning as much about their systems and its capability as we learn when we fail, we all ought to be worried because we learn a tremendous amount.

So, you've got production next and then all the way to the right, right there at the bottom the folks that we interface with, whether or not it's the Congress, within the defense industry, press, with the public directly or what's not on the chart, organizations that provide oversight to the agency such as the GAO, the DOD IG, and the operational testers in DOT&E.

So, if you go from left to right, that's how we deliver and deploy any of our systems. And it's all underpinned by that systems engineering process and products line on the bottom of the chart, very disciplined, very robust, going all the way from planning that's associated with the National Defense Strategy, all the way through delivery of these systems and then there is a feedback loop.

So, you will hear the agency talk about as I have mentioned that we absolutely need to get the space as both General Hyten and Dr. Griffin mentioned. You can't see it, you can't shoot it if you don't know where it is, I don't really care how many interceptors you've got, they're totally ineffective. And the best place to do that from where -- what we can see as the threat matures, especially for the hypersonic threat is from space.

And this process that you see behind me is the robust disciplined process that we intend to use to deliver on our promise. So, when the expectations come in, of deliver something in three years and you hear me and the organization say no, look on the background. This is why I believe and we should stick to this process, this is why it cannot be done. So, remember that as we go through our discussions now and in the future on the space layer.

And I'll wrap it up with a summary chart. Things you already know, space provides a high ground to address the advancing threat. It was mentioned that space provides access and persistence to areas of the globe that are denied to us. And the bottom there tells you just about every task we can do from space.

And it's not something we're taking a guess at. It's something we've already demonstrated. So, we're very confident. And the way we'll need to do this is with the architecture, tying the shooters with the sensors together with the -- through the command and control battle management system.

So, thank you very much.


ELLISON: Thanks, Sam.

Well, John, and Mike, and Sam, I think this is probably the first time we've had this level to broach missile defense in space and it's to your leadership, to your confidence in the environment we are in today, technically, politically to broach and educate our public on why we need to go there, what is it.

So, I commend you on coming together today to -- as the world as you effectively said has changed to a domain we now have to defend and protect. So, I'm going to open it up for questions to -- if there's any more clarification or understanding of what we're doing, this is the time to do that.

We have microphones on either side, so I ask you to use the microphone to do that. I'm going to start with Mark Montgomery, who is the -- at the Senate Armed Services Committee to kick it off.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks.

I have a question for Secretary Rood and I have a question for Secretary Griffin.

For Secretary Rood, will we see these sorts of capabilities drawn out in the ballistic missile review when we get it and could you give us some kind of indication when we might see the ballistic missile review this fall?

And for Dr. Griffin, is a -- not question the 20 billion, I'll stipulate that's correct. Secretary Mattis has told us we're going to have a flat budget, generally speaking over the fit-up, have you identified areas where either mission sets or systems where we can now take risk and maybe reduce or mitigate the procurement to allow -- because we're now doing the space-based approach to the sensors and potentially interceptors? Thanks.

ROOD: Mark, with respect to the ballistic missile defense review or the missile defense review even though the -- we are focusing that review to cover missile threats from all domains whether that's ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, or certainly the hypersonic threat.

So, we've been working for some time on the missile defense review across the Defense Department, different organizations in different parts of the -- of that large enterprise working on it, including the two gentlemen to my left.

Hope to have that out in the coming -- in the very near-term here, in the next few weeks as we just are wrapping up some of the remaining items. So, it will be coming soon to a theater there near you, hopefully to your theater first given that your committee and others were the ones that required us to do this review. So, we'll meet that intent.

And then with respect to your second part of your question, will it cover these kinds of questions? It will. That's one of the things that we said about trying to answer for ourselves as what's that policy framework. What are the developments in the international security arena that have led to us to make alterations to our approach. How are we approaching it in terms of the -- working with friends and allies, looking at the other trades across the Department for competing needs or competing ways to address some of the security concerns that we have.

In some cases, they're not competing, they're complementary, but taking that holistic approach and then what would we put forward for the department in terms of our policy intent going forward in our plans.

So, the missile defense review hopefully not too -- fingers crossed, not too far out, I'm very desirous of pushing it out as soon as we can, believe me, on a personal level, I am. And so, hopefully, we'll get through the final hurdles in the department to do that very soon.

Did you want to answer the other part?

GRIFFIN: Mark, the answer to your question is, no, not yet.


Thank you, Mark.


QUESTION: Thank you, all, so much for being here. And Riki, especially just kudos to you because this is great. I think if I could do anything to make it better, it'd be to have somebody from the State Department here.

And so my first question is probably one that can't be answered, maybe for John but I think probably Dr. Griffin might be the most willing to answer it. And that is, what do we say to China and Russia? They're not going to be happy with the United States having a space sensor layer as we can get at hypersonics and then of course with the space-based interceptor layer. So, if you could just kind of navigate that question if you could.

And then the second question is a little bit more technical and that is a lot of opponents of space-based interceptors say it's going to be hundreds of billions of dollars. Dr. Griffin addressed this a little bit, but isn't it possible to start off with even providing a limited constellation, looking at a particular part of the globe, for instance carrier defense and then expanding it over time if we wanted to do that?

Is there not multiple ways that we can do this, depending on the threats that we're most concerned about in the near-term?

GRIFFIN: Well, the second part of your question is the easier part. I mean, of course, you can always start small and scale up, and in practice that's what you do, anyway since you never deploy any new capability all at once everywhere. So, of course, you're correct.

With regard to what Russia and China would say and of course, I represent the Defense Department, not the State Department. You were just teeing that up to have fun, right? I mean the -- but I won't be outlandish with my answer. When you have President Putin getting on TV and bragging about how his multi-thousand kilometer hypersonic nuclear strike weapon, and when you have a track record that in the last decade the Chinese have now done, I will just say, several dozen successful hypersonic strike tests.

When you have, that's the great power competition, when you have North Korea bragging about its successes and Iran working vigorously to produce its own capabilities, somewhere well down on my priority list is caring about what other people think. And we just cannot afford to do that, and by creating a world -- by creating a geopolitical policy environment where those kinds of considerations are surfaced, by even allowing ourselves to be drawn into that discussion we do ourselves and our allies and partners a disfavor.

ROOD: Mike, God love him, his role is the development of new capabilities to defend the United States. So, when he says, you know, he doesn't have time to concern himself with the views of other nations, of course that's because it's policy's role. And we do spend a lot of time concerning ourselves with those kinds of questions.

So, I think the -- consider his comments from that point of view, Rebecca. But with regard to your narrow question, I mean, how would we -- if the United States pursues a space-based sensor layer how might we explain this to others?

Well, first of all, let's start with what it does. It is a space-based sensor layer, that as it watches it detects what others are doing. I don't regard it as a provocative act to observe the missile flights of missiles that are potentially threatening to the United States. And it's just a part of providing information. It's not all that different, Sam Greaves showed, charts that showed our ability to track missile launches that we've had for decades in the United States.

So, in that sense is its basic capability different now? But I think the degree to which it allows you to do that obviously would be new and the type of missile threats we face would be new. But in the end of the day, having the ability to warn ourselves of attack, to take the necessary preparations here in the United States, and if North Korea or Iran, or a state of concern were to undertake an attack, to have the ability to deal with it, certainly that's where it's smacked at in the middle of what we want to have the capability to do.

So, I mean, I guess that would be a start at how I would explain it to them. And ideally, our activities have been of course with friends and allies. This has been something that we've done at NATO. NATO has made a decision to defend the territory of NATO states against missile attack through increasing capabilities. It's not something that would be a U.S.-only endeavor in the sense that while the programs we might pursue for space-based sensors are, we are going to do this in collaboration with friends and allies, and they also have capabilities that they can bring to the mix.

So, while you certainly don't want to understate what the significance of the capability would be to us technically, I don't think having a sensor capability is a sea change for the United States, it's just the ability, the sensing capability that's an improvement.

ELLISON: Thanks, John.

If we can direct the questions to John because John is going to leave pretty quickly, so if we can focus on policy, so we are going to put you on the spot, John, so ahead.


QUESTION: Thank you very much, Sandra Erwin with SpaceNews.

To follow up, Secretary Rood, on your point about the policy concerns for the sensor layer, the interceptor layer is, really would be a separate issue. And Dr. Griffin said it would be something that should be pursued. Do we have an effort now in DOD to study that?

And, Secretary Rood, I mean that would be - wouldn't that be considered an offensive capability in space that would cause some reaction? Thank you.

ROOD: Well, as I mentioned in my opening remarks the 2018 as in last year's National Defense Authorization Act contained a provision that required us at the Defense Department to look at a space layer, sensors and interceptors.

So, we have explored it as in an examination since that period in conformity with the law. We're not yet at the position where we would announce some programmatic changes or movements forward. I think we're in the examination phase of this activity.

And that's appropriate given that this is a relatively recent that the Congress required us to do that. It's also something that given the progression in space technology it's in our interest to periodically -- and the gentlemen to my left are more learned about the technical capacity that we could harness for this effort, but certainly it's something that just as a lay person seeing the progression in space technology, it's rather dramatic what's occurred over the past couple of decades. And so, we would look at that.

But I think the latter part of your question, those are bridges yet to be crossed some time away given the level of sort of examination we've given the question thus far.

ELLISON: Thanks, John.


QUESTION: Dr. Griffin, I really enjoyed your point on not caring what others think. I've tried that with my wife over the course of 33 years, I'm still trying to work on that, but hopefully that works better with the Russians and Chinese.

Now, all three of you pointed out that the NDS is really the underlying foundation for what we are doing here. And the NDS is very clear in stating that Russia and China are the two principal threats to the U.S. There's no dancing around calling them competitors or anything like that, it's very, very clear.

So, I wonder for Secretary Rood, if that suggests that U.S. policy has changed or is going to change to ensure that protecting the homeland is done in a way that's sized to Russian and Chinese threats and not rogues threats or accidental launches.

ROOD: Well, Mitch, as you know our main effort has been focused on proving a defense against countries like North Korea and Iran to the United States, and that's our focus today and continues to be.

Certainly you're right that the National Defense Strategy talks about a broader competition that's occurring well beyond missile defense in the world in terms of China's objectives and Russia's objectives, very different, separate challenges, certainly not the same thing.

But in looking in those challenges to the global order, looking at those challenges to specific states and their security, whether that be in Asia, given the concerns that we see, whether it's in North Asia or in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean, depending on where you're at, for instance the Indonesians refer to that as the North Natuna Sea. In Beijing they refer to it as the South China Sea. But certainly those are areas that are increasingly ones of friction.

And with the Russians I think in Europe we're seeing a lot of that, whether it's in the Middle East, whether it's our concern about the use of chemical weapons against people in the U.K. or elsewhere. So, where we see a broader competition, while we see broader concerns with those countries, our missile defense efforts are really focused on North Korea and Iran for the homeland. And that's where we have seen the threat of greatest concern. And I should hasten to add, defenses are an important part of this equation but they're not the only part.

We still retain our nuclear deterrent which is the primary means that we rely upon for deterrence with China and Russia. And of course we've gone through a cycle now in the Congress where we're pleased that the authorization bills provide the funding we requested or the authorization for the funding we requested for the modernization of the nuclear triad and pursue some new capabilities like a low-yield ballistic missile launch from a submarine.

So, nuclear deterrence is certainly part of the equation to deal and the primary means that we use to deal with threats from countries like Russia and China.

ELLISON: You get one more, John, or you're ready to go?

ROOD: Sure, if you need.

ELLISON: You can go if you want.

ROOD: Go ahead.

ELLISON: We can get one more.

Let's get one for John, anybody for John?

(UNKNOWN): He's excited to go.

ELLISON: He said one more, so I'm going get one more.

QUESTION: So, this is for Mr. Rood. You mentioned last year's NDAA required a report on the space-based intercept layer. This year's NDAA though and you're acting accordingly and studying it, I would point out though that this year's actually mandated the creation of said space-based interceptor layer. And I'm curious to know if the wheels are starting to turn now in DOD to address that.

ROOD: Well, and particularly in this house I will say we take direction from the Congress very seriously. And of course you're pointing to the NDAA and it was just signed here in the past week or so, a week or 10 days, I think it was.

So, obviously we're taking that seriously and we're just in the process of spinning up to go pursue that. I don't want to overstate the level of progress we've made in the period of time since its signing, but certainly we're going to take that seriously.


ELLISON: Thank you, John.

ROOD: OK, thanks.


ELLISON: OK, we can go back. Go ahead, sir?

QUESTION: Hi, Steve Trimble with Aviation Week. And I was curious about the sensor layer itself and the decision to use and rely on EO and IR as the primary sensors. Is there any openness to looking at other sensors and is there any concern about how countermeasures or other, especially with the hypersonic threat, how those sensors would stand up to that?

GREAVES: Well, the answer is we have not made the final decision yet. It's not an over-reliance, but we were pointed to EO and IR as demonstrated capability to go after that threat, but I would not want to get ahead of my boss' decision here on what the architecture is going to look like and what the sensor suites are going to look like. But the direction we have started off in, we are looking at EO and IR, there could be others.

GRIFFIN: Well, I will just chime and say that question is not answered yet. I mean that's a real interesting technical of question.

I would also say that as we evolve toward more robust sensor layers, every spacecraft doesn't have to have the same payload on it. I think we would be wise to consider giving the adversary as many different difficult problems to solve as we can give them. So, those decisions, we're just well away from making any sort of final decision on what sensing mode we'd use.

ELLISON: Thank you. Questions? Go ahead. You got a mic, right?

QUESTION: This is directed predominantly at General Greaves.

Given that the ballistic missile defense system that we currently have is predominantly based on roughly a dozen large radars and several dozen small radars, TP2s and Aegis, and that the development of the hypersonic glide vehicles by both Russia and China are designed to defeat the ballistic missile defense system, not to replace their ballistic missile system, are we spending enough money protecting our radars from hypersonic glide vehicles?

GREAVES: I will say that that is something that I know the secretary of defense has interest in and we are looking at that. We are looking at options with whether it's NORTHCOM or the commander of NORTHCOM or the commander of STRATCOM to assess the vulnerability of those sites and take some mitigating steps to protect them.

There are a few activities that are ongoing or about to kick off which will demonstrate that capability. So, we are aware and we are taking those mitigating steps. That's what I'd like to say about that.

ELLISON: Thank you.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) Magazine. It's probably one for Mr. Griffin.

If we get into interceptors, space-based interceptors it seems the most likely, you know, thing would be directed energy rather than kinetic instruments, it gets into the question of can we put, get enough power out of the space-based, out of a satellite, you know, to give you a kill-level directed energy. And given the trouble we experienced with the airborne laser attempt, the atmospheric interference with your beam, is it possible that the space-based laser directed energy would work against the hypersonic which would be down in the atmosphere?

GRIFFIN: Let's see there were a couple of questions in there. The development of -- of course I've spoken with -- the problem with a group like this is I'm on the record for decades on certain policy positions and technical positions here. So, directed energy to me is where we want to go in the long run. And I would like the long run to be as short as possible. And we will be pushing advances in directed energy forward for the next few years, at least as long as I'm in this position. So, we want to, we want to make actual progress in directed energy. I think it is the path to the future.

I believe the answers to your technical questions are, yes, we can do it. We can develop space power systems that will provide what we need. But belief is an opinion held without benefit of facts. So, it's our job to go out and do the experiments and the prototyping to generate those facts. And I view my job as being to develop arrows for the quiver, if you will. And it is up to, you know, other disciplines, policy and diplomacy and all of that to decide when and where they are used. But first we have to know that we can.

The second part of your question was about directed energy with respect to hypersonics, not so much. That does not to me seem to be a promising tactic for going after a hypersonic glide vehicle.

ELLISON: Mike, I'd like to follow up just a quick question to you. I think from my understanding of the last program of record of the space-based interceptor was research and development for the Brilliant Pebbles in '91, '92. Is that still something that we can draw from? Or I think that's Kinetic Energy Interceptor?

GRIFFIN: Well, the nice thing about boost-phase defense, if you do it right irrespective of the kill mechanism the dead carcass falls on top of the people who launched it or close to it, not on us. That's a nice feature.

I don't know, I don't recall whether or not the last space-based interceptor architecture we examined was Brilliant Pebbles or something after that. I don't recall. I was heavily involved in that effort at that time and it went back before 1991 and 1992.

And certainly as John pointed out, the Congress has directed us to study these things and I would tell you that the shift in Congressional policy from my early days to now is both quite dramatic and very refreshing. So, we will again start to study these issues and we'll try to take advantage of things we looked at a generation and more ago, but a lot has changed in the technology world since then. And I just can't be more specific because if I do, I'm probably just going to make a mistake.

ELLISON: Thanks, Mike.

QUESTION: I'm (inaudible). And I have two questions if I may. And the first one is with regard to the development of space capability.

At the moment a lot of effort is being made in developing and improving ground-based and sea-based capability. Would the space-based capability mean that these systems will be obsolete in 10, maybe 15 years? That's the first question.

And the second one is, with the importance of the architecture, as you mentioned, General. As you know the maritime (inaudible) missile defense forum is working on a development of a target-architecture for integrated air and missile defense as well. Do you see possibilities to combine these two architectures for integrated air missile defense and space-based missile defense? Thank you.

GREAVES: To the question of the future of the ground-based and sea-based architecture and those are components of the overall architecture for which I believe the space-based capability fits into it.

So, as Dr. Griffin mentioned, it's the goal of making the problem most difficult for the threat for the enemy and not making it as easy as you can. So, it's the integrated capability that both space and ground provides where you're not single stringed on any one capability that provides the power of the missile defense system.

And as far as the architecture, where we are headed of course is to in integrating air and missile defense architecture and bringing those two somewhat separated communities together as we speak and ensuring things like whatever the integrated command and control System is for the air can at least be interoperable with what we are using for missile defense.

So, for instance if you set the interfaces, you get the data format right, you can pass the data back and forth and we can demonstrate it like we did last year in Formidable Shield 17, and we are going to do it again in FS '19, to sort of demonstrate the capability, the actual assets on the ground to operate and (inaudible).

So, I do believe that when we achieve true IAMD (ph) capability it will be as a result of combining the ground, sea and space and cyber capability in the future, and that's the path that we're on.

QUESTION: Hi, it's a two-part question for Dr. Griffin. Given the sort of the stop-start history of the U.S. hypersonics research over the years, we do a program that fails, we do another one, where we're doing like the X51 that's successful, it stops and nothing happens for a few years. What is different in the strategy for U.S. hypersonic weapons, developed in the U.S. hypersonic weapons?

And then likewise on the China and Russia side we've heard a number of references to date about the progress they've made, about Putin bragging about things. But what is the actual evidence, I mean given where the U.S. is with having just a few minutes of hypersonic flight, is there actual intelligence that China and Russia are that much ahead or is this based on Putin's bragging statements?

GRIFFIN: Well, the second question first, I'm not going to get-- I'm not going to comment on things that I know from intelligence sources at all. I would simply say that a reading of the publicly available literature in, you know, the defense and aerospace press would convince anyone that China has made considerable progress on operationalizing or weaponizing the research that the United States pioneered.

I'm going to refer again to a remarkably good speech, in my opinion, that General Hyten gave a few weeks ago. He pointed out that if we go to war today, we win, the adversary knows we win, we know we win. Our job is to make sure that that statement stays true in coming generations.

So, when it is literally the case that self-declared adversaries, and let me point out the United States doesn't wish to have adversaries, others declare themselves to be our adversaries. When they have thus done literally dozens of tests that we have not done, that's a concern and we need to respond.

We did the groundbreaking research, they've chosen to weaponize it, we need to respond. When a foreign president takes to the television to talk about a new system that they have in development, I believe we need to take that very seriously. In response to the earlier question, they don't seem to care what we think.

So, I think we need to take that very seriously and we are, and refer to the stop-start nature of hypersonic research in the United States, it has been stop-start, that's I think unfortunate. I think we're going to fix it. But bear in mind what I said a few minutes ago, we did this research, we did not choose to weaponi

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