U.S. Strategic Command

 

Speeches

House Armed Services Subcommittee, Strategic Forces Subcommittee Testimony

By General Kevin P. Chilton | Washington, D.C. | February 27, 2008

TAUSCHER:
Good afternoon. This hearing of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee will come to order.

The purpose of today's hearing is to examine the United States strategic posture and the Fiscal Year 2009 budget request for strategic programs, including nuclear weapons, missile defense, intelligence, and military space assets.
Our committee has jurisdiction over each of these areas, tracking closely with the reach of the U.S. Strategic Command, or STRATCOM. Therefore, I want to thank General Kevin Chilton, commander of STRATCOM, for being here today.

The Committee also charges the National Nuclear Security Administration with developing and maintaining the nuclear warheads that support our strategic deterrents For that reason, I want to thank Mr. Tom D'Agostino, the undersecretary of energy for nuclear security and administrator of the NNSA, for appearing here today.
Finally, I want to welcome Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Vickers, whose portfolio -- Special Operations, Low-Intensity Conflict, and Interdependent Capabilities -- includes establishing the strategic policies that General Chilton is charged with executing.

We asked each of you to be here today because your interconnected roles are very important to this committee. I believe that, to examine the strategic posture of the United States, each of you are needed to help paint a full picture.
Highlighted through an op-ed authored by former Defense Secretary Bill Perry, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, and former Senator Sam Nunn, there is a growing bipartisan chorus of statesmen and experts calling for the U.S. to adopt a policy designed to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.


In response, this subcommittee has called for a larger national discussion of this issue, and the Congress has acted. The National Defense Authorization Act establishes a bipartisan commission to examine U.S. strategic posture and recommend an appropriate policy for the 21st century. The goal of the commission will be to determine the proper balance between our nuclear and conventional forces and review the roles of our nation's nonproliferation and Missile Defense Program.

I hope that each of you here today can assure the subcommittee that the administration will fully support this bipartisan commission.

We would also like your input on what key questions the commission should consider. What do you think has changed in our security environment since the last Nuclear Posture Review, NPR, that should be explored? And how has the concept of strategic deterrence shifted since the end of the Cold War?
Since we have both the head of STRATCOM and the NNSA with us, I would ask that both parties give us a sense of how the administration is looking at RRW this year as well as complex transformation from both a programmatic and strategic perspective.

During the past year, we've had vigorous discussions here and abroad over the U.S. proposal to install missile defense interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic. I have traveled to Europe several times over the past year to show our European allies how seriously we take our shared security interests.


I have urged the administration to work through NATO to establish a joint U.S. -European missile defense capability. I have urged them to "NATO-ize" the shield and focus on the threat posed by short- and medium-range missiles pointed at Europe and our forward-deployed troops.

Our key concern about missile defense is that the Bush administration's budget request appears to delay the use of a very important system for defeating short- and medium-range missiles -- THAAD. In that regard, we are particularly interested in the warfighter's perspective on the requirements for these and other systems designed to defeat the threat posed by short- and medium-range missiles.

Finally, one year ago, we dealt with an ill-advised and dangerous Chinese anti-satellite test. Just last week, we witnessed the U.S. successfully intercept a failed satellite on the verge of reentering the atmosphere and threatening populated areas with 1,000 pounds of hydrazine fuel. The missile we used to intercept this satellite was part of our Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.


I applaud the open manner in which our military has explained and executed this mission. As I see it, our nation took responsibility for eliminating a risk we created ourselves.


General Chilton, you and General Cartwright, as well as your whole team, should be commended for a job well done. We used a defensive system to defend life, limb, and property. The commanding officer and the crew of the Lake Erie deserve our congratulations and thanks for a very tough job.


I also see this event as a sign that the U.S. must establish more thoughtful international protocols for spacefaring nations. As a nation critically dependent on space assets, such steps are vital to our national security interests.
Today, I would ask you to address the following concerns about our space assets: What is our national and military policy if our space assets are attacked? Do we have contingency plans for closing the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance gaps that our warfighters would experience? And, finally, what are the merits and drawbacks of establishing rules for the road in space?


While we are all acutely aware of the stress six-and-a-half years of war have placed on our military, I want to be clear: The United States faces pressing strategic challenges beyond Afghanistan and Iraq. This subcommittee takes these issues seriously, and we intend to advance the discussion and chart the right path for the United States.
Now let me turn to our Ranking Member, Mr. Everett, for any comments he might have.


But, before I do, I just want to take note that, as we kick off the FY 2009 authorization cycle, we do so mindful that our ranking member will be retiring at the end of the year.


Mr. Everett, you have been a great asset to Congress and to the American people and a credit to your constituents and to this committee and subcommittee. I am grateful to you for your good work and your partnership and your friendship, and I want you and our audience to know that I'll be working with Chairman Skelton to honor your service in the FY 2009 National Defense Authorization Act.
Mr. Everett, the floor is yours.

EVERETT:
Madam Chairman, I don't know how to follow that. Thank you very much. You're most kind to make that statement, and I do appreciate -- very much appreciate -- our friendship, and I appreciate the work that I'm going to mention that you've done in this committee. I'm going to mention it in my opening statement.
And I also want to join you in recognizing our witnesses today for appearing before us.
We welcome you back, General, in your new position.

CHILTON:
Thank you, sir.

EVERETT:
I will say you have my congratulations or condolences, whichever you prefer. But, no, we appreciate the expertise that you bring to that position.


And I also want to join the chairman in congratulating our witnesses for their efforts in successfully intercepting a disabled NRO satellite last week. This challenging mission was not one you had envisioned or one you had a lot of time to prepare for, yet you did the job well and safeguarded the public from potential harm. I commend the transparent manner in which your plans and intent were communicated to Congress, to the American people, and to the international community.


At a hearing two weeks ago, the deputy director of national intelligence, Dr. Fingar, testified on the broad global threat and challenges facing the United States. Chief among these include the continuing terrorist threat, WMD-related proliferation, Iran and North Korea's WMD and missile programs, increasing cyberattacks on the U.S. networks, Pakistan nuclear security, growing counterspace threats, and China PLA modernization. These are the security challenges that will continue to shape our strategic forces posture and policy well beyond traditional nuclear deterrence.


I would like to hear from our witnesses their thoughts on the change in strategic environment and its implications for our defense policy and capability needs. I remain concerned about our space protection posture and how our military operates in a space threat environment. Do military contingency plans and exercises consider satellite attacks? I am told that we have workarounds and alternatives, but I have found that when I pull a thread, there's very little detail.
And perhaps, Madam Chairman, we could have a classified briefing on this later on.


The Chinese ASAT test remains a stark reminder to me of what we're up against. The Chinese and others must know that attacks against our satellites are simply unacceptable.


I appreciate your thoughts on policy options, Mr. Vickers, to deter others from holding our space assets at risk and how we can develop a more robust space architecture.


We have similar challenges in the cyberdomain. I will be the first to say this is an even less understood security risk than space. Your observations are valued as we examine the National Cyber Initiative and get our arms around the cyberelements spread across the federal government. Last year, commanders from STRATCOM, PACOM, and U.S. Forces Korea testified to the need for more missile defense inventory to keep pace with growing missile threats.


General Chilton, I would like to ask you to discuss the warfighters missile defense force structure requirements. I would also like your assessment on the missile defense test program and when you would have confidence in the operational effectiveness of the Missile Defense System.


President Bush has met with Prime Minister Topolanek earlier today and discussed the importance of missile defense and collective security. Polish Prime Minister Tusk visits the U.S. next month.


I understand teams of Czech, Polish, and U.S. negotiators have worked incredibly hard to obtain missile defense agreements. I want to publicly thank them for their efforts and encourage a speedy conclusion.


I would also publicly like to thank our chairman for the efforts that she has made, which have been tremendous, in this endeavor. She has done it in a very diplomatic way, and yet she, in my estimation, has moved the process forward.


These efforts reflect a shared commitment to our relationships with our collective security. I hope our witnesses will expand upon these negotiations.


I also understand we are making progress in NATO integration. There again, I'd like to thank the chairman for what she's done in that regard.


I was recently briefed on the joint missile defense scenarios being run between MDA and C2BMC System and NATO's Prototype Command and Control System. Building upon the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review, the secretaries of defense, state, and energy released a statement last summer on U.S. national security and nuclear weapons and stated their intent to provide a detailed strategy later this year.


With the witnesses assembled today, we have an opportunity to discuss policy issues associated with strategic deterrence, the military's nuclear requirements, their assessment of the current nuclear stockpile and Reliable Replacement Warhead Program, and the viability, long-term risk, and force structure implications of the future with life-extension weapons and RRW.


Before I close, I'd like to acknowledge NNSA and the administration and credit them with implementing the largest nuclear stockpile reduction since the end of the Cold War. NNSA's dismantlement rates are at an all-time high. The Moscow Treaty deductions for operational deployed strategic warheads are on track. The stockpile reduction directed by the president in 2004 to cut the 2001 nuclear weapons stockpile by 50 percent by 2012 has already been accomplished, and an additional 15 percent reduction was announced last September, and the nonproliferation program has expanded to reflect the evolving proliferation threats.


Again, I want to pay tribute to our chairman. Much of what we have done in this committee, particularly on (inaudible), has been through her leadership, and I'm really proud to be associated with this committee under her leadership.
Thank you very much.

 

TAUSCHER:

Thank you very much, Mr. Everett.
I will note for our witnesses that we have received your prepared statements and are very appreciative that you've provided them to the committee ahead of this afternoon's hearing, and if you would like to summarize your prepared testimony, we'll be able to move more quickly to questions.
General Chilton, we'll start with you. The floor is yours.

 

CHILTON:
All right. Thank you.
Thank you, Madam Chairman and Representative Everett both, for your leadership, and members of the committee, thank you very much for this opportunity to be here and share my thoughts with you and answer the questions that you have with regard to where we are in STRATCOM and where we're headed.


I also want to thank not only the members personally, but also your staffs for the great support and open dialogue we have had between myself and your staffs and my staff and your staffs. I think it's one of the healthiest relationships we have, and I'm committed to continuing that open dialogue between STRATCOM and the members of this committee and their staffs.


And I'd be remiss if I didn't thank you for your support of our men and women in uniform.


I've been before this committee before in other hats. This is my first time as the STRATCOM commander and as a joint commander of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and it's a proud opportunity that I have.


So it is congratulations, not condolences, Mr. Everett, and I thank you for that that.


To have this job as the STRATCOM commander is both humbling, but also incredibly rewarding considering the quality of people that I work with, and the dedicated men and women we have serving STRATCOM, which not only wear a uniform -- we have a tremendous number of civil servants in STRATCOM that support our operations day in and day out, just as dedicated as our men and women in uniform. I've become very proud of them and very humbled that I can lead them.


If I could, I'd appreciate if my statement could be submitted for the record, ma'am.

 

TAUSCHER:

Without objection.

 

CHILTON:
Thank you.


I'll just to summarize just at the new commander briefly my observations on the command and where I'm taking the command.


First of all, I spent the first month immersing myself in the command and going out and visiting all my component commanders and also taking the advice of Senator Nelson who in my preparations for confirmation hearings commended that I go out and immerse myself also in the nuclear enterprise, and so I have been out and visited all of our laboratories in the Department of Energy. I have the Pantex Plant on my schedule, as well as a visit to Y-12 yet to come, and so I have taken that advice to heart.


As I look at the missions assigned to STRATCOM, we have a lot of missions, a diverse set of missions, but what I found is there's a thread that runs through all of our mission areas, and that is they are global in nature. So STRATCOM truly has a global focus. In fact, it may be better named a global command. But that is our focus, and those are our mission areas.


But with eight mission areas, if all are important, the feeling is that nothing is important, if they're all equally important. So I had to focus myself on energy, and I have looked at these mission areas very closely, and I divided them into two major groups.


One group is where I have forces assigned to STRATCOM, which are conducting daily operations, 24-7, in mission areas, where I have subordinate commanders who can do planning and who can pass my orders on to tactical-level commanders and execute things day in and day out. These are the mission areas that require 24-7 attention by the command.


They are mission areas that operate daily across global boundaries and are totally agnostic to lines drawn on a map. Regional, state boundaries, indeed continents don't matter to these mission areas, and these mission areas are strategic deterrence, space, and cyberspace.


And so I've made the effort to increase the staff at the headquarters' focus and the command's focus -- daily focus -- on not only executing the missions we're assigned in these areas every day, but making sure we're doing it in an integrated fashion.


The other mission areas we have are no less important, but in these mission areas, I found we do not have forces assigned from the services to conduct operations, and rather than having a focus of operating across boundaries, these mission areas require STRATCOM to lead in knitting together the seams between boundaries in the regional combatant commands.


And this would be in the areas of integrating missile defense, combating weapons of mass restructure, information operations, not to include network operations, and ISR.


I don't own a single ISR platform. I don't own any WMD forces to go out and carry out that mission. I do not own IO forces that conduct psychological operations or military detection, nor do I have my finger on the trigger of our Missile Defense Program, but our job is a very important one, is to make sure that these global capabilities that have global concerns, cross-cutting concerns, are knitted together appropriately, and we take that mission set very seriously, equally seriously.


I guess I'd close by saying that's the focus I've tried to bring. I've also made some adjustments in the headquarters to refocus on these areas, to bring the integration function up to the headquarters, to reemphasize our leadership role and responsibility particularly in the nuclear mission area, and we've made some changes there that I think are moving the ball forward for the future.


And you know what? It's pretty easy when you've got the kind of people I have working for me to make these kind of changes and to move forward.


Again, I thank you for this opportunity to be with you today.

 

TAUSCHER:

Thank you, General Chilton.


Undersecretary D'Agostino, the floor is yours.

 

D'AGOSTINO:
Certainly. Thank you, Madam Chair. I appreciate the opportunity to testify here today before the committee.
I also appreciate the time you took this morning and the committee took this morning with Chairman Skelton to talk to Deputy Administrator Will Tobey. He was pleased to be able to talk about the programs on the nonproliferation side.
I'd also like to point out we have a few of our future leaders, I believe, sitting in the back, as we've done in the past, give them an opportunity to see this country at work, and so I'm always pleased to have them with me.


Mr. Everett, I appreciate your comments on the changes and the improvements we've made in the stockpile, particularly our work in dismantlement. We're very proud of that record, and we have a lot more work to do, and we plan on continuing to focus.


The work done at the Pantex Plant, of course, is a key part of that, as it is at Y-12. So we're going to keep the attention on that particular element because it not only helps us with dismantlement, but it helps hone our skills that we need in order to deliver products to the Defense Department.


I feel the nuclear weapons complex is at a crossroads. Maintaining the status quo and just keeping our complex kind of doing what we did last year is not really an option, and I think delay and inaction will only increase the costs and elevate the risks associated with manufacturing and maintaining an aging stockpile.


Regardless of stockpile transformation plans and while we're shrinking the total size, facilities need to be upgraded, and the challenge for us will be to move from an aging Nuclear Weapons Complex designed for the Cold War and move that and shift that towards a 21st century national security enterprise that's integrated, that's cost effective, and that eliminates unnecessary redundancy, but also is at the forefront of science and technology.


In addition, our 21st century enterprise will continue to leverage the scientific underpinnings of the historic nuclear weapons mission to respond to a full range of national security challenges that we have and, beyond nuclear weapons sustainment, shift those more towards nuclear counterterrorism and nuclear nonproliferation activities. And, as an example, we provide technical support to the Defense Department and the FBI and emergency-render safe and post- event nuclear technical forensics activities, and a lot more needs to be done in that area, and we're going to be looking to shift more towards that area.


Infrastructure improvements are a major part of the complex transformation plan that we have, and we've made important progress, but we have a lot more to do. Some major facilities that we have date back to World War II and cannot readily meet today's safety and security requirements. Let me give you just two quick examples, if I could.
A sufficient capability to work with plutonium is an essential part of a national security enterprise and is required for as long as we retain a nuclear deterrent, and most likely even longer. Currently, we have a very small production capacity at Los Alamos, about 10 pits per year, at our TA-55 area. Our building at Los Alamos, the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Facility, is well over 50 years old and is insufficient to support the national security requirements for the stockpile and for future national security mission areas.


So, whether we continue on our existing path or move towards a replacement modern warhead-type stockpile, we sill need the capacity to produce about 50 to 80 pits per year, which is less than one-tenth of our Cold War level, as well as the ability to carry out pit surveillance, which is an essential part of maintaining our stockpile.


The second example is uranium component production. Every warhead, whether it's refurbished or replaced, will need uranium components. Our current facilities date back to the Manhattan Project. Securing these facilities from terrorist threats in a post- 9/11 environment is increasingly difficult and increasingly costly, particularly, also, operating them with modern safety requirements and standards that we expect.


So the construction of our highly enriched uranium materials facility at Y-12 is going to allow us to consolidate our uranium storage with a significantly reduced security footprint and more work will be needed in that area.


I'd like to turn briefly to the stockpile. The stockpile has not required nuclear testing to date, but keeping this stockpile healthy has become an increasingly difficult challenge. Periodically, we identify problems with the warheads that in the past would have been resolved with nuclear tests. Our Stockpile Stewardship Program has worked well so far to help us avoid that prospect.


And the considered judgment of the National Weapons Laboratory directors, however, is that maintaining certification of finely-tuned designs of an aging Cold War stockpile through life-extension programs without underground testing involves increasing risk. An alternative path could be a stockpile based on replacement warheads that, unlike Cold War warheads, would be designed for certification without additional testing.


Indeed, our experts from our laboratories -- again, their best technical judgment today is that it will be less likely that that we would need to conduct nuclear testing to maintain safety, security, and reliability into the future if we pursue this modern replacement path than if we continued on working on our legacy warheads.


In December, I provided Congress classified information giving further details on these matters, and I'm aware also that we had our lab directors talk to the committee a few weeks back to talk about these matters.


We're often asked why do we believe it's so important to study reliable replacement concepts now, and there are a number of reasons. First, the study will provide critical information to ensure that the next administration, as well as the bipartisan commission that this committee has established, can complete the timely review of the nuclear posture. Providing information to the committee, I think, is very important for that committee to understand all the implications of modern replacement concepts, that those things can provide.


Second, we have concerns about our ability under life-extension only strategy to ensure the long-term safety and reliability of today's stockpile, absent testing, and what that might mean for our stockpile makeup.


Third, we have warheads that have 1960s' to 1980s' safety, security, and antiterrorism features. It doesn't mean that these warheads are not currently safe and secure, but we can and should do better, and I believe that these reliable replacement concepts provide opportunities to incorporate the latest technological advances for precluding unauthorized use in a post-9/11 environment. It would be very difficult to back fit these into existing Cold War warheads.


Fourth, nuclear skills are absolutely vital to the nation, not just for sustaining our deterrent, but also in such areas as nuclear forensics, nuclear counterterrorism, and in solutions for the intelligence community. In a few years, nearly all of the older generation will have retired.


Finally, the Department of Energy continues to believe that these concepts make sense and are worth studying due to its enabling features for the future stockpile.


The foundation for future reductions, in my view, are the ability to transform the Nuclear Weapons Complex into a responsive infrastructure and responsive enterprise, ongoing efforts to understand the challenges to the stockpile and modern means of addressing these challenges, and efforts between future administrations and Congress to restore a consensus on the future nuclear deterrent force posture and the resulting stockpile that results from all this.


I recognize that the completion of the reliable replacement study was not funded in the 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act, in part due to concerns that the administration had not fully communicated its policies which guide nuclear forces posture and programs.


The administration will shortly provide to Congress a second paper to accompany its white paper on nuclear policy that was transmitted last year. This second paper will outline in detail the strategy which guides our programs, including the size of the stockpile.


Our goal is to complete the study as a means to assure that the next administration, as mandated by Congress, can complete its nuclear policy.


Thank you very much for the time to make these statements, and I look forward to your questions.

 

TAUSCHER:
Thank you, Undersecretary.
Assistant Secretary Vickers, welcome to the subcommittee.

 

VICKERS:
Thank you very much.

 

TAUSCHER:
Thank you again for being here. The floor is yours.

 

VICKERS:
Chairwoman Tauscher, Ranking Member Everett, thank you for your leadership and the support you provide to our strategic forces.


Distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you as well.


I appreciate the opportunity to be here today with you to report on the progress we're making in transforming our strategic capabilities to meet 21st century challenges. Indeed, as both you, Chairwoman Tauscher, and you, Ranking Member Everett, noted in your opening remarks, the strategic environment has changed dramatically since the end of the Cold War, and I'd be happy to talk about that in greater detail in the question-and-answer session.


To summarize, we've made considerable progress in the area of missile defense, substantially less progress in the areas of strategic strike, and we are working very, very hard to develop appropriate policies and capabilities in the rapidly evolving areas of space and information operations.


Our nuclear forces remain our ultimate deterrent, and we look forward to supporting the efforts of the bipartisan commission on nuclear policy and strategy in the 21st century.


We believe at some point, as Undersecretary D'Agostino said, our nation will require modernized nuclear warheads. We believe those warheads would provide similar capabilities to the warheads we currently have, but would be less sensitive to manufacturing tolerances, aging of materials, hopefully be certifiable without nuclear testing, and very importantly have advanced safety and security features.


As Undersecretary D'Agostino noted, we believe modernization of the infrastructure is even more important.
I want to thank members of the subcommittee for your support of Prompt Global Strike. The funds that have been appropriated allow us to conduct research and development on a wide range of technologies that hopefully will lead to an important capability in the near to mid term.


In missile defense, we now have a multilayered initial system that is available today to protect the U.S. homeland as well as our deployed forces and our friends and allies. The U.S. remains committed to working with our allies in the field of missile defense.


Japan reached a very important milestone this December when its Kongo surface combatant successfully intercepted a ballistic missile target with an SM-3 interceptor.


We are concluding our negotiations on basing our long-range missile defense elements in Poland and the Czech Republic. We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to complete an agreement with the Czechs imminently and with the Poles soon thereafter.


It is our hope that at the upcoming Bucharest summit in April that NATO will be in a position to recognize the growing missile threat to Europe and support territorial defense as a means of addressing that threat and welcome the U.S. contribution to European missile defense, while recognizing that the Europeans have important work to do themselves.


Because we wish to allay Russian concerns, we have met a number of times over the past year to share intelligence information, discuss transparency and confidence-building measures, and seek ways in which we could work jointly with them to address ballistic missile threats. We remain committed to working with them to address this common threat, while demonstrating that our Missile Defense Program poses no threat to their strategic forces.


We face a widening range of threats to our space capabilities, such as radio frequency jamming, laser blinding, and anti-satellite systems. The maturation of these threats requires a broad range of capabilities and options from diplomatic to military to assure our space capabilities and to protect our vital interest in space.


The department's investment strategy in space seeks to balance a number of requirements. We need to modernize Space Situational Awareness capabilities, improve protection plans for space assets, develop architectural solutions, including operationally responsive space concepts, and then establish an operations posture to be able to respond to attack and maintain the ability to deny adversaries the use of space capabilities that could harm our forces or our homeland.


In implementing our National Space Policy, we support U.S. government efforts to promote safe and responsible use of space and support voluntary guidelines for safe space operations.


Finally, in the area of cyberspace, both nation states and non- state actors continue to seek ways and means to counter the advantages we obtain from our use of information and to turn those same advantages against us in both conventional and unconventional ways. We're working very closely with our interagency partners to scope the missions that we will be asked to conduct, address our respective roles, both active and supporting, and determine how best to address potential adversaries' attempts to counter our information advantages. We are making progress, but much remains to be done.


In conclusion, transformation of our nation's strategic capabilities to meet the uncertainties and challenges ahead depends critically on a sustained partnership between the Department of Defense and Congress. I look forward to working with you to achieve our shared goals for developing and deploying the strategic capabilities our nation requires.


Thank you.

 

TAUSCHER:
Thank you.


General Chilton, and probably for also Assistant Secretary Vickers, I'm deeply concerned that the START Treaty is going to expire in 2009, and I believe that the United States should begin negotiating now on a binding verifiable agreement that would lead to further reductions in deployed nuclear forces.


In your view, what are the risks and benefits to the United States of reducing the number of operationally deployed nuclear warheads below the Moscow Treaty's range of 1,700 to 2,200?

 

CHILTON:
Ma'am, I'll take your question with regard to comfortability of the combatant commander below those numbers, given our current infrastructure, and then I'd ask Secretary Vickers to comment on prospects of a follow-on for the treaty in his lane (ph)?


Having looked at the nuclear infrastructure that Secretary D'Agostino just reviewed for us and the condition that it is in today -- the fact that we do not have a production capability, which means we don't have the flexible infrastructure required to deal with an uncertain strategic future, which I think was another line of questioning I'm looking forward to talk about, given the age of our warheads and that we're not yet closed on whether we're going to go down a life extension or a modernized weapon program, but the distinct need that I feel as the combatant commanders, that as I look to the future, I will not have the tools to conduct my strategic deterrent mission if we do not move out in directions appropriately -- given that construct, I'm comfortable with 1,700 to 2,200 today, but I'm not comfortable with considerations below that until we have that flexible capability, as a combatant commander.


TAUSCHER;
And before we go to Assistant Secretary Vickers, I just want to pull that string just a little bit because it seems to me that it would not only be the question of flexibility, but is it also about responsiveness of the complex?

 

CHILTON:
It is. Yes, ma'am. And I assume that word when I say flexibility and I shouldn't.
When you have a responsive complex that has the capacity to flex to production as you may need it or adjust your deployed force posture in the future, should you need it -- in other words, if we go to a lower number, you need to be certain that you can come back up, should the strategic environment change, and you can't necessarily without that flexible or responsive infrastructure behind it, and that's probably one of my great concerns.


And then how you posture both the portion of your stockpile that you hold in reserve and your confidence in the weapons that you have deployed is very much a function of modernizing, in my view, the weapons systems that we have available today, which are, as the secretary described, of Cold War legacy design, and the associated issues with them.

 

TAUSCHER:
One more quick one before we go to Assistant Secretary Vickers. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but am I hearing you say that the more confidence you have in the existing responsive complex and in the weapons themselves, the more likely it would be that hedge weapons, so to speak, the reserve weapons, would be less important to maintain?

 

CHILTON:
Yes. You're not putting words in my mouth. I mean, that is what I've said before, and I believe firmly that if we can build a modern weapon that has increased reliability, the safety and security that we need for the threats that we face today, and is maintainable, and we have the responsive infrastructure that allows us to maintain them and also account for strategic uncertainty in the future, then the need for the large number of hedge weapons that we have on the shelf, that part of the on-the-shelf stockpile, part of the stockpile that's on the shelf, I believe can be dramatically reduced.

 

TAUSCHER:
Assistant Secretary Vickers?

 

VICKERS:
I concur fully with General Chilton's assessment of where we are and what would enable us to go forward. The administration is committed to pursuing a post-START agreement with the Russians. We are in the early stages of that, however.

 

TAUSCHER:
We would, I think, like to know more about that. So perhaps we can get together and you can inform us as to where we are in that because I think that we don't want this just to begin to lapse as the administration moves out the door and find ourselves in a gap period. . .

 

VICKERS:
Yes, ma'am.

 

TAUSCHER:
. . . especially with the change of administration in Russia. It's important that we keep those lines open.
Well, General Chilton and Assistant Secretary Vickers, in many ways, are the client or the users of these weapons under Secretary D'Agostino. I guess I'm moving over to you to talk about the fact that in Fiscal Year '08, we made funds available for advanced certification, and the resources proposed in the Fiscal '09 budget request -- how will you advance the process of answering the questions raised about the proposal to certify a reliable replacement warhead without testing, considering the questions posed by many people, including the JASON Panel?

 

D'AGOSTINO:
OK. Thank you, Madam Chair.


In fact, just today, this morning, I don't know if it was coincidence or not, there's a requirement in the appropriations to provide a report within 60 days on our plans for advanced certification. I signed out that report this morning. It addresses a couple of key areas, and so we're going to focus on experiments in this particular funding line in order to deal with questions on common failure modes that could happen, whether they're for existing warheads or for potential future systems. I mean, the focus is to address the JASON's report on RRWs, so we're going to kind of start there first.


The second area has to do with our ability to do surety, take a look at physical features of surety and how they might impact certification. If you put a piece of surety technology into an existing warhead, how does that impact the certification piece? That was the second concern that JASON's had, and we've got a plan to address that.


The third pieced had to do with material changes. If we use a material that's a little bit different than what we had in the Cold War stockpile -- and there are cases where we have to do that because, in many cases, we're talking about materials that were manufactured 40, 50 years ago. In many cases, the manufacturing processes just do not exist anymore. We're not allowed to use certain chemicals that we've used in the past -- and so these subtle little changes -- how do those things rack up and stack up on top of each other and impact assessment as a whole? So that's going to be a huge part of that study.


And the final area is peer review, establishing not just peer review between lab to lab, which we currently have and I feel is quite good, but peer review that involves bringing in potentially another body and potentially how we would kind of bring all of those peer review elements together to ensure that the stacking up of small changes on our existing Cold War stockpile or potential changes into a modern warhead and modern replacement warhead and how those things impact.


Right now, $15 million was appropriated in '08. We've requested $20 million, a little bit more, in '09 because we think this is an area that's very important, to get to the bottom of the answers to those four particular questions that have come up. I feel good about that program. I think it's the right type of activity to do, and so we're marching down that path.


Thank you.

 

TAUSCHER:
I'm happy to recognize the ranking member, Mr. Everett, for his time.

 

EVERETT:
Thank you, Chairman.


And I thank all of you for your service.


To pick up on the chairman's comment about your comfort level for the 1,700 to 2,200 nuclear warheads, how would Prompt Global Strike figure into that, or would it, because we're talking conventional as opposed to nuclear?


Chilton: You know, we think back on the new triad. The tip of that triad is where we paid attention to strike, and the three areas -- as you know, sir, kinetic nuclear, kinetic convention, and then non-kinetic strike opportunities are the three areas where we're focused on.


In the area of kinetic conventional, I think we have started to look at already how we can use some of the technologies that we have today to address some of the issues with regard to deterrents. I would say, for example, there are folks in the world today who I think are deterred in certain areas by the fact that we have the J-Series Weapons that we have developed and delivery platforms that just could show up overhead at some moment at the United States' choosing, and that in and of itself, even with the conventional capability, can be a deterrent in certain areas. Sometimes those are not adequate and, hence, we have nuclear weapons for a large number of target sets.

 
Prompt Global Strike I put in kind of two categories. One, it can also provide some strategic deterrent capability in line with maybe relieving some of the target sets that we would normally cover with nuclear, but that's not its greatest strength, in my view. I think the greatest strength of a Prompt Global Conventional Strike weapon is its ability to control escalation in some scenarios, but also to provide an additional arrow in the quiver, if you will, of the country to address emerging threats, that we might find a nuclear weapon application to be self-deterring to address that threat.


And I'll give you an example. Let's hypothesize there's a nation that were to field a robust anti-satellite capability, akin to the capability we saw demonstrated by the Chinese, and let's say that nation were to attack our satellites. With a robust capability, you could essentially deny a lot of the benefits and most of the satellites that we rely on in low earth orbit in very short order. I'm talking not a week. I'm not talking days. I'm talking hours.


And so when the phone rings on the STRATCOM commander's desk on that scenario, because he is in charge of defending space, and the president says, "General Chilton, make them stop," today, I can offer him a nuclear option. A county has attacked our space assets, but no American has died in this scenario, and there's an element -- I'm not saying that that wouldn't be the option chosen, but wouldn't it be also nice to have a Prompt Global Conventional Strike capability in the quiver to be able to offer that to the president to make them stop? And that's where I think this concept has its greatest strength.

 

EVERETT:
It's obvious we can't accept the Chinese continuing to dazzle with lasers our satellites. So, from a posture standpoint, when do we call on that Prompt Global Strike to help us, and can we call on the Prompt -- but how do you make that decision? Do we let them continue to dazzle our satellites?

 

VICKERS:
Well, are you talking about the decision to deploy a capability?

 

EVERETT:
Yes.

 

VICKERS:
We believe the requirement exists for that capability today for the reasons that General Chilton outlined, that it will enhance deterrents against some situations, and it will also provide future presidents with an expanded array of options in some important scenarios besides the ASAT scenario that General Chilton described. It could be terrorists with WMD, which is one of our gravest threats. It could be terrorists plotting other attacks in the homeland, and the only way to strike that might be with a rapid Prompt Global Strike weapon. It also may achieve deterrent effects against those who would be plotting by causing them to worry about such a capability.
So we believe we need that capability now. We are pursuing a wide range of technologies in the R&D program that we've been authorized to do, and we welcome Congress's support to move forward on this as soon as appropriate.

 

EVERETT:
General Keller said this morning that in regards to protecting our assets in space, that if we lose these assets that as far as the military was concerned that that would be a reverse time machine. We're told that we have redundancy. As I said in my opening statement, when you pull that string, though, we don't see much there.
And perhaps that's the reason, Madam Chairman, that we might have a classified briefing later on.
But we currently spend less than 4 percent of the entire defense space budget on SSA and space protection. Is that enough?

 

CHILTON:
Congressman, I share your concern. I've been a champion of SSA and improving investment of SSA for several years now, and it was one of the things I tried to emphasize as the commander of Air Force Space Command, and now that they're supporting me, I continue to encourage that investment. And I'm happy that we have gone from now investments in those programs to increased investments by a substantial amount. So I think we're headed on the right path here.


But I think you bring up a broader point that's -- because Space Situational Awareness is one element of what we need for space protection. The broader point that you bring up, I think, is right on the mark with regard to our dependence on these capabilities and the way we conduct military operations, and are we adequately exercising and preparing for the case where someone might counter those dependencies or try to deny us those dependencies.


And we have a way to go in that area, I believe, particularly in the way we exercise, the way we're able to exercise, and the way we plan in the regions for our various war plans, to make sure that we do have the alternative paths to provide us with the capabilities that we'll need to ultimately be victorious in whatever the scenario.


But what I always caution here is that although we need a robust space element here and we need to look at protection as well, we also need to make sure we're not putting all our eggs in one basket because we know we cannot have ever the perfect defenses, and so we need to consider in the case of communications, for example, robust terrestrial communications, robust space communications, and air-to- air communications that can back that up and integrate that, and we have work to do there.

 

EVERETT:
Well, how do you look at the fact that we've pretty much devastated TSAT? In the outyears, we're cutting $4 billion from TSAT. What's that going to do to STRATCOM. . .

 

CHILTON:
Two things.

 

EVERETT:
. . . or our Future Combat Systems which can't go forward without TSAT.

 

CHILTON:
I have two concerns with regard to the way ahead in global satellite communications.
One, as the STRATCOM commander, for my needs as the commander of STRATCOM, I need uninterrupted, which means I can't stand a gap in a capability for being able to do nuclear command and control, which means I need a secure survivable command and control system, and a part of that system -- I depend on today the Milstar satellite, in the near future the AEHF satellite, and TSAT would be the next part of that, and I'm concerned that out in the 2018 and '20 time period that we don't develop a gap there in this constellation. Now that's my parochial concern.


From a broader concern, which I am chartered to advocate for for all the regional combatant commanders and services, you're right on with your remarks with regard to how TSAT is a critical element of the Army's Future Combat System. When we look at the growth in ISR that is programmed in and our needs and dependencies and the warfighter demands and the investments we're making in Global Hawks and other platforms, not to mention the need for a space radar system, and you look at how you're going to get that data moved around the planet and available to the warfighter on the edge of the battlefield, we need to increase bandwidth in that space-based capability.


It's not just space. We need to look at terrestrial, but, again, I caution putting all our eggs in one basket. We learned what a very inexpensive anchor can do to terrestrial communications, and so I think we need to continue to move forward, increase the bandwidth that we provide to the warfighter, both in the terrestrial air-breathing and space element.

 

EVERETT:
Thank you for that.
The final point on that -- am I correct in saying on the new AEHF that the terminals are not synchronized with it, or do you know. . .

 

CHILTON:
Let me take that for the record, and I'll go back and check, but my understanding was that that was resynchronized, that they are, in fact, synchronized, but let me make sure I have that exactly right.

 

EVERETT:
OK. Finally, I have some questions for the record concerning Prompt Global Strike that I would appreciate a prompt -- hopefully -- response to.

 

CHILTON:
Absolutely. Happy to do that.

 

EVERETT:
Thank you, Chairman.

 

TAUSCHER:
Thank you, Mr. Everett.
The gentleman from Washington, Mr. Larsen?

 

LARSEN:
Thank you, Madam Chair.


Secretary Vickers, in your testimony, you note on page 11 that "DOD further implements our National Space Policy by supporting efforts to promote safe and responsible use of space. We seek mutually beneficial international cooperation on space activities, and support commercial and foreign space surveillance needs to ensure safe space operations," and you go on to say -- and this is where my question comes -- "DOD seeks to promote compliance with existing legal regimes, acceptance of international debris mitigation guidelines, and development of additional voluntary guidelines for safe and responsible space operations. "


The first two seem to be fairly clear. Perhaps you can speak to that. But in particular, can you help us understand specifically what you mean by "additional voluntary guidelines for safe and responsible space operations," and do you think it would be useful to establish international rules of the road for space operations?

 

VICKERS:
Well, I believe we have pretty substantial rules of the road now in terms -- some legal obligations, some shared understandings, but as space becomes a more cluttered environment, then the need for new measures, you know, as we found in -- as we went through the Cold War, for example, to take an analogy, where we developed procedures for naval peacetime interaction that was instrumental in providing some stability during the Cold War would be analogous to space.


Specifically, what those might be, I think, will depend on as the situation evolves, but, you know, we took our obligations -- General Chilton can speak to this much more expertly than I can, but in terms of the recent shootdown, we had obligations that we took very seriously depending on how things evolved that we knew we were legally obligated to do.

 

LARSEN:
Sure. Well, I appreciate that. Your testimony does say DOD seeks to promote and so on. The way it's written, it just says -- it would seem to me, it says DOD also seeks to promote the development of additional voluntary guidelines. My curiosity is. . .

 

VICKERS:
I. . .

 

LARSEN:
Is that what DOD is doing, or are you tossing it out there for our consideration or. . .

 

VICKERS:
No, I think it's. . .

 

LARSEN:
How should I read that?

 

VICKERS:
Right. I think it's a general goal at this point to ensure as space becomes a more complex environment that where we should have additional measures for safe operations that we pursue those commensurate with the rest of our national space policy which is to ensure freedom of action.

 

LARSEN:
And that's my next set of questions, and perhaps General Chilton can start with the answers. It is on page 10 of Secretary Vickers' testimony, but I presume this is applicable to anybody sitting before me. "The U.S. rejects claims of sovereignty by any nation over space; rejects limitations on the fundamental right to operate in or acquire data from space; and retains the right of free passage through and operations in space without interference," the National Space Policy.


Let's, for the sake of this argument right now, assume China doesn't cause us any problems. Let's remove that from the table because I've heard enough China scenarios. Let's assume it's Russia and Europe and Japan with its commercial program and so on. What do their national space policies say, and are they consistent with ours, and what do we do to sand off the rough edges that we might have with other countries? For instance, if we retain the right of free passage through operations in space without interference, do the Europeans have a problem with that, or do they have the same one, and what happens if we conflict, not militarily, of course, but in terms of operationally, you know, what happens?

 

CHILTON:
Sure.

 

LARSEN:
How are we thinking about that? And you can understand why I want to get away from China.

 

CHILTON:
I think. . .

 

LARSEN:
I want to have a rational conversation about it.

 

CHILTON:
Sure. I think I understand.


I'm reminded of a story I heard once when -- I think it was in the State of Ohio when they had the first automobile accident, when automobiles were first invented, and at the time, there were only two automobiles in the entire State of Ohio, and they managed to run into each other. So, you know, probably shortly after that, somebody sat down and said, "Well, maybe when we pass, we'll do right to right," or, you know, "If you're coming head on, I'll go right, you go right, and we'll miss," you know, those rules, those kinds of things, or the concept in seafaring where nations demand the right of free passage on the ocean. Somehow we figured out, you know, you put the green light on the right side of your ship and the red light on the left and there are certain rules for passing from the rear, et cetera.


Now Keplerian dynamics in space takes care of a lot of that stuff for you automatically, but simple, open dialogue, I think, is what's most important. You know, we all do station keeping with our satellites up there, particular a geosynchronous orbit, and so some satellites move -- and we're watching that -- and starting to be on a path that's getting close to ours. So then we have to decide are we going to move or what's going to happen or we'll watch it for a while, and so if we have open dialogue and understanding and communication, like, "Hey, I'm getting ready to do station keeping on this, so that you'll know, and here are my parameters, and here's where I am, and here's where I'm going, don't worry, as opposed -- it relieves some of that.


Those are kind of the open dialogue kind of discussions I think we can have. We're not at the red light, green light phase in this domain yet, but I think -- and I don't want to put words in the secretary's mouth, so I'll let him respond as well. As we look to the future, what are those kind of dialogues and what discussions should we have?

 

LARSEN:
That's exactly it. In your testimony, in previous testimonies last year, and from other folks, there is this concern about increasing use, and we've looked at it through Chairman Everett's leadership at the time, getting it started, talking about how we use space and trying to educate people on how we use space, why it's important that we're there and what we do to protect our assets up there.


But that can be said for many other countries, too. They want to protect their assets. We want to protect what we have. And there's a lot of space in space, obviously, but it still seems that with everybody wanting to use it perhaps at the same orbits, are we getting to a point where we need to have more thoughtful discussions than just having, you know, the open dialogue, more structured discussions, I guess?

 

CHILTON:
I'm not sure yet, but, I mean, we're past the point of not having any dialogue. We certainly need to have that, and. . .

 

LARSEN:
No, no, no. I understand.

 

CHILTON:
I think we have to be careful about thinking about making rules and restrictions that are unenforceable, too.

 

LARSEN:
Sure.

 

CHILTON:
With regard to space debris, for example, I think that's a good one. So we came to a conclusion a few years ago that the way the United States and Russia mostly, at the time the Soviet Union, were launching things in orbit, we weren't paying much attention to the fact that our upper stages after a few months in orbit sometimes exploded because the tanks overpressurized, you know, because we weren't worried about it.


But, you know, then we started keeping track of the stuff up there and said, you know, "This is heading in the wrong direction. Ultimately, we're going to create so much debris up there," and so we kind of agreed as spacefaring nations that we were going to mutually try to reduce the amount of debris generated in just normal launch and orbit operations. Russia does that, and we do that to the best we can, and those are the kind of open dialogues that responsible spacefaring nations ought to have and encourage folks to adopt and do it.


But to say, "OK. I'm going to say you must design this into your rocket," you this other country, "to operate in space," that's an unenforceable rule, so better to have the dialogue and get reasonable response and behavior to include sharing information and sharing best practices and adopting those, I think, at this stage of where we are in space.

 

LARSEN:
Did you have anything else to share?

 

VICKERS:
No. I mean I would agree on the debris. The point is we do have a number of standing instruments already that we adhere to, and we are in discussions, you know, to try to further develop some. You know, on the other hand, it has to be consistent with the rest of our space policy where General Chilton, as combatant commander, has responsibility as a warfighter that we don't unduly restrict his, you know, options as well.

 

LARSEN:
Thank you.

 

TAUSCHER:
I'd like to notify members we've been told that we may have votes, a series of two or three, between 3:00 and 3:15. So I want to go to Mr. Franks from Arizona, and then we'd like to get to Mr. Thornberry, if we could. So, if you guys could restrict to five or six minutes, I'd appreciate it. And then, hopefully, we'll get a second round.
Mr. Franks from Arizona?

 

FRANKS:
Well, thank you, Madam Chair.


And I thank all of you for being here. You know, you guys are the ones that keep watch for all of us, and I appreciate it very, very much.


And, General Chilton, I just want to say a special word of congratulations to you. It was a good day for America when you became the commander of Strategic Command. I say that, I think, on behalf of the entire committee.

 

CHILTON:
Thank you, sir.

 

FRANKS:
I had the privilege of meeting this morning with General Keller, and he emphasized not only the interdependency, but the critical importance of America being dominant, not only in air, but in space and in cyberspace, because of the way that they all work together, and in his 21st century white paper, General Mosley says essentially the same thing, and he expounded on that in the committee this morning.


And I just think that your successful test here sort of reflects all of that. When you knocked down this satellite, you proved that the Aegis is now a working system and that the connection between those three areas is vitally important, and I'm wondering if you think, General Chilton, that it's time to move some of these missile defense assets out of the MDA research and development budget lines and into the procurement budget lines for services like the Air Force and others to begin to take over and to operate.

 

CHILTON:
Well, thank you, Congressman.


And thank you for the compliment, particularly over the activities last week. I would just add for the record, from my perspective, it was a tremendous joint effort and interagency effort, all of government. So many departments and agencies participated in that, not only in the execution, but in the preparations we were making for the contingency where we might be unsuccessful in destroying the tank, and offering U.S. assistance to the nations of the world, as Madam Chair said, because we were responsible and we took that responsibility seriously. So thank you for recognizing that.


You asked a great question with regard to the balance between R&D, procurement and 0&M of systems, and I've thought about this a bit, and, of course, we work very closely with MDA. I'm familiar with how they spend their budgets, and I know that the services are under a lot of stress today for not only ongoing operations, but in particular, in my parent service, the Air Force, for the urgent recapitalization needs they have, the Army for the needs that they will have in the future, not only building systems like FCS, but in reconstituting after this tough fight they've been in. So there's going to be this tension here on where best to take the money from.


I would just caution that we don't throw the baby out with the bathwater with regard to the Missile Defense Agency. I've been in the test business before in my career and a little bit in acquisition when I was at NASA for the Space Station Program. I am absolutely amazed how far and how fast we have come in the last five years in fielding a capability with the construct we have set up in the Missile Defense Agency, and so, as we look to the future -- and there will be challenges on finding the monies to field these systems and the inventories that we need, whether they be THAAD or PAC-3 or Aegis or the new systems that are coming on board, like ABL, et cetera. There will be tensions there, but we've got to be careful not to break something that's working pretty darn good at getting new capabilities out there.
It's a tough problem, Congressman. I wish I had an answer. You know, the easy one is more TOA, but I know the challenges that presents as well to the country.

 

FRANKS:
Well, listen, I want to, Madam Chair, give Mr. Thornberry a chance here.


So I just want you to know that I think this missile interception of the satellite showed that you have a missile defense asset to performing a space mission, and it really, in my mind, demonstrates that there's really more of a psychological or artificial line between national security, space, and missile defense, and it's important, I think, that the two be emphasized and work together. I know that that's against kind of the perspective of the service.


So congratulations again. I'd like to ask more questions, but I want to make sure Mr. Thornberry has time.

 

CHILTON:
Thank you, sir.

 

TAUSCHER:
I appreciate that, Mr. Franks.


Mr. Thornberry of Texas?

 

THORNBERRY:
Thank you, Madam Chair, and I appreciate my colleague from Arizona.
Although I think these people have been too easy on you all. . .


(LAUGHTER)

 

THORNBERRY:
And let me play devil's advocate just a little bit. Both General Chilton and Secretary Vickers have a tremendous number of things in your area of responsibility. A lot of things I'm very interested in.


There is a lot of intellectual energy going on right now about how the nation faces the threat in cyberspace. Mr. Everett's been pushing, and there is, I think, a lot of intellectual energy in planning and thought into space for the future.


I don't see any of that intellectual energy on what nuclear deterrence means in the future. I don't hear anybody talking about, OK, "The characteristics of a nuclear weapon that would effectively deter whoever, everybody, whoever in the 21st century would be this, and we can't really test that. We can only do this, and here's the difference between the ideal weapon that would deter and what we can produce. "


I don't see any of that, particularly in the Department of Defense, and some people would even argue that nuclear deterrence has atrophied to some extent in the Defense Department, and so Secretary D'Agostino -- you know, his folks are just kind of left to keep on doing what they're doing.


Now what am I missing?

 

CHILTON:
Well, I think your concerns are well-founded. What you're missing, I would say, Congressman, recently, is the comments I made at the Strategic Weapons in the 21st Century Conference two or three weeks ago at the Reagan Building and a speech I gave at AFA last week where I stood up and addressed those things, those very concerns that you mentioned.


And here's kind of the crux of my message. Nuclear deterrence will be every bit as important for the remainder of this century. My children and grandchildren will need a nuclear deterrent. I do not think that's in conflict at all with the desire to reduce nuclear weapons. It's just a reality.


I think in the Cold War, my parent service in particular, I would argue there was none better at knowing and understanding what it meant to provide strategic nuclear deterrents for this nation. When the Cold War ended, we found ourselves as a nation in a lot of shooting wars, conventional shooting wars, and the Air Force will tell you they've been in a shooting war, they've had people in harm's way since 1991 with our part in Southern Watch and Northern Watch going throughout all the 1990s right on into our current conflicts.


For sure, since 2001, we have been focused on conventional warfare and unconventional warfare in this nation, and I would say perhaps we have lost some focus on that area that you just described that I believe is so important for the future as well, and I would put the focus in this regard: We must continually remind ourselves that in a world of strategic nuclear deterrence, readiness is a mission.


It's not bomb-found targets. It's being able to show the world that you are able to do that, and that takes trained people, it takes adequate delivery systems, and in the end, it takes a warhead that is designed for the 21st century, not for the 20th century, and what we have today in our inventory are warheads that are designed for the 20th century where the principle design requirement was, because of the size, the numbers we needed, and the limited number of delivery vehicles and the size of those delivery vehicles that we had, maximize the bang and minimize the volume.
And we were able to take risks in reliability because we had a robust test program and we had a robust manufacturing program, and we designed and planned to replace those weapons every 20 years, and we could take risks in safety and security and we could take risks in maintainability because safety and security weren't as high on the list as getting the numbers up there in that Cold War and maintainability was not as required if you planned to replace them every 20 years and you had a robust production capability.


The world has changed. Tomorrow, we worry because of the terrorist threat more about safety and security. We have zero production capacity in this country. I would argue that for Mr. D'Agostino that being able to produce eight to 10 a year as a production capability -- I've been to that facility. It's a laboratory. It's not a production facility. And we no longer want to test.


So, in that environment, I would say our number one requirement for the modern warhead is reliability. Our numbers two and three are safety and security. And maintainability is on that list as well. That's what I need as a combatant commander to provide strategic deterrents for this country, nuclear deterrents, in the coming century.

 

VICKERS:
I think there is a lot of thinking going on on strategic deterrence. We're still working our way through it. I think it is fair to say the problem has gotten a lot more complicated in the sense we face a wider range of actors, including now non-state as well as state, that require more tailored deterrent concepts against a wider array of actions we're trying to deter and with a wider range of instruments, integrating that with Prompt Global Conventional Strike, non-kinetic attack, and particularly in the area of non-kinetic, that area of deterrence is really challenging, and we're putting a lot of effort into that.


In general, I think cutting across those areas complicating the deterrence problem is the growing challenge of attribution which cuts across a number of potential threats where our ability to positively attribute an attack is central to our ability to deter it or adequately respond. So we're working hard. I think it's fair to say that there are a number of these areas where we're not as far along as we were in the Cold War, but we're working on it.

 

THORNBERRY:
It just seems clear to me -- and I know to you all too -- that if we don't take ourselves seriously, the bad guys aren't going to take it seriously either when it comes to nuclear deterrence.


And I know we're out of time. We've got to vote. Mr. D'Agostino, one of the things I'd like to ask you to do for the record, since we've got to go, is can you give us the potential disadvantages or concern of the Stockpile Stewardship life-extension program only approach without RRW? I'd like those listed if you can send something up to us, you know, one through five or 10 or whatever it is. I think that helps us to make the balance.


And I yield back, Madam Chair.

 

TAUSCHER:
I think maybe we can just have a briefing on that. I think we'd like to sit around the table and kick that around.

 

D'AGOSTINO:
I'd be glad to do that. Thank you.

 

TAUSCHER:
General Chilton and Undersecretary D'Agostino and Assistant Secretary Vickers, we're faced with about 40 minutes of votes. WE want to thank you. The committee wants to thank you very much for being here today. Your testimony was very comprehensive that you sent up to us. We obviously see you all the time. We're very happy to do this. We like to do it in public.


We want to recognize the people setting behind you and the people sitting around us. Your staff -- obviously, all of your staffs have worked very, very hard. They serve the American people sometimes very quietly, certainly anonymously. Our staff -- we want to thank our subcommittee staff for their hard work, too.


And we thank you very much for appearing before us today, and we look forward to the continued relationship. We, obviously, have a long list of things we're going to do. Thank you very much.

 

VICKERS:
Thank you.

 

CHILTON:
Thank you.

 

D'AGOSTINO:
Thank you.

 

TAUSCHER:
The hearing is adjourned.


CQ Transcriptions, Feb. 27, 2008
________________________________________
List of Panel Members and Witnesses

PANEL MEMBERS:
REP. ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, D-CALIF. CHAIRWOMAN
REP. JOHN M. SPRATT JR. , D-S.C.
REP. SILVESTRE REYES, D-TEXAS
REP. RICK LARSEN, D-WASH.
REP. JIM COOPER, D-TENN.
REP. HANK JOHNSON, D-GA.
REP. DAVE LOEBSACK, D-IOWA
REP. NIKI TSONGAS, D-MASS.
REP. IKE SKELTON, D-MO. EX OFFICIO
REP. TERRY EVERETT, R-ALA. RANKING MEMBER
REP. TRENT FRANKS, R-ARIZ.
REP. WILLIAM M. "MAC" THORNBERRY, R-TEXAS
REP. MICHAEL R. TURNER, R-OHIO
REP. MIKE D. ROGERS, R-ALA.
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, R-CALIF. EX OFFICIO
WITNESSES:
GENERAL KEVIN CHILTON (USAF), COMMANDER, U.S. STRATEGIC COMMAND
THOMAS D'AGOSTINO, ADMINISTRATOR, NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY,
MICHAEL VICKERS ASSISTANT SECRETARY, SPECIAL OPERATIONS, LOW INTENSITY CONFLICT AND INTERDEPENDENT CAPABILITIES, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE