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STATEMENT BY
THE HONORABLE EDWARD C. "PETE" ALDRIDGE, JR.
UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
(ACQUISITION, TECHNOLOGY, AND LOGISTICS)

BEFORE THE
HOUSE ARMED SERVICE COMMITTEE
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

CONCERNING UNITED STATES MISSILE DEFENSE POLICY

MARCH 20, 2003
   
 

Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking Member, and Members of the Committee.  Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the Fiscal Year (FY) 2004 Department of Defense Missile Defense Program and budget submission.  I am pleased to provide you this update on the progress of the Missile Defense development program. 

In the year that has transpired since I last addressed the Committee, we have made good progress in missile defense.  The new management structure established by Secretary Rumsfeld in his memorandum of January 2, 2002 has been stood up.  An effective and rigorous oversight structure, aided by the Missile Defense Support Group, is in place and providing valuable advice to me and to the Director of the Missile Defense Agency for the conduct of the program.  Processes within the Department have been modified to support the accelerated development and fielding of these new revolutionary capabilities.  A national team of the best and brightest of the government and industry has been formed and is tackling the complex technical challenges of ballistic missile defense.  We have achieved a number of successes in the missile defense test program, which have added momentum to the development effort and bolstered our confidence that we will be able to meet the challenges that lie ahead.  In addition, our overtures to allies and friends have generated an expanded desire for international participation in the Ballistic Missile Defense Program.

The focus of my testimony in March of last year was the management and oversight of the Missile Defense Program.  The Committee was rightly concerned that the new management structure should provide for the proper oversight of the program by the Department and that the Congress should have full insight into program activities.  I informed you of the formation of a Missile Defense Support Group (MDSG) consisting of key officials plus 2 advisors from 13 selected offices within the Department (including the Military Services) for a total of 39 individuals who support decision making by the Senior Executive Council (SEC) and to advise me and the Director of the Missile Defense Agency on the full range of issues associated with the missile defense program including policy, operations, acquisition and resources.  In the span of one year we have had 25 meetings of the MDSG, an average of two meetings each month of a group of some of the most knowledgeable and experienced individuals in the Department.  No program in the Department receives more scrutiny-either in level of rigor or frequency of study-rigorously than the Missile Defense Program.  The MDSG has provided me and General Kadish strong support in numerous key areas of the missile defense program.  The MDSG has helped develop the strategies for the deployment of an initial emergency capability and the follow-on deployment of expanded capabilities in block configurations.  It has also been valuable for the transition of developed capabilities to the Services for fielding and operation.  In October of last year I decided that the time was right to transfer the PATRIOT (PAC-3) system to the Army.  The advice of the MDSG for making the handover to the Army supported the Defense Acquisition Board process and aided my decision to make the transfer.  The MDSG has also helped the missile defense development program by speeding a number of routine Department processes including review of the annual budget and the continuing evaluation of each part of the missile defense program against its cost and schedule goals.  I can confidently assure the Congress that oversight has actually improved under the new management structure with the continual engagement by the MDSG.

As you are aware, on December 19, 2002, President Bush made the decision to deploy a limited Missile Defense capability beginning in 2004.  The nature of the expanding ballistic missile threat and the declared hostile intent of our adversaries compel us to put capabilities in the hands of our fighting men and women as soon as they become available, even if the state of development is less than what we ultimately hope to deliver.  Putting an effective capability into the hands of our fighting force is a dramatically safer move for our troops, our nation, our allies and our friends than delaying their fielding for five years or more as we strive for a final, objective level of performance.  This is the strategy directed by Secretary Rumsfeld in his January 2, 2002 memorandum on the Missile Defense Program and the philosophy by which our efforts are being guided.  Concerns have been raised by some that this might result in the fielding of systems that are unproven and unsuitable for battlefield conditions or that the Department is seeking a waiver of statutory requirements governing operational testing.  No such waiver of testing requirements has been requested.  Quite the contrary, the revolutionary nature of missile defense and the threat posed by ballistic missiles have prompted us to take steps to ensure that deployed systems meet effectiveness and suitability goals through rigorous testing throughout development.  The Department involves the operational test community well in advance of a deployment decision so that we can gain a better understanding of these issues as capabilities are being developed.  The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) is directly involved in the review and assessment of all missile defense testing activities.  He will provide his operational assessment report to Congress each year and provide the Department an operational assessment of the suitability and effectiveness of the ballistic missile defense system at each Block decision point.  DOT&E also participates as a member of the Missile Defense Support Group, which has examined the developmental test program on several occasions during its first year of work.  The Department is committed to ensuring that fielded missile defense capabilities are sufficient for defending against the threat.  I am confident that the level of oversight being provided to test activities will accomplish this goal.

An important element of our Missile Defense Program is the planned ability to extend ballistic missile defenses to include our friends and allies.  Recent revelations about North Korea's ability to reach the United States, compounded by that nation's recent behavior, have validated the concerns of Japan and other Western Pacific nations regarding the threat of ballistic missile attack.  These concerns are rightly shared by Europe, as well.  The ongoing proliferation of weapons and missile technology to nations such as Iran poses a more immediate threat to the European continent than to North America.  This has sparked a growing desire among several of our allies to participate in the missile defense program.  We have recently conducted discussions with the United Kingdom, Japan and Denmark toward expanded Missile Defense participation, with some positive outcomes already agreed to.  We are also in continuing dialogue with other allies. The effectiveness of any global ballistic missile defense system will be enhanced by international participation.

Since this is my first opportunity to testify before the House Armed Services Committee since the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003, I would like to take this opportunity to thank its members for their invaluable contributions to such elements of this legislation as "Buy-to-Budget."  This provision will help us optimize the use of taxpayer funds as we seek to provide the best possible equipment and weaponry to the warfighter.  We are also grateful for the removal of certain superfluous and resource-consuming reporting requirements.  The continued cooperation between the Department of Defense and the Congress will only grow in importance as we execute our mission to provide for the national security of the United States.  I look forward to continuing that cooperation.

Thank you for this opportunity to testify before the Committee.  I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.


House Armed Services Committee
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515



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