UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Transcript

Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy Gregory Schulte February 04, 2011

Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy Gregory Schulte

BRYAN WHITMAN: As you notice, I have literally hijacked a few minutes off of the deputy secretary's calendar -- with his permission, a few minutes off his calendar to join Ambassador Schulte who is actually going to do this interview with you guys. But the deputy secretary has been very involved in the development of the space strategy. You guys that have been following for some time, of course, know that he did a speech in November on this, and in April on this as the strategy was developing.

And so I just thought it would be real opportunity since he gave me a few minutes of his calendar to bring you -- bring him down here so that he can kind of set the stage for you in terms of how the environment has changed and why the strategy is important and, you know, what the, kind of the essential components of it are.

So he's only got a couple of minutes. He's going to give you his thoughts up front, take a couple of questions and then we're going to let Ambassador Schulte kind of walk through any of the other more detailed issues. Sir?

MR. LYNN: Terrific. Thanks, Bryan.

Q: (Off mic.)

MR. WHITMAN: Sure. Here's this. And if you want a copy of the speeches that the deputy's done, I actually ran off a few right before I came in here.

Q: We'd like a copy of that.


MR. LYNN: Golden words, that's right.

Q: Yeah, we're still -- (off mic).

MR. LYNN: Silver words. The -- what I just wanted is -- as Bryan said, is to just kind of kick this off, just put it a little bit in context, answer a couple of questions -- if there's time and then escape.

This is the -- I think it says in there -- this is actually the first time the department’s issued a space strategy. And there's a reason for that, which is that the environment in space has changed pretty fundamentally over the -- over the past couple of decades. It's become more congested, more contested and more competitive.

And by -- it's more congested in that it's no longer the private preserve of the U.S. and the Soviet Union as it was just a few decades ago. Now 60 nations have active -- are active participants in space. And moreover there's an enormous amount of debris. There's a chart in the strategy, and if you look at the chart you'll see that the first 10,000 objects that we track in space took about 40 years to develop. The next 10,000 took about six years.

So it's -- the threat now from debris and from collisions with debris is substantial. Space has also now become more contested. There are -- there are capabilities out there that can threaten the important military capabilities we have in space.

And it's a much wider range of threats. It's now not just direct anti-satellite weapons, it's lasers. It's jamming. And then there are cyber threats as well.

Finally, it's more competitive. Again, another chart in the -- you'll see in the strategy. A decade ago, the U.S. had 65 [percent], 70 percent of the market in space. The U.S. is still the market leader now, but it's now in the 35 [percent], 40 percent range. So it's a much more competitive environment.

So given those changes in the environment, we thought the strategy needed to change as well. We thought we needed a multilayered approach to deterrence that involved international norms, involved partnerships with allied nations, so as to induce restraint in space activities. And then more conventional means of building resilience in our space systems, both through protecting them in space. But also in things like cross-domain capabilities so that we don't have just a single line through space. We have the ability to shift communications or other capabilities from space to airborne and airborne to space so that the dependence is lower and the benefits from an attack would therefore be more modest.

We also think we need a more multilateral strategy. We think we need to rely more heavily on our partner nations in terms of developing capabilities where appropriate.

We need to protect the core capabilities that the U.S. has, but there are areas in communications and elsewhere where we can have partnerships with allies and that will strengthen our strategy.

Finally, we think it -- we need a more transparent strategy, and in particular, we want to have broader sharing of situational awareness given the collision and the debris threat that I mentioned.

In short, we think that what this strategy does is not only protect the advantages we have in space but to -- will protect space itself, protect space from debris and collisions, as I mentioned. And it will also protect our space industrial base. And you'll see in the budget that we're going to release in a couple of weeks some concrete manifestations of this.

You're going to see a stronger commitment to the EELV [Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle] program. We've added money to the EELV program to ensure a stable buy. And the focus there is to ensure we have an industrial base that preserves our access to space. You're also going to see a new approach to acquisition in space called "Evolutionary Acquisition for Space Efficiency" as the sexy -- EASE. (Laughter.)

Q: EASE into space.

MR. LYNN: And the idea -- three elements of that: block buys, fixed-price contracts and a stable, sustaining and engineering line so that you can introduce technology refresh on a regular pace. We think that's going to lead to lower costs for the Department and a more stable market for the -- for our industrial base.

At the end of the day, the Department, though, is about preserving the space capabilities that enable the superiority of our military forces. And so we need to ensure that we can continue to utilize space to navigate with accuracy, to communicate with certainty, to strike with precision and to see the battlefield with clarity. Those are those core military capabilities and that's at the core of this strategy.

With those opening comments, let me take a couple of questions and then turn the hard ones to Greg.

Q: Mr. Secretary, you said that a decade ago the U.S. had 70 percent. Now it's down to 30 [percent], 40 percent.

What exactly are you referring to? That's a total of what, 70 percent of what?

MR. LYNN: The space -- that's the space market.

MR. SCHULTE: Satellite manufacturing.

Q: Satellite manufacturing.

MR. LYNN: You'll see it in here.

Q: Okay. And the report says that the U.S. technological lead is eroding in several areas as expertise among other nations increases. Can you give any detail -- and which way the technological lead is eroding other than these figures that have to do with satellite -- share of the satellite manufacturing market?

MR. LYNN: I'll let Greg.

MR. SCHULTE: Okay. I mean, there was a period of time when only the U.S. and the Soviet Union, you know, could actually launch objects into space, with a few other countries. And now you have 11 countries with 22 launch sites that can put spacecraft into space.

There was also a time when it was really only the United States and the Soviet Union that could do things like do imagery from space. And now you have a whole variety of countries, many of whom are our NATO allies and other partners, who have -- who can produce imagery from space. And you have commercial entities that can do that, too. So, I mean, our technology is still the world's best, but you have a lot of state-of-the-world technologies that are pretty impressive, too.

Q: Mr. Secretary, the policy addresses resilience in space. If we're attacked, it addresses boosting the industrial base to prevent attack through technology. What does the strategy say if we are attacked we do? How do we handle that as a nation?

MR. LYNN: Well, we still preserve our right to self-defense and to respond in whatever means we think is appropriate.

Q: Does that include preemptive attack -- I mean, if we see an ASAT [Anti-Satellite] on a launch pad?

MR. LYNN: I mean, we would respond to attacks in space in the same way that we would respond to other attacks. So it's not -- it's not any different.

Q: Can I ask a question along the same lines? I notice there's a line in here that says the U.S. will consider proposals for arms control measures under certain circumstances. Are you developing proposals like that, or are you talking about other countries' proposals?

MR. LYNN: Well, I think what we're really talking about is we think that there -- a -- the peaceful use of space is a very important concept, and we're looking as part of that to build the norms up in terms of appropriate behavior in space. So we're looking across the gamut. We're looking at, you know, what does arms control offer, what do things like the EU [European Union] code of conduct offer, we're evaluating that. We're looking across the board at whatever kinds of norms that would improve the peaceful use of space across the world community.

Q: So what is --

Q: Go ahead. Sorry.

Q: So it would be correct to say that you are developing or considering an arms control portfolio?

MR. LYNN: I think we're evaluating what's out there in terms of the tools that might improve our -- the peaceful use of space.

Q: And does the strategy say anything specific about space weapons, either weapons to attack space or weapons from space or, indeed, weapons through space?

MR. LYNN: It doesn't address those issues.

Q: So what is the -- what is the policy, then, in terms of space-based weapons or anti-satellite weapons?

MR. LYNN: I mean, we've retained our ability for self-defense, but we -- we have been restrained in how we would exercise that in space.

Q: What's the self-defense capability regarding space? What are you referring to specifically?

MR. LYNN: In other words, if attacked, we retain the right to respond in however we would choose to -- whatever we would choose to be the appropriate means.

Q: The strategy calls for improving acquisitions process, as well as reforming export controls. Can you give a couple of concrete examples in terms of what the strategy calls for on both of those fronts?

MR. LYNN: Well, acquisition, I think addressed with the EELV proposal and the EASE proposal. Those are the two major acquisition proposals.

In export control, we have a broader proposal, of which the space market would be part of, that we're developing a reform approach inside the administration where we're trying to develop a single list and a single agency and a single IT [Information Technology] system so that we can improve our approach to export control.

What Secretary Gates has talked about applies to space as well. If what you would like to see is higher fences around the fewer key technologies that are at the core of our military capabilities, but to allow more export in those areas that don't fall behind those fences.

Q: Two more. Maybe one more.

Q: Mr. Secretary, I was going back to your point as far as the use of fixed price contracting -- (off mic) acquisition. Given some of the troubles that have been experienced in some of these space development programs, how is the department going to, I guess, ensure or guarantee that these fixed-price contracts will stay under the price set? I mean, is that -- hasn't that always been a concern with fixed-price contracts?

MR. LYNN: No, that's exactly right. Here we're not talking about fixed price for every space program; what we're talking about is these programs we're putting under this initiative called EASE, which are relatively mature. We're looking at -- AEHF [Advanced Extremely High Frequency] is the first one. You can't -- you can't use fixed price contracts where you're inventing something, you know, where you're inventing the technology, you really do have to use cost-plus.

But where we find fixed-price can be effective is where you already have the technology and already have it mature, the combination of a block-buy at a fixed price allows the manufacturer to lay out a production line in a much more rational fashion and to get efficiencies and share those efficiencies with the Department.

And one of the things the fixed price does is ensure that you don't -- that you only introduce technology at regular intervals with high-level approval so that you don't just add things at each -- at each turn, that then -- that tends to drive costs up and schedules out.

But it's not an -- I should be clear it's not an across-the-board every space program is going to move to fixed-price. It's a very targeted use of fixed price.

MR. WHITMAN: Guys, I really do have a minute and 40 seconds to get the deputy to the next meeting. But we're going to leave you in the very competent hands of Ambassador Schulte here. And, again, thanks for your interest in this very important subject for us. And we're glad that you're interested in it. Thank you.

MR. LYNN: Thank you.

Q: Thank you.

Q: Thanks.

Q: (Off mic.) I'm going to try again. (Off mic.)

Q: Were they not on?

Q: They were not on.

Q: (Off mic.)

(Operator instructions.)

LT. COL. CUNNINGHAM: Good afternoon.

Q: Hello?

LT. COL. CUNNINGHAM: Hi, this is Lieutenant Colonel Cunningham from Department of Defense Public Affairs. We apologize upfront that we had a few communication problems upfront but we do appreciate that you all have hung in there with us. And right now I'm going to introduce to you the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, Ambassador Gregory Schulte and then we'll take it from there, okay?

MR. SCHULTE: Great. Thank you very much.

I'm afraid, for those of you on the speakerphone, you missed -- you missed a great introduction by the deputy secretary of defense, so the colleagues here scooped you. But I'll repeat some of the key points that he made for your benefit.

And let me first talk a little bit about the document and then let me talk a little bit about the contents, and then take your questions. First, the document itself. You have a copy of the unclassified summary. There is a classified version that is all of four pages longer. This covers -- this covers the bulk, this covers the full range, and so there's -- there are no surprises in the classified version. We delivered that to the -- to Congress, to the relevant congressional committees yesterday. We have briefed the Hill, and today we're releasing the unclassified summary.

The document is cosigned by Secretary Gates and the Director of National Intelligence, Mr. Clapper. This is the first document of that sort that have been signed by the two. We worked very closely with the intelligence community to put this document together, so it does reflect our combined views. Here, we're focusing on really the implications for the Department of Defense.

This -- you remember we had a bunch of other posture reviews here in the Department of Defense. We had the QDR [Quadrennial Defense Review], we had the Ballistic Missile Defense Review, we had the Nuclear Posture Review. This one's coming out now in part because we waited for the National Space Policy to come out. And the National Space Policy from the president came out in June of last year, and this document really flows from the National Space Policy and it reflects the culmination, the end of this space posture review that we have been conducting with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

In terms of the contents, the secretary really emphasized change.

And in fact, the starting point for the strategy is the changed space environment. And he talked about how the environment is no longer -- space is no longer sort of the preserve of the U.S. and the Soviet Union at the time from which we can operate with impunity.

Rather we're operating with others, many allies, many partners, some potential adversaries. And there are more -- there are more competitors. There are more countries that are launching satellites, which provides challenges to our industrial base but also provides opportunities for cooperations. And we increasingly have to worry about countries developing counterspace activities that can be used against the peaceful use of space.

So the strategy is changed -- no, I'm sorry, space has changed, so must our strategy. We still need, as the secretary said, to protect those space-based capabilities that are so important to our national security. But we also have to protect the domain itself, space itself. And we also have to protect our industrial base.

Ten years ago, we could take space for granted. We could take our industrial base for granted. We can't do that anymore. So our strategy is meant to address not just our capabilities but also space and also -- and also our industrial base. And this strategy really requires us to change the way we think about space, to change the way we operate in space, to change the way we acquire capabilities for space. The secretary talked about a number of these.

I mean, we want to promote norms to encourage responsible behavior in space while increasingly sharing data that can be used to promote spaceflight safety.

We want to increasingly leverage growing commercial and foreign capabilities that we can use to augment our own core capabilities and also increase the resilience of our overall space constellations.

And we want to assure the ability to deliver essential services to the war fighter, whether it's communications or navigations or surveillance, even if our space systems come under attack.

If I could -- if I could elaborate a little bit on what the secretary said on one question about arms control and then I'll stop and I'll take your questions. You noticed the language in here on arms control. The sentence in here on arms control is a direct lift from the national space policy of the President in June. So it's exactly what the space policy said. And what that space policy said -- yeah, that's -- well, it's also not our -- it's not our -- this flows from the national policy and it's not our job to sort of set arms control policy.

Q: Give you a chance to make news.

MR. SCHULTE: But what that national space policy said back in June, and which we confirm here, is that we are ready to consider arms control proposals, you know, we will evaluate them against three criteria, you know. Are they verifiable? Are they equitable? Do they serve our national security interests? But the focus of the administration really is on promoting what we like to call transparency and confidence-building measures, which tend to be voluntary as opposed to legally binding. And that, for example, is why we are looking, you know, with the State Department at the EU code of conduct as a potential way to do that.

So we're ready to consider arms control proposals. And when I say, we, I mean the U.S. government. But the real focus that we have along with the Department of State is on how do you promote responsible behavior through voluntary norms or rules of the road.

And I'm ready to take your questions.

LT. COL. CUNNINGHAM: And if we can start with individuals in the room as well as on the -- and alternate between the people who are out in the teleconference. If we have anyone in room that have any questions for Ambassador Schulte.

Q: Ambassador Schulte, can you address China's growing capabilities, in particular in light, for instance, of its January 2007 destruction of an aging weather satellite? Was that a seminal event? And does that explain much of what you're talking about when you talk about competition in space with potential adversaries?

MR. SCHULTE: You know, in my last job, I was the -- I was the ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency and also to the United Nations in Vienna. So I was in Vienna when the Chinese shot their weather satellite. And I tell you it was certainly a seminal event in terms of world attention, probably a lot more seminal than the Chinese wanted.

And I think what it did is it did two things. First off -- in addition to embarrassing the Chinese -- first off, it showed that there were countries like China developing counterspace capabilities. So while the Chinese like to talk -- Chinese diplomats like to talk about not weaponizing space, it would appear that their military was going in a slightly different direction.

And it also showed the risk of congestion. When you look at the chart in here that shows the amount of debris, a good -- you will see after the Chinese ASAT test, look how it went up. A good amount of the debris up in space is actually from the weather satellite that they struck. And there have been any number of times when we've had to maneuver, for example, the International Space Station to avoid debris from this weather satellite.

So I think -- so I think the Chinese test did a couple of things. I mean, first off, it just made people focus that much more on the concerns about debris and how do we mitigate that, how do we avoid the risks that are posed to our spacecraft and operations.

Secondly, it focused concerns on Chinese capabilities. If you read the annual report to Congress on Chinese military capabilities, you will see that China is developing a lot more counter-space capability than just that direct ascent, anti-satellite missile that we saw demonstrated back then. And the investment that China is putting into counter-space capabilities is a matter of concern for us. It's part of the reason why the secretary of Defense wants to talk about space as part of the stability dialogue with the Chinese. And we think China has a common interest with us in protecting the space domain. And so, you know, this is also part of our effort to make them partners in promoting the responsible use of space.

Q: And is this what is behind comments that we heard from Deputy Secretary Lynn just now about coming up with systems designed to reduce U.S. reliance on space systems to the extent that they're vulnerable to anti-satellite weapons?

MR. SCHULTE: I mean, there are a lot of reasons why we have to sort of have a more resilient space structure and why we need to think about cross-domain solutions. But one of the major reasons is a concern about the type of counter-space capabilities that are being developed, and China is at the forefront of the development of those capabilities. I mean, it's not only the direct ascent ASAT we saw. As the report to Congress says, they're also working on jamming capabilities, directed energy weapons, a whole variety of counter-space capabilities. But it's not just China, I mean, we see other countries doing it, and we actually have seen some countries that might surprise you employing counter-space activities.

For example, are you ready for this? Iran has used counterspace capabilities and Ethiopia has.

Now, it's not ASAT, but they've actually jammed satellites. They've jammed satellites -- commercial satellites that have been used to carry, you know, BBC and Voice of America and so forth.

If -- you know, if Ethiopia can jam a commercial satellite, I mean, you have to worry about what others could do against -- you know, now, our military satellites tend to be -- tend to be anti-jam, but you still -- you still need to worry about that. And, again, there was a time 10 or 15 years ago when we didn't have to worry about that. And now we have to think differently and we have to think about how do we make sure that the critical functions that are performed from space we can continue to conduct them from space or, if they're degraded, that we also have alternative solutions.

LT. COL. CUNNINGHAM: And if he can have a question from someone on the teleconference. Are there any questions?

Q: Can I -- can I ask a question?

LT. COL. CUNNINGHAM: Please state your affiliation and your name please.

Q: Hi, it's Mike Evans from The London Times --


Q: -- here in Washington.

Can I ask -- what one particular thing could you do which will help to make your space assets safe from this sort of hostile act? I mean, is there -- you talk about needing to have a -- you know, more understanding of what's going on in space. But is there something which you can actually do which will provide, if you like, a wall around your satellites which will be prevented from attack from anti-satellite activity?

MR. SCHULTE: Well, actually, let me -- you asked for one, but let me give you four examples, because they're really -- they're broad categories, but they are the new approach that we're taking to thinking about deterring attacks on our space assets.

The first layer of deterrence is really to work to create international norms that a potential adversary would have to break in attacking any space assets.

The second level of deterrence is to create international partnerships. So if a country contemplates interfering with space activities, an attack on one would be an attack on all. They would have to contemplate attacking international capabilities, as opposed to national ones.

A third level of deterrence is being able to continue to operate despite attacks, your forces being able to operate even if space is somewhat degraded. And here we're changing our training and our doctrine to be able to do that, so that a country sees less value in attacking our space assets.

And then finally, as the secretary said, we retain the option, under the National Space Policy and under the strategy, to respond in self-defense to attacks on space. And the response may not be in space either.

So we need -- so we're developing a more nuanced, multilayered approach to deterrence to help -- to discourage countries from going after our space assets and to encourage restraint.

(Cross talk.)

Q: (Inaudible) -- first thing -- sorry. Is the first thing the satellites that are maybe smaller or smaller-scale satellites and more of them? But --

MR. SCHULTE: Yeah. Well, let me give you -- on the one layer of defense, the one layer of deterrence we've talked about is making our systems more resilient and more capable of operating in a contested environment. That could involve having a larger number of satellites, perhaps with fewer functions on board, so it makes it harder to attack. That could involve -- that could involve international cooperation to provide the larger number of satellites and also to have the international coalition. That could involve having responsive capabilities to launch satellites if we need to replenish the satellites that we have there.

So there's a whole variety of ways. Now, this -- when you read this strategy, you're not going to find out -- you're not going to see specifically how we're going to do that. This is a strategy document. But rather, in implementation of this strategy, the department will work to develop specific architectures in which we can evaluate, okay, how do you provide additional resilience? How can you take advantage of commercial capabilities? How can you take advantage of the growing foreign capabilities for our allies and partners?

Q: Can you talk about norms and partnerships -- (inaudible) -- implementation document. But how do you plan to go about establishing those norms and partnerships? And what have you done already on that pathway?

MR. SCHULTE: Okay. Right now in space, the only legal regime really is the Outer Space Treaty from 1967. And that was written in a different era.

Q: Right.

MR. SCHULTE: It's still highly relevant. I mean, it's still very relevant; it's still our basic legal foundation for what we do. But we're now in an era where you have more and more countries active in space, where you have more and more debris and where you need to increasingly worry about these new challenges.

So what we want to do is we want to promote the responsible use of space. And we're going to do this in a number of ways. First off, with the State Department, we have strategic -- what do we call them -- space security dialogues with any number of countries, where we talk about space and responsible use of space. We just recently have started a discussion with India, a major space-faring country about this. We've proposed having these discussions with China. We certainly talk to our -- to our European allies and other friends about this.

Secondly, we are looking at how do you develop sort of international -- voluntary international rules of the road to reduce the risk of mistrust or misperception or mishap in space. And there, as I mentioned before, we are looking, for example, at the EU Code of Conduct as a possible means to develop an international -- sort of international code of conduct. No decisions have been made on it, but we're talking -- you know, we and State are talking to the Europeans about it and evaluating it. So from a normative standpoint, that's our sort of focus: How do we encourage responsible use of face -- space.

In terms of partnerships, there's going to be a hierarchy of partners. I mean, we have our -- we have our closest allies. And I heard -- with The London Times there, I think you're probably sitting in -- you're reporting to one of them. We're going to continue to work with our closest partners on space.

But in the past, when we in the U.S. thought about space, we tended to think about operating alone. You know, if we're -- if we're operating on the ground or if we're operating at sea or if we're operating in the air, we tend to operate in coalition. That's what we do. And increasingly, we need to think about how do we operate in coalition in space.

And that means a couple of things. It means whether it's in the context of NATO or it's in the context of ad hoc coalitions, we need to make sure that both we and our partners in those operations can take advantage of the critical capabilities that are provided by space.

And on the flip side, we need to make sure that all the participants can take advantage of the increasing number of space-based assets. Afghanistan, for example: You have a whole -- I don't know the exact number, but you have -- you have something -- you have a good number of allies who have space-based systems, who have imaging systems.

We need to make sure, whether it's NATO or elsewhere, that we can all take advantage of these space-based capabilities in a more challenging environment. So another level of partnership is operating in coalition with others. And then there's the more general partnerships that we want, and just promoting the responsible use of space, whether it's with India or other countries.

LT. COL. CUNNINGHAM: If we could take just a call from the teleconference, does anyone have a question on the telephone?

Q: Hello? Yes. Hi, there. My name's Henry Kenyon. I write for Defense Systems Magazine. And I was wondering about -- you know, you're talking about operating coalition space -- with shared environment -- in a space environment with shared coalition allies and using their assets. And I'm wondering what the strategy has to do -- how the strategy approaches questions of -- and not just for coalition, but for our U.S. use as well -- but questions of bandwidth for military satellites that need a bandwidth, satellite communications in general, and as you mentioned, space assets for things like imagery and other uses, and how the new -- the new rules, new environment and changing the game has affected how these systems are being -- going to be used and applied -- deployed in the future.

MR. SCHULTE: The -- I'm not sure the word "bandwidth" shows up in this document. We'll have to do a search. I mean, it's not -- it doesn't address specific programs or specific requirements. On the other hand, I think it does give a broader approach to deal with some of those issues.

I mean, for example, rather than DOD trying to provide all of its required bandwidth for communications with its own satellites, we need to look at how do we leverage commercial capabilities. You probably already know that much of DOD's satellite communications goes across commercial satellites. We need to think innovatively about how do we -- how do we do this in the long term, how do we more effectively leverage that. We get a lot of imagery from commercial sources. How do we work that into our architecture?

So I think what we're saying in this strategy is we need to think more innovatively about, how do we -- how do we gather and share this information from multiple sources including commercial and allies. And we need to think innovatively. And that also requires that we change the way that we procure these capabilities.

Q: I actually have a -- Amy Butler with Aviation Week. I've actually got a question about the procurement goals. You lay out some very interesting potential uses of technology in terms of resilience, in terms of -- (inaudible) -- new capabilities. But the fact of the matter is the procurement system and the development system have been lacking in the past decade. The satellites that have been developed in the past decade have cost billions more and been delayed years -- by years in terms of delivery. That's the reality.

And I'm really curious in terms of the Defense Department strategy moving forward when you're looking at new capabilities or procuring more of existing capabilities, must you embrace competition to enhance the industrial base? Or might you consider going with incumbents to enhance the industrial base? Where do you come down on that, if you know what I mean?

MR. SCHULTE: Yeah, I understand your question. But I would really -- I'd much rather have Dr. Ash Carter, who's in charge of procurement, address that one. But I can tell you --

Q: Do you want me to ask you a different one? (Laughs.)

MR. SCHULTE: (Laughs.) If you want to. But I can tell you Dr. Carter has been very focused on those type of issues. And the deputy -- and the secretary has been very focused on those type of issues. And we've been looking very hard at the space industrial base. You know, we need to -- we need to balance a whole bunch of different objectives. I mean, we need to balance the objective of working more closely with our foreign partners, you know, getting space capabilities that are more responsive and affordable, particularly in an era when budgets tend to be going down rather than up, and at the same time protecting our industrial base.

Q: Now, when you say protecting the industrial base, can you talk to us about -- there's not going to be more money for space. The base has in a sense shrunken because of the mergers and acquisitions over the years. So how are you defining "protecting industrial base?"

MR. SCHULTE: I think -- again, we're getting into Ash Carter's territory a little bit there, and I don't want to go -- I don't want to go too far there. But I think in general terms, we need to think about what are those key technologies that we need to protect that provide us specific advantage; state-of-the-art technologies as opposed to state-of-the-world technologies. We need to think -- in making our acquisition decisions, we can't make those independent of the industrial base. We have to make those with the industrial base in mind.

And then finally, as the secretary talked about, we need to change our acquisition practices, which we are working to do, using things like block buys and this concept called EASE, to try to help protect the industrial base. Maybe even -- hopefully, the plan is -- to save some money in doing that, and then reinvest that in technology upgrades.

LT. COL. CUNNINGHAM: We have the opportunity for two more questions. So we'll go to you and then you next.

Q: Considering what's at stake and the increasing use of space and the competitiveness you've talked about, do you really think that voluntary rules and codes of conduct will be enough to protect U.S. interests in space?

MR. SCHULTE: Well, I mean, we -- the strategy lays out sort of a broad approach to protecting our interests. I mean, voluntary codes are one element of that.

But, you know, if you have a determined aggressor, you know, voluntary codes are going to fall by the wayside.

They can help. They can encourage responsible behavior in peacetime and crisis, but by themselves, they're not going to protect our capabilities, which is why we need a varied approach -- cooperating with others, increasing the resilience of our -- of our capabilities and retaining the option to respond as appropriate in self-defense.

So voluntary codes are just an element of trying to protect the advantages that we derive from space.

Q: You talked about, and so did the secretary, about retaining the right to respond. Is there a no first use of anti-space weapons?

MR. SCHULTE: The national space policy --

OPERATOR: This conference is scheduled to be disconnected automatically in five minutes.

MR. SCHULTE: I guess that says a lot for the interest in my subject. Don't write that in the transcript. (Laughter.) Or in your articles.

Q: No first use.

MR. SCHULTE: No first use [repeating the question, not providing an answer]. The national space policy from June directs -- from the president, directs the secretary of Defense to have a range of capabilities and options in, you know, consistent with our inherent right to self-defense. That said, we have, you know, our goal is peaceful use of space and the strategy says, rather clearly, that we think that no country has an interest in hostilities in space.

So our goal is peaceful use of space, but if someone chooses to act differently there, we are directed to have a variety of options and capabilities to act in self-defense.

Q: Just a quick question. Following up on the -- (inaudible) -- point, you noted that it would sort of be a coalition approach. (Off mic) -- participation of the intelligence community on this, do you see any need to change intel-sharing policy with regards to space platforms because of some of the goals that are set forth in the report?

MR. SCHULTE: Okay. I'm not going to address intelligence-sharing policy. That's a good question to ask the intelligence community.

On the other hand, from a DOD perspective and with the type of space situational awareness data that we collect, you know, we do need to think differently about how do you share that data. I mean, in the past there was a real need to protect, and increasingly we're going to think about how do you balance that with the need to share.

We're already doing that. Strategic Command [STRATCOM], out in Omaha, today provides warning to individual countries if our sensors see that, you know, a company or a country satellite is about to come into contact with some debris or another satellite. And so STRATCOM delivers warnings based upon our space situational awareness that you might want to maneuver you satellite.

The secretary of Defense is expected next week to sign a space situational awareness agreement with the French. We've signed a similar agreement with the Australians. We're looking at how do we increasingly share this information, both with close allies to enable coalition operations, but more broadly to promote a stable and safe domain in space.

Q: Mr. Secretary, I'm just curious, the shoot down of USA 193, do you consider that an example of responsible behavior in space?

MR. SCHULTE: Absolutely.

LT. COL. CUNNINGHAM: Before he answers that, because we're going to get cut off via the conference call, I'm going to go ahead and --

(Interrupted by automated conference call announcement.)

LT. COL. CUNNINGHAM: Okay. I want to at least say thanks to those who were in the teleconference. But if -- at the end of this question, this will be essentially the end of the roundtable.

Q: Okay.

MR. SCHULTE: I'll repeat what I said. Absolutely. I was -- I was the -- again, I was in Vienna as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. at the time of that engagement. And I was actually the one who was instructed to go inform the United Nations that we were conducting this operation. So I -- that was as close as I came to space in my previous life before I came into this job.

And there -- we actually got high praise for how we handled that. I remember going to my counterpart in the United Nations, explaining very clearly what we were doing, that this was meant to prevent a risk to life on ground through the spread of hydrazine, that we were providing this information consistent with the Outer Space Treaty.

We briefed nations across the world. And I remember -- I remember telling my U.N. counterpart -- I remember at the end of this she said, "I guess I'd better write a memo about this to Ban Ki-moon." And I said, "Yes, and please tell him that we've told you about this and that we've been completely transparent on it."

This was in rather stark contrast to the Chinese ASAT test. Now one thing I'd like to stress is we destroyed a satellite that was re-entering the Earth to prevent the spread of hydrazine. And we used a -- our ballistic missile defense capabilities to do that. But in order to do that, we effectively had to jury rig three missiles, three ships, a whole bunch of software so we could do that.

It was not intended and it certainly wasn't designed as some type of anti-satellite test.

We are not designing that capability into our missile defense systems. And we did this in a very open and transparent fashion. So I would say, absolutely.

In fact, what's interesting is if you look at the EU Code of Conduct, the EU Code of Conduct would let us do that once again. And it was done in a way that was -- that was meant to provide for the safety of those on Earth and also minimize the extent of debris. There's a real effort put into it to make sure we didn't create a lot of debris in doing that.

Q: And it's okay if other nations do that as well as long as they follow those protocols?

MR. SCHULTE: Well, I don't want to get --

Q: Do you see what I mean? I mean, if we're going to do it and we say that's an okay behavior, is that the international norm now for behaving?

MR. SCHULTE: Well, I don't -- I don't want to say whether that's a norm or not. But in that particular instance, I think it was -- it was -- it was very responsibly used. And most countries respected what we did, whereas in a very different circumstance with the Chinese there was a great outcry where they were clearly testing an ASAT weapon and clearly creating a whole bunch of debris.

Q: One quick follow-up -- (inaudible) -- if I may. There was a WikiLeak cable that quoted Secretary Clinton saying that the Chinese army has sent an SC-19 missile that essentially destroyed a CSS-X-11 missile about 150 miles above the earth and, quote --

(Cross talk.)

LT. COL. CUNNINGHAM: I'm sorry. I really have to cut this off. And the reason is we're transcribing this. And so we want to make sure we're true to the transcript. So I'm going to have to --

Q: (Inaudible) -- I've already gone through this thing and I'd just like to see if --

MR. SCHULTE: I would say I don't comment on WikiLeaks. Even the ones that feature me talking to Mohamed ElBaradei I don't comment on. So thank you very much. Thank you all.

LT. COL. CUNNINGHAM: Thank you for your time -- (inaudible) --

MR. SCHULTE: We're happy to continue this discussion at an appropriate time. So --

Q: Thank you.

MR. SCHULTE: -- thank you.


Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list