Everett Opening Statement for Hearing on 2008 Budget Request for Military Space Activities

Mar 22, 2007
Press Release

Contact: Josh Holly-202.226.3988 


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Terry Everett, senior Republican on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, today released the following opening statement for the subcommittee’s hearing on the Administration’s 2008 budget request for military space activities:

“Thank you, Madam Chairman.  I join you in welcoming our guests: Under Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. Ronald Sega; Director of the National Reconnaissance Office, Dr. Donald Kerr; and the Commander of Air Force Space Command, General Kevin Chilton.

“Thank you for your service and your leadership in the space community.  Space is complex and it requires our nation’s best and brightest.  Please relay our gratitude to the men and women at your respective organizations for their dedication and hard-work.

“I had a chance to talk with General Chilton yesterday about how reliant our troops are on space.  He made the comment that once you have it, you expect it.  I think he’s right on the mark.  And I believe that as the threat grows, and our military’s capabilities advance on land, in sea, in air, and cyberspace, space must keep pace.

“Space capabilities are essential for nearly every military operation our forces undertake.  They also contribute heavily to our economy.  In 2006, space capabilities contributed roughly $97 billion to the global economy and the annual growth rate is about 7 percent.  The GPS industry alone contributes roughly $30 billion.

“This is why the sustainment and modernization of our space capabilities and infrastructure is so important.  With much of the “baby boomer” aerospace workforce beginning to retire, we must also ensure that their expertise is passed onto younger generations.

“I am deeply troubled by the Chinese anti-satellite test that occurred in January.  While we have discussed these threats in great depth in classified briefings, I have a few comments to make here.

“This test clearly sent a message that the Chinese have a capability to hold our military and commercial satellites at risk.  But it’s not the only threat to space.  As I’ve discussed in previous sessions, we must also pay attention to other threats, such as SATCOM and GPS jamming, lasers, orbital debris, space weather, and the vulnerability of our ground stations.

“We must place emphasis on increasing our space situational awareness and developing a comprehensive strategy for the protection of our space assets.  I also believe we should think strategically about the longer-term implications these threats have on our nation’s space architecture.  I look forward to hearing our witnesses’ thoughts on this.

“The Fiscal Year 2008 budget request reflects a great deal of thought and hard work.  And, we recognize the fiscal realities under which this budget was crafted.  However, we have a responsibility to address some important issues that I would ask our witnesses to discuss today:

“Dr. Sega, I would like to highlight a few areas that I am specifically interested in hearing about today:

  • “Progress in space acquisition.  We seem to repeat the same concerns about cost growth and program delays year-after-year.  A GAO study commissioned last year by this subcommittee found that cost growth is due to, ‘the tendency to start programs before knowing whether requirements can be achieved within available resources.’
  • “Have we turned the corner on programs such as SBIRS-High, AEHF, and EELV?
  • “For newer programs such as TSAT, GPS-3, and Space Radar, what confidence do you have that the acquisition strategies are executable, the technology can be matured, and the resource requirements are adequately understood?
  • “Finally, the implementation status of the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) program office, which was a key legislative provision for this subcommittee in last year’s bill.

“Dr. Kerr, I am specifically interested in hearing about the following:

  • “NRO efforts to improve its space acquisitions.  The concerns I outlined for Dr. Sega are equally applicable to your organization.
  • “Your thoughts on how NRO is providing support to the warfighting community and areas where you believe this can be improved.

“General Chilton, I would like to hear your thoughts on:

  • “Progress in our nation’s space cadre and your efforts to recruit, train, and manage the career paths of our talented space professionals.
  • “The space capability needs and priorities of the combatant commanders and our forces in the field.
  • “Your thoughts on the operational integration of space.  Finding new and better ways to leverage our space assets is critical in today's battle environment.  Initiatives such as ORS give us hope that we can find innovative ways to acquire and deploy new space systems at much lower costs.
  • “Also, how space intelligence and SSA can be better integrated with satellite operations to provide near-real-time support to military users.

“Finally, gentlemen, I would like to hear from each of you on efforts to enhance black-white space integration.  Also, please discuss what contributions you and your organizations have made to improving interagency collaboration across national security space.

“Again, thank you for being with us today.  Your work is critically important to our nation.

“And, I thank the Chairman for calling this important hearing.  I look forward to hearing from our witnesses and I yield back the balance of my time.”