WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the Subcommittee's joint hearing titled "Threats to Space Assets and Implications for Homeland Security." For testimony and to watch the hearing click here.
"Good afternoon and welcome to the hearing on 'Threats to Space Assets and Implications for Homeland Security' held jointly by the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces and the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications.
I want to start by thanking our witnesses for their distinguished careers in public service.
We have an expert panel with us regarding the topics of space and homeland security. Though testifying in their personal capacities, they each have decades worth of experience dealing with the issues being discussed here today.
Our witnesses are:
· General William Shelton, retired Air Force and
Former Commander of the U.S. Air Force Space Command
· Admiral Thad Allen, retired Coast Guard and
Member of the GPS Advisory Board and
Former Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard
· The Honorable Joseph Nimmich
Former Deputy Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
And Retired Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard
I also want to thank Chairman Donovan and Ranking Member Payne for supporting this joint hearing.
We have heard extensively from Department of Defense and Intelligence Community officials regarding the potential foreign threats to our space systems. The threats are real, serious, and only getting worse.
Unfortunately, talking about a conflict extending to space isn’t science fiction anymore.
And the impact of that threat extends beyond the military.
It extends to our way of life here in the United States.
There likely isn’t a person in this hearing room, nor within this entire Capitol campus, that hasn’t utilized the services provided by satellites at some point today.
For instance, aside from DirectTV and Dish satellite TV – which allow me to watch Alabama play football on Saturdays no matter where I am...Roll Tide! – the Global Positioning System, or GPS, is probably the most widely known space asset and for good reason.
While I think many recognize that GPS powers their navigation in their cars and cell phones, they may not recognize the support it provides to financial transactions, farming, shipping, public safety, environmental monitoring, and a host of other areas.
The American public may also not realize that GPS is built and operated by the United States Air Force -- potential adversaries recognize our dependence on it.
I guarantee for you that.
And GPS is one of the many important space systems.
We spend time in the Armed Services Committee understanding what the loss of space would mean to the military, and the need to protect and defend these systems.
But what does the loss of space mean to our economy and financial institutions?
Or our agricultural activities?
Or transportation infrastructure?
Today, our witnesses will help us understand the importance and role of space regarding our homeland security and our emergency response.
The public deserves to know what is at stake when we’re talking about the risk of loss of our access to space.
It’s my sincere hope that a conflict never reaches into space, but conflict has extended across air, land, sea, and cyberspace. Hearings like this one are needed to make sure we’re aware of the consequences we now face if it ever does happen, and ensure we are ready for it."