SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10822]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005H.R. 4200
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
TACTICAL AIR AND LAND FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING
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TITLE IIRESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, TEST, AND EVALUATION
MARCH 17, 2004
TACTICAL AIR AND LAND FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania, Chairman
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
JEB BRADLEY, New Hampshire
MICHAEL TURNER, Ohio
PHIL GINGREY, Georgia
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
HOWARD ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
WALTER JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
EDWARD SCHROCK, Virginia
RANDY FORBES, Virginia
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
FRANK LoBIONDO, New Jersey
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
IKE SKELTON, Missouri
JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
SOLOMON ORTIZ, Texas
LANE EVANS, Illinois
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
ROBERT BRADY, Pennsylvania
JOHN LARSON, Connecticut
STEVE ISRAEL, New York
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
KENDRICK MEEK, Florida
RODNEY ALEXANDER, Louisiana
Douglas Roach, Professional Staff Member
Bob Lautrup, Professional Staff Member
JJ Gertler, Professional Staff Member
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJohn Sullivan, Professional Staff Member
Robert Simmons, Professional Staff Member
Bill Natter, Professional Staff Member
Jesse Tolleson, Research Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Wednesday, March 17, 2004, Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization ActDepartment of Defense Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) programs
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17, 2004
FISCAL YEAR 2005, NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTDEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE (UAV) AND UNMANNED COMBAT AIR VEHICLE (UCAV) PROGRAMS
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Abercrombie, Hon. Neil, a Representative from Hawaii, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces
Weldon, Hon. Curt, a Representative from Pennsylvania, Chairman, Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces
Buchanan, Lt. Gen. Walter E., III, Commander Central Command Air Forces and Commander, 9th Air Force, United States Air Force
Curtin, Neil, Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, Government Accountability Office (GAO)
Francis, Paul L., GAO Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management, Government Accountability Office
Lamartin, Dr. Glen F., Director, Defense Systems, Office of the Secretary of Defense
Thurman, Maj. Gen. James D., USA, Director, Army Aviation Task Force, United States Army
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[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Buchanan Lt. Gen. Walter E., III
Curtin, Neal P., joint with Paul L. Francis
Lamartin, Dr. Glenn F.
Thurman, Maj. Gen. James D.
Weldon, Hon. Curt
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
FISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTDEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE (UAV) AND UNMANNED COMBAT AIR VEHICLE (UCAV) PROGRAMS
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House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, March 17, 2004.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:01 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Curt Weldon (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. CURT WELDON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM PENNSYLVANIA, CHAIRMAN, TACTICAL AIR AND LAND FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. WELDON. The subcommittee will come to order.
Before we get into the meat of the witnesses of today's hearing on UAVs and UCAVs, we have what I think is a unique demonstration that I asked the staff to arrange and which appears now to be ready to go.
So, we are going to do that before we actually listen to the testimony, as we go over all of the UAV programs.
Here in our hearing room we have arranged logistically, to be able to control a UAV that is flying out in Arizona. And so, we would invite the audience, if they want to see this to come and just stand around here.
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And I am going to ask Tony, who is the CEO of Advanced Ceramics Research (ACR), and they were one of the top Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) firms for the Navy last year, and they are based in Tucson, Arizona, to explain the Silver Fox UAV and to explain what we are going to see.
And then he is actually going to demonstrate for us, as we see this UAV flying, what can be done with UAVs; not just his, but all of the others that we are going to talk about that are on static display here.
And I might add that Tony Mulligan's company, ACR, is actually flying UAVs right now in theater in Iraq.
And so anyone that wants to see this demonstration, I would ask to come up here and then once the demonstration is over, we will convene the hearing, in terms of the actual testimony.
Mr. Abercrombie, do you want to say anything before we get into the demonstration part?
[The prepared statement of Mr. Weldon can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. NEIL ABERCROMBIE, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM HAWAII, RANKING MEMBER, TACTICAL AIR AND LAND FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Yes.
The chairman's invitation was not rhetorical. Really.
Why don't we take a few minutes. I know that some of you are going to be interested.
Actually, everybody who wants to see it, can see it if they just be nice to one another.
Mr. WELDON. Tony, the mike should be on and we would ask you to introduce the head of the operation and research (O&R) team that actually is the funder of your technology, before you actually explain what is happening.
So, with that, I will introduce Tony Mulligan from Advanced Ceramics Research of Tucson, Arizona.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And I just want to say, Mr. Chairman, there is no truth to the rumor that this is a subcontractor to Weldon Graphics.
Mr. WELDON. That is right.
Tony, it is all yours.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MULLIGAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and other members of the subcommittee.
What we are demonstrating right now is actually about an hour ago, we launched two Silver Fox UAVs.
I would also like to acknowledge Admiral Cohen, from Office of Naval Research (ONR), who has been sponsoring this work and the ONR personnel that are here right now. This program was funded by ONR and is supported by them.
What is happening right now is we have two Silver Foxes that are flying in the desert in Tucson, Arizona, and they are following the green dot, which is a laptop ground station, which is in a convoy.
So, the convoy is transversing through the desert and wherever the convoy travels, the aircraft follow it.
So, if the convoy stops, then the aircraft will orbit round the convoy. So, basically the person driving the convoy with the steering wheel, gas pedal and brake pad is operating both of the UAVs. So, they autonomously follow them.
This software is called AINS Software, it is Autonomous Intelligent Network Software, championed by Dr. Allen Moshfegh from ONR.
Basically, it allows you to do multiple vehicles at the same time.
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And what we are doing is we are running the video on the left side, through a small satellite uplink, which cost less than $10,000 and it actually provides a live video stream, but here on the House internet, the firewall is such that we can't run video continuous video stream. So, it is greatly affecting the resolution.
In the operation, or if we were at another site connection, that didn't have the firewall, you would see a full, high resolution video going.
These planes will fly for up to 17 hours on heavy fuel, with a full gas tank configuration. And right now, they are configured with half gas tanks, which gives it about a nine-hour duration time. And they are launched by being hand-launched into the air.
Mr. WELDON. Cost per copy?
Mr. MULLIGAN. The fully loaded version with all the Infrared (IR) camera and the 72:1 zoom color camera is under $40,000. It is between $35,000 and $38,000 depending on specific options.
Mr. WELDON. How much in long term, just a multiple?
Mr. MULLIGAN. These prices are based on low-volume production; building one to 10 at a time. We believe that building a few hundred at a time will drop the price to a number around a third of that cost, or less.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON. So the resolution that you have here is standard? You can bring it in closer, you can zoom?
Mr. MULLIGAN. The video can be zoomed in up to 72. It is a standard off-the-shelf camera. The IR camera is a camera typically used by firemen on their helmets and our next generation that is coming out with a gimbaled camera, so you can point the cameras at your target, or whatever you want to look at.
Mr. WELDON. So, you have two running simultaneously here following the caravan.
Mr. MULLIGAN. There are two running simultaneously, following the caravan, being operated from one IBM ThinkPad laptop.
Mr. WELDON. Now, are the Marines currently using this?
Mr. MULLIGAN. The Marines are preparing to use it. We are shipping four units out with one Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
Mr. WELDON. Any questions from Members?
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. You say that it is being controlled right now from the ground, from the convoy on the ground? Right? In a sense of following?
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Mr. MULLIGAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Now, how does it work under conditions: battle conditions, conditions elsewhere? How would it work?
Mr. MULLIGAN. Well, it would work the same way. The ground station has its own location global positioning system (GPS) device, and so it pays attention to where it is moving and it calculates its course.
And it looks at where it is and where it is and it looks at where the aircraft air and where they are going and it derives new way points so that the aircraft will be in the right place, relative to the convoy.
So, it would the same in theater, as it does in Arizona.
Mr. WELDON. Any other questions from Members?
Mr. MULLIGAN. I would like to add, also, you can manually set the programming for the airplane at any time. You can override it at any time. Or you can preprogram it for the entire flight and not interfere with its flight path.
Mr. WELDON. Very good. Thank you very much for the demonstration.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now we will proceed with the hearing.
Thank you very much, Mr. Mulligan.
Mr. MULLIGAN. Thank you, sir.
Mr. WELDON. We want to make the statement that we are not endorsing anyone's technology, as there are going to be a number of technologies that we review today.
And the services are all doing equally excellent work in UAV programs, which is why we have this hearing. And we are going to assess that work and the success of it.
And we have a number of static displays of UAVs in the front of the room. In fact, I believe we have one from each service. Is that correct: we have a UAV from each service?
As we go through the hearing today, we will try to point out each of the UAVs that are here, so Members get a complete picture of UAV technology.
And in beginning the hearing, let me also add that we tried to get the video footage that was released on national T.V. just yesterday of a UAV that took photographs, allegedly, of Osama bin Laden several years ago.
We were not able to obtain that video footage from the UAV, but this has become a major topic now in the country.
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And on our trip that I led to Iraq and Afghanistan three weeks ago, one of the overriding issues that we heard from our military leaders: from General Odierno of the 4th Infantry Division (ID) to the troops on the ground, was the need for additional UAV capability.
We have conveyed that message to the Army and to our senior leaders and they are responding as aggressively as possible.
And so, this hearing is to continue the process of looking at this technology and where we are and where we are going.
Now, I would like to pause for a moment to acknowledge the valiant men and women in our armed forces, our coalition forces and civilian personnel who are leading the fight against global terrorism, both in-theater and around the world.
Recent events in Spain only serve to emphasize the pervasive nature of this problem.
We extend our condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have been injured or have given the ultimate sacrifice fighting to defend the fundamental freedoms on which our Nation was founded.
Our prayers are with those in harm's way around the globe, and we hope for their safe return.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This afternoon, as I mentioned, the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee is meeting to receive testimony on the Department of Defense's unmanned aerial vehicle programs. We did a similar hearing on this issue last year.
I would like to welcome today our first panel: from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Mr. Neal Curtin, Director of Defense Capabilities and Management; and Mr. Paul Francis, Director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management.
Our second panel member is Dr. Glen Lamartin, Director of Defense Systems for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).
And our third panel will be Lieutenant General Walter Buchanan III, Commander of Central Command Air Forces and Commander, 9th Air Force; and Major General James Thurman, Director of Army Aviation Task Force.
Mr. Curtin and Mr. Francis will present testimony based on their extensive work on the subject of UAV programs and will contribute both a historical perspective and discuss their recent findings, which we requested a year ago, which you now all have copies of, which is just now being released today. This is a result of our action last year.
Following their testimony, Dr. Lamartin will present the DOD perspective on UAV acquisition, including the DOD UAV Roadmap to the future.
And to complete the picture, General Buchanan and General Thurman will provide the warfighter perspective on the use of UAVs, both in combat and post-combat operations.
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You will notice that we have a static display, as I mentioned, of operational, small UAVs from each of the services that will be available for examination following the hearing.
In fact, I wanted to fly one over the Capital, but as you can imagine, that was a little more difficult than even I could undertake successfully, but we tried.
I have, since the mid 1990's, when I was chairman of the Military Research and Development Subcommittee, advocated an aggressive fielding of UAVs.
Recent conflicts have demonstrated their utility, and today, UAVs are an integral part of our intelligence and military operations.
Though UAVs continue to prove themselves daily, the cultural opposition within the services has not been overcome. Nor has the resistance to one service adopting a UAV developed by another service. And that is really, unacceptable.
I continue to be concerned that though OSD and the services have developed a UAV acquisition roadmap, compliance is not mandatory, and services are free to do as they wish.
OSD, after having gone to all the effort to jointly develop a logical UAV acquisition roadmap within the services, should have a mechanism to ensure that UAV acquisitions within the Department conform to that roadmap.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Though small UAVs cost comparatively little individually, in aggregate the cost is very significant as we seek to procure hundreds, perhaps even thousands.
There should be a competitive selection of each class of UAV, from high-altitude endurance to small, man-portable UAVs. Only in this way will the warfighter get the most capability, while the taxpayer gets the best price.
I am pleased to hear of the recent decision that the Navy intends to competitively select a system to meet its Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMs) requirements.
The Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS), is another area of concern. The schedule and missions are still unclear. In addition, the program has now been moved again, this time to Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
It is not clear to me that DARPA is the preferred location rather than having a military service execute development and acquisition.
I am very interested to hear the various witnesses' comments on this program.
Before we get started, the last point I want to make is that UAVs are sensor platforms. And if the sensor information does not get to the users, UAVs have little value. Standards resulting in interoperable systems are the key to successful UAV operation.
Any place where a system can be standardized, such as by using a common link, such as the Tactical Common Data Link, or TCDL, builds in inherent interoperability. Joint service use of a common UAV offers the same advantages.
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Before we proceed with the first panel's testimony, I would like to recognize my good friend from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie, who is an advocate for UAVs, in fact, I understand he wants to test them in Hawaii, which all of us want to come to be a part of, for any remarks he would like to make.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I would be delighted to have you do that, but unfortunately, you have just demonstrated that you can see everything we are doing in Hawaii sitting right in that chair.
So, I guess you won't have to come out.
Mr. WELDON. Can't you convince us to come anyway?
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Chairman, I just want to tell you I have been very quickly through the GAO report and I think it best now that we move immediately to the testimony because I think this report, in typical GAO fashion, doesn't waste words and lays out the essentials of the argument quite clearly.
Mr. WELDON. I thank my good friend and distinguished Ranking Member.
Let me turn to distinguished full committee Ranking Member, our good friend, Ike Skelton, for any comments he would like to make.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that, and use of time, we will encourage each witness to keep their opening oral statements short and focused so that we can get a greater number of questions.
Without objection, all written statements will be included in the record.
We will now turn to panel one. Mr. Francis, the floor is yours. Mr. Curtin, after finishing, can proceed.
Oh, Mr. Curtin is first. Okay.
STATEMENT OF NEIL CURTIN, DIRECTOR, DEFENSE CAPABILITIES AND MANAGEMENT, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE (GAO)
Mr. CURTIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate it. And Members of the subcommittee, we do have kind of a tag team today and I appreciate your willingness to do that.
The way we did our statement and our oral presentation this morning kind of reflects the nature of the work we have done. I have worked on the report that we are issuing today. And I will summarize briefly the key points of that.
Mr. Francis, you have been involved in a lot of our past work and will pick up on some of the key themes that we have seen in our work on UAV systems and some of the challenges for the future.
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Let me start with just a few points. I think in three points here I can summarize our new report. We called it, Improved Planning Can Enhance DOD's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles's Efforts, and that is really the crux of what we are getting at.
First point: interest in UAVs and the amount of money being spent on UAVs is increasing rapidly and Congress has been extremely supportive of UAV programs.
Our report points out that from fiscal year 1999 to 2003, Congress appropriated $400 million more than what DOD had asked for in RDT&E and procurement: $2.7 billion over that five-year period.
And you can see the growth: DOD's fiscal year 2005 acquisition request is over $2 billion for the one year and DOD's roadmap talks about spending increases up to as much as $3.2 billion per year by 2009, if you look at the total cost to acquire and operate our UAVs at that point.
All the services, as well as the Special Operations Command and DARPA have multiple UAV programs at various stages. By some counts, at least 10 systems were used in some way during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), many of those systems still in development.
And the early reports we are hearing are that performance of the UAVs, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, have gotten generally high marks and have created even new interest and enthusiasm; showing value to the warfighter for UAVs.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Second point: we believe DOD has made some good progress in the past few years, better coordinating these numerous UAV initiatives underway throughout the department. The establishment of the Joint UAV Planning Task Force in 2001 was an important step.
It did bring about a more of a department level focal point for UAVs. The task force spearheaded creation of the 2002 UAV roadmap, which represented improvement over previous efforts and has set some needed goals and priorities; some needed goals and priorities.
And the task force has also been able to influence some military service decisions to improve program management.
So, there are some good, positive steps coming out of this, but I am going to have to add our final point, which is despite those positive steps and accomplishments, we still believe DOD could do some things that will further enhance its management of the UAV programs. Our report recommends two actions.
First, we recommended that DOD take the current UAV roadmap up to a higher level: create a real, comprehensive, strategic plan for UAVs.
The roadmap has some of the elements you would want in a strategic plan, but needs some more pieces to become a more robust document, that can really serve as a guide for UAV development and use.
We would especially like to see closer tie-in between the OSD roadmap and the roadmaps that the individual services have done. And a true, strategic plan could do that.
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Second, we recommended, with the strong, strategic plan, DOD needs to have, either was planning the task force, that currently exists, or some similar organization to have more formal authority to really oversee and implement such a strategic plan.
Our concern is that as funding increases, new programs get further down the road, a coordination role, which was what the current Task Force plays; it may not be enough.
There may be a need for designated office to really make some of the tough calls that are going to be necessary.
We are not advocating a return to a central defense agency, like DARPA, to control all the funds, but when we think of strengthening the current organizations and what is called for, then maybe that is a good point to turn to Mr. Francis for some of the past work that helps kind of, reinforce that point.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Curtin joint with Mr. Francis can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF PAUL L. FRANCIS, GAO DIRECTOR, ACQUISITION AND SOURCING MANAGEMENT, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE
Mr. FRANCIS. Good afternoon Mr. Chairman, Members of the subcommittee.
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I wanted to draw from our body of work on UAVs to make a few observations, particularly on what it has taken to succeed in the past; what are some of the challenges that the future presents; and what the implications might be for leadership in the future.
First, I think that past experience has shown that success has taken special measures with UAV programming. We have reported on a number of common problems over the years which have deferred some programs and the cancellation from others.
Among these problems, I would number requirements creed, risky acquisition strategies, uncoordinated efforts on the part of some of the services, which I think, has diluted some of the investment.
And in some cases, what I would call tepid, funding support by some of the services.
I think, in contrast, the successful UAV programs have required eight typical measures. They have not been products of the traditional acquisition process.
Rather, they have gotten their start as Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrators (ACTDs), or advanced technology demonstrators.
Moreover, each of the successes has required, and in fact, gotten top level management intervention, usually that has been necessary to resolve funding problems and requirements issues.
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I think the recent example of the unmanned combat vehicles: a good case and point.
We reviewed that last year and I can get into more detail during Q&A, but it is our view that had OSD not temped, in particular the Joint Planning Task Force, I don't think that would be a viable program today.
The second point I would like to bring up: what are the challenges we have in the future for UAVs? I think the first thing we keep in mind is the past problems and challenges haven't gone away completely, so they will still be there to meet.
But in addition, we will be looking at UAVs in greater numbers. I believe DOD estimates they quadruple over the next decade.
You will also be performing more critical missions. I think we are moving out of the realm of the, nice-to-have UAV, which is an extra set of eyes for the commander, to the must-have UAV.
UAVs are performing lethal combat missions, performing critical surveillance roles and functioning as nodes in the communication networks.
And these are very significant missions and some missions that are currently performed by a manned aircraft today.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think the final challenge for the future is competition for additional resources. With the larger number of programs and the higher dollars, there will be competition, I think, not only for money, but also for frequency spectrum bandwidth and airspace.
This leads me to my final point which is, ''What are the implications of these challenges for management?''
And I think, clearly, we believe that strong management will be key to meet these challenges in the future.
And I would join Mr. Curtin in saying that we think that DOD should build on the successes of the joint funding task force and strengthening an organization like that for the future.
When I think back on some of the successful interventions from OSD and this office, a couple things come to mind. One is: will that mode of operation scale up to the challenges of the future?
And will the leadership that has been provided by the individuals in those offices convey to their successors?
Because I think if they do not, then we run the risk of diluting the investments we are going to make in the next decade and maybe not get the type of outcome we would like to get. And I know that has been a concern of this subcommittee.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, that concludes my opening remarks.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Francis joint with Mr. Curtin can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. WELDON. We thank you both for appearing today and more importantly, thank you for your excellent work in this study on our behalf. It will be of great use to us as we go through the mark-up process this year for next year's defense bill.
And I take note, that of the recommendations that you made, and we will talk to the representative of OSD in a later panel, partially agree with your first suggestion, but disagreed with designating a UAV task force or appropriate organization to oversee the implementation.
And we are going to be focusing on that, and I would just let our other panelists be prepared, know to be prepared to respond to that.
One of the things we didn't ask you to do, which I would like to ask you maybe comment upon, or maybe have you go back and look at, is something that greatly concerns me, with the unbelievable addition of all these small UAVs.
The capabilities are also, obviously, very much available to our adversaries.
And could you in fact, or have you in fact, looked at the threat posed to U.S. and allied forces from an adversary having maybe the level you would get from a model airplane store of a swarm of UAVs and what they could do?
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And should we be doing more in that area, in terms of assessing what our response would be? Has the GAO looked at that yet? I know that wasn't a part of our original study, but has there been any work done in that area?
Mr. CURTIN. Yes. I can comment on that.
In fact, there was a hearing a week ago from our international affairs side. The House International Relations, I believe, had tasked them to look at this issue of proliferation of both UAVs and cruise missiles.
And we looked at the export controls; we were afraid that with all the technology being developed here by companies like this that can be used by people who might not have quite the same viewpoints that we do.
And there are some issues there, concerns about weapons of mass destruction even being put on UAVs; chemical or biological systems.
And there are some dual-use export control issues that we pointed out in that report. We can certainly get that to you
Mr. WELDON. So, you made recommendations in that report? I haven't seen it.
Mr. CURTIN. For tightening of the export controls. That was the key. We felt it wasn't a threat assessment of what is out there in other countries, but it was U.S. technology being exported for this type of UAV technology.
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And we did have some recommendations for tighter export controls for State Department and the other agencies involved in that.
We can certainly get you that and talk to your staff about whether there is additional work there that we could do.
Mr. WELDON. Yes, we would love to have you pursue that.
One final question before I turn to Mr. Abercrombie.
What is so frustrating to me, as a strong supporter of our defense industrial base and our capability is the range of prices on UAVs. We will see UAVs come in with price tags in the million dollar ranges. And then we will see one that sells for $30,000.
And when you do a side-by-side comparison of a smaller one, some of them have very disparate capabilities, but the capabilities are not directly based on who has the highest price.
What should we do? Is it because these small entrepreneurs are better able to respond, than perhaps the larger defense contractors?
What is the reason why we are seeing so much aggressiveness and successful aggressiveness on the part of the small entrepreneurs with these low costs UAVs who seem to have much greater capability than some of the ones that are much more expensive?
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Mr. FRANCIS. I think, obviously, that would require a little bit more study on our part, but I would think one of the first things would be the amount of overhead, as you suggested.
The smaller firms would have relatively low overhead and can do a UAV, I think, relatively inexpensively. That would be the first thing to come to mind.
The next would be whether, in fact, the capabilities are quite equal and the technologies are pretty similar.
So, I think there would be a real issue if, when we looked at those, the quality of the air vehicle and the payload were the same and the price was significantly different.
The big cost drivers are the air frame itself, but then the propulsion system, which is probably about the same as the air frame. And then the sensors that go into it and you can have some pretty big price differences in the different types of sensors.
And I think there is a lot of research going on on the engines and propulsion systems, too, that could throw your costs into those kinds of ranges.
But I agree, it is a perplexing question and I don't know if we have done enough work to answer.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON. Thank you very much.
Mr. Abercrombie is recognized.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you.
You probably were immediately suspicious when I complimented your report as not wasting words and getting right to the point.
Mr. CURTIN. I am never suspicious of a compliment. I appreciate that.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. But, what I need is an answer, because you have zeroed right in on, and haven't wasted words, but I am confused as to the why.
Can I cite a couple things to you in the report and then ask you to comment?
Mr. CURTIN. Sure.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And I will just go to the summary, because obviously, not everybody in the audience has had a chance and I guess we are on television, so they wouldn't have had a chance to look at this.
So, if you to your highlight page in the beginning and what GAO recommends ''DOD partially concurred with one recommendation, disagreed with the other, saying it did not need to provide more authority for an organization within the department'' and then you continue to support it.
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If you go to page six, at the bottom of the last paragraph there; I am going to quote again, because not everybody has this, ''Since our 1988 report, the overall management of defense UAV programs has gone full circle'' and then you go on at some length and detail to explain what the logistics of that full circle was all about.
And for conversation's sake, I am going to accept that, that it has, in fact, come full circle.
In 1989, what you meant by that, was in 1989, the director of defense research and engineering set up a UAV Joint Project Office as a single DOD organization with management responsibility for UAV programs.
And in a sense, they have come full circle, since 2000, DOD has taken positive steps to improve the managing of the UAV program.
In October 2001, the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology and Logistics (AT&L) created a joint UAV planning task force to function as the joint advocate for developing and fielding UAVs, which to me, sounds like the same thing that they had essentially in 1989.
Is that a correct understanding of your report?
Mr. CURTIN. Right. And it is close to what they had 12 years ago.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Now, and as an example of that, you say the task force is charged with developing, coordinating, detailed UAV development plans, recommending priorities for development, procurement efforts providing the services and defense agencies with implementing guidance for common UAV programming.
So, if I understand it correctly is that from a planning purposes for program purposes, for evaluation purposes this seems to be pretty good.
But, it doesn't have the authority.
Again, if I understand you going further down the page, ''while the joint task force and the roadmap'' I won't go into the detail of the roadmap, because it is essentially programmatic in nature.
''and are important steps to improve management of the program, they are not enough to provide reasonable assurance that DOD is developing and fielding the UAVs efficiently, the roadmap does not constitute a comprehensive strategic plan for developing and integrating the UAVs into the force structure.''
''Moreover, the joint task force's authority is generally limited to program review and advice insufficient to enforce program direction.''
So, my understanding of a quick reading of the report is, is that from a programmatic point of view, they are doing pretty good, even the competition part that the chairman was talking about, maybe overall has actually, again, been a pretty good way of going about things.
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There have been challenges and meeting those challenges, even though the competition hasn't necessary led to duplication, although that is a problem that has to be addressed.
But what I take it for then leading this programmatic charge into, in the context of a strategic plan and an organizational capacity to enforce that strategic plan and actually integrating the UAVs into the force structure.
Mr. CURTIN. You have stated it perfectly. That is exactly the issue that we are trying to get at here.
Develop a true strategic plan and then have an office with enough authority to
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And that is where the argument comes from, the DOD, on the second recommendation. Right?
So, I wrote down in my notes, ''Why?'' Why is there an argument? It seems clear enough to me.
Now are they arguing that there is sufficient authority to integrate under a strategic plan that exists somewhere for that? Because if that does exist and there is such authority, I haven't found it.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CURTIN. I think the argument, and I think that is a good discussion to have with the next panel, but I think the argument is that the AT&L undersecretary, does have that kind of authority.
Our concern is that there is a limit to how much the undersecretary can get personally involved in some of the kinds of problems that are going to occur and have already occurred here in UAV's hangar.
They have had to go to that kind of heroic type of effort to involve the undersecretary to force, for example, the J-UCAS program now.
And what you really need is something that can operate at a lower level; below the level of the undersecretary to really make those kinds of things happen.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. When you say those kinds of things happen, you mean decisions that mean these vehicles, having been approved, having been vetted, have then able to survive congressional oversight with respect to funding and on, are actually going to be put into the force structure and implement it and there, utilization implemented in advancing the seven requirements are.
Mr. CURTIN. Right. Exactly.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Now, does the undersecretary, in your estimation, have that authority. Or could have that authority?
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Mr. CURTIN. Probably the undersecretary, with his authority to delegate it from the secretary could make those kinds of calls.
But you don't see that very often. Those are tough calls and
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Because that require legislation on our part to see that gets done, because otherwise, you know what you risk is.
Because what you risk is people like Abercrombie and Weldon saying you should do. And people complain about that.
But my attitude on that is, and I have expressed this as chairman, I have expressed publicly before us, don't come and complain to us, if you are standing around waiting to see who is going to say yes, because people like ourselves will go and do it.
If you have a vacuum of actual decisionmaking taking place in the military, you can't complain then if the congressional oversight, part of it starts insisting that something get done.
Mr. CURTIN. Yes. Good point.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Thank you.
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Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Abercrombie.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. It is very disconcerting, Mr. Chairman. The heads have nodded and agreement has been given to my observation.
You will pursue this fine with our second panel on the floor.
Mr. WELDON. Mr. Turner is recognized.
Mr. TURNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
This was a phenomenal demonstration, it certainly gives us an ability to understand how some of the operators might view the information was wonderful. It was wonderful.
I appreciate also the chairman's comments concerning the management of UAV procurement and its development of importance that we not have unified approach to, what may be very similar systems throughout our UAVs that could replicate some of our successes.
In looking at this demonstration and also the number of UAVs and the increase that we have on the battlefield and the use of these, and one question that struck me was the ability of managing the airspace at the different knowledge level that we have of what is out there, what is available and aircraft that are in their space.
And your thoughts about how the coordination is occurring in making certain that by getting a greater unmanned presence on the field that we don't overcomplicate our airspace.
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Mr. WELDON. I just thought, yes.
That obviously is becoming a greater concern. I don't think we are aware of anything from that that would be an issue in the battlefield right now.
Our understanding is that that kind of airspace is pretty well protected and managed. I think the issues that, regarding airspace: that will be more important as time goes on.
It will be civilian airspace because there are yet agreements to be worked about how will fly in civilian airspace, regarding being able to file and fly; crash avoidance, working with the air traffic controllers. And actually getting air crashed certified.
And I think that is a problem that is going to increase as organizations like the Department of Homeland security, and the Coast Guard start operating more UAVs.
But, I am not aware of any military American space, but I am not aware of UAVs issues are they work this time.
Mr. TURNER. I think that is a fair statement. The one comment I would add is that part of that is the reflection of the state of the art in these at this point. Even though there were 10 systems being used in Iraqi Freedom.
For example, they are used in small numbers and in defined area and the de-conflicting and the airspace management has not been a problem.
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That is not to say it is something that needs to be looked at in the future, though, as we get more systems and more intense operations.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. The gentleman raised an excellent line of questioning and just to follow up on his line of questioning, I would ask GAO, perhaps we can work together on pursuing this even further because I know there has been a lot of interest on our municipal fire department and police departments for UAVs, in fact, New York City has a UAV already.
Now there is a major issue here of both liability and airspace and perhaps you could help us sort through that as there becomes a dual-use focus on UAVs that we are building for the military and intelligence to be deployed domestically, that we should be looking at.
You could help greatly in that area.
Mr. CURTIN. There are some serious issues with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification and all that to fly these in domestic airspace, especially.
Mr. WELDON. Dr. Gingrey is recognized.
That is all. You are getting off easy today. Because you did a great job with the study for us and we haven't had time to fully digest yet, but we will.
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But we want to encourage you to continue to work with us because this is an issue that is going to become bigger and bigger for this subcommittee and the full committee as we put more money in.
In fact, the Army, in their reprogramming of the money from the Comanche, as I think, alluded to the fact that they may reprogram up to $300 million into UAVs.
We want to make sure as that is done, that we are doing it in a methodical way that gives us the best value for the dollar.
There are a lot of good technologies out there, but we want to make sure that we get the best at the cheapest possible cost.
And so, your input has been very valuable to our effort and we appreciate and thank you for coming today.
You are excused, thank you. And we will submit some questions for the record. And you can help us with those, also.
Our second panel is now asked to come to the front. That is simply Dr. Lamartin, who is the director of defense systems OSD.
I believe last year, Doctor, we had one of your subordinates testify, so it is good to have you here this year.
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Dr. LAMARTIN. Sir, it is a pleasure to be here.
Mr. WELDON. The floor is yours. You may take whatever time you would like. Your statement is in the record as you wrote it. We would ask you to make whatever comments, but leave time for questioning for the Members.
And you have heard our comments already, relative to response to the reports, so you may want to touch on those, also.
STATEMENT OF DR. GLEN LAMARTIN, DIRECTOR, DEFENSE SYSTEMS, OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
Dr. LAMARTIN. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Abercrombie, Members of the subcommittee.
As you note, and sir, I have submitted my written statement for the record and would like to make a few opening remarks before taking your questions.
I am here this afternoon to describe for you the department's considerable progress in our unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV programs.
This committee has consistently provided direction and support to our efforts and the development and migration of UAVs for the joint force, many of our UAV-related successes we owe in large part to the unwavering support this committee has provided. And we thank you for that.
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In my written statement, you will find a summary of the Department's UAV programs, a description of their contributions to date and our plans for each of them.
I will not take the time to go through that material now. What I will note, however, are the contributions UAVs have made in Operation Iraqi Freedom. UAVs played a major role in the 26-day combat campaign.
As we have noted, more than 10 different UAV systems combat and combat support operations.
This is noteworthy, given that but one UAV system, served in support of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. As we speak today, UAV systems are deployed and engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And as the panel that follows me will point out, they are making valuable contributions everyday.
Taken as a whole, this technology area is one of the best examples of the Department's goal to rapidly transform our military and conduct warfare.
It is characterized by innovation and a healthy industrial base that includes the pliers from the largest of the defense industry contractors, to the smallest of small businesses
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC OSD is heavily engaged in the management of our UAV programs, providing the guidance necessary to ensure that we acquire UAVs in a coordinated and efficient manner.
The Department's UAV planning task force, under my purview, works to guide the services and their acquisition planning, prioritization, and execution of unmanned air system programs.
We have already mentioned the DOD UAV roadmap. We believe it provides the logical, systematic migration of UAV mission capabilities for the services.
The roadmap identifies our top ten goals and that these goals range from broad, programmatic direction to very specific technology solutions.
I would like to highlight in particular, our progress on two of these goals.
Sir, as you mentioned, our number one goal is to develop an operationally assessed unmanned combat air vehicle capability.
To do so, we have consolidated funding into a defense-wide program element for efficiency and we have established a joint, unmanned combat air system, what we call J-UCAS Office that is leading the department's efforts.
This is an example of where OSD has engaged directly to redirect individual service efforts into a joint activity. The Joint-UCAS program is a joint DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, Air Force and Navy effort to demonstrate the potential effectiveness of unmanned combat vehicles.
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We will demonstrate air vehicles from two different contractors during an operational assessment beginning in 2007. In 2010, we plan to make an acquisition decision for this new class of unmanned combat air vehicles.
Another one of our goals and our top operational goal is to make it easier to safely fly UAVs in FAA-controlled airspace.
To do so, we are working with the FAA to revise the process currently used to operate UAVs in the national airspace. This will greatly improve flexibility and availability of our UAV systems by making it easier to schedule UAV flights.
We expect the revision to be complete early this summer.
These examples should give you an appreciation for the types of goals we are pursuing for our UAV programs.
The roadmap has been very effective in communicating the department's plan, not only to government organizations, but also to industry, inviting innovation and competition in this dynamic technology area.
Although our goals are challenging, the department is working hard to reach each of them. We are committed to maintaining the roadmap as a relevant and current DOD plan.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, I would like to address our engagement with the services on their UAV activity, which is an expansion of OSD's traditional oversight role.
All of our acquisition activities fit within the department's broader capability-based planning approach that responds to policy aims, considers the warfighter needs carefully, matches systems solutions to those warfighter needs and allocates resources efficiently.
In the area of capability need, we work closely with the joint staff and the new Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System Process for requirements generation.
This capabilities-based process focuses on developing integrated, joint warfighting capability, providing analysis of requirements and solutions across the services.
UAVs will likely play an increasing role in meeting of the capability needs, but in each case, they will have to be integrated with our other, diverse systems, manned and unmanned, to provide effective warfighting solutions.
Our resource allocation system, the planning, programming, budgeting and execution process forged OSD the means to adequately review and enforce UAV program activities across the department.
My boss, the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology and Logistics, has sufficient authority as the defense acquisition executive to influence these processes and provide visibility and direction needed to advance UAV capabilities and effectively integrate them into the combatant commander's operational forces.
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To help him fulfill this role, the leader of the UAV planning task force and I have a standing meeting with him each week to discuss current events and issues with UAV and unmanned combat air vehicles.
In summary, we believe the Department is making positive progress in developing and fielding UAVs.
The wide array of capabilities offered by UAVs ranges from the very small, hand-held systems, to emerging combat vehicles to large, long-endurance platforms.
Unmanned technology will mature in its capability to support many mission areas and at every echelon of command. As it does, the UAV product area will provide opportunities for industry, from large, aerospace corporations to small businesses of all sorts.
The rapid rate at which industry can advance these capabilities and deliver them to warfighters uniquely positions the United States to adapt to new and emerging threats.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my remarks. I will entertain any questions you might have.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Lamartin can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Dr. Lamartin, an excellent statement and I am very encouraged to hear about your weekly meeting. That is a very positive development and it makes me feel a lot better.
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And I will tell you why.
Seeing the growth in the UAV budget that is occurring and it will occur in the future, which largely I have supported, my concern is whether or not we, since the technology is developing so rapidly, getting a total handle on that capability and then making it available to the warfighter.
When I was in the theater a few weeks ago with a delegation from this committee and we went to Baghdad and stopped in Tikrit, we were on the ground with General Odierno and his leaders. He has four units within the 4th ID.
And we talked with them about their success in defending the road between Tikrit and Kirkut, which they call the killing highway, where a lot of our attacks have occurred, without hitting other insurgents and it has cost us some lives.
And at that time, they had no UAV and they said, ''When we had the UAV it made us feel a lot more comfortable, but we were knew what was over the horizon. We could see what changes were taking place, in terms of movement on the side of the road.''
And we came back, one of the key recommendations that we took to the commanding officers of the Army and to General Sanchez while we were there, was the need to deploy as quickly as possible, available UAVs that in fact, DOD had said would in fact, meet their requirements. And there are a number of them out there.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the things that I saw, and perhaps I was wrong in feeling this, but there seemed to be this inter-service rivalry.
''Well, I have developed this one and this is my unit for my branch, and therefore, I don't want to use that one, because how would it look if we are using this service's UAV to meet our mission requirements out in the field.''
Is that something that you feel also? And are you comfortable that we are dealing with that?
And are we getting to the point where it doesn't matter which service or who develops a UAV, if it is applicable, if it meets the requirement, we can deploy it and use it for our troops?
Dr. LAMARTIN. I think there is a growing awareness of that and I think you will hear more from the panel that follows me as they learned how to use the systems gained experience and saw the value in them.
We have heard a lot the term, interoperability. What we now are thinking about is interdependence, where one service on the ground or in the air will rely on other services first for essential contributions of support.
And I think that will be the ultimate test.
Many of our unmanned air systems provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information. That is battle space awareness.
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Our aim is to make information available on the battlefield to everyone who needs it, in a timely fashion with the kind of accuracy and the details that each individual consumer needs.
It should not matter where that information comes from and when we talk about net-centric approaches to information exchange in the future, that is what we are talking about.
Mr. WELDON. I have one further question before I turn to my colleagues, who all have questions. And that deals with rotorcraft technology, both manned and unmanned.
We did a hearing last week on the whole rotorcraft industrial base. I am very concerned, and I have been, for the last 17 years about.
Our future in rotorcraft technology, both manned and unmanned, and with the cancellation of the Comanche, it further underscored the possibility of losing those technology advances that were going to be part of the Comanche program.
Now the Army and OSD have committed to come up with a plan to redeploy those $14.6 billions of dollars into a new technology, including rotorcraft.
But I guess, what I really want to know is what is your opinion of DOD's investing in technology development critical to vertical, tactical UAVs?
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And how is it managing development and acquisition of such UAVs?
The vertical, tactical UAVs, which we are not showing here today, but which we are going to hold a hearing on in the future, and we will be demonstrating some of those innovative technologies as well.
Dr. LAMARTIN. Like the rest of the UAV program of work, there is a lot going on, a lot of different people to it.
It ranges from some of the innovative solutions, like what the Army is doing with the Future Combat Systems (FCS), where they are developing a small UAV that would be used, able to operate vertically, and would be used down to the platoon level.
It includes work that DARPA is doing, looking at an unmanned, combat armed rotary craft, to again, take advantage of the ability to not have to rely on an airfield, but to be able to deliver weapons from such a platform.
We can also look at things like Fire Scout, which is an interesting example, because it is a system that went through the development process within the Navy.
Essentially, it was small, rotary craft; a very small helicopter. The Army has recently embraced that as part of its solution to the unmanned air vehicle family for the future combat system.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, we are operating both through the routine development process advancing technology and we think there is actually quite a bit of work going on in that area.
Mr. WELDON. Mr. Abercrombie.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Lamartin, you are the director, defense systems under the Undersecretary for Acquisition Technology and Logistics. Do I have that correct?
Dr. LAMARTIN. Yes, sir.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And the undersecretary is who?
Dr. LAMARTIN. The acting undersecretary is Mr. Michael Wynne.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. You gave very nice testimony here, but the essential question today is, and I agree with the chairman that I think some changes have been made with respect to finding systems solutions, considering warfighter needs, the kind of things that you cited, including these weekly meetings: all that is progress, but the burden of the second recommendation of the GAO report.
Have you had a chance to see the report by the way?
Dr. LAMARTIN. Sir, I have not seen the final report, although I did see a draft.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay.
Dr. LAMARTIN. And those comments on the draft report are my comments on behalf of the Department.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Well, if you will allow me to kind of go back and forth with you and trust me to say that this is part of a dialogue, I am not trying to catch you in anything.
For me, the emphasis in your testimony, the 11 pages or so, is a progress in programs and so on, and I agree with all of that, I don't dispute that.
But I don't think that is really the issue, at least the issue that is most important to me in today's hearing is not whether you have made progress in this regard, I will take your word on that and take the testimony as being an accurate reflection of what has transpired since 1998.
And you finished by saying that you believe the present circumstances with the undersecretary being in charge, if you will, will effectively integrate UAVs into combatant commands.
Is that a fair summary?
Dr. LAMARTIN. Yes, sir.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. You can do it, and you say that here, but if you go to page 11 of your testimony, you say, ''Finally I would like to address our engagement with the services on their UAV activities, which is an expansion of OSD's traditional oversight role.''
And you go on to talk about allocating resources efficiently, which I presume means this integrating into the combatant commands.
Dr. LAMARTIN. It is part of the means of integrating into the combatant command.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Allocating your resources efficiently and then you say, ''The USDAT&L, the Undersecretary for the Acquisition Technology and Logistics, has sufficient authority as the defense acquisition executive to influence these processes.''
I accept that and I think your testimony addresses that, ''and to provide the visibility and direction needed to advance UAV capabilities'' I accept that, too, ''and to effectively integrate them into the combatant commanders operational forces.''
That is where I am a little confused as to whether that is actually taking place or going to take place, or whether that authority will be exercised by the undersecretary.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. The reason I am pursuing this, is not in defense of, but in illumination of that position, you go on to say, ''Our resource allocation system, the famous PPB&E'' and if you have had some experience as I have had back in the state legislature, it used to be the PPB program, which had some different adjectives associated with it, you might remember.
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Dr. LAMARTIN. But much the same process.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. But I don't want the Federal Communications Center (FCC) coming after me, so I won't say what it is. But execution has been added to it.
That gives the Office of the Secretary of Defense adequate review, again, that was accepted, but enforce these program activities and then you go on to say, ''maintain momentum and direction,'' again, no argument with that, ''but accelerate their development and fielding.''
That is where the question is.
I have gone on at some length because you don't have the report right in front of you and I want to be fair about it.
What we are concerned about, and I think I can speak for the chairman and the other Members on this, what we are concerned about is, are you telling us in response to the GAO report that the Undersecretary for Acquisition Technology and Logistics, not only has authority, but is going to exercise the authority to actually integrate these UAVs into the respective armed forces and will be able to make those decisions without having to defer elsewhere in the DOD?
Is that the intention of the Office of the Secretary of Defense?
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. LAMARTIN. That is the intention. But as you well know
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. You need legislative or additional legislative authority to do that, or do you have the power now?
Dr. LAMARTIN. Sir, we do not believe we need additional legislative authority to do that, but we have to recognize that OSD, as the headquarters function, has to work through others.
Our responsibility is to have a vision and articulate it, to identify the right things to do
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Yes.
Dr. LAMARTIN [continuing]. To establish the programs to do those things, be they technology development, advanced concept technology developments, which are a wonderful way to put new tools in the hands of the operator and give them experience with how well they might work; to establish formal acquisition programs
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Right.
Dr. LAMARTIN [continuing]. Special management structures like the Joint-UCAS program office; procurement strategies and plans; give the services, as our agents, the wherewithal to make this happen. But, perhaps I am tripped up
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And?
Dr. LAMARTIN [continuing]. On my own words and that is fair, ultimately, the integration into the forces is a responsibility that the services have, must have
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. See? That is where our problem comes.
Dr. LAMARTIN [continuing]. And something that we want to create the environment for them to succeed.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Then why fight the GAO on this? Because, I am not speaking for the chairman, but our concern, and this is a joint concern, there is no partisan differences or anything on this, is when do we get to the point where these decisions get made?
Otherwise, honest, you are going to risk having us make the decision for you because you are doing a good job. Maybe you are a victim of your own success.
Of course, you got Admiral Cohen working here and I will cite that, just say you got a joint effort with DARPA and Admiral Cohen makes decisions. I will tell you that.
He never hesitates to make a decision and the responsibility for those decisions rest with him. There is never any confusion where Admiral Cohen is concerned, as to who made the final decision and what the implications of that were for the various elements that he is working with.
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Well, yes, I am going to say they are usually right.
But, that is because he is very, very good at asking people to give him all the information. He is not arbitrary.
I suppose you could say he was arbitrary in the end, because you have to make a decision. But he is not capricious about it at all.
He encourages the upward filtration, if you will, of all the information that he can get. And then, ''Okay, here is where we are going, here is what we are going to do, here is the timeline, et cetera, et cetera.''
Now all we are driving at here is we see this as such an important element in the advancing of our capabilities militarily. And I think you agree with that and you have acted accordingly and you have responded accordingly in the OSD's jurisdiction.
Now we are at a stage where we have to have assurances here before we go on with the funding. This just doesn't become another one service versus the other service and people jockeying for position and all that.
We expect you to make a decision, maybe not you personally, but the undersecretary, or by acting on behalf of the Secretary of Defense and on behalf of the joint chiefs and so on, make decisions about where the deployment of these vehicles is going to be in the context of a strategic plan that incorporates these elements.
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And that has to be done sooner rather than later. We think you are at that stage. I don't think I am overstating the case. And so that is what we want.
The fielding part here and the effective integration in the combatant commanders operational forces is what we need to know at this stage: where that is advancing, where it is going and what the process and mechanism for that part of it is going to be.
Dr. LAMARTIN. Where we disagree with the GAO recommendation, as you have stated so well, is not in where we want to go, but how best to get there.
And we favor centralized planning and decentralized execution that we don't favor a hand's on management of all of the daily decisions of individual
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Can you indulge me one minute?
Dr. LAMARTIN [continuing]. Programs, and that is OSD's level.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I want to get to the next questions, but excuse me, but Dr. that is not dealing with decentralized, centralized, we are not arguing with that.
The Secretary of Defense may be amazed to hear me say that. I defer to his superior wisdom on virtually anything, but in this instance, I agree.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Having had that wisdom available, which I think is the case now, in decentralized execution that is fine, but it has to be done. Somebody has to issue the order to them.
''You are going to do this, this, this and this and implement it.'' That is where we don't seem to have the answer yet.
Dr. LAMARTIN. Yes, sir.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Do I take that slight nod to mean silence is assent?
Dr. LAMARTIN. Sir, I am not going to argue with that.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. You are taking the Thomas Moore approach, thank you very much.
Mr. WELDON. We are going to see if one of these UAVs can drop Macadamia nuts on the heads of people who don't agree with you.
With that I will turn to our next witness, Mr. Akin.
Mr. AKIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In your opening statement, you mentioned DARPA's joint unmanned combat air system, was that JUCAS? Or something?
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Dr. LAMARTIN. J-UCAS, sir.
Mr. AKIN. J-UCAS. I support the joint effort because of the positive aspects of the program will bring to the Air Force and the Navy.
I was also pleased to hear that the operational assessment is planned to begin in 2007. I would have thought that the redirecting of individual service efforts into a joint program could have possibly set the timeline back some in the process of trying to put that all together.
First of all, are you confident that DARPA will keep the program on track and keep the goal of delivering vehicles for operational assessment in 2007? My first question.
Dr. LAMARTIN. Direct answer is yes, sir. The director for DARPA, he works for the Undersecretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology and Logistics as well.
We have established an executive committee that is meeting quarterly to review the planning as we stand up that program of work. And we will be watching that progress very closely.
And I am pleased to report that one of those UCAV prototype systems, the X45, flew last week. It is scheduled to fly again today and again later this week.
So, we are very sensitive to not disrupting the progress, the ongoing progress in that area.
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Mr. AKIN. And also you said that the joint system is based on a common, open architecture and operating system. Could you expand on that?
Dr. LAMARTIN. Sir, that has to do with how we collect information, how we exchange information, how we do the command and control.
What we want to do is, as best we can, seek commonality in sensors and payloads, command and control systems and allow flexibility perhaps in the platform, rather than in the way we use that platform.
Mr. AKIN. Flexibility in the use of the platform?
Dr. LAMARTIN. Flexibility in the design of the individual platforms.
For example, if it is designed for carrier operations, take off and landing, as opposed to take off and landing from a runway.
Mr. AKIN. Okay. But in terms of you are looking for one, sort of, operational software, or systems architecture so that you can vary the vehicle somewhat and get
Dr. LAMARTIN. Allow the vehicles to vary somewhat. And yet we are trying
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Mr. AKIN. Give them the actual communication processes, is on language they all understand.
Dr. LAMARTIN. Yes, sir.
Mr. AKIN. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Akin.
Dr. Lamartin, I want to thank you for your work and for coming.
We have some other questions for the record, but in the interests of not keeping our third panel waiting, we would like to get them up and give them a chance to respond.
But we appreciate your leadership; we will continue to work with you in a very positive way and helping you to oversee this very vital part of our defense systems for the 21st century.
Dr. LAMARTIN. Sir, thank you and I thank the committee for its continued support.
Mr. WELDON. As our third panel is coming up, I would just announce to the services that are here, at the end of this panel, I would like to have each of the services to have someone come forward and hold up and point to our four static displays that we have here and explain a little bit about them.
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And so I would ask the Army to be prepared to discuss the Raven, the Air Force to be prepared to discuss Desert Hawk; the Marine Corps to be prepared to discuss Dragon Eye; and the Navy to be prepared to discuss the Silver Fox, whether it is a uniformed person or someone from one of the labs, whatever; if you could just come up.
And at the end, after we have done this round, we would like to have them just hold up so that the Members and the staff can see what we have in the way of a static display.
Our next panel consists of Major General James Thurman, Director of Army Aviation Task Force and Lieutenant General Walter Buchanan III, Commander of Central Command Air Forces and Commander of the 9th Air Force, United States Air Force.
Gentlemen, your statements are accepted as a part of the record. You may make and proceed to make any comments you would like to make verbally and then we will proceed to questioning.
We would like to thank you for being here and we will turn the floor over to you, General, for whatever comments you would like to make.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. WALTER E. BUCHANAN III, COMMANDER, CENTRAL COMMAND AIR FORCES AND COMMANDER, 9TH AIR FORCE, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General BUCHANAN. Thank you, sir.
Chairman Weldon, distinguished Members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to provide a warfighter's viewpoint on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in support of military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and to respond to your questions.
First, if I may, sir, on behalf of the men and women of U.S. Air Forces, U.S. Central Command, (CENTAF), I would like to express our appreciation to the committee for your unwavering support to the warfighter.
Your efforts harden our resolve under difficult circumstances and we appreciate your service to the nation.
I am also pleased to be able to report to you the success of the dedicated warriors of CENTAF are achieving on a daily basis. Our Nation's airmen, of all services, performed magnificently during major combat operations in both Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and OIF.
They are now fully engaged in building a foundation that will provide regional stability for the future. It is a difficult challenge, but one that we are fully committed to.
As the CENTAF commander and General Abizaid and the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) commanders, Combined Forces Air Component (CFAC), I am intimately familiar with the contributions and limitations of my UAV force in support of our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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Yet, as we speak, UAVs are loitering over hostile territory gathering intelligence and tracking targets in support of our ground forces and operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
From my early days as the last joint task force, Southwest Asia commander, and General Moseley's deputy in the Middle East, I have seen a significant evolution in the employment of our operational UAV force.
As a pilot who has flown with UAVs as part of his package, and a commander who has employed UAVs in combat, I have seen our UAV force evolve from one that was principally an intelligence collections platform in Bosnia, to one that today, has a very potent air-to-ground capability and represents a truly flexible combat platform and is clearly my bravest wingman.
Doctrinally, CENTCOM employs UAVs in a layered approach, with shorter range tactical systems, assigned to, and direct support of deployed units, while more flexible, longer range systems are used to range the battlefield in general support, responding to set and emerging priorities established by CENTCOM and supported commanders.
Tactical UAVs are not under my control as the CFAC and senior air commander, as such, I will focus my remarks on principally discuss the RQ-/MQ1 Predator.
Historically, from 1995 to 2001 the Predator was employed solely as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aspect. Since then, we have made enormous strides transforming the Predator into a true, counter land weapons system, capable of affecting the entire battle space.
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The Predator can execute and switch quickly among any role within the fine, fixed, track target, engage and assess kill chain. Its long endurance allows me to combine several of these mission capabilities within a single sortie.
Currently we are employing Predators across the theater in the following roles: official Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR), high-value targeting, interdiction, close-air support, force protection, counter-mortar, counter-man-portable air defense (MANPAD) suppression, combat search and rescue, SOF infiltration-exfiltration and battle damage assessment.
Further, we continue to leverage our Predator fleet in an effort to better support our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I recently moved our Predator operations in Iraq from Tallil Air Base, Iraq in the south, north to Belad Air Base where they are now closer and more responsive to current operating locations.
This move has reduced transit time to the target area, thereby increasing their on-station time and also allowing us to leverage the ling of sight capability with the launch and recovery unit I have at Belad, to fly shorter line of sight (LOS) missions in addition to the remote split operations we are currently flying via satellite from Nellis Air Force Base.
We continue to look for better ways to employ the Predator in support of the ground force and coalition soldiers. We are using the receive-only video enhanced receiver for rover systems in theater to truly exploit overhead sensors by streaming Predator and other's video directly to supported ground units.
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We currently have every available system in theater and have firm order to double this capability as soon as possible.
As the CFAC, I am bringing every asset I have to bear in the daily fight going on at ground level. The long dwell effectiveness of UAVs as surveillance systems is unmatched and it being used to great effect in both theaters.
However, there are many other airframes and systems we are employing to provide additional support to the ground commander.
Despite being designed to target laser-guided bombs in both Afghanistan and Iraq today, we are employing the lightning targeting pods on fighter aircraft and A10's to provide high resolution video of ground targets, allowing us to use these airframes in non-traditional ISR roles for increased coverage of the battlefield.
To counter the insurgent threat in both theaters, we have tracked and mapped out many of the vulnerable main supply routes, pipelines and power lines and daily task our crews and UAVs to survey them for suspicious activity.
If we see any, we then take a closer look and coordinate with the ground force commander and many times preventing another improvised explosive device (IED) from injuring coalition forces.
We have also noted blackmarketeers salvaging copper from newly repaired power lines. We work with local ground commanders to police these individuals as well.
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While these do not represent traditional uses of these platforms, it has been effective and that is all that matters to you and I.
As the air commander, my primary concern is the effect that air power has on the battlefield in support of CENTCOM's mission and our ground force.
If I can achieve a particular effect with F16s and lightning pods, then I will task them, if a Predator UAV is the appropriate vehicle, I will task it.
My bottom line is to create an effect on the battlefield that supports my fellow warfighters and their mission and keeps our coalition forces safe.
Over the past 2 years, I have walked the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan and I cannot tell you how proud I am to serve alongside the wonderful men and women that make up our armed forces.
From the son of my own in uniform, trained and ready to deploy, there is nothing I will not do to ensure our forces have the support they need to combat the insurgent threat we face on a daily base.
Chairman Weldon, distinguished members, I am honored to be your CENTAF commander and truly appreciate the support this committee has provided the years to our men and women in uniform.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I look forward to an opportunity to host you in theater or at Nellis Air Force Base, to allow you a first hand look at our Predator UAV force in action.
Thank you for the distinct privilege of being with you today. I look forward to your questions and working with you as we continue to refine our UAV force.
[The prepared statement of General Buchanan can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, General.
General, the floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. JAMES D. THURMAN, DIRECTOR, ARMY AVIATION TASK FORCE, UNITED STATES ARMY
General THURMAN. Chairman Weldon, Ranking Member Abercrombie and distinguished Members of the subcommittee, I am pleased to be here again today to discuss the Army's progress in our unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV programs.
I welcome this opportunity to testify before you today and appreciate the continued and ongoing support and guidance of this committee as the Army's UAVs mature and expand their role in enabling the joint force.
As the recent Iraqi freedom operations officer for the combined forces land component commander (CFLCC) for the decisive combat phase, I can testify on the Army's recent UAV experience.
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I am also pleased to be here with Lieutenant General Buchanan, the CFAC and CENTAF commander who I had an opportunity a year ago about this time to be working that operation in the Iraqi theater of operations.
Since the start of sustained combat operations for Operation Iraqi Freedom one year ago this week, the Army's UAV capabilities have expanded significantly.
Although it was limited at the outset of ground combat operations, Army UAV capability in the theater has improved and will continue to do so particularly over the next several months and throughout the year.
The lessons learned from the onset of our operations and the daily jet challenges our troops face indicate that UAVs are critical to both force protection and enhancing situational awareness and intelligence gathering.
The focus of this statement I provided for record today is on the Army's experience with UAVs in recent combat operations.
I will address the capabilities these systems afford our troops at varying echelons of command, describe the challenges we have encountered along the way, and discuss our plans for the future force.
There is no doubt that our recent and ongoing operations in Afghanistan and in Iraq, coupled with our continuing need to defend our homeland from terrorists will drive the development of both air and ground, unmanned platforms to such an extent, that they will become increasingly more important.
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Permanent fixtures in our armed forces, as we see for the future, from what we have seen with the recent wanted growth of UAV capabilities.
These systems are certainly coming of age and have great potential on the battlefield now and into the future. I would like to highlight the increase in UAV capabilities in support of current operations.
At the start of combat operations in Iraq, our Army forces had insufficient numbers of UAVs. Only a single hunger UAV system of eight aerial vehicles is what we had initially in country that provided the 5th Corps commander, Lieutenant General Scott Wallace, a solitary continuous eye in the sky.
I might add, we made up for that shortfall with the other joint platforms with close management of all those ISR assets. And I can think of no opportunity where we didn't get a critical area not covered with what the CFAC provided us.
The arrival of the 4th Infantry Division brought in the first, tactical UAV system directly into combat. Let me give you an example of how effective your investments have been.
Major General Odierno, who you spoke of earlier, the Commanding General of the 4th Infantry Division stated: ''The tactical UAV has become an absolute horror for my brigade combat team commanders and located, identifying and ultimately defeating high-value targets in their brigade area of operations.
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This system is flexible, durable and is a timely tool that supports the conduct of tactical raids down to the company level; the enhancement of force protection and the identification and mitigation of potential terrorist strikes against coalition forces.
The tactical UAV was employed in raids outside of Tikrit that snared millions of dollars in contra-band; contra-band, cash and weapons along with loyalists to dispose Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
No casualties resulted from the raids where we have been able to incorporate UAVs. The mission success depended in part of having the tactical UAV loitering overhead.
For example, we had an individual that tried to get away by foot and got into a car. We tracked him and stopped him at a checkpoint.
So, there the technology works very well when it is planned as an overall combined-arms operation.
With your assistance, the United States Army has expanded its UAV capabilities and now has 300 units and eight shadow units fielded, with 12 more planned this year.
We are also providing our deployed forces the added capability of the Raven, the small UAV to fulfill an urgent war-time requirement for enhanced force protection and situational awareness.
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A rapid equipping story success I might add. The Raven has become the small UAV of choice for the U.S. Air Force and the Special Operations Command and now the U.S. Army.
The Raven has been operational in Afghanistan for nearly six months. We currently have 10 systems in Afghanistan and that is 30 air vehicles.
And from early reports, they are providing life-saving situational awareness for those soldiers that are operating at the tip of the spear.
The Army will field a total of 185 systems total on Raven this year alone. And as I have said, we have fielded a total of 10 to Afghanistan.
Additionally, the Army is preparing to deploy the improved I-Net, a downsized Predator-A, provided to the Army through a congressional plus-up, to augment our reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition capability in theater.
In closing, our common goal is to provide the best possible capability for our soldiers who are in harm's way. I know that you will agree with me that these young men and women deserve nothing less.
In many ways, UAVs are still in their infancy and development. These systems represent tremendous potential and almost limitless possibilities for the future.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Feedback from all echelons of command, from platoon to combatant commanders is that they tell that UAVs have tremendous utility on the battlefield and are key to the success.
We could not have made these gains without your support.
Our goal is to invest in these systems in an educated, physically smart and capabilities-based approach, in order to quickly utilize their potential application in military operations.
On our soldiers's behalf, I sincerely appreciate your interest and involvement in this area. Thank you for your resolute support and to equipping our greatest assets; and that is America's sons and daughters: our soldiers.
I look forward, Mr. Chairman, to answering any of your questions you may have today and that concludes my remarks.
[The prepared statement of General Thurman can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you very much. Thank you both for appearing today and for your service to the country.
As you both mentioned, all of us are extremely proud of the brave, young Americans that are today in harm's way and all of us, not just support them, because they are wearing the uniform, but all of us have personal attachments.
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Chairman Hunter's son is currently deployed in theater; I have two nephews in and out of the theater.
I could go around this committee and Mr. Wilson has a couple of sons and all of us have personal ties to make sure that we are doing the job of protecting these troops and giving them the best equipment that America can provide.
And you mentioned my reference to General Odierno, when we met with him for two days, in the thick of things, up in northern Iraq, above Baghdad and our concern was, and General you have expressed here today that we are addressing any shortfall that exists with operational tactical UAVs, which at the time we were there, they did not have one operating, but they had had one the week before.
And we are very pleased with its effort. And it is because it is a personal issue for each of us; we have lost a number of soldiers.
I remember General Odierno telling me about his casualties; telling me about this one 24-year-old lieutenant who was leading a group on the road between Tikrit and Kirkuk, when they were attacked by Al Qaida and other operatives and he came under fire and did his duty, as any lieutenant would and kept defending his troops and eventually, he was brought down. He was killed.
And as coincidence would have it, I nominated that young man into West Point and he went through West Point with General Odierno's son.
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And I was carrying a letter from Lieutenant Bernstein's, who this young man was, parents that they had sent to me, a three-page letter documenting the bravery of their son and how proud they were that their son served his country and died what he had loved doing best: serving his Nation and serving in the Army.
And I can tell you there is no difference among anybody on this committee: we will give the military whatever it needs to protect the lives of America's sons and daughters in harm's way today.
And when we came with this message and it has been repeated in private sessions and public hearings, tell us what additional money you need, what additional support you need to make sure that we have maximum protection for our troops, both on the use of UAVs, which they feel are so vital, as you have pointed out, as well as for the technology; we are trying to deploy quickly.
So help us deal with these improvised remote-activated devices that are causing so many of our losses and casualties.
And so, I just want to reaffirm that the committee, working with the appropriators, are prepared to give you whatever additional resources that you need to put them out into the hands of people like Odierno and his other colleagues.
Not next week, not next year, but right now and we will continue to provide that support and so will the American people.
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General, I just have one question for you, that you are flying. You have the wings on your uniform and you obviously have significant experience and you listen to where the future of UAVs are going in America and when you talk about the small, tactical UAVs and the large UAVs, I think it was Senator Warner, who said that perhaps, 20 years from now, we will see UAVs pick up a major part of the function of what our current fighter planes and our other aircraft are doing in the Air Force.
There is some resistance within the services, I would think, from the enhance use of UAVs. You have to take and perform so many missions, the number of which you outlined today that are currently being undertaken by these UAVs.
We in the Congress have big problems this year and big problems in our out years in funding three new tactical fighters: the Joint Strike fighter (JSF), the F/A18 E and F and the F/A22.
Now I am not saying or suggesting that UAVs can replace those, but certainly the Congress is very much interested in what role larger UAVs can and should play and giving us the proper support in the future, so that maybe we can redirect resources from manned aircraft into these unmanned aircraft, into other quality of life needs and other cutting-edge technology needs that our services have.
What is your outlook? Is the UAV going to revolutionize aviation and the military or is it simply a passing fancy that will not be able to provide that strong support that many think it will in the next 20 to 30 years.
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As an aviator, tell us what your own feelings are.
General BUCHANAN. Well, sir, first thing I would have to admit, that as a pilot, for a long time, those in my profession kind of looked at the UAVs as scants.
But, I can tell you when I first got into theater almost two years ago and there would be a mission brief, we always would talk about the fact, ''Okay, the Predator is going to be flying on this side of Iraq, we are all going to fly on this side of Iraq.''
I can honestly tell you that by the time we got ready for OIF, we had come a tremendous way where the Predator crews had been included as part of the mission brief. I was able to show fighter pilots that they can talk to the Predator.
Now, I would admit to you at the time, that the pilot was many, many miles away, but you could still talk to it and he was, quite honestly, a very valued member of the mission package, and quite honestly, his bravest wingman.
I can remember a particular evening where I actually took a Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) asset, F16s and EA6Bs and I put them in a position to protect an MQ1.
And I would tell you that was a telling moment for a lot of people that I knew around me at that moment, because we were taking manned aircraft to protect an unmanned.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And it wasn't manned or unmanned, it was a mission capability that the warfighter needed and that particular night, the capability was on the MQ1. Now the same thing applies to something like the Global Hawk.
At the same time, the reverse is also true. We were in OIF; we used UAVs the first night to go ahead and they went in to help break down the door to go ahead and bring in manned systems.
So, I don't think really it is an answer of either/or, it truly is an integration of the right place to put the mission-capability.
We do have limitations with UAVs, by virtue of size and other things. The Predator, as much as I love it, it does have some limitations.
It is a little slow, it doesn't like bad weather, but beyond that, it is a tremendously flexible and capable system.
I would tell you it is not a passing fancy. I think UAVs are here to stay. And I think what you and I are going to see in the future is more of what we have seen over the last two years.
You may recall that two years ago, you and I were only flying UAVs within line of sight and then within that first year we began to fly them via satellite link.
And today, all of the Predators that I fly in Iraq, I am flying from Nellis Air Force Base, which allows me to range those airplanes further and actually shift them between theater, which takes me to Congressman Abercrombie's comment about combatant commanders.
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Because in CENTCOM, we have the flexibility because of the technology that you have provided us to be able to one day fly that airplane from Nellis Air Force Base in Iraq and the next day in Afghanistan, as we go through.
And all I have to have is a launcher recovery base somewhere close by to get them within. So, sir, I think they are here to stay. I don't think they are going to replace manned.
There are some missions I think, where you need the man in the loop in the aircraft. At the same time, I think we are going to see more and more integration, in the future.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, General.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Let me go to it, but General Thurman first. Most of your testimony, starting on page two, where it concerns what you call the ''areas we see for improvement.''
And I think most of your testimony then relates to what you have experienced so far and then things that you think are being done, including doctrine, which I appreciate. I think that is very, very important.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And the experience that you have had, if you go to page 16, 17 and 19: explication of that: for example, the changes in systems that might take place.
And you cite, for example, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, ISR; you talk about the alternative systems that you are working with there to try and see which is the best, and the communications relay package, the CRP package, exploring the various options there.
All that is well and good and all of that I think you will find support for from this committee, this subcommittee and from the committee as a whole. Certainly from the chairman; I am sure of that.
But then when we get down to the end, that is where my problem comes in and the questions that were raised are the observations made in the GAO report.
And I take it both of you have not had a chance to go through this report exactly yet? But you have heard the discussion to this point.
You make a good point and I appreciate it where you say, ''For the Army recently,'' this is on page 20, ''the Army recently made several decisions about our organizations and propensity,'' and you say, ''the acquisition of the Army UV systems has been centralized at Huntsville, Alabama, within the aviation program executive office.''
Well, what is the relationship, if you know of the aviation program executive office to the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics?
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Is there a direct connection there? Or a direct reporting connection? I am not familiar with the organizational chart.
General THURMAN. Congressman Abercrombie, as you may or may not know Mr. Bolton, who is our Army acquisition executive, reports right to Mr. Wynne.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Reports directly.
General THURMAN. He does.
Well, he reports to the Secretary of the Army, but we work very close with OSD, obviously on through the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) process, as we come up for requirements.
What we have tried to do is consolidate, particularly in UAVs under the PEO Aviation down at Huntsville, Alabama, so we have all that in one place, that when we come up with a requirement, that they look at that in detail and as they develop technologies, then that is put in the joint acquisition process.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. General Buchanan, is there an equivalent situation in the Air Force the equivalent of what General Thurman was talking about the acquisition? Let me make sure I got it exact
General BUCHANAN. Sir, I would be
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE [continuing]. Aviation program executive officer, something of that nature, where you are concerned, in relation to the Undersecretary of Defense for AT&L?
General BUCHANAN. Sir, I am going to have to check. I am just an operator and I am not in acquisition, but I will take that for the record and check with you to make sure.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Can anybody help you? Around you?
General BUCHANAN. Sir, to my knowledge, there is no specific office.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Then let me ask you then.
What is the equivalent then, or how do you make that decision, because I am going to take it that I have it from the Army now, representing the Army and the Marine Corps in this instance, right?
General THURMAN. I am speaking, sir, for the Army and how we generate requirements and acquire through the joint capabilities, requirements process that is resident within OSD
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I thought you mentioned the Army, Marine Corps board, joint capabilities integration. Is that connected then to the
General THURMAN. Yes, sir. They participate with us in a board as we look at
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. You get where I am going with this.
What I want to know is at the point that you accomplish everything toward the conclusion that you have here, ''Our goal is to ensure our ground forces have all the support they need to safely execute their mission.'' And then you cite all of the different activities: the IRS role, et cetera, right?
That guy just cited in the previous testimony.
General THURMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. MSRs, the main supply routes, vulnerabilities, et cetera. Those kinds of things.
So let's assume that you are satisfied that this has been done. The Army is satisfied that these things have been done.
The question we have is at what point then, or where does the buck stop, in terms of making the decision so that you actually implement, field, make decisions as to who is going to do what.
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Who has that authority? But at least, what I am to gather, the Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics has the authority to make that decision.
But, it is still not clear to me that that is going to take place, or is in the process of taking place right now.
General BUCHANAN. Sir, the head of acquisition in the Air Force has that responsibility, but I would also tell you that within the Air Force
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Who he reports, or she reports to the Secretary of the Air Force.
General BUCHANAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Not to the Undersecretary?
General BUCHANAN. That is correct.
Again, we also have what we call Task Force Arnold, which was a name that was coined by the Chief and the Secretary of the Air Forcethat is overseeing the development of our UAVs and that, quite honestly, is chaired by Secretary Roach and General Jumper in the Air Force.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Well, that shows the importance of it for sure.
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All I am trying to get at and again, I am not trying to catch anybody or badger anybody, but I really honestly believe that we have to get some definitive testimony or conclusion, with respect to the second recommendation in the GAO report, regarding the actual decisionmaking.
Who has the decisionmaking power, authority and willingness to make decisions for deployments, fielding, et cetera, so that we can make the right authorization and appropriation decisions?
Perhaps you could answer that for the record, if you don't feel comfortable doing that.
General BUCHANAN. Yes, sir, I would be happy to do that.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. That is essentially it for me, Mr. Chairman. I am very appreciative.
You see, you are in the interesting position that doesn't happen a lot in here. We have actually come to some conclusions. No, really.
Because so much of what happens in here is that everybody is still in the process. And as long as everybody is still in the process, you never really have to make a decision.
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In the end, it is, ''Okay. Who is going to do what? When do we get the delivery and how does it work?''
Who is going to take responsibility for it and come do it?
But it seems to me that the UAV thing has proceeded so, I don't want to say rapidly, but it really is.
And the changes that you have outlined, and both of you, for that is to say, both of your services and cooperation with Admiral Holland and others, have really moved this along.
The private corporations that you have contracted with; the combination of testing; and innovation on the move, if you will, has been excellent.
And so, we are at that stage now where we are going to say, okay, what are we actually going to do now? Because those are heavyweight decisions that really impact doctrine. Right, General Thurman?
You spent a good portion of your testimony essentially talking about what are the doctrinal implications of this, in terms of what the Army does on the ground?
And the support citations that you make, particularly in your conclusion, which is very well written, by the way, General, the conclusion is a really good summary. That is where we are at right now.
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We have to make decision in recommendations and we are not quite sure who is actually doing it. At least, I am not.
And we are not quite sure how soon it is going to be done and whether we have to do it in this budget cycle, this budget recommendation.
And the chairman, I can assure you, is the kind of person in the vacuum; he will fill it in a second.
General BUCHANAN. Congressman, if I may, I can tell you and assure you that in the theater at the dusty boot level, the cooperation and the coordination that goes on between all the services is something to be very, very proud of.
I would tell you that the UAVs that I orchestrate and fly out of Belad, that I order and task out of my headquarters in Qatar, I do so in direct response to the many different task forces and the priorities are what General Abizaid gives me.
But you alluded to one of the problems that General Thurman and I both have is that as we are fielding this new technology, we are learning more and more everyday on ways we can use this system.
And as I mentioned, two years ago, the Predator was strictly an ISR platform. And there are intel officers out there today that would like to keep it an ISR platform.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC At the same time, there are special operations and conventional ground forces that know very well how we can use it for long-dwell stare on high-value targets, MSRs and for other different reasons. And there is a natural tension.
But it is a tremendous technology and it serves as a working unit to make it all happen.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thanks very much.
Mr. WELDON. I would ask each of you, if you could for the record to summarize for us the process that is used to bring that feedback from the use of the UAVs to you and how that feedback then goes into the designers and the producers of UAVs, so that we can better improve the next generation of UAVs.
There must be a formal process that you have in place to get that feedback coming out of the field and help us understand what that is, if you can for the record.
General BUCHANAN. Yes, sir, I would like to offer something on that, if I could.
One of the things that we are doing right now, that as we looked at the development of UAVs, and are particularly trying to get it doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures, the Army G3, General Cody, has ordered an assessment team to go into Iraq and Afghanistan and that is going to have materiel developers and organization and folks that are responsible for doctrine to go out and pull these lessons learned so we can get at that and then start feeding that back in in a more formal process.
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And we have had several lessons learned, task forces develop that and we are getting great information. But that is one of the things that is an ongoing effort right now.
Mr. WELDON. We had General Cody in several weeks ago and he gave us a classified brief on that.
And that is the kind of information we just want to be made aware of so that we can continue to help you in those changes that you feel need to be made.
Let me just say before we close the hearing, I would to ask each of the services if they can, to just give us a brief overview.
Someone from the Army could talk about the Raven, if someone here feels competent to do that? Who is our Raven expert?
Point it out to us and hold it up.
Mr. WELDON. Very good.
Neil, do you have any questions?
Thank you all. This has been very helpful to see some of the work we are doing.
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This is by no stretch all of the UAV work that is being done and we are going to show some rotorcraft UAV at a future hearing and talk about that specifically.
But we want to thank all of our witnesses and all of our presenters and the services for bringing in these display models.
And General and General we want to thank you for your outstanding service to the country and we appreciate your response to our written questions in the record. Thank you.
This hearing now stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:56 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]