Full transcript of the first panel on European Phased Adaptive Approach at the 2011 Atlantic Council Missile Defense Conference.
Transatlantic Missile Defense: Phase II And The Lead-Up to the NATO Chicago Summit
President And CEO,
The Atlantic Council
Senior Fellow, International Security Program,
The Atlantic Council
Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly,
Missile Defense Agency
Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Location: The Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C.
Federal News Service
FREDERICK KEMPE: So I just greeted General O’Reilly in the – outside the elevators and he said, well, if it’s October, this must be General O’Reilly and Ellen Tauscher at the Atlantic Council. This is the fourth installment of that.
It’s a show that’s been – they’re always called back for more because it’s been so good in the past. I must say the first installment in 2007, Ellen Tauscher and General O’Reilly were not as close together on the policy as they are now.
Anyway, good morning. Welcome to the Atlantic Council. I’m Fred Kempe, president and CEO, and as I said, it’s great to have you here for what has become a tradition of an annual conference on transatlantic missile defense. My own personal interest in missile defense grew out of my coverage when I was at The Wall Street Journal of all the Reagan-Gorbachev summits when we called it “star wars.”
We’ve come a long way with many different terms since then. This is the fourth conference, as I said, that we’ve held over the last five years. We started this tradition, 2007, when it was assessing the Bush administration’s third site missile defense architecture for Europe.
Subsequently, in October 2009, the council hosted this conference shortly after the Obama administration rolled out the phased adaptive approach to missile defense in Europe which then replaced Third Site. And then last year, we hosted this conference the month before the November NATO summit in Lisbon.
There, the allied leaders adopted the protection of populations as an integral NATO mission and agreed to develop the necessary missile defense capabilities. It was something of a breakthrough. Moreover, the alliance invited Russia to cooperate with the allies to enhance these efforts, an initiative intended to mark an important new phase in NATO-Russia cooperation.
We’ve very encouraged that we have so many Russian media representatives here today which reflects the high interest in this continued potential collaboration. We are hosting today’s conference two weeks after the NATO defense ministers meeting. There, NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen reiterated that missile defense will be a key issue at the upcoming Chicago summit and announced the alliance’s goal to establish an interim operational capability for territorial missile defense.
So as the United States transitions from phase one to phase two of the European phased adaptive approach, today’s conference provides a great opportunity to assess the progress to date in the establishment of transatlantic missile defense architecture in a NATO context. We will hear from Ellen Tauscher later. In 2007, she called very strongly for this NATO context and now we’re there. And we’re going to talk about how this initiative might be addressed at the Chicago summit.
We’ve got a great lineup of speakers. Many who aren’t speakers are experts in the audience, so I hope there’ll be a very rich discussion and exchange. This has always been an open discussion. And that’s certainly the spirit in which General O’Reilly has – General O’Reilly has briefed us in the past.
I want to thank in advance Boyko Noev, Tomáš Valášek, Michael Rance, Bruno Gruselle and Gülnur Aybet, the panelists of our European panel for making the trip across the Atlantic. I also want to thank Raytheon for their longstanding support for Atlantic Council programming on missile defense and in general their support of the Atlantic Council.
I am pleased that once again I have the privilege of introducing Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency, for his opening briefing on the current state of play concerning the transatlantic missile defense architecture. General O’Reilly has been a regular speaker, as I said. We’ve benefited greatly from his time, from his insights, from his frankness, from his forthrightness and for his ability to make someone even like me understand missile defense.
He’s served as the director of Missile Defense Agency since 2008, directorship follows a long and distinguished career in the U.S. military including service in both command and staff officer positions in a variety of operational positions, including 1st Cavalry Division and 3rd Support Command Germany as well as serving assistant professor of physics at the United States Military Academy, of which he’s a graduate.
Our nation has benefited greatly from your service, General. NATO has benefited greatly from the energy and from the leadership you and your team have brought to MDA and to the alliance’s missile defense approach. So with that, I will turn to General O’Reilly.
I do want to say that after his remarks, our Atlantic Council senior fellow, Ian Brzezinski, will moderate the question-and-answer session with the audience. We’ve been increasing our own firepower, General O’Reilly, since you first arrived here. Barry Pavel has come over from the Pentagon to run the International Security Program which will be greatly expanded into the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security in May.
Ian has been here as a senior fellow since 2010, prior to which he was a principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, and of course served as deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Europe-NATO policy in the Bush administration, and before that, seven years on the staff of the Senate. So with that, General O’Reilly, the floor is yours.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL PATRICK O’REILLY: Thank you, everybody. It is a pleasure to address the Atlantic Council again this year. As has been said, I’m not only giving a presentation – a one-time presentation – but it’s actually a series of presentations.
And it’s very – it’s a great opportunity for me to describe how this series of capability developments have occurred over the last couple of years and where are we today and what’s the status of our developing our capabilities for the future. Next chart.
Since I briefed this last year, there’s been two primary developments in the ballistic missile threat. But I first want to orient everyone to the chart in the center and the key about the chart is not how many missiles are out there. We calculate over 6,000 ballistic missiles. It’s the upper portion of the chart that states that this does not include Russia, China, the United States or any of the NATO countries.
So if you take those countries off the map, you will find that there are 6,000 out there. Over the last two years, two – or the last year – there’s been two characteristics that are particularly of concern to us. One is the proliferation of not only missiles but production facilities. And as missile production facilities are being established in an increasing number of countries, what we have is the potential of proliferating proliferators.
So the proliferation threat continues to grow. Second is the emergence of anti-ship ballistic missiles. Unlike cruise missiles or short-range surface missiles, these type of missiles could have ranges of greater than 3,000 kilometers and literally threaten a commerce area of transmission – or of transit. And so there are key points around the world that we are very concerned about that are not only important to U.S. economy but they’re important to all our economies.
So we want to ensure that we in fact have protection not only against short- and medium- and intermediate-range missiles, but also against these new characteristics we’re seeing such as the accuracy to hit particular ships and the greater range.
And the last point that every year we continue to watch the same trend is how it’s easier and takes less training in which to operate these systems so that without any structured military you can in fact operate these launch systems, put in the information from the Internet of a launch point and the systems are accurate enough and have their own computers on board, they can do all the calculations.
And finally, the emergence of a greater number of solid rocket motors takes away the requirement of having people that are trained on how to fuel these systems. So again, the concern of the proliferation of ballistic missiles continues to grow. Next chart.
We have, as we proposed before, our four phases to the European phased adaptive approach. I think what’s key to this chart is what has not changed. And that is the basic structure has not changed. This is the third year in a row I’ve been here with Secretary Tauscher and there’s a lot of stability into this program which is key to our progress and we’ve made a lot of progress. And I’ll go into each detail.
But what I would like to point out about these four phases is the basic goals of each phase. The first phase is to have an initial capability out there and it’s a single layer, basically, of defense with our SM-3 system, for our upper tier defense and we also have our Aegis system, or our THAAD system if we need to for deployment. Our first two THAAD units will be coming online in the early part of next year with the U.S. Army.
But the second phase, phase two in 2015, what’s key to that is with the emergence of our newer capability, we’ll have the ability to have two independent systems take independent shots at an incoming missile that’s of the range of a medium-range ballistic missile, up to 3,000 kilometers.
So that’s what we call enhanced because now you have two separate systems engaging – ranges of short and medium range. By 2018, we’ll have the ability to have two separate systems engage IRBMs, ranges up to 5,500 kilometers. And then in phase four, we have the capability to intercept earlier in the flight than we do today, basically expanding our battle space.
So we have much earlier shot opportunities to engage ballistic threats and we have the capability to engage long-range threats, ICBMs that are the first generation coming from areas where we see that new capability being developed in regional threats. And at the bottom we continue to develop our homeland defense system, our ground-based midcourse defense system. We bring on a newer capability each year.
We just finished an upgrade to the Thule radar in Greenland and it’s fully operational this year. Fylingdales, run by the RAF, has been in operation for several years and it joins our Cobra Danes system. We are also developing our clear radar, another radar in Alaska, which gives us much greater coverage for the ground-based midcourse defense system.
We are finishing our construction up in Alaska. A lot of folks are looking at our budget saying, how come your budgets are coming down in homeland defense. It’s not coming down because we’re not developing capability. It’s we’re completing all of the construction work that’s been going on for a decade.
So we’re spending less money on concrete and cabling and some of the basic infrastructure and power plants and we’re spending the money more on developing the missile side of it and the software – our command and control and our sensors. So I will go into the detail on the status of what’s occurred in each one of these four areas now. Next chart.
First, I want to point out that the system – there’s been a lot of discussion of what we protect and what we don’t protect. The system is designed, first of all, from the very beginning not to protect water. So we want to be careful. We’re not going to shoot – waste an interceptor, limited numbers that we have, on a missile that’s heading into an area that we do not plan on defending, like water.
And so we’ve always had this capability of defining what we defend and the system will look at that and if a missile’s been launched, all our sensors – all our sensors start tracking the missile. They give the information to our fire control system and the first question the fire control system looks at is is the missile traveling towards an area that the system will defend.
If it’s not, we ignore it and we then will track it and pass the information on for other information to other agencies. But the system itself then takes that missile and declares it – that threat missile unengageable. So that gives us the capability of very clearly defining what we defend and what we don’t.
This is what – based on the Lisbon Summit – the agreement that occurred back in last November – this is what we defend in European NATO. And that’s basically a map of NATO. And by phase four, the system will engage any missile going into any of those areas highlighted in green.
There’s been a lot of discussion, well, what about if you don’t want to be protected. If you’re not in NATO and we don’t have an agreement with you, the system does not engage any threat coming into those areas. And because it requires obviously agreements between us and we don’t want to be projecting our capability on somebody who did not ask for that capability. Next chart.
So phase one, we’re completing that phase by 31 December. We’re on track. There’s three major elements of it. First is our Aegis ships in the Eastern Mediterranean. That shows the USS Monterey which came on station in June. We have – it will finish its tour coming up here in the next month and the USS Sullivans will come on and replace it. And we’ll have a continuing missile defense-capable ship in the Mediterranean.
We also have a sensor system besides our satellite system that’s been up for years. We also have a forward-based radar that is – we have an agreement with Turkey to place it in Turkey and we will complete that deployment and it will be online by December. And since last spring, we’ve had all of the upgrades to our command and control system in place at Ramstein. So we’re in very good shape for that capability.
We also have been doing extensive work. We have – our laboratories are literally tied together between the NATO active layer theater ballistic missile defense program – their command and control program – and our command and control. So our systems work together on a daily basis through exercises and our developmental work.
Also we had a test last spring in which to verify that this architecture works. And we launched an interceptor – or a threat missile target out of the Marshall Islands. It traveled 3,700 kilometers. We had a forward-based radar on Wake Island, the exact same configuration that we’re placing in Turkey, and we had USS O’Kane, which was in the same configuration as our ships are in the Eastern Mediterranean.
And our command and control system in Hawaii at Hickam Air Force Base was the same configuration we have at Ramstein. Using those elements tied together, we intercepted a target 3,700 kilometers after it traveled 3,700 kilometers.
Now, that shows the power of our networking and our integrating. Our system previously had not been able to intercept more than a thousand-kilometer range threat. And so this shows that – it verifies the performance of the system that we’re placing in NATO today. Next chart.
For phase two, we have – first of all we have developed our Aegis Ashore system that will be placed in Romania. Agreements have been made with the Romanian government in order to place it there. They’ve announced the site which is at Deveselu in Southern Romania. It is a great site for our operation. Our Aegis Ashore sites are not very big yet they’ve very capable. We are also developing our test site in Hawaii, which will – we’ve already broken ground a few months ago and we’re building. That is the first site for testing and then we’ll have the one in Romania following soon afterwards. In 2015, it will be fully operational
We have various aspects of Aegis that are going through upgrades. We had our first flight test of the 1B. We had a problem on that. That’s why we test. We’ve identified the problem. We are prepared to launch again in the spring with that. What I’d like you to notice, though, is that the initial operating capability – that’s what the IOC number up there – is 2013 for that missile.
When does it have to be in place to meet our commitments for PAA phase two? Two-and-a-half years later. So we intentionally in our missile systems have a lot of time allocated in case we need to work through developmental test issues and that’s what we’re doing at this time. We believe we will then have three additional tests next year, next summer by this time and with those four tests we will meet our IOC permissions in order to go into production with the 1B missile.
The fire control system with the ship has passed all of the requirements that have been asked of it already. So the new upgraded system on the ship for firing the SM-3 1B and upgrading our sensor capability has in fact gone through testing and it looks very good for the Navy to certify it in the near future. That is four years prior to when we need it in 2015. So we’re doing very good on our schedule.
We, as I said, are addressing the risks as we saw it. And also, we have just conducted a test of the THAAD system, the most aggressive test we’ve ever conducted and it intercepted two missiles, one of about a 500-kilometer range. Simultaneously it intercepted a missile of a thousand-kilometer range. That occurred two weeks ago at our test site in Hawaii. So we’re very encouraged by the THAAD system. It has now intercepted nine out of nine missiles and it’s doing very good. It is an enhancement that we can use. Its design is to be rapidly deployable within a few hours to anywhere in the world and establish coverage in the lower outer space and the upper atmosphere. Next chart.
For phase three, again, we have completed agreements with the Polish government to establish our site there for our third Aegis Ashore, the second one deployed, and that will be at the same site that we had previously looked at for our GMD system when we were looking at a third site for GMD. So it is in the same location. It works very well. Again, it’s a smaller footprint than what we had before.
We’ve also made a lot of progress with our partners – our Japanese partners in developing the SM-3 Block IIA missile, which will be fielded in 2018. It has basically twice the range of the SM-3 1B and can engage intermediate-range missiles earlier than their flight.
What you see in the bottom are a photograph of a new production facility that Raytheon has already broken ground on. They’re building it now, which besides other missiles will be producing the SM-3 IIA. And finally, you can see some components. What that large square is is some of the deckhouse of the Aegis Ashore that are being completed today, shipped to Hawaii as we build the first Aegis Ashore in Hawaii. Next chart.
And finally, for our SM-3 IIB program for phase four, we have completed the development, or concept development award of three contracts to three U.S. industry teams to do the initial engineering work on the SM-2 IIB. We have a lot of confidence in this missile. We have a lot of confidence in all three teams as they are continuing to mature the design of this interceptor.
Finally, for space, one of the key attributes and the key areas where we will enhance our missile defense over the next decade is the ability to track missiles over their entire flight from space. That lessens the dependency for ground-based sensors and gives us access, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, over a wide swathe of the Earth.
We actually tested this capability in the same flight test I referred to earlier in the spring where we launched a 3,700 kilometer missile out of the Marshall Islands and we have two demonstrator satellites on space – on orbit today. Both of them tracked the missile, provided the information to a simulated Aegis system that the Navy was running and it would have been a successful intercept just off of those two satellite data.
So that was our first time we have actually verified that we can in fact develop, using satellites, our capability to intercept missiles. And so that is the basic foundation for phase four and we are in very good shape with completing that development at this stage. Next chart.
We’ve had a lot of international activity. Obviously we’ve talked about this morning already the summit for territorial missile defense of European NATO that was agreed to in the summit in November.
We continue international work with the Japanese. They’re our largest partner in the development of new missile defense capability. They have completed the fielding of their Aegis cruisers and successfully conducted tests. We are working with them now again focused on the SM-3 IIA program.
We also have completed a very successful series of tests with the Israelis, with their Arrow system conducted in California early in the spring where we intercepted threat-realistic targets with the Israeli system and supporting them in their work. Foreign military sales is something that’s been ongoing for a very long time. There is a lot of Patriot system out there in many different countries, Aegis systems.
We are now in discussions with the UAE and other countries on procuring the THAAD system. Our discussions with the Russians has been extensive over the last year. That photograph there was taken at Colorado Springs where we took Ambassador Rogozin through our missile defense integration and operations center.
It’s the first time we have taken Russian officials through the entire missile defense command and control complex. So they have a firm understanding of what capabilities we are developing and where it is limited and where we believe it does not have and why we believe so adamantly that we do not have on an engineering basis besides others capability against their strategic deterrents.
And finally, that shows a photograph of our next speaker, Secretary Tauscher, and President Băsescu in Romania as they signed the ballistic missile defense agreement in their country for the Aegis Ashore site in Deveselu. Next chart?
My travel has been extensively growing over every year. If there’s one thing I can say that’s different between this and my previous years is I never thought I could travel more than I did last year and I’m not going to say that again because the international interest is just growing exponentially and participating and partnering with the missile defense.
Across the bottom it shows the different levels. We have outreach where there’s a basic understanding of missile defense that we communicate to our friends and partners. Then we move into various levels of integration, how do we propose to integrate our systems. We also – and I would like to make a case or make the point that we do not propose nor do we operate other people’s missile defense interceptor systems.
Our network is a network based on sharing data and coordinating so that we’re not both shooting at the same threat missile, for example. And so we can optimize our mutual defense between us. And so we work through those not only agreements but we do an awful lot of studies, simulations, providing insight so that each country can make their own individual decision and ultimately we move to co-development.
As I’ve said, we have done with the Japanese and the Israelis. And then we also have in several cases joint appointment of systems. So as you can see, it has been very active around the world, a lot of interest in this, and we continue to increase the number of project agreements that we have with our partners and friends around the world. Next chart.
So in summary, we are concerned that the ballistic missile technologies and delivery systems are – in fact continue to proliferate at an increasing rate. We are on schedule for our deployment of all four phases of the European phase adaptive approach. We are developing the upper layer defense because we believe in the most effective missile defense is multiple layers. We’re working very closely with our European allies on how they can contribute.
Obviously, they can with their lower tier systems but there is a lot of interest now and we have work going on especially in the area of sensors and how can – for example, their frigates, L-band radars, who can they – and they can provide us significant capability to the European phased adaptive approach.
And we’re working through the technical details and the operational details so we can in fact have a mutual sharing of the capability and the responsibility for the missile defense in Europe, not only for territorial Europe but I also must remind you we have previously had an agreement on providing missile defense for our deployed forces.
And obviously NATO is deployed and we do want the capability for our deployed forces when they are deployed to provide them robust missile defense of any of our soldiers, sailors and airmen. And finally, our international efforts continue to grow. So with that brief summary, I am open to questions. Ian?
IAN BRZEZINSKI: Thank you, General. Good morning, as Fred noted, I’m Ian Brzezinski. I’m a senior fellow here at the Atlantic Council and I get the pleasure of moderating the Q&A with General O’Reilly. Let me start again by reiterating our appreciation, General O’Reilly, for you sharing your time with us today. Your briefing has become a staple for those of us who track the EPAA and who envision missile defense as an important, if not urgent, priority of the transatlantic relationship.
Let me start before I open to the audience by focusing on resources. You know, the big theme in Washington, and also in allied capitals, is the theme of defense austerity and here in Washington we have looming potentially serious budget cuts looming over the horizon.
And the House Armed Services Committee a couple of weeks ago came out with a memo that did an assessment of sequestration, the impact of sequestration, the impact of a defense budget cut that would be 10 percent – that would bring our defense budget spending to 10 percent below FY 2011 levels.
And they warned that such cuts would delay the development of the SM-3 IIB, it would delay upgrades to ships, it would cut or limit our ability to procure interceptors. They made warnings that there would be a similar impact on the GBI system protecting the continental United States. One, is that a fair assessment? Have you been gaming out these scenarios? Has the administration indicated or decided it will protect the European phase adaptive approach from such cuts?
LT.GEN. O’REILLY: Well, obviously we have a priority with the European phased adaptive approach. It is a presidential commitment, first of all. Second, yes, we are going through, as the entire department is, looking at different scenarios and looking at resources where they can best be applied and the priority of those resources are.
Unfortunately, and in my business, the business is good – I wish it wasn’t – but that proliferation I showed you on the first chart, it has been verified by multiple intelligence organizations, multiple countries. We do see that as a high priority. So a lot of – to answer your question – has to do with prioritization of the resources.
And as I work through those drills, I work through and continue to show the impact and all of that is being taken into account. So first of all, the decisions have not been made. They’re being studied, which is what they should be. And on the other hand though, the department and the administration has clearly not lost sight of the missile defense commitments, number one, that have been made, and number two, of the operational impact of those.
I will point out, though, that there is not a direct correlation between operational capability and the amount of resources put into a budget in any one year. We have developed and we are now fielding, for example, algorithms that are not very expensive but frankly can take four sensor systems and give them the accuracy and give them the applicability that goes far beyond.
As I said in the flight test earlier this year we took an existing system and we added frankly a network which did not cost very much money and some algorithms and all of a sudden we have four times the capability we otherwise had. So building the basic infrastructure, especially for our homeland defense, was expensive. We are completing that work.
I’m not looking at pouring more concrete. Where I’m interested in is capability, how do you increase our probabilities of intercept, how do you increase the reliability of the systems and all of that. It still involves investment.
But again, this is what’s carefully being considered right now. So we continue to grow our capability and it is very clear to me the intent of the department and the administration is to grow our missile defense capability, even through these austere times.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Which brings me to kind of the second dimension of resource. One thing that’s notable about the European phased adaptive approach is that from a layman’s perspective it doesn’t seem to provide real continental defense until 2020. So the Europeans seem to be the primary beneficiary, in addition to our deployed forces.
But the Europeans are the primary beneficiary of the EPAA between now and 2020 when the SM-3 IIB comes online and is deployed in Poland and elsewhere. We’ve heard in the press reports, the Danes are considering linking their Aegis ships into this system. There were some reports in the press that maybe the Spanish are thinking about the same thing. Is there a game plan for European contributions into the EPAA or is it sort of an ad hoc approach where we’re waiting for our allies to divvy up what they can when they want?
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: Well, first of all, I disagree with your assertion that we’re doing – we’re conducting in one way or the other a focus on European regional defense and one way at the disadvantage for our homeland defense. 2020 is not when we will have our first capability. That capability for our homeland protection is here today.
But our intelligence estimates do not estimate that we are facing a threat today that in fact would overwhelm our current system. That is not the case for regional threats. In regional threats, we are far outnumbered. In some cases, 10, 20, 30-to-1 with the deployed regional capability versus the shorter, medium-range threats that we see continuing to proliferate and grow.
So we do feel that there is a disparity. The disparity right now is our regional defenses do not have the capacity to match what we see as today’s threat. On the other hand, for homeland defense, we do believe we have the capacity and – but we will continue to grow our homeland defense.
But the regional defense is desperately – or is – not desperately but more distinguished as being one where we have the greatest vulnerability today facing the threats we see in the regional content. So our capability that we’re developing in Europe not only benefits Europe but it benefits all of our regional defense theaters around the world.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: But is it fair to say EPAA in phases one, two and three is regional whereas the defense being provided in the continental United States is from our systems in the United States at GBI?
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: Today and then with phase four, then we’ll be able to add another element to it.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Thank you. Well, let me open it up to the audience and let me just ask folks to identify yourself and share your affiliation. But keep your point or your question brief. Let me start with Harlan.
Q: Are we going to have a microphone or am I going to yell?
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Could we have a microphone to Harlan?
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: More comfortable if you yell at me. (Laughter.)
MR. BRZEZINSKI: We know Harlan is ready to yell.
Q: Thank you. General, I’m Harlan Ullman, affiliated here with the Atlantic Council. Thank you for your technical briefing. Let me ask a fairly provocative question. It seems to me that the 6,000 ballistic missiles you cite as the problem are far more germane in a regional sense than in a European sense; in other words, clearly American forces need to be protected.
We’re going to go around the world. So that’s obvious. But who do you see the threat in Europe being? I mean, you’re looking at Iran and you’re looking possibly at North Korea. But who else? And I don’t think that number of missiles pointed at Europe is going to be anything close to the 6,000 that you’re suggesting is a larger problem.
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: Number one, there’s a basic uncertainty in the whole region, especially with the – with what’s happened in the governments in North Africa and others. It is an area where there are ballistic missiles. When you have this type of turmoil, you also have to be concerned about the security of those systems. And as I said, they’re becoming easier and easier to operate, requiring less training.
So I think number one is if you look from a point of view of uncertainty, I wouldn’t agree that Europe is immune or Europe has a lower risk right now. I would say the risk today of being concerned about having missiles being launched in a way that is either motivated by extremism or motivated by some sort of terrorist or some other type of non-nation-state action, is not low. And the concern is it’s continuing to grow. To develop capabilities to counter that take a long time. And that’s why we’re doing the investment up front where we are.
But from the region, it’s not just isolated to concerns about Iran but it’s uncertainties throughout that entire region. What is clear is as Iran keeps testing longer and more accurate missiles is that, yes, they can reach into Southern Europe today. If you just take their flight tests that have occurred in the last year and change the azimuth, you can see how far they fly. And the ranges are growing.
But I wouldn’t say that it is built against a – and that’s what we want to make sure, that the phased adaptive – that’s why it’s adaptive – is not just focused on one particular threat but can adapt to the uncertainties of wherever a missile could be coming from in the future.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: I – is it Steve Williams, or raising his hand next to Steve Williams? Please?
Q: Otto Kreisher with Sea Power Magazine. General, the Navy just announced plans to forward-base four Aegis BMD ships in Rota, Spain. What does that contribute to the – you know, in the short term, for our ships aren’t going to be there for a couple of years and are they expected to stay there after the full four phases have been developed?
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: Well, which ships are there and so forth, that’s a Navy decision. But the Navy has accepted the mission of managing the capabilities so that we have a presence that we’ve shown in the chart. One ship now, two ships later on and by phase three we’ll have three ships in the region of Europe.
And the Navy manages what it will take. Now, obviously having a forward-based system or forward-based infrastructure such as in Spain provides a great advantage of crew rotations and the logistics. It makes it a lot – or it greatly increases the efficiency of maintaining that presence.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Dick Bennett from ACT?
Q: It’s Dick Bedford from ACT, that’s a NATO port down in Norfolk. My question is actually a follow-on – well, thank you very much for that succinct brief, General, on the four phases. I’ve heard several and that’s probably the tops for 20 minutes. So thank you very much. My question follows on Ian’s question about the alliance for Aegis and the gentleman’s question about Rota.
So obviously the U.S. Navy has looked at the requirements to forward deploy Aegis to take on the mission certainly during phase one and two. But my question follows Ian’s in that how much work are you doing with the defense planners in NATO to look at the capabilities that NATO navies have in Aegis; i.e., I mean, they have Aegis-capable ships and how they would work into that network.
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: There’s a tremendous potential to exploit that capability, to utilize and apply not only Aegis capability in Europe but it was also mentioned was the L-band radars that are in many of the air warfare frigates that are owned by several countries. So we are very active, to answer your question.
We’re performing the simulation analysis showing how it would enhance our coverage in certain areas. We’re providing that information to the working committees at NATO. We also provide that information to EUCOM and NAVEUR as they are also talking from navy to navy on these. So the Missile Defense Agency is very actively involved and strongly supports that.
Q: Could you – would you foresee the possibility by 2015, let’s say a Danish Aegis being part of that network and – (off mic) – support that data flow you’ve talked coming – (off mic) – I don’t want to put you on the spot, but would that be a possibility?
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: Yes, it’s definitely a possibility, that and the Dutch and other countries that possess these ships. The NATO summit was – just as the North Atlantic Treaty has been operating for obviously decades, that’s our makeup is common defense in order to share the burden of defense and that is an area that I think is underestimated how important those sensors are, to have them early.
Our satellite system we were referring to would not be on orbit in a full constellation until 2020. That’s a long time from now. Also, as we deploy to different parts of the world, again, it’s not just territorial missile defense for NATO but it’s missile defense whenever NATO deploys. These are tremendous assets, tremendous benefits to missile defense, the Aegis systems and the surveillance systems that are onboard ships.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Let me follow up – relate that to command and control because you’re talking about a multinational architecture being stood up. Could you give us a sense what are the command and control requirements and responsibilities that an American or NATO commander will have? Will this be a command and control structure that’s totally automated or will there be some realm of flexibility, freedom, decision given to the commander in the field to marshal U.S. and perhaps non-U.S. assets?
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: There’s two aspects to that. First of all, from an operational point of view, those decisions are being made today. They haven’t been made – completed at NATO. We’re working through those issues. But the basic fundamental operations of a missile defense system are similar to an air defense system.
And I would not be surprised if it’s very similar to the command and control structure we use with air defense in NATO. The U.S., we co-locate our missile defense command and control elements inside our air operations centers. So we’ve made that decision years ago. It is a – the missile defense operates on a much faster pace than air defense. Instead of minutes, you’re dealing in seconds.
And that leads me to the second point. The second point is these are automated systems. To engage, we don’t foresee – if missiles are going to be launched, history shows us and the way testing we’re watching is not that it’s going to be one or two missiles. It’s going to be a large number at once. And so we – the only way you can engage that many missiles and make the split-second decisions that are required is to have automated systems that have through war games and exercises there has been decisions made at NATO on how the system will operate in these different scenarios.
Now, all of our systems require that there must be at least one human decision and that is to engage or not engage. But other than that, there’s thousands of decisions that have to happen in seconds. And that’s why our system going back 25 years, the missile defense system, has always been built based on very, very clear configuration of software and high reliability software, high confidence.
But we develop it and we set those settings based on what is learned through war games and exercises. So the war games and exercises, which we do conduct with all the NATO countries is critical to developing this overall capability so when we deploy, the system has – it’s already understood how it will behave and how it will operate. And it’s been agreed to prior to deploying it. And we do that on a daily basis.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: So what is the command and control structure for phase one? Is it a U.S. or is it a multinational NATO command and control structure and doctrine and for phase two and phase three and phase four?
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: Again, those final decisions are being made with Admiral Stavridis and his staff. From a NATO context, we develop the U.S. portion of it, command and control, with our U.S. forces in EUCOM, and so they’re the ones defining it in their war plans, in their exercises and war games and we support them in that regard.
From a technical aspect though, we ensure that our system is 100 percent compatible with NATO’s standards, which it is. And again, we exercise – for two-and-a-half years now, we have live online connections between the command and control system being developed for NATO – I’m referring to the technical system which is the active layer theater ballistic missile defense system. The laboratory in the Netherlands that they use to develop is connected live to our laboratory in Colorado Springs that develops ours. So from a technical point of view, they are 100 percent compatible. From an operational point of view, those final decisions still have to be made.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Thank you. Collina in the corner?
Q: Hi. Tom Collina, Arms Control Association. Ian, thank you. General, thank you for being here. My question goes to the SM-3 1B test you mentioned previously – I don’t mean to focus on the negative because you clearly have a lot of successes with this program. But can you tell us to your extent you can what’s your understanding of what happened with that test and how can we learn from that going forward. Thanks.
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: Well, as – we still have a failure review board going on. It takes months to go through all of the details, so you can imagine the demanding rigor we require, that they come back and actually prove that this was the failure mode. It’s fairly early in that process. We had a similar failure with – or not a similar failure but we had a failure with GMD a year ago. We have now presented to Congress the results of that study.
And that’s about the timeline it takes. This seems to be a problem associated with the propulsion of the system but – and if it is – if that is the case, these are typically straightforward design upgrades that we make. It’s not unusual to see those early in a flight test. The performance of the new part of the system – the SM-3 1B – is extremely encouraging. We were surprised that it did deploy and it recovered a lot from the failure that occurred.
It continued to operate and the SM-3 1B gave us some – one of the areas we were very concerned about before – not concerned about, but one of the areas that had the greatest risk associated was the onboard propulsion system on the kill vehicle. And it worked way beyond any estimation we ever had even in our engineering analysis.
So we actually received a lot of encouraging information from that. We’re preparing to launch again in the spring. The new ships that we’re outfitting with new command and control system both are unavailable until the spring. So that’ll be our first opportunity. And we expect to be doing a series of tests right afterwards to continue on to collect the data necessary to go to a production decision.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Ambassador?
Q: Petr Gandalovic, Czech ambassador. General, you said that improving your communications and software has enhanced the accuracy and the scope of the system. Can you elaborate on the R&D and software question please?
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: The key area we are developing is called data fusion and that means it takes – and this is key to the effective deployment in NATO and with any of our coalition partners. And that is to take data from different sensors. Each – radars typically have different frequencies – IR sensors like our satellite systems and our airborne infrared systems, our optical systems.
We are developing the software to take data no matter where the information came from and fusing it together in less than hundreds of milliseconds – very quickly – and performing or developing a more accurate track, the precise track of how a missile is traveling than each – any of the individual contributing sensors can.
We – our speed is now very fast – like I said, on the order of hundreds of milliseconds, and the accuracy of combining sensors and making them more accurate than any individual sensor is what we are proving. And that is some of the key capability. It gives us the ability to discriminate objects. When a missile is launched, it’s usually launched with many objects around it. And we can discriminate much better by using multiple sensors.
And that’s what this software does. And that data would come from any sensors anywhere on the network. It comes to a central location. It is processed and it goes back out to all of the interceptor systems. So they have the most accurate track possible. And we continue to communicate with the interceptor even after it’s been launched. So the data fusion is really what’s key to us to develop over the next several years.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: This gentleman?
Q: Good morning, General. I’m Kevin Green from IBM. To follow up a little bit on Ian’s earlier question, connecting the threat environment, resources and capabilities development, do you see going forward a need for a continuation of an analytics-driven, decision support system for MDA?
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: Well, we look at every advantage we possibly can for analysis. But again, that is a decision which we base on what our current needs are and what – and again, it’s a matter of priorities. We have to determine – we do have – we are facing economic challenges in the government, and we are assessing what our tools are. This is a tool that MDA uses in order to help make systems engineering and other budget-related decisions. So that one is still being – it’s like all of our – the rest of our infrastructure. We have to make a decision based on what the budget allocation is, what it will support.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Boyko?
Q: Yes, link – no microphone.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Right behind you. Thank you.
Q: Thank you. General, Boyko Noev. I’m affiliated with the Atlantic Council and the strategic advisors group. I’ve been following your participation here at these conferences for two or three years already and I’m impressed with the consistency of arguments and the clear vision of how the system will be deployed, and this is very much appreciated. This means at least for observers that there is a clear objective and the objective has been followed.
And the whole context, also the relationship with Russia – and we saw a picture of Rogozin in Colorado Springs. It’s an important issue which I expect to come up with Ellen Tauscher later and with our panel in the afternoon. But many people are asking themselves – you’re open, you invite the Russians to the very – the deepest secrets of U.S. missile defense technology and ideas, et cetera. But the Russian colleagues continue to express their doubts.
It seems that there is disconnect about the United States and NATO saying that we’re open, we’re explaining to the Russians that there is no threat for their strategic arsenal. On the other hand, the Russians are saying, well, we don’t believe.
So as a military man, as an expert, as a technical person, do you think that you have given the Russians all the arguments that are needed to show them that EPAA is not directed against their strategic interests? And do you think that they as technical people believe in what you’re saying or they have their doubts? And what shall be done else so that they believe that we are not competitors with them but we are in a way allies? Thank you.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: If I could compliment that question, where are the areas of greatest potential for U.S., NATO, Russia cooperation?
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: I think there’s a significant opportunity in the area, especially of sensor work. The Russians have a very extensive sensor system, surveillance system that – and we have one too. You can always benefit by having a more accurate track in which we use to launch interceptors against.
There are regions of the world – the location where they are located – their sensors are pointing in directions and they have opportunities to track threats and not only threats but track testing and observe where this testing that I’m referring to – provide better information on how the threat is proliferating. But to answer your question, we have made technical arguments and we believe they’re sound technical arguments and they haven’t changed.
A lot of times in my discussions it seems like instead of discussion the SM-3 missiles, even the projected IIB missile – our missile we’re developing, it’s about two tons. That’s the size of it, two metric tons. The discussions we’ve had and the technical responses we’ve had from the Russians is more along the lines of our GBIs, which is 25 tons. These are not the same class of missiles. These are smaller missiles.
They’re effective in a limited region and they’re effective against smaller countries. But against large countries, we’d have launch points deep inside their countries, like the Russians have, we just literally – the missiles can’t reach that far. And so we’ve made the technical arguments. I believe the next step, then, and we have offered for them to participate in our flight testing.
So they don’t have to take our word, they can measure it themselves with their own systems and verify the performance that we’ve been referring to that is effective against regional and limited missiles – long-range missiles – but not effective for the strategic threat that they’re concerned about.
I understand and they should be concerned – we’re all concerned for our own defense and our strategic deterrents. But I believe the next step would be for them – and we’ve made the invitation for them to actively participate in our flight testing so they can measure for themselves and verify what we’re saying is accurate
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Ambassador Fried?
Q: Dan Fried, State Department, and a colleague of General O’Reilly, working in missile defense in the last administration. General, congratulations on the progress – come a long way in three years.
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: Thank you.
Q: Could you compare and contrast the capabilities of this approach with the approach we were all working with NATO and talking to the Russians about in the last administration because it seems this sounds like a more flexible and more capable system. But I’d like your word on it.
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: Thank you. The greatest difference I believe from a capability – a technical capability is it’s almost too obvious is the sheer numbers. Before we were dealing with five or 10 missiles, and to expand those to a greater number in the future would take a lot of work.
You’re building a missile field. They typically take four-and-a-half years of very rapid construction if you were going to change the number of missiles you have. So if you look at the threats in trying to cover Europe, where basically Europe is – if you look at the ranges, for example, from Iran, that’s an intermediate range. That’s under 5,500 kilometers.
We believe we can develop a more flexible capability to handle that threat and you’re not limited to only 10 missiles. So that’s the first difference is each of our Aegis Ashore sites can have as a minimum number of 24 missiles, but it’s rapidly expandable. Each site can expand. Our ships today can carry over a hundred missiles.
So you can very quickly expand the number of missiles if you have to in order to meet the numerical number of threats. And that’s what I was referring to before. There are thousands of missiles we’re facing in these regions, so we need interceptor systems that have a very adaptable and robust inventory on board, an arsenal.
And so that’s I would say the greatest difference is the sheer number of our – flexibility, as you said. Again, the adaptability, four-and-a-half years to build a missile field, to establish and move an Aegis Ashore system is on the order of four months.
Now, we are taking longer because we are building the type of infrastructure that is very efficient and takes a long period of – or is there for a long envisioned presence in Poland and in Romania. So we put a lot of infrastructure in. But if you had to move it quickly and you had to deploy to a place, you literally could deploy an Aegis Ashore in around 120 days.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Sir, let me throw the last question at you since we’ve kind of crossed into the end of hour that you promised us. What is going to be the role of THAAD, and where will it go in Europe? Will there be a THAAD site?
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: The benefit of THAAD – and we want to ensure we utilize the benefit – is its flexibility. THAAD is air-deliverable. The test we just finished, we took the THAAD units – one of the THAAD units at Fort Bliss, Texas, and we deployed it by aircraft to Hawaii , and they took everything with them that they needed in which to operate.
And a THAAD unit in a matter of hours can be up and have a capability of protecting a small city – actually, not a small city; a city the size of Washington could be protected by one THAAD unit. And it provides the upper tier protection. So that is one thing that’s very unique is very rapid deployment. If you have a situation where there is a hostage or crisis or some sort of situation, it is a very rapid capability.
Number two is THAAD is the only system that is designed – it’s a remarkable missile – that it operates inside the Earth’s atmosphere and outside the Earth’s atmosphere, several hundred kilometers into space and our recent intercept – our intercept a year ago was at the lower end which is just a little bit above where Patriot operates today.
So THAAD has tremendous flexibility. It has some inherent robustness because if you have, for example, decoys and lightweight objects to try to fool the system, it can wait for those objects to enter the atmosphere and it quickly gets stripped out and you see where the RV is.
THAAD can intercept there or it can also intercept in many cases against 3,000-kilonmeter type threats more than once. It can shoot early and it can shoot late. So it’s a very reliable system. It has a high probability of intercept. But its real key attribute is a flexibility, quickly to be deployed.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: So no THAAD sites but surge capability?
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: Yes.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: General O’Reilly, thank you very much. This has become a real staple for us and we appreciate what you shared with us today. Your briefing, if it’s all right with you, we’d like to put on our web –
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: Yes, it is.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: – and make it available to the public. And we look forward to have you hear next year.
LT. GEN. O’REILLY: Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you very much.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: (Chuckles.)