Senate Armed Services Committee
Statement for the Record
Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Nominee
Mr Keith R. Hall
Mr Chairman, and members of the committee, it is a pleasure to appear before this panel to discuss my qualifications for the position of Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space. I also have a few remarks as to how I view the Air Force role in Space, together with some key objectives I would pursue if confirmed by the Senate to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Space. I am honored to have been nominated by the President for this important post, and am confident that I possess the necessary skills and enthusiasm to tackle this job effectively.
If the Senate chooses to confirm me as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space, I would become the principal staff assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force on all space matters and thus have purview for the world's largest military space organization. Moreover, I would also be appointed Director of the National Reconnaissance Office, the unparalleled world leader in space intelligence. The Air Force and the NRO command significant resources for these space activities, both in personnel and dollars. More importantly, taken together, they make the United States the world leader in providing critical, accurate, and timely military and intelligence information to our national leaders and warfighters. These space activities are among our nations most valued assets and their responsible stewardship is of vital importance to our national security.
Thus, I am well aware of the very significant responsibility and public trust associated with this appointment. I also fully appreciate that this extraordinary capability would not be in place today, were it not for the foresight and support this committee has provided over the years. I greatly value this support and it would be my intent to work closely with this and other Congressional Committees to assure continued delivery of world class capabilities to our national security space sector.
Let me briefly summarize what I believe are the qualifications which make me well suited to assume the responsibilities of Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space. What I hope to demonstrate is that I have a long and diverse background in public service, to include senior level experience with national security space activities. This experience is supplemented by formal education and training as a military officer and civilian public servant.
My public service career spans 26 years and has provided a wealth of experience in a wide variety of jobs all relevant to the position for which I am being considered. First, I have a broad perspective on military activities. From 1970 to 1979, I served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army, including two assignments commanding overseas operational intelligence activities, in support of both national intelligence and tactical operations.
Second, I am very familiar with the federal budget process. From 1979 to 1983, I served as a Budget Examiner at the Office of Management and Budget with responsibility for the Central Intelligence Agency and later for both CIA and National Reconnaissance Office programs.
Third, I have considerable experience in the legislative process having served from 1983 to 1991 on the Staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. During my tenure, I worked for Chairmen from both sides of the aisle starting with Senator Goldwater who appointed me as Senior Budget Officer and ending as Deputy Staff Director under Senator Boren. Throughout this period I was responsible for the annual intelligence authorization process which required detailed review of all intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance activities in both the national and tactical intelligence programs, as well as close coordination and cooperation with the Senate Armed Services Committee. As Deputy Staff Director, I also participated in a variety of significant oversight, legislative, and Committee management activities.
In 1991, I was appointed a member of the Senior Executive Service and named as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence. In this capacity I was responsible for supporting the Secretary by providing oversight, budgetary, and policy direction for all national and tactical Defense intelligence activities. In 1994, this portfolio was expanded to include all Defense counterintelligence and nearly all defense security program activities.
In 1995, Mr. Deutch asked me to join him at the CIA as his Executive Director for Intelligence Community Affairs. In this position I directed a staff which supported the Director of Central Intelligence in his role as manager of the U.S. intelligence community, including support on policy, budget and organizational issues as well as management initiatives in such areas as program evaluation, capabilities against high priority "hard targets," requirements management, and integration of resource management with Defense.
In February of 1996, I was named Deputy Director, and Acting Director of the National Reconnaissance Office. In this capacity, I have provided daily direction and management of all the nation's satellite reconnaissance activities. This most recent opportunity builds on previous responsibilities in which I was intimately involved in the review and oversight of the National Reconnaissance Program, including requirements, architectures, space support infrastructure, ground station operations, and acquisition of every major satellite reconnaissance capability planned or operational from 1979 through the turn of the century.
I should note that my experience in space activities has not been confined to the NRO. While on the Senate staff I provided pivotal support to Members in efforts to maintain a Complementary Expendable Launch Vehicle (CELV) to avoid total reliance on the Space Shuttle for launch of our national security payloads. Following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, the CELV became the TITAN IV launch vehicle which is today's work horse for a wide variety of national security payloads.
In addition, in 1994, I led a Defense Department summer study of infrared requirements which led to DoD approval of today's Spaced Based Infrared System (SBIRS). SBIRS combined the efforts of the Ballistic Missile Defense Office, intelligence community, and Air Force into a comprehensive program of space sensors which will meet needs sooner and at less cost than had been planned in the original program baseline. The effort was hailed by both CINCSPACE and OSD and selected to become one of the flagship acquisition reform initiatives advanced by the Air Force.
Other specific accomplishments include negotiation of the process to transfer responsibility for LANDSAT from DoD to NASA/NOAA, service as a charter member of the Joint Space Management Board, and CoChair (along with Vice Chairman, JCS) of the Task Force which recommended creation of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency.
Finally, my formal education and training qualifications include graduation from several U.S. Army training courses including armor and a variety of basic and advanced intelligence officer courses. I hold a BA in History and Political Science from Alfred University and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Clark University. In 1979, I was competitively selected by the Office of Personnel Management to be a Presidential Management Intern. This two year internship provided a series of seminars, participation in focus groups, and other public service experiences aimed at developing a well rounded perspective on the executive management of federal government activities and associated interaction with the Congress and public.
In summary, Mr. Chairman, I believe the breadth and depth of my experiences across the military, other executive branch entities and the Senate Staff will serve me well if I am confirmed as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Space.
In 1957, Air Force Chief of Staff, General Thomas D. White, in comments to the National Press Club, challenged the Air Force to capture the high ground saying that "whoever has the ability to control space will likewise possess the capability to exert control of the surface of the earth." Since then, the Air Force has gone on to become the world's leading military space service, providing U.S. and allied forces a formidable array of space derived products and services that are the envy of every military in the world.
Today, the Air Force directly or indirectly supports more than 80 military and intelligence satellites on orbit. The Air Force takes seriously its stewardship responsibilities to provide military commanders with global communications access, all weather, day/night precision navigation, accurate meteorological data, and timely early warning of missile launches. These systems are becoming increasingly integral...if not absolutely indispensable...to our operational forces and policymakers alike.
In addition, the Air Force provides critical support to national security space activities at the national and joint level. As Deputy Director of the National Reconnaissance Office, I can testify directly to the critical role the Air Force plays in the success of the NRO. Air Force personnel constitute more than 40% of the NRO work force and provide critical infrastructure support in the areas of satellite command and control, launch support and other space services. In the joint space arena, the Air Force provides approximately 80% of the USSPACECOM personnel and more than 90% of the total resources.
The Committee is well aware of the critical systems provided by the Air Force in support of DoD and military missions around the world. Today the Air Force provides weather data, missile attack warning, communications services, and navigational information from a variety of space systems to deployed forces throughout the world. In addition, the Air Force supports an impressive array of national reconnaissance satellite systems providing signals intelligence, imagery, and other vital intelligence or related space capabilities. Without question, these onorbit capabilities have been achieved because of the Air Force's solid array of expendable launch vehicles and the associated launch base infrastructure. Thus, the Air Force is central to the national security space arena contributing the overwhelming majority of resources in funds and personnel.
Let me now briefly summarize six key objectives I would have if confirmed as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space.
1. Assure that Air Force and NRO continue to successfully support critical national security objectives. These objectives include providing the warning information pertaining to events adverse to U.S. or allied interests in time to permit our national leadership to take the steps necessary to deter such events. These same space capabilities must be ready to directly support military forces when deployed in concert with U.S. policy. Without question, there is no higher priority for space capabilities than to deliver the critical support needed by our military forces when deployed in hostilities.
As you are well aware, Desert Storm was a watershed event for the military and national intelligence space community. While we cobbled together an acceptable space support infrastructure during the Gulf War, it was obvious that direct space support to the warfighter was immature at best. Much has been done by the Air Force and the NRO since Desert Storm to strengthen space support to the warfighter. If confirmed, it would be my objective to build on this progress to assure superior space capabilities during all future deployments. In particular, it is essential that these space capabilities be routinely and effectively integrated into U.S. and allied military operations to support the commander's goal of dominant battlespace awareness and dominant battlespace knowledge. A primary tool I intend to use to achieve this objective will be to focus attention on the health of our R&D program to promote effective space capabilities well into the next century. As Deputy Director of the NRO, I have already specified the areas where R&D must be focused to assure continued world leadership of the U.S. in reconnaissance technology.
Finally, I will be a strong supporter of the Air Force Global Engagement vision for the 21st Century and will play a key role in developing and advocating the Air Force long range Plan to transition from an Air and Space Force to a Space and Air Force. This is a fundamental evolution that will strengthen our national security posture by broadening the competitive advantage we will need in the 21st Century. Secretary Widnall and General Fogleman are foursquare behind this evolution and I expect to have a significant role in developing the strategy to place us on this path.
2. Provide more cost effective management of our space capabilities. Space systems are among the nation's most costly capabilities to design, build, and operate. This places a significant responsibility on the Assistant Secretary to assure they are managed in a cost-effective manner. It is my belief that there are several steps which would promote better return on our investment when delivering these unique space capabilities: 1) Pursue partnerships, teamwork and close cooperation within and between the military and intelligence space communities; 2) Pursue thorough integration of national intelligence and military space architectures; 3) Pursue acquisition reform initiatives that streamline the process by which we work with industry to design, build, and operate our space systems; 4) Achieve, through the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, a more responsive and less costly launch capability and infrastructure; 5) Capitalize on technology wherever possible to reduce costs without diminishing needed capabilities to include leveraging commercial technologies wherever possible.
3. Continue to improve the education and training of military and national users on the role space plays in their respective missions. I am a strong proponent of the concept that if the military is to utilize space capabilities effectively, they must train as they will fight. Knowledge of both space capabilities and limitations, as well as an understanding of how to task and utilize space assets are key to achieving maximum support from space.
4. Improve the dissemination and use of data collected from space. While satellites on orbit and warfighters trained in space tactics are essential to our success, the real reward in this modern information age is the ability to rapidly disseminate information worldwide to personnel that are equipped to use the data effectively. While we have a growing and impressive array of capabilities in this regard such as sensortoshooter initiatives, direct satellite downlinks to deployed forces, etc., much more needs to be done. Specifically, moving information to the lowest echelons rapidly for effective use in today's dynamic operational environment.
5. Assure that the personnel which make up the Air Force space community and National Reconnaissance Office have an environment that permits them to excel. Undoubtedly, people will always remain our most important resource. Therefore, our personnel must have a work environment that promotes their professional development, rewards stellar performance, fosters diversity, guarantees zero tolerance for any form of harassment, provides counseling and support when and where needed, and preserves time for the pursuit of family responsibilities.
6. Promote public support for national security space activities. I am totally committed to seeking forthright opinions through a healthy relationship with the Congress, DoD, and public at large. In particular, I pledge to work closely with this and other relevant committees to assure a solid foundation on which to fashion a national security space capability that is second to none. In this regard, I am mindful of the need to keep this Committee informed on all critical issues and to respond promptly when issues or questions arise.
In summary, Mr Chairman, I am honored to have appeared before you today as the President's nominee to a most challenging and important position in the national security space arena. I believe my background provides me the necessary skills to tackle this job and if confirmed by the Senate, I pledge to pursue my responsibilities with enthusiasm