1997 Congressional Hearings
Intelligence and Security


March 12, 1997

SUBJECT: DoD Space Programs and Issues


Mr. Keith R. Hall
Acting Director, National Reconnaissance Office

I am very pleased to join General Estes and Mr. Klinger today in highlighting the significant progress the intelligence and defense space communities have made over the past year. The year since my last appearance before this committee has been a time of substantial and profound change for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Significantly, we have expanded our vision and mission statements to better reflect not only the expanding role of intelligence but also the primacy of global information superiority and the importance of supporting our customers as their missions evolve. The NRO will rely on greater innovation, improved customer relationships, and the incorporation of acquisition reform precepts to leverage limited resources in support of our mission. I would like to take this opportunity to expand on these developments and introduce my plans for the future.

In March 1996, I asked Admiral David Jeremiah (USN, Ret), former Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff to convene a panel of senior officials to evaluate the NRO from top to bottom. This was an independent panel composed of luminaries from the defense, intelligence, and corporate space sectors that thoroughly reviewed almost every aspect of the NRO. In fact, their first charge was

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to decide whether the United States still needed an NRO. I have found the panel's 47 recommendations to be uniquely valuable in charting the NRO's future. Upon their advice we have updated our mission statement to capture "global information superiority", shifted from an "evolutionary" to a "revolutionary" research and development profile, renewed emphasis on innovation in all facets of our operations, and embarked on an ambitious but much needed effort in reforming our acquisition practices. When implemented, there initiatives will have a considerable impact on the NRO.

A prominent theme to the Jeremiah Panel's recommendations was an emphasis on customer support. I have embedded the concept of "mission partners" in all of our acquisition and operations planning. These mission partners, the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), the Central MASINT Office, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are each customers that have a unique stake in our systems and are therefore included in our decision processes with the ability to influence the direction of the organization. For instance, no discussion of satellite imagery is conducted without full participation of the Director of NIMA. By including these mission partners in such planning we are able to arrive at corporate decisions that clearly reflect operational

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National Intelligence Support Teams (NISTs) and US Space Commands Joint Space Support Teams (JSSTs). Each deploys at the request of a theater commander to augment the intelligence and space operations personnel, respectively, already in place.

These liaison relationships, both at the national and military level, are more than convenient - they are essential to developing and maintaining a cadre of trained, experienced space operators, managers and policy experts who will, by virtue of their relationships with different customers, provide a greater degree of insight into NRO capabilities while providing valuable feedback to the NRO. In this regard, our officer exchange programs with the US Space Command and Air Force Space Command are particularly beneficial. One officer from each command is assigned to the NRO headquarters staff for the purposes of facilitating a daily exchange of information. In addition, these officers sponsor and plan various senior leadership fora, user conferences, and the annual Space Support to the Warfighter Conference. Air Force Space Commands' Space Warfare Center has integrees assigned to a number of NRO program offices. Likewise, the NRO has officers stationed at both commands and the Space Warfare Center.

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I fully support General Estes' objective of "operationalizing space" and have directed NRO efforts in support of this concept. lf the military is to use space resources 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, is key to achieving maximum support from space. To arrive at this desired end-state, however, requires a substantial effort in "educating space" and is therefore a growing element of our customer support program. The NRO is providing educational services to the newly established Space Weapons Instructor Course at the Air Force Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base. An NRO officer at Air Force Space Command is responsible for managing the NRO's portion of the curriculum and ensuring its currency.

As a wider diversity of customers comes to rely on NRO systems we have enhanced our reporting on the health of our space reconnaissance assets. The NRO established a 24-hour Watch Activity in September 1996 to monitor and report the status of our space systems. This data is fused with US Space Command information on navigation, weather, communications, and missile warning systems and provides our customers with a complete synopsis of defense and intelligence systems' capabilities. The NRO is working to integrate our systems' health data with the collection

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management updates provided by the DIA, NIMA, and NSA.

Another substantial and far-reaching effort of the past year has been an NRO emphasis on acquisition reform. From the Packard Commission to the Jeremiah Panel, the NRO has been cited as the government's premier organization for the development and acquisition of unique and innovative technology. After I reported as Acting Director last February, however, I became concerned that the organization had grown somewhat complacent in this field and was starting to lose its vital edge. Following a mid-year Integrated Product Team review, the NRO has committed to employing the tenets of innovative acquisition reform, including best practices from business, in all future system acquisitions. Initiatives such as a broad statement of requirements rather than a specific statement of work, timely insertion of technology into the development process, and compressed acquisition schedules have already been incorporated into new major system acquisitions. These efforts will have a profound effort on our way of doing business.

The NRO has also taken a number of careful steps to support greater openness with respect to our program. In November 1996, we declassified the existence of our relationship with most of the

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contractors who work alongside our government personnel at NRO Headquarters. We plan to continue the process by declassifying most of the rest of our contractor relationships throughout the spring.

Declassification and the acknowledgment of the NRO's existence has also given us the opportunity to enhance our relationship with the public and give the American people information on the ways we contribute to national security. Last spring, we released information about CORONA, an early satellite imaging system. A well received Discovery Channel documentary was the result. In December, we acknowledged an NRO launch for the first time. While no information concerning the mission was released, the 48-hour advance notification was unprecedented. Later this year we hope to distribute a 50-page unclassified history of the NRO. We also helped arrange the contribution of a model of one of our satellites to the Bush Presidential Library at the request of former President George Bush. The benefits of this new openness accrue not only to the NRO but to the entire space community.

Posturing the NRO for the next century is an important objective we have pursued since I last testified before this

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Subcommittee. I would highlight two initiatives in this regard. First, the NRO has established the goal of substantially increasing the percentage of funds we dedicate to research and development (R&D) efforts. Details on our plans for the Fiscal Year 1998 budget in this regard are included in our classified Congressional Budget Justification Book provided to the Committee. A robust R&D effort is the front end of our effort to revolutionize global reconnaissance. In addition, building on a Jeremiah Panel recommendation, since late last year the PRO has been heavily engaged in a corporate strategic planning effort to assure proper focus for our future plans.

Finally, I want to note that the NRO's financial management deficiencies of a year ago have all been fully addressed. Financial reforms have been implemented and I can assure this committee that there will be no surprises in this regard. The NRO's Associate Director for Resource Oversight and Management has centralized all NRO financial reporting and accounting, thereby ensuring that the NRO leadership as well as those charged with oversight of our accounts, both in the Executive Branch and in the Congress, have an accurate picture of our financial status. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the DoD Comptroller, and the DCI's Community Management Staff all participate in our rigorous

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quarterly budget execution reviews and are afforded full visibility into our program execution. We will achieve another significant financial milestone this year when we implement a primary disbursing system using inaugural NRO Treasury Department accounts. This is particularly significant in that it brings us closer to realizing our goal of a fully integrated financial management system. Moreover, by October 1, 1997, the NRO will be compliant with General Accounting Office and OMB guidelines for financial systems as directed by the Congress. My goal is for the NRO to be nothing less than the premier financial management organization in the United States government.

I would like to close my remarks with a recognition of the value of our increasingly integrated ties across the defense and intelligence space communities. The NRO has been working closely with the DoD Space Architect in the analysis of cross-program interoperability, standardization, and possible consolidation with respect to satellite operations. We have also participated in DoD Space Architect reviews over the last year, including a comprehensive review of military satellite communications systems. Likewise, the DoD Space Architect is now an integral part of NRO architecture efforts. Finally, in December 1996, the DUSD (Space) and I signed a memorandum of agreement which formalized the "Two

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Architects, One Architecture" policy for defense and intelligence space management. The ultimate objective of this is to establish a single, integrated National Security Space System Architecture; this epitomizes the level of integration we are trying to achieve.

Cooperation and integration among the NRO, US Space Command, the Air Force, DUSD (space), the DoD Space Architect, and our mission partners and customers is having a dynamic effect on the management of space resources and responsibilities. Those of us seated before you are committed to expanding on these efforts.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I would be happy to respond to any questions.

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