Mr. Chairman, members of the Subcommittee, Admiral Jacoby and I would like to thank you
for the opportunity to appear here today to discuss the growing challenges from asymmetric and unconventional warfare threats and what we are doing to counter these threats. This Subcommittee has always been particularly helpful in addressing Navy concerns, and we are grateful for your continued support.
First, let me emphasize that although unconventional threats pose a tremendous challenge, they are not entirely new. We have been working for some time on a variety of initiatives that will allow us to better counter these difficult threat scenarios. Having said that, we are keenly aware that much remains to be done.
As the 21st century approaches, the United States faces a dynamic and uncertain security environment replete with both opportunities and challenges. On the positive side of the ledger, we are in a period of strategic opportunity. The threat of a global war has receded and our core values of democracy and market economics are ascendant. Former adversaries, such as Russia and other members of the former Warsaw Pact, now cooperate with us across a range of security issues. Still, the world remains a dangerous and highly uncertain place, and the United States faces a number of significant challenges. We continue to confront a variety of regional dangers. Foremost among these is the threat of large-scale, conventional cross-border aggression against U.S. allies and friends in key regions such as Southwest Asia, the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East.
Preparing for large-scale conventional wars was a primary mission focus for us throughout the decades of the Cold War. As a result of our Cold War efforts, the United States is the preeminent military power in the world today. Our conventional warfare dominance is comforting on the one hand, but on the other, it may be at least in part responsible for the growing risk of asymmetric threats we face today. Because of our overwhelming dominance in the conventional arena, third world countries and transnational terrorists are more likely to seek advantage over U.S. forces through unconventional approaches that circumvent our strengths while exploiting our vulnerabilities.
Asymmetric threats may take a variety of forms. Strategically, an aggressor may seek to avoid direct military confrontation with the United States using instead, such means as terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, information warfare, and environmental sabotage to achieve its goals. The destruction of the Marine barracks in Beirut and, more recently, of our embassies in Africa demonstrate not only the lethality of asymmetric attacks, but the lingering psychological impact and potential influence on subsequent U.S. policy.
Proliferating information and advanced weapon technologies place sea ports, marshalling areas, airfields and other fixed sites ashore at increasing risk of devastating attack. Surveillance and targeting systems linked to long range precision-strike weapons - perhaps armed with nuclear, chemical or biological warheads pose an ever more complex, multi-level warfare problem to defense planners. This places a premium on both force protection measures and the ability of naval forces to maneuver within the maritime battlespace and allows us to focus on our adversaries' critical vulnerabilities without the need to mass forces close off shore.
Mr. Chairman, protecting our men and women from the full spectrum of threats, from the conventional to the asymmetric, is of the utmost importance. As you know, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Shalikashvili, developed Joint Vision 2010 to guide the transformation of our forces. One of the four operational concepts introduced in JV 2010 is full-dimensional protection. This concept maintains that our forces and facilities must be protected across the full spectrum of conventional and unconventional threats. The Navy is committed to the concept and we are investing in innovative capabilities and before protective measures to overcome the threats that are here today and those that lie ahead. We recognize the need to embrace change and make it our ally in this endeavor. We are committed to exploiting emerging technologies, new concepts and doctrine to guarantee force protection and military superiority against all threats conventional or unconventional
Information superiority and the ability to employ a full array of active and passive measures at multiple echelons will be a key factor to achieving full-dimensional protection. By active measures, we mean those actions that we take to deter or destroy the threat before it can be employed against our forces. This could include destroying a SCUD in a bunker or shooting it down in flight. Passive measures refer to those steps taken to defend and protect U.S. or coalition forces or civilians from a threat. Passive measures range from sensors and alarms to personal protective equipment such as gas masks, inoculations against biological agents, and goggles to protect a pilot's eyes from lasers.
With the strong support of the Congress, we are pursuing ballistic missile defense programs to counter the proliferating threat from advanced weapon technologies for delivering Weapons of Mass Destruction. The Navy Area Defense Program, using a reconfigured SPY-1 phased-array radar and an upgraded version of the Standard Missile (Block IVA) on Aegis-equipped ships, will provide U.S. forces, allied forces, and areas of vital national interest at sea and in coastal regions with an active defense against theater ballistic and cruise missiles. Low-rate initial production of the Block IVA missiles will begin in FY 2000 in support of developmental and operational testing prior to planned first unit equipped (FUE) in FY 2003. Navy Theater Wide will achieve intercepts on targeted ballistic missiles during the ascent as well as mid course and terminal stages of flight, destroying the weapon over the aggressor country and allowing us to protect U.S. and allied positions, population centers and large geographic regions without requiring host nation permission or basing rights.
We are also pursuing a variety of passive defenses against unconventional weapons. Our newer ships, like the DDG-51 Destroyer, the LHD and LSD-49 amphibious ships, and the AOE-6 replenishment ships, are equipped with a Collective Protection System which essentially turns the ships into zonal positive air pressure enclosures to lock out chemical and biological agents. Additionally, plans are underway to install new generations of sensors to detect chemical agents earlier and alert our ship's crews sooner.
With regard to shore facilities, we have conducted vulnerability assessments on over 70% of our naval installations. We expect to complete 100% by the end of calendar year 99. In the interim, we are compiling the results from the completed assessments and developing plans and priorities for corrective actions.
Other initiatives we've undertaken include the establishment of the Navy Anti-terrorism Alert Center; strengthening the Naval Criminal Investigative Service role in threat warning, security management, training and awareness; increased training for Master at Arms personnel in anti-terrorism awareness; and the creation, with the help of the Commandant, of a second Fleet Anti-Terrorism Support Team or FAST Company to provide a total of 11 platoons, including three forward deployed in support of overseas CVBG's. In October of last year, we stood up the Anti-terrorist Force Protection Division on the OPNAV staff to mirror the Joint Staff's "Combating Terrorism Division" and provide better focus and oversight for our anti-terrorism efforts. Additionally, along with the other Services, we are developing new generations of individual protective equipment. These range from special goggles to protect eyes from lasers and respiratory masks with improved filtration systems, to multi-layered protective garments that will allow our Sailors to continue to perform their duties for prolonged periods of time in contaminated environments.
Finally, we are working with the other services and the Joint
Staff to improve our Combat Identification capability. One friendly fire casualty is one too many. Effective combat identification is essential to enable our 21st century fighting force to achieve highly accurate and timely classification of friends, foes, and noncombatants in a diverse array of operational environments, ranging from conventional maritime and desert scenarios to asymmetric, non-conventional urban operations. Without confidence in their ability to discriminate between friendly forces/noncombatants and enemy forces, U.S. commanders will be unable to realize the full potential of our superior forces and tactics.
Mr. Chairman, the Navy-Marine Corps team is the finest maritime force in the world today. However, to maintain our preeminence, especially in the face of asymmetric unconventional threats, much work needs to be done. With the continued help of the Congress, and this subcommittee in particular, I believe we can, and must, continue our investment in technological advances and institutionalize the generation of innovative concepts and ideas. By building on the enduring attributes of naval power, and reinforcing it with a strong commitment to continued investment in technology, we can ensure that we retain our superiority in the next century.