Space & Missile Defense Report – Special Issue

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May 7, 2009

Table of Contents

NASA To Study Possible Major Changes In Constellation Program; Augustine Leads Panel

Scolese Says Any Ares I Replacement Must Be Capable To Carry Out Full Lunar Return Mission

NASA today unveiled an $18.69 billion budget proposal that includes a major study of whether the Constellation Program spaceship development effort should be altered.

The review team will be led by Norman Augustine, former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT], aided by others such as senior NASA staff members, according to Acting NASA Administrator Chris Scolese, who briefed news media today.

This is the first NASA budget produced for President Obama.

Among possibilities mentioned in recent months would be dropping the Ares I rocket that will take the next-generation Orion spaceship to orbit, and substituting a military-type rocket such as the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.

Segments of the Ares I have been developed separately over years by The Boeing Co. [BA], Alliant Techsystems Inc. [ATK], and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a unit of United Technologies Corp. [UTX]. Lockheed is leading development of the Orion space capsule.

On the other hand, the EELV is supplied by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed and Boeing.

President Obama and White House aides have expressed interest in how the switch in lifters might work.

Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin objected to dropping the Ares I program after it has run for years, saying the EELV wouldn’t be fully equal to the Ares I in the moon mission.

Scolese was asked by Space & Missile Defense Report whether any Augustine review team recommendation to substitute another lifter for the Ares I would have a precondition that it equal the Ares I on the moon mission.

"Yes," Scolese replied. Thinking about it further, he repeated, "Yes."

In explaining the review, Scolese said that the Constellation Program for now will proceed without changes, including the upcoming Ares I-X test flight this year, saying it is incorrect to assume the Augustine commission will recommend changing Ares I, or other elements of the Constellation Program.

Scolese said he hasn’t had a chance to sit down jointly with Augustine, NASA officials and others who will be key to the review.

"We were requested to [study] human space flight capability," Scolese said. The "blue ribbon team" headed by Augustine was his response to the request. The White House announced the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans, which also will examine NASA development programs and possible alternatives, according to Scolese.

This should be "a quick review," Scolese said. It is sound practice to review programs every two years, and it also is commonplace for a new presidential administration to want to review various federal programs, Scolese added.

While the Constellation Program spends $250 million to $300 million per month, that doesn’t mean money would be wasted during the time the review continues, Scolese said. To assume there would be waste, one would have to assume the Augustine team will recommend scrapping some parts of the Constellation Program, and no one can say that will be the outcome before the review even begins, Scolese explained.

The Exploration Systems program, including Constellation, would get $3.96 billion in the budget, still working toward the goal of an initial March 2015 initial manned space flight.

In the budget, it provides that the Ares I-X test still is set for late this year, and the launch pad abort test is set for November at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

The budget also funds nine more space shuttle flights, including one to take the $1.5 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment to the International Space Station. Scolese expects the flights to finish by the end of the fiscal budget year ending Sept. 30, 2010, using $6.17 billion budgeted for space operations. Those nine flights include the Hubble Space Telescope rescue mission that blasts off Monday. (Please see separate story in this issue.) After that, the shuttle fleet retires as previously planned. Also, reviewers will consider operating the $100 billion station beyond its current 2016 cutoff deadline.

NASA also will work to help stimulate private commercial space flight capabilities and demonstration of spacecraft that may support NASA cargo and crew requirements on missions to the space station. Companies likely interested would include SpaceX and Orbital.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter still is set for launch after Sept. 30.

NASA also will be able to support extensive science and aeronautics programs with funding in the budget, Scolese said.

However, while the Obama space agency budget would increase the total budget outlay by 5.1 percent in fiscal 2010, to $18.686 billion, thereafter funding remains at $18 billion and change through 2014. Critics say that isn’t enough, and there will be fiscal crunches hitting NASA as years go by, expressing concern for continued support of the Constellation Program.

Missile Defense Budget Stops Boost-Phase Programs, But Agency Has A Backup Plan; European Missile Defense Gets Just $51 Million, With No Construction Seen

Multiple Kill Vehicle Is Dead; Agency Leader Voices ‘High Confidence’ United States Can Kill Missiles From Iran Or North Korea; U.S.-Israeli Program Mulled

President Obama’s defense budget plan, released today, drops both U.S. missile defense programs designed to kill enemy missiles just after launch, in their boost phase, but the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has an alternate plan to develop an ascent phase interceptor.

The budget that Obama sent to Congress today provides no new funds for the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) program led by Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC].

David Altwegg, MDA deputy for agency operations, said the KEI suffered problems ranging from missile cases that failed, to electronics problems, and costs soared as well.

The budget provides that the other missile defense program designed to kill enemy missiles in their vulnerable boost phase, the Airborne Laser (ABL), will be downgraded to just a research program, dropping plans to buy any more ABL planes, as reported previously. (Please see Space & Missile Defense Report, Monday, April 6, 2009.)

But Altwegg said the MDA now is turning its attention to an ascent phase interceptors program, which also would hit enemy missiles before they are able to emit multiple warheads or confusing decoys or chaff. He declined to detail the plan, but said it would hit the enemy missile before it reaches its apogee of ballistic flight.

Separately, Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, the MDA director, said today that dropping procurement of ABL and KEI hardware will permit time to study and review how to provide a boost/ascent missile defense capability. (Please see full story in this issue.)

However, sidelining ABL and KEI, and moving to consider another program, means the MDA will need time to develop and field the new capability, and critics ask how much time there is, given the rising global missile threat situation.

ABL and KEI weren’t the only programs getting the ax. As previously reported, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system now installed in Alaska and California won’t receive more interceptors, being cut off with 30 of the missile-killers instead of 44.

And the European Missile Defense System (EMD), a variant of the GMD, will receive just $51 million as a token, which won’t permit construction of the radar in the Czech Republic or emplacement of interceptors in silos in Poland.

ABL, GMD and EMD programs are led by The Boeing Co. [BA].

The Multiple Kill Vehicle, or MKV, intended to demolish multiple warheads spewing out of an enemy missile, also was dropped.

However, as earlier reported, some programs will receive funding increases. For example, the sea-based Aegis weapon control system and companion Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor are seen as advanced, capable hardware, and six Navy ships will see their Aegis systems upgraded to missile-defense configuration. As well, there will be plus-ups for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD. Both Aegis and THAAD are led by Lockheed, with Raytheon leading SM-3.

Atlwegg assailed those who say that curbing or dropping the ABL, GMD, EMD and KEI programs means the United States won’t have as good a defense against enemy missiles.

"We are not cutting missile defense capabilities," Altwegg said. Rather, the agency is merely shifting resources to programs with better performance, he said.

Bowing to rejection form Congress in prior years, there is no request in the budget to fund a Space Based Test Bed.

With Israel, the agency would proceed with the Arrow missile defense joint program, where "the biggest issue is the ability of the Israeli government to achieve knowledge points with the Arrow III," he said.

The program is "very ambitious and high risk," Altwegg said.

He was uncertain whether Aegis ships could provide an alternative missile defense coverage in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, saying that would be up to top-level Pentagon leaders to decide whether to deploy ships there.

Sen. Sessions: Senate Authorizers May Balks At Missile Defense Funding Cuts, But House, Others, May Favor Obama Moves To Slash Protection

Tough Battle Ahead, But Not Hopeless, Sessions Says

President Obama’s plan for dramatic cuts in funding missile defense programs likely will be challenged in the Senate, especially among authorizers on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), but the ultimate fate of those programs will rest partially with others, including House Democrats.

That was the grim assessment of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), responding to a question from Space & Missile Defense Report at a Capitol Hill breakfast forum of the National Defense University Foundation and the National Defense Industrial Association.

Clearly, averting the deep cuts in some missile defense programs will be difficult, but the battle isn’t lost yet, Sessions said, adding that he is concerned by Obama’s budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2010.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates delivered body blows to several programs: he proposed no further aircraft for the Airborne Laser (ABL) missile defense system beyond the existing prototype plane; no more interceptors for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD), or National Missile Defense, system; no fiscal 2010 funding at all for the planned European Missile Defense (EMD) system; and a hazy future for the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI). (Please see separate story in this issue for details of the Pentagon missile defense budget proposal.)

In all, Gates said his plan would take $1.4 billion out of the roughly $9.6 billion yearly missile defense effort, or roughly 15 percent of funds for all programs, a sizeable chunk.

But actually, the cuts are far more dramatic, because only some programs would be cut, while others such as the sea-based Aegis weapon control system and its companion Standard Missile-3 interceptor would actually receive increased funding next year, along with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD. (Please see Space & Missile Defense Report, Monday, April 6, 2009.)

Beyond the $1.4 billion of cuts that Gates mentioned in programs such as ABL, GMD, EMD and KEI, those funding increases for a few favored programs would force corresponding further cuts in programs out of favor.

Both Sessions in his presentation, and Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), have said the true cut from out-of-favor missile defense programs actually will be something like $2.3 billion, out of a $9 billion-plus annual undertaking.

Cuts Unjustified

Those cuts are jarring and unjustified, an irrational move, coming in the face of rising missile threats confronting the United States and its allies, Sessions said.

"Recent missile defense cuts, coming on the heels of a successful Iranian satellite launch and a more recent test of a North Korean long-range ballistic missile, are particularly concerning," he warned.

"How do you explain to the American people: [the Obama administration continues] to cut back significantly on missile defense, at the very time our potential adversaries are demonstrating the ability to reach the United States and … our allies with ballistic missiles?" Sessions reasoned.

"So in light of all that our nation has done to develop, and now to begin to deploy a National Missile Defense System, which is working now, and which provides protection now, it makes no sense at all to me to starve this program in this way. [It] looks too much like an abandonment. … I don’t agree with that."

For Sessions, there is only one response to make to the Obama budget plan for missile defense: accept the increased funding support that Obama would provide for some programs such as sea-based systems, but fight hard against the cuts in other programs.

"I will oppose it," Sessions vowed, "and do my best to make sure that we properly defend the security of the United States of America."

When we asked him about chances that the Obama missile defense cuts may be approved by Congress, Sessions said that there is risk in the situation. But he sees some allies among Democratic senators who may not necessarily agree with Obama on every budget item he proposes, even though the president is a fellow Democrat.

"On the [Senate Armed Services] Committee, we’ve got some Democrats who have been thoughtful about missile defense for quite a number of years, and they have proven that they are independent enough," Sessions said.

He cited a few Democratic senators on the committee who chart their own course, such as "Mark Begich from Alaska. We benefit there. He appears to be … knowledgeable" about missile defense. The GMD system is located partly in Alaska, as well as California.

Sessions also praised the independence of "people like Sen. [Joseph] Lieberman" of Connecticut, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, "or Ben Nelson [of Nebraska], and Evan Bayh [of Indiana], and there are a number of Democrats I think will give an independent review to that."

Beyond that, he said the full Senate won’t just rubber-stamp the proposed missile defense reductions.

"The Senate would have some ability, I hope, to question some of those cuts," Session said.

However, he noted, beyond the SASC, which writes authorizing legislation, the question of whether missile defense cuts prevail also is up to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its defense subcommittee, which write the defense appropriations measure that actually provides funds to the missile defense programs.

Beyond that, of course, there are the authorizing and appropriating committees in the House. And finally, there would be conference committees to iron out differences between bills passed by the House and Senate.

With the defense authorization bill for fiscal 2010, "You know, you have to go to conference," Sessions observed. "You’ve got the House, and [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, and [Senate Democratic Leader] Harry Reid [who] pick the conferees. And then you’ve got the appropriations committee. And all of [them] play an important role."

While that’s a lot to consider, Sessions said this is a fight that can be won.

"I do think it’s a matter that is not at all hopeless," he said. "I do think it’s a matter that we need to lift up, and have a national discussion about. And as you’ve indicated, some of [those cuts] individually — a lot of them may not sound too significant" in isolation. "But taken as a whole, you create a picture of a lack of commitment to defense. And I think the American people will not be happy with that."

The fight for missile defense will be made even more challenging, Sessions cautioned, by the fact that such procurement programs are being crowded by soaring spending in other areas of the defense budget, such as pay raises for personnel, and an increase in the number of personnel to help lessen the exhausting strain of war on existing troops.

GOP Lawmakers Assail Obama Cuts In Missile Defense Budget

Republican House members blasted President Obama’s proposed cuts to ballistic missile defense programs, saying a rising missile threat makes such cuts reckless.

Further, they expressed incredulity that there could be a lack of money for something as vital as protecting Americans from nuclear annihilation, when there are seemingly limitless amounts of money for domestic spending such as bank bailouts or economic stimulus bills.

"Everything in the budget is going up except defense," said Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado. And with the growing threats facing the nation, "this is the wrong time to be cutting defense," he said.

The lawmakers made their comments on the House floor.

Obama would curtail purchases of the F-22 Raptor superstealth supersonic cruise fighter plane, create questions about when the Air Force will replace aging aerial refueling tanker planes, and eliminate classes of new Navy ships, Lamborn said, even as Wall Street and mortgage lenders receive bailouts.

"I don’t understand that," Lamborn said, adding that the first priority for Congress should be national defense.

Rep. Todd Aikin of Missouri, who led the discussion, agreed, noting that domestic spending is rising at a far faster rate than defense outlays. Just the economic measures passed early this year totaled $840 billion, he said, which would be the equivalent of buying 250 aircraft carriers. A carrier is the single most expensive item that the federal government buys.

"We’ve been slashing defense spending over a number of decades," Aikin said.

Further, defense procurement spending cuts eliminate high-paying skilled manufacturing jobs, said Rep. Bob Bishop of Utah. "These are critical jobs for our country," he said.

Bishop specifically deplored cuts in missile defense programs.

"When I was growing up, our defense was duck and cover," he recalled. "I don’t want to go back to those days" when the United States was powerless to defeat incoming enemy missiles.

Aikin noted that missile defense consumes a tiny 2 percent of the overall defense budget.

Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, co-chairman of the bipartisan congressional Missile Defense Caucus, observed that since the United States began missile defense programs a quarter century ago, the total amount spent has been $100 billion, whereas the cost of the 9/11 attacks using non-nuclear weapons (airliners) has mounted to $2 trillion.

Not only would a nuclear-tipped enemy missile cause vastly more damage, it also would kill hundreds of thousands of Americans, he noted.

Further, he said, if the United States completes developing and building its multi-layered missile defense system, and no enemy mounts a missile attack on the United States, that means "it works," Franks said. The money spent on missile defense won’t have been wasted, he said.

The Airborne Laser missile defense system, especially, is "so important to pursue," said Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee strategic forces subcommittee that has jurisdiction in authorizing missile defense programs.

"We’re going to perfect it," Turner said.

Aikin responded to those who say that terrorists could just as well smuggle a nuclear weapon into a U.S. city and detonate it, rather than use a missile to deliver the weapon.

That ignores the fact, Aikin said, that a high-altitude blast over a city means a nuclear weapon would cause immensely greater damage, over a far larger area, than a ground blast.

He concluded by assailing the very idea of missile defense cuts being necessitated by fiscal strictures.

Aikin asserted that "the idea we don’t have enough money is absolute foolishness."

Republican criticisms of the Obama defense budget cuts also continued off the House floor.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said with the threats facing the United States, this is no time to be taking a peace dividend. His comments to the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank, referred to the defense spending collapse that occurred after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Since then, Russia recently has become resurgent, with bellicose moves to create new intercontinental ballistic missiles, threats against U.S. plans for a new European Missile Defense system, an invasion of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, and much more.

And China is on a multi-year, massively expensive military buildup that is targeting U.S. armed forces, including U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. (Please see separate story in this issue.)

MDA Director O’Reilly Says Missile Threat ‘Extremely Worrisome,’ Not Slowing Down

O’Reilly Urges Emphasis On Hitting Enemy Missiles In Ascent Phase, But Also Endorses Not Buying Another Airborne Laser Aircraft

ABL Needs Design Changes, O’Reilly Says; Existing ABL Shows How To Improve It

The ballistic missile threat facing the United States is surging forward, with 5,900 short- and medium-range missiles being wielded worldwide — and that doesn’t count the thousands of missiles in U.S., Russian and Chinese arsenals.

That’s up a hefty 28 percent from 4,600 just five years ago.

The troubling figures came from Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), speaking at a breakfast forum of the Association of the United States Army – Institute of Land Warfare at a hotel near the Pentagon.

"The threat is proliferating" worldwide, he reported.

O’Reilly also said that the United States must have a missile defense system that strikes enemy missiles in their most vulnerable phase of flight, the boost/ascent phase, just after launch.

However, O’Reilly also said he fully supports the proposal by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that would drop plans for purchasing even one more Airborne Laser plane, which until now has been the main U.S. missile defense system designed to hit enemy weapons in their boost/ascent phase.

Before buying another "tail," O’Reilly said the MDA needs to improve the ABL design, incorporating lessons learned on the only aircraft in the program now, the prototype heavily modified 747-400F jumbo jet.

These were highlights of his speech:

A Major Missile Threat

Ballistic missile proliferation among all nations, including rogue states, "is not showing any sign of slowing down," O’Reilly cautioned. "This is extremely worrisome."

O’Reilly added that the upward trend of threatening missiles "is not abating in any way."

He specifically cited Iran, which this year launched a satellite into orbit, demonstrating that Tehran has gained advanced missile technology, including the fine points of command and control.

He also cited North Korea, which last month launched what military analysts said was a Taepo Dong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile. While it failed to reach its maximum 4,000-mile range, falling into the Pacific Ocean east of Japan, this launch was vastly more successful than a 2006 attempt that destructed seconds after liftoff. This latest attempt traveled hundreds of miles.

It is worth noting that the North Koreans were "more successful than they had been in the past," he said.

These rising threats show the urgent need for ballistic missile defense, so that the president and military commanders, confronted with incoming enemy missiles, can have an option other than watching the missiles strike U.S. or allied targets, and then launching a massive American retaliatory strike against the enemy, O’Reilly said.

In fashioning a protective anti-missile fence around the United States and its allies, he said that it is important to "defeat all missiles of all ranges in any phase of flight," including the boost phase.

The other phases are the midcourse, where the trajectory path may take a missile into space, and the terminal phase, where the missile reenters the atmosphere and begins its final descent toward the target.

Missile defense presents "a very strong counter-proliferation message" to enemies contemplating developing expensive missiles that could be used to attack the United States, O’Reilly said.

While the MDA has focused heavily on hitting enemy missiles in their midcourse of flight, the agency also must place an emphasis on the ascent phase, and on the terminal phase, he said.

He noted that it makes sense to hit enemy missiles in their boost/ascent phase, noting that is a point in flight where the enemy weapon hasn’t yet had time to emit multiple warheads or confusing decoys or chaff. (For further reasons why the boost phase is the ideal time to hit enemy missiles, please see full story in this issue.)

One issue with the ABL is that some analysts say using a solid state laser would be better than the high-powered chemical laser currently emplaced on the ABL aircraft. However, one observer noted that it would take years to build a comparable high-powered solid state laser, and O’Reilly’s remarks show the global missile threat is rising rapidly now.

All things equal, he "would like to go to a solid state laser," O’Reilly said. "They are much easier to maintain," and much more survivable and "operationally effective."

The MDA director described, in detail, how the ABL works, noting that a dozen times last year a laser beam struck a target.

"We are very excited by the success we’ve had" on the ABL, he said, including firing the megawatt class laser more than 70 times on the ground.

The Boeing Co. [BA], the prime contractor, provides the ABL aircraft and systems integration; Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC] supplies the laser system; and Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] makes the beam control-fire control system.

Now the ABL plane and system is poised for "an exciting series of tests," including shoot-downs of missiles of all ranges, O’Reilly noted.

At the same time, however, Gates announced he discarded plans to buy a second ABL aircraft, and "I agree with that wholeheartedly."

The reason O’Reilly is upbeat about the ABL, and sees the need for a boost-ascent-phase missile defense system, but also favors dropping plans to buy more ABLs, is that "we have learned so much from this first one," the prototype ABL aircraft and systems.

"This is a revolutionary military capability," O’Reilly said. Already, the MDA has seen progress in "increasing its efficiency, its reliability," and more.

Therefore, while the budget doesn’t contain money to buy another ABL, O’Reilly said the MDA is pleased to be receive funding just for further research and development, and testing, "and then to apply that."

O’Reilly stressed that the ABL "still hasn’t proved itself." The Airborne Laser is set for a test later this year in which it is to knock down a missile for the first time.

Even if the ABL is successful in that crucial test later this year, "we still need to do that type of redesign," he said, "so we can build a more operational effective version in the future. But that decision has to occur first based on proven capability."

Democratic Leader Hoyer Flails Iran For ‘Dangerous’ Pursuit Of Nukes, And Terrorist Missiles Hitting Israel

Biden Cites U.S. Commitment To Peace And Security Of Israel

Netanyahu: Iran Must Be Barred From Developing Nuclear Weapons

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the House Democratic leader, assailed Iran for rushing to develop nuclear weapons that would threaten the existence of Israel, adding that the bonds between the United States and Israel are "unbreakable."

Hoyer excoriated "Iran’s dangerous pursuit of nuclear weapons," which he said would inflict "irreparable harm" on Israelis even if Tehran never launches nuclear-tipped missiles at Israel. Just the agonizing fear that such weapons would evoke constantly in Israeli minds would create a devastating toll on Israelis, he said before a dinner of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, in the Washington Convention Center.

The Obama administration, Hoyer promised, is "committed to keeping nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands."

Washington already has assisted Israel by supplying it with an advanced radar to spot incoming missiles, to aid in missile defense.

The House Democratic leader also decried the unending destruction caused by incoming missiles that Israelis suffer at Palestinian hands, condemning "Hamas rockets that still rain down on southern Israel."

Every missile or rocket that hits Israel is "a war crime," Hoyer said.

The cause of destruction and death in the Middle East lies clearly on one side, with the Palestinians who hate Jews, Hoyer said. Thus there never will be peace until the Palestinian people recognize Israel, foreswear violence and stop indoctrinating Palestinian children with hatred toward Jews, Hoyer said.

He also decried others around the world who may not attack Israel with missiles, but who nonetheless wound with words by calling Jews Nazis. "It is not criticism," Hoyer said. "It is hate."

Vice President Joe Biden also addressed the AIPAC dinner, saying that the United States won’t abandon Israel. "In the midst of change … there is one enduring, essential principle that will not change, and that is our commitment to the peace and security of the state of Israel," Biden said. "That is not negotiable."

However, President Obama is proposing no funds to build the European Missile Defense system in the Czech Republic (radar) and Poland (interceptors) that also could help Israel defend itself from Iranian missiles.

Separately, Benjamin Netanyahu, the new Israeli prime minister, addressed the AIPAC gathering by videoconference.

"Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said.

He did not elaborate on that, as to whether Israel may launch air strikes on illicit Iranian sites where nuclear materials are being produced in thousands of centrifuges. While Iran claims the fissile materials are merely to fuel nuclear electrical generating facilities, the West worries the materials will be used to build nuclear weapons, touching off a race for atomic weapons that will sweep through the Middle East.

In that event, the only security for Europe and the United States could lie in multilayered missile defense systems.

While Netanyahu said that "we want peace with the Arab world," he added that "peace will not come without security. We shall never compromise on Israel’s security."

He concluded that "Palestinians must recognize Israel as the Jewish state."

Iran not only has its nuclear materials development program, it also recently launched a satellite, using the same basic technology as is used to build an intercontinental ballistic missile. Half an hour after the satellite launched, it was over the United States.

Further, Iran has launched missiles in a salvo, and launched a missile from a submerged submarine. Many Iranian missiles can easily reach targets in Israel.

Finally, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that Israel should be wiped from the map, and that Israel soon shall cease to exist. He also said that he envisions a world without the United States.

Iran also supplies the thousands of missiles, rockets and mortars that Hezbollah terrorists have fired from southern Lebanon into Israel, and that Hamas terrorists have fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, destroying buildings and killing Israeli civilians.

Another speaker at the AIPAC dinner has co-sponsored legislation to empower the White House to punish companies that supply Iran with gasoline and other refined petroleum product. Sen. Jon Kyl’s remarks before AIPAC were similar to those he delivered earlier before a breakfast forum of the National Defense University Foundation and National Defense Industrial Association. (Please see Space & Missile Defense Report, Monday, April 27, 2009.)

Surging Taliban Threatens Pakistan, Wants To Abolish Democratic Rule, Parliament Member Warns In Forum

The Taliban terrorist group aims for no less than the abolition of democratic government rule in Pakistan, a member of the Pakistani Parliament warned.

While some say the Taliban haven’t taken over Islamabad, and seems to be centered in the Swat and Bruner area 60 miles or so from the capital city, Sherry Rehman, a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, takes little comfort from that.

She spoke before a forum of The Heritage Foundation, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

Some military analysts are concerned that the Taliban might attempt a coup against the central government, seizing control of Pakistani nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.

That would expose Western nations to Taliban nuclear blackmail, because the United States hasn’t built its planned European Missile Defense (EMD) system, which would protect Europe and the United States against missiles fired from nations such as Iran or Pakistan.

The Pentagon has proposed providing no funds at all for the EMD in the upcoming fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2010. (Please see Space & Missile Defense Report, Monday, April 6, 2009.)

Taliban forces must not be lightly dismissed, Rehman said. They wish to impose their Islamic law, enforced by Islamic courts, on a population that is not narrow and rigid, she added.

Violence such as public floggings, destruction of girls’ schools and armed Taliban patrols have occurred in the Swat area.

This isn’t a problem that can be solved by throwing some money at it, Rehman said. Rather, the Taliban must be curbed. But critically needed and basic items aren’t being provided, she said, such as effective controls and patrols on the porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a Taliban stronghold despite the growing presence of U.S. troops.

North Korea Openly States It Will Pursue ICBM Testing And Uranium-Based Nuclear Weapons Program Development

North Korea openly threatened to push forward with a uranium-centered nuclear weapons production program, and with further intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests, the International Herald Tribune reported.

That outburst came after North Korea for years had denied it was producing uranium-based fissile material. Pyongyang previously had admitted only to a plutonium-based weapons program.

This latest bellicose blast from the North came after it earlier had threatened to begin rebuilding a partially dismantled reactor at Yongbyon where plutonium had been produced for nuclear weapons, including one that was tested in an underground blast in 2006.

North Korea for years has pushed to develop its nuclear weapons program, and military analysts fear the impoverished communist dictatorship, with a starving population, may sell nuclear weapons and/or long-range missiles to a terrorist group.

The North has pushed persistently to develop a long-range missile: the Taepo Dong-2. While the first test in 2006 ended in failure shortly after launch, another test this year was a partial success, traveling as much as 3,000 miles by some estimates. (Please see Space & Missile Defense Report, Monday, April 6, 2009.)

When fully developed, the Taepo Dong-2 will be able to travel 4,000 miles to strike targets in the United States.

North Korea also is thought to have helped Iran develop its missile capabilities, which included launching a satellite this year, using technology parallel to that required for an ICBM.

To guard against the North Korean threat, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency developed the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, also called the National Missile Defense system.

Now operational, it is at this point the only U.S. defense against long-range or intercontinental ballistic missiles.

But Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced he proposes not buying any more interceptors for the GMD. Further details of the missile defense budget for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2006, were released earlier today. (Please see stories in this issue, and on April 6, 2009.)

While North Korea has admitted its plutonium-based nuclear weapons production program, the West long suspected it also had a covert uranium-based program. Then traces of highly enriched uranium were discovered on pages of documents that North Korea supplied to weapons inspectors. But Pyongyang still denied the existence of its HEU program.

The North for years has engaged in such threatening behavior, pressing on with both missile and nuclear-weapon programs, and used that as leverage to push developed nations to enter negotiations.

There, the North extracts rewards such as food and oil shipments for its ravaged economy, in exchange for promises to stop the nuclear and missile programs. Finally, after receiving the promised food and energy, the North breaks its word and resumes the bellicose programs.

Although Pyongyang has engaged in talks for years, in the 1990s and more recently in six-party talks, it has yet to hand over even one of its nuclear weapons to the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.

Chinese Vessels Again Harass U.S. Navy Ships

China did it again.

Two Chinese fishing vessels veered dangerously close to a U.S. Navy intelligence-gathering ship, the USNS Victorious, as it moved peacefully in international waters, according to the U.S. government.

The Chinese government claimed the threatening action, part of a series of provocative and risky confrontations with American warships, was because the ship was in what China claims is its exclusive economic zone in the Yellow Sea, according to the official Xinhua government news agency.

"The Victorious conducted activities in China’s exclusive economic zone in the Yellow Sea without China’s permission. China has expressed concern over this issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement.

But the American diplomatic agency, the State Department, took a diametrically opposite stance on the issue, saying the Chinese action was dangerous and a violation of international norms guaranteeing safe passage on the seas.

Chinese vessels earlier has harassed another U.S. Navy intelligence ship in international waters, the Impeccable, including threatening maneuvers such as swerving in front of the American vessel and stopping suddenly.

For years, China has attempted to drive the U.S. Navy ships and aircraft out of Asian waters and airspace.

In 2001, for example, a Chinese fighter plane came dangerously close to a U.S. Navy intelligence aircraft, then slammed into it. The heavily damaged plane, barely able to fly, made an emergency distress radio call, then made an emergency landing on Hainan Island, part of China. There, Chinese forces captured the two dozen U.S. Navy men and women in uniform, and ransacked their plane, attempting to discover U.S. military secrets.

The crew was held for 10 days until China forced the United States to apologize, "very sorry … very sorry" for those crew members having saved their own lives by landing the plane on Hainan Island.

While the United States has protested that incident and the recent harassment of U.S. ships, China is obstinate in continuing to flout international rules.

"We demand that the United States take effective measures to prevent similar acts from happening," Ma said.

China further is assembling missile and other hardware to challenge U.S. Navy dominance in Asian waters. (Please see story in this issue.)

While Gates Whacks Weapons Procurement Programs, Soaring Personnel Costs Fly Untouched Under Radar

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is ignoring the legal mandate to rationally reexamine defense spending priorities every four years, and he is remiss in two ways, a well-known analyst asserted.

First, Gates came out with his defense spending plans, including major funding cuts for missile defense and other weapons procurement programs, before the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) even got into gear.

Second, and more worrisome, Gates virtually ignored the need to apply any similar rigor and discipline on skyrocketing personnel costs, according to Loren B. Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, a think tank near the Pentagon that focuses on defense and other issues.

Personnel costs are uncontrolled, on an unsustainable upward trajectory, Thompson argued. And inevitably, they will crowd out weapons procurement costs, increasingly, he predicted.

All of this doesn’t bode well for a successful QDR, he continued.

"This year’s review is already degenerating into the kind of budget drill that led to criticism of the process in years past," Thompson argued.

Rather than waiting for a lengthy and thorough QDR to conclude, Gates has decided he knows what the military needs, and wrote that into his defense budget proposal for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2010, Thompson wrote in an issue brief.

"… Gates has been in his job for two years, and doesn’t want to spend a lot of time rehashing what he already knows," the analyst continued. "So he preempted much of the QDR discussion with his [budget] program recommendations on April 6, and the only big item that remains to be decided is what force-sizing construct will prevail for the next four years."

This is the wrong way to approach the budget, and the QDR, "because the process is ignoring the biggest single management challenge that Gates and his successors will face," Thompson alleged. "That problem, bluntly stated, is that the All Volunteer Force is becoming unaffordable. Military personnel costs are out of control, and the Obama Administration is making the problem worse by sticking with Bush Administration plans to increase the size of the ground forces by 92,000 personnel."

Thompson cited numbers to back his assertions:

  • According to Stephen Daggett of the Congressional Research Service, the annual cost of an average uniformed member of the joint forces has increased 45% after inflation since 1998, from $55,000 in constant 2009 dollars back then to $80,000 today.
  • That number does not include the cost of healthcare for the military and civilian defense workers, which has increased 144% since President Bush took office to over $40 billion per year.
  • Despite these extraordinary increases in the cost of personnel, Congress continually legislates new benefits for warfighters and their dependents, including everything from free college tuition to supplemental Medicare payments.

And the result of those soaring personnel expenses inevitably will be money torn out of defense procurement programs, Thompson predicted.

"Rapid increases in pay and benefits are already squeezing money for new weapons out of the Pentagon budget," he stated.

In his budget proposal to President Obama, Gates called for cutbacks in missile defense programs, such as no more planes for the Airborne Laser program, no more interceptors for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program, no fiscal 2010 funds at all for the European Missile Defense program, and a hazy future for the Kinetic Energy Interceptor.

As well, existing programs being terminated (sometimes after a final batch of wares is bought) include the C-17 transport plane, F-22 superstealth supersonic cruise fighter aircraft, the vehicles in the Army Future Combat System, the CSAR-X search and rescue helicopter, the future Transformational Satellite program, and more. (Please see Space & Missile Defense Report, Monday April 6, 2009.)

Much of the Gates plan showed up today in Obama’s detailed fiscal 2010 federal budget plan that the White House sent to Congress, asking for its approval. (Please see separate story in today’s issue.)

Other fallout from the Gates fiscal 2010 moves are more subtle, Thompson added.

"For instance, the defense department’s operations and maintenance accounts are increasing about 2.5% annually after inflation, in large part because of expenditures related to the cost of personnel. As Daggett points out, most of the costs associated with healthcare for warfighters, retirees and military dependents are subsumed in the operations and maintenance accounts, as are the pay and benefits of civilian employees in the department."

Overall, Thompson faults Gates for not recognizing and addressing the gargantuan personnel cost problem.

"Secretary Gates talks a great deal about the need for a balanced defense posture, but apparently this aspect of balance has eluded him," Thompson stated. "Not only does the current QDR look unlikely to address the burgeoning cost of military and civilian personnel, but it is grounded in the implausible assumption that defense spending will be stable for the next four years. How likely is that in a government that projects budget deficits above half a trillion dollars every year through 2019, and in which the chief executive is determined to implement the most ambitious domestic agenda since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society?

"The answer is that it isn’t likely at all. Which means that regardless of what force-sizing construct the QDR comes up with, it isn’t going to be sustainable, because policymakers refuse to confront the biggest management challenge they face — the rapidly rising cost of all the people hired to defend America."

Atlantis Set For Launch At 2:01 P.M. ET Monday

Space Shuttle Atlantis is poised to launch at 2:01 p.m. ET Monday on the STS-125 Mission to repair and refurbish the Hubble Space Telescope.

Final launch preparations are underway at Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The are performing final closeouts of the main propulsion system, as well as pressurization of the orbital maneuvering system and reaction control system.

Countdown will begin at 4 p.m. ET tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Space Shuttle Endeavour is at the ready nearby, poised on Launch Pad 39B to soar to the rescue if Atlantis and its crew encounter problems. That’s because they are going to the Hubble, instead of to the International Space Station (ISS). On a mission to the ISS, it can be used as a life raft for the crew if a space shuttle develops problems. But on this trip, Atlantis won’t be vaguely close to the ISS.

Top NASA experts conducted a flight readiness review for Atlantis last week, and gave it a green light to launch. (Please see Space & Missile Defense Report, Monday, May 4, 2009.)

NLOS-LS PAM Missile Passes Captive Flight Test

The Non Line-of-Sight-Launch System (NLOS-LM ) Precision Attack Missile (PAM) passed a captive flight test.

That system is provided by NetFires LLC, a joint venture between Raytheon Co. [RTN] and Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT].

This was the second captive flight test for PAM.

of the Non Line-of-Sight-Launch System Precision Attack Missile (PAM).

NLOS-LS provides the warfighter with immediate, precise and responsive fires on high-payoff targets with real-time target acquisition and battle effects, Raytheon noted. It is also one of the key Littoral Combat Ship mission modules.

"As a key part of the LCS layered surface warfare capability, NLOS-LS counters the small-boat threat," said Capt. Mike Good, U.S. Navy program manager for the Littoral Combat Ship Mission Modules.

The LCS has three main missions: anti-submarine, anti-enemy-mines, and blocking swarm boats, which are small high-speed boats filled with explosives and piloted by terrorists bent upon attacking large Navy ships, such as the USS Cole (DDG 67).

"The success of this captive flight test increases our confidence in the over-water capability of these missiles. Combined with the recent successful U.S. Army guided tests, these are important steps toward the Navy-guided flight tests scheduled for later this year."

The LCS Mission Module can fire as many as 45 NLOS-LS PAM missiles from three container launch units. With a range greater than 25 miles, the PAM missile gives the LCS an increased surface warfare weapon capability.

NASA’s Shuttle and Rocket Missions

Updated — May 6, 2009 – 8:25 a.m. EDT

Legend: + Targeted For | *No Earlier Than (Tentative) | **To Be Determined

2009 Launches

Date: May 11

Mission: STS-125

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39A

Launch Time: 2:01 p.m. EDT

Description: Space Shuttle Atlantis will fly seven astronauts into space for the fifth and final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. During the 11-day flight, the crew will repair and improve the observatory’s capabilities.

Date: June 2 *

Mission: LRO/LCROSS

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Atlas V

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 41

Description: LRO will launch with the objectives to finding safe landing sites, locate potential resources, characterize the radiation environment and test new technology. The Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, mission is seeking a definitive answer about the presence or absence of water ice in a permanently shadowed crater at either the Moon’s North or South Pole.

Date: June 13 +

Mission: STS-127

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Launch Time: 7:19 a.m. EDT +

Description: Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver the exposed facility of Japan’s Kibo laboratory to the International Space Station.

Date: June 26

Mission: GOES-O

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta IV

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Pad 37-B

Launch Window: 6:14 – 7:14 p.m. EDT

Description: NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are actively engaged in a cooperative program, the multi-mission Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite series N-P. This series will be a vital contributor to weather, solar and space operations, and science.

Date: July 29

Mission: STSS Demonstrators Program – Missile Defense Agency

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 17, Pad B

Description: STSS Demonstrators Program is a midcourse tracking technology demonstrator and is part of an evolving ballistic missile defense system. STSS is capable of tracking objects after boost phase and provides trajectory information to other sensors and interceptors. To be launched by NASA for the Missile Defense Agency.

Date: Aug. 6 +

Mission: STS-128

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Discovery will use a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to carry experiment and storage racks to the International Space Station.

Date: Late August +

Mission: Ares I-X Flight Test

Launch Vehicle: Ares I-X

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39B

Description: The Ares I-X flight test is NASA’s first test for the Agency’s new Constellation launch vehicle — Ares I. The Ares I-X flight will provide NASA with an early opportunity to test and prove flight characteristics, hardware, facilities and ground operations associated with the Ares I.

Date: Oct. 14

Mission: SDO

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Atlas V

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 41

Description: The first Space Weather Research Network mission in the Living With a Star (LWS) Program of NASA.

Date: Nov. 1

Mission: WISE

Description: The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) will survey the entire sky in the mid-infrared with far greater sensitivity than any previous mission or program ever has. The WISE survey will consist of over a million images, from which hundreds of millions of astronomical objects will be cataloged.

Date: Nov. 12 +

Mission: STS-129

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Atlantis will deliver components including two spare gyroscopes, two nitrogen tank assemblies, two pump modules, an ammonia tank assembly and a spare latching end effector for the station’s robotic arm to the International Space Station.

Date: Dec. 10 +

Mission: STS-130

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver the final connecting node, Node 3, and the Cupola, a robotic control station with six windows around its sides and another in the center that provides a 360-degree view around the International Space Station.

2010 Launches

Date: Jan. 23 *

Mission: Glory

Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Taurus Rocket

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC 576-E

Description: The Glory Mission will help increase our understanding of the Earth’s energy balance by collecting data on the properties of aerosols and black carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere and how the Sun’s irradiance affects the Earth’s climate.

Date: Feb. 11 +

Mission: STS-131

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Atlantis will carry a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module filled with science racks that will be transferred to laboratories of the International Space Station.

Date: April 8 +

Mission: STS-132

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Discovery mission will carry an integrated cargo carrier to deliver maintenance and assembly hardware, including spare parts for space station systems. In addition, the second in a series of new pressurized components for Russia, a Mini Research Module, will be permanently attached to the bottom port of the Zarya module.

Date: May 23

Mission: Aquarius

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II 7320

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – SLC 2

Description: The Aquarius mission will provide the first-ever global maps of salt concentrations in the ocean surface needed to understand heat transport and storage in the ocean.

Date: May 31 +

Mission: STS-133

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver critical spare components including antennas and gas tanks to the International Space Station.

2011 Launches

Date: **

Mission: Mars Science Laboratory

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Atlas V

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Description: The Mars Science Laboratory is a rover that will assess whether Mars ever was, or is still today, an environment able to support microbial life and to determine the planet’s habitability.

Source: NASA

Raytheon Gains $115 Million Contract Continuing Patriot System Upgrades

The Army gave Raytheon Co. [RTN] a $115 million contract to continue Pure Fleet upgrades of Army Patriot air and missile defense systems.

That Army Aviation and Missile Command contract will have Raytheon upgrade four additional Patriot systems to Configuration-3 status. The upgrades involve enhancements to Patriot system ground components, particularly the radar.

The contract option supports a "Grow the Army" initiative of equipping an additional Patriot battalion with a state-of-the-art Configuration-3 Patriot system.

Joseph "Skip" Garrett, vice president and deputy for Patriot programs at Raytheon said that "equipping a new Patriot battalion with a Configuration-3 system provides the Army with additional capability and flexibility to meet air defense requirements wherever needed. Both the upgrades and the addition of a new Configuration-3 battalion are extremely important."

Tomahawk Block IV Improved Against Surface Naval Targets, Raytheon Announces

The Tomahawk Block IV missile has been upgraded in effectiveness against moving maritime surface targets, with a longer-range capability, Raytheon Co. [RTN] announced.

"This capability will allow the warfighter to attack a new tactical target set from more than 900 nautical miles (1,035 statue miles)," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems-Air Warfare Systems product line.

"Raytheon’s technology road map is the first step toward a rapid-development effort that will deliver a single, affordable, multi-mission missile capable of land attack and anti-surface warfare operations."

The Tomahawk Block IV is a surface- and submarine-launched, precision-strike, stand-off weapon. It is designed for long-range precision strike missions against high-value and heavily defended targets.

More than 1,900 Tomahawk rounds have been fired in support of almost every conflict since 1991, and more than 1,300 Tomahawk Block IV missiles have been delivered since 2005. The Tomahawk Block IV is integrated on numerous surface and subsurface combatant platforms in the U.S. Navy and subsurface combatant vessels in the U.K. Royal Navy.

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