24 th Eaker Lecture Series
National Missile Defense Changing Technology and Global Security
Key note Speaker: General Ronald T. Kadish
2 May 2002
I'm Cadet First Class. Welcome to the Twenty-Fourth Annual Ira C. Eaker Lecture on National Defense Policy. This distinguished lecture series is dedicated to the memory of Major General Robert J. Smith, who established an endowment fund for the series in honor of General Ira Eaker . We thank the Air Force Association of Graduates for their fine stewardship of that endowment. You can learn more about the lecture series and these outstanding airmen in your program. We are especially honored to have in attendance tonight the daughter of General Smith, Mrs. Jean Snodgrass, and her daughter, Miss Barbara Jean Lauratis . Thank you for joining us. We are also honored to have in attendance Major General Bently B. Brayburn , the Commandant of the Air War College , Vice Commander of Air University, and a member of the Ira C. Eaker Lecture Selection Committee. Thank you, sir, for joining us. Finally, we are privileged to have as our guest speaker this evening Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish . General Kadish is the Director of the Missile Defense Agency formerly known as the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. The Missile Defense Agency is presidentially chartered and mandated by Congress to acquire highly effective ballistic missile defense systems for forward-deployed and expeditionary elements to the U.S. Armed Forces. Additionally, the missile defense agency will develop options and, if directed, acquire systems for ballistic missile defense of the United States . As Director, General Kadish is the Acquisition Executive for all ballistic missile defense systems and programs. The general hails from Philadelphia . He entered the Air Force in 1970 after graduating from the Reserve Officer Training Corps Program at St. Joseph 's University, also in Philadelphia . During his distinguished career, the general has been the Program Director for F-15, F-16, and C-17 System Program Offices, as well as director for manufacturing and quality assurance for the B-1B System Program. He is a senior pilot with more than 2500 flying, most of those in the C-130. Before assuming his current position, he was commander, Electronic Systems Center , Air Force Material Command, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts . He was responsible for the Air Force's Center of Excellence for command and control systems, handling more than $3 billion in programs annually. This evening's topic is National Missile Defense, Changing Technology and Global Security. Considering the possible threats to the nation, it seems appropriate to explore the evolving technology of our national missile defense system. There will be a question-and-answer period following the lecture. In order for everyone to hear the questions, please use the aisle microphones; and there will also be a short reception in the ballroom afterward. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Lieutenant General Kadish .
NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE CHANGING TECHNOLOGY AND GLOBAL SECURITY
Presented by Lieutenant General Ronald T. Kadish Director of Missile Defense Agency
GENERAL KADISH : Thank you very much. I appreciate the introduction. Good evening. I know you'd rather be somewhere else other than where you're sitting here tonight, but I'll try to make this entertaining and a little bit of informative because I've got a subject to talk to you about tonight that I think will affect your careers as professional military officers in the United States Air Force very directly. And it's something new for us, this thing called missile defense. So I'm going to keep it short and get you out early, but I want you to remember a few things from tonight's discussion. Missile defense is an emotional topic for a lot of people. It has deep roots and divisiveness in terms of our policy debates for many years, starting with the Strategic Defense Initiative begun by President Ronald Reagan; and I hope to make clear some of those issues for you tonight because you will be directly affected by them as you take your place in operational assignments. My job is very simple. It's to develop missile defenses to protect the United States our deployed forces, our allies and friends, from all ranges of ballistic missiles. It's easier said than done, and there have been a lot of arguments against this approach for many years. So tonight I'd like to tell you what those arguments are and discuss how we're solving some of these problems so that you can adjust your thinking as you go forward in your careers. In missile defense, there are basically five arguments against doing what we're trying to do. The first argument is that ballistic missiles are not a threat to this country. Terrorism is. The second argument is: It will jeopardize the strategic balance in the world and start an arms race if we have missile defense against weapons of mass destruction. The third argument is: It will never work. The fourth argument is: If it works, it won't be any good because it could be easily overcome by any countermeasure that a student in engineering at the Air Force Academy could think up. And the final argument is that it will cost too much. I'll try to address these things as we go forward in the next 20 minutes or so, and I'll talk about these arguments in basically a few categories. The threat that we face, the anti-ballistic missile treaty, the technology, and whether or not it's doable and the cost issues, and try to ask you some questions when we sum this up. The first thing is the threat. We have been threatened by ballistic missiles for 60 years in one way or another, since the Second World War; and the technology of the V-2 and the SCUD missile that we saw in the Persian Gulf War is still with us. This technology will not go away, and it continues to proliferate despite our best efforts at treaty controls and other methods of counter-proliferation. North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya are the countries we're talking about in terms of possessing this technology today; and I can tell you from daily reading of intelligence reports, this is not an idle threat. This is a military threat to our country. These programs in those countries have strong political support. They have a lot of money associated with them. There are dollars and expertise committed to use and build those missiles as we speak. Twenty-eight nations, in addition to those I just mentioned, have ballistic missiles available to them. That number is an increase of three times in the last 30 years. Our own national intelligence estimates in the unclassified world say that we are threatened today in our deployed force structure by ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction. You will face those; and within the next 15 years, depending on who you believe, the U.S. homeland will be threatened by those same weapons. Now, the argument about this threat has been that even if we have this threat facing us and they have this capability to threaten us, surely our capability to retaliate and destroy them with massive destruction will deter them. And that has been a compelling argument,--until 9-11, when people started to realize that our concepts of deterrence are now uncertain. Because after 9-11, the argument is weakened by the fact that our adversaries just might be willing to do it in the face of our deterrent. So the bottom line of threat is that ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction are an asymmetric response to our overwhelming capability in conventional and nuclear realm. It's an asymmetrical response. And to that response, four Presidents and nine Congresses have tried to tell us that we need missile defense and supported us through the Strategic Defense Initiative all the way through the $8 billion budget I requested last year; and President Bush has called for new concepts of deterrence that includes this active defense. But the fact still remains, as we sit here tonight, there is no missile defense available to this country after a missile is launched at us. We don't have a missile defense against long-range ballistic missiles. Notice, in this discussion of the threat, I did not once refer to Russia or China . We are worried about the rogue nations. So one of our main purposes in trying to construct this missile defense system is to marginalize the utility of possessing any ballistic missile and to discourage those who would seek to acquire them, from committing their scarce resources to do so by having a missile defense. So the bottom line of my mission really is to have a limited defense against long-range missiles and a robust defense against short-range missiles to protect ourselves. So that's the threat in a nutshell. Now, why haven't we done anything about it for the past 30 years, even though we've spent close to $60 billion on missile defense activities in research and development? Well, there are a couple of good reasons. One is the technology isn't there, or wasn't there; and the second reason is we had a treaty called the Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty, signed in 1972. This treaty was very good at what it was supposed to do and that is, prevent us from having a national missile defense to protect the U.S. homeland. It had a lot of restrictions associated with it, including what you could and could not work on from a research and development standpoint. So compliance was difficult. I have a staff of ten lawyers who do nothing but full-time treaty compliance of what we're actually doing day to day. However, the President, almost five months ago, on December 13, announced to the world that we are going to withdraw from that treaty in the face of the threat. The announcement gave the legal six-month notice, so as of the 14th of June of this year, we will no longer be restricted by the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Now, a lot of people were very surprised that once that announcement was made, that we did not have a huge outcry by the Russians or our allies overseas about withdrawal from that treaty. However a major debate has been brewing for a long time in this Administration over withdrawal from that treaty. The surprise is that there was no reaction or very little reaction to the withdrawal, but it is a very important milestone in our ability to be able to deploy and develop ballistic missiles. Now, all that being said, what about the technology? Will this stuff work and can we actually have a missile defense from a technical standpoint?
Could I have the first slide, please. The challenge of the ballistic missile has been with us since the V-2 days in the 1940s; and if you would just bear with me a minute, I would like to explain what a ballistic missile does, because I think it's helpful to know what we're dealing with. A ballistic missile trajectory starts with a boosting missile. It has about a180-300 second boosting time, at which time it throws off its warhead to coast through space towards its target. So there's a boost phase, there's a mid-course phase, and a terminal phase in the process. If we defend against ballistic missiles in the boost phase, where geography counts, where you're close by the launching missile and can intercept it in that time frame, you protect the world from a specific location. If you, on the other hand, go to the terminal phase, where the re-entry vehicle is coming into the atmosphere towards its target, and you are there from a missile defense standpoint, you can protect that area from the world no matter where it's launched. Now, in the mid-course range, where it's coasting, an intercontinental ballistic missile coasts about 20 minutes. That gives us time to actually look at what we're trying to intercept and get interceptors there in a little bit more reasonable time frame. However, in each phases of those flights, you have to have deal with counter-measures; and the most difficult counter-measures are in the mid-course. So that is the ballistic missile challenge. Now, what do you do about this? Well, there's a further complication. Next slide, please. There are different ranges of ballistic missiles. They all have ballistic trajectories -- boost, mid-course, and terminal -- but they've got different ranges. If you start over here on your left-hand side of the chart at 600 kilometers, that's a short-range missile. That's defense of Tel Aviv from Iraq during the Persian Gulf War. You move over to medium range, up to1300 kilometers, that's defense of Japan from North Korea . You move over to 3400 kilometers, and that's defense of northern Europe from Libya ; and then you've got the intercontinental defense. We've got to be effective against each one of those missiles. So you've got the trajectory and you've got the distance, and these targets are very small going at high rates of speed. This chart also points out a fact that we used to talk about national missile defense of the continental United States , Alaska , and Hawaii . This points out the fact that theater defense, whether you're in Japan , or national defense where you're in the U.S. , is really a matter of words because it depends on where you are. If you're in Japan and your next assignment, that's up close and personal as opposed to being in the U.S.
Next chart, please. Here is our response on trying to put together a missile defense to meet those challenges, -- a layered defense that has multiple shot opportunities in each phase of flight. That's the answer. Now, how do you do it?
Next chart. We put together a complex program and boost, mid-course, terminal and sensor packages to build the layered defense, and the Congress and the Administration has given us $8 billion last year and is on the way to giving us about $8 billion this year to do that. Over time, we're going to make the decision to put it together in an integrated fashion and have some emergency capability if we need to along the way. This is not a done deal. Now, what technologies are we using to do this?
Next chart. The easy way to do it is to have a nuke get within a couple kilometers of a warhead. That's what the Russians do today surrounding Moscow . We have chosen a different path. It's called hit-to-kill. What that means is that we use the sheer force of a collision and the kinetic energy that it produces to destroy the warhead. So you have to have accurate computers, very fast computers, accurate sensors, and integration of a large body of data in order to do that. In the '60s, we were not able to do that. Computers weren't there. In the '90s and the 2000s, they are; and I'll prove it to you in just a minute. In 1984, we sent up an experimental interceptor that weighed 2,500 pounds, and we actually hit a warhead. And it's taken us since then to July of 1999 to do it again, this time with a warhead that weighed 120 pounds. So what we're talking about in hit-to-kill is hitting a five-foot warhead that is three foot in diameter at its base because it's a cone, going 15,000 miles per hour closing velocity, or higher, and hit it in a space that big. That's what we're talking about in terms of missile defense. We are also experimenting with lasers. We have an airborne laser program that's a part of this, but our main efforts are in hit-to-kill. Now, the question comes: Is it going to work? We certainly have our critics on this process; but after many years of R&D expenditures, about $60 billion worth, at somewhere between $3 and $5 billion a year, this country has invested in that technology. Now, let me tell you what we've done. I want to show a film, and this film will show our progress against short-range missiles, intermediate-range missiles, and long-range missiles, and I'll show you the results. Although we've had very high profile failures, where everybody watched it on the front page, we have made significant progress. Could you roll the film, please? The first thing you're going to see is a Patriot PAC-3, with an interception in the atmosphere. This is against a short-range missile. This is a target being launched at White Sands, New Mexico . You always have to have a target when you're shooting against missiles. This is the Patriot at White Sands. At this point in time, the target was acquired by the radars, and now we're going to maneuver the missile in a position in order to hit with full force of kinetic energy in a collision on that body. And at the end, you'll see little puffs of smoke coming out of the side of the missile in order to guide it to a very accurate hit. You can see that happening. We have done that eight times and missed once, except for this last test we did. I'll tell you about it in a little bit. This is the intermediate-range missle . This is a target launched at White Sands. This is a THAAD launch, intercepting in outer space. You can see the energy it has. We had to dissipate it by doing these maneuvers on the range, and you can see the maneuvering target, or the maneuvering warhead to get in the position to hit the target, and then you'll see the intercept. Now, since you like that, I'll show it to you again. We like to see things like this, and we'll see it more in just a second. We're dwelling on this. Here is the intercept again. You can turn up the volume if you want. You could see that from Phoenix if you were there and watching towards White Sands, an interception in outer space. Now, this is what the seeker saw right before it hit. You can see the target becoming clearer and clearer, and you put yourself where it actually hit, in a space that big. Now, the long-range missile. This was a launch out of Vandenberg with the target in California , heading towards the South Pacific 4,500 miles away. Beautiful launch. The interceptor was at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands . It sits atop that rocket. This intercept will take place 240 kilometers into space. The target closing velocity was close to 4.5 miles per second, and you can see what it looked like from an infrared camera on an aircraft at high altitude. And this is a visual depiction of the intercept with the kill vehicle coming from the left. Now I'm going to show you another launch this past summer. We have done six of these launches. Two have failed. Again, the repeat. You'll see this launch, and you'll see the maneuvering of the interceptor going up for the intercept. In fact, to stay on the range, we actually had to fly this rocket backwards for a little bit. Those aeronautical engineers can probably tell you how that happens, and they're in the audience. The key here is we're doing the interception in outer space. That's a real time look at it. This is a radar picture, and you'll see the kill vehicle come in and the intercept. So, can we do it? I'll leave it up to you. The real question is: Can we do it reliably and effectively, and we're working on that right now. Now, let's talk about cost. Eight billion dollars a year. Sixty billion dollars spent so far by this country. I expect that a lot of people will argue over whether it's a high cost; but I can tell you today, that missile defense, as with any other program that this country has for defending ourselves is very, very expensive. The real question is not the cost. It's whether we can afford it. It's whether this country can afford the cost of this type of system, and pick your number. I don't know what it's going to cost. Somewhere -- the Congressional Budget Office says somewhere between $60 and $200 billion. I don't know what it's going to turn out to be, but we're going to work hard to make it as low cost as we can. The real question is: Is it affordable? And I'd ask you to compare that to the cost of the Twin Towers in New York , not even including the Pentagon. The last number I saw was over $50 billion in terms of cost and the human capital was priceless. So that's what we're talking about in terms of cost. Now some perspective. We certainly have our critics in missile defense. You probably read some about it. We have our external critics, and we have our internal critics. The challenges we face are great and we will stumble. Those things I showed you were the successes. We had our share of failures on the way. So we have some eminently qualified critics and skeptics, but let me put this in historical context. We sit here in this room wearing the blue uniform, and next year we're going to celebrate 100 years of manned flight, 100 years. And I can tell you if you read that history that in 1903, there were eminently qualified scientists saying that man would never fly; and thank goodness that in 1903 the Wright brothers pressed ahead undeterred by those critics or even their self doubts. Two years after Kitty Hawk , in 1905, the Wright brothers developed the first practical airplane. In 1906, three years after Kitty Hawk , the first European flight occurred. In 1908, the first military aircraft appeared. In 1909, six years after Kitty Hawk , we crossed the English Channel ; and in 1911, eight years after Kitty Hawk , the aircraft became a tool of war when the Italians used it in Tripoli . And few would have bet in 1903, that 25 years later, someone would have crossed the Atlantic in an airplane. So, knowledgeable critics, scientifically aware, doubted the ability to fly. Now, 100 years later, the airplane is a part of our daily lives and a powerful weapon of war. I leave it to your imagination to say what I think about our technology at this point. Now, I'd like to just summarize where I started. There were five arguments against missile defense. The first argument was: Ballistic missiles are not likely to threaten the U.S. Terrorism is our most likely threat. My response would be: We need both defenses, because ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction are an asymmetric response to our overwhelming conventional and nuclear power. Second argument: It will jeopardize our strategic stability by violating the ABM Treaty and cause an arms race in the world. That issue has been decided by the President. We will no longer have an ABM treaty as of the 14th of June of this year. The third argument: It will never work. What do you think? I believe we have demonstrated that it would work. The fourth argument is: It cannot work absolutely effectively because a countermeasure can be easily invented to overcome it. And our response is: We will have a layered defense in boost, mid-course and terminal when we finish this missile defense system. We are in the early stages of proving that missile defense system layered approach by first demo'ing that we can do hit-to-kill. Second, we'll do it reliably; and third we will make it effective in the presence of countermeasures. The fifth argument is that it costs too much. And as I said, the real question here is: Can we afford it as a country? And the corollary to that, I guess, is: Can we not afford to have missile defense? And from a military perspective, I've spent a lot of time in internal Pentagon debates over whether we ought to spend the next dollar on missile defense or whether we buy F-22s or V-22s or whatever you want to conjure up. Those decisions have also been taken by the Administration. We will spend $8 billion this year and $8 billion next year, or thereabouts, next year on this program. So that's my view after three intense years of dealing with this very divisive topic. I think, from a purely technical point of view, we are on the verge of success; and you need to make your own judgments as military professionals how this fits into our future. Because, in my view, a part of air superiority or air supremacy is making sure nothing comes through that air space to damage our fellow warriors or our fellow citizens. And that's going to be your responsibility when you leave here. My generation will soon pass from leadership roles. We grew up, up close and personal, in our personal and professional lives, with the Soviet Union and all that entailed. The Cold War has been over ten years or more, and now we need a new generation of officers capable and willing to take up and think about this new environment, a new set of threats to our national security. Your challenges will be no less difficult than ours were; in fact, will be probably even more difficult. You are our best and brightest this country has to offer; and among you, there will be one who will stand up here 30 years hence and hopefully you will talk about this time period and say we made the right decisions, and in regard to missile defense, we have it in place to protect our country and our way of life. So that's the way I see it, and I am very honored to be asked to talk about that tonight and I'd be happy to answer any and all questions that you might have. Thank you very much. I'm told if you don't have any questions, you can go home early.
QUESTION : Sir, could you address how the missile defense plans you propose address the advent of supercavitation developed by other nations such as France and possibly others, if the plans do.
GENERAL KADISH : Supercavitation. Could you give me a lesson in that?
QUESTION: That's the development of underwater missiles that go at supersonic speeds.
GENERAL KADISH : Ah, those kind. This stuff won't work against that. I guess I said earlier that we are not building these missile defenses strategically with Russia and China as our targets right now. And so the capability to do supercavitation -- I guess the stories I've read about this is that it goes a hundred knots through the water and pops up and goes towards its target. That's not in our threat set. It is certainly a technology threat to us; but from an overall, day-to-day perspective, what we're talking about are those countries that could do us the most harm in an asymmetric way.
QUESTION : What do you envision likely as foreign participation in developing ballistic missile defense?
GENERAL KADISH : I think that there will be quite a bit of foreign participation. I had the privilege of talking, at the invitation of Secretary Aldridge, to the five-power technology group. That's the U.S., Italy , Germany , France , and the U.K. And I presented a framework to outline how foreign participation can actually occur. One of the interesting things about the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was that it specifically prohibited the United States and Russia from sharing anti ballistic missile technology with our allies; and I stated early on in that discussion that because the Anti Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty was going away as of the 14th of June, we were now able to talk very seriously about foreign participation. And I see the growth of that activity as a major element of this program in the future. How it will develop, who will participate, and exactly how this be done is still open to discussion; and I'm talking about allies from the ones I just discussed to the Russian Federation as well. So it's a bright future as long as we produce or continue on the path that we are on today.
QUESTION : Sir, I had a question regarding the classification of those responsible for the attacks on September 11. Do you think they could by classified more as extremist factions, especially when compared to the rogue nations such as Iraq and Iran , who are entire governments, who have the capabilities for ballistic missiles and other weapons of mass destruction? I wonder if you could compare the dangers of the two and how they are related, sir.
GENERAL KADISH : I think that most of us think about this issue believe that if ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction were available to transnational terrorist organizations, they would be used and used to good effect. The boundaries between nation states and these types of organizations are issues that you are going to have to deal with in the coming years and months -- years and decades. These are not easy questions; and one of the things that bothers me about what happened on September 11, and that those people who were able to pull that off, was the simplicity of their operation, the security of operation and their willingness to take great risks that made that successful. And they were willing to die for what they believed in. And I happened that day to watch the Pentagon burn for eight hours. My office is in the Navy annex, which is just south of the Pentagon about a half a mile; and we have a tremendous view of Washington . That day the airplane flew over the building and went into the Pentagon. We didn't have much to do but to watch the rescue operations and the building burn and worry about the people who were in that building for about six or eight hours. The thought kept crossing my mind is that they were willing to pull this off and sacrifice their lives just as you and I have signed up to do the same on behalf of our country. And that's a tough threat. And sooner or later we're going to have to deal with what the implications of that are, and I'm not sure -- in fact, I know-- we're not at this point fully comprehending what happened to us on September 11. Make no mistake about it, we will respond and we will figure this out. That's the best I can do.
QUESTION : Sir, since the missile attack from space is not just a threat to the United States , is it possible then to develop an international coalition in space to defend any state from an attack; and by doing so, could it, also, one, defer the cost and, two, avoid the arms race?
GENERAL KADISH : I don't know. I really don't. Weapons in space is your generation's Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty problem. We have a big issue facing us as a service as well as a country on what we're going to do with space activities. Right now -- you know, 30 years ago, it was the U.S. and the Soviet Union that were able, willing, and had the capability to use space in many different ways, all the way from reconnaissance to communications. Today, the North Koreans tried to launch a satellite in August of 1998; and they just barely missed doing it. So coalitions of foreign countries coming together. Weapons in space? I just don't know. But I can tell you that you're going to face that issue. And it's going to be one of the toughest issues to deal with in the next 30 years. One of the things I keep telling my contemporaries is that our battle in missile defense occurs in outer space. That doesn't seem to get much attention from a lot of folks. Any other questions? Well, thank you for listening tonight. We have a big problem facing this country with missiles and weapons of mass destruction as an asymmetric response by our adversaries, and I congratulate you for listening without too many people falling asleep. But when you leave here and go to your operational assignments, one of your first threats will be those missiles looking over your shoulder. So I wish you well. You are our future. Thank you for listening.
MODERATOR : I'd like to thank General Kadish for his insightful comments. I'm sure they'll serve us well in our military careers. In thanks for his participating in this lecture series, we have a small gift for him. Would everyone please rise while Colonel Clayton, Colonel Murray and our distinguished guests depart. ( 7:55 p.m. )