|ACTD Special DoD Briefing|
ACTD Special DoD Briefing
Source: News Transcript from the United States Department of Defense. DoD News Briefing: Sue Payton, DUSD ASC, Tuesday, March 5, 2002 - 3 p.m. EST. Special briefing on new list of Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations for 2002 with Sue Payton, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Advanced Systems and Concepts. Also participating were Navy Capt. Mike Knollmann, Military Deputy, and Air Force Lt. Col. John Wilcox, Military Assistant.
Staff: Good afternoon. This afternoon's briefer is Sue Payton. She is deputy undersecretary of Defense for Advanced Systems and Concepts. Among other things, she is responsible for advanced concept technology demonstrations, which is a fast-track approach to help get new technologies developed and into the hands of war fighters. She's here to describe a new set of ACTDs, as we lovingly call them, how they will be used, and maybe some updates on some of the former ACTDs. Ms. Payton.
Payton: Thank you, Captain Taylor.
Good afternoon. I am Sue Payton, the deputy undersecretary of Defense for Advanced Systems and Concepts. And it's the primary role of my team here at the Pentagon to rapidly transition technology from defense and commercial developers into the hands of the war fighter.
The Department of Defense, as I'm sure you know, is aggressively pursuing some of the most advanced technologies possible. This is quite often apparent when our undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Mr. Pete Aldridge, addresses conferences, and he constantly reminds our workforce that we need to search for ACTDs, for DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) projects, and for other science and technology activities that can be used, that can be modified, that can be focused, that can be augmented and accelerated, especially to take on the war on terrorism. He says that now is the time to reject risk aversion and to favor risk management, now is the time to embrace some of the innovations and the products in the commercial market, and now is the time to show both our taxpayer and our appropriator that we have the war-winning technology that can be produced for our sons and daughters.
So in support of this policy, last week Mr. Aldridge announced the selection of our new ACTD -- advanced concept technology demonstration -- projects for 2002. The process for this began last summer, when our military services, our theater commanders, and our Defense agencies submitted nearly 80 projects for review. Representatives from the military services and the unified commanders reviewed the list of the ACTDs and prioritized what their needs were and went to the Joint Staff and the Joint Requirements Oversight Council for validation. The JROC, as it's called, did validate these ACTDs as being highly in the mission need area of our CINCs (Commanders in Chief).
The ACTD program really exists so that we can marry operational requirements, on one side, with new technologies and solutions. And we exist so that we can reduce the time to field these new systems and to increase the end-user involvement in the requirements and the integration.
This is one of the few programs in which ACTD products are really demonstrated for military utility by the war fighter, and the war fighter actually writes the concept of ops in the context in which he needs the technology.
ACTDs, by that very definition, then, span a very broad spectrum of operational requirements, and we're very much focused on joint capabilities -- the capabilities you need to fight a war.
In many cases, ACTDs really yield transformational changes. Products such as the unmanned aerial vehicles -- Predator, as an example, and Global Hawk -- came from the ACTD program several years ago. Unattended ground sensors are being used today, and the combination of these advanced technologies are really paradigms for the change in military operations. Approximately 30 products support our nation's counterterrorism, and these have come from ACTDs over the years. So we're intensely supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle here at home.
We're very proud of the ACTDs that have been selected this year, and we believe these ACTDs are going to build on our past record of success. A total of 15 ACTD projects are funded within the Department of Defense for initiation this year. Mission needs for an additional three ACTDs have been validated, and we are in search of funding so that we might be able to have mid-year starts on those.
Of note, 11 of our total ACTDs are really directly focused on counterterrorism. To describe the ACTDs in a little more detail, I've binned them into seven different categories so you'd get a characteristic flavor of what we're doing this year.
One of our key areas is to improve the capability to enhance our ability to win conflicts when we're combined with the efforts of our coalition partners. We need to do much more in that area, and so ACTDs are focusing on how we bring our coalition partners in to help us even more.
We're also looking at improving capabilities to win conflicts in urban environments. It's a very tough problem, and ACTDs from the past, and ones we're currently starting, will help in that area.
We're also looking at improving our capabilities for persistent surveillance, for bomb damage assessment. And we're going to be using low-cost, expendable UAVs in the future, and integrating the sensor data from those UAVs to improve the situational awareness for the war fighter.
We're also endeavoring to improve our capabilities to optimize our theater lift assets. And by that I mean the way that we deploy our equipment, the way that we deploy our forces, to make this more efficient, more effective and more optimized when working with coalition partners.
We have another ACTD that is strengthening the homeland's -- our homeland's ability for coordinated response in the area of city, county, state and federal governments for terrorist attack, because we need to neutralize these threats and we need to recover from attacks rapidly. So we need to have a command and control system, if you will, so that all parties and first responders can talk to each other.
Another area that we're focusing on is to improve our capabilities to detect targets by countering the concealment, the camouflage and the deception that sometimes we face. Our hyperspectral ACTD is focused in on trying to solve that problem. And the last category of ACTDs is a focus on our ability to improve the capability to destroy hard and deeply buried targets and tunnel defeat.
So at this time I'd be more than happy to take any of your questions about the ACTD program or about the ACTDs for 2002. Yes?
Q: What's the funding for all 15 ACTDs?
Payton: Our current-year funding is $159 million for 2002.
Q: And a follow-up question. Some of these programs, some of these technologies are being pursued elsewhere in DOD. Is that okay, to duplicate?
Payton: We are making a concerted effort, by working across the different areas within the DOD, to minimize duplication, but there are some times in which competition is good; it brings out a better product and it can drive down the cost.
I might mention that of the $159 million for our budget, we leveraged money from the services and agencies to help us, so this is truly a partnering. For example, in FY '01, last year we had a $120 million budget, and our service partners and agency partners contributed $426 million as well. So for every $1.20 that we spend on ACTDs, we get more support, to about $4.26, from our partners in the services and agencies.
Q: So what you're really saying is that for 2002, you're looking at half a billion dollars.
Payton: For 2002, I'm not sure that that's the number, but I will get back to you on that. I'd like to go get clarification.
Q: A question about one of the products that you're looking at in particular: I believe it's called the Spartan.
Q: If I'm not mistaken, that's about unmanned surface craft --
Q: -- and that some in the Navy have begun to talk about the use of unmanned surface craft in conjunction with unmanned submarine vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles to form sort of "swarm"-type defenses that they could put out around battle groups or to do other jobs in the littoral region. Does the fact that you're supporting Spartan indicate that DOD and the Navy are sort of on the same page there, as far as the priority of really getting out there and developing that (inaudible) product?
Payton: It absolutely is in response to that. We are very tightly linked on that.
I'd like to introduce Captain Knollmann, who is my military deputy. And he has something else he'd like to add about Spartan.
Q: And how do you spell your name, first of all?
Knollmann: Correctly, it's K-N-O-L-L-M-A-N-N.
Q: And your first name?
You know, I probably read the same articles that you did about the variety of unmanned vessels used by the Navy. I don't have much more to add, other than to say that in the future, you're going to see a wide variety of remotely and autonomously operating vehicles. That's part of the transformation of DOD.
Q: Yeah, I wanted to ask you about one of the ones that have yet to be funded programs -- the agent-defeat one. Tetra at Eglin (Air Force Base) have been working on this problem for probably about a decade -- come up with one design, taken a test (inaudible), come up with another design. They seemed to finally come to the conclusion that there is no one-size-fits-all agent-defeat weapon -- that for each different type of agent, you have to have a different weapon. Is this now going after the same problem yet again? Or have you come up with a breakthrough? Or what are you specifically looking to do?
Payton: Okay. Actually, I'm so glad you asked that question. Lieutenant Colonel John Wilcox is here today, and he happens to be our expert on agent defeat, and you've hit it exactly right; we are looking for a boutique of capabilities, and I'd like to ask Lieutenant Colonel Wilcox to address this.
Wilcox: Thank you, ma'am.
When we go against the chem- and bio-defeat targets, a lot of times, we'll find the targets in the open or bunkered or in facilities. Whether it's chem or bio, the way we would go about defeating that is either by heat or by a neutralization process through application of chemicals.
How we do that is not necessarily always a hundred percent solution. In the 10 years we've been studying this, we've come up with 72 percent solutions, 80 percent solutions. We've done an analysis of alternatives. They can't come up with a hundred percent solution.
But we know we want to deny access to the enemy to these facilities and to these bunkered munitions, and we also want to attempt to neutralize. So we're looking at a variety of fills that we would go against different chemicals and different bioagents with. As we know, bioagents are best attacked with heat. And we want to avoid over-pressure. So we don't want to just blow up a bunker and let this escape out into the atmosphere. So we try to do it with low over- pressure, and a boutique of different types of chemical fills that will apply to that chemical or that bioagent.
Q: So essentially -- (off mike) -- one munition, one penetrator that you could put different things in --
Q: -- or potentially different delivery mechanisms?
Knollmann: What we'd like to do in the agent defeat warhead is try to develop an air-deliverable weapon that can host a variety of different kinds of kill mechanisms or neutralization agents. And that would probably be developed in conjunction with NAVSEA and Eglin at Air Armament Control Center.
Wilcox: Anything else?
Q: One "L" in Wilcox?
Wilcox: One "L".
Payton: I think it bears mentioning that it is incredibly important to defeat these agents before they get to our ports, before they get to our cities. And so we're very much focused on taking this problem on.
Q: Last fall there was a solicitation, I think some of us wrote about, for -- to the general public and to contractors for unusual ideas for the war on terrorism. Is this -- is that different from this, or are some of these projects a product of the responses you got to that solicitation?
Payton: That is totally different, the BAA (Broad Agency Announcement) that went out. We have had incredible response to that. At this point, there are over 300 white papers that have been requested, and more white papers are going to be requested above and beyond that. And we are going to pull together an executive board to make some final selections. And I believe that would merit another conference like this so that we could expound on what we do there, and that would probably be in the summer of this year.
Q: Your list includes micro air vehicles. Is that different than the OAVs [UAVs} being worked on by DARPA as part of SCS or the same thing?
Payton: Actually, we are leveraging DARPA technology into this ACTD. And obviously -- here's the difference. We are taking this out into the hands of the end-user, the warfighter; we are documenting the concept of ops and employment for how this would be used, and any shortfalls or strengths that we find. So we're actually going to be using that mirco UAV in the actual context of urban reconnaissance.
Q: And then you have this expendable unmanned air vehicle?
Q: It sounds very similar to a program which Raytheon, for example, has been trying to sell the military called "Silent Eye". Can you tell me more about what you're talking about in terms of class of air vehicle?
Payton: Yeah. I would like to ask Lieutenant Colonel Wilcox, to come up again.
We have -- again, we have a boutique of UAVs, because the way you combine sensors and comms packages demands that you might have a little bit different UAV configuration.
So, Lieutenant Colonel Wilcox?
Wilcox: First I'd like to talk about micro air vehicle. That is a six-to-nine-inch small backpackable UAV with a very low cost EOIR sensor that a manned unit could send into the air and just take a further look just slightly beyond his position.
Wilcox: I'm sorry. Electro-optical is EO; Infrared is IR. And it's a suite of sensors that we put on UAVs. And with that is also SARS -- synthetic aperture radar -- for seeing in the weather.
When we go into X-UAV we're looking at a little bit longer range, a little bit longer loiter to do a little bit better look into the enemy's field. So that's a little more investment that what a micro- UAV would be. Silent Eye's technology is part of the technology that we're looking at in X-UAV. So we're partnering with the defense contractors to develop that.
Okay? Anything else? Sir?
Q: In the past some of these ACTDs have moved very quickly into actual products. Global Hawk, for example, has become a, you know, very high profile system, hardly out of the ACTD phase. Looking at the kind of things that happened over Afghanistan using Global Hawk, how much of the experience that you had there with that system or with other weapons like the thermobaric explosives they used, informed the decision to approve the list that you have now approved, whether it's for UAVs or weaponry or all the other systems on the list?
Wilcox: Are you asking how we use them, how does that reflect what we approve?
Q: Yeah. Did your experience as sort of an early snapshot of lessons learned from the campaign in Afghanistan help inform the decisions that you made on approving --
Wilcox: Well, I'll let Ms. Payton speak a little bit to that. We -- at the beginning, after September 11th we had almost 30 ACTDs that we drug products from to apply to homeland security, to the war effort and Enduring Freedom over in Afghanistan as well as the continental United States here. And ma'am, you may want to add more to that, but we have looked at that and applied the products as we've seen fit.
Payton: I think, simply put, success breeds success. And the program started in 1994. The first products from ACTDs really didn't make it into military utility assessments for three to four years.
There's a certain amount of momentum now. There's a certain amount of credibility, that "try before you buy," spiral new capabilities into your ACTDs, and get the military utility assessments going as rapidly as possible, so that you can get feedback and further define your operational requirements. So when we go to the JROC for approval, we have that reputation of producing, and we also have that expertise of lessons learned. So that's very important to our success.
Q: Can you give us a project-by-project budget? I mean, we talked in terms of how much money you've got totally, but is there a breakdown for each of these?
Payton: We do have it. I don't have that here today, and I'll be more than happy to get with Ms. Irwin and make that available.
Q: And are there target dates for each of them as to when you would hope to have something that you would -- actually be a real product?
Payton: Oh, absolutely. We have schedules -- the first thing we do is sign an implementation directive that commits all of our joint partners to performing their tasks. Then we work up a management plan that lays out the detailed schedule, and we move from there. The management plan on these ACTDs probably won't be signed for another six to eight months, but the implementation directives are being signed as we speak. So we'll be able to provide you more detail on that if you'd like.
Q: A question on HYCAS (hyperspectral collection and analysis system). Just to understand it correctly, does this include the sensor work and any -- or is it basically the backbone to tying the sensors together and doing the exploitation?
Payton: I'll start out by answering, and I'm going to ask Lieutenant Colonel Wilcox to add and augment.
The idea of having a hyperspectral sensor has already been achieved. There are many different hyperspectral sensors on many different aircraft, and even in space. What we are focusing on here is the tasking, processing, exploitation, and dissemination, the TPED side of really operationalizing and institutionalizing the use of hyperspectral, so that it can be shared and interoperable with our other sensor packages and with our intel analysts. So that's really the primary focus.
Lieutenant Colonel Wilcox, if -- I don't know if you have anything else to say about HYCAS.
Wilcox: Just one thing, ma'am. The HYCAS sensor itself is developed so we can go after the problem of finding targets that are concealed in camouflage. It uses a technology that combines two different frequencies of radar to get into the foliage and be able to see tanks and stuff like we had in Kosovo, that are hidden, so we can further an attack against these targets.
Q: And so it is -- there is actually sensor --
Wilcox: There is a sensor, but the key to this ACTD is to get it onto the right operational platforms that can use it, that can have long loiter time, that can get into the enemy territory and persist and find these targets, so that strikers can hit it.
Q: Okay. Is there any integration of, you know, other than DOD assets in this hyperspectral network?
Wilcox: No. No.
Q: I had a question about the thermobaric weapon -- (inaudible) -- or thermobaric -- (inaudible) -- 2002.
There was a 2001 thermobaric weapon, and of course there was a thermobaric weapon that's been used in Afghanistan. Is this a continuation of that or something different?
Payton: It is actually a continuation, but I'd like to add that almost a year ago, the team came together to pull together the thermobaric ACTD, and we had an immense amount of help from DARPA and from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and various intel agencies that gave us information about our need for a thermobaric kind of weapon. So a lot of the planning and the team was in place, and many of the fills had been being looked at, especially within the DTRA, Defense Threat Reduction Agency. So when we had the need for a thermobaric weapon, we had done the prior planning. This ACTD is just now kicking off, and we will be examining better fills and better capabilities, and the concept of ops for how you really employ that once you get it to the flight line.
Q: What I wanted to ask about, the thermobaric weapon, as I originally understand it, when it was started in ACTD, was more intended for North Korea and for some of their hard targets, and now it's being aimed more at underground complexes in Afghanistan with people in them. Are you changing the focus of how it would be employed at all?
Payton: Not at all. It's really focused on tunnel defeat.
Q: On tunnel defeat. It doesn't matter what's in there?
Q: Could you tell us what fill was used in the one that was dropped in Afghanistan? Are you able to comment on that?
Payton: I'm really not able to comment on that. I believe Dr. Sega, who is our defense director of research and engineering, would be more than happy to give you more information on that.
Q: Thank you.
Q: Can you say a word about your relationship with the defense contractors in working on these? You know, at what point do the defense contractors -- are they involved from the first get-go in terms of even putting these ideas on the table, or are you -- you know, are the services in some sense coming to you and saying, "We have this need; go find someone who can do this for us"?
Payton: The defense contractors are very crucial and they are involved early on. Of our FY '03 proposals, several have been submitted directly by defense contractors. Others are submitted by a service or a unified commander because an industry partner has brought a solution to the table for one of their critical problems. So it happens both ways. Industry partners come in on their own to provide ACTD candidates, and they also go through services and CINCs for that.
Q: And could you -- I'm sorry, just to follow up -- could you also perhaps say a little bit more about what you were saying about this aim of working better with the coalition partners? And could you identify which system you're gearing for that and how it would work?
Payton: Yes. Relative to coalition work, there are three crucial ACTDs that will help in that endeavor, and one is the JEODKATOD ACTD, and that is the Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal ACTD. And what that will do is it will not only help us, but it will help our coalition partners who join with us to dispose of ordnance and mines in the field. Interesting thing about this ACTD is that there will be a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week tele-link back to experts in the field of explosives, so that when one of our coalition partners or our military personnel come across a mine or an explosive device that they don't recognize -- and there are so many of these new explosive devices that really haven't been catalogued or may be unfamiliar to that particular person -- there will be a capability with a palm device to coordinate back with the experts to send graphical displays and information on how to dispose safely of that ordnance. So that's one of them.
Another ACTD is called LASER, and it's our language translator ACTD. And what that will do primarily is help us so that when we're getting ready to publish the air tasking order for the day, that -- we always publish that in English. And it's very difficult. Sometimes our coalition partners get 10 to 12 hours behind in their ability to support us because they have to go translate that ATO, that air tasking order. So we are going to come up with language translation capability that can help us real time in that area.
And then we have another ACTD called Coalition Information Assurance Common Operational Picture. And that is basically to help us when we have our networks configured together to be able to detect intrusion and to be able to share information about our network stability.
I believe that gives you a fairly good example of some of the coalition ACTDs that we're doing.
Q: Obviously, it's been a priority of your office to develop these as quickly as it makes sense to do so and to get some products into the war-fighters' hands. Are there any on this list that might be akin to the thermobaric bomb, where we might see in six months or a year something new -- (inaudible) -- being used in Afghanistan or for homeland defense?
Payton: Absolutely. I believe the Micro UAV is at a level of maturity that we will be seeing that, especially in the urban area. The Pathfinder ACTD is very important because as you start fighting a war by using unattended sensors, whether they're on the ground, or whether they're in vehicles, or whether they're in the air, you need to be able to view that data for situational awareness.
It doesn't do you a lot of good to get that data in in stovepipes and then not be able to view it. So that particular -- I mean, we have the technology to do that. And so that particular ACTD will probably be available sooner rather than later.
Our Agile Transportation ACTD is very crucial to allowing us to apply a supply chain management capability in the logistics arena and to get our theater assets deployed rapidly and efficiently. And that technology exists today in areas of FedEx and other commercial applications. So we believe that with an innovative approach we will be able to do that ACTD more rapidly than others. So quite a few of these, I believe, we'll be seeing the first spirals in the next six months to a year.
Q: Yeah, I wanted to ask about the homeland security ACTD. I think you mentioned there was a command and control capability, but I wanted you to -- if you could specifically comment on what specific capabilities, you know, allow the coordination, whether it's videoteleconferencing or whatever. And also in the demonstration phase are you working with local governments?
Payton: Absolutely, yes. Great question. The ACTD is for the first responders -- one of the things we noted in New York and even at the Pentagon is that when you bring together your city firefighters and your county and state police and then the DOD, they can't all communicate on the same frequencies with their radios. And there are capabilities that are being developed for software programmable capabilities for just communication, so that everyone can go to the same net and you can actually talk to each other. As you know, cell phones didn't work very well after the attack on September 11th. So we are developing for our first responders capabilities to be able to communicate. It's basically a communications project. But it's also getting the data together for situational awareness. So it's a matter of getting the networks together, the data, and then software to allow people to understand what's really going on. We are actually next month actually going to do a demonstration. It's with the city of New Orleans, the state of Louisiana and with some elements of the DOD.
Q: Can you say more about that -- what kind of a demonstration it could be?
Payton: We do have a scenario, and it is responding to a terrorist attack. And I think this particular ACTD probably merits another conference. We are pulling together a joint group of folks next week to vet it a little more. So probably we'll get together with Miss Irwin and tee that back up again.
Q: That's the communication ACTD?
Payton: Yes, that's Homeland Security Command and Control.
Q: In the same vein, is the seaport-contamination-avoidance ACTD -- will that also be used by the Coast Guard for domestic commercial ports, or is that primarily for the Navy?
Payton: I'd like to ask Captain Knollmann. This is a very interesting ACTD, and I believe it's focused on the Navy, but I'm not exactly positive.
Knollmann: It is -- in the demonstration phase, it's focused on the Navy, but as in so many of these ACTDs, part of the demonstration process is to get it out in front of people where we can find other operational requirements not specifically aimed a the Coast Guard, not specifically aimed at U.S. ports, but it may have applications in that area. That's why we do the demonstration.
Q: You mentioned a deployable package. Is that a package of sensors or -- what exactly is that?
Knollmann: We've found in the past that many of these sensors exist, but they're large. And you put them in place and then you run things through them, but they've got to stay where you install them because of their bulk. And this one really gets at making it into a deployable package. You can put it into a port that you may be opening up for a contingency, where you have to run your supplies and personnel through an area where you don't have existing threat- detection equipment. It's meant to go and then come back.
Q: Okay, so would you attach it to UAVs or something like that, or --
Knollmann: No, this is more conventional. You know, we're looking at something that you can put on a ship or put it in an airplane, forward deploy and work as you go into the port.
Q: Question about contractors: I know some of these are sort of in-house developments across different government agencies. But can you speak to prime contractors that may have been selected for some of the products that you're developing as part of who's sort of on that list for what programs?
Payton: Yeah, at this point, I really can't. And that's because that management plan really needs to be vetted.
A lot of these are concepts with technologies needed and the contractors really have not been chosen. And the program offices that will run these will maybe have their own BAA to some degree and put out RFPs (Request for Proposal). So at this point, it's a little premature to mention contractors.
Q: I'm sorry, just to clarify the acronyms you just used. So you will -- you're basically -- the different departments will be competing? I mean they'll be asking for competing bids for these or --
Payton: If the Air Force is leading an ACTD, they may put out a Broad Area Announcement so that they can canvass what the technology is. Or they may put out a Request for Proposal. Or they may already know what the best capability is, best value to the government at this point for a quick spiral. So they have some autonomy in determining how to build the best possible ACTD.
Let me see, who haven't we had here.
Q: Could I go back to coalitions for a moment? Since they would benefit allies in the future, are you looking for any ally participation in either scientists and/or money?
Payton: Absolutely. Last month I signed a project agreement with Australia for the Coalition Theater Logistics ACTD that we started last year.
We are looking for partnering in the Spartan ACTD, for instance.
So I have had various meetings with representatives from the U.K., from Canada, from Australia. I'm looking forward to my trip to PACOM next week, and EUCOM in the next two weeks to talk more with our coalition partners to see where they have interests. The U.K. actually attended our kick-off meeting in Tampa two weeks ago, and they're very interested in UAVs, for instance. So we are opening the door to that. And, you know, if you don't plan together and train together, it makes it very difficult to fight together. So we want to work on that.
Q: Is this aerial -- active denial system, which is being developed at Quantico, which was unveiled, I believe, last summer? Was a -- first a heat, which would be unpleasant? Is that what we're --
Payton: Yes, it is.
Q: That's the same program?
Payton: Yeah. It's the Joint Non-Lethal folks down there. And they are in coordination with several other folks on that. Again, it's a partnering.
Q: So their project has now been transferred -- or transformed into an ACTD, basically?
Payton: Yes. Yes. Because we need to understand the concept of ops and employment and shortfalls and how you might counter something like that. So we need to get that military utility assessment done. Yeah.
Q: I understand that you've changed the process a little bit for the reviews in terms of trying to better align the fiscal year with the ACTDs are being reviewed. So are you already reviewing the '03 ACTD candidates?
And then a more specific question is I've heard from contractors there was a lot of interest in doing and ACTD either for aerostats or a high-altitude airship, and I'm wondering if you could comment on that at all.
Payton: Yes. In answer to the first question, we have compressed our schedule, so instead of having the JROC approve our ACTDs in October or November, the JROC will actually be approving our ACTDs in the May/June timeframe. That will make it easier for our service partners to really see what's in the plan so that they can go palm in -- for budgeting purposes, so that they can come in with more funding two years out.
So our idea here is the OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) and my office would fund the first couple of years of the ACTD at a little bit higher level, and then the services and agencies would come in because they will have gone through the congressional budget process to be able to add dollars in the middle section of an ACTD.
So you're absolutely right, we have started looking at the FY '03 ACTDs, and we have meetings scheduled later this month to actually see how many we have. It's been a very compressed schedule, so I don't know how much we'll have there, but so far, it looks very, very good.
And in response to the airship --
Q: High-altitude airships and aerostats.
Payton: Yes. We are very excited about high-altitude airships. At this point, we have a real funding shortfall, and we are looking at the technology and trying to marry up where we might be able to get funding for endeavors like that.
Q: What happens to the three that don't have funding yet until get funding, or do they just go back into the pool for FY '03 if you don't secure money for them?
Payton: Yeah, we are -- of those three, we are pretty confident about Spartan. A lot has been done over the last few months in that area. We are getting more confident about Agent Defeat. And we may have to put the Joint Distance Logistics one back in for review for FY '03.
Q: A two-part --
Q: A two-part funding question.
Q: One is, to fund these three, were you short? And the second one, initially, the first few years of ACTDs, Congress wasn't particularly kind to the program. And I was wondering how -- my impression is you are now largely getting your requests. Can you kind of say whether that issue has in fact now been resolved largely?
Payton: Okay, relative to the last question, Congress has been extremely supportive of the ACTD program, and I believe that's very much because Mr. Aldridge and the department are very supportive of ACTDs and they see them as a way to try before you buy and help transform the department. You never know what's going to happen in the congressional budget cycle, but we are working very hard and we have great support from congressional staffers, and the whole concept of having 30 products from ACTDs that are really relevant to countering terrorism is very important, because we've built that momentum up, so success sort of breeds success in that area.
And I'm sorry. Again, your first question?
Q: How much are you short for the three programs that are -- that you were looking for midyear starts on?
Payton: Okay. I don't have that number, but I do know in the Spartan area the Navy has come in with almost three times the money that I was going to contribute. So they are very much behind that now. They just needed a little more time to get things vetted. So I would have to get back with you on that money number.
Q: But these are not -- these aren't midyears for funding reasons, but more for product maturity reasons --
Payton: No, no, Spartan -- these are all for midyear funding. The problem is basically that there wasn't enough money to start those three.
Payton: Thank you very much.
This transcript was prepared by the Federal News Service Inc., Washington, D.C. Federal News Service is a private company for other Defense related transcripts not available through this site, contact (202) 347-1400.