Space and Information Superiority
Space and Information Superiority
Undersecretary of the Air Force Peter Teets Remarks
at the National Defense Industrial Association Space Symposium, Fairfax,
Virginia, February 26, 2003.
Air Force Link.
When I spoke to all of you in this forum last year, I had been on the job just a
few weeks, and all of us -- military, civilian, and industry -- were still
coming to grips with Space Commission implementation, not to mention the
national security issues in the wake of September 2001. Fortunately, we had a
pretty clear National Security Space roadmap laid out for us by the Space
Commission, as well as the NRO Commission and the Kerr Remote Sensing Panel.
We've made some significant progress in the last year implementing
recommendations by these groups and improving the way we conduct National
Security Space activities, but our work is far from done.
I want to devote the first part
of my remarks today to the priorities I've set for National Security Space for
2003. I've had the opportunity to share these priorities over the last month
with our government folks in the Pentagon, at the NRO, in Colorado Springs, and
in Los Angeles. But I want to take this opportunity to share them with you, our
partners in industry, because, to successfully carry out these priorities, we're
absolutely going to need your help.
Ensure mission success in
Fully integrate space
capabilities for warfighting and national intelligence
Get space acquisition programs
responsive assured access to space
Develop a team of Space
Pursue innovative capabilities
for national intelligence and defense priorities
Enhance space control
Focus space science and
technology resources and programs
These priorities point us in the
direction we need to go in 2003.
I'd like to now spend just a few
moments reaching out beyond 2003, and describe to you what I see will be the key
influences shaping our actions in the defense and intelligence communities in
the years ahead.
Those peering into the crystal
ball keep coming up with the same general conclusion on what the United States
needs to maintain its advantages against the full spectrum of threats. Some call
it information superiority. Others, like Admiral Cebrowski, call it
network-centric warfare. Essentially, it's the need for information, for
knowledge -- how we collect it, how we process it, how we share it, and how we
use it to make decisions or produce combat effects.
In our society at large today,
information is, essentially, the chief commodity in economic arenas. And it is
increasingly the decisive weapon in military and national security matters.
Information -- access to it and how fast it is delivered -- now is a central
determinant of combat power. And information superiority is a key enabler for
essentially all of our new technology. We simply wouldn't build a system that
doesn't leverage our information-sharing capabilities, any more than someone
would build a computer today without the capability to access a network or the
Information superiority today means a number of things:
It is reliable ISR
(intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) -- you can't attack targets if
you can't find them.
It is fast and effective C2
(command and control) -- you can't attack emerging targets rapidly if your
command systems are slow.
It is integration -- you can't
get synergy if you can't share information.
And it is precision -- you
can't conduct effective attacks if you don't have high confidence target
Our challenge is to maintain
information superiority, which, by itself, is probably our nation's greatest
asymmetric advantage in warfighting. Our platforms and systems, by themselves,
aren't what make us so effective in combat. It's how we link them together --
sensors, shooters, precision targeting, combat assessment -- that produces
Many of you, I'm sure, are
familiar with "Moore's Law." Gordon Moore, the co-founder and former chairman of
Intel Corporation, first observed back in 1965 that the complexity of
semiconductor components had doubled each year since the first prototype
microchip was produced in 1959. In the 1980s, Moore's Law evolved -- with
Moore's approval -- to mean the doubling of the number of transistors on a
computer chip every 18 months. In the 1990s, Moore's Law became widely
associated with the claim that computing power at fixed cost is doubling every
18 months. The exponential effects of Moore's Law are staggering: an order of
magnitude increase in capability every five years.
Now, Moore's Law has mainly been
used to highlight the rapid change in commercial information processing
technologies. But we see something similar happening with regard to bandwidth
demands in the military and intelligence arenas. Our director of DISA, the
Defense Information Systems Agency, Lieutenant General Harry Raduege has noted:
In Operation Desert Storm, the
total data rate required was 100 Mbps for 500,000 troops.
In Operation Allied Force, the
SATCOM bandwidth rose to 250 Mbps, for far fewer troops.
And in Operation Enduring
Freedom, a total data rate of 700 Mbps supported a force of only 50,000 troops
-- one-tenth the number of people engaged in Desert Storm.
If we are called to action in
the Middle East in the next few weeks, with the large numbers of troops likely
to be engaged and operations likely to be executed, I'm certain the bandwidth
requirements will be off all previous charts. We're seeing a variation on
Moore's law in action, and the forecast only calls for more, more, more.
Now, the commercial sector can
take some comfort from the fact that fiber-optic technology is able to absorb
most of the impact of accelerating information throughput requirements. But the
U.S. military doesn't have that luxury. By their very nature, our armed forces
operate in exactly those places where fiber-optic cable networks are not: not
only in remote locations on land, but also on the seas, in the skies and in
space. And it is in those places that our requirements are growing by leaps and
Unmanned aerial vehicles alone are capable of saturating our current bandwidth
availability. Just one Global Hawk with a full payload of sensors will have a
future bandwidth requirement in excess of one gigabit per second. But in future
operations, just one Global Hawk won't be nearly enough. In fact, the Office of
the Secretary of Defense's "UAV Roadmap" identified 57 future requirements
associated with 15 related mission areas for UAVs.
Of course, UAVs won't be the
only systems vying for bandwidth. Once you add in spaceborne ISR systems,
special operations relays, joint operations center integration,
video-conferencing, Internet connectivity, logistics networks, and even Morale,
Welfare, and Recreation activities, the needs stack up very quickly.
With these kinds of tremendous foreseen requirements, if the bandwidth is not
there to meet them, future commanders in the field will have to make bandwidth
resource allocation choices. They'll have to trade-off various systems and
activities. Imagine an instance where a UAV loitering over one part of a
battlefield has to cease transmitting ISR data, so another unmanned vehicle can
have the bandwidth needed to drop weapons. Or imagine Battle Damage Assessment
imagery from a spaceborne imager having to wait for a four-star video
teleconference to finish before it can be disseminated within theater.
We cannot allow this to happen.
In the battlespaces of tomorrow,
victory may be won or lost in mere seconds -- the seconds it takes to identify
and strike a moving target, or the seconds it takes to make a critical decision.
We cannot let bandwidth constraints be the Achilles heel of our armed forces in
the decades to come. That's why our efforts to transform communications are so
Rear Admiral Rand Fisher,
director of our Transformational Communications Office, is leading the charge to
develop the architecture we'll need to meet these huge, onrushing bandwidth
requirements. As Admiral Fisher likes to make clear, our efforts are not about
satellites, and they're not about terminals -- they're about creating a whole
new infrastructure to support future warfighting. The bandwidth equivalent of
Moore's Law has given us a glimpse into a crystal ball, and what we see is: no
end to bandwidth requirements in sight. Success in future warfighting will
involve swarms of UAVs in simultaneous flight, operators at all levels
integrated and sharing information, machines interfacing directly with other
machines. The result is a thousand cursors on a thousand targets with
decision-making reduced to mere seconds, or fractions of seconds, producing
campaigns with outcomes that may be determined before the first steel hits its
To get there from here will take
transforming communications. It will also take success in all the other National
Security Space priorities I've mentioned today -- achieving mission success,
integrating space, improving acquisition, pursuing assured access, and so on.
These are all ways and means to achieve success in our quest for effective
warfighting operations and national security.
The importance of our nation's
space capabilities continues to increase, and at a pace commensurate with our
increasing warfighting emphasis on network-centric operations. Our warfighters
in the field depend on us to provide the space capabilities they need to achieve
victory. Our nation's citizens depend on us to provide the space capabilities
needed to protect our nation's security.
Thank you for inviting me back
to speak this year. I'm looking forward to another exciting and productive year
working with all of you to advance our nation's National Security Space
capabilities! I'd like to now take the opportunity to answer any questions you