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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 57, May 2001

Documents and Sources

Space & National Security: US Policy Initiative

Announcement by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

'Secretary Rumsfeld announces major national security space management and organizational initiative,' US Department of Defense, May 8, 2001.

"This [announcement] is [made] in response to section 1624 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (Pub. L. No. 106-65) which requested my assessment of the findings of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization. [Note: the Commission, chaired by Rumsfeld himself, submitted its report (see http://www.space.gov/commission/report.htm) to Congress on January 11, 2001.]

The Commission has presented a well thought through, independent and objective assessment. It identified the importance of outer space and space activities to the security and well being of the United States, our allies, and friends. The following are my views on the Commission's recommendations.

First, a new and comprehensive national security space management and organizational approach is needed to promote and protect our interests in space.

Second, a Policy Coordinating Committee for Space is being established within the National Security Council structure. The Committee will provide a senior, interagency forum to develop, coordinate, and monitor the implementation of the President's policy guidance for space activities.

Third, the Director of Central Intelligence and I are meeting regularly to address intelligence matters and are establishing an Executive Committee that we co-chair to review intelligence issues of joint concern. We have requested the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to examine how to establish an Office of Space Reconnaissance within the NRO and report back to us next month. We will keep the defense and intelligence oversight committees apprised of our future course of action.

Fourth, I have directed my staff to prepare guidance for implementing the following recommendations to improve the leadership, management, and organization of national security space activities. I have asked my staff to keep Congress informed as part of this process.

The Secretary of the Air Force will be directed to assign responsibility for the Command of Air Force Space Command to a four-star officer other than the Commander in Chief of US Space Command (CINCSPACE) and the Commander in Chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command (CINCNORAD).

The practice of assigning only flight-rated officers to the positions of CINCSPACE and CINCNORAD will be discontinued to ensure that an officer of any Service with an understanding of space and combat operations could be assigned to the position.

The Secretary of the Air Force will realign headquarters and field commands to more effectively organize, train, and equip for prompt and sustained space operations. Air Force Space Command will be assigned responsibility for and provided the resources to execute space research, development, acquisition and operations. The Commander of Air Force Space Command will be assigned responsibility for managing the space career field within the Department of the Air Force in accordance with the Secretary of the Air Force's guidance.

The Department of the Air Force will be assigned responsibility to organize, train, and equip for prompt and sustained offensive and defensive space operations. The Department of the Air Force will be designated as the Executive Agent for Space within the Department of Defense, with Department-wide responsibility for planning, programming and acquisition of space systems.

The Secretaries of the Military Departments will be directed to enhance space Professional Military Education at all levels to ensure our forces have a direct understanding of how to integrate space activities into military operations.

The Departments of the Army and the Navy will be directed to continue to establish requirements, maintain a cadre of space-qualified officers, and research, develop, acquire, and deploy space systems unique to each Service.

The Under Secretary of the Air Force will be assigned as the Director of the NRO, designated the Air Force Acquisition Executive for Space, and delegated Milestone Decision Authority for defense space programs through the Secretary of the Air Force. This will align Air Force and NRO programs and permit both organizations to use each other's 'best practices.' The National Security Space Architect (NSSA) will be realigned to report to the Under Secretary of the Air Force and Director of the NRO.

The Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Service laboratories will be directed to undertake research and demonstration of innovative space technologies and systems for dedicated military missions.

The Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer will be directed to establish a space program, budget, and accounting mechanism to increase visibility into the resources allocated for space activities.

Finally, I have decided not to request legislation to establish an Under Secretary of Defense for Space, Intelligence, and Information. I have asked staff to review the responsibilities and functions of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence and provide me with recommendations for ensuring appropriate senior-level policy, guidance, oversight, and advocacy for space, intelligence and information activities.

I have consulted with the Director of Central Intelligence on this matter, and he concurs with these decisions. With your support of these initiatives, we can arrange the Department of Defense to focus on meeting the national security space needs of the 21st century and sustain the United States position as the world's leading spacefaring nation."

Briefing by Secretary Rumsfeld

'Secretary Rumsfeld Outlines Space Initiatives,' Special News Briefing, the Pentagon, May 8; Defense Department Transcript.

"We're here to discuss plans for transforming the management and organization of America's defense and intelligence programs. More than any other country, the United States relies on space for its security and well being. Our daily lives are increasingly tied to space. We depend on satellite services to our homes, schools, businesses and hospitals. Satellites enable global communications, television broadcasts, weather forecasting, navigation of ships, planes, trucks, cars, synchronizing computers, communications and electric power grids. Satellites are also our worldwide eyes and ears. They collect information on capabilities and intentions of potential adversaries; monitor treaties and agreements; and support military operations worldwide. US space capabilities enable military forces to be warned of missile attack, to communicate, navigate to an area while avoiding hostile action, and precisely attack targets in ways that minimize collateral damage and protect the lives of US soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen.

Our dependence on operations in space, however, makes us somewhat vulnerable to new challenges. It's only logical to conclude that we must be attentive to these vulnerabilities and pay careful attention to protecting and promoting our interest in space. History shows that deterrence and dissuasion are important. Our first choice is not to prevail in a conflict, but to be arranged in a way that can dissuade others from engaging in acts hostile to the United States national security interests and, therefore, deterring conflict from occurring.

We need to ensure that the management and the organization of our national security space program reflects the importance of space to the nation today. Space issues are complex and merit a renewed focus. A more comprehensive management and organizational approach is necessary to assign clear responsibilities and accountability for national security space programs.

We're fortunate that Congress recognized our growing dependence and vulnerability and had the foresight to establish the Space Commission to consider how to strengthen our national security space program. ... The Space Commission paved the way by presenting [a] thorough, independent and objective assessment of our national space program. ...

Now I'd like to take a moment just to summarize the management and organizational changes I believe will help the US advance our interests in space. First, I should say that the director of Central Intelligence and I are meeting regularly to address space and intelligence matters. Such meetings will allow the two officials who have primary responsibility and accountability for the US national security space program to discuss space issues on a frequent basis. Second, the Department of Defense is merging disparate space activities and adjusting chains of command. These changes will involve all key facets of the department - the Office of the Secretary, the military departments, the National Reconnaissance Office and the US Space Command. The majority of these changes involve realigning Air Force headquarters and field commands to more effectively organize, train and equip for space operations, ensuring that the Air Force will become the lead for space activities in the Department of Defense. These national security, space management and organizational changes are a part of our initial efforts to transform the US department and establishment and reform DoD structures, processes and organization. They will help the US to focus on meeting the national security space needs of the 21st century. ..."

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.