74 – Transcript of the October 5, 2017 meeting of the National Space Council

Page 5: Panel 3

  • Dr. Michael Griffin: former NASA Administrator; former Deputy Director of Technology, Strategic Defense Initiative Office
  • Admiral James Ellis, (USN, retired): former commander, U.S. Strategic Command; Fellow, Hoover Institution
  • Colonel Pamala Melroy, (USAF, retired): test pilot; former astronaut, Space Shuttle pilot, and Space Shuttle commander; former Deputy Director of Tactical Technologies, DARPA

68. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE [1:30:02]: Our final panel of the day will focus on the national security aspects of the space enterprise. Our first panelist will be Dr. Michael Griffin, former NASA Administrator and former Deputy Director for Technology and Strategic Defense Initiative Office. Our second panelist is Admiral James Ellis, distinguished American as well, former head of the Strategic Command and, now, Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Our final panelist is Ms. Pamela Melroy, a former shuttle commander and deputy director of the tactical technologies office at DARPA. Would everyone join me in welcoming this extraordinary panel to the National Space Council today. Dr. Griffin, you’re recognized for opening remarks and welcome back to the National Space Council.

69. MICHAEL GRIFFIN [1:31:05]: Mr. Vice President, members of the National Space Council, Executive Secretary Pace, thank you for inviting me to speak at the meeting and to air my views in regard to national security space priorities and concerns. There are many such concerns. It is past time that we begin to address them with both policy and budget. In my remarks today, I will address only a few that I consider to be of the highest priority.

First, we need persistent, timely, global, land, sea, air, and space domain awareness. We lead the world still in our ability to provide exquisite intelligence when our focus must be on very specific targets. But, increasingly what is needed is less exquisite but more timely, comprehensive, and persistent domain awareness. This can only be done from space. Also, it must be recognized that space itself is a neglected domain. To be both blunt and clear, the United States must know what is being launched, from where it originates, to where it is going, what are its characteristics, what are its likely purposes, everywhere, all the time, to a level of accuracy sufficient for targeting and fire-control, should that be required.

Second, our adversaries well understand that in today’s world, our space assets are critical to the way in which we fight and win wars. The technological advantage that they confer is by itself a deterrent to many adversarial actions. Bad actors can be dissuaded if they know that they are unlikely to prevail. Thus, our space infrastructure has been, is being, and will continue to be targeted by those who seek to alter the global order while blunting our opposition to that. Our adversaries can already and are increasing their ability to project their power into space. While we must develop defenses against such actions, defense by itself will always be insufficient. Defense must succeed every time; the adversary must succeed only once. Accordingly, we must develop our own capabilities to project power in space. We must be able to hold adversary’s space capabilities at risk even as they seek to do so to ours.

Third, these new capabilities are dependent upon our ability to launch them in a reliable, timely, routine, and cost-effective fashion; attributes which hardly describe the present state of affairs in the space launch industry. It is past time for the national security space launch community to take control of its requirements and capabilities. And, yes, commercial providers can offer some useful capability, but, at bottom, national security space launch bears the same relationship to commercial launch that military aircraft do to the air transport industry. They share an industrial base, but they do not share an operational infrastructure.

I have been a champion for commercial space launch throughout my career—parenthetically I am the first government official ever to buy a commercial space launch on purely arm’s length commercial terms—but have always done so in the context of a carefully formulated risk calculus. If you agree with me that space launch is, like submarines and aircraft carriers, a strategic asset for our nation, then we must also agree to treat it as such.

Allow me to close by noting that the concerns I have addressed by no means constitute an exhaustive list. They are merely those that I consider to be of the very highest priority. But, in citing them or any other specific issues, we must not lose focus on what should be the overriding goal of national space policy.

The United States has had a leading role in world affairs and, together with our allies, has promoted and generally enforced a stable, rules-based, world order for over seven decades. This power and influence was realized through the sacrifices of our World War II generation, maintained through more than four decades of national resolve during the Cold War, and renewed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. In today’s world, the continued exercise of that leadership depends critically upon maintaining and extending our preeminence in space in all of its many aspects. Our adversaries understand that and are actively working to prevent it. We must work together to ensure that they do not succeed. Thank you.

70. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Thank you very much, Dr. Griffin, for those stirring words. Admiral James Ellison.

71. JAMES ELLIS [1:36:13]: Mr. Vice President and distinguished members of the National Space Council, thank you for allowing me to appear before you at this your inaugural meeting. The national security of the United States is inextricably linked to space, but the technological advances in and increased national security reliance on space systems by our joint forces, allies, and partners have created a superbly capable critical infrastructure in space that has not been matched by coherent, supporting, protection capabilities, lost mitigation strategies, and clearly articulated national policies. As you’ve noted Mr. Vice President, the threats range from sophisticated direct ascent ASAT weapons to the proliferation of low-tech jammers that can disrupt satellite communication links without touching the spacecraft. They include the electromagnetic pulse impact of the detonation of a nuclear weapon in space, but also the potential for cyber or terrorist attacks on the satellite ground control systems.

I make two points here. First, not all threats to our space assets originate in space and not all our defense, mitigation, and deterrence efforts should be focused there. Second, the ability to threaten our national security space assets is not solely resident in nation-states; it is also increasingly available to non-state actors and individuals. As with other of our national security challenges, a few dragons have been replaced by a hundred snakes.

To capably function in this newly contested environment, we need enhanced and focused space intelligence and space situational awareness, as my colleague, Dr. Griffin, has noted. We also need dramatically improved technical and tactical capabilities for the warfighter. We need a coherent architecture to make robustness and resilience specified and quantified requirements in all elements of our systems, and we need a system reconstitution and mitigation capability that is truly operationally responsive.

We must include commercial and allied partners in these conversations and appreciate that, if added to all space platforms, even relatively simple technologies, such as that motion sensor that turns on your garage light when someone walks up your driveway, can add insight and understanding to a global space neighborhood watch. We need better tools to analyze, as a complete system, our space-related critical infrastructure so that we understand where the need is most urgent. And finally, we simply must get it all done faster because the threats are growing faster than our ability to counter them.

A friend of mine once told me that you know you are really in a crisis when they start waving the rules. In national security space, we are there and it’s time to appropriately unleash a world-class developmental, manufacturing, and operational expertise.

Finally, in space, as in the cyber world, national security strategies from land, air, and sea do not always translate and classic concepts of kinetic deterrence may not apply. A shared understanding of both what we are trying to do and what are the limits on which we are allowed to do is essential. Clear and unambiguous policy and strategy guidance from all of you will be vital to ensuring we achieve unity of purpose and effectiveness of outcome. That clarity is also critical to reassuring our allies and deterring potential adversaries. We must lead global efforts to shape collective behavior and be very clear in our declaratory policies about what we stand for in space and what we will not stand for. We must not confuse effort with outcome or technology with strategy. In space, as on earth, tactical energy in a strategic vacuum, no pun intended, is a recipe for failure. And in preserving America’s national security space capabilities, and that of our partners and allies around the globe, failure is not an option. Thank you and I look forward to your questions.

72. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE [1:40:41]: Thank you, Admiral, for those very strong remarks. I look forward to our panel’s discussion and momentarily. With that, the chair recognizes Colonel Pamela Melroy who has a distinguished career as an Air Force test pilot but also an astronaut who piloted the Discovery behind me in 2000 and was the commander of Discovery’s mission in 2007. I think that’s worth a round of applause.

73. PAMALA MELROY [1:41:18]: The applause is for Discovery. Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Good morning, Mr. Vice President, members of the National Space Council. Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. I am deeply concerned about sustaining the U.S. ability to use our space assets to ensure air, naval, and ground superiority, and to shore up our diminishing space superiority. Speed—the tempo of decision and information is the problem because our adversaries have figured out how to move inside our military decision loop and our existing precision kill chain is inadequate to address many new and pressing threats. You’re going to hear me echo several comments made by Dr. Griffin and Admiral Ellis. I’m going to do a little bit of a dive into what I consider the two most pressing issues.

The first issue is the tempo of space domain awareness; knowing what’s going on in space real-time rather than forensic information days after the fact. Currently, the Air Force has about a dozen dedicated, exquisite sensors with superb accuracy. They’re scattered widely, they can be affected by weather, and can only take periodic snapshots of objects in space. Hours and, even, days go by without updates to orbital locations. Today, there are emerging threats to our spacecraft that can maneuver in minutes and hours. The possibility of missing a dynamic threat to our spacecraft is unacceptable. We have to have more sensors to get more frequent updates, but these sensors don’t have to be as precise and as expensive as our current sensors. The frequency of observations, combined with our current sensor data, makes up for the lack of precision. The proliferation of commercial space surveillance sensors is a potential fit for this need.

The second area where increased tempo is needed is tactical intelligence to support the ability to find a target, track and engage it, as well as to perform battle damage assessment—the entire kill chain. In recent decades, we’ve become expert at using air assets to supply information for our precision weapon systems. In the future, we can’t assume a permissive operating environment for those air assets. Now, we do have truly magnificent space capability for strategic intelligence, critical for the planning awareness and attribution. However, this capability is spread very thin, cannot be redirected in short tactical timescales, and may now be held at risk. Additionally, our command and control structure isn’t designed to absorb and disseminate information quickly at large geographic scales, such as the Pacific region, or for multiple concurrent operations. Enhancing our architecture with low-cost, small-satellite constellations can provide persistence and retasking on short timescales. These constellations should be under the direct control of the warfighter as tactical intelligence assets. These constellations must have collection algorithms, onboard processing, and dissemination of information directly to cockpits and ship bridges without humans in the loop enabling us to compress that kill chain in a denied environment. Thank you and I look forward to your questions.

74. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE [1:45:07]: Thank you very much, Colonel, and to all the members of the panel. Before we get to members of the National Space Council, the chair would just pose a question, given to each of your extraordinary background in this area with regard to national security in space. There’s much talk, it seems, in the public about not wanting to militarize space. But, is it accurate for the layperson to know that from the time Sputnik went up we, to one degree or another, have militarized space. And that the question is whether we’ve weaponized space at this point? I would just ask, given the testimony that we just heard and how our national security—as Admiral Ellis said is inextricably linked to space—are our adversaries and potential adversaries moving toward weaponizing space in ways that should inform our development of national policy in space?

75. MICHAEL GRIFFIN [1:46:34]: I guess I’ll start. The choice as to whether or not to weaponize space is not one that we can make. We can only decide to match and raise our adversaries who are already weaponizing space. I would add that space was first weaponized during World War II with the German V-2 short-range ballistic missile. That course is long out of the barn. Our best chance for avoiding future conflict in space, and, frankly, it’s collaterally related conflicts on Earth, is to be and to appear to be so strong that no one wishes to take us on.

76. JAMES ELLIS [1:47:25]: Thank You, Mr. Vice President. I think, as you know, there are parallels, historic, perhaps, with the maritime domain in virtually every arena in which the United States and, before that, nations around the world operated and exerted influence has progressed through a series that moved from, initially, exploration and, then, commerce and, ultimately, potential conflict. We hope, as we all do, to avoid that conflict in space, but it is, I mentioned in my remarks, it’s entirely appropriate that we appreciate the difference between militarization and weaponization. We understand the reliance, as you’ve heard from my colleagues here on the panel, that our national security architecture has on those space elements and that we move effectively and with forethought to ensure that we are preserving those capabilities. So, we in the military, as a retired guy—I think I’ll still say that proudly—you have to deal with capabilities, not with intent. The capabilities are well known. Their growth, as you’ve articulated in your opening remarks, is well documented. We can’t predict the intent. John F Kennedy, in 1962, said it’s up to us to define whether the space domain becomes an ocean of peace, as he called it, or an area of conflict. We have that choice along with our allies. But, deterrent concepts, understanding of what our policies are, and what, as I said in my remarks, what we stand for in space in terms of norms and acceptable behaviors and what we simply will not stand for is going to be an essential element of guaranteeing the continued access, not just for national security purposes but, as you’ve heard from the previous panels, for economic and research purposes as well.

77. PAMALA MELROY [1:49:09]: I think Dr. Griffin and Admiral Ellis have said quite clearly what I totally agree with which is that this is not our choice, it’s already happened. And, I do want to add one comment about the critical nature of attribution. So, attribution is important for a lot of different reasons. One is just to be able to clearly state when a bad actor has done something and what they have done. But, I think it’s also important, as Admiral Ellis put it so eloquently, what we won’t stand for. The attribution has to be a critical element of that.

78. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE [1:49:50]: Thank you, Colonel. We have a number of members of the council that have questions. Appreciate your candor, and trust that I made clear the line between militarization and weaponization. But, I find myself in strong agreement with each of your echo about thereby the importance of deterrence for keeping it an ocean of peace. The Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates, is recognized.

79. DIRECTOR COATES [1:50:28]: Mr. Vice President, thank you. I particularly, of course, I paid attention to every panel, but particularly keen attention to what was just said with this panel. The intelligence community understands that our dominance in space, relative to the intelligence that we need to keep America safe and informed, whether it’s our fighters or whether it’s our national assets, is of critical importance. The dominance that we’ve had in space has been, at least, on the way to being equaled or, perhaps, equaled by adversaries who wish to do us harm and we have to recognize that. As wonderful as it is to hear about the vision in the future for space and what it can provide commercially, what it can provide for human exploration, we end up here sobered up by the fact that like other innovations that have occurred, the Internet and so forth, and all the blessings that it brings and all the optimism it brings about the future, it’s a double-edged sword. There’s a dark side. There’s a dark side to this and that forces us to be prepared. And, so I think one of the important things this council can do is to ensure that we achieve the dominance in space necessary for us to protect our people, to keep our adversaries in a position where they can’t provide the dominance that could do us do us wrong. So, the candor and means in which this panel has brought, I think, is something that we need to focus on.

80. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE [1:52:30]: Thank you, Director Coates. Any comments from the panel following the director’s remarks? Before I recognize the Acting Director of Homeland Security, allow me another Indiana privilege by recognizing an astronaut who is with us today; who spent 168 days in space, four missions, 41 hours of spacewalks, and he is the pride of his home state of Indiana. Astronaut David Wolf is with us today. Thank you, David. May not forgive me for that but had to do it.

81. SECRETARY DUKE [1:53:11]: Thank you for allowing the time to get my microphone on before you called them on me. I appreciate it. I definitely agree that we need a space strategy, a space security strategy. And, I’ve heard two different things among the three panels. One is critical infrastructure in space. So we have commercial, we have a national defense, and it would almost argue for addressing some of the threats as critical infrastructure align with that. So, in the commercial sector, we’d have to make sure we have cyber security and national defense, the resilience you talked about. But, then someone, and I believe it was you Admiral Ellis, mentioned space as critical infrastructure. If we take your recommendation for the strategy, should we be looking at space as a critical infrastructure and all the security needs; we’d have it across the national defense, homeland security, and commercial? Do you have any recommendations?

82. JAMES ELLIS [1:54:14]: Well, I think you’re exactly right, Madam Secretary. The reality is that in space as in so many other domains, as Director Coates knows well, the line between what is a national security asset and what is a commercial asset has long been blurred. We rely very, very heavily in the military, in today’s military, on commercial entities. So, that’s the reason that the definition critical infrastructure writ large. It’s inappropriate anymore to parse it out very narrowly on military only or national security only or intelligence community only capabilities because we are reliant on that full range of capabilities as residence in space including commercial in order to accomplish that mission. It’s a complete system now and needs to be addressed as such, and that’s why I use the critical infrastructure term and think that a strategy needs to be focused on how we can effectively secure that in its entirety; not just predict one element of it that may have a DoD or an intelligence community label.

83. PAMALA MELROY [1:55:17]: I’d like to echo that and there’s a piece of this—that it’s a systems engineering problem. So, you’ve heard from three panels today. Each—civil, commercial, and national security space—are all inextricably linked together, particularly by this infrastructure, but also by other technologies. When you stop and think about the number of ATM transactions that go through commercial GEO satellites today and ask yourself about critical infrastructure, you begin to see that it’s not just a launch pad or other types of capabilities that are in that critical path. So, from my perspective, it’s very, very important that the strategy looks across all the domains and is an integrated systems engineering approach to what is the architecture of that infrastructure that we need, how will we support it, and if we make changes to what we’re doing today in one area, how it affects all the other areas.

84. MICHAEL GRIFFIN [1:56:25] I’d like to add a quick comment to put some numbers on what Admiral Ellis was talking about. Eighty percent of our national security communications go via commercial satellite routes. If we were to lose that infrastructure, our national security communications would be greatly reduced in capability. When we talk about economic infrastructure, I don’t think the general public realizes the extent to which the Global Positioning System’s timing signal is critical for these ATM transactions and every other point-of-sale transaction conducted in the United States and throughout most of the world. I have to ask the question: to what extent do we believe that we have defended ourselves if an adversary can bring our economic system near collapse. We may not lose a single piece of hardware, but we’re not functioning as a nation.

85.VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: I thank the panel. Thank you, Madam Secretary. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

86. SECRETARY TILLERSON [1:57:36]: You have, you’ve touched on a couple of areas that I think are really important and I want to go a little deeper on them. We know that our adversaries are developing anti-satellite weapons, other capabilities to degrade our capabilities, both our military and our security capabilities, and impacts on commercial capabilities, as well. And, as you pointed out, deterrence, you know, having a strong posture has always been what has been reliable in the past and much of that is built with allies and partners in the past. We have existing structures of alliances today. To what extent are they the proper platforms to build out these capabilities through allies and partners whom also developing certain capabilities in space themselves? Or is the nature of this threat—does it require a different platform or structure for building and strengthening these approaches through allies and partners?

And, the second question I have gets to the conflict, the likelihood of conflict, and I think this was touched on earlier as well. We have a lot of, we’ve practiced a lot to deconflict maritime operations with our adversaries, to deconflict air operations. We have not practiced and we do not have the standards and norms to practice deconfliction in space. Do you have ideas about the ways to address that and what are the norms that would be the basis for beginning to engage in deconfliction capabilities as well? So, two separate but not unrelated questions.

87. JAMES ELLIS {1:59:25]: Well, I’ll be glad to take the first shot at it. First, in interest of brevity, allies are absolutely essential in this effort going forward. If anything, even more so than the atmospheric and the maritime domain, space is a true global commons. And the number of participants that are involved actively in space with satellites and space programs of their own is well over a hundred now. And, so, if we’re talking about coming together in collective security, it makes great deal of sense to integrate those efforts and have commonality when appropriate. We understand the challenges of technology transfer that was talked about in another panel, but I do think the mutual security elements of this are going to be essential because, just as Dr. Griffin indicated, a lot of our communications go through commercial satellites; not all of those commercial satellites we use are U.S. satellites and, so, I think there’s a there’s a logical extension there.

With regard to conflict and de-conflict, I think if I might default back to the maritime domain again, over many centuries we had an ability to rub the rough edges off these relationships and create rules of the road in the maritime domain and, ultimately, acceptable behaviors, even supranational organizations, such as the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization, were constructed and, ultimately, follow-on treaties and relationships. Which of these are applicable to space is something we need to explore. Not all of them, as I said earlier, may work, but I think that’s the direction we need to go so that we can help people understand and avoid accidents and avoid miscalculation on the part on a part of allies. It’s not that we have to tell people exactly what we will do in every situation, but it’s absolutely essential that that they understand and we communicate through whatever means, not necessarily publicly, where are our major concerns are so that we don’t stumble into confrontation much less conflict on a on a random basis.

88. PAMALA MELROY [2:01:31]: I think that from an international perspective, we have a strong partnership in the Five Eyes and we really should be building on that. When you think about resilience and persistence and reconstitution, the geographical diversity that comes with having partners around the world, both in space surveillance but potentially in launch, in command and control nodes, ground tracking stations, and so forth, absolutely essential as a part of that architecture. I thought Admiral Ellis’s comments about norms were very good. I will make one additional comment to that which is that norms and standards needs to be things that we are also willing to do. It will not work if we say, oh, we don’t want people to do certain things oh but oh well if we need to do it, we’re just going to go ahead and do it anyway. And that’s why those norms and standards need to be based on safety and clarity. In other words, not confusing people about intentions and so forth. And, a wonderful example of norms and standards that have been adopted internationally that have a strong technical basis are the orbital debris mitigation standards developed by NASA and proliferated throughout the world that most countries have agreed to do from a safety standpoint, right, the sustainability of space. So those norms and standards need to be based on practical safety and clarity as opposed to preferences and wishes.

89. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Thank you at the panel. Dr. Griffin, another thought on this?

90. MICHAEL GRIFFIN [2:03:13]: Just a quick comment. You asked about, Mr. Secretary, asked about alliances. The United States is a great nation. I hope, we all hope always will be. Great nations, of course, must be prepared sometimes to lead alone if necessary. But, great nations also understand the value of alliances and partnerships and nowhere is this more true or has proven more true than in space. Going forward, if we want to know what a conflict of the future looks like without our space assets, we need to look to the past and look at World War II. I don’t think we want to repeat that experience. Our allies don’t want to repeat it. The value of the western alliance that we have, the value of our alliances with Japan, South Korea, other nations—Pam mentioned the Five Eyes—these are critical to carry forward with us in space. Absolutely critical.

91. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Well, I want to thank the panel and a few more comments. Let me recognize the President’s Homeland Security Advisor, Tom Bossert, for a comment or question.

92. ADVISOR BOSSERT [2:04:27]: Thank you, Mr. Vice President, and I am thrilled to be part of this long overdue Council. I think the National Space Council has a lot of challenges ahead of it and a lot of opportunities, so maybe a quick question. And Dr. Griffin, you’ve already perhaps addressed it. So, I’ll ask if I can get you to expand upon your thoughts. From a security perspective, both physical and cyber, I’m really interested in your views and the panel’s views on the vulnerabilities and challenges to a reliable, sustained space-based positioning, navigation, and timing infrastructure, and, in particular, the relationships or the actions that we need to take to maintain American preeminence. I understand there’s competitors to the GPS system that we’ve relied upon so heavily, but I also understand there are vulnerabilities that are being exploited on a regular basis. And that timing function is not only critical physically, but to our cyber operations and, so, if I could ask that question and, then, before I finish, add to Mick Mulvaney’s comments. This isn’t a question but, perhaps off the stage, I’d like to understand your considerations and your views on the considerations involved in delineating outer space in our declarative policy as that affects our commercial partners.

93. MICHAEL GRIFFIN [2:05:43]: Well, I’ll go first to the second question. To answer your second question, whether on or offstage, I’m always available for those sorts of discussions. You have only to ask. Obviously, I’m a person who leans forward and saying that we need to be very clear, as Admiral Ellis has so succinctly said, about what we will do and what we will accept and what we won’t accept, and I do think that needs to be part of our declarative policy. With regard to GPS and frankly other elements of our critical infrastructure, we need to be extremely clear that an attack on these assets is an attack on the United States because it influences critically our way of dealing with conflict and that we will not tolerate it. GPS is vulnerable in a number of ways. I’m not going to go into those ways in this environment. We need to do everything we can to proliferate GPS-derived but GPS-independent methods of capturing and preserving our timing signals and our navigational information. We need to make it clear that we will protect our space assets; that we do not allow our adversaries an unfettered field of force application in space; that we choose not to be the first, but that we will assuredly be the last.

94. JAMES ELLIS [2:07:33]: Well, thank you for the question. I echo Mike’s comments on PNT and your understanding certainly, Dr. Bossert. It’s also worth noting that we’ve made great strides since GPS was first invented. It began as a transit system for the Navy years ago and we worked through GPS I, II, and III. And while we could all agree that we need to have that capability to move much more rapidly through that, there are opportunities to incrementally evolve our capabilities in space to ensure that continued access and security that we need to fully capitalize on and, as Mike has indicated, a lot of those elements are classified, but they’re certainly doable.

Secondly, with regard to the declaratory policy, you can look back in history and we’ve had declaratory policies. Declaratory doesn’t mean necessarily in a public press release. We’ve let adversaries know—particularly in relation to elements of the nuclear command and control network—how we would view anything that disrupted or disturbed, much less destroyed those capability. So there’s a precedent for this kind of a communication once we decide exactly what that policy and strategy needs to be going forward.

95. PAMALA MELROY [2:08:38]: Yes. I’d just like to add that this is not something that’s caught us all by surprise. When I was at DARPA, we were working closely with the service labs and the services to ensure that we had GPS independent methods of navigation and that technology development is absolutely essential. Interestingly, you know long-term it can have a different technology benefit as we reach out into the solar system where we will not have the benefit of GPS position information. So, that’s a very important technology development effort. But, I’d like to reiterate exactly what Dr. Griffin said because, although we may have those capabilities for national security to be GPS-independent, that is not the case for our economic environment here in the U.S. And, of course, the economic health of the U.S. is a national security matter and it will be years before any changes occur in that environment. They will change very slowly. There’s tremendous commercial dependence on it. And, so, I agree with Dr. Griffin that an attack on GPS is an attack on the U.S.

96. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Thank you. Tom, we’re going to recognize the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Selva, and, then, the Deputy Secretary of Defense for some closing remarks before we hear from the National Security Advisor. General, you are recognized.

97. GENERAL SELVA [2:10:16]: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Thank you to all of our panel members for taking your personal time to be here today to represent all three segments of our space architecture and infrastructure. And, it occurs to me, as I listen to all three panels, particularly this one, that command and control is inexorably linked to very elegant and timely, as you said Pamela, space situational awareness. And, I’d like to ask the panel, can you give us a couple of concrete, near-term things you think we can do, not only to facilitate the command and control of commercial and civil space, but also to provide for the kind of space situational awareness that’s necessary to enforce those norms and standards of safe behavior as well as to attribute the kinds of attacks or interference with our systems that we might observe through that structure.

98. MICHAEL GRIFFIN [2:11:17]: I think this is a case where safety lies in numbers. I believe that the concept of a centralized command and control node, centralized observation points, is frankly as dead as the battleship after Pearl Harbor. Every node in our networks, with today’s information technology, every node can be a command and control node. We need to work out a strategy in a hierarchy for how such devolution would take place in the event of conflict, but the enemy should know that there is no central point of attack which could render us incapacitated. I’ll stop there.

99. JAMES ELLIS [2:12:09]: I echo Mike’s comments and I hope you didn’t interpret my comments on the neighborhood watch and my opening statement is trivializing it. I believe that along the lines of Mike’s conversation, addition to command and control, each of these resources up there can be outfitted with a rudimentary sensor suite of some stripe that could, then, collectively feed this network and this awareness. We’re belatedly, arguably, moving on a much more capable space fence. That ought to be just the first step in ensuring situation awareness. As you are fully aware, there are now commercial enterprises out there that can network ground-based systems of sensors to, not with the same fidelity and accuracy of our national security resources, but certainly contribute information and insight to this. This is a collective effort. This is a team sport going forward. By team I don’t just mean U.S. civilian, I mean allies and partners, as well, around the globe. And, I think this is absolutely essential.

100. PAMALA MELROY [2:13:07] Admiral Ellis is right. There have been tremendous advances in distributed sensor networks where you have distributed sensors that all coordinate together, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and that technology is widely available. As I talked about there’s some commercial sensors now for space surveillance, essentially academic telescopes, commercial telescopes and radars, and this information is available today. It’s being purchased by commercial entities by the SDA. I think that’s an immediate step that could be taken would be to bring this data in. One of the biggest concerns about it is how can you trust this data. Even today there are analysts who look at all the data that comes in, even from our certified sensors, and analyze it to evaluate whether there’s biases that are developing whether weather is having a negative effect on the information that we’re gathering. But, that’s pretty much a hands-done process that takes about four or five days to really be sure how confident you are in the quality of what you’re looking at. All of that can be automated relatively easily and that’s a very, very important aspect of it. When you get a new piece of information, you need to be able to tell immediately whether something actually just happened on orbit or if one of your distributed sensors has been spoofed and is giving you incorrect information. And that is incredibly important and it is possible to automate that. We’ve seen the technologies be developed for it. So, I think that, General, in the near term, that’s something that should be looked at.

101. VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: That’s great. For the last comment or a question, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Pat Shanahan.

102. DEPTURY SECRETARY SHANAHAN [2:15:08]: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Maybe to bring us home and where we started—space is the opportunity, and I think the previous comments kind of steered us towards some of the challenges. But, this question, I think, goes to Admiral Ellis and you had an extraordinary career and some very remarkable experiences. Maybe in the context of looking forward, when you think about how—and this pertains your experience in the Navy as a pilot, a strategic command commander—as maritime law evolved, does that serve as a basis for us to think about international convention or regulation and how should we use that to shape this opportunity?

103. JAMES ELLIS [2:15:55]: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I certainly do think it does apply. It’s a template against which we can compare the space environment and our challenges there and quite frankly cyber space as well. As I mentioned earlier, some things will translate some things may not, and that’s part of our judgment on our evaluation process, but it’s certainly a starting point. And as you know and as we discussed, over time we’ve come to establish and agree to and actively participate in and support a global understanding of what the rules of behavior are and what they are not. We can call out people very clearly and very candidly when they violate those rules. It’s taken a long time to do that. Unfortunately, in space things have evolved at a pace there were those kinds of policies and those opportunities haven’t been presented—things happen too fast. I mean the technology we are talking about today, you know, began you know essentially about 60 years ago. So, it’s time to play catch-up and I think the maritime can begin a discussion. It can talk about the treaties, as I mentioned, and the supranational organizations, but at the end of the day, we also need to get it down to the tactical. You know, we created, even during the dark days of the Cold War, the so-called incident at sea agreements with the Russians where we agreed what we would and would not do under certain circumstances to avoid miscalculation and accidents and collisions and potentially misunderstandings and misinterpretation of hostile intent. Those kinds of dialogues, that full spectrum of engagement, based on those applicable elements of the maritime experience, I think are a great starting point for that policy and strategy discussion. And, as the preeminent spacefaring leader, we need to lead that effort and not just accept what gets handed to us or what evolves or what someone else who might risk us ill, as was mentioned earlier, might choose to advance as an alternative solution.

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