Space and Communications
"Integrating Air and Space Capabilities"
Air Force Association (AFA)
Los Angeles, Calif.
November 16, 2001
Thanks, Brian. And thanks to the Air Force Association and General Shod. This is my third time on the AFA Symposium panel and it's always a good discussion.
Everybody thinks when you get Al Smith and me on the same podium, you're going to see a lot of fireworks. And Lockheed Martin and Boeing do compete in a lot of areas, but I can assure you, when it comes to the issue of supporting the Air Force and the DoD, Al and I agree on a lot more than we disagree on.
The theme today is Air Force and Industry partnership in integrating the nation's air and space capabilities.
But before I talk about that, let me say just a few words about the events in September.
It's been about two months since the attack. It's fair to say no one's been untouched by the tragedy. At Boeing, we lost three employees on Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon. All were bright young engineers with families, and all were working on national security programs.
Beyond human toll, there's the economic toll, with many industries being particularly hard hit, including one I'm very familiar with: commercial airplanes.
If one looks at the impact, since the attack all major U.S. airlines but one have cut their "load factor" -- or capacity as measured by available seat miles -- by about 21 percent. That translates to some 900 airplanes (out of the 10,000-plane U.S. fleet) taken out of circulation and parked. That's equivalent to about two years of manufacturing by Boeing.
If you look at what happened during the Gulf War, the load factors were off two percent and it took 16 months for the load factors to get back up. Our view is this time, it will take three to three-and-a-half years before we see the kind of load factors we had, prior to Sept. 11.
My point is, while industrial base is an issue [as described by previous speaker from Lockheed Martin], it certainly is an issue for us at Boeing these days, too.
But what the events of Sept. 11 really drive home is the need to have
- A strong military
- Better intelligence
- Better situational awareness at home and abroad... and
- The ability to process and disseminate information from multiple sources to the warfighter... and the intelligence community...
- We have the ability to gather lots of data but we don't do a good enough job of processing the data and converting it into useful information in a timely fashion
Traditionally, government and industry have designed our products and services, technologies and strategies in response to recognized or perceived threats. Certainly during the Cold War, that was easy to do -- we understood the threat was the Soviet Union.
Today we must operate on the premise that surprise is possible and likely. That threats can come from places internal and external to our country... and that the threats are asymmetric.
Accordingly, today we need to structure our strategies, products and technologies not around threats, but rather, around capabilities... and to do so in anticipation of -- rather than in response to -- new and evolving threats.
Regardless of the threats... now, more than ever, the key issue is how we ensure that the right people have access to the right information at the right times and in the right form -- whether that refers to someone with national command authority in Washington D.C or a platoon commander in the heat of battle.
As we transition from platform-centric to network-centric warfare, I'm sure I speak for everyone here when I say I appreciate the leadership being provided in this area by the Pentagon and many of the folks in this room.
This team -- led by Secretary Roche, General Jumper, General Lyles, General DeKok and General Arnold -- demonstrates a unique combination of vision, practical operational experience and the ability to get the job done.
Boeing's view of the future battlespace is reflective of where we think the Air Force and DoD want to go, as laid out in Joint Vision 2010 and updated in Joint Vision 2020.
Our vision of the future is capabilities-driven. It includes a network-centric approach to warfare1... based on creating a true digital battlespace... with integrated command, control and communications across all of the different resources that are out there... and a digital view of where all our assets are... but also a digital view of where our foes assets are.
This vision requires integration of platforms that were not designed to work together.
This will require integrating common operating standards on new platforms that are being built and integrating a common operating architecture into existing platforms as they come in for upgrades.
But what about the surveillance systems we have today?
Today, our current space overhead assets were designed to be National Reconnaissance systems. Tomorrow, they must be that... as well as space ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] assets for providing real-time situational awareness.
Today, our overhead Reconnaissance systems offer revisit rates in terms of days or hours and days. Tomorrow, we must have real-time, near-continuous overhead surveillance.
Today, in the mountains of Afghanistan, our airborne Moving Target Indicator (MTI) surveillance is limited by the terrain. Tomorrow, integrated air and space MTI surveillance systems must be able to continuously track targets in deep valleys and denied areas.
What we in industry are doing is analyzing different architectures of space and airborne assets that are part of an overall integrated battlespace network, designed to provide a common operating picture and complete situational awareness.
If we do this right, just imagine the possibilities.
Imagine the capabilities a theater commander would enjoy if he or she had tailored, real-time overhead surveillance derived from an integrated battlespace network.
Imagine the force-multiplier effect of a direct downlink of imagery and ground-based MTI / airborne MTI.
Imagine being able to communicate a real-time common operating picture to all units in the theater.
We can -- and must -- achieve this vision.
We can do it through hybrid communications networks that involve terrestrial, airborne and space capabilities... through increased space communications capability... through integrated airborne and space ISR systems like the Multimission Command and Control Constellation (MC2C)... through the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and tankers that are nodes in a global, mobile information network... and through the ability to process data into information within seconds and minutes and provide it to the warfighters.
It's up to us -- as a team -- to figure out what mix of assets will maximize our operational effectiveness and give the warfighters the edge they need.
Incidentally, we see a parallel need when it comes to Homeland Defense. Currently, we have many separate agencies charged with a portion of the responsibility. Agencies like the FBI, the Coast Guard, Customs, Immigration, and local law enforcement agencies -- all of whom are loosely tied together but lack a common information database, and therefore the immediate visibility they need.
While the theater may be different when talking about Homeland Defense, the needs are really the same.
In both cases, from our perspective... where a given platform operates -- whether it's on the ground, in the air, or on orbit -- is less important than the effects and capabilities it produces.
And just as most folks with cell phones don't care if they're getting their information from a space-based system, a wireless system, or a terrestrial system -- all they care about is getting the packets of information when they need it... wherever they are... in the format they want...
That's just as true in the battlespace, where -- as General Jumper has said -- "Whether it's weapons, communications or information, the warriers out there do not care where it comes from as long as it has the right impact."
Another way to think about it is... in the digital battlespace, the pointy end of the spear is made up of zeroes and ones.
So, what are the challenges we face moving forward? Let me go through a few:
I think the first is budgetary. Are resources being applied in the manner they should be? Are we trying to protect platforms at the expense of integrated programs and new architectures? [You heard from General Jumper this morning that there are no dollars at all being applied to integrated programs.]
Technology is another challenge. Here the questions are: Is industry performing on current programs? If we're not, what is the root cause and how do we fix it? Is the overall investment in technology adequate? [I was very pleased to hear from General Lyles about his mandate from the Secretary of Defense to make the kind of investment we need in Science & Technology.] Is there good communication and exchange of ideas between the national labs and industry? [I would submit to you, too often, the national labs compete for resources as opposed to cooperate.]
On the regulatory side: How is export control impacting our industrial base and overall capabilities? [In my view, export control has had a chilling effect on our satellite industry as well our launch industry --and where we were the leaders in satellite technology in years past, in some cases we are not today -- the Europeans have caught up and the Asians are gaining a foothold.] Are we truly addressing inter-operability from an overall coalition standpoint? [This is something I think we collectively need to work on]
There are also cultural issues. How can we stop thinking so much about where a platform operates and more about its capabilities? Can the military and industry give up their sometimes myopic love-affair with planes, tanks and ships?
Those are a just a few of the issues we face. I'm sure we can all think of others.
So, what can industry, partnering with the Air Force, do to overcome these challenges?
First, we can bring forward ideas, solutions, architectures that represent the best of industry. I think you're seeing more of that teaming as we go forward with many of these complex programs we're facing.
Second, in terms of performance-we must do what we say we are going to do. We must provide products that are technically sound, operationally effective, on schedule and on cost. Our record here is not as good as I think all of us would like it to be.
In the area of outreach -- Industry must work to secure ideas, technology, components and processes that are the best-in-class, regardless of whether or not we created them in any single company.
And, finally, we must have commitment. We must have a sense of shared destiny with our Air Force and DoD customers. The nation is at war-time and distance from ground zero or the events in Afghanistan cannot lull us into business as usual. We in industry must have the same sense of urgency and unwavering determination as the men and women in uniform fighting for our way of life.
As for the Air Force -- stability of requirements, stability of programs, stability of funding remain priorities from an industry perspective... as does having our government customer better understand the business environment and Wall Street metrics we're all subjected to. All of our investors and all of our Boards of Directors make choices every day about where they put capital and where they put resources. We have to be able to make money if we're going to get the investment in our industry that I know the US government needs and wants.
Finally, above all, we need to have an ongoing sense of partnership, of working together toward a common goal.
A previous speaker today talked about program performance. I think all of us here have had the opportunity to go into the Pentagon for one of those Saturday morning boiler sessions where you get raked over the coals on the programs you're not performing too well on. It's always two themes: software and subcontract management. Those are two areas that The Boeing Company is really focusing on, to try to improve our perfomance there, and we're also working very hard with better independent reviews, and program management best practices to ensure that we have the discipline on every program, and that we don't let program performance be something that's driven only by the program manager, but is driven by a process.
So in summary, the comprehensive integration of space and airborne assets can no longer simply be a vision statement objective, it must be a shared imperative.
In many ways it is up to us in this room to see that the potential of the integrated battlespace becomes a reality.
Again, many thanks to the AFA for sponsoring this event. I look forward to our panel discussion.