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2003 Speeches
Jim Albaugh

Jim Albaugh



Boeing Integrated Defense Systems

"Homeland Security & Pre-emptive Defense"

Stonecipher Lecture Series

Tennessee Tech

March 25, 2003

It is real pleasure for me to participate in the Harry C. Stonecipher lecture series. I worked for Harry for many years, and I can tell you - he's one of life's most unforgettable people. When I think of Harry, there are two words that come to mind.

One word is learning . . . because every time you're with Harry you're going to learn something about:

The other word is leader, and here I speak for everyone at Boeing when I say, "Harry, I'd follow you anywhere."

Now that's not to say Harry was always easy to work for. I mean here's a guy whose favorite saying is the old Harry Truman quote:

"I never give them hell . . . I just tell them the truth and they think it's hell."

If the subject today were leadership or business, much of what I would talk about would be what I learned from Harry.

However, this afternoon I'll try to address two closely related topics of tremendous concern at the present moment . . . the issues of Homeland Security and Pre-emptive Defense. I will not address the war in Iraq, except to wish safety to our troops and a speedy resolution to the conflict.

A few weeks ago, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made a striking and chilling observation. We are living, he said, in what may be the "the most dangerous security environment that the world has ever known."

If he is right - and I believe he is - the civilized world may be under greater threat today that it was -

. . . In the late 1930s when Hitler sent his armies racing across Europe.

. . . or during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, when the world was faced with the possibility of an all-out nuclear exchange.

That begins to describe the historic magnitude of today's threat environment. The world is in flux and we face not one but many deadly threats. It is almost enough, maybe it is enough, to make one want to go back to the Cold War.

During the Cold War, we trusted our old enemy not to use weapons of mass destruction. We know our new enemies will not hesitate to use them if given the chance.

We must deny them that chance.

Hence our concern for homeland security. For the first time since the war of 1812 - a span of almost 200 years - ordinary Americans feel threatened inside our own borders.

And hence the doctrine of pre-emptive defense enunciated by President Bush. This means taking action based on intelligence information to mitigate a threat or risk before it can occur. This doctrine, as you all know, is controversial. Some cannot support the idea of pre-emptive defense.

I would remind people, though, of the situation that existed back in the mid and late thirties with Germany.

No other country dared to call Hitler into account after he broke one rule after another regarding rearmament.

No other country dared to stop him even after he dismembered Czechoslovakia.

There was no pre-emptive defense against Hitler. If there had been, it is possible that World War II could have been averted.

Let me recall the words of Winston Churchill immediately after British Prime Minister Chamberlain had returned from his meeting with Hitler in Munich in the fall of 1938. Chamberlain declared "peace in our time."

Speaking in the House of Commons, Churchill called the Munich pact "a total and unmitigated defeat" . . . "a defeat without a war." And, of course, Churchill was right.

Now, before going any deeper into these matters, I want to tell you a little bit about my background. You should know what is included and what is not included in my qualifications.

First of all, I have never been shot at. And I have never asked an employee to give me anything more than a job well done. I am not a war fighter. I am an engineer.

In doing my best to serve the military and intelligence customer, I spend a lot of my time thinking about their enduring needs and their most critical requirements. Among other things, this means thinking about where the customer really wants to go, and then doing everything we can to help get them to the desired future state. While I am not a military strategist, I deal with people who are on a regular basis, and part of my job is to understand and even to anticipate their thinking.

It is my view that in the future, information will be as important if not more important than the number of airplanes, ships and tanks.

Information superiority provided by an integrated network that allows us to gather data, communicate that data, change it into information and from information into knowledge and with this knowledge make quick and decisive decisions will be the key to success on the battlefield as well as in the defense of the Homeland.

To achieve this future state will require the integration of many technologies but also the acceptance of the need for change. You've all heard the saying "change is difficult, especially in organizations that have been successful, powerful forces are at work to prevent it at all costs." This certainly applies to the armed services and companies like Boeing.

I have an old high school friend, who is now a Flag Officer in our Armed Services. He has led troops into combat many times. When we talk about technology and its promise and how it will help the war fighter, he is skeptical. In his view, it's all about people - their training, their discipline and their leadership.

Now the truth, I believe, lies somewhere in between. I happen to believe very strongly in the power of information to multiply the effectiveness of our armed services. But at the end of the day, I know that it really down come to down to people . . . to their willingness to adapt and to change.

Organizationally, our Armed Forces are doing exactly that. They are going through a "Transformation," as Secretary Rumsfeld and others have called it.

Currently they are armed, equipped and organized to fight the wars of the 20th century, not the asymmetric threats we are now facing.

This transformation is partly about technology, but only partly. In Rumsfeld's words, it's also about "transforming" the whole way the war fighter "thinks, trains, and fights."

I submit to you that a similar Transformation is urgently needed and required in the area of Homeland Security. We won't get the job done just by hiring more inspectors and border guards and installing more sensors and equipment in our airports and seaports. If I may borrow an old Harryism - and this time I mean Stonecipher, not Truman - If you are seeking radical change or improvement, you won't get there by trying to do the same things better; you have to do things differently.

Every enemy has a weakness. The Soviet Union had a weakness, or several weaknesses. It was too weak economically and too weak scientifically and technically to keep pace indefinitely with the United States in the Cold War.

What, then, are the weaknesses of our new enemies? How can we deter or stop a fanatical adversary? How do we guard ourselves against rogue nations that - because of a callous disregard for their own people - may be perfectly willing to swap a few of their cities for a few of ours?

Let me take the last question first. Then I'll come back to the issue of Homeland Security.

Right now there are tens of nations with ballistic missile capabilities. Some of those nations have spent heavily on the development of nuclear arsenals and other weapons of mass destruction. North Korea is one of those nations and it is believed to have missiles right now that are capable of reaching the West Coast of the United States.

How do we stop North Korea or another rogue nation from attacking our cities with missiles? The answer, quite simply, is to build a credible missile defense system.

I gave a speech in Washington, D.C. earlier this month entitled "Missile Defense: Doable, Affordable, Critical." This is not the time or the place to go through all the detailed points that I made in that speech. But let repeat the three key words about missile defense. It is Doable; it is Affordable, and it is Critical.

Over the past three years, we have made great strides in proving that Missile Defense does work. In five out of eight flight test, the Ground Based Mid Course Missile Defense System has demonstrated that it is possible to "hit a bullet with a bullet" in space. On countless other missile defense intercepts we have been successful.

Boeing is part of the Missile Defense National Team. We are in fact the leader of this team. Our challenge and objective is to design a layered Ballistic Missile Defense system that will intercept missiles in all phases of their flight - boost, midcourse and terminal. And as stated by the administration to protect our homeland, our deployed forces, our friends and our allies ballistic missile threats.

As I have indicated, Missile Defense is doable. It is also affordable. Despite the impression you may gained from the news media, Missile Defense . . . important as it is . . . accounts for less than 2% of the U.S. defense budget. [When people say that is a lot, I ask them how much it is costing to rebuild Manhatten]

Though it is not normally mentioned in conjunction with Homeland Security, that is exactly what it Missile Defense is.

I'm not here to sell Missile Defense, but let me deal with two of the common arguments against it - to illustrate the need, as I see it, for reexamining and rethinking old dogmas in just about every area related to national and homeland security.

So here are the two arguments. First, many people say Missile Defense is "destabilizing." But simple logic tells a different story. If we can build a Missile Defense system capable of dealing with that threat, doesn't it make sense to do so? Isn't that something that will reduce the value to a North Korea of having missiles and nuclear bombs? Of course, it will. And it will have the same effect on other nations looking for ways to blackmail the world.

Second, it is often said that there is no point in putting up a Missile Defense system because we cannot defend ourselves against "the bomb in the suitcase." That's like saying you don't want to quit smoking because you think you might be run over by a truck.

In fact, our Government is doing a great deal to guard against the threat of bombs in suitcases. For instance, airports around the country have already installed Explosive Detection Systems to screen each of the estimated 1 billion checked bags that pass through our airports each year.

One threat does not negate another. We must defend ourselves across the board against a multiplicity of threats.

Now I'd like to return to the issue of pre-emptive defense. Pre-emptive defense is not synonymous with pre-emptive strike, though it may lead to that. In the simplest terms, pre-emptive defense means being able to beat the enemy to the punch - taking the required action before they strike you - to see first, to understand first and to take action first.

Consider the sheer size of the challenge of Homeland Security. Each year, more than 500 million people are admitted into the United States. Two-third of those - or 330 million people - are non-US citizens.

How do we deal with this?...

Hope is not a strategy, but neither is despair. Even terrorists have weaknesses. For one thing, they do have to come out into the open eventually. They need to network with other terrorists, some of whom are already known to our government, for supplies and cash and direction. It is therefore possible to detect their movements and penetrate their networks. To do so requires extraordinary "situational awareness."

Military people talk a lot about "situational awareness." To them, it means knowing where the enemy is and knowing where your troops and assets are. It means a soldier is never alone. A solitary soldier in a foxhole will have available the information of an analyst looking at spy satellite images or the data being generated by an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle flying overhead. It also means that any soldier also will have access to the capabilities available in an area of conflict.
- F-18
- Commander over the hill

Now multiply this by a hundredfold, or a thousand fold . . . and you will get a sense of what we are working toward with our military customer. We call it the "integrated battlespace". This means having a state of near-perfect situational awareness for friend and foe within the battlespace. Every soldier has access to available information and every soldier has access to all of the weapons' capability in a theatre.

Recently, when I was discussing integrated battlespace at the U.S. Army War College, I drew an analogy from nature to present a picture of near-perfect situational awareness.

You sometimes see an entire flock of birds perched on a single treetop. Then one bird takes off, and hundreds of others abruptly follow. No bird wants to be left behind; none wants to collide with another. After a moment of seeming confusion, they wheel about as though transformed into a single organism.

As a group they can fly faster, turn sharper than any individual bird can. Just as soldiers can be more effective if they share data and capabilities.

Now it has taken birds millions of years of evolution to achieve this kind of near-perfect situational awareness. The question, as I put it at the War College, was whether our Armed Force could achieve as much in the space of a few years through the combination of technology and a willingness to embrace change.

The Armed Forces have embraced change. Transformational change.

Now it's time for us to do the same in Homeland Security.

The size of the challenge - as I've already indicated - is enormous. Let me quantify things a little further.

Almost a million non-U.S. citizens enter our country on a daily basis. They come by land, air and sea.

Every year, 11 million trucks and 2 million rail cars come into the U.S. through the 7,500 miles of border with Canada and Mexico. More than 60 million people arrive on half a million international flights. And while the number of people coming by sea is small, the volume of goods is enormous - accounting for 95% of all of our imports.

In total, 7,500 foreign-flag ships make 51,000 calls in U.S. ports annually, bringing more than six million containers into our country.

John Hamre, a former Defense official, made an excellent point recently when he said: "The labor-intensive solutions that are currently in place are not going to work (long term). We've got to embrace deep-technology solutions or we will pay a huge price for inefficiency."

I believe that we need "deep-technology solutions" in Homeland Security that are conceptually very similar to those we are already pursuing in the military area. That is to say, they should be solutions that leverage available information to create a whole new level of situational awareness. They should make it possible for us to anticipate a threat and respond to it.

This will require closer and closer private and public sector cooperation, and multi-layered or integrated approachs to security.

With available technology and at reasonable cost, we can, for instance, track trucks on the road and container ships at sea in the same way our military has begun to track and coordinate the movement of the threats in the battlefield.

So what would this look like applied to Homeland Security?

Information now available to different law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and national level would be integrated into a single database. With data mining and data fusion, seemingly unrelated bits of information could be correlated to identify potential risk scenarios. These scenarios would be automatically forwarded to the right federal agency, police department, or private business so that the appropriate action would be taken.

Here's a hypothetical: suppose a suspected terrorist booked a flight from Paris to LA. The integrated system might correlate address information with two other individuals living on the west coast of the United States. It might show that one had a hazardous material trucking license and the other was employed at Long Beach harbor. In connecting the dots, the system could trigger and alert to authorities to gather more information to determine if there was a threat.

In closing, in the words of an old saying, 'We have been condemned to live in interesting times.' While I have stressed the importance of making the most intelligent use of technology, these are times that will also test our resolution and courage, and our wisdom and judgment as a free and democratic people.

Our wisdom and judgment will be tested in the years ahead in the debate over Missile Defense and other issues related to national and homeland security including the potential impact on individual rights.

As Lincoln said so well at another time of great change, "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present . . . As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew."