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2004 Speeches
Jim Albaugh

Jim Albaugh

Boeing Integrated Defense Systems

The Boeing Company

"Space Technology Hall of Fame Dinner"

The National Space Symposium

Colorado Springs, Colorado

April 01, 2004

Thank you. It's a pleasure to join you tonight. It is a special honor to help recognize this year's inductees into the Space Technology Hall of Fame.

The contributions of space are many and varied. From artificial heart valves... to laser eye-surgery... to the GPS systems... and countless other things we take for granted in our everyday life.

You know what the space community contributes. I know what we contribute. The people outside our industry need to know it as well. That's one of the many contributions that the Space Foundation makes. I want to thank Eliot Pulham and the Board for guiding the Space Foundation in this important role.

Twenty Years of the National Space Symposium

As we've discussed this week we are also celebrating 20 years of the Symposium. That's the blink of an eye in space time. It seems that just yesterday, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Today, we are watching Opportunity and Spirit roll across ancient Martian sea beds.

In the 20 years of the Symposium, the Space Shuttle has flown 81 times. We have assembled over 180 tons of International Space Station hardware on orbit. We have had a continuous human space presence for three-and-a-half years. Satellites and space probes have expanded the limits of communications and knowledge. We have found signs of life-giving water on our neighboring planet. And another generation has been inspired to help us realize our dreams in space.

It's been 20 years of triumph... and tragedy. But it's also been 20 years of vision and commitment that has set the stage for the next 20 years... or the next 20 decades in space.

The Future of Military Space

Over the last four days, you have been discussing the future in great detail. I'd like to add just a few words about where we've been and where we're going. Let me begin with some thoughts about the future of military space.

When the first Symposium convened twenty years ago, the idea that space would play a direct role in ground combat was just that - an idea. The Cold War dominated the security environment. The World Wide Web did not exist. Laptops were where you put your napkin.

When we met for the sixth time... the Soviet Union was gone and American forces were facing new security challenges. We began to see integrated space, air, sea and ground systems emerge.

During Desert Storm, space systems helped coalition forces navigate, communicate, gather intelligence and provide effective warning to our forces. By the time of Operation Iraqi Freedom, advances in our space systems were giving coalition operations unprecedented speed and precision. In Iraq... as earlier in Afghanistan... real-time data gathered and transmitted in space provided a significant edge to our troops. A generation raised on video games, saw their lives saved by space-borne technology.

These and other developments give us a hint of what's possible in the future. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines linked together in a powerful network of information and action. A grid of platforms and systems that can collect, analyze, share and act on information in real time.

A "system of systems," linking the full spectrum of military assets - regardless of the medium they are in - and creating a joint force that is truly integrated, decentralized, adaptive and able to achieve decision-making superiority.

Get it right... and we've improved the ability of our military to preserve the peace. We will have provided them with integrated command and control, global situational awareness and improved precision engagement.

So, the real question is no longer "what can we do?" Now, the question is "when will we do it?" Well, we're on our way. Today, virtually every system is being transformed. It's a process that is creating astounding new capabilities.

Consider Wideband Gapfiller. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Wideband Gapfiller is not what you pay the orthodontist to do to your children's teeth. The Wideband Gapfiller satellite will provide a greatly increased communications capacity, expanded coverage and operational flexibility for our forces. One satellite will have more capacity than the entire DSCS constellation.

And how about the Advanced Extremely High Frequency - AEHF - satellite? This program will also increase our space-based capability to achieve the integrated battlespace we are moving toward. Space-based radar and laser communications are among other key developments discussed this week.

We have a terrific challenge to harmonize requirements across our military and their systems. But it can be done? and it is being done. Let me mention one example?

I like to think of the Ground-based Midcourse Missile Defense program as the first true system-of-systems.

Here we took disparate systems. None of these systems were designed to work together. And none of them were intended to be part of a larger missile defense system. We connected them with a communications architecture and command and control software.

The result was a networked capability that could discriminate a reentry vehicle from decoys and intercept it at closing velocities in excess of 15,000 miles per hour.

This is something we could not have even dreamed of at the first Symposium 20 years ago. And now... we are just six months away from deploying the system in Alaska.

As we deploy this system, it's worth remembering just why it's so important.

The first few years of the Twenty-First Century have brought about an entirely new global security threat. During the Cold War we knew who our enemy was and we trusted them not to use ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction against us. Today, often we don't know who the enemy is. But we do know that... if given the chance... they will use these weapons against us. We must bring all of our assets to bear to meet this threat.

The National Vision for Space Exploration

I'd also like to say a few words tonight about another dimension of space leadership. That is, the new national vision for space exploration.

It has been more than 31 years since man last set foot on the Moon... 31 years since a child had the thrill of watching a human being walk on another world. That's a sight that has the power to both inspire renewed interest in American science and lift the American spirit.

And it's no less important to this generation than it was to ours. It's time to get people looking up again. And we can do it... if we do it right. Doing it right means a program that is practical as well as visionary.

The new national strategy is designed to be affordable and sustainable over a 40-year roadmap. It uses both robots and humans to explore the universe. It reaches out to international partners.

All this lays the groundwork for a successful program. But success also depends on adequate funding.

I'm told that to develop the Mach 3 razor, Gillette spent five years and $700 million - and another $300 million for marketing. That's $1 billion to develop a disposable razor.

It's not rocket science to know that you can't replace the Space Shuttle for $1 billion. It's also not rocket science to understand that what we seek to do in space is difficult.

As difficult as it is - and as great as the rewards will be - it will take a significant investment. I know that everyone in industry supports the vision. We also understand what a challenging undertaking it is.

As industry professionals, we need to focus on mission assurance, performance and, most important, safety.

As citizens, we'll need to convey a realistic sense of the commitment and the costs? just as we explain the tremendous benefits.

Moon-Mars exploration has the power to engage a new generation in science and technology, optimism and enterprise. It will open the doors to a vast understanding of our universe. And in doing so, it can bring our world together in a new and positive adventure.

Toward the Next Generation in Space

For too many people these days, space seems remote. But, as astronomer Fred Hoyle once pointed out... space is only an hour's drive away - assuming your car goes straight up.

We have an opportunity to bring the universe closer and to bring the space program into the lives of billions of people around the world.

Today... many of us look back with gratitude to the space pioneers of four decades ago. Forty years from now, a new generation will be looking back at us. What we decide and do over the next year... what we fail to decide and do - will shape their realities and hopes. It's our job to make sure they have something they will be grateful for receiving from our efforts.

As Hoot Gibson said just seconds after he reached space for the first time? "Wow! I want to do that again."

"Wow" is something we need to hear more often? from school kids and college students... from scientists and engineers? from tomorrow's men and women in space.

So, ladies and gentlemen, let's "wow" them.