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there. I think that will be a major benefit and there will be substantial cost reduction implications to that.
Senator GORTON. Do you see the contractor having any responsibility for increasing commercialization of shuttle services?
Dr. COOPER. I don't see that.
Senator GORTON. And does increased private managerial responsibility for shuttle processing introduce any new security problems for DOD?
Dr. COOPER. No, sir.
Dr. DELAUER. Not that I can see. We handle most of the security problems much more complicated than this with a good government contractor team effort.
Senator GORTON. I do have questions on other subjects, though that completes it on the shuttle. Senator Trible has sat here patiently for an extended period of time.
Senator TRIBLE. I thought I was experiencing my first Senate filibuster.
Senator GORTON. I will defer to you for a while.
Senator TRIBLE. I appreciate that. I don't have many questions and I was about to depart.
Dr. DELAUER. Was he talking about us or about the Chair? Senator GORTON. I think he was talking about the chairman. Senator TRIBLE. I couldn't possibly say that about my Chairman. If the shoe fits, let anyone wear it.
Dr. DELAUER. Well, you know, you get coached, Senator, about how to answer questions when you come before committees like this, and when things get to you, boy, you lengthen them out.
Senator TRIBLE. I have enjoyed and benefited from your colloquy with the Chairman.
Let me just pursue a different line of questioning, if I may.
I have been sensitized to the importance of the space program by the parochial interest of my congressional district, the congressional district that I have represented for the past 6 years where NASA activities are incredibly important.
It is my view, because of those parochial interests and also my perception of national requirements, that the first nation to successfully project and sustain a presence in space will not only prosper, but will dominate the course of human events. My job is to look into the next century as a U.S. Senator, and I hope to be here in the next century as well.
To that end I am particularly interested in the potential military uses of space. The production and employment of strategic nuclear weapons of an offensive nature will be severely limited in the days ahead by many factors, including national consensus.
I have been a staunch supporter of the development of a modern land-based intercontinental ballistic missile. It is my view, however, that the consensus for that may well have disappeared over the 2 years. I think this administration has moved forward too slowly. I think the fragile consensus that existed in the waning days of the Carter administration no longer exist. I think it is quite frankly quite likely that we will have to forego the modernization of that part of the Triad and put our strategic forces to sea. That is an aside. That is not really a central part of my question, but I think it states the basis for my question.
Because of these and other problems, I think it is incredibly important that we move ahead in space. This may or may not be the proper forum for you to answer these questions. As a member of the Armed Services Committee in the House I was directly privy to some information and I suspect that that information may be available in this forum. I don't know.
But I want to know specifically what we are doing in terms of the antisatellites, lasers, particle beam weapons and those kinds of things.
Dr. DELAURER. We will split the answer up, Senator, but let me not miss an opportunity to respond.
Senator TRIBLE. See, I am already affected by the Senatorial urge to talk at length. I carried on and I apologize for that.
Dr. DELAUER. But you had such good practice with the 5-minute rule that I thought you would carry that over.
Senator TRIBLE. I don't think I have exceeded my time as yet.
Since you opened the questioning to the land-based missile system, let me take an opportunity to respond to that.
Senator TRIBLE. Please.
Dr. DELAUER. There is no question that we have got a tough road ahead of us, depending on how the Presidential Commission comes out. People refer, just as you have, to losing the consensus. It is very convenient to talk about a consensus, assuming that people all had the same understanding of what the subject was and therefore you had a consensus on a particular subject.
I think the understanding of the need for a strategic deterrent is less now than it was when we first fielded it. I think the way people have been exposing the issues in contrived nuclear wars on TV, on exposing predictions of casualty aspects of a protracted or even an unprotracted nuclear exchange. all these things while alluding to maybe a better understanding if, put in context, have led to one where all of a sudden the fact that what you are trying to do is deter a war and provide a deterrence has been misplaced by the fact that the existence of the weapons implies utilization. I think therein lies some of our problem.
Now I think it is appropriate for this committee, because it is an aspect of this Committee on Science and Technology, to recognize what we might be faced with if indeed we decided, or somebody decided, either the administration or the Congress or the American public, that all we had to have was a triad, or in your particular scenario you had most of it at sea. I don't know whether by accident or on purpose, but you failed to even mention the fact that we had to modernize the bomber force.
Senator TRIBLE. I am for doing all of the above, Dr. DeLauer, as you ought to know and probably do know by my record in the Congress.
Dr. DELAUER. Yes. If there is one thing about the triad, it really complicates the life of anybody that wants to do anything against it, particularly in science and technology.
If you take a look at a survivable land-based missile system, one that has a reasonable level of survivability, all the direction, all the effort and all the resources necessary to counter that has to do with things that led to penetration, to preciseness in operations, in
assessment afterward to be sure you know what you have. Those are the whole kinds of technology, the high accuracy, the whole question of the technology base that represents missile technology at the terminal end.
Then you take a look at the bomber leg, a modern bomber leg with its penetration capability, and the assets of the defender has to be one of microwave technology, tremendous installation of fixed facilities, netting them in a very complicated way, handing large amounts of data in a way that is very expensive and extensive. And, particularly when you start talking about low observable capability, it even makes it more complicated.
Then you take a look at the sea-based portion of such a system and the technology won't be any different there. It is signal processing, and it is signal processing of the toughest kind. To counter that sort of thing is a tremendous investment.
So when you look at the three legs of a triad, and not just the fact that they indeed provide capability of different kinds, they also present a problem to the adversary. If we essentially reduce our strategic deterrent, remember we don't want this thing to be used, so it has to be credible, and that means it has to be survivable.
In one particular phase I can predict, and I may not be around to see it, but you will because you are going to live into the next century. You just told me that.
Senator TRIBLE. I hope the good Lord and the people of Virginia are willing to give me that opportunity.
Dr. DELAUER. Even under those sorts of things, they have caught up with me.
Senator TRIBLE. I have that potential ability and I hope with God's help to realize it.
Dr. DELAUER. They will solve that problem. They will solve that particular problem in one way or another. So now that has taken care of the first part of your question.
Now when we talk about the laser program and what we are going to do, to answer your second question, I will turn that over to Bob Cooper. It is in his area of jurisdiction and he manages that operation.
Senator TRIBLE. Let me just say one thing, and then if you will give me your answer, and then I will yield very quickly back to my chairman.
I share your view that we need to strengthen and modernize all three parts of the triad. It is not the Trinity, but I do believe it has served us well and that we ought to continue to put our strategic eggs in three baskets and not two.
Having said that, there are some very real political obstacles and for those or for other good reasons I think the defensive aspects of the strategic equation will assume greater importance, and therefore I think we need to focus our resources and energy on space as well as on these other initiatives. It seems to me they will be increasingly important in the days ahead, and I know you don't argue with that.
Dr. DELAUER. Not a bit.
Senator TRIBLE. So I am particularly interested in what you may be doing or perhaps what we ought to be doing but we are not.
Dr. COOPER. All of the DOD programs that deal with strategic defense in space are in exploratory development phases only. Exploratory development means that we have concepts that we are exploring that may work in the future, but they have significant technology questions associated with them.
Programs that fall into this category are the space laser program, the neutral particle beam weapon program, the electromagnetic gun program, and the impacter technology program. These are four programs, all of which are in ARPA, and it is interesting that ARPA is an organization that pursues high-risk, potentially high-payoff research for the most distant future. All four of these key potential space weapon programs are in ARPA, I think, for that reason.
Let me see if I can characterize for you where these programs stand. In the space laser area we have expended over the past several years a sizeable sum of money preparing to do major fasibility demonstration experiments in the three broad technology areas at issue.
One in the laser itself. Without a laser you can't have a space laser weapons system.
The second is in the large, high-powered optical system that would be required to be combined with the laser in order to be able to project energy thousands of kilometers.
The third is in an experimental program to be able to acquire, to track and to point at targets at these great ranges.
Over the past year we have come under contract for all three of these major elements. In the one, the large optics, we have two major contracts and we intend to narrow down to one contract in the very near future. As a matter of fact, that selection will be made within the next few months.
The laser development called ALPHA is an ongoing program and the program for pointing and tracking, called Talon Gold, is an ongoing program under contract now.
We expect that those three experiments will mature in the 198788 time period and tell us whether the key issues in each one of those areas can be overcome in an engineering sense, and that is exploratory activity.
The second program that we have ongoing is being carried out at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and is an experiment to produce a high-energy neutral particle beam-neutral because particle beams in space, if they were charged, would be deflected by the magnetic filed of the Earth. So in order to be effective as a longdistance weapon to keep from having to shoot through a strange trajectory, to be able to shoot line of sight with such a weapon, the beams have to be neutral.
In that activity we have built an accelerator, have tested the neutralization of the beam over the past year, and we are testing the accelerator now at increasing energy levels hoping that by the end of the current fiscal year we will have tested that accelerator at its [deleted]. So that experiment is ongoing.
Two other programs, the electromagnetic gun program and the impacter technology program, are still at very early phases of their definition.
The impacter is a technique [deleted].
The electromagnetic gun program is one where we are still doing experimental work associated with accelerating projectiles to hypervelocity speed, hyper-velocities on the order of [deleted] per second. These are velocities that are comparable to the velocity needed to place objects in orbit, and these launchers have wide potential applications in military missions, among which may be launching aircraft from the decks of carriers in place of the current steam-launched catapults that we have. They can also be used as cannon to launch high-velocity projectiles for antiarmor missions and things of that sort. But they also can be used to launch projectiles in space to great ranges. If you can get projectiles up to velocities of the order [deleted] a second, they are comparable to the orbital velocities of objects in space [deleted] and essentially we are exploring that potential for this technology.
Aside from that we have no other technologies that are meant for space deployment that might result in weaponry in space.
Senator TRIBLE. Let me ask one follow-up question, if I may, Mr. Chairman.
Tell me, if you will, in your professional judgment, are we providing an adequate level of funding for those programs given their preliminary nature, or should more money be dedicated to those purposes?
Dr. COOPER. It is my position that each one of those programs is adequately funded. Now for each one of them, there is uncertainty with respect to how much funding should be applied, as there is in all research projects. There is this delicate balance between an idea limited program and a dollar limited program, and it is a matter of professional judgment as to what the right expenditure level is.
I believe that we have the space laser program fully funded in the space laser plan that was submitted by the Secretary to the Congress last year. We have found ways within the current 5-year defense plan to fully fund that space laser activity and it is on track and I think we can meet our goals there.
In the case of a neutral particle beam, we are fully funded through this year. We have options for next year that depend particularly on the success of our specific program this year.
In both the impacter and the electromagnetic gun program, those are in very early stages and I believe that we are applying dollars probably more rapidly than the ideas can flow right now. So I think we are in pretty good shape in all of those areas, but again it is a matter of judgment. I am sure we are right within 5 or 10 percent in each of those areas.
Senator TRIBLE. Good. Well, I thank you very much.
And I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your indulgence.
Senator GORTON. Your testimony says that a decision regarding Titan production will be made if STS-6 is successful. What would constitute successful for purposes of this decision.
Dr. DELAUER. Well, that would be if we would get it in orbit. We would put the payload in orbit and we would not have a problem. I think that is more the way we are trying to characterize a successful thing, that we would get the job done.
Senator GORTON. Is there any concern that abandoning expendable launch vehicles in favor of the space shuttle would leave the