1997 Congressional Hearings
Intelligence and Security



Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittees, thank you for the opportunity to appear and discuss the status of our Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Programs. My name is Vice Admiral Dennis Blair, and I serve as the Director of the Joint Staff.

To orient you on the JROC and its involvement in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, I plan to discuss four topic areas: JROC Organization, the JROC Process, UAV requirements evolution, and current UAV priorities. I will be followed today by representatives from each of the four Services who will discuss the future of UAVs from their individual service perspectives. Your last witness today is the Director of the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office who will discuss the UAV efforts from a programmatic view.

The JROC continues to evolve into one of the most useful tools available to the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Services, and the CINCs, validating mission needs and requirements and ensuring that we develop and procure weapons systems that will enhance our joint capability to meet all threats and contingencies. The Chairman designated the Vice Chairman to serve in the critical position of JROC Chairman; each Service Vice is a voting member of the JROC.

The JROC plays a central role validating the warfighter's mission needs and requirements for the acquisition process emphasizing commonality, interoperability, compatibility, and integration. It also oversees assessment of warfighting capabilities through a series of eleven Joint Warfighting Capability Assessment (JWCA) teams. In both of these crucial roles, the JROC supports the Chairman in executing his important Title 10 responsibilities to advise the Secretary of Defense on the establishment of requirements priorities and the assessment of military requirements for defense acquisition programs. The JROC does this by validating mission needs recommended by the CINCs and Services and reviewing Operational Requirements Documents and validating system Key Performance Parameters. These Key Performance Parameters become the measuring stick for the success of a developmental system.

On behalf of the Chairman and the JROC, I would like to express our appreciation that the Congress has acknowledged the important accomplishments of this body by recognizing the Chairman's and the JROC's role in requirements management by codifying this authority in the FY96 Defense Authorization Bill and Title X.. The JROC will continue to emphasize joint warfighting while evaluating cost, schedule, and performance and advocating the principle of cost as an independent variable. We view this a critical role because the JROC Chairman also serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Defense Acquisition Board. In this capacity, he represents a consistent formal link between the requirements generation process and the acquisition process. At this critical decision panel, General Ralston speaks for the warfighter to ensure we achieve the optimal military capability at the right time.

Within the last 12 months, the JROC elected to charter a new subcommittee to assist them in the management of their expanding roles. The JROC Review Board or JRB is a two star panel with representatives from each Service. The JRB has rapidly evolved into a forum for the members to refine and shape JROC issues and provide focus for assessment at the four star level.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff assesses military requirements for defense acquisition programs and represents the CINCs with respect to their operational requirements. The JROC is the focal point for the requirements generation process. The JROC reviews potential acquisition category one (ACAT I) programs and major defense acquisition programs to support the acquisition process. The JROC may also address non-major acquisition programs to resolve contentious issues or high interest issues as they arise or at the request of a CINC or Service.

After an acquisition program passes beyond Milestone 0, the JROC reviews and validates Key Performance Parameters and designates Operational Requirements Document approval authority to the appropriate Service. Validation of the Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) by the JROC ensures that the proposed concept or system will provide a capability that will satisfy the mission need. Once the KPPs are approved, the JROC submits them to OSD for inclusion in the Acquisition Program Baseline. JROC involvement does not stop here. The JROC conducts periodic reviews in parallel with the acquisition process, and members of the Joint Staff and Services remain engaged in the program through the integrated product team concept to ensure the warfighters' needs are met while monitoring cost, schedule, and performance.

Now that we have reviewed the current JROC organization and its function, I would like to focus my next remarks on the JROC's involvement in the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs. The Chairman, the CINCs, and the Services recognize that UAVs have the potential to become a great force multiplier throughout the full spectrum of future military operations. UAVs and their envisioned concepts fully support Joint Vision 2010 and, once proven, will contribute to the tenets of Dominant Maneuver and Precision Engagement by providing complete, accurate, and timely battlefield assessment and dominant battlespace knowledge dissemination.

In 1988, the Congress directed that UAVs be managed by DoD to prevent duplication among the Services. The JROC recognized the joint service potential of a family of UAV systems, validating mission need statements for the full range of the spectrum to meet expressed CINC requirements. Later, the JROC chartered a UAV Special Study Group (SSG) to assist the JROC in carrying out its responsibility to assess military utility requirements for all UAVs and to ensure interoperability, commonality among Services, and monitoring of cost, schedule, and performance. The SSG is a General Officer panel with Service, Joint Staff and OSD representation with the flexibility to increase membership as necessary to carry out its expressed responsibilities. The panel is supported by an action officer working group which assists in the management of UAV requirements and system evolution. The UAV Special Study Group meets on a regular basis and periodically reports to the JROC on the status of the ongoing UAV efforts.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in his 1997 Posture Statement before the full committee conveyed his vision for UAVs and his commitment to an interoperable UAV fleet. He stated that, "Once the Services establish that UAVs can carry the necessary sensors and meet mission requirements in anticipated weather conditions, DoD should move swiftly to evaluate the cost-saving tradeoffs between manned and UAV reconnaissance systems." His statement is key because it recognizes the potential of UAVs but cautions against making trades before the capability is fully demonstrated and tested.

The UAV SSG has been instrumental in formulating the current UAV requirements as they exist today. It is because of this group of professionals that we are developing a family of UAV systems that will be jointly procured and truly interoperable. Due to their efforts, the JROC has been able to convey clear and concise prioritization of UAV requirements to the material developer. Tactical UAV continues to be the JROC's number one UAV priority. Transition of the Predator to production and fielding is our second priority. The High Altitude Endurance UAVs are the JROC's third UAV priority. In each of these systems, the JROC has clearly delineated the system requirements and has demanded Joint Service interoperability, challenging industry to achieve realistic goals. Just last year, the JROC, working closely with OSD, defined and validated the requirement for a Joint Service UAV Tactical Control Station which is scaleable in functionality and can be hosted on existing service computer resources. Ever mindful of the CINCs' growing reconnaissance needs, the JROC is also working with the Science and Technology community assessing independent development efforts that may be leveraged to enhance UAV payload and sensor development.

As you can clearly see, there has been a great deal of activity in the UAV arena over the last few years. After the JROC recommended termination of the Hunter UAV procurement effort, it supported the recommendation to pursue a Joint Tactical UAV as an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration or ACTD. As you know, all three of our current UAV efforts began as ACTDs. ACTDs are designed to get an off-the-shelf technology in the hands of the warfighter in a short time.

The Tactical UAV, Outrider, is the ACTD that, if successful, will meet the needs of the tactical commander in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. The Outrider just accomplished its first flight. Although the flight was late in the programmed schedule, it was a complete success, accomplishing the planned test profile without incident. The JROC is monitoring this ACTD closely, as some of the current performance projections appear today to fall short of JROC validated requirements. While the JROC does not want to continue with a vehicle that does not fully satisfy the requirements, the JROC can not afford to hastily recommend termination of an effort without first obtaining demonstrated performance data on which to base the decision. Once verifiable data is available , the JROC will assess the potential to meet the mission requirements while considering cost.

The Predator Medium Altitude Endurance UAV was our first major ACTD, and it rapidly placed a theater reconnaissance asset in the hands of the warfighter, resulting in a positive CINC military utility assessment. This system is operating in Bosnia today. The Predator ACTD is being praised as a major success in acquisition reform. I would concur with this statement, but I will also tell you that this was a learning experience, and we are applying the lessons learned to our future ACTDs. Specifically, we should have identified a lead Service early in the ACTD to facilitate its transition to the formal acquisition process, and we needed to more deeply consider the logistics tail in the demonstration as well.

The High Altitude Endurance ACTD is comprised of a demonstration of two different air vehicles that share a common ground station, the Global Hawk and the DarkStar. While all three UAV ACTDs are planned to meet an established need, the HAE air vehicles, if successful, are envisioned to replace some aging, existing fleet aircraft. The DarkStar flew its maiden flight last year and subsequently crashed during its second flight. The contractor identified and corrected the problems and the first flight of air vehicle number two is scheduled for late summer of this year. The Global Hawk has slipped slightly on schedule, accomplishing the roll out of its first air vehicle in February and the aircraft is preparing for its maiden flight scheduled this fall.

We must remember that ACTDs are not full scale development programs. They are designed to rapidly demonstrate a capability to meet a need and are by their nature high risk. However, to control risk, we have the option of terminating ACTDs if convinced our requirements won't be met, or we can recommend further development, resulting in the system entering the acquisition process at the appropriate milestone short of production. Rest assured that the JROC will remain engaged with these critical UAV ACTDs to ensure we procure only the systems that will enhance the warfighter's ability to perform his mission.

In conclusion, let me leave you with this thought. The JROC, with the help of the UAV SSG, is a proactive participant in the evolution of our UAVs. We know there are many future challenges, but we must continue to press ahead with a well structured Joint UAV vision that meets all Service and Combatant Commander reconnaissance needs. Timely information and information dominance will be key in our future contingencies. I believe UAVs are critical to our success for current and future missions.

Thank You.