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Pentagon Pronounce Latest Missile Defense Test Successful

Aired July 15, 2001 - 00:05   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: We have some breaking news from the Pentagon. Earlier, military officials are -- right now military officials are giving a briefing on Saturday's test of an experimental missile defense system.

Let's listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

LT. GEN. RONALD KADISH, DIRECTOR, BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE: ... hit-to-kill technology.

QUESTION: General, can you tell us how you're feeling this evening -- today?

KADISH: Yesterday I said I was quietly confident about the success in the tests, and today I feel quietly very good.

(CROSSTALK)

KADISH: However, I also know what the job ahead is, and so even when we have these types of successes, we have a long road to go.

QUESTION: When will you know the full details of the test?

KADISH: Pardon me?

QUESTION: When will you know the full details of the test?

KADISH: We won't know the full details of the test for probably two months.

QUESTION: Do you know whether the in-flight communication system worked as expected?

KADISH: We got confirmation of in-flight communications throughout the test based on the briefing i got prior to coming over here. But, again, we have to go through all the tapes. And all those sensors that I told you about yesterday, in the test, need to get -- we need to go through to make sure we confirmed each one of those ones and zeros got where they were supposed to go.

QUESTION: Now does this success have any impact on the scheduling or the nature of the next test you have lined up? KADISH: No. We will press on to the next test. This is one in a series of tests, and we will continue to press to our objectives in the program.

QUESTION: You said you haven't decided yet what additional complexities might (OFF-MIKE). What are some of the things you were considering?

KADISH: We would consider more countermeasures, possibly. That has yet to be decided.

QUESTION: You said this is the same test as the second and third test. Does the year lapse -- was that taken up in trying to figure out what exactly happened with failures of the last two tests and trying to correct those? Is that what this year was spent doing?

KADISH: The way I would characterize this year -- and at this point in time, I'd like to congratulate General Willie Nance and his crew out at Quadulan and the companies involved, especially the Boeing company, because they took a very difficult situation over the last year and made it a lot better.

Basically, we knew what was wrong with the last test within about a month and a half, based on our statistical and detailed analysis. But what we ended up doing was going back and revising, and making our procedures as good as they could get and that -- we involved a lot of people in making that happen; and that just took time. So we were very careful, not only for this test but, as I said, this is one in a series of tests, and we need to plan for the future.

These things -- and my goal in life at this point in time, as is General Nance and everybody else is for you all not to be that interested in these tests, because no one test makes the difference in anything that we're doing here. It's a series, and a build-up of data. So this test is just one on a journey -- one stop on a journey.

This one here.

QUESTION: General, were you able to talk to Secretary Rumsfeld tonight and brief him on the initial results yet?

KADISH: I notified the chain of command, and I'm sure he knows about it.

QUESTION: Can you talk a little bit more about what improvements Boeing made in, not only its management, but its approach to integrating the simulation -- all the parts that went together tonight, how have they improved over the last year?

KADISH: I think the major changes that the company made, as well as the program, is that we insisted on testing on the ground what we were going to fly, and fly what we tested. And that brings us to the next step, away from prototype hardware into the type of hardware we want to use.

QUESTION: Could you explain the delays in the launch? KADISH: Normal test delays. I don't know the details of the delays, I just watched the performance.

QUESTION: If the subsequent tests are successful, will you consider dropping plans for the additional EKV and (OFF-MIKE) or will you go forward with those no matter what?

KADISH: Parallel paths in development, for as long as they're warranted, in my view, will reduce the risk. And those decisions will have to be taken based on the performance of the program.

I know you've got stories to file but, again, my congratulations to the entire team. But this is one in a series of many more tests to come, and I'll be happy to talk to you about those in the future.

QUESTION: Can I ask you (OFF-MIKE) Boeing, isn't their current contract tied greatly into the awards and profits they make in successful intercepts more than the last contract? They have a financial stake in hitting more than they did in the past?

KADISH: That's correct. But all the people I know in Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, all the -- TRW -- all the people involved in this have done a wonderful job. And I think, as people, they are more concerned about their performance than they are for financial incentives.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: Once again, you are seeing a live briefing from the Pentagon. Comments on the test and intercept of a mock-nuclear warhead in a trial run of the planned missile defense system. The Pentagon is calling this test a success, saying it is one in a series of many more tests to come, although they won't know the full results of this test for another two months.

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