News AN/ALQ-165 Airborne Self Protection Jammer (ASPJ)




Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk and ask for its immediate consideration.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.

The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from Arkansas [Mr. Pryor] proposes an amendment numbered 2549.

Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:

On page 7, between lines 6 and 7, insert the following:


(a) Prohibition on Use of Funds.--Funds appropriated pursuant to this Act may not be obligated or expended for the procurement of the Airborne Self Protection Jammer or of any component or spare part for the Airborne Self Protection Jammer.

(b) Budget Line Item Required.--If the budget submitted to Congress pursuant to section 1105(a) of title 31, United States Code, for fiscal year 1992 includes funds for the Airborne Self Protection Jammer program, the President shall specify in such budget the amount included for such program.

(c) Limitation Relating to Milestone III Decisions.--A decision to proceed with low-rate production of a second or subsequent lot of the Airborne Self Protection Jammer, or to proceed beyond low-rate production of the Airborne Self Protection Jammer, may not be made until the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation has certified to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives that the Airborne Self Protection Jammer--

(1) has undergone thorough and effective operational testing; and

(2) has met or exceeded all operational test criteria.

[Page: S12041]

Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, I thank my friend and senior colleague, Senator Bumpers, for meeting in here for 60 seconds, relating to an amendment on the ASPJ. The ASPJ is, of course, the airborne radar system that has never really worked. In its wisdom and at my request, the Armed Services Committee deleted $113 million that was earmarked for production. It allowed $48 million still for the Navy that it claimed it absolutely must have to perform the testing on this particular jammer.

Mr. President, I think in its wisdom also, the Armed Services Committee attempted to fence this particular program until the proper tests were completed. What I am doing, Mr. President, is making certain that fence is constructed high enough so that no production will take place until all of the tests have been completed.

Mr. President, the amendment I am offering will prohibit any fiscal year 1991 production funding for a military program that is one of the worst Pentagon horror stories in recent history.

The $4 billion Airborne Self Protection Jammer, or ASPJ, program is the Divad of the nineties. It miserably failed preproduction tests, it is $1 billion over budget, it is years behind schedule, and investigations of the ASPJ program have found mismanagement, coverups, and bad judgment by top officials.

I will discuss a Defense Department inspector general's investigation of abuse in the ASPJ program shortly.

Despite the ASPJ's failures, the Pentagon's fiscal year 1991 request for ASPJ was roughly $173 million. The Armed Services Committee deleted $113 million that was earmarked for production but allowed $48 million the Navy says it absolutely must have to perform testing on the jammer. The committee also retained roughly $10 million for ASPJ spare parts.

At my request and the request of the appropriations committees, the General Accounting Office is reviewing Navy budget documents to verify that this money is indeed needed for further tests. Their analysis will be ready in time for the appropriations bill.

I can go along with providing testing money but think it is ridiculous to fund further ASPJ production. Accordingly, my amendment strictly prohibits the use of any funds in this bill for any form of ASPJ production. Practically speaking this will delete the $10 million for spare parts that is provided for in this bill and any other production funds that may be buried in the budget.

My amendment does not kill the ASPJ Program, it simply enforces a fly-before-you-buy policy. Already over $660 million has been authorized to produce 120 ASPJ's despite all the evidence against it. We can not recover these funds, but at least we can stop further waste.

Now, Mr. President, let me turn to the case against the ASPJ.

A good place to start is about 1 year ago--after ASPJ tests found serious problems with the jammer's performance and reliability. The Pentagon was then considering whether to begin producing the ASPJ, which at the time was a $9 billion program.

At about the same time, Secretary Cheney proudly released his `Defense Management Review.' In it, he firmly stated that all weapons systems must meet strict performance and cost criteria. In other words, weapons must work as advertised before production begins.

On July 13, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Michael Stone, told his colleagues on the powerful Defense Acquisition Board, `Based on my review of the alternatives for ASPJ, I believe terminating the ASPJ must be seriously considered due to issues of operational effectiveness, demonstrated reliability, and affordability.'

On July 25, 1989, Stone wrote his superior, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Donald Atwood. He said, `There is clearly no doubt that the ASPJ has not satisfactorily met the criteria for the authorization to proceed to (production).' In effect, Stone was saying the ASPJ was a test case for Secretary Cheney's `Fly Before You Buy' procurement policy.

He also wrote that program costs were underestimated by at least $1 billion and then said, `The services all vote in favor of (production). Most of the Office of the Secretary of Defense staff votes to terminate. My disposition is to terminate. * * *'

On July 31, Deputy Secretary Atwood wrote back to Stone. He said that the ASPJ `has not satisfactorily passed the tests relative to cost, performance and reliability * * * This is a clear case of not meeting the exit criteria for transition from the Full Scale Development Phase to the Production Phase.'

Secretary Atwood concluded that `it appears mandatory that one of two actions be taken: (1) cancel the program. (2) Discontinue all production efforts and relegate the program to an effective test and evaluation activity.'

He considered limited ASPJ production but stated, `It is difficult to see how this is realistic given that the system has been in development for 13 years and as yet has not proven out.'

So last Summer DOD's acquisition chief Stone wanted to kill the ASPJ, Deputy Secretary Atwood wanted to kill the ASPJ, and many of Secretary Cheney's staff wanted to kill the ASPJ.

Yet, last August these same men not only approved keeping the ASPJ, they also voted to spend $420 milliion to start production for 100 jammers.

What magic occurred in those weeks? What made these good men trade their convictions on a $9 billion gamble?

Last September, the Senate Appropriations Committee wondered the same thing and cut over 90 percent of the ASPJ production funds and told the Pentagon to withhold all production pending further tests. The Pentagon thumbed its nose at the restriction and started production anyway.

During the fall, the truth about the ASPJ began coming out. In early December Secretary Cheney approved a memorandum that terminated the entire ASPJ Program. Let me say that again, Secretary Cheney killed the ASPJ Program.

However, 4 days later a memorandum by the Deputy Secretary brought the ASPJ back to life.

The ASPJ is like a cat with nine lives. Secretary Cheney says cancel the program, but then Secretary Atwood, a man who suggested canceling the program 5 months earlier, says no, it should be continued.

If this is not crazy enough, at roughly the same time as Mr. Atwood canceled Mr. Cheney's cancellation, the U.S. Air Force canceled its 60-percent participation in the program. In January, Secretary Cheney proudly put the Air Force part of the ASPJ Program on the list of terminated

programs he presented to Congress. This left the Navy all alone with rising ASPJ unit costs.

This could almost be comical if billions of dollars and national security were not at issue.

This spring, the inspector general released the results of his report on the ASPJ. Some of the results were:

First, ASPJ did not pass effectiveness, performance, or reliability standards;

Second, the Navy plans to spend over $1 billion producing the ASPJ before further tests are completed;

Third, the Navy and a top Pentagon procurement panel essentially whitewashed bad ASPJ test results to make it look good; and

Fourth, the Air Force's withdrawal from the ASPJ program will inflate ASPJ unit costs.

In our hearing on this system last May, inspector general and General Accounting Office witnesses recommended against any further funds for the ASPJ in fiscal year 1991.

To top all of this off, Mr. President, I have received new allegations of abuse relating to the ASPJ. The charges claim that over 30 contract specifications have been waived for an ASPJ contractor. This could indicate lowered quality standards for the ASPJ. I have referred this and other allegations I received after an oversight hearing this spring to the Defense inspector general for investigation.

In light of this, my amendment seems mild. We are not killing the ASPJ, we are simply saying what Secretary Cheney and his executives should have said last summer, which is: Fly Before You Buy--no more money will be wasted until the system proves itself.

This amendment also creates a budget line item for the ASPJ. This is because ASPJ costs are so deeply buried in the budget that it takes a GAO investigation just to find all of them. And finally, the amendment instructs the Pentagon to withhold all further production decisions until operational tests are completed. The current Pentagon schedule calls for the next production decision based only on inadequate tests to be conducted by ASPJ contractors in ASPJ contractor factories. This is an end run around all of the Pentagon's independent testing office and is bad procurement policy.

Mr. President, there is no better example than the ASPJ of a Pentagon program that does not deserve an large influx of scarce defense dollars. This amendment is consistent with White House policy, congressional policy, and just plain common sense.

I ask for my colleagues' support.

Mr. President, I ask that a summary of the IG investigation, Pentagon memoranda, several press clippings, and other background material be printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

[Page: S12042]

Summary of DOD IG Investigation of the ASPJ May 1990

Tests to date indicate that the ASPJ does not meet effectiveness (performance) or reliability standards.

Deputy Secretary Atwood was aware of ASPJ performance and reliability failures and a $1 billion understatement of costs when he approved low rate production in August, 1989.

The Navy currently plans to commit $1 billion on production contracts before operational tests are completed. $668 million is already on contract.

The Navy's arguments in support of ASPJ production, vendor base dry up and 1,000 aircraft without jammers, was overstated.

The Air Force withdrawal from the joint Navy/Air Force program will increase unit costs to the Navy.

The Navy Acquisition Review Board, chaired by the NAVAIR Commander, unduly directed operational testers to present favorable test results during the Defense Acquisition Board review process.

The Review Board directed such actions because the testers briefed test results and conclusions that did not present a clear and supportive recommendation for initial production.

The C3I Systems Committee provided minutes of their review of the ASPJ program to the Defense Acquisition Board that falsely stated that the ASPJ had satisified test requirements and that the Navy testing commander fully supported initial production.


From the New York Times, July 9, 1990


Pentagon Plans $4 Billion Device That Has Failed Key Flight Tests


Washington, July 7: Breaking its own rules on buying major new weapons, the Pentagon is pressing ahead with a $4 billion electronic radar-jamming device that has failed crucial flight tests on fighter planes it is designed to protect.

The system, the Airborne Self-Protection Jammer, has provoked debate at the highest levels of the Pentagon and become a litmus test of Defense Secretary Dick Cheney's ability to reverse a decadelong pattern of buying weapons before all the bugs have been worked out.

Under Mr. Cheney's direction, the Pentagon last summer adopted guidelines requiring that major projects pass strict performance tests before the Government buys them. The guidelines were intended to guard against embarrassing failures in major projects such as occurred with the Divad, an antiaircraft gun that the Pentagon spent $2 billion on, but canceled in 1985 after it failed in tests.

The battle over the jammer also underscores a frantic scramble among Pentagon weapons-buyers to secure a piece of the dwindling military budget for their pet projects.

The jammers are designed to identify dozens of incoming radars, distinguish which are the most threatening to the plane, then emit electronic signals to block or confuse the enemy air defenses that aim deadly antiaircraft missiles. The system was designed to handle more enemy radars more efficiently than existing jammers.

The Defense Department has spent more than $1 billion on the project, but the system is five years behind schedule and engineers have yet to build a prototype that works as promised. The Air Force, which was to have been the jammer's largest customer, has dropped out of the project because the system costs too much.

Internal Defense Department memorandums indicate that senior Pentagon officials, including the Deputy Defense Secretary, Donald J. Atwood, expressed grave reservations about the program last year. Mr. Cheney, in fact, approved a decision to cancel the program.

A few days later, intense lobbying by the Navy, which argued that 1,000 warplanes would be vulnerable to attack without the jammers, persuaded senior officials to award production contracts for the first 100 devices last fall. The decision to proceed was made despite the new Defense Department acquisition guidelines.

`This program is an example of absolutely thumbing your nose at the systems of checks and balances,' said Senator David Pryor, an Arkansas Democrat and the jammer's fiercest critic in Congress.

Flight-test results on the jammer's effectiveness and reliability are not expected until 1992, and the program's supporters and opponents are bracing for a showdown in the next several weeks, when Congress will decide whether to approve the Pentagon's request for $173 million for a second batch of jammers.


The devices initially were to cost about $3 million each, but the Air Force's decision to drop out of the program is likely to raise the cost to about $4 million, some experts said.

Mr. Pryor and other critics argue that the program should be canceled or, at the least, delayed until flight-test results are available. Moreover, they say that the easing of tensions with the Soviet Union and the emerging democracies in Eastern Europe has diminished a major threat to United States warplanes.

Pentagon officials say that the need for the jammers is too great and the problems with it too small to warrant canceling the program. They say that flawed testing methods were largely to blame for the test failures and that modifications that have been made since the tests were conducted have yielded near-perfect results in laboratory simulations.

Mr. Atwood has promised Congress that the Pentagon would not spend anymore money on the jammer until it met all performance standards. `This system, if it proves out in tests, will be well worth everything we put into it,' Mr. Atwood recently told the Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Services. `If it does not, we will cancel it.'

Great expectations have enveloped the jammer since its beginning 15 years ago, when Navy and Air Force engineers set out to build a sophisticated electronic countermeasure device to protect United States warplanes on the battlefields of the future.

In the largest electronic combat project pursued jointly by the Navy and Air Force, the Pentagon planned to buy the jammers in bulk, about 2,300 in all, with 800 going to the Navy. The Pentagon said buying the jammers in bulk would save hundreds of millions of dollars.

But tests in 1988 and 1989 at the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center in California and at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida showed that the device, carried aboard F-16 and F-18 fighters, had difficulty detecting, identifying, and jamming some older types of radar. The tests also revealed serious problems with the jammer's reliability and its ability to diagnose internal malfunctions.

Engineers have struggled for the past two decades to develop electronic defensive systems, but Anthony R. Grieco, the Defense Department's director of electronic combat, concedes that such devices' reliability has been `poor.'

A classified General Accounting Office report shows that four jamming devices bought by the Air Force have failed operational tests. In some cases, it said, entire systems were bought, at $200 million to $300 million, and shipped to warehouses, never to be used.

The Airborne Jammer's poor test results set off a debate in the Pentagon last summer, putting military program managers against civilian Defense Department budget officials intent on canceling a troubled program.

A Defense Department Inspector General's investigation earlier this year found that acquisition officials had manipulated the testers' reports to play down the device's flaws and emphasize its strengths.

The Pentagon denies that the rest results were misrepresented in any way.

Pentagon program managers are under increasing pressure to present projects in the most optimistic light to secure financing in competition with other projects, acquisition experts say.

Internal Defense Department memorandums that tell of last summer's debate over the device indicate that senior Pentagon officials had strong reservations about the jammer.

`Terminating the ASPJ program must be seriously considered due to issues of operational effectiveness, demonstrated reliability and affordability,' said Michael P.W. Stone in a July 13, 1989, memorandum to members of a high-level Pentagon acquisition review board. Mr. Stone was then acting as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition.

By the end of July, a compromise plan was under discussion to begin limited production. `If you decide to go ahead with a very limited production, then it must be mandatory that full demonstration of the performance and reliability be demonstrated within one year,' Mr. Atwood wrote on July 31, in reply to Mr. Stone. `If it is not, then the program must be canceled.'

In August, just weeks after Mr. Atwood outlined the Pentagon's new acquisition guidelines, the Defense Department approved the limited initial production.

`Here was a major decision right on the heels of their stated position where they just ignored the things they set out,' said Louis J. Rodrigues, who is responsible for electronic warfare issues at the General Accounting Office.

Navy and Pentagon officials say that despite dramatic political changes in the world, the Airborne Jammer, flaws and all, is still more effective than any existing alternative.

`We have had growing pains in the electronic combat business, no question about that,' said Duane P. Andrews, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence. `But we can fix this a lot cheaper than starting over from scratch.'



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From the Baltimore Sun, May 6, 1990


Radar Jammer for Warplanes Runs Into Snags


Washington: Future production of Westinghouse Electric Corp.'s much-ballyhooed radar jammer, a computerized set of black boxes designed to protect U.S. fighter pilots from enemy missiles, has run into strong interference because of marginal test results, long delays and runaway costs.

At stake are billions of dollars in future military contracts, potentially hundreds of jobs and, some defense officials say, the survival of subcontractors and parts suppliers.

Also at stake, critics of the project argue, are the lives of U.S. pilots who need reliable protection from radar-guided missiles and other air defenses into the next century.

The project, dubbed the Airborne Self-Protection Jammer and made at the Westinghouse plant near Baltimore-Washington International Airport, doesn't provide the needed protection--at least not yet, according to Pentagon reports.

`I don't understand why we continue to sink money into this weapon, which doesn't work, at a time when we are being forced to slash other weapon systems that have already proven to be effective.' Sen. David H. Pryor, D-Ark., said recently.

Troubles for the project have been mounting steadily this year.

At the Pentagon, the chief weapons tester recently opposed a Navy plan to buy more than a quarter of its planned new radar jammers before tests are completed to show off the system works as designed. Testing is not scheduled to end until April 1992.

The ASPJ's inability to meet established cost, performance and reliability criteria does not justify going beyond the initial production units needed for testing, said Robert C. Duncan, director of Operational Test and Evaluation, in a March 29 memo obtained by The Sun.

It was an unusually tough call, considering that the testing office has been criticized for years for being too timid in evaluating the performance of complex weaponry.

An unclassified version of the 1989 annual report by Mr. Duncan's office, released last month, confirmed that the Navy's initial operational tests on prototypes rated the system marginally effective and marginally suitable for aerial combat. It added that Air Force testers found the jammer `was unable to meet several user requirements.'

The Air Force, which was to have been the biggest buyer of the high-technology jammers pulled out of the program in January, mainly because it was too expensive.

Last week, an Air Force spokesman said the service had no plans to buy even a smaller, cheaper version of the jammer recently offered by Westinghouse, preferring instead to seek funds in the fiscal 1992 budget for an alternative system.

Some Navy officials, who see the entire project becoming more vulnerable to cancellation, are bitter. The Air Force is cutting everything to get money for the B-2 [Stealth bomber] groused a senior Navy officer.

Pentagon Inspector General Susan Crawford and the General Accounting Office are wrapping up separate investigations on how the flawed project was able to move from the drawing board to the initial production phase.

Ms. Crawford already has urged the Navy to stop work temporarily so that costs can be re-evaluated in the wake of the Air Force withdrawal.

Deputy Defense Secretary Donald J. Atwood, a key player in major procurement decisions, has been concerned recently that the project may have advanced too hastily, said a knowledgeable Pentagon source.
`He's the kind of guy who believes you can't put quality in at the end of a program,' the source said.

In Congress, longtime critics of Pentagon weapons-buying practices have renewed their attack on the project, which they consider the latest in a series of boondoggers since the ill-fated DIVAD anti-aircraft gun was canceded in 1985. A hearing has been act for Friday by Senator Pryor, who worked successfully last fall with Sen. Charles E. Grassley. R-Iowa, to cut 95 percent of the project's current financing.

The Airborne Self-Protection Jammer--produced jointly by Westinghouse Electronic Systems Group, based near BWI Airport, and ITT Avionics, of Nutley, N.J: is designed to increase the ability of fighter planes to survive in combat by sorting out a barrage of enemy radar signals and then jamming or deceiving the radars of the most threatening anti-aircraft weapons.

The jammer consists of five to seven boxes installed inside each plane, unlike more typical external jamming `pods' that create drag and take up space that could be used for weapons.

It has been touted widely as the most advanced in the U.S. inventory, capable of defeating any known enemy weapons system while being easily reprogrammed to counter new threats through the year 2000.

The project began in 1976, when defense officials, seeking to minimize wasteful duplication, ordered the Air Force to collaborate with the Navy on a common jammer for Air Force F-16s and Navy F/A-18s, F-14a, A-6Ea and AV-88s.

Production was supposed to begin in 1965, but it fell four years behind schedule because of several technical difficulties, the GAO reported. By lst August, when the project advanced to limited production, its original $1.8 billion price tag had soared to between $4.8 billion and $5.5 billion for 2,200 jammers--1,450 for the Air Force and 750 for the Navy. A subsequent estimate before the Air Force withdrew from the program pegged the coat at $9 billion.

Representative Thomas McMillen, D-MD-4th, whose district includes the Westinghouse unit producing the jammer, has spearheaded a defense of the project, but his efforts have been modest, even as threats to its survival have increased. In February, he criticized the Air Force withdrawal in a House floor speech and promoted the radar jammer as `the most thoroughly tested system in the history of jammer developments,' with more than 8,000 hours of ground tests and 500 hours of flight tests.

`ASPJ is ready, and it performs,' he said.

Neither contractor concedes the program is in serious trouble, and a confident ITT spokesman even declared recently, `I don't believe the Air Force is out of the picture.'

Both companies said the current production model of the jammer is an improvement over the 12 prototypes that performed poorly in the initial testing.

Early tests failed to evaluate what they consider probably the best feature of the jammer, namely its ability to wreak havoc on air-defense radars to prevent missiles from ever being launched, they said.

The latest congressional attack aims squarely at heading off Navy plans for a second production lot of radar jammers which would add another 127 devices to an initial order last October of 100.

Senator Pryor, who thinks high-technology military hardware should not be bought in mass quantities until it passes rigorous performance tests, has advocated putting the jammer program on hold `until its bugs can be worked out.'

`We all know the power game around here,' he said. `After one year of production, after another quarter-billion dollars into the jobs and factors associated with the production, it will be almost impossible to stop.'



The Deputy Secretary of Defense,
Washington, DC, July 31, 1989.

[Page: S12044]

Memorandum for Mike Stone.
Subject: Airborne Self Protection Jammer (ASPJ).

This is in response to your memorandum of July 25, 1989, relative to the Airborne Self Protection Jammer.

Your memorandum indicates that the program has been in development since March 1976, and to date it has not satisfactorily passed the tests established relative to cost, performance and reliability. This is a clear case of not meeting the exit criteria established for transition from the Full Scale Development Phase to the Production Phase. Therefore, it appears mandatory that one of two actions be taken:

1. Cancel the program.

2. Discontinue all production efforts and relegate the program to an effective test and evaluation activity. If the system demonstrates the required performance and reliability and is cost effective, then a production program could be initiated.

There is one alternative to the above which could be considered. This is based on the fact that the services feel that the system is essential and that it will ultimately meet the performance and reliability targets. If this is the case and can be demonstrated within a reasonable period (i.e. one year), then in order to maintain program continuity, it might be acceptable to proceed with a very limited production phase while test and evaluation is conducted.

However, it is difficult to see how this is realistic given that the system has been in development for 13 years and as yet has not proven out. If, in spite of this you decide to go ahead with a very limited production, then it must be mandatory that full demonstration of the performance and reliability be demonstrated within one year. If it is not, then the program must be cancelled.
Donald J. Atwood.

Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, I want to take a personal opportunity at this time to thank Kirk Robertson, on the Governmental Affairs staff who, for a period of 1 year, has tracked this system, who has found the savings of several million dollars in this system and who has also, in working with the minority and majority staffs, come up, we think, with a very good solution.

I want to thank Kirk Robertson, and I want to thank both of the managers for accepting what I believe to be acceptance of this amendment.

Mr. President, I have nothing further. I yield the floor.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there further debate on the amendment?

If not, the question is on agreeing to the amendment of the Senator from Arkansas.

The amendment (No. 2549) was agreed to.