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tv   [untitled]    June 27, 2012 10:00pm-10:30pm EDT

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the suggest is that we take this procurement decision making process out of the hands of noaa and nasa and give it to nasa. and that's what you did want to comment on until we got the administration to come down with the policy, and it is perfectly understandable that is what you have to do, but let me ask about common sense here. noaa is the agency that utilizes the technology and he is the one who is going to utilize it and doesn't it make sense that noaa and other agencies such as the geological survey to assume a greater role in actually procuring the equipment they need rather than nasa who is basically aimed at exploration
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and of space. wouldn't it make sense to actually go the other direction? and wouldn't it make sense to give it to noaa rather than nasa who is not necessarily going to be utilizing the equipment once it has been procured? >> i think that the logic that you enunciate mr. rohrabacher is some of the logic that is to get end mission responsibility align ed with fiscal resources and program management. my colleagues at nasa appreciate this mission to the country as we do, and i am confident that in the congress in their wisdom does recommend this change -- >> i hope that the people look at this, because if we are going to transfer the authority and put some, and focus authority, it should be on the people who
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are going to use the system they are ordering. and also, it would again go to the heart of the matter of let's have nasa focus on what it does which is space exploration. and let's have noaa and geological survey and others focus on their mission which is to look at the earth. nasa's mission is not that -- one last thing, mr. chairman, with your permission. another issue brought up by chairman harris during his questions dealt with the privatization and looking at spacex as a model which it will save the taxpayer enormous amounts of money in the long run, because it is proven successful or at least now if it keeps being proving itself successful. we -- there are equivalents in noaa to this, and there are
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equivalent things in most major agencies, and if we are going to bring down the trillion and a half dollars worth of deficit spending every year, we have to find ways of making those types of savings as represented by spacex and let me just note that noaa has a fleet of ships in order to transport their various programs and their various missions around and determine what the weather is like. i would see that there would be an equivalency of spacex transporting things into space, and does a better job than just leaving it to a government agency. i would say that there is also an equivalency of noaa that instead of maintaining a fleet, that could be contracted out and would probably save money. i know that we looked at that several years ago and we didn't have the political will to move forward on that, but maybe the fact that we are about ready to
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go under because of deficit spend spending will encourage us to look at those types of alternatives. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. and now i recognize the gentle lady from california, mrs. lovegren from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i was interested in hearing about the responsibility of nasa and noaa. and we don't always agree on things, but his question is one that i have as well, if we look at noaa to be our lead in the science of all of this, then maybe we should do that instead of having you ask the brother agency, and i'm not sure that is going to lead to what we really want is i guess going to be my statement rather than the questi question. i won't put you on the spot. when you think about the history
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of what has gone on, i mean, it was really in 2005 i think that the cost overruns were so outrageous that they really triggered the nonrecruiting program breach review, and at the time we had republican president and republican committee and even the leadership on this committee couldn't get the attention of the president at that time. when you think about that to where we are today, we have made tremendous progress. it does not mean we have to be satisfied with where we are, and i don't think that anyone is, and i'm not hearing that from the witnesses, but we have made tremendous progress, and stwroe make sure. here is the question. it is easy for us in the congress to look at the administration whether of either party and complain, but sometimes we need to turn the attention on ourselves. and so, this is the question for you, if you can answer. we have not had stable funding,
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because of our inability to appropriate in the normal course of business. how would a continuing resolution if that is what we end up with again this year impact your programs, dr. sullivan and dr. watkins if you could answer that, it would be very helpful. >> thank you ms. lofgren, i appreciate your comments and question. with respect to the continuing resolution, one big item that would concern me there is fy-13 is when coczar has a scheduled budget bump in respect to the launch vehicle f. we are unable to proceed with the launch vehicle, and in respect to the continuing resolution at the appropriated level of the fy-12 plan, that is in line with what
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we have come forward for in the president's budget, so, i would forecast with the same caveats of the forecasts less impact on jpss, but an impact of concern on go czar. >> the only thing i would add to that is that with respect to the go czar program, we are currently at a fiscal budget, we are planned to be increased to $8003 and if we were under a continuing resolution that went beyond the first quarter of the fiscal year, it would begin to have severe negative impacts to the cost and the schedule that is specifically the go czar mission, and so it is a continued resolution hurts us on the goes-r program. >> so it could end up costing us more assuming we continue with both program efforts down the line. if we didn't, this is a lot of money. and where i come from, this sounds like a lot of mo neeshg
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and yet, when you think about what is going on in terms of the very severe weather impacts, and what, $60 billion in fiscal year 2011 on dramatic events, and i guess that my question is maybe you can't answer, but if you can get a 10 or 15% ip crease in damage for lack of warning, i mean, have you done an analysis of what kind of warning leads to what kind of decrease in damage on the ground, if it is a hurricane or if it is a tornado or if it is whatever kind of event? >> ms. lofgren, we have not seen any vigorously analyzed studies that have made that from improvement of the forecast to improvement of the warning to the improvement of the human response to the warning, and i can't give you a well vetted figure.
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>> well, maybe that is something that we ought to ask the post-docs of the world to take a look at, but we do know anecdotally that active warning in tornado alley made a huge difference in terms of the loss of life, and it would be good to have some analysis, because if we are talking about 10 or 15% reduction in loss on a $60 billion figure, that is way more than we are talking about to create the warning. and with that, mr. chairman h, i think that my time has expired and i would yield back. >> thank you and i recognize the gentleman from mississippi. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as the chairman of the senate's subcommitt subcommittee, i would like to recognize the transfer of noaa to nasa for the procurement of weather satellites. from my perspective mr. hall raised the most important point when he said that nasa has its
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hands full, and we talk about cancelled mars and delayed testing for the sls and continuing issue s with the jams web telescope and the list is going on and on and if this senate proposal goes on, nasa then would own the troubled satellites also. just based on the history i would say a good chance of additional cost overruns that now nasa not noaa will have to cover in the nasa budget. so with that, mr. watkins, the devil is always, the details -- the devil is always in the details, and it feels like a late afternoon. has nasa done anything to analyze this switch from know wa to -- from knnoaa to nasa? >> well, they are looking across
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critical assets of the of all program and looking at the budget of the overall schedule and as well as the critical need to get the data products into weather prediction. so it is, it is a very complicated thing to evaluate and they are in the process of evaluating the senate proposal a. >> so, basically, you will take your analysis and you will provide that to the administration and is that where the statement of administration policy comes from that chairman hall requested and no one was able to tell him when they may receive that? >> i don't know the answer to that question, sir. we will have to get back to you. >> okay. say when there are cost overruns, what missions is nasa going to have to reduce the funding for or eliminate? such as effoarth sciences or -- >> sir, at the current time, again, the nasa role in the
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weather satellite programs on behalf of noaa is one of acquisition agent, and we implement these critical products on behalf of noaa. all of the funding currently that is tied in with this program is noaa funding. it comes to nas sand we build their satellites, and launch them and then commission them and bring back the critical data. so at this point, there are zero nasa dollars involved. >> so the $1.6 billion transfer if it ends up costing $2 billion, you, noaa, will basically pick up the extra $400 million and transfer that to nasa? >> sir, i was only speaking of the existing relationship and not speaking of this senate proposal. again, all of that would have to be evaluated. >> okay. thank you. dr. sullivan, the recommendation to sever the end pose program
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came from chairman tom young. it is our understanding that mr. young is engaged in another review for noaa and i have several questions related to that. what has noaa charged him to look at? will this review address the funding shortfall identified by gao? and will it adjust recommendations or just findings and will this review be available to congress and also will the findings be viewed and vetted by the administration prior to sharing with congress? >> thank you. mr. palazzo, for the question. mr. tom young does chair the independent review team who is charged with looking over the entire noaa portfolio, and yes, it is a late afternoon. and his co-chair is retired air force general tom mormon, and the rest of the panel, we can provide you the names and they are experienced space professionals. their charge is to look at any and all aspects of budget,
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management h, technical formulation that continue to or detract from the mission assurance in the satellite programs, as cess these assess provide both findings and recommendations. they brief me directly. they write their repot. their reports are not redacted by someone before reaching the noaa administrator, and nor as i understand it at least in any way redacted before they come to this committee or any other committees of this chamber and your colleagues on the other side of the hill whether verbally or written. >> well, thank you. i yield back. mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. i recognize the gentleman from california, mr. mcinerney for a few minutes. >> thank you very much. dr. sullivan, i can imagine what it looked like when the budget reduction came known and the uncertainty of what the funding was going to be like, and there must have been a sense of panic and scramble. and let me ask you, has that
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passed now or things still in a scramble of how to deal with this shortfall. >> you are referring to the continuing resolution in fy 11 or continuing resolution? >> that fy-11 was a difficult year with a final appropriation and not in hand until sometime i forget the exact calendar date of the enactment and then we had spend plan negotiations with various chambers to get alignment on the use of those funds. so it was very late in the year and less than 30 days before the end of the fiscal year before we had full agreement on all parties on the hill about how to spend our resources. that is as you suggest extremely difficult to manage. it is difficult to manage a federal agency itself, and it is extremely difficult to maintain continuity and performance and contractors a s for our univers contractors, and for the
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spending level by the cr even supplemented by the better part of $90 million of programming that the administration requested and congress approved was still far below and unh ed drs. of millions below the ramp up of the jpss. so with that backdrop, i would say that a few things. i would say that rather like the ripple on a carpet or a bedspread when you give it a good shake, some of it is still moving through the system in terms of the delays that were incurred that don't go instantly away when a funding stream is restored. we are still seeing some of that consequence. it definitely did strain the team. it strained it in terms of the professionalism and accumen and des desire to keep moving and of course creates tensions within the team, and lashlgly the team has passed that. the trust and battle rhythm of the noaa and nasa team around
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jpss has improved notably in the 12, 13 months i have been aboard. the final thing i would say is that the general climate of uncertainty certainly is a tension that we all have to bear. we certainly hear about it also from the contractors as perhaps you do as well. they have a battle rhythm and a certain head count running on the factory floors that are building the spacecraft and can they be assured to continue them? will they have to worry about moving the workforces around? one thing that we all worry about is across all federal programs is if the funding is that uncertain, can the federal government have confidence of getting the a-team on these programs and if there are steadier income steams from the commercial comp hats, and in this area be lesser concerned about the calendar and doing the
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p public's good. >> we are concerned about the data, fand it is bad enough for the public to notice and bad enough for the additional damage due to poor forecasting and so on. i'm a mathematician for my background and i did a lot of time modeling. do you think that theed the modeling, the mathematical modeling is going to pick up a lot of the slack? give ten n the data from the ot sources and the older satellites? >> so i'm a geologist, mr. mcinerney and i won't attempt the same estimate you will. >> okay. >> but that is an important and open question that we will be looking at. i they the prospect is certainly there. that other forms of data, proxy data, if you will might be able to substitute and lessen the degradation of forecasts. the real estate is an important point here in terms of sampling the atmosphere at peak of day
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heating when the dynamics are fully heated and there is question questions of getting sounding data from another instrument and the added question of does it give you the same time coverage in terms of the daily psyccycle the earth, and then how old are the data by the time they get you into the models and ail of those are factors in terms of the forecasting of the degradati degradation. >> well, with the current models we would see a significant dropoff if the data gap happened today, we would see a significant dropoff is that correct? >> we have run a number of studies the assess that and a year and half they were completed and statistically they scatter of course as you would expect, and the most notable outcome in that was asimulation without polar orbiting data and afternoon polar orbiting data for the snowstorm called snowmageddon and we have the forecast errors in the track of the storm and the total
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precipitation that fell on the storm. the three or four other cases that we studied showed a varying sensitivity and generally some degradation, but not all as severe as the snowmageddon case. >> thank you. my time has expired. >> thank you very much. we have a few more questions so we will do a second round. i recognize ms. self. and one of the troubling findings is that the entire polar orbiting constellation and not just the afternoon orbit appears to be at risk. d.o.d. has satellites available for the early morning or bit but they may not operate as expected because they have been in storage for so long. and they have not figured out what to do after the program. and the europeans are experiencing their own problems and noaa had said they will not provide sensors for the mid-morning orbit. since the inception of the end program, it has intended to have
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satellites in three separate orbits to know that no observations are older than six hours old. and knowing that your is only responsible for the midafternoon orbit, do you know what the administration as a wheel is doid -- as a whole is doing to protect the whole constellation? >> well, i know they have convened a national observation task force to look over the civilian agencies to get a better handle on the greater coordination of the assets and their capabilities, but i am not aware of an interactive agency group, and may be more of my ignorance that is at another department. i would say that our own program managers maintain active liaison with the air force weather and space missiles command in los angeles and we are interacting clo closely with them. we have a very long history of collaboration and mutual support with the defense department.
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i believe both parties recognize and appreciate the other's equities quite well, and try to maintain high levels of mutual awareness and information so that we can do what we can do with the resources and latino tud available to us, and support each other. >> how will the administration mitigate a gap in the afternoon orbits aed on the ther orbits that inform you and the national weather forecast for the models? >> i know of no specific plans for those mitigations at this ti time. >> and noaa will have to shed some capability in order to live within the administration's cost gap, and they are loss of climate sensors to cause a break in the 30-year record of some measurements and loss of space stations from 30 minutes to 80 minutes or the loss of data processing systems is of two navy locations that would impact the data used by war fighters. what if anything does noaa plan
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to remove? what have you -- have you prioritized what will be removed? >> i can assure you we have very clear prior toizati clear prioritization of the forecasting data, and any of the decisions in the future will be made in accordance with the priorities. having said that as i believe mr. pouner pointed out in his testimony, the options that we have worked on and the reanalysis that we have worked on since their first look gives us confidence that the sensors can in fact be accommodated inside of the 12.9 billion life cycle cost cap. we did decide, and we think it is a prudent action to drop the number of ground stations from the very high number that was contained in the old n-pose distributor receptor network and relied on one at each pole, so
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lots off stations that see both of the paths with backup latitudes in our own fairbanks site give us good coverage for all of the polar orbiting birds. yes, the initial target of the 30-minute time delay or latency for the jpss data has been relaxed to 80. our current performance however is 120 so that is still a substantial improvement over the current performance and should make a notable improvement to weather forecasting. with respect to the data centralsb it reflects in part an evolution of ground system structure from very tailor ed ad unique to each service and provider to a more common and unified ground station. we certainly want to take on the development of -- but within these constraints, we have let the partners know it would have to be on a reimbursable basis
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for the current dps operation flights and whatever that would be and i'm not aware of any d.o.d. plans from them yet. >> now i would like to look toward the controversy whether the shortfall is $1.7 or $2.7 billion because the gao report says that full analysis is it would be $11.3 billion, and after adding the agency sum cost of $3.3, the life cycle is costing in total $14.6 which is 2.7 billion higher than the 9.3 billion estimate when the in-post was disbanded in 2010. according to the noaa officials, it is due to the four-year expansion of the program and the budget items of the free flyers and the transitioning and the contracts to slow down work on
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lower priority elements because of the budget constraints of 2011. the gao states that working with nob that noaa agreed to fund jpss at roughly $9 million through 2017 and merge climate change into the budget, and cap the life cycle cost at $20.9 billion through 2028, and because of this cap $1.7 billion below the $14.6 life cycle cost, noaa decided to remove selected elements from the satellite program. so now, is the shortfall $1.7 or $2.7 below the expected life cycle cost? mr. pouner, maybe you can -- what is the finding? >> so that the gap is $1.7 billion. it is from $14.6 which is the cost when you reconcile the costs, and to keep it simple,
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the program was capped at $12.9 so that there was a tlr 1.7 that the program was trying to get down to. and the approach is that as we understand it, two primary ways in which they will reduce address the $1.7 billion gap, and swun that they found a more efficient way to operate and maintain the satellites which dr. sullivan referred to, and then also, too, there is a savings through the ride share arrangement with the free share riders and the climate is included, but fly them outside of the jpss program. there are e d il details that w to see about both of those things and how it tallies up to $1.7, and that is the comments that i made about that still questions within operating of the $12.9 cap. >> dr. sullivan, is that an accurate assessment of where the $1.7 will be made up? it is, sir. >> i recognize mr. mcinerney for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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mr. powner, one thing that stuck out in your testimony is the confidence level that nasa will meet the 2015 launch date. is that in your mind the biggest threat is that not making that launch date? >> yes. so a kocouple of things. we did some detailed schedule analysis and so there were things that we went into great detail on two of the sensor schedules as well as the spacecraft and ground and we had questions about how the schedules were being managed and the rigor you want with that, and ultimately what that all means it calls into question whether you can hit the key milestones and the milestones have to be hit to ultimately reach the launch date. that coupled with the fact that their own internal assessment showed only 48% confidence level they would hit the october 2015 date, and that raised questions about whether they would be able to do that. we are under the impression if you raised it to 70% confidence level which is what the program ultimately like to operate under, that is going to push that launch date into early
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2016. i think there is a four or five-month slip there. roughly. but those are the questions that need to be considered going forward how solid is that october 2015. and there are question marks there clearly. >> and can you be as specific as you can in giving us recommendations on how we can reach that october 2015 launch date or achieve that date? >> well, one of the things that we did do in the report is that we had detailed recommendations ob how the program can be more rigorous in managing their schedules. so for instance we found things like not all subcontractor activities were included in the schedules and critical paths were not identified which is important so you can identify the long pole in the tent, and those types of thing, and those are the recommendations that we have that will be helpful in ultimately achieving that launch date. >> thank you. >> the one thing that i would like to add -- >> sure. >> -- as david pointed out or mr. powner pointed out that


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