tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 28, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm EDT
a year. the third problem we found in testing is what we call the opening shock phase of ejection when the parachute on the back of the seat comes out. in this instance here, when that parachute comes out, once again, the pilot's head moves forward. in this instance here, the only pilots affected by the opening shock being too strong and causing the neck loads to be above what we consider safe is once again that lightweight pilot. the risk of that happening was low enough the air worthiness authorities thought it was not significant enough to restrict anybody from flying the airplane when we found that problem. when we did find that problem about eight or nine months ago in normal testing we already started a solution. the solution is to delay that parachute coming out by a
fraction of a second. as the seat comes out and hits the wind blast, it begins to decelerate. if you wait just a fraction of a second before you put that main chute out, the seat has decelerated enough so when the force of the parachute comes out isn't as severe. to get to that solution, we are putting a switch on the side of the ejection seat, so when the pilot climbs up into the cockpit, can set that at heavyweight or lightweight. there are a number of ways we could have solved that problem. we could have put an automatic sensing system into the seat, much like when you sit in your car on the passenger's side and
the seat knows you're there and the air bag gets energized. we also could have put a switch on the seat that would have had the maintainers put it in the heavier or lightweight position. we went back to the war fighters and said, what solution do you want? we can solve this problem in a number of ways. they said we want the pilot to be responsible for moving that switch. we want he or she to be responsible insuring it's in the right position for their safety. thus, we're building that switch on the side of the seat, as the pilot climbs up, they can go light or heavy. >> general, we have a number of people that want to ask questions and i will cut you off at this point. thank you for that in-depth description. there are two aspects. finding a solution and, two, implementation of the solution. we're looking forward to your confirmation that all the problems have been identified, and, two, the implementation of those solutions in a manner our committee are satisfied those really address the issues. >> yes, sir. everybody on the committee rec sizes. the need to have the capability. and recognizes not having the 35
capability is not having air dominance and thus we lose. everybody recognizes one of the difficulties and problems with this program is the concurrency we're inventing at the same time we're producing, as a result of that, we will have delays, cost over runs and at times there will be problems that have to be identified that need to be fixed as lieutenant bogdan has just testified. there are a number of those. the biggest problem we have is as problems arise that need to be addressed, the assurance when we get to the end, this f-35 capability we all know we need is the capacity we demanded and that plane performs as supposed to. an january 24, the flight test demonstrated it was not as maneuverable as an f-16 that the aircraft is supposed to replace,
in a dogfight. can you comment on the conclusions of that test and implications of the f-35 in combat? >> yes, sir, chairman. to go back to that, as a reminder, that was one of the first development tests flown to better understand the slow flight characteristics of the airplane. since that initial sortie, we have now been able to put the airplane in the hands of our operational testers, the folks now ringing out these tactics, techniques and procedures for how we will fly the airplane in combat. in fact, sir, over the course of the last month, they have been developing some specific exercises to better understand the characteristics of the airplane. that would include postal acceleration, how the airplane turns to prepare them to do what
we call basic fighter maneuvers, where they fight one against one, to see where the airplane performs in both an offensive and defensive perspective. i just talked with them last friday, they have been very pleasantly surprised how the airplane is performing. it's been very positive. what they're finding is as they arrive in the postal regime, the airplane is extremely stable, so stable in fact as they began the testing, they initially had 150 knot minimum airspeed requirement. they have since removed that and that's how we will go out and train with no minimum airspeed requirement, which is a testament to how well the airplane is performing. in that environment, we will continue to learn. what i would offer to you we are still in the phases of fully
understanding how the airplane will employ in that environment. that capability, in my mind, is going to be there. i would offer as one of the early f-22 pilots i was, we had some of the same learning curve issues. we had to fly the airplane and fully understand across the regime of where we were going to employ it, how to best get the most out of the airplane. that's what we're going to do and i think the airplane will deliver, sir. >> i appreciate the reference to that. even the wright brothers after they invented the plane had to learn to be pilots. >> non-committee members currently include miss spears and mr. lambourne be allowed to participate in the hearing and committee members have the opportunity to ask questions and with no objections, non-committee members have the opportunity to ask questions for five minutes. i turn to the next question will be mr. waltz. >> thank you for taking the time to come. for continuing to update us on this, i think it's critically
important. i want to go back to april's hearing and important to ask and get on. i ask what is our next hearing going to look like when we come. at that point in time, the secretary said we will have the united states marine corps version completion of 3-i and 3-f testing and we will continue to see the r&d costs. are those things panning out? >> the marine corps is completing missions at yuma today, sir. i would put a check in that box. we are completing all mission testing in 3-i, sending to it the field in january. as already said, we have already handed that software to the ot testers so they can bring it out. i put a check mark there. for 3-f, not sure if there stackly was referencing when we would have 3-f done.
i always told this committee i thought the schedule had three to four months of risk in it. i recently took another risk analysis and looked an at our plans. that 4-6 months is down to 3 months and we believe the full air capability for the a model will be out in the field august of 2017, a good year before the navy needs it for ioc and a good six months before sec-def has to certify it is fully capable. i think that risk is working its way down. as we get out of the business of testing 2-b and 3-i, i feel we are catching up. >> that's helpful. i think it is important to see where we're at and we know that it's hard to get exactly. can you explain to me what the concurrence is with the marine
corps, where i'm getting from folks there is a little bit of controversy what they're saying, they're flying theirs, their ioc, that's for their mission? it's good with them? >> yes, sir. in fact, i would say they are now flying the airplane operation alley. they're out employing the airplane in the mission that they had described for their ios. i think the result has been very positive and the feedback from them has been well received. >> sir, i might add the services defined for me what they need to declare ioc. the u.s. marine corps takes a look at the legacy airplanes they have and how they intend on deploying the airplane and they created a list of criteria they
needed to meet to declare ioc. the air force has done the same thing, they are different lists because they plan to use it differently than the marine corps. my promise to the air force i will give them everything they need for ioc by august 16. they will fly it and use it in a different way than the marine )k production line had the fix in
it and have fully completed ones. we have 134 out in the field today and 61 have been retrofit with the new parts so there's no longer a restriction on them, about 44%. by june of 2016, all 134 fielded airplanes will have the same fix in them the production airplanes are now going down the production line with. in my mind, it was a problem, unfortunate, but we're putting it behind us. >> did we learn anything on the specific issue on that in terms of the testing standard on that and what we can extrapolate forward in that incident? >> one of the things we did learn, the design of that portion of the engine is very similar to fighters we have. there was an assumption made since the other fighters didn't have this problem the f-35 wouldn't have this problem. some of the engineering analysis, i won't say shortcut because that's not the right word but some assumptions assumed the engine would react
as if it were in the other airplane. that was not the case and not the case because the f-35 maneuvers differently than the other airplane and the engine shifts and moves and bends differently in that other airplane causing that -- >> will that change now as we go forward -- i hate to use the term, we assume they will not do that in the future and go back to the bottom? >> part of what we did was we insured that the models that pratt & whitney was making fit the models when we first designed it. we will not make that same kind of mistake and pratt whitney has learned that lesson. >> thank you. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. cook. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general, there was an election this week in canada.
it appears mr. trudeau is going to be the winner of that election. correct me if i am wrong, but i believe he made some pre-election statements that canada would not purchase the f-35s and thick they were in for 65. the question is about affordability if a partner drops out of that. i don't know -- i'm not a lawyer and dangerous enough as a marine at one time. is that going to have an impact on costs? >> it wouldn't be appropriate to speculate what canada will or won't do. i won't provide any opinion about that. i will also tell you, i have received no official notification from canada about the change in status for them
today. having said that, i'm prepared to tell you what the impact to the program would be if that were the case. let me explain that to you. first, the current development program that ends in 2017 would have -- there would be no effect whatsoever if canada were no longer a partner. they had paid all the money in the development program and all services already paid and we intend on finishing the development program we already have. no effect on the current development program. not the case for production and price of the airplane. if any partner or service moves airplanes to the right or takes airplanes out, the price of the airplane for all the other partners and fms customers and all the other services goes up a
little bit. in this instance, if there are 65 less a model airplane in that production profile, from any country, whether it be canada or someone else, we have estimated that the increase in price to everyone else is about .7 to 1%. for an a model today that's about a million dollars a copy for everybody else. there is an impact to the price of the airplane for everyone else if 65 airplanes are removed from the production flow. there are other impacts. going forward, we have a follow-on modernization program and sustainment of the future airplane that the partnership shares in that cost. canada's share of that cost is 2.1%. if canada is no longer in that program the 2.1% cost of future sustainment and follow-on modernization will have to be spread among the other partners and u.s. services. that is a cost that has to be paid and wouldn't be paid by a
partner no longer a partner. the last one has to do with industrial participation. today, there are many canadian companies building pieces and parts for the f-35 program. we do not have a set rule for what happens to that participation if a partner reduces airplanes or adds equipment. no set rules. it is my opinion the remaining partners and our industry partners are going to have a discussion about what to do with all the industry in canada building pieces and parts for the airplane. >> thank you, general. i have one more question. this is an infantry guy to ask a logistics question. and i did serve as a logistics officer and it left an indelible
mark on me, not very good. i'm thinking about the maintenance of a brand new fifth generation aircraft that would be fourth and fifth degrees of maintenance we have to do. do we have the parts and techcians that are in place to handle this very very sophisticated piece of gear or are we going to have to change on the fly and is there money for that? >> i'll answer the first part of that and let the general give you the air force's perspective. as it matures we are building a maintenance force training through eglin air force base to understand the changes we made to the airplane because we're not done developing it.
older airplanes, believe it or not, are being maintained differently than the newer airplanes because they're in better shape. we have the manual and parts supplies until we get the fleet of airplanes up to a common standard. it is a problem that occurs on most programs and have it a little more severe because of the concurrency and you're right we will have to change our air force as we change it and i don't think that will change for quite a while. >> i thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, thank you very much for your service and taking on this difficult project. i know you haven't been asked to bring the best looking date to the dance. that's not an easy thing to do. i'm new to this relatively.
my background is also as an infantry marsh and i have always taken the perspective on f-35, there are a lot of mistakes made and costs, funds have arguably wasted over the years. this is far more expensive than any of us anticipated. we're far enough down the line now we have to make it work. would you agree with that statement? >> sir, i would agree without armchair quarterbacking or trying to figure out why decisions have been made in the past we have in kurd significant increases and costs in the past on the program. some are normal to programs. others were a result of decisions we made. since we rebaselined the program in 2011 we have not asked for an added penny since 2011. >> which is a great achievement but quite a baseline.
>> yes, sir, i would agree with you in 2011 when we rebaselined we added two years and a few billion dollars to the program. >> several analysts i have spoken to said one of the mistakes may have been to try to combine so many capabilities into a single aircraft rather than having an aircraft built for specific reasons. the f-22, most think was quite successful. would you agree with that statement? >> i know very little about it so i would ask the general to comment on that. >> the only comment is in the years of the f-22, we had some of the very similar types of problems from software fusion, taking software from the lab and making it work in the airplane. quite frankly, i think that's why the chief asked me to do this job because there were lessons we needed to bring to
the f-35. my response was single mission airplanes we thought the 22 would be, we ended up making it mult i mission because we needed it for capacity across the joint fight. my perspective was we looked an at the f-35 and needed to it accomplish several mission sets so as we looked into the future we had the capacity and needed to execute all those missions for the joint force commander. >> thank you. i guess where i'm coming at fundamentally, there are a lot of folks on the committee and congress in general feel we invested a lot of money and have to make sure this thing works. at a basic level you don't make decisions on some costs, that's a pretty fundamental economic principle. my question is who in the air force is looking at this project from a much higher level saying is this still the best decision
to buy the number of airplanes we have or should we be talking about potentially not for certain but potentially devoting resources to accelerating development of the next generation of aircraft or perhaps accelerating the development of next generation of aircraft multiple that would fulfill different mission sets and maybe not be susceptible to the same problems this program has encountered. >> yes, sir. in fact the chief has directed and they're actually reporting to him, what's call and enterprise capability team to get exactly after your question of as we look into 2030, what should this look like? as we go forward and as we look at the capability and future threats we envision out there what is the right mix of capabilities the air force will need. they're to report to him in the early part of next year. i think that will be a good opportunity to get a better
understanding how we see ourselves moving forward. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, i respectfully request we entertain that discussion as part of our debate about the f-35. it's very easy in this environment to get so consumed with the challenges and problems of this one program as to not be thinking ahead from the perspective we shouldn't be basing decisions on some costs and think about what the best decisions are going forward to meet the threats of 2030 which could indeed include cut back on the current program. thank you very much and i yield my time. >> we go down to eglin on a regular basis to look at the planes and have a number of classified briefings to give you a greater fidelity what this plane actually does and what the needs and threats are and i believe you will be very satisfied. we continually ask that question and a question we should never stop asking. i believe if you become familiar with the capabilities of what this plane are and current
threats it's designed to address as they're evolving you will similarly come to the same conclusion we did with the national defense authorization act. >> we shall see. >> turning to martha. >> thank you, chairman and gentlemen. i would be one of those pilots at the quote-unquote edges of the envelope you talked about there, and have to gain about 15 pounds to fly the f 35 today. so i understand the switcheroo thing you're talking about the pilots have to move, delaying the chute coming out, is that putting them at increased risk in zero zero situation where obviously every nanosecond actually counts? >> actually, for a lightweight pilot delaying for the chute does not increase the risk at all for the pilot to get out of the seat. a lightweight pilot in the
catapult phase gets shot up higher. we had margin. >> thank you. let me first say like the chairman said we need a fifth generation fighter capability. as an airman myself people sometimes take for granted air superiority. i have been to the factory myself and strongly support national security and our war fighter. i am concerned this airplane is replacing all our legacy fighters and jack of all trades, master of none. specifically replacing the a-10 and closer support missions it uniquely brings to the fight. when we talked earlier we had a discussion about the unique air capability and air support, i will run through them. in the a model, night capability, lack of capability to pass 9 lines via data and timeline of 30 minutes and in the follow-on, ammunitions, only
180 bullets and time on station only 45 minutes. dr. gilmore agreed the f-35 would not be able to survive a direct hit, like the a-10 can and still allow the pilot to at least fly to friendly territory so they're not taken to p.o.w. and lit on fire in a cage like we saw happen to the jordanian pilot. these are capabilities. i was glad to see in august dr. philmore announced there would be head to head test. i don't want to put words in your mouth. i think you were not supportive of that test and said it wasn't a good use of taxpayers money, i disagree with you, general bogdan. i think it is a good use of tarps money. if it is going to replace the a-10.
we need unique set of capabilities including the loiter time, lethality, the bullets and ability to take a direct hit and all that the a-10 brings to the fight. i want your perspective on the head to head test, how it came about. i'm skeptical about it with all the things the air force has tried to do against this congress and back door retiring the a-10, you can set up to have any test you want, will it specifically address not high sophisticated air circumstances where we have air superiority in those unique capabilities of loiter time, lethality and maneuverability and do a fight and direct hit, will that be a part of that test? >> ma'am, if you don't mind, i'll comment first. you're familiar the chief came back and said we're supportive of executing the testing. >> after he called it silly,
yes. >> at this point, we're working with our operational test folks are working closely with d.o.t. and e to see what it would look like and contested and permissive environments, looking at different ranges, time to arrive on target and loiter time incorporated for the appropriate analysis to insure at the end of the day, we're delivering the platform effective and suitable environments we're going to operate in. >> i'm interested in continuing to interact and see how that test is going. general bogdan, you have anything else to add? >> yes, ma'am. what you described just now was exactly what i think should be done with the f-35. that is test it in a realistic operational environment for the cast mission that the air force intends the f-35 to do.
not the cast mission the air force intends the f-35 to do looking like an a-10. the problem i have is that money i'm going to spend doing the testing on the a-10 could be used elsewhere. i know the outcome of that test. i'll give you an example. you have a decathlete in the olympics. you have 100 meter splinter. if i put the 100 meter splinter and decathlete on the starting line for 100 meter sprint, i don't have to run that race to know who's going to win it. i don't need to test the a-10 to figure out what the f-35 can do in a close air support role. what i would prefer to do is test the f-35 in its close air support role as the air force sees the requirements for that mission for the f-35. >> i hear you and i'm out of time but i think us envisioning that we're never going to have close air support where guys are on the run, out of ammo, doing a
mirror flash into your eye, don't have time to do standoff casts because of complex circumstances. if we think that's never going to happen again -- >> you are correct, you are out of time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> ranking member sanchez. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> first, thank you for holding this. as you and i know, you and i have been through a lot of growing pains on this f-35 program. people have mentioned we've been to the factory overseas and we've been to see them in action and been to talk to the pilots and we've been and we've been. so what we have on our hands is the fact this is going to be our production plane for the future. so we better make sure that it's the best that we have, the best that we need. i think the gentle lady from arizona is correct in saying
that she supports this and i am glad for her knowledge of fighter planes and i don't know if i'm glad for your persist steps on keeping the a-10. i don't know where i am on that really but i'm glad you're on and you're asking the questions and you keep hitting it because we need to -- i'm sorry for coming late but i also heard the gentleman from massachusetts have some concerns and followup. that's the role of this subcommittee, so thank you to my fellow colleagues for continuing to push and continuing to push our program people to make sure we get the best plane that we need. that's what we all want. i just have a couple of questions.
the first has to do with something the general got into before the hearing, the 136 pound weight limitation. i have been one of the people on this committee that has pushed for women in more roles in this military. the gentle lady from arizona acknowledged she weigh as lot less than i do. my question is i'm concerned with the long term weight limitation and if it disadvantages female pilots and their eligibility to fly the f-35 because our women do tend to be lower in weight. if the 136 pound weight limitation remains in place for more than a few more weeks, how is that going to impact the follow-on on the cadres of female pilots we have in the program and have any of them been diverted o the f-35 because of this weight limitation? >> i'll answer the technical
part of that and let general answer about air force pilots. we have known fixes to the problem that currently restrict the pilot population to less than 136 pounds. they include a lighter helmet and weight switch on the seat and include a pad on the back of the risers of the parachute that prevent anybody's neck from moving forward or aft too much. all those solutions should be in place in the next 18-24 months and at that point the restriction should be removed and we will go down to 103 pound pilot and the size of the pilot is not an issue. we designed the seat for the smallest and lightest folks. i think you'll find in the next 18 months or so we will make this ejection seat as safe as we
can for the entire population. i'll let general harry gan talk about the pilot input and female pilots. >> we had one pilot less than 136 pounds. in fact, it was a male. he's no longer flying the f-35. due to where he was in his career, his leadership decided it's best we move him to another airplane so he can continue his career. we have a female flying the airplane right now, still flying the airplane right now. to your point, i think the longer term is we didn't have anybody in the pipeline right now that was impacted. but certainly if this takes 12 to 18 months, there may be a person or persons out there that it could impact. that's something we will have to take a look at, as you're well aware, the secretary and the chief are -- have made it clear that 103 pounds, 135 is our requirement and general bogdan knows that's where we need to go
and is working hard to meet that requirement to fix it as soon as we can. >> let's hope it's fixed. we would hate that to be the reason for women not to move forward in the next generation plane the next 20 or 30 years. >> can i make a comment? we have partners and fms customers in the program equally concerned about this program because most of the pilots, male or female on the other end of the scale, i have heard from many partners as well as the air force and marine corps how important it is to fix and it
has my full attention, ma'am. >> great. thank you, general. er my next question is about the follow-on development. while the engineering and manufacturing phase of the f-35 is going to be wrapping up the next two years, there is a more expensive follow-on development we already have slated for this program. it is mostly software and upgrades i can tell, mostly software and upgrades to incorporate additional weapons and electronic capability in the aircraft. even though it's an upgrade move, the budget is not small. i see more than $2.6 billion in research and development on that effort projected. to be clear, that's on top of the baseline, f-35 development effort that has seen years of delay and cost overruns. i don't want to go over all of that because you heard me pounce on that a long time now. i know the upgrades are essential but it's important to
get a handle on this before it gets out of whack, as we've seen initially this project from the very beginning. i have specific questions about the follow-on. first, before the program starts, this major effort it needs a clear set of prioritized requirements from the u.s. military services and our foreign partners involves. does the f-35 program have a prioritized list from the u.s. military services with respect to what it really wants in the follow-on development, and if not, why not?
>> yes, ma'am. you have boiled this down to the essence of one of the issues with follow-on development today. with 14 different customers, we have a large amount of requirements that i today believe are unaffordable. so as we validate the cdd, the capability document, through the air force requirements oversight council and up to the joint requirements oversight council and i go to what i call my board of directors for the partners, we have asked them to prioritize that list of requirements because today i believe trying to achieve all those requirements in the next 8 to 10 years will be unaffordable. the process has begun.
we believe in december we will get our first look at that set of priorities and then in then spring-time when they meet to validate the requirements, i believe that's where we will finally join all this together to get what i consider to be a reasonable amount of requirements that are affordable because i do not disagree with you, ma'am. i have learned a lot of lessons in three years what the original emd program looked like. i don't want the follow-on program to look anything like that. >> because the follow-on program, as you know, we've really gone through very painful, on both sides, very painful -- this has been a painful process. that's a nice word for it so this development and how it interacts, it's important to have that priority list. i will look forward to that on
december 2015 and look forward to it after your capability document validation. in other similar upgrade programs, congress has required the d.o.d. to designate them as major subprograms or completely separate programs actually. the reason for that has been so we can actually see the cost visibility and actually track what it going on. should congress do the same thing with this follow-on effort for the f-35 and if not why not? >> the simple answer is no. and i'll tell you why not. the pledge to this committee and other committees and my partners and the services, we will set up a follow-on modernization program with every level of visibility and transparency that you and they believe you need for appropriate oversight. we'll put the earned value management pieces in there.
we will cost separate in the contracts so you can see how we are spending the money. to make this a separate program or even to make it a separate program bring as whole host of administrative burdens that mr. kendall wants to try and avoid to become more agile in terms of acquisition. i agree with him. i think we can set up a program that satisfies the needs in temps of transparency and when the program is on track and not on track without designating it as its own program. my promise to the committees is we don't believe when we get our acquisition strategy in place, you don't like that, then we will come and talk to you and figure out what you do like. i have asked your staffs to help us in what you would like to see in that modernization program, in terms of reporting, because
we can do that. we can do that without setting up a separate program. >> we'll have to talk to our staff and see what we will look at. maybe a program of a separate line if we're really going to track this. i just have the scars from the initial program and even before the three years. thank you very much for your information. we'll try to work with you. thank you. mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman, if i can add to that, as the war fighter, ma'am, understanding the programatics and importance of making sure we have our requirements we're working hard for the service to make sure we have it right. it it's important to remember the threat is not sitting on their hands and continue to evolve. from our perspective it's
imperative we have a stabilized thoughtful follow-on modernization program that brings new capabilities to this program so we stay ahead of the curve. that's all i'd like to ensure the committee remembers as we work our way through this. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i wanted to ask you about the helmet, that you want to make changes so it is compatible for all the pilots. i want to ask you about hmds because that is a big part of what makes the f-35 special is the helmet itself and a lot of technology put into it. one of the things we had under sequester to implement new technology under a sequester system, and knowing we're working under sequester, how quickly can changes be made to the helmet? >> the changes and improvement we're making to the program are our std program and because our std program is incrementally funded even with a cr or sequestration, we would still be able to continue those critical
development activities like the helmet. we would insure those kinds of things are not impacted. many other things are impacted. in this respect, finishing the development program and capability we promised the car fighter is our number one priority and i think we can do that. there are many other impacts but not that one. >> one more question about the helmet itself, the incredible technology gone into developing the helmet and making quick changes to the helmet so
everybody can fly, is it more realistic to make changes to the head support panel or delaying the deployment of the parachute in order to make it to where all the pilots can fly the plane instead of trying to make very complicated technology changes to the helmet? >> congressman, the simple answer to your question is, no, we need a lighter helmet, as simple as that. all the other things you talked about are needed to make sure we have safe escape for the population. we do have to take weight out of the helmet. the point i would like to make is we are not changing any electronics or any sensors in the helmet. to remove the 6 ounces we need in then mel -- helmet to get it under weight, we're taking the material used for strapping and cushioning and taking it for something lighter and stronger. today's helmet has a dual
adviser on it. daytime visor and night time visor. we will remove the double visor and put a daytime visor such as the pilot needs to change to the night time visor like the legacy airplanes they will reach into their pocket and change them. those are two simple things to do. i never want to say anything is easy in the f-35 program but in this instance i think we have it right. we won't mess with high technology things that make that helmet what it is. >> good. mr. chairman, thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you both for your service. thank you for being here. as a north floridian, both eglin and 10 -- tyndall is incredibly important and your service for
those that live in north florida is appreciated. >> when did we go? >> in march. >> in march. it was so informative and really impressed with the f-35. there was one area there was consistent concern with the pilots and maintenance, those that maintain the airplanes. i'm not going to use an acronym. i've learned to not use acronyms but it has a snappy one. it's autonomic logistics information system. aka alice. there were real concerns about false errors reporting. i'm just curious, have we resolved some software issues alice was facing? thank you very much.
>> i'll give you the technical information and let the general give you the war fighter's perspective. since your visit down there we took a look at that health reporting code problem and done a number of things since then that have improved the situation. the first thing we did was put a new increment and software capability into the alice system we call it alice 2.41. that fixed some of the problem. the other problem was we did not have a completed list of codes that were false, so to speak, at the time. we were worried if we made the list too big a code that wasn't false would get overlook. we have a lot more time and more maturity in the airplane we have upgraded that list. the 80% number you heard at eglin accurate for the entire fleet today is about half that now. that's not the best part of the story.
that's the whole fleet. the best part is the lot is and 7 airplanes we're improving today because of the things in the last two years, they are only seeing a handful of 1s and 2s everyday. and that 40% includes the 80% will have those issues but the newer airplanes better. the general has more information on the new airplanes they have been using at hill air force base. >> those airplanes, ma'am, we have three of them up there. they have not lost a sortie since they delivered them. as we have delivered these newer airplanes, they are performing really well. eglin still has older ones and
struggle with the older systems the program office has continued with overtime as the general points out. having said that, there will still be challenges as we still be challenges as we understand a.l.i.c.e. and put our maintainers in the field working in that system through the program office. and i'll tell you one of the things that we did is we had our senior logistic leaders from the f-35 bases and the folks come together to talk about what the big issues and this was one of them. we provided a list of specific things, this false reporting code issue being one of them we worked closely with the program office to get the feedback from the airman in the field to work throw -- through and prioritize those and get the most important
issues to ensure we're fixing the right things on the airplane. >> that is really great to hear. i could hear the frustration they were faced with all these negatives they were having to deal with. are they using the same software system? are they using a.l.i.c.e.? >> all the airplanes in the fleet are using a.l.i.c.e. the newer planes have the fixes in terms of software on the older airplanes. on their flight line they have airlines in the block 1 configuration and 2-a configuration. when those airplanes get upgraded to the 2b on figuration or the block 3 configuration, you're going to find a lot of those problems have gone away. we just haven't had time to back fit and modify those older airplanes. >> great and my time has
expired. good positive update. thank you. >> thank you for the accommodation and thank you, generals, for your presentation and for your service. i want to be clear. did you say in your opening testimony that you have accepted -- you have received 79 f-35s to date? >> yes, ma'am, in the air force we have. >> with the 79 that you have received, do they all have this ejection seat issue? >> yes, ma'am. every airplane. >> i understand that you tested the ejection seat on a mannequin that was like 135 pounds. i've also understood that more recently you tested it on a 245-pound mannequin, but it has not been tested on a mannequin
between the weight of 135 and 245. is that correct? >> in the development test program, we do have those test points planned out, but you are correct. as of today, we have done the high end and the low end. >> my concern is this, if we know there is a problem on the low end, we haven't tested it for those who are likely to be most pilots between the weight of 135 and 245 and we have them in these planes now testing them, are we putting any of them at risk? >> the answer to that is no, ma'am because we have done the risk analysis on the test points we have had on the ejection seat and what we have found is the only area where we have a problem today is with the
lightweight pilot below 136 pounds because when we have tested throughout the envelope, you can't test every point for every weight, but the areas that we have tested indicate that in the heart of the envelope for the heart of the pilot population, there is not any increased risk of injury at all. and i can show you that analysis, ma'am. >> all right. thank you. >> ma'am, from the service perspective, we have a life cycle management center that is part of our air worthiness organization, and they have -- ma'am, to be clear. i talked with the guys who have been working this for 30 years because clearly this is an important issue for us and we share and talk very closely with the program office with this. and exactly what general bogdan said is how it was communicated to us. in fact they've shown us the chart, how it lays out and what the risk levels are. as general bogdan said, there's
certain risks there. we have accepted it. except at the low end beneath 136 pounds. >> well, there's been some report that there's been a memo that you accepted, general bogdan, that accepted a 1 in 4 risk of death if -- with the -- with the problem with the ejection system as being a risk that is worth taking i guess. is that correct? >> ma'am, that is incorrect. the data that you have came from a reporter who got a copy of an official use only internal dod document that my team put together to assess the risks of a lightweight pilot and a pilot between 136 and 165 pounds. that document should have never been publicly released. i have an investigation ongoing to figure out how that reporter got it. but the worst part of this is,
the reporter did not know how to read the report, ma'am, so let me give you the actual facts. today, a pilot that weighs less than 136 pounds, if he steps to the airplane, he or she, has a 1 in 50,000 chance in hurting their neck from an ejection. a pilot between 136 pounds and 165 pounds has a 1 in 200,000 probability of having neck injury from ejection. the individual who reported on this is not an expert in system safety -- >> okay, let me -- my time is running out. as i understand it, the test was done under ideal circumstances. is there any reason to feel that the results would be any different in circumstances where
it was going not at ideal speeds but -- and not going straight but going up? >> your time has expired. general, i want to thank you for being here. you have continued to provide the information as required by this committee, and we will continue to hold this program accountable and provide oversight. not just because there are issues or problems that have arisen, which there are, but because this program is so incredibly important. it needs to be safe for our pilots. it needs to be safe for our country, and it needs to be able to perform at the level that it has been asked to perform because the gap that this plane is going to fill is incredibly important. so, with that, i thank you both for your service, and i know that you both know that we'll continue to work both through the committee hearing structure and throughout the calendar year to both inquire and to work with you to ensure this plane can deliver. thank you.
your questions. this year we're taking our road to the white house coverage into classrooms across the country with our student cam contest, giving students the opportunity to discuss what important issues that they want to hear discussed between the candidates. c-span presents "landmark cases," the book, a guide tour "landmark cases" series which explores 12 historic supreme court decisions, including marbury versus madison, korematsu versus united states, miranda versus arizona, and roe versus wade. written by veteran supreme court
journalist tony morrow and published by c-span in cooperation with cq press, an imprint of sage publications incorporated. get your copy today at c-span.org/landmarkcases. on the next washington journal, representative sheila jackson lee of texas talked about the two-year budget deal that passed in the house and the house speaker election. washington journal is live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span and you can join the conversation with your calls and comments on facebook and twitter. fcc commissioner jessica rosenworcel testified before the senate commerce committee today at a confirmation hearing on her nomination for a second term. the hearing focused on
telecommunications policy. this is a little under two hours. >> the nomination hearing will come to order. today, we welcome commissioner jessica rowsenworcel to testify before the committee as we consider her nomination to serve a second term. today's appearance by the commissioner marks the third time she has has testified before the committee this year and i know the committee appreciates her willingness to come to the hill to answer questions on a variety of issues before the commission. commissioner rosenworcel has been serving as a commissioner at if fcc since may of 2012, and before that served as a senior staffer on this committee before chairman rockefeller and chairman inaway. well known to every individual on this committee. this system binds together our 21st century society. congress has charged the fcc for regulating international communications by radio
television wire satellite and cable. moreover the mandate of the fcc under the communication act is to make available to all americans rapid, efficient, nationwide and worldwide wire 6c and radio communication service. our communication system is absolutely vital to the nation's economy so it's critically important that those who lead the fcc do so by exercising regulatory humility, promoting economic growth, and trusting technological innovation, and working with congress to make world-class communications available to all americans. the commissioner has served during an eventful period at the commission and perhaps most significantly the fcc voted along party lines to burden the internet with title 2 common carry regulation in february of this year, one of the most polarizing decisions in the nation's history. as i said at the time the tech and telecom industries agree on few regulatory matters but one idea that unified them two decades and that was the internet is not the telephone network and one cannot apply the
old rules of telecom to the new world of the internet. i believe there should be clear rules for the digital road with clear authority for the fcc to enforce them and that's why i sought and am still seeking to work with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to find consensus on a solution to preserve the open internet, and i will be asking rosenworcel about this path forward. another important issue that i want to bring up today is about an anomaly in the universal service fund roles that the commissioner and her four colleagues on the commission made a commitment to me to fix by the end of the year and requires a rule consumer to buy a telephone service from that carrier to be able to usf support. i wrote a letter along with 66 additional senators to call on the fcc to make this fix. it is now october 28th and i hope commissioner rosenworcel can provide an update on the progress of the fcc and satisfy the commitment that she and her colleagues made back in march.
having said all this, i want to thank commissioner rosenworcel for her regular engagement with the committee and her willingness to serve another term at the fcc. and i look forward to her testimony today. with that, i'm going to turn now to our distinguished ranking member today for any remarks that he would make. senator? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the chairman for calling today's confirmation hearing. we are here today to consider the renomination of an outstanding public servant. welcome back, commissioner, it's good to see you again. i want to congratulate you on your reappointment to the fcc and thank you for your continued commitment to public service. since joining the commission in 2012, you have taken a thoughtful approach to issues helping the commission to take a light, regulatory approach that encourages innovation, protects consumers, and promotes investment and competition. you've also been a leading advocate for kids.
your focus on the homework gap has helped us all to think differently about connectivity and the need to ensure the children have access to the tools that they need to succeed at school in the digital age. and finally when you testified a few months ago in front of this committee, you proposed many innovative spectrum policy ideas to address the growing demands for wireless broadband. your ideas have helped to shape the upcoming incentive action and will help to frame the fcc's future work to promote 5g wireless service and enable the internet with a variety of things. with the pace of change and the growth and demand for a variety of new communications tools and services, the fcc must be agile, the policy framework established by the congress.
commissioner, you have demonstrated that agility, and we are grateful for your service on the commission. thank you for appearing before us here today, and i look forward to your testimony. mr. chairman, i hope this committee can act quickly to confirm the commissioners nomination for another term. >> appreciate that, thank you, senator. and i want to turn now to our colleague on the committee senator blumenthal who is here to introduce him this morning. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks for this opportunity to introduce a friend and a colleague, but most important, a fellow connecticut native,
commissioner rosenworcel hails from connecticut and it's a great honor and privilege. i want to thank her particularly for her very diligent and dedicated work on behalf of a wide variety of issues of people who are important to this committee, this congress, and the american people. emergency responders, our schools, every day consumers have been her priority and i want to thank her for joining me in connecticut to highlight the importance of avoiding cramming charges, which has been part of her very important work on the commission and seven months later joining me to urge that telephone companies offer consumers new tools to block robocalls. those are just two examples of how she's helped consumers and the people of connecticut in our country, and also serving as a tireless advocate for public safety officials, helping you update the fcc's 9/11 rules to keep community's safe and protected. for children, as my colleague mentioned, you're also been a steadfast advocate, and you've been in fact the leading thinker at the fcc on creative ways to update spectrum policy for both licensed and unlicensed use. so i join your swift
confirmation. i certainly will be working hard on your behalf and honored to introduce you to the committee today. thank you. thanks, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. and we'll turn now to the commissioner and welcome you back to the committee and look forward to hearing what you have to say today. >> thank you. good morning chairman thune, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today for my renomination as commissioner of the federal communications commission. i joined the commission little over three years ago, and for five years before that, i had the honor of serving this committee as senior communications council. as senator thune noted, i worked for senator rockefeller and senator evenway and had the
privilege of serving many of you today. as a result, i am well acquainted with this room and the deliberations of this body, but i can assure you that sitting at this table is humbling. i want to introduce my family sitting behind me is my husband of 15 years, mark, and sitting beside him are our children, caroline francis, age 8, and emmett joseph, age 5. they are our sweetest accomplishment and greatest joy. i know they are not here today, i would also like to note my parents, elliott and william who are at home in hartford, connecticut. my brother, brian who is touring the country as drummer for the band, so my parents have the unique ability to claim they have children who are a rocker and a regulator. it's a tremendous honor to have been renominated by the president to continue to serve as commissioner at the fcc. that's because we are in the early days of the communications revoluti revolution. network technologies are reaching further and faster into all aspects of civic and commercial life. they are transforming the ways we connect, create, employ, and educate and entertain, and govern ourselves. for the commission, all of this
required. it all -- also means we must recognize what is time tested and enduring. that is why i believe the work of the commission must be guided by four essential values, that have informed our communications laws for decades. first, our public safety. our networks must be available when the unthinkable occurs and we need them most. second, universal access. no matter who you are or where you live in this country, for a fair shot at 21st century prosperity, you need accesccess first-rate modern communications. that means we need policies that foster deployment and adoption in urban areas, rural areas and in between. third, competition. competition increases innovation and lowers prices. fourth, consumer protection. communication services are multiplying, but the marketplace is also bewildering to navigate.
so we should always be on guard for ways to help consumers make good choices. these values derive from the law and they have informed my work at the commission to date. in light of them, i am especially proud of agency efforts to strengthen 911 service, and i am proud of our work to increase access to broadband in schools and enhance opportunities for digital age education. i also believe our spectrum policies for licensed and unlicensed air waves have made our wireless markets competitive, innovative, and strong. i'm aware there's more work to be done to bring communications policy into the future. that includes supporting the world's first spectrum incentive auctions, managing the impact of this transition on our nation's local broadcasters, and building on our wireless success with the next generation of mobile
service, known as 5g. it requires new ideas to spur competition, spark entrepreneurship, incentivize the deployment of new networks and help bring the benefits of the communications revolution to everyone everywhere across the country. if reconfirmed, i look forward to working on these tasks with my talented colleagues and the skilled staff of the agency. if reconfirmed, i will continue to be guided by these fundamental values and the law. >> and if reconfirmed, i will continue to respect the priorities of this committee. i also pledge to continue to listen to you, those with business before the commission, and above all, the american people. so in closing, let me thank the members of the committee today for the opportunity to appear here, and i look forward to asking -- answering your questions. >> thank you, commissioner. we'll go in five-minute rounds. i'll start by asking a question
as you might expect about universal service fund rules, which currently require a rural consumer to buy voice service from a small rural telephone company in order for that carrier to be eligible for usf support. same rule for broadband services only without a telephone subscription. this outcome stands in direct contradiction to a broadband focused on universal fund. on march 18th, you and all of your colleagues on the condition made a commitment to solve this growing threat to rural communications by the end of this year. since then, it's my understanding that chairman wheeler has chosen to broaden his scope to include updates to legacy usf models and support systems, and while i'm not opposed to the action, i do want, i should say, i do not want a solution to be subsumed by the weight of a larger effort that may not come together. and so my question is, do you believe the commission will be able to keep its commitment to
the committee that will fix the stand alone broadband problem this year and will you reaffirm your commitment to work toward that goal? >> yes, senator. we need to fix the problem with stand alone broadband for some of our nation's rural carriers through a technical and legal quirk today. we'll offer them universal service support if customers order both voice and broadband service. that does not reflect modern communications and it is time for us to fix it. so if reconfirmed, i will continue to press my colleagues to get this done. like you, i'd like this done by the end of the year. >> i hope that you will make that goal and make that deadline.
>> well, i think we could continue to have conversations about it, but i would like us to produce a decision that we have confidence will be something that the agency can take up and vote on at some point in the future. so we want to be certain that the statutory terminology is not evolving, but sufficiently stable support for decision making. >> have you given your views about the title 2 order delaying this process? considered asking congress for guidance on offering or offering recommendations, i would say, to congress that might point to a way of resolving potential questions of commission authority regarding universal service contributions. >> thank you, senator, that's a very good point. obviously the universal service program, we have is in large part of creation of this committee back in the 1996 telecommunications act. and i think any guidance that you'd like to offer us with respect to both contribution and
distribution would be absolutely welcome. >> well, and we would welcome your looking to us for that direction as well. and perhaps giving us your thoughts about that. i want to ask one final question of call completion. it's something that a lot of consumer groups and rural customers continue to report problems in receiving long distance and phone cal-- wirele calls on their home telephones and to address a lot of these problems, as you know, the fcc adopted new rules last year in november that were designed to monitor deliver of long distance
calls to aid in the prosecution of violations of the communications act. what has the fcc monitored? >> thank you, senator, for the question. rural call completion has unfortunately been a big problem and it's distressing to know that people will reach out to friends and family in rural areas or try to make a business connection or worse, reach out for public safety call and find that the call does not go through. so the agency has issued a declaratory ruling to make clear that failure is a violation of the law. we've also gone after some bad actors, as you acknowledged. the most important thing we did is update our data collection so that carriers have a responsibility to report to us on these matters.
our hope is with more data and more reports we'll be able to track failures to complete the calls and go after bad actors more aggressively. the first filings with that new data collection were just made, and we're reviewing them right now. my hope is we can identify some patterns over time, figure out where the problem is, and that we'll have the record to bring this to a stop. >> senator. >> the emerging budget deal asked to identify federal spectrum to be made available for commercial use by some accounts, that's about one tenth of what the private sector will need. i think this is a pretty good start, but i'm interested in your thoughts about what more can commission can do, what more the congress can do to free up more spectrum and possibly generate more revenue for the treasury. >> thank you, senator, the wireless economy is growing of?
fast. we all know that intuitively knowing just how often we reach for our phones and mobile devices. we have so much more activity in our air waives and if we want the growth to continue, we are going to have to mind nor spectrum for it to do so. that continues to provide us with air waves for licensed and unlicensed services to make sure the wireless economy continues to grow. >> thank you. i want to thank you for the homework gap. i know you're passionate about this. what i'd like for you to do is describe it in as simple terms as you possibly can on a human level if you wouldn't mind. then talk about what the fcc is doing, can be doing, and what the committee could be doing to address this because i find it frankly shocking that we are in the public and private school systems assigning homework that depends on the internet, and
then not providing access to enable kids to do their homework. >> thank you. so when i was growing up, when i wanted to do my homework, requires paper, pencil, and my brother leaving me alone. today, more often than not, it requires the internet. there are studies that suggest that 7 in 10 teaches -- teachers assign homework that requires internet access. the data from the fcc suggests that 1 in 3 households do not have access. and the survey found that there are 5 million households with school-aged children in this country that do not have internet access. so just imagine what it's like to be a kid in one of those households, getting your basic school work done is hard, applying far scholarship or job the challenging. this strikes me as the cruellest part of the divide, but it's
within our power to fix it and bridge it. there are programs that we have that support low income right now and households that we could update. we could clear more of our skies for wi-fi services, which is an easy way to get more people online. then we should support public and private sector partnerships that help get broadband access and computing power into studen students' hands at home. >> right now there is a connect home initiative, connect ed is designed to help support connectivity in schools, connect ed is an effort, excuse me, connect ed is an effort to designed to support connectivity in schools, connect home is an effort that is designed to support it at home. it is a new element we should all be on guard for ways to solve and fix. >> we want you to be relentless on this and we look forward to working with you on this. thank you. >> and senator. >> commissioner, i bet your brother got out of the way when you told him to.
and i hope he's doing well, also. let's talk about the universal service fund. it's wireless component, the mobility fund, as those relate to rural america and specifically precision agriculture. we had a representative from john deere a few days ago testify before the committee about precision agriculture technology, and he said it supports the expansion of the fcc's mobility fund. in your judgment, is existing rural wireless coverage at risk of being reduced without continued usf support? >> yes. >> and what needs to be done in response to that risk of this important segment of our economy? >> well, to date, the fcc has proceeded with the first element of its mobility fund. we've made available roughly $300 million in that fund to support deployment in rural areas. but we need to move on to the second phase of the fund, and what i'd like that second phase to do is focus with laser-like accuracy on areas of the country, rural areas, that do not have service today.
because we know that areas that have better broadband and wireless service are better equipped to compete. that's true for urban america and rural america alike. >> and actually, i think you, you used that very term laser-like focus earlier this year when you appeared before this panel to talk about spectrum and wireless broadband. how is that issue proceeding now among the five members of the commission? and what concrete steps should the commission take in mobility fund to preserve existing levels of wireless coverage? what concrete steps should the commission take in areas such as remote patient monitoring, which is a huge concern of mine, precision agriculture and public safety? and what should congress do? what can congress do?
>> well, the examples you just gave are examples of just how useful wireless is in every aspect of our lives. remote patient monitoring can help with health care, particularly for the elderly or individuals who live in rural areas where traveling to a hospital or health clinic takes a long time. monitoring at home is incredibly efficient and cost-effective. precision -- >> you could even monitor in ambulances now. >> uh-huh. >> do we not? >> yes. >> go ahead. >> agriculture too, underappreciated how important wireless technology is to help support our nation's farms. and then of course public safety. so, when you contemplate the breadth of what wireless services can do, we need to make sure that our mobility fund, the second phase of it, moves ahead and focuses on the benefits that we can provide rural america. i think that we should find --
make sure that we put the remainder of our universal service work on a timeline so we can commit that we will have the second phase of the mobility fund in place in short order. >> and how is that debate proceeding among the five members of the commission in your judgment? >> in my candid judgment, we have some differences of opinion on that. i would like however us to follow through. we committed in 2011 to having a second phase of the mobility fund, and i'd like to see us put in it in place as soon as we can. >> i wonder when the commission might be moving toward a consensus in that, on that question. >> well, i can tell you, senator, if reconfirmed, i will press my colleagues to work to consensus on that. i think it is important to do so. >> do you have any recommendations as to what congress can do to encourage more rural broadband build out? >> i do. i think there's actually legislation before this committee from two senators, the rural wireless accessibility act, and in fact, it recommends that in areas of the country
where large carriers might own licenses to deploy, but are not deploying, that they make sure they lease that out to smaller rural carriers so they can deploy in rural communities. and in order to make them more inclined to do that, it gives them license extension. and i think that kind of incentive-based system is a way to push secondary markets to work well and better serve rural america. >> so you're endorsing the bill, correct? >> i think they're going to want me to say yes. i believe the fundamental idea in there is spot on and could be particularly helpful for rural communities. >> thank you very much. >> senator markey. >> thank you, mr. chairman, very much. big decision earlier this year at the fcc, and i appreciate the fact that your decision on net neutrally, title 2, is in the courts, but i also believe that
the construct we have today under your new regulation is the correct one. it's a good balance between the broadband companies on the one hand, and on the other hand, you have all these start-ups, the software and internet-specific companies all across the country, all these smart, smart young people who are listening to guster right now, who really do, you know, make the difference, the change in our society. and right now, they're drawing 65% of all venture capital in america are going to software and internet-specific new companies, so it's a good balance and that's really the change in our society. so i wanted to compliment you on that because i do think that there's a high probability of that decision being upheld. and i think it's on very strong legal grounds. but i'd like it turn, if i could, to your decision of just a year ago, which was to
increase the contribution that is inside of the education rate to make sure that we're wiring schools, that we wire the libraries, that we give the young people in our country the access to the technology, which they need in order to compete. and so, you know, we've got wi-fi in starbucks, and people go in there now, and that's a constitutional right people have to go to a starbucks and to use their wi-fi, but not so much in schools or classrooms. a kid doesn't automatically guarantee that that's the case. and you talked about the kids that don't have the internet even at home. and i guess that's kind of what i'd like you to elaborate a little bit more on, because when i was a kid, you know, my father was a milkman, but if i took my books home, i could compete with the school superintendent's son.
we all do that, people on this panel. but in a modern era, the school superintendent son has access to all these incredible technologies, and the poorer you are, the less likely you're going to have it. in a way that's going to allow you to compete in a world where businesses and schools are going to be looking towards your familiarity, your ability to be iebl -- able to use that skill set. so that's kind of a big divide that continues to be out there. and you really led the charge to increase it up to $3.4 billion a year. the funding that's going into that, and wi-fi is a big part of that. could you elaborate a little bit more about how you see that unfolding and what the fcc is doing to monitor that to make sure it gets implemented properly? >> right. thank you, senator. erate is if nation's largest education technology program, as you know. when i got to the fcc, what i found was it was frozen in the era of dial-up. and if you think about that, that just makes no sense. we know that half the jobs today require some level of digital
skill, and by the end of the decade, it's going to be 77%. we need to make sure that every student and every school in the community has the ability to participate in the new economy. >> thank you. and you are right. this was a program that was put in place just as the 1996 act was passed. and it was a dial-up era, not one home had broadband when we passed that law in 1996, and senator rockefeller and i created this erate program back then, and it's now spent $36, $38 billion making sure that kids have access to it, but the modernization just has to continue. and if you could just elaborate a little bit more about just how you see wi-fi, specifically as a technology, you know, unfolding
at -- in its role to give the kids the tools they need. >> it's so important. students used to march down the hall once a week where a computer lab showed up in shrink-wrapped packages. that's no longer the way it has today. they need to be capable of device learning, that requires wi-fi. and one of the best things about what we did is we updated what's known as category 2 in the erate program so make sure that wi-fi support is available for schools. and many more schools are going to be able to get support from this program to not only get broadband through the front door, but move it around the school and to every classroom as a result. >> well, in december, we celebrate the first anniversary of that change in the law, and you were a real driving force in doing that. so i want to congratulate you on what you have done for the children of our country. it's a great accomplishment. >> thank you senator markey. >> thank you, chairman.
and commissioner, it's great to have you here and thanks for your work on the spectrum auction that comes up next year. it now looks like maybe as many as 1,000 local broadcast stations will have to move where they are to somewhere new and if that's going to cost twice as much as the estimate of what it would cost, i think the cost comes out of the proceeds of the auction. you can correct me if i'm wrong on that. but, what kind of preparations are you all making at the fcc for 1,000 stations to have to find a new place to be and for that cost to be twice as high as you initially thought it was going to be? >> thank you, senator. you're right. we have a very big auction coming up next year. we have the world's first spectrum incentive auction, and that'll put more mobile broad ban bands into commercial carriers' hands. we'll make more on licensed opportunities available. and it will give broadcasters an opportunity to participate by getting out of the business of broadcasting, or continue to stay in.
some segment of the broadcast need to relocate their stations. i can't tell you right now if the number you have is correct because until we're in the middle of the auction, i don't think we're actually going to know how many stations need to relocate. under the middle class tax relief and job creation act, congress set aside $1.75 billion from the auction proceeds to assist those stations with relocation. i think it is important that we make sure that those funds are ample. every station that's being relocated should have the ability to access those funds. the present time, i think the money that we have before us that congress tasked us with setting aside is adequate, but i think we should stay on guard because if we find out that it is not, we'll have to come back to congress and ask for your assistance. >> on the thousand number, do you all have an estimate that
you're looking at? surely there's some estimate over there as to how many stations you think will take the relocation as opposed to the go out of business option? >> i don't think we have a specific estimate. i think that's because we won't have one until closer to the date of the auction. we are certainly socializing these opportunities with broadcasters all across the country. we are finding some are interested and some are not, but we won't ultimately know until we start the forward auction. and when we have signs from each of the broadcasters before that auction begins about whether or not they'll participate. >> and at some point, if you believe you don't have enough money to make those relocations work, what will you do? >> i believe the minute, if we determine that we do not have enough funds the first thing we should do is come to this committee and come to the congress. i think broadcasters should not be unduly charged with having to manage this spectrum of relocation. >> all right. on one other topic, and i think nobody has ever been on the commission who understands this committee better than you do who went to the commission with a better relationships than you do. and then and again today, you promised to work the committee to get back to the committee
promptly. i know there are at least two occasions where i was part of a group that contacted the commission, you as a member of the commission, not just you individuall individual individually, one five members of the committee, including senator wicker, who was the ranking republican of the communications subcommittee, expressing strong concerns about the fcc's upcoming vote on retroactively changing their mind on joint sales agreements. another, senator thune and i and others have contacted the commission on our concern that we shouldn't try to apply the anti-monopoly title two regulations to the broadband
marketplace. neither of those letters ever had a response. not even a response. we got your letter and we're not going to respond. so how does that work? do these letters go to the commission and collectively you and the chairman just decide you're not going to answer? how does that work and how do you think it should work? >> well, senator, i apologize if you did not get an official response to those letters. most of those letters do in fact go to the chairman's office, i'd be perfectly happy to offer responses myself. i think it is important we continue to work with this committee and you're the folks that created the law that created the agency. so i want to make sure that our relationships are actually improved and we're more responsive. >> well, i think maybe, maybe in the future, i'll see that you for sure are copied in because if the letter goes to the chairman's office, the chairman is not responding, and i look forward to talking to the chairman wheeler about that the next time i see him. though i personally talked to him about both of these letters and he wasn't particularly responsive even in person on the views that the committee or the congress had on these issues. thank you.
>> thank you, senator. >> thank you, chairman. i want to thank for being here, commissioner. and i wanted to ask about the erate program. so a state like new hampshire we have many rural areas in our state, and we've really, i think, been left behind on this program. so if you look at the history in new hampshire, we've been 50th out of 50th for many years. in 2014, i think we moved up a little bit, but we're still at the bottom of the list unfortunately toward the bottom. of course, we're a net donor set, so my constituents are paying into this but not getting back even the full value of their dollar and qu a diminished value if you look at the overall fund. and so in rural areas, what i'd like to know -- so we've had this discussion about your vote and others to increase the cap to $1.5 billion on erate, but i would like to know what are we
going to do to address adequate distribution of erate, because your role at the fcc, we can't leave rural students behind in all of this. so i'd like to get your impression on that and in turn with it, one of the issues that i see with it is prioritizing instructional facilities like schools and libraries because right now administrative offices are also eligible, but as we look at the priorities it seems to me that direct student services, while i don't diminish the role of administrators when we have to prioritize, let's get it directly to those interactions with the students. can you give me some impressions on what are we going to do on d d distribution, what are we going to do directly on this program?
one of the big complaints i get from my constituents about why more of them aren't applying for erate dollars -- let me be straightforward. there's six forms, and we don't have an army of people in new hampshire to be able to -- we can't hire, you know, all this group of people to be able to put this application in maybe
oth other larger school districts can do that. and we need to simplify this application. and i think that's something because i've been reaching out to schools and libraries, how can we get more dollars to you? get more access to our students. so i want to hear more about distribution, how do we direct it better? and how can we get this done to a very simplified application so that we don't disadvantage smaller states and rural areas based on bureaucracy? >> thank you, senator. those are good points. you might be surprised i agree with just about all you said, and as a new englander, there are parts of new hampshire that are very rural and have not traditionally been the beneficiary of most of our universal service programs. that's why i think the reform of the erate program is so sustainable because by reforming our category 2 services, we are
making wi-fi more available in more schools and new hampshire is among them. for the first time, new hampshire as a state has been eligible for that support in several years. so we are going to find that more funds are actually going to flow to rural communities for wi-fi support, which i think is terrific and helpful. i take your point that schools and libraries and student-centered activities should be the focus. i'd be happy to follow up on your concern about administrative offices. and then finally -- >> not that i don't think they should be available, but i think if we prioritize that, that should be the last priority as we look forward to serving students. >> that's a fair point. i don't know enough about that today to get back to you on that. but your point about streamlining the application, i've gone around the country and spoken to lots of schools and student groups and state technology directors, and they all say the same thing. we streamlined the application, and our reforms last year, but i will be the first to tell you, it is not enough. it is a continuous process and we need to have our ear to the ground and listen to the schools that apply and find out. >> my state is so critical. and i just wanted to follow-up briefly on the issue of the open internet order. and one of the things that in my view was lacking in it was this idea of a independent cost benefit analysis where many, you know, minority members on the station had called for an independent cost analysis and given obviously the directive to act and necessity, do you think it's important for the commission to include an independent cost benefit analysis of its rules to ensure
that it does meet the public's interest, convenience for the broader purpose. >> that's right. the president had an executive order back in 2011 directing to the extent feasible that agencies engage in cost-benefit analysis when they make major decisions and i fully support that. in 2010, when we first came up with the policies, we had a fairly extensive cost benefit analysis. it is candidly less extensive in the most recent decision in part because that was a response to an opinion from the court of appeals, but i take your point that that should be a part of our analysis going forward, and i could commit to doing that for you. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. senator fisher. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, commissioner. you've talked about opening up more unlicensed spectrum for wi-fi, even highlighting your concerns with the way the cbo has scored the license spectrum
over the unlicensed. so what are the potential implications of releasing more spectrum for that unlicensed use? >> thank you. unlicensed spectrum is incredibly important for our economy think of it like wi-fi. it demock ratizes internet access. it is the source of $140 billion of economic activity every year, and even our licensed carriers rely on it when they offload service onto it. it grinds it through an analysis that sometimes produces results that are at odds with some of the committee and the congress. and one of the channllenges is that the congressional budget
office prefers licensed spectrum to unlicensed spectrum, and that's because licensed spectrum raises revenue when we auction it off to commercial carriers. but what it misses is that unlicensed spectrum is a source of so much economic activity as i mentioned, $140 billion every year, so it's my hope that going forward, spectrum legislation and job creation. in other words, every time that there is an instruction to auction licensed air waves, there's a cut for unlicensed or a wi-fi dividend. i think if we get the right mix of licensed and unlicensed services, our wireless economy is really going to grow. >> so legislatively, you would suggest that we be clearer in the proposals that we put forward? >> yes. >> thank you. also, in march the senate passed a bipartisan resolution on the internet of things that senator ayotte and bookers and i put out
and it stressed the importance of developing a national strategy so that we could encourage the internet of things. as the resolution states, innovation is the key to the united states remaining a world leader in technology. however, to move forward with these creative ideas, i think we have to have some clear rules and some clear expectations. so i'm concerned that the proposed net neutrality rule moves in less than a -- i would say a market-driven direction. so what can the fcc do to foster innovation so that the united states continues to be a world leader in technology and also in telecommunications? >> thank you. the internet of things is exciting. by the end of the decade, we could have as many as 50 billion devices with wire lessen soless.
we'll have people talking to machines. machines talking to people and machines talking to machines. there are four fundamental policy areas of the internet of things. i think we have to be concerned about security. we have to be concerned about privacy. we have to be concerned about the adequate si of ip addresses for all those devices, and we need to be concerned about spectrum. back to your prior question, making more unlicensed spectrum could help the internet of things really flourish. >> do you think that would be the main thing the fcc can do is maybe step back to offer more encouragement in many of those areas? >> yes, i don't think we should be overly aggressive at this point. i believe that we should allow experimentation with the internet of things, and i think inteyñ how we'll see its think possibilities grow. >> thank you very much.
>> senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is good to see you here today, commissioner, and good to see your family here with you as well. emmett joseph, that's a sharp looking tie you're wearing today as well. thanks for coming to montana last month to participate in the callispell workshop where you saw firsthand the opportunities to technology can truly bring to rural america. in your statement to the committee you mentioned one of your top priorities is securing access to communication services for all people no matter where they live, and i couldn't agree more. access to technology is allowing us to remove geography as a constraint and allows montanians and those who live in rural areas to start and grow world-class companies, but we still have a lot of work to do,
a lot of issues to overcome to connect. the communications act tasks the fcc with providing fcc with providing services to rural consumers that are reasonably comparable to services in urban areas. now some areas are about to get 5g service. in many areas of montana don't know what g is. we'd love to see g anything. can we really say that this is comparable service? >> thank you, senator, for the question. and thank you for acknowledging my family. i think we have work to do. you can travel in rural america and rural montana and know that connectivity is not yet everywhere. and we are continuingly adjusting, tweaking, and
evolving our universal service policies to make sure that we reach those areas with more precision. that is not something we can do one time, we have to constantly identify those areas that do not have service and making sure we direct our funds towards those areas. >> what, what is the fcc doing to incentivize buildout and bring rural states up to comparable levels? i think it often comes down to the senate? >> senator, i agree with you. i think it is important we use our licensed terms as incentive. they should be longer if you meet buildout requirements. buildout requirements that are specific to rural areas, we should also think about how during our auctions we auction off small enough sizes that small carriers compete. and finally in redoing our designated entities rules recently, we created new providers. and i think the mix of policies like that and incentives built into them, we have a chance of actually providing better service. >> you brought up the issue of spectrum, and as you know, we have plenty of spectrum in montana, the problem is deployment.
we have companies in montana who want to build out infrastructure, but the spectrum they need is owned by companies that aren't using it. so i'd like to get your thoughts on what are some ways to encourage companies that have spectrum in rural areas, in rural states, to build out or at least lease the spectrum to rural providers? >> thank you. i guess this is where i'm going to give a plug to the bill i mentioned earlier, which i think thoughtfully suggests that companies, large companies that have spectrum licenses in rural areas, to the extent they're not deploying there, should be given an incentive to lease it out to small companies that are willing to do so. and that incentive could be an extension of their underlying license. >> could you explain how the fcc determines the buildout requirements for spectrum holders? a rural state like montana, company could meet its buildout requirements by only serving two or three small communities, but
still leave 70% of the state's population unserved. what could the fcc do to ensure buildout in the rural areas so that everyone's served? >> you're right. traditionally, i believe most of our buildout requirements have been on a population-basis. which means in a vast state like montana, you could service a handful of towns and succeed in reaching that milestone. i think the question is, can we come up with a system that is more geographic-based or road-mile based so we can make sure service goes more places, because people of course travel through those places to do their business to move through the state and to get to work. >> we just had a situation, in fact there was a bow hunter attacked by a grizzly bear, i met him last week back home. amazing story of survival, but it was his cell phone that saved his life. as he was in a pretty remote area, was able to get a signal and get help and probably save the young man's life. last question, universal service.
many companies in montana rely on universal service funds, but there's issues with the fund include overbuilding as well as duplication. you mentioned the importance for all americans, what's the fcc doing to make sure usf funds are bringing connectivity to unserved communities, back to the same drum beat here, rather than communities who already have access? >> you're right, senator. we have got $4.5 billion that we can make available annually for high cost areas of this country. rural communities. we would be wasteful if we chose to continue to allow those funds to support areas where the private sector has already supplied broadband services. we are making efforts to make sure that if there is a private sector supplier, we no longer provide funding to those areas. we're going to have to continue to work on that. we cannot afford duplication because our funds are not infinite. >> couldn't agree more, thanks, commissioner. >> thank you, senator.
and reminder to check your bars of service before going into bear country. i would think would be a good -- and bring your bear spray. and perhaps some other fire power along with you. senator mccaskill. >> thank you. commissioner i -- back in 2013, 2014, there was announcements made about fining being levied against those carriers who had abused the lifeline program. as you know, this has been an area of great interest for me for many years trying to get at the waste and abuse and fraud that was inherently embedded in that program because of a lack of programming when it began during the bush administration. i thought it was great when more than $94 million in fines was announced. i thought, okay, we're making progress. i am beyond confused as to why not one dime of that has been collected. um, and i look at the list of
the people that owe money on these fines, one of them is tracphone. well, they're getting a big check from us every month. i believe all of these people that owe millions of dollars are still part of the program. and i think it's really important, and i mean like now, that i get some kind of answer from the commission, why not one dime of these -- i mean, this is like a big -- we might as well have a big flashing sign that says, doesn't matter, do whatever you want in the lifeline program because we're not going to bother to collect the money. and we're going to keep paying you. explanation as to why none of these fines have been collected? >> senator, i agree with you, that sounds problematic. $100 million in fines during the last two years for bad actors who have played fast and loose with this program. we have absolutely got to make sure that they are paying up, and if they are defrauding the
program, they should have absolutely no reason to continue to participate. i agree, but on the specifics of their payment schedule, i would need to get back to you. >> there's no payment schedule because there's no payment. i'm not aware of any major fines levied since february of 2014. i would like to know specifically if you all have the tools to cut off their participation in the program until they pay the fines. i see no reason why they should be allowed to participate until they've paid. >> we do have a debarment program and we need to make sure we apply that. the challenge with applying it, of course, is we don't want to the cut off the consumer. we have to figure out -- >> believe me, there's plenty of people out there to pick them up. they're soliciting for folks on every street corner. i can assure you. it is not hard to get a lifeline phone. this is not a difficult challenge. and believe me, everybody who has them knows how to get them. so i'm not as worried about that. about them getting cut off, especially if you give them notice or direct them to a different carrier which should not be that hard if we're keeping the records we should be
keeping around this program. >> that's exactly what i'm talking about. we need to give them notice, find a way to get them to a new carrier so they are not cut off from basic service. >> well, i'm going to be paying really close attention to see if some money comes in on that. i was confused when i looked at the budget deal. i don't know this provision got in there, and if anybody knows, i would love to find out. i just think it's a really bad idea that we've put something in this budget deal that's going to allow the federal government to participate in robocalls to collect debt. and the interesting thing is when i looked at the backup for this, for the changes in direct spending and outlays, cbo doesn't say we're going to get any money from it. so i'm not -- i'm against that provision. i will probably vote for the deal because i can't see something this important compromise because of that, but
you're going to have the power to issue regulations with nine months dictating the frequency and duration of such calls. i hard time imagining if someone has got debt collectors coming after them, i have a hard time imagining that robocalls are very effective. you know, i don't think robocalls are effective for anything, including politics, but i'm pretty sure if you owe money to a bunch of people, including the federal government, you're not paying much attention to robocalls. so i would like to see really aggressive regulations around this if this actually does become the law. about how frequent these calls could be and the duration of these calls. i just think this is a stupid idea. robocalls, we should be getting rid of them, not empowering the federal government to make them. i would appreciate your feedback and the commission's feedback on the regulations that you'd be willing to put in place if we go down this, i think, nutty path of -- >> so like you, i detest robocalls, and i know i'm not alone.
>> america detests robocalls. >> it is the largest single category of complaints that the fcc gets year in and year out. our friends at the ftc get even more. >> right. >> so i am proud of the work the agency has done to try to improve the possibilities of do not disturb technology, give consumers the right to revoke consent and when and if we have to proceed with the legislation, you just described, we would be perfectly happy to work with your office to make sure that american consumers get a little more of that privacy they deserve. >> i'd like to see a rule that could make one robocall a year for ten seconds. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator mccaskill, and my understanding is that i think that provision that's in the budget agreement is something that the administration proposed in the budget in previous years. i think that's something they put on the table in this current discussion as well. [ inaudible ] i figured you would say that. thank you senator mccaskill,