tv Hearing on Weather Satellites CSPAN January 5, 2016 7:37am-9:17am EST
>> got it. and you can expect that, we can expect that a couple weeks after -- >> after the release of the noaa policy. >> fantastic. so we are talking about january, february? >> yes. >> okay. fantastic. let's see, i want to go through a couple of comments that are -- i should say, statements that were made regarding the space policy. and i want to get a reaction from you on it. one statement is that, and i'll just read it, in its entirety, the latest iteration of noaa's policy fails to makes a distinction between raw satellite data that would be ingested into noaa's operational weather models which is the intended focus of this policy versus the output of those models and derived data products. it is the full free and open access to model output derived data products and current ground conditions that underpins the
robust u.s. commercial weather sector. do you agree there's a difference between the output and the raw data, the satellite data coming down from the satellites? >> let me predicate this with saying i'm not an expert which talks about the essential versus nonessential data sets. and they address mostly the issue of the data. there is a difference between input and output products for certain. no question about that. so the -- the simple answer to your question is, yes, there's a difference between those. and i don't know that the policy was meaning to address the output products, the output services, as they are free and open to all. but it is focused on, from my perspective in using commercial data in our operations, is how we deal with the data we receive from the vendors, which is the input data you refer to. >> so going back to your mention of wm-40, there's another statement that says, wmo-40 resolutions 40 and 25 explicitly permit private sector companies
to restrict the redistribution of their data. and allow those same member countries flexibility and discretion in determining which data sets are freely exchange and under which conditions they choose to do so. so it looks to me under wmo-40 private industry that is providing data to augment the numerical weather models that data should be protected. would you like to make a comment on that? >> probably not. i am not -- i'm not a wmo-40 expert and don't know the nuances of it. i probably should let it go at that. we should have a separate conversation about wmo-40. >> i would like to get these kind of resolutions in this final space policy coming from noaa, commercial space policy, and i know it's going to be in a couple weeks, but these are the kind of things that absolutely must be definitively determined
before -- if we're going to have a robust commercial segment that can augment our numerical weather models and save money for the taxpayers. that's my concern. more data, better data, and cost savings to the taxpayer. and i think we can do that but we've got to be really clear about what is required here. i've got about -- well, i'm out of time. so i'm going to stop now and recognize the gentleman from virginia, mr. buyer. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. volz, he talked about the delivery of the atms advanced technology and microwave sounder has been delayed. but in the last quarterly update this committee received, noaa said it had to be delivered in the end of november to maintain jpss-1 launch date. but your testimony now, you can say that you maintain that launch date despite the fact that the mts won't be delivered until december. can you explain the conflict?
>> the atms delivery was no later than the end of november to support the plan going forward to a december 2016 launch date, correct. the atms has slipped and now late december/early january. we have had to look into what we have had to take time out of reserve, schedule reserve. the late november date was planned for and did not encumber any of the reserve schedule reserve left in the schedule beyond november. we have had to take it, had to debit against those reserves to accommodate the late delivery of the atms. so we had flexibility. it was not a no reserve date for delivery. we have been using it. >> in your testimony, you talked about the gozar team applying all the lessons learned from the last two years to do timely and goes-stu satellites. does the same theory of work with the gpss, because i know you're -- you have now moved to
a new contractor for jpss-2. any risks because you're not building with the old contractor on what you learned doing that? >> yes. and i agree with mr. powner that going -- let me go two points. first, what i said is we are applying the lessons learned over the last two years in the integration test of gozar to make sure the schedule we have laid out there this time next year, october of next year for the launch, includes those lessons learned. that's why we have confidence that we're meeting schedules. we still need to revisit what that means for the goz-stu schedules and we are doing that right now. now, as far as changes in the contract going from one spacecraft vendor to another for the jpss, that does increase risk. that's a risk factor we have now added to the system. it was not there before. and i agree that it does. you can't say that's not the case. whether that was -- that risk is -- where that ranks in the overall risks of different risks
in the program is something we had to look at when we made the procurement of going through the process. it is an increase in risk, but not necessarily an increase in the overall program and execution risk as we look at the many factors when we consider program risks. >> when you made the new award, it was understanding this was a piece of the overall puzzle. >> correct, sir. >> mr. powner, you just said that the very attractive idea that perhaps congress could reduce this expenditure in upcoming years. can you expand on that a little? >> well, clearly when you look at the outyear satellites, the follow-on for the polar constellation and then get into the outyear goz, there's a question about what is the most economic way to go forward. do you build everything as quickly as you can and get economies to scale there and perhaps store them on the ground? perhaps. do you perhaps slow down the acquisition of some of the
out-year satellites? perhaps. and i think what -- and i know this committee, we have worked with both your staff and the majority staff, they are looking for analysis. and there was a comment made that congressman johnson asked a question about this tradeoff assessments. i'm not aware of the tradeoff assessments that satisfied your staff on this committee. i think they need the tradeoff assessments to make the right decisions on out-year deliveries. >> thank you. dr. volz, do you have a response? >> i agree entirely that the outyear execution is -- needs to be addressed. what we have focused our activities on the last five years as we came to the assessment of risk on both polar and geostationary satellites is that we did no the have a robust configuration on orbit. our first and overriding priority was to get to a situation where we had, we were tolerant and had a single fault. we could suck for a loss of a satellite asset and not disable the weather system.
and that has dictated the aggressive approach to building the gozar satellites in our aggressive schedule. as we went through what could be a mission-ending failure. the same with the jpss. so that's been our primary motivation. once we get to the fault tolerant situation on orbit, exactly as mr. was mentioned, we need to have the assets available to have the flexibility of those choices. until we have that, we cannot do anything to make it better or worse. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i want to thank the ranking member. and in closing we're -- oh, very good to see you down there. recognize the gentleman from alabama, mr. palmer, for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, thank you for recognizing. i'm trying to do my job. >> that's what the taxpayers in alabama expect. >> exactly. mr. volz, the president budget
requested $380 million for the program. having seen the costs overruns and delays faced by the current satellites, and i think maybe you can understand our hesitation to fully or some of us our hesitation to fully funding this program. how exactly are these funds going to be used? >> thank you for the question, sir. the polar follow-on is the third and fourth series of the jpss satellites. the funds for this -- the initial $380 million are primarily to start and to the extent about 85% of those going directly to the instrument providers who have built the instruments for jpss-1 and jpss-2. the benefit of this approach that we've tried to articulate is that we are buying the satellite instruments, which are the highest risk, potentially the highest impactful satellite system at any time. in a bulk buy. we are buying two at once,
maximizing the efficiency to the procurement at a time the instrument builders are ready to build them. having just finished the same instruments on jpss-2 so the money is going to -- extent of 85% or thereabouts directly to the main four vendors who are supplying instruments for the jpss-3 and jpss-4 satellites. >> are those vendors building the components you think are most crucial? >> they will be prioritized, yes. >> so the majority of the money is going to that? >> yes, sir. >> all right. let me ask you one other question that i will ask to mr. powner, in gao's opinion, would noaa incur higher costs if they did not receive the all of the requested funds for the polar programs? >> i'm not certain. this is back to where the appropriated analysis and the tradeoff assessments needs to be given to this committee, to gao, so that we can actually answer that question.
you need analysis that supports it. >> well -- to close this, and i assume this will close the hearing, i just think handing noaa another blank check to build satellites when they can't get the ones that they have off the ground, it appears a bit irresponsible, mr. chairman. and i think noaa needs to fix their systematic problems that have plagued the program for years before we throw any more money at it. i yield the balance of my time. >> i would like to thank the gentleman from alabama. it is -- it's a very challenging issue that we have -- we have delays, we have these challenges, and it seems the only answer is more money, more time, more money, more time. if we don't provide it, then we have quite frankly even bigger problems of data gaps and the inability to predict weather.
so it puts us in congress in a tough pentagon when we have these issues. but i want to close that i believe we can augment the challenges with commercial data. i believe it can reduce the cost. i believe it can -- it can prevent these kind of scenarios from even occurring if we do it right. and we might not be there today, and i understand that, these kind of things take time, but what i'm very grateful about is in the next couple of weeks before the end of the year we'll see a final commercial space policy from noaa. and then more policies that come after that so that our private sector knows how to work with noaa in order to provide the data to augment our systems. when i see that final commercial space policy, i would really like to see two major things. one is that there's a difference between upstream and downstream. a difference between flat-out raw data, ones and zeros coming off the satellite, and the downstream end products
available to the public and in the national interest. and i also would like to see a very clear resolution that, in fact, wmo-40 and wmo-25 explicitly permit private sector companies to restrict the redistribution of their data and allow those same member countries flexibility and discretion in determining which data sets are freely exchanged and under what conditions they choose to do so. so i think that's important as we develop this commercial industry that is going to be good for the taxpayer, good for those of us trying to protect lives and property. and i think these are important issues that need to be put into the commercial space policy. with that, i want to thank our witnesses for all your time today. thank you for the hard work both of you do. and with that, we are adjourned.
both chambers returned for the second session of the 114th congress. the house returning later today and beginning work on a budget reconciliation bill that defunds planned parenthood and repeals the health care law. the senate already approved the measure. the president says he'll veto legislation. senators return on january 11th with the chamber set to consider a bill from kentucky senator rand paul that would require an audit of the federal reserve. you can follow the senate live on c-span 2 and the house on c-span. and the kentucky senator will be on c-span's road to the white house coverage with a rand paul town hall meeting from new hampshire. he'll be speaking with supporters in exeter. you can watch those comments live this afternoon at 6:30 p.m. eastern on c-span 2.
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next, remarks from a member of president obama's task force on 21st century policing. she spoke about the effectiveness and lawfulness of police officers around the country and what's being done to improve relations with minority communities. it's an hour. my name's geoffrey stone for those of you who don't know me. i have the pleasure of introducing our keynote speak they are afternoon, it tracey meares, a professor of law at yale university. it's my opportunity to do this because when i served briefly i invited tracey to come speak, and this is one of the benefits of that service. tracey meares received her jd here in 1991. and