Concerned About Loss of TSAT

Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) all questioned whether the Obama Administration’s plan to terminate the Transformation Satellite Communication program would leave the future warfighter with too little unprotected communications capability. Responding to their questions during a House Armed Services strategic forces panel hearing May 21, Gen. Robert Kehler, Air Force Space Command boss, acknowledged that the decision was a budget-driven one, but that the requirement remains. However, he said that “when you have to get to the source of capabilities the TSAT was going to bring is really the question.” In the short term, said Kehler, “we will continue to fly for a little while longer the Milstar system” and push ahead with the unprotected Wideband Global System and protected Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites. He expects to “harvest some of the technology out of TSAT” for the AEHF and potentially the WGS. (Kehler written testimony; Tauscher opening remarks)