Homeland Defense: Actions Needed to Address Management of Air Sovereignty Alert Operations to Protect U.S. Airspace, Statement of Davi M. D'Agostino, Director Defense Capabilities and Management, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Readiness, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, April 22, 2009   [open pdf - 453KB]

"Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: I am pleased to be here before you this morning to discuss GAO's recently issued report on the North American Aerospace Defense Command's (NORAD) and the Department of Defense's (DOD) air sovereignty alert (ASA) operations. According to the National Strategy for Aviation Security, issued in March 2007, and officials from U.S. intelligence agencies with whom we met, air attacks are still a threat to the United States and its people. To address this threat, NORAD and DOD have fully fueled, fully armed aircraft and trained personnel on alert 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at 18 ASA sites across the United States, as shown in appendix I. Of the 18 sites, 16 are maintained by Air National Guard (ANG) units and 2 are maintained by active duty Air Force units. If warranted, NORAD can increase personnel, aircraft, and the number of ASA sites based on changes in threat conditions. [...]. My testimony today, which is based on our January 2009 report on ASA operations, will discuss whether (1) NORAD routinely conducts risk assessments to determine the appropriate operational requirements; (2) the Air Force has implemented ASA operations as a steady-state mission, which would require programming funding and measuring readiness, in accordance with NORAD, DOD, and Air Force guidance; and (3) the Air Force has developed a plan to address the recapitalization challenges to sustaining ASA operations for the future. I will conclude with some observations regarding our recommendations and DOD's response to our recommendations."

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