Townhall was in attendance at the Hudson Institute's Space and Missile Defense Forces and Capabilities for the Warfighter forum on Capitol Hill Wednesday where Lt. Gen. David Mann addressed Congress. In attendance was Congressional Missile Defense Caucus Chairman Trent Franks and Co-Chair Doug Lamborn. Lt. Gen. David Mann is Commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command. He is responsible for advocating for the missile defense needs of the Combatant Commanders, training and equipping the war-fighter in support of those missions, and coordinating Army space and missile defense forces and capabilities in support of USSTRATCOM.
"I think it's fair to say that we feel very confident in our Navy, in our Air Force, in our Army, our tank formations, our infantry formations," Mann said. He made it clear that the Department of Defense feels very confident in its conventional war arsenal but was reluctant when it came to the evolving technological warfare that may be taking place in the future.
"The recent space launch from North Korea, you know, that satellite is in orbit... it does reflect a capability that North Korea is trying to leverage in terms of ballistic missile technologies.That's disconcerting, and uh, we gotta get after it," he said.
Mann went on to mention how pleased he was the recent budget released by the White House in saying that, "I am kind of counting on, or hoping that looking into 2017 some modifications or adjustments may be made so those accounts can come up a little bit in terms of funding."
Mainly, he wanted the congressmen to know that while America is safe, expansion in the budget will be necessary to continue adapting to the ever evolving battlefield.
It is safe to say he certainly downplayed the North Korean launch on Sunday but many people in the room seemed to doubt whether or not the DOD fully understands what the satellite is capable of. When pressed on the issue towards the end of the forum, he quickly interjected and said, "they have not been able to verify that it is operating or transmitting."