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STATEMENT OF BRIG, GEN. K. F. DAWALT, DEFENSE ATOMIC SUPPORT AGENCY
NUCLEAR TESTING FACILITY, JOHNSTON ISLAND
Senator STENNIs. All right, gentlemen. We are glad to have you here and just take your time. I want you to first tell us what items you are going to present to us. General DAwal.T. I am Gen. K. F. Dawalt, Defense Atomic Support Agency. I will present a statementif Imay. Senator STENNIS. What items are you appearing for now? Do you have a reclama item here of $1.6 million ? General DAWAL.T. Yes, sir. Senator STENNIS. This is open session. General DAWALT. This is on Johnston Island, sir. Senator STENNIS. This is classified material or not? General DAWALT. I can cover it in an unclassified manner. Senator STENNIS. All right, if you can. General DAWALT. I can do that, sir. Senator STENNIs. All right, General, proceed. General DAwal.T. For fiscal year 1966 we are requesting $3,957,000 for only four line items.
Now the largest one of these items is for Johnston Island, our Pacific base being held in readiness for nuclear tests should such tests be directed by the President. The estimated cost is $3,688,000. Of that amount the House action denied $1,688,000. We are requesting restoration of $1,663,000. Senator STENNIs. Pardon me. You have your figures there. May I interrupt you just a second 2 General DAwal.T. Yes, sir. Senator STENNIS. I want to ask this question: This is a request now for construction funds, of $3,688,000, for Johnston Island, for the readiness of our facilities should we resume testing; correct? General DAwal.T. Yes, sir. Senator STENNIS. Senator Saltonstall, you are familiar with this: you know all about it; so let us proceed. I think this is an important matter. General DAwal.T. We are requesting the restoration of $1,663,000, sir, which will provide those high-priority items needed now to sustain an adequate capability for execution of the tests, if ordered, and for interim operations. During nontest periods Johnston Island has been designated as a site for space programs, and other sensitive activities which require extensive use of the airfield and of the other facilities. Moreover, the availability of Johnston Island has already contributed materially to the airlift in southeast Asia. MATS is currently scheduling multiple daily flights through Johnston Island for refueling. If I may, sir, I would like to discuss now each of the items for which we are requesting restoration. Senator STENNIs. I beg your pardon 2 General DAwal.T. I say I would like to discuss each of the items. Senator STENNIs. All right. That is what we want you to do.
NEED FOR PARALLEL TAXIWAY
General DAwal.T. First is a parallel taxiway for $500,000. Readiness to test is not static. We have learned from experience by conducting the first overseas rehearsal exercise that we need this parallel taxiway. As we are operating at the present time an aircraft comes off the parking ramp, goes to the end of the runway and it takes off. For the 15 aircraft we need to perform the scientific mission this takes about 47 minutes. If we have the parallel taxiway we can do this in 8 minutes, and it gives the aircraft about 38 to 40 more minutes loiter time in the air to perform their mission. Senator STENNIs. That 38 minutes cost a lot of money, $500,000. General DAwal.T. I will discuss the importance of that later in my testimony. Senator STENNIs. All right. General DAWALT. There is no alternate airfield. The nearest one is Hickan Field in Hawaii, over 700 nautical miles away. If there is a crash and the runway is blocked, without this parallel taxiway, we may have ourselves a real problem. With the parallel taxiway we have an alternate landing strip and can bring these aircraft in. There is also a problem of ordnance safety practices. You put sampling rockets on these aircraft and as the aircraft come off the ramp they point toward, or swing an arc through, populated areas. This hazard can be avoided with the parallel taxiway. I mentioned a moment ago that we do have an increase in MATS flights in support of southeast Asia and it is important for the safe operation of these aircraft that we have the parallel taxiway. Senator STENNIs. Please proceed.
General DAwal.T. The next item is a fire station for $350,000. There are two main points that I would like to make here, sir. First, it is located within 200 feet of the runway and the survey made by the Pacific Air Command states that this facility should be at least 500 feet away for safety reasons. Secondly, the present facility is a World War II facility in very bad state of repair; it should be replaced anyway. It cannot support the normal two shift firefighting operation. If we have a new one we can reduce the number of people by nine spaces. When you consider the amount of money it costs for individuals out there in the isolated area; it means a considerable saving.
Senator STENNIs. These are civilian employees?
General DAwal.T. Yes, sir. -
The next item is modification of the theater to provide a briefing room and chapel. During the test we have as many as 70 different laboratories and agencies participating in an experiment. It is necessary to have technical certification readiness briefings so that...We insure that we get the information that we want from the tests. This facility is the only one on the island which would give us that capability. The meteorological data for Johnston Island shows monthly precipitation in excess of 3 inches for 5 months out of the year. In fact, in December 1964 there were 13 inches of rainfall and 9 inches of that fell during a 24-hour period.
A roof over this theater would provide a facility for briefings and for a chapel as well. The need for chapels and the theaters has been recognized in other areas in the Pacific, such as Midway and Kwajalein.
MATS PASSENGER AND AIRFREIGHT FACILITY
The next item is a MATS passenger and airfreight facility for $98,000. Johnston Island is a restricted and isolated facility which is on the main air route of travel to and from Kwajalein and Eniwetok Islands, which are major research activities of the Department of Defense. As a result we have something on the order of 2,000 people passing through this facility a month. We need a facility to control * of the highly sensitive projects which are also on the ISI:AI101S.
The terminal is a World War II facility and it would take on the order of $54,000 to rehabilitate it and to continue its present use. One part of it is so deteriorated that it is unsafe to use.
Senator STENNIS. Then you have your recreational facilities.
General DAWAL.T. Yes, sir; and because of the magnitude of the construction program required to achieve the minimum readiness posture by January 1, 1965, attention was directed toward only those projects which had to be completed by the readiness date to give us that capability. Although a need existed for recreational facilities it was not felt to be as urgent as getting the necessary scientific and operational facilities ready by the specified date of January 1, 1965. . Senator SALTONSTALL. Mr. Chairman, I wanted to ask just one question.
General DAWAL.T. Yes.
Senator SALTONSTALL. The House turned down this $1,663,000 and gave you $2 million.
General DAWAL.T. Yes, sir.
ORDER OF PRIORITY
Senator SALTONSTALL. Now what are your priorities on these? Give us the priorities. If we have to compromise on this thing, as we may have to, what are your priorities?
General DAwal.T. The order of priority is the order in which they appear in the reclama, sir.
Senator SALTONSTALL. I see. You want the parallel taxiway and the fire station the most and then you go down through the other items afterward.
General DAwal.T. Yes, sir.
Senator SALTONSTALL. Thank you very much.
General DAwal.T. As you know all of this effort relates to the third safeguard of the limited test ban treaty and these facilities which we ask will give us the capability to sustain the level of readiness required. Of course, one can never predict the future but it could be that, because of circumstances at the time, the President could only allow us a test period, say, 2 or 3 months which is pretty short.
I mentioned the loiter time of test aircraft a minute ago. With a short period like that it is important that you have the maximum capability available. Additional time in the air is important in this regard. If there are holds and you cannot get off the shot and the aircraft have to come back and refuel, that means
Senator STENNIS. Excuse me just a second.
We will just take a 3- or 4-minute recess and then we will resume.
(Whereupon, a short recess was taken.)
Senator §. General, you had not finished your statement. You were making a good statement there. You had something else to say, I believe. Will you proceed?
General DAwal.T. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I was relating our request for restoration to the third safeguard of the limited test ban treaty which requires certain tests be ready within specified time limits such as tests in the atmosphere within 6 months.
I stated that one can never tell what the circumstances may be at the time, and it could be that the President could only allow a short test window, say, 2 to 3 months. Under those circumstances a day is important.
If the test aircraft were in the air and vou could not conduct the test because of technical difficulties, you might have to send the aircraft in to refuel. Because of this situation, you might not be able to carry on the tests that day and lose the time. Under the circumstances a day could be awfully important in getting the information which you are trying to get.
we fees also as regards the morale of the people working out there that this has a direct relationship to how well they do their job and the level of readiness which we can sustain. Also it would have an impact upon recruitment of individuals to work out there because of the isolation.
Senator STENNIS. That is a good point.
You are a very credible witness. We are glad to have you here today. We will consider everything you said. Thank you very much for coming.
General DAwait. Thank you.
Senator STENNIS. All right. What is next on the agenda, Mr. Rexroad 2
Mr. REXRoAD. We have an Air Force executive session.
Senator STENNIs. All right.
General, your statement will be included as part of the record.
(The statement referred to follows:)
Defense Atomic Support Agency
Item Budget House Restoration request action requested Nuclear weapon test facilities, at Johnston Island------------ $3,688,000 || –$1,688,000 $1,663,000
REASONS FOR RESTORATION REQUEST
$1,663,000 is required in fiscal year 1966 for construction of facilities to assure a readiness capability for off-continent nuclear testing at Johnston Island. The funds requested here will provide those high-priority items needed now to sustain an adequate capability for execution of the tests, if ordered, and for the interim Operations. During nontest periods Johnston Island has been designated as the site for space programs including program 437 and other sensitive activities which require extensive use of the airfield and other facilities. The items i. Which restoration is requested and the supporting justification are as folOWS :
Parallel taaiway (500,000)
Operation Crosscheck, the first overseas rehearsal exercise conducted in the fall 1963, proved the urgent necessity for a parallel taxiway at Johnston Island. Moreover, the availability of Johnston Island has already contributed materially to airlift to southeast Asia. MATS is currently scheduling multiple daily flights through Johnston Island for refueling. The use of Johnston subStantially increases the cargo that each flight can carry in lieu of aircraft fuel. The hazardous nature of much of this critical cargo dictates the adequate provision for the safe operation of these aircraft. A parallel taxiway enhances the Safety aspects for their operation, and increases the potential of the airfield to Serve the Current Situation. Operation Crosscheck which involved the newly developed RB-57F sampler aircraft, proved the necessity for the reduction of the time interval between takeoffs of the sampler aircraft, and the enhancement of safety provisions. Without the taxiway, it will require a nominal 46.5 minutes for the eight RB-57F and four B-57C aircraft to become airborne as opposed to 8-plus minutes with a taxiway. Reduction of the takeoff time interval provides more fuel for time on Station in the shot area in the event of a “hold” on the detonation : additional time which may be required to wait for the “cloud” to achieve a more mature character; or fuel available for cloud tracking for purposes of fallout Safety considerations. A parallel taxiway will permit the aircraft to taxi in a daisy chain fashion, with the interval between aircraft Only that required to prevent ingestion Of coral raised by the exhaust of the preceding aircraft. Multiple-jet aircraft operations required to support the scientific programs present Several problems unique to Johnston Island. The test base, chosen particularly because of its remote location, is over 700 nautical miles from a suitable alternate landing field, should the Johnston Island runway be closed due to a crash, etc. Hickam AFB, the closest alternate, is beyond the range of sampler jets after they complete their mission in the air array. For this reason, the parallel taxiway would also serve as an alternate emergency landing strip. Ordinance Safety practices are also of major importance. The proposed taxiways will enable the B-57C to be positioned on the end of the taxiway, armed with sampler rockets, and launched with a minimum or no exposure to personnel. Without the taxiway rocket sampler aircraft would have to be pointed toward, or swing an arc through populated areas. Further, if an aircraft lands with armed rockets, the taxiway will enable the aircraft to turn off the runway and be pointed seaward while dearming without clogging the runway for succeeding aircraft which may be low on fuel, or creating a hazard by turning the nose of the armed aircraft through populated areas.