WASHINGTON, May 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Riki Ellison, Chairman and Founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) attended the recent senate defense appropriation hearing on the FY 2012
missile defense budget. Ellison analyzed the testimony given during
hearing this week and offers his comments below:
The Director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Lieutenant General Patrick O'Reilly submitted an $8.6 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2012, a $120 million
increase from last year, and testified to the Senate Appropriations
Defense Subcommittee (SAC-D) on the need for those funds for missile
defense. In contrast to the overall reduction in defense spending, LTG
O'Reilly's earlier testimony this month to the House Armed Services
Strategic Forces Subcommittee resulted in an increase of $110 million
to the 2012 budget for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system.
This indicates the importance, support and need of missile defense from
DOD and Congress in light of the intense economic scrutiny and debt
challenges our nation faces.
The SAC-D hearing was led by Chairman Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.
Inouye, like his fellow Senators in attendance was concerned about the
two failed GMD tests over the past eleven months and the costs of those
tests, estimated by the Chairman at upwards of $200 million each. GMD, which funded at $1.16 billion
makes up 15% of MDA's budget request, had at its spending height more
than double the funding during the previous administration and was the
main focus of the hearing. Absent from the discussion at the hearing
were the funding needs for the full deployment and development of the
President's Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) for Europe. The PAA is being deployed this year and will be substantially expanded over the next nine years to provide full protection of Europe from ballistic missiles coming from the Middle East.
response to questions of the confidence and testing challenges of the
GMD, LTG O'Reilly stated that the next generation Exoatmospheric Kill
Vehicle (EKV), not the booster stacks of the Ground-Based Interceptor
(GBI) missile, was the issue and cause of the recent failures. Also
noted was that the majority of the GBIs currently protecting the U.S. do
not have the next generation of the EKV but rather the first generation
EKV that has had multiple successful intercepts. The MDA Director noted
that the recent flight testing of the GBI is pushing the outer limits
of its range where most intercepts for the GMD system in a combat
situation will not take place. Further, the cause of the first failure, a
quality control issue, has been corrected, resolved and proven. The
cause of the second failure has yet to be resolved and requires an
additional test in space to prove what MDA's ground testing has
identified as the problem. MDA would require additional funding for more
missiles and tests to fix the problem and to modify the existing fleet.
The discussion of GMD further advanced to the protection of the eastern U.S. provided by the GBIs in Alaska and the architecture required for confidence in their ability to defend against a missile threat from the Middle East. Funding in the 2012 budget request provides an additional capability of eight more silos in Alaska if needed and a communication terminal (IDT) in Fort Drum, New York that updates information to the GBI while in flight, giving confidence that the GMD architecture is sufficient.
missing from this architecture discussion was the requirement, cost,
planning and deployment of a significantly sized X-band radar for
discrimination and fire control on or off the East Coast. The GMD system
is dependent on targeting and discrimination information of X-band
quality for successful intercepts. The Western U.S. is protected from a North Korea
missile threat with high confidence by a GMD architect that has
deployed IDTs and X-band radars. The floating Sea-Based X-band (SBX)
radar off the Western U.S. is the critical discrimination sensor in the
successful testing that provides high confidence for the GMD system. In
times of economic scrutiny and a growing threat from Iran and the Middle East,
it is difficult to understand why our nation would not want similar GMD
architecture for the Eastern U.S. that the Western U.S. has.