Report Is Critical Of Ballistic Missile Defense Programs

By | January 28, 2008 | Satellite News Feed

A report by a key Pentagon office on ballistic missile defense (BMD) programs should raise concerns that they are far from finished, reliable systems able to strike down incoming enemy missiles, an analyst argues.

The Aegis and the Ground-based Midcourse Defense, or GMD, missile defense programs are criticized in a paper by Victoria Samson, research analyst with the Center for Defense Information, a Washington think tank oriented toward defense, especially missile defense.

She cites an annual report from a Pentagon office, the Director of Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E), which evaluated BMD programs.

Samson notes that the sea-based Aegis BMD system gets a mediocre rating in the DOT&E report, which finds it provides "medium confidence capability that supports a warfighter partial mission capability decision."

As for the GMD program, it is accorded a rating of having but an "Early" capability of being able to take down enemy missiles, Samson noted.

"This is interesting because 24 of the interceptors have already been deployed, and MDA wants to use it as the model for the interceptor that would go in its proposed site in Europe," she wrote.

"One would think that a weapon system that is being fielded while concurrently being used as a model for other weapon systems would be further along in its development process," she continued.

MDA defines Early Capability Delivery as providing "emergency, low confidence capability," she observed.

Her full report that is titled "DOT&E’s 2007 Assessment of Missile Defense: Wobbling Along" can be read in full at http://www.cdi.org on the Web, which also has a link to the DOT&E report.

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