The Pentagon would ax a redesign of the front-end kill vehicle atop its strategic missile interceptor if future sequestration cuts remain law.
Sequestration levels were relaxed in defense spending legislation for fiscal 2014 and 2015. However, should these congressionally mandated reductions slated for 2016 and beyond remain in effect, the Defense Department plans to cancel an effort to correct design problems in its key missile-defense interceptor.
The Defense Department revealed this budgeting contingency plan for the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle in a report released on Tuesday, titled “Estimated Impacts of Sequestration-Level Funding.” The department also announced it would eliminate a separate program to acquire an additional land-based, long-range radar in the event that spending reductions required under the 2011 Budget Control Act will kick in, come fiscal 2016.
The Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle is mounted atop the Ground Based Interceptor and is designed to destroy incoming ballistic missiles by kinetic force. The three most recent intercept tests that employed the kinetic technology all ended in failure, leading the Pentagon’s head of weapons testing to recommend a redesign earlier this year. The long-range interceptor is a critical element of the broader Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, which is considered the principal U.S. defense against a potential strategic missile attack.
The department’s Missile Defense Agency announced in March it would seek a redesign of the EKV technology and requested $100 million for the project in fiscal 2015. Total funding for the project from fiscal 2015 through fiscal 2019 was planned to be $738 million. The bulk of project funding was slated to come in fiscal 2016 and 2017.
The Missile Defense Agency last month said it was requesting $80 million for the radar in the upcoming fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. The sensor is expected to monitor the Pacific Ocean, in line with a directive by Congress under the fiscal 2014 Defense Authorization Act to deploy an additional X-band radar that would focus on any threats coming from North Korea.
What We're Following See More »
Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."