The Pentagon’s senior financial official says that Sunday’s successful intercept test will permit plans to acquire more missile interceptors to move forward.
“It certainly paves the way” to proceed with acquisition plans for 14 additional Ground Based Interceptors, Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale told Reuters on Tuesday.
A GBI missile armed with a second-generation kinetic kill vehicle eliminated a ballistic missile target in the Sunday test, which played out above the Pacific Ocean. The test was a closely watched event because the Pentagon’s plans to spend $1 billion to acquire 14 more of the interceptors were seen as hinging on the outcome. Previously, the missile’s last successful intercept had been in 2008, followed by three unsuccessful attempts.
“If we had had continued failures, we would have had to rethink,” Hale said. “But I think our plan now remains to buy the original 14 interceptors.”
The Pentagon wants to have the new long-range interceptors fielded at Fort Greely in Alaska by 2017 as a countermeasure to North Korea’s strategic missile program. The missiles are to be equipped with the “CE-2” Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, which had not had a successful intercept before Sunday.
The Missile Defense Agency had stopped receiving CE-2 kill vehicles due to their testing problems, though 10 of the systems are already deployed on interceptors in Alaska and California. Their developer, Raytheon Co., now anticipates being given authorization soon to resume production of the kinetic components.
“I can’t go into programmatic details” of when manufacturing will restart for the CE-2 component, Wes Kremer, vice president for Raytheon’s air and missile defense system programs, was quoted by Inside Defense as telling journalists on Monday. “But clearly, the intent is to take this design with the fixes and deploy that as the CE-2 configuration.”
What We're Following See More »
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Facebook "outlined new measures it is taking to combat what it calls 'information operations' that go well beyond the phenomenon known as fake news" on Thursday. Facebook acknowledged that there are governments using its platform as a tool to launch propaganda information campaigns and "manipulate public opinion in other countries. ... Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of last Sunday’s first-round presidential election."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.