Audit Finds Obstacles to Operating U.S. Antimissile Assets in Europe

U.S. soldiers work on a Patriot missile system at a Turkish military base in Gaziantep in February 2013. A new congressional audit has concluded that the Defense Department risks delays and inefficiencies in implementing its plan for European missile defense due to a lack of comprehensive planning.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
April 15, 2014, 6:47 a.m.

A new audit has found that the U.S. mil­it­ary is likely to en­counter hurdles in the op­er­a­tions of de­ployed an­ti­mis­sile as­sets in Europe.

The de­ploy­ment in re­cent years of an early-warn­ing radar and Pat­ri­ot mis­sile-in­ter­cept­ors in Tur­key re­vealed a lack of hol­ist­ic plan­ning by the De­fense De­part­ment, the Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­ab­il­ity Of­fice said in a Fri­day re­port. Be­cause the Pentagon has no plans to al­ter its ap­proach to the de­ploy­ment of an­ti­mis­sile as­sets in Europe, the De­fense De­part­ment “risks con­tinu­ing to en­counter im­ple­ment­a­tion is­sues … which may lead to sig­ni­fic­ant delays and in­ef­fi­cien­cies,” the per­form­ance audit con­cludes.

In one in­stance, the ab­sence of com­pre­hens­ive plan­ning res­ul­ted in un­clear guid­ance be­ing giv­en about how dif­fer­ent U.S. geo­graph­ic com­batant com­mands should share radar data on bal­list­ic mis­sile threats, ac­cord­ing to the audit.

Since early 2012, the U.S. Army has op­er­ated an X-band radar in Tur­key’s Kur­e­cik province in ac­cord­ance with the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “phased ad­apt­ive ap­proach” for European mis­sile de­fense. In 2013, a twin radar was de­ployed to the U.S. Cent­ral Com­mand area of op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing one in Qatar.

U.S. European Com­mand has re­ques­ted a tech­nic­al ana­lys­is from the Pentagon’s Mis­sile De­fense Agency about the ex­tent to which in­form­a­tion from the two radars can be shared. For now, though, the two radars are op­er­ated sep­ar­ately, which hampers “ef­fi­cient [bal­list­ic mis­sile de­fense] op­er­a­tions in Europe,” the re­port says.

In an­oth­er in­stance, U.S. Pat­ri­ot bat­ter­ies had to sit on a Turk­ish air­field for sev­er­al weeks in early 2013 be­fore they could be de­ployed for NATO air-de­fense op­er­a­tions near the bor­der with Syr­ia, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. In­ter­viewed Army of­fi­cials said that “for­eign dis­clos­ure is­sues” were not settled be­fore Pat­ri­ot units ar­rived in Tur­key, which res­ul­ted in ini­tial re­stric­tions on what in­tel­li­gence data could be sup­plied to part­ner forces.

“By not com­plet­ing im­ple­ment­ing ar­range­ments and pro­ced­ures for how to work with al­lies be­fore de­ploy­ment, Army of­fi­cials stated that they spent ex­tens­ive time work­ing with al­lies to re­solve these im­ple­ment­a­tion is­sues, which put a strain on Army’s lim­ited ex­ist­ing re­sources,” aud­it­ors found.

The cur­rent pro­cess for de­ploy­ing bal­list­ic-mis­sile de­fense as­sets in Europe does not defin­it­ively man­date a pri­or com­pre­hens­ive ex­am­in­a­tion of po­ten­tial im­ple­ment­a­tion chal­lenges. Pentagon of­fi­cials said they in­tend to fol­low ex­ist­ing pro­ced­ures for field­ing fu­ture sys­tems un­der the next phases of the Obama mis­sile de­fense plan, the re­port notes.

In 2015, the Pentagon is slated to de­ploy Stand­ard Mis­sile 3 Block 1B in­ter­cept­ors in Ro­mania. More-cap­able Block 2A in­ter­cept­ors are sched­uled to be in­stalled in Po­land in late 2018.

A Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­ab­il­ity Of­fice re­com­mend­a­tion that U.S Stra­tegic Com­mand “identi­fy and de­vel­op a plan to re­solve im­ple­ment­a­tion is­sues pri­or to de­ploy­ing and op­er­at­ing fu­ture BMD cap­ab­il­it­ies in Europe” was par­tially ac­cep­ted by the Pentagon, which noted that the com­mand does not have the man­date to ad­dress im­ple­ment­a­tion is­sues.

The Fri­day audit re­port is the latest in a series of re­cent as­sess­ments by the con­gres­sion­al watch­dog in­to Pentagon plans for European mis­sile de­fense. A re­port re­leased earli­er this month re­com­men­ded that Pentagon post­pone ap­prov­ing the full-scale pro­duc­tion of the Block 1B in­ter­cept­or un­til a de­cision is made on wheth­er al­ter­a­tions to the tech­no­logy’s hard­ware and soft­ware are needed.

Cor­rec­tion: An earli­er ver­sion of this story mis­stated the loc­a­tion of a U.S. radar in the Middle East.

MOST READ
What We're Following See More »
PROCEDURES NOT FOLLOWED
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
17 hours ago
THE LATEST
MOB RULE?
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
21 hours ago
THE LATEST

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Source:
BIG CHANGE FROM WHEN HE SELF-FINANCED
Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Source:
QUESTIONS OVER IMMIGRATION POLICY
Trump Cancels Rallies
2 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.

Source:
‘STRATEGY AND MESSAGING’
Sean Hannity Is Also Advising Trump
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”

Source:
×