The principal U.S. system for countering strategic missile attacks has been hamstrung by “bad engineering,” a senior Pentagon official says.
Speaking on Tuesday, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall said performance problems with the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system are the result of moving too quickly to field the long-range interceptor technology before comprehensive and rigorous testing had been completed, Reuters reported.
“As we go back and understand the failures we’re having and why we’re having them, we’re seeing a lot of bad engineering, frankly,” he said of the Raytheon-built Ground Based Interceptor. “It’s because there was a rush … to get something out.”
The Ground Based Interceptor is the central component of the missile defense architecture for protecting the 50 states. There are currently 30 of the interceptors fielded in Alaska and California as a hedge against any limited ballistic-missile attacks by foreign nations. The Pentagon is planning on fielding an additional 14 interceptors in Alaska in 2017 as a response to North Korea’s continuing missile development.
However, the interceptor, which is equipped with a kinetic kill vehicle, has not had a successful test-intercept since December 2008. The technology’s rate of hitting dummy missiles is just 50 percent.
Previewing the Pentagon’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal at an industry conference in Washington, Kendall said, “We are going to be taking an initiative in the budget to address some of those problems,” DOD Buzz reported.
“Just patching the things we already have is probably not going to be adequate,” the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer said.
What We're Following See More »
"The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits," but Manchin "said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners."
Donald Trump transition team announced Friday afternoon that top supporter Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running to be in Trump's cabinet, though CNN previously reported that it was Trump who informed the former New York City mayor that he would not be receiving a slot. While the field had seemingly been narrowed last week, it appears to be wide open once again, with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the current favorite.
The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.