Progress Hard to Gauge on Homeland Antimissile Program: Auditors

Then-Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly examines a missile-interceptor deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska, in 2010. A new congressional audit finds that the Pentagon is not providing sufficient information to allow a proper progress assessment of a key homeland antimissile system.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
July 22, 2014, 10:18 a.m.

Con­gres­sion­al aud­it­ors are com­plain­ing that a dearth of data is mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to judge pro­gress in im­prov­ing a key home­land an­ti­mis­sile sys­tem.

The Pentagon was ordered un­der a 2013 law to re­port to Con­gress on spe­cif­ic ef­forts it was tak­ing to im­prove the per­form­ance of the Ground-Based Mid­course De­fense sys­tem — the coun­try’s prin­cip­al shield against a lim­ited in­ter­con­tin­ent­al bal­list­ic mis­sile strike. Pentagon of­fi­cials even­tu­ally de­livered the as­sess­ment in Feb­ru­ary, sev­en months late.

But while the doc­u­ment lists past and planned ac­tions aimed at tech­no­lo­gic­al en­hance­ments in the pro­gram, it fails to ad­equately ex­plain how those steps would work in bring­ing about im­prove­ments to the sys­tem’s per­form­ance, the Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­ab­il­ity Of­fice said in an as­sess­ment re­leased last week.

This lack of im­port­ant con­tex­tu­al in­form­a­tion, aud­it­ors said, is prob­lem­at­ic for con­gres­sion­al de­fense pan­els’ abil­ity to per­form over­sight of the GMD pro­gram, which fi­nally scored a crit­ic­al in­ter­cept win in a June test after years of fail­ures.

“Without an un­der­stand­ing of the ef­fect­ive­ness of these ac­tions and plans, Con­gress may not have the in­form­a­tion it needs when mak­ing dif­fi­cult choices on where to spend lim­ited funds,” the GAO re­port con­cludes.

For ex­ample, the Mis­sile De­fense Agency in­formed Con­gress that it had up­graded the soft­ware of all first- and second-gen­er­a­tion kin­et­ic kill vehicles de­ployed on in­ter­cept­ors un­der the GMD sys­tem. However, the agency “did not de­scribe the ef­fect­ive­ness of these im­prove­ments or wheth­er these im­prove­ments have been con­firmed to work as in­ten­ded in flight tests,” reads the re­port.

Ad­di­tion­ally, while the Mis­sile De­fense Agency dis­cussed its plans to cre­ate a bet­ter sys­tem for es­tim­at­ing in­ter­cept­ors’ re­li­ab­il­ity, the agency failed to dis­close how the new meth­od­o­logy would ac­tu­ally be put in place, ac­cord­ing to aud­it­ors.

Oth­er gaps in in­form­a­tion in­clude the con­tin­ued lack of a timeline for fi­nal­iz­ing a new Ground Based In­ter­cept­or ac­quis­i­tion strategy. This comes in spite of the fact that the Pentagon would need such a strategy be­fore it be­gins the pro­cess of pur­chas­ing 14 more in­ter­cept­ors for de­ploy­ment in Alaska in fisc­al 2018, the GAO re­port says.

What We're Following See More »
SEVEN-POINT LEAD IN A FOUR-WAY
Quinnipiac Has Clinton Over 50%
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 51%-41% in a new Quinnipiac poll released today. Her lead shrinks to seven points when the third-party candidates are included. In that scenario, she leads 45%-38%, with Gary Johnson pulling 10% and Jill Stein at 4%.

Source:
PROCEDURES NOT FOLLOWED
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
MIGHT STILL ACCEPT FOREIGN AND CORPORATE MONEY
Chelsea to Stay on Board of Clinton Foundation
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Is the Clinton family backtracking on some of its promises to insulate the White House from the Clinton Foundation? Opposition researchers will certainly try to portray it that way. A foundation spokesman said yesterday that Chelsea Clinton will stay on its board, and that the "foundation’s largest project, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, might continue to accept foreign government and corporate funding."

Source:
INTERCEPT IN MIDDLE EAST
Navy Calls Iranian Ships’ Actions Dangerous, Unprofessional
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Four Iranian ships made reckless maneuvers close to a U.S. warship this week, the Pentagon said Thursday, in an incident that officials said could have led to dangerous escalation." The four Iranian vessels engaged in a "high-speed intercept" of a U.S. destroyer in the Strait of Hormuz. A Navy spokesman said the Iranina actions "created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation including additional defensive measures" by the destroyer.

Source:
$300 SAVINGS CARD
Under Pressure, EpiPen Maker Drops Prices
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

Amid public outcry and the threat of investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mylan has agreed to effectively drop the price of EpiPens. "The company, which did not lower the drug's list price, said it would reduce the patient cost of EpiPen through the use of a savings card, which will cover up to $300 of EpiPen 2-Pak."

Source:
×