05 May 2006

Missile Defense and Blimp Funding Shifted And Cut

The House of Representatives, in an early stage of the budget process, has cut funding for missile defense and shifted funding that remains to sea based systems and point defense systems for conventional threats that have done better in early testing (emphasis added):

The Missile Defense Agency's budget request was shrunk by $183.5 million.

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program, whose interceptors are currently being fielded in Alaska and California, has $200 million fenced until the Department of Defense (DOD) certifies that the program has successfully hit a target on two separate occasions. Such tests are planned in 2006.

The Committee also cut all funding - $55.8 million - for a third interceptor site in Europe.

The Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) program was cut by $65 million. The Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) program was cut by $100 million. Both programs have long-lead technologies that at best will not be ready for fielding for over a decade.

The High Altitude Airship (HAA) program was reduced by $40.7 million.

Some missile defense programs received increased funding: the GMD program received an extra $20 million for testing and operation resources; the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system received an extra $40 million ($20 million of which is for new interceptors); the Army received an additional $140 million for transitioning its Patriot Advanced Capabilities (PAC)-2 systems to the PAC-3 configuration.

The committee directed that technologies for the Advanced Optics and Laser Technologies project development cannot be used for the development of laser space technologies that could be used to target satellites.

Money cannot be used for a space-based missile defense interceptor until a report detailing the purposes of such a program, its estimated costs, potential vulnerabilities, and international consequences has been submitted.

The decision could be overturned at many future points in the process.

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