09:11 GMT, July 20, 2009 The possession of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles by potential adversaries is an urgent security issue for the United States and our allies. Effective missile defences can contribute to US non-proliferation objectives by devaluing ballistic missiles in the eyes of our adversaries as a useful delivery system for conventional munitions and WMD. Equally important, missile defence can help the country prepare for situations where diplomacy and non-proliferation initiatives have failed by deterring aggression and, after ballistic missiles are launched, by limiting damage locally or regionally.
The proliferation of ballistic missiles of all ranges continues. Current trends indicate that proliferation of ballistic missile systems, using advanced liquid- or solid-propellant propulsion technologies, are becoming more mobile, survivable, reliable, accurate and capable of striking targets over longer distances. The proliferation of ballistic missiles is increasing the number of anti-access weapons available to potential regional adversaries. These weapons could be used to reduce military options available to Combatant Commanders and decrease the survivability of regional military assets. Iran has grown its short- and medium-range missile inventories, while improving the lethality, deployability, and effectiveness of existing systems with new propellants, more accurate guidance systems, and sub-munitions payloads. With the successful launch of the SAFIR Space Launch Vehicle on 2 February 2009, Iran demonstrated technologies that are directly applicable to the development of ICBMs. North Korea deploys a NO DONG ballistic missile capable of reaching Japan and South Korea and US bases throughout the region, and continues to develop a new intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) capable of reaching Guam and the Aleutian Islands.
Despite the failure to place an object in orbit on 5 April 2009, North Korea successfully demonstrated the same staging and separation technologies required to launch a two-stage TAEPO-DONG 2 ICBM capable of reaching much of the United States. An additional concern is North Korea’s and Iran’s repeated demonstrations of salvo launches, indicating large ballistic missile attack raid sizes must be considered in developing the BMDS capability. Syria continues to field updated short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) systems and acquire SCUD-related equipment and materials from North Korea and Iran.
In sum, there has been an increase of over 1,200 additional ballistic missiles over the past five years, bringing the total of ballistic missiles outside the US, NATO, Russia and China to over 5,900 (with SRBMs making up 93% of this total and MRBMs making up 6%), with hundreds of launchers and missiles within the range of our deployed forces today (with SRBM launchers making up 91% of this total and MRBM launchers making up 9%).
Missile Defence Approach and Strategy
The mission of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is to develop defences to protect the US homeland, deployed forces, Allies and friends against ballistic missiles of all ranges and in all phases of flight. Given the unique characteristics of short-, medium-, intermediate-, and intercontinental ballistic missiles, no one missile defence interceptor or sensor system can effectively counter all ballistic missile threats. Warfighters are not only faced with the challenge of intercepting relatively small objects at great distances and very high velocities, but they may have to counter large raid sizes involving combinations of SRBMs, MRBMs, IRBMs, and ICBMs and, in the future, countermeasures associated with sophisticated ballistic missile attacks.
While countermeasures can be developed to degrade the performance of autonomous missile interceptor systems, it is much more difficult to develop countermeasures that degrade fundamentally different missile defence interceptor systems operating together in different phases of a ballistic missile’s flight. Thus, the most operationally effective missile defence architecture is a layering of endo-atmospheric and exo-atmospheric missile interceptor systems with ground and space sensors connected and managed by a robust Command and Control, Battle Management and Communication (C2BMC) infrastructure. Moreover, the most cost-effective missile defence architecture is one that emphasises early intercepts during a threat missile’s ascent phase of flight before countermeasures can be deployed and before the remainder of the BMDS architecture is required to track and kill a threat re-entry vehicle and associated objects.
Accomplishments and Challenges
During FY 2008 and FY 2009, the Missile Defense Agency achieved many accomplishments, including:
* The execution of successful AEGIS STANDARD Missile (SM)-3 Block IA and SM-2 Block IV interceptor salvo flight tests and delivery of 28 additional SM-3 Block IA interceptors (including deliveries to Japan);
* A Ground-based Midcourse Defence (GMD) intercept test utilising the entire sensor and command and control suite deployed in the Pacific;
* Emplacement of two GBIs and refurbishment of two GBIs at Fort Greely, Alaska;
* Deployment of a AN/TPY-2 radar to Israel;
* The execution of an experiment involving the closest data collection to date of a boosting missile from a satellite;
* The safe destruction of a malfunctioning US satellite;
* Repeated demonstration of the atmospheric laser beam compensation during Airborne Laser (ABL) flights;
* Delivery of the first THAAD unit for testing; and,
* Three THAAD intercepts, including the launching of a salvo of two THAAD interceptors using operational firing doctrine.
In early May 2009, we also successfully placed in orbit the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) Advanced Technology Risk Reduction satellite to serve as a pathfinder for next-generation space sensor technology. However, in addition to our successes, we also faced challenges developing the BMDS. During FY 2008 and FY 2009 to date, we experienced eight significant flight test delays, four target failures out of 18 target launches, and one interceptor failure in flight. These and other contributing factors have resulted in $264 million of cost growth. Further, we have incurred over $252 million in unplanned costs and 25 weeks of schedule revisions due to unplanned operational deployments of our systems under development. In response to those challenges, we have worked with our leadership and stakeholders to enhance our management oversight, strengthen our relationship with the warfighter community, and improve BMDS acquisition and test planning. We have adopted a series of initiatives to improve acquisition and oversight of the contracts we will award over the next 18 months. We are also institutionalising MDA and Service roles and responsibilities for elements of the BMDS that the Deputy Secretary of Defense has designated a lead Service.
FY2010 Budget Request
The proposed FY 2010 budget for the Department of Defense’s missile defence programme amounts to approximately $7.8 billion. This budget has been formulated in response to Defense Secretary Gates’s budget guidance and to allow for programmatic flexibility to respond to the Quadrennial Defense Review and the congressionally mandated Ballistic Missile Defense Review.
As Secretary Gates announced on April 6, this budget was the result of “a holistic assessment of capabilities, requirements, risks and needs” for the purpose of meeting the Secretary’s vision to “institutionalise and enhance our capabilities to enhance the wars we are in today and the scenarios we are most likely to face in the years ahead while at the same time providing a hedge against other risks and contingencies.” Specifically, “we will restructure the programme to focus on the rogue state and theatre missile threat.”
Due to the previous accomplishments of the Ground-based Midcourse Defence (GMD) programme, the technical risk that our current inventory of operationally ready Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs) is sufficient to destroy the number of rogue nation ICBM threat missiles that could be launched at any one time today, or over the next decade, is low. However, the technical risk that the inventory of our theatre missile defences can be overwhelmed by the large number of theatre-class threat missiles and launchers is considerably higher. Furthermore, the previous programme’s ability to develop future capability to destroy missiles in the highly advantageous early phases of flight will not be operationally available until the later years of the next decade. Thus, to better protect our forces and those of our Allies in theatre from ballistic missile attack, we propose to add $700 million to field more of our most capable theatre missile defence systems, specifically the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and STANDARD Missile (SM)-3 programmes. We also propose to add $200 million over three years to fund the conversion of six additional AEGIS ships to provide ballistic missile defence capabilities. Finally, we propose to invest $368 million in FY 2010 for the development and deployment of capabilities to cost-effectively intercept missiles in their ascent phase of flight during the first half of the next decade.
Secretary Gates also emphasised that we were stopping programmes with technologies not reasonably available to affordably meet cost or schedule goals. We will not increase the number of current ground-based interceptors beyond the 26 silos in Alaska and four operational silos at Vandenberg Air Force Base. But we will continue to robustly fund continued research and development to improve the capability we already have to defend against long-range rogue missile threats. We will cancel the second Airborne Laser (ABL) prototype aircraft, but we will keep the existing aircraft and shift the programme to a R&D effort to address affordability and technology issues while assessing the programme’s proposed operational role. We will terminate the Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) programme because it is not a necessary capability to defeat rogue threats, and its significant technical challenges and long development timeline warrants review of other capabilities to provide a more near-term hedge against future threats. We will also terminate the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) programme since its capability is also inconsistent with the missile defence mission to counter rogue nation threats and for cost growth, schedule delays, and its lack of technology maturity. It is our intention to enhance the cost and operational effectiveness of our missile defence architectures by increasing our near-term ability to engage missiles in all phases of flight.
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Joint Staff, Combatant Commanders, and Armed Services have intensified collaboration on developing missile defence capabilities. As a result, a great deal has been learned about our Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMDS) technology, doctrine, and tactics. As announced by Secretary Gates, and in response to the war fighter’s specific needs, we are making the BMDS more affordable and effective by:
* Reshaping our programme to enhance protection of our deployed forces, allies and friends against existing threats;
* Maintaining a ground-based midcourse capability to defeat a limited long-range rogue state attack or accidental launch against the United States; and
* Preparing to leverage emerging Ascent Phase Intercept (API) technologies to hedge against threat growth and realise the greatest potential for reducing cost and increasing operational effectiveness of missile defence. This rationale is based in part on a Defense Science Board 2002 Summer Study, which emphasised the benefits of ascent phase intercepts. The study also noted that the technological and operational challenges of intercepting threat missiles in the ascent phase (the phase after powered flight, but prior to apogee) and significantly less challenging than boost phase intercepts. API would allow us to intercept early in the battle space and optimise our ability to execute a shoot-look-shoot tactic to defeat a threat before countermeasures are deployed, minimise the potential impact of debris, and reduce the number of interceptors required to defeat a raid of threat missiles. Additionally, by destroying missiles early, we do not have to incur the costs of maintaining a significant number of expensive interceptors to destroy advanced countermeasures in a later phase of a threat missile’s flight.
With this budget we also will continue to execute to the fullest extent of the law the upper tier European Capability programme to counter long-range attacks from Iran, deferring radar and interceptor deployments until policy reviews are complete. We also intend to achieve efficiencies by eliminating redundancy and increasing the centralised management of missile defence acquisition programmes.
We will execute a rigorous test programme to build the confidence of US and allied stakeholders in the BMDS, bolster deterrence against their use, and send a powerful message to potential adversaries looking to acquire ballistic missiles. Thus, testing figures prominently in our proposed budget for FY 2010. Furthermore, we are collaborating with the Services’ Operational Test Agencies (OTA) with the support of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) to restructure our test programme in order to improve confidence in the missile defence capabilities under development and ensure the capabilities transferred to the warfighter are operationally effective, suitable, and survivable.
Missile Defence Technology Development
A robust advanced missile defence technology development programme is part of our strategy to hedge against future threat uncertainties. MDA is intensifying its focus on enabling the capability to intercept a threat missile early in its flight, prior to its apogee. A missile defence architecture that emphasizes an early intercept capability places a premium on persistent surveillance of threat missile launches in specific regions of interest. Likewise, the emerging architecture will emphasise the forward positioning of mobile and transportable flexible missile defence assets, which would include sensors for early detection, a highly responsive and reliable C2BMC infrastructure, and energetic and agile weapons.