The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee is placing a high priority on ’s system (GMD) — recommending the addition of more than $300 million to the program over what President Barack Obama requested in the fiscal 2013 budget proposal.
The panel marks up its version of the defense authorization bill on April 26, and is also recommending that the Pentagon study the possibility of building a new GMD site on the East Coast by 2015 and creating an “advanced kill vehicle” for both the GMD program and the final phase of the phased adaptive approach (PAA) to missile defense — the SM-3 Block IIB interceptor (Aerospace DAILY, April 19). The program should draw on technology used in the multiple kill vehicle program killed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2009, according to a draft version of the bill released by the full committee on April 25.
The bill’s draft version could make waves with U.S. allies. The panel would halt funding for the tri-country, noting that the Pentagon has yet to comply with last year’s defense authorization act. Under the act, the defense secretary was directed to submit a plan to Congress to use fiscal 2012 funding “as final obligations under the Meads program for either: (1) implementing a restructured Meads program of reduced scope; or (2) contract termination liability costs with respect to the contracts covering the program,” the summary notes. “The committee believes there should have been no confusion regarding the meaning of ‘final obligations.’”
The panel makes note of potential problems with the governments of Germany and Italy with which the U.S. has teamed to develop the-led missile defense system. But the committee “urges the Department to remind the representatives of Germany and Italy that only Congress can commit the United States to the expenditure of taxpayer funds.”
If approved, the bill would require the defense secretary and secretary of state to submit a plan to Congress for sharing the cost of the fixed sites for the European PAA, including so-calledAshore sites and the AN/TPY-2 radar. To force compliance, the bill would fence off 25% of funding for the program until NATO responds to a “pre-financing request” from the U.S.
“Mindful of the highly ambitious timelines for deployment of the EPAA and the rising long-range missile threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran, this section would provide the president a waiver if he determines the use of that authority is vital to the national security of the United States,” a summary of the document states.
The proposed legislation would authorize the Pentagon to spend $680 million for the Rafael’s Iron Dome system between fiscal 2012 and 2015 and for the Missile Defense Agency to establish a program office (Aerospace DAILY, March 28). In terms of space programs, the bill authorizes the Air Force to start a fixed-price contract to buy two Space Based Infrared System satellites over no more than six years.
The bill also would cut funding for the Precision Tracking Space System until the Pentagon signs a contract for an analysis of alternatives with a Federally Funded Research and Development Corporation that has not yet been involved with the program.