For missile defense in the U.S., 2010 ended as it began: with a major flight-test failure of its linchpin Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) homeland protection system. Sandwiched between these two failures, the first taking place last Jan. 31, were ongoing struggles with quality control in setting up and executing tests as well as in contractors producing critical hardware for the defense systems. The Boeing Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) was intended in 2010 to meet its toughest ...

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