In a June test, the troubled U.S. missile defense system designed to thwart potential attacks from North Korea and Iran scored its first hit since 2008. The Obama administration now plans to expand the system.
The next test of the U.S. Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) system will occur "very soon," Admiral James Winnefeld, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said May 28. And if that test is a success, he said, the Pentagon plans to add 14 interceptors to the 30 deployed in Alaska and California by 2017, increasing the total by almost 50 percent. This expansion will cost about $1 billion.
The Missile Defense Agency’s budget focuses on restoring confidence in the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system while keeping other aspects of U.S. missile defense plans moving forward.
As President Vladimir Putin exploits the results of Crimea's illegitimate referendum and as Russian troops gather on Ukraine's eastern border, alarms have been raised in the West that U.S.-Russian relations are on the verge of plummeting to Cold War levels.
The Pentagon’s chief weapons tester has called for the redesign of a key component of the U.S. long-range missile interceptor system, raising questions about plans to expand it.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said an agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program would remove the justification for NATO missile defenses.
The final version of the defense authorization bill dropped House language calling for an East Coast missile defense site and boosted funding to improve interception technology.
Cancellation of the planned fourth phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach has removed any capability that the fully deployed system would have had to intercept Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles but does not diminish the system’s capability against Iranian missiles.
The Defense Department announced last month that it has identified five possible locations in the eastern United States for a new ballistic missile defense interceptor site, but said it still has no plans to actually build such a site.
In the wake of a failed July 5 intercept attempt, the Defense Department has delayed an upcoming missile defense test that will help determine if it can move ahead with plans to field additional long-range interceptor missiles in Alaska by 2017. Originally planned for this fall, the trial launch will not take place until March, according to July 17 testimony from the director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA).