"...the Arms Control Association [does] so much to keep the focus on the issues so important to everyone here, to hold our leaders accountable to inspire creative thinking and to press for change. So we are grateful for your leadership and for the unyielding dedication to global nuclear security."
– Lord Des Browne
Vice Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
Congress Grants Administration $9.1 Billion for Missile Defense

Wade Boese

Congress gave the Pentagon nearly everything it sought for total missile defense funding in fiscal year 2004—trimming a mere $5 million from an original $9.1 billion request. But not everyone won. Lawmakers increased funding for certain missile defense programs while cutting others.

The missile defense funds are included in the final conference report of the $368.2 billion defense appropriations bill, which was approved 407-15 by the House of Representatives Sept. 24 and unanimously by the Senate the following day.

Congress approved an extra $181 million for the Pentagon’s ground-based midcourse missile defense system scheduled for initial deployment next fall. It also added $60 million to buy more Patriot Advanced Capability-3 systems to defend against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. These increases were facilitated, in part, by cuts in funding for the development of a new interceptor to target enemy missiles soon after their launch.

Missile defense spending has climbed since President George W. Bush took office, with the United States allocating nearly $25 billion dollars over three years for missile defenses. In early 2000, the Pentagon projected that total missile defense spending over the period of 1999 to 2005 would be $12.7 billion.

The defense bill also contains $617 million for the continued development of the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS)-high program, a group of satellites intended to play a key role in missile defense by detecting missile launches worldwide. Significant cost overruns and schedule delays put SBIRS-high in jeopardy of being cancelled last year, but then-Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Logisitics, and Technology Edward Aldridge defended the program as “essential” and rescued it from the chopping block. (See ACT, June 2002.)


Slipped Milestones from 2001 Schedule

U.S. Chemical Weapons Site
Next Project Milestone
Scheduled Date to Begin
New Start Date
# of Months Delayed
Anniston, Ala.
July 2002

July 2003
(began Aug. 9)

Umatilla, Ore.
July 2003
December 2003
Pine Bluff, Ark.
October 2003
April 2004
Johnston Atoll
End of closure process
September 2003
January 2004