U.S. Interceptor Plans Carry Cost Risks: GAO

Congressional auditors on Thursday issued a new warning on the financial and planning risks of fielding ground-based ballistic missile interceptors while key components of the weapons continue to be refined.

The Defense Department this month announced plans to field 14 more Ground-based Midcourse Defense interceptors at a facility in Alaska to counter a potential future threat of long-range missiles from North Korea. The GMD technology has not conducted a successful intercept test since 2008, with two 2010 trials failing.

"Committing to production and fielding before development is complete is a high-risk strategy that often results in performance shortfalls, unexpected cost increases, schedule delays and test problems," the Government Accountability Office said in a report on the status of the Pentagon's major weapons programs.

Development has moved forward for the Standard Missile 3 Block 1B system, but recovering from past technical setbacks has "contributed to significant program schedule delays, production disruptions and cost growth," the GAO assessment indicates.

March 29, 2013
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Congressional auditors on Thursday issued a new warning on the financial and planning risks of fielding ground-based ballistic missile interceptors while key components of the weapons continue to be refined.

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