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MEADS Funding Could Continue Under U.S. Spending Bill
Newly enacted spending legislation could give the Defense Department the last word on whether to direct $380 million toward completing a controversial multinational battlefield antimissile project or toward ending the program, congressional staffers said in comments reported by The Hill on Tuesday.
The six-month budget bill provides federal funding for the remainder of fiscal 2013. It empowers the Obama administration to pursue completion of the Medium Extended Air Defense System, which is being developed with Germany and Italy. The fiscal 2013 defense authorization law bars the Pentagon from committing additional funds to the initiative, but a House Armed Services Committee insider said the provisions carry the same level of legal authority.
The Pentagon previously said it does not intend to purchase any MEADS units, but it asked for continued funding through this budget year to avoid more expensive contract liabilities and to potentially benefit from technology gains associated with the project.
The money appears likely to go toward underwriting development of the system in fiscal 2013, but the Defense Department has yet to clarify its position, according to Lockheed Martin, the main U.S. participant in the multinational consortium preparing the system.