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American Forces Press Service

General Explains Missile Defense Funding Request

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2004 -- The man in charge of safeguarding the United States against a ballistic missile attack warned members of the House Armed Services Committee's Strategic Forces Subcommittee on March 25 that in the coming years the country will face a ballistic threat from a variety of sources.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish is director of the Missile Defense Agency, which has the task of building the nation's missile defense capability. He told the committee that intelligence estimates and Libya's recent admissions concerning its ballistic missile and weapons-of-mass-destruction programs show the United States is vulnerable.

Kadish was on Capitol Hill to detail and explain the Defense Department's request for missile defense funding in the department's proposed fiscal 2005 budget.

"Ballistic missiles armed with any type (of) warhead would give our adversaries the capability to threaten or inflict catastrophic damage," he said. President Bush, the general added, has called on the agency to aggressively develop the capability to defend the United States and its allies against all ranges of missiles in all phases of flight.

Kadish said the funding would continue an aggressive research, development, test and evaluation effort to design, build and test the elements of a single ballistic missile defense system in what he called "an evolutionary way," along with modest fielding of the capability over the next several years.

"We recognize the priority our nation and this president ascribe to missile defense, and our program is structured to deal with the enormity and complexity of the task," he told the committee. "We are capitalizing on our steady progress since the days of the Strategic Defense Initiative, and will present to our combatant commanders by the end of 2004 an initial missile defense capability to defeat near-term threats of greatest concern."

Kadish told the subcommittee the ballistic missile defense system his agency is developing is a layered defense that will help reduce the chances a hostile missile would get through to its target. The system, he said, would give the United States "better protection by enabling engagements in all phases of a missile's flight, and make it possible to have a high degree of confidence in the performance of the missile defense system."

The system's reliability, synergy, and effectiveness can be improved by fielding overlapping, complementary capabilities, the general said. "In other words, the ability to hit a missile in boost, midcourse, or terminal phase of flight enhances system performance against an operationally challenging threat."

However, all of these layered defense elements must be integrated, he said. "And there must be a battle management, command and control system that can engage or reengage targets as appropriate. And it all must work within a window of a few minutes," he added.

Kadish emphasized to the subcommittee that a layered missile defense will not only increases the chances that the hostile missile and its payload would be destroyed, but "it also can be very effective against countermeasures, and must give pause to potential adversaries."

The general further emphasized that the nation's missile defense capability is just beginning. "What we do in 2004 and 2005 is only the starting point - the beginning - and it involves very basic capability," he said. "Our strategy is to build on this beginning to make the BMD system increasingly more effective and reliable against current threats, and hedge against changing future threats."

DoD is asking Congress for $9.2 billion in fiscal 2005 to fund and support initial configuration and activities to place the BMD system on alert. That amount is a $1.5 billion increase over the fiscal 2004 request, Kadish said.

"The increase covers costs associated with fielding the first GMD, Aegis BMD, sensor, and command, control and battle management installments and will allow us to purchase long-lead items required for capability enhancements."

The agency is also asking for $200 million in fiscal 2005 to develop advanced systems to develop laser technology and laser radar, advanced discrimination, improved focal plane arrays, and a high-altitude airship for improved surveillance, communication, and early warning, the general told the legislators.

Another $834 million is being requested to buy equipment and ramp up the testing of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense program, a capability to engage in the late midcourse and terminal layers of missile defense. THAAD recently completed its design readiness review, and development hardware manufacturing is under way, Kadish said. The THAAD radar was completed ahead of schedule and rolled out this month. Flight testing is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of fiscal 2005 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Kadish said the Missile Defense Agency also will be able to begin assembly and integration of two tracking and surveillance satellites. The budget request for that program is $322 million.

Also included in the budget are several science and technology initiatives to increase BMD system firepower and sensor capability and extend the engagement battle space of terminal elements, Kadish said.

He said one effort toward increasing BMD system effectiveness in the midcourse phase will be placing multiple "kill vehicles" on a single booster, thus reducing the discrimination burden on BMD sensors.

Kadish told the committee that congressional support for key changes in management and oversight have allowed his agency to execute the missile defense program responsibly and flexibly by adjusting the program to its progress every year, improving decision cycle time, and making the most prudent use of the money allocated. Periodic changes in the RDT&E program have collectively involved billions of dollars - "that is, billions of dollars that have been invested in more promising activities, and billions of dollars taken out of the less efficient program efforts," Kadish told the lawmakers.

"The ability to manage flexibly in this manner saves time and money in our ultimate goal of fielding the best defenses available on the shortest possible timeline," he said.


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