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Ballistic Missile Defense System [2001-2008]

In December 2001, President Bush gave Russia six months' notice that the United States was withdrawing from its Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in order to pursue an ABM system.

On January 2, 2002, BMDO was renamed the Missile Defense Agency. In addition, National Missile Defense and several other programs were renamed. National Missile Defense is now referred to as the Ground-Based Midcourse System, which, together with Sea-Based Midcourse Systems, comprise the Midcourse Defense Segment. The Secretary of Defense expanded the MDA responsibility and authority by directing MDA (formerly the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization) to develop and field a single integrated BMDS to protect the United States, its deployed forces, friends, and allies against ballistic missiles of all ranges in all phases of flight. Additionally, the Secretary of Defense emphasized the need to field MDA elements or key components of element capabilities as soon as practicable and to improve the BMDS with incremental block upgrades. When the MDA was created, the Secretary of Defense placed a number of individual Service acquisition programs that became components of the Ballistic Missile Defense System under MDA control. These formerly independent programs, which receive their funding (Research, Development, Test and Evaluation) directly from the Missile Defense Agency, became one major defense acquisition program known as Missile Defense Agency elements.

To accomplish the Secretary's directions, MDA implemented a capability-based acquisition strategy using a developmental test bed and a series of biennial developmental blocks. Each block permits MDA elements to insert newly developed component capabilities. The first biennial development block, Block 04, occurred during 2004 and 2005. MDA had defined developmental capabilities for biennial development out to Block 14, which will occur during 2014 and 2015. Each block will build on the capabilities developed during previous blocks, and each successive block will provide increasing levels of capability to counter ballistic missiles of all ranges and phases of flight.

The MDA, as the acquisition agency for the BMDS, has implemented a new, more exible approach to developing the proposed BMDS. This approach is capability-driven and component-based rather than focused on specific elements or programs. Capability based planning allows MDA to develop capabilities and objectives based on technology feasibility, engineering analyses, and the capability of the threat. This development involves an iterative process known as spiral development that refines program objectives as technology becomes available through research and testing with continuous feed between MDA, the test community, and the military operators. Thus MDA can consider deployment of a missile defense system that has no specified final architecture and no set operational requirements but which will be improved incrementally over time.

Secretary of Defense memorandum, "Missile Defense Program Direction," January 2, 2002, exempted MDA from the traditional DoD requirements generation process of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 3170 and canceled the Service's Operational Requirements Documents for the BMDS elements. In addition, the Secretary of Defense memorandum tasked the Director, MDA with establishing a process that sets initial capability standards, engages the participation of future users early and throughout development, and permits capability trades across all BMDS elements.

Although the Secretary of Defense cancelled the system ORDs approved by the Services, the MDA did carry over many of the ORD requirements in the new elements capability specification documents. The Secretary of Defense memorandum, "Missile Defense Program Direction," January 2, 2002, cancelled the Service missile defense ORDs because they were inconsistent with the proposed BMDS development program objectives. In place of the element ORDs, MDA defined capability-based requirements for Block 04 of the overall BMDS in the System Capabilities Specification. MDA used the System Capability Specification to define the capability-based requirements for the individual MDA elements in the element capability specification documents.

On December 17, 2002 President George W. Bush directed the Secretary of Defense to proceed with fielding an initial set of missile defense capabilities, to begin operating in 2004 and 2005, including ground-based interceptors, sea-based incerceptors, Patriot PAC-3 units, and sensors based on land, at sea, and in space.

The current system under development - the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) - includes a diverse collection of land-, air-, sea-, and space-based assets located around the globe and founded on cutting-edge technology. DOD planned [as of 2007] to invest an additional $49 billion in this system, or about 13 percent of its research and development budget, over the next 5 years. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) -- the agency charged with developing an integrated BMDS -- is developing nine BMDS elements. The elements are: Airborne Laser (ABL); Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (Aegis BMD); BMDS Sensors; Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC); Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD); Kinetic Energy Interceptors (KEI); Multiple Kill Vehicles (MKV); Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS); and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). MDA has adopted an evolutionary acquisition approach in which the BMDS will be fielded in 2-year blocks.

The first block, known as Block 2004, ended on December 31, 2005. The block fielded a limited capability that included initial versions of GMD; Aegis BMD; Patriot Advanced Capability-3; and C2BMC elements. This was the capability that was put on alert status in 2006. This capability is designed to provide limited protection of the United States from intercontinental ballistic missile attacks out of North Korea and the Middle East and protection of U.S. forces and critical assets from short-and medium-range ballistic missiles.

In October 2004 Missile Defense Agency Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry A. Obering III, said the agency was confident, based on testing so far and on threat expectations, that the components of the system would provide an effective defense against a near-term North Korean long-range missile launch. "North Korea is a closed society - - but [with what] we can ascertain, what we believe -- we feel confident that this system will provide us more than just a rudimentary capability against that threat," he said.

In early 2005 the Department of Defense released details on major defense acquisition program cost and schedule changes since the September 2004 reporting period. This information was based on the Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) submitted to the Congress for the December 31, 2004 reporting period. BMDS (Ballistic Missile Defense System) program costs increased $21,003.1 million (+31.8%) from $66,120.3 million to $87,123.4 million, due primarily to field Blocks 08, 10 and 12 capabilities which expand our ability to protect the United States, friends, and allies from a ballistic missile attack. Block 08 adds funding to complete 20 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs), 2 Forward Based X-Band Radar - Transportable, 40 Standard Missile 3s, First Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Battery, and an Upgraded Early Warning Radar (UEWR) at Thule, Greenland. Incremental improvements include additional sea-based interceptors, an additional THAAD fire unit, 10 additional (GBI), and UEWRs at Clear Air Station, Eglin Air Force Base, and Otis Air Force Base. Other improvements include funding for a Space Tracking and Surveillance System constellation and contractor logistics support. Funds were also added to address the program's revised escalation rate ($1,152.3 million).

Block 2006 - which represents the period of development for calendar years 2006 and 2007 -- enhanced existing capabilities, provided additional assets for operational use, and continued development of future capabilities. MDA submitted its goals for Block 2006 to Congress shortly after its fiscal year 2006 budget request. The goals quantified the number of assets that MDA planned to field by the end of the block, defined the performance that fielded assets were expected to deliver, and identified the cost of all Block 2006 efforts, including the cost of assets being fielded and of developmental activities for three elements -- ABL, STSS, and THAAD -- that will not be operational until future blocks. Fiscal year testing goals were also established by element program offices, but these goals were not formally reported to Congress. MDA included THAAD as part of its initial Block 2006, but later moved its cost to Block 2008. According to MDA officials, this action was taken to more accurately align resources with the capability's delivery time frame.

In 2007, MDA redefined its block construct to better communicate its plans and goals to Congress. The agency's new construct is based on fielding capabilities that address particular threats as opposed to the previous biennial time periods. MDA's new block construct makes many positive changes. These include establishing unit cost for selected block assets, incorporating into a block only those elements or components that will be fielded during the block, and abandoning the practice of deferring work from block to block. These changes should improve the transparency of the BMDS program and make MDA more accountable for the investment being made in missile defense. For example, the actual cost of each block can be tracked because MDA will no longer defer work planned for one block, along with its cost, to a future block. In addition, MDA plans to develop unit cost for selected BMDS assets-- such as THAAD interceptors-- so that cost growth of those assets can be monitored.

During 2007 MDA emplaced 9 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI) (long-range) at Fort Greely, Alaska, and 1 GBI at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. (total 21 in Alaska, 3 in California). MDA delivered additional 13 Aegis SM-3 interceptors (short- to intermediate-range); total of 21 SM-3s in inventory, and delivered required upgrades to 4 Aegis missile defense-capable engagement destroyers for a total of 7 Aegis Destroyers and 3 Aegis Cruisers.

As of 2008 MDA had currently defined five blocks.

  1. Block 1.0: Defend the United States from Limited North Korean Long-Range Threats. The block is comprised of 30 GBIs, fielded at Ft. Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California, combined with an array of sensors including the Beale Upgraded Early Warning Radar (UEWR) and Cobra Dane (CD) radar, the Sea-Based X-Band (SBX) radar, the AN/TPY-2 (Forward Based (FB)) radar, and the AN/SPY-1 radars from the 15 Aegis BMD destroyers and three Aegis BMD cruisers, integrated by the C2BMC system.
  2. Block 2.0: Defend Allies and Deployed Forces from Short- to Medium-Range Threats in One Region/Theater. The block is comprised of 71 Aegis SM-3 Block I/IA missiles, 15 Aegis BMD Engagement Destroyers, three Aegis BMD Engagement Cruisers, two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Fire Units with 48 operational THAAD interceptors, and associated fire control and communications equipment.
  3. Block 3.0: Expand Defense of the United States to Include Limited Iranian Long-Range Threats. Block 3.0 includes 14 additional GBIs with two key radars needed for defense of the U.S. from an Iranian threat -- the UEWRs at Fylingdales in the United Kingdom and at Thule in Greenland. Block 3.0 also provides the ability (Hercules Enhancements) to address more sophisticated countermeasures in the midcourse phase of flight.
  4. Block 4.0: Defend Allies and Deployed Forces in Europe from Limited Iranian Long-Range Threats and Expand Protection of U.S. Homeland. Block 4.0 includes ten GBIs equipped with the two-stage Orbital Boost Vehicle (OBV) configuration rather than the three-stage OBV configuration used on the interceptors deployed at Fort Greely and VAFB. These GBIs are scheduled for deployment at the European Interceptor Site (EIS) in Poland pending an agreement with the Polish government and fulfillment of certain test requirements. The European Mid-course Radar (EMR) currently located at the Kwajalein Atoll, modified and relocated to a site in the Czech Republic pending an agreement with the Czech government. Block 4.0 includes a forward-based AN/TPY-2 radar [the site for this radar has not been selected]. Block 4.0, which includes the European Interceptor Site (EIS) and European Midcourse Radar (EMR), could be delivered after Block 5.0 since Block 4.0 depends on external factors such as agreements between the government of the United States and the governments of Poland and the Czech Republic, respectively.
  5. Block 5.0: Expand Defense of Allies and Deployed Forces from Short- to Intermediate-Range Threats in Two Regions/Theaters. Block 5.0 includes 23 SM-3 Block IA interceptors, 53 SM-3 Block IB interceptors, two THAAD Fire Units [Fire Units #3 and #4] with 48 interceptors, one AN/TPY-2 radar for forward deployment, all tied together with associated C2BMC support.

Future blocks (Block 6.0, etc.) will be added when significant new capabilities are expected to be fielded based on a consideration of technological maturity, affordability, and need. For example, a new Block 6.0 might include enhanced defense of the United States against complex countermeasures, drawing on multiple kill capabilities from the multiple kill vehicle (MKV) program and discrimination and system tracking capabilities through upgraded hardware and software on weapon systems, sensors, and C2BMC.

As of January 2008 the estimated production rate capacity of the facilities that will produce the assets being fielded is one GBI per month, two SM-3s per month, three THAAD interceptors per month, and two AN/TPY-2 radars per year.

On September 17, 2009, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. decision to adopt a new approach to ballistic missile defense in Europe called the European Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) – a plan where EUCOM would complement NATO’s new strategic concept of incorporating missile defense as a core element of alliance security.

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Page last modified: 21-10-2013 19:37:45 ZULU