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Missile Defense: Lessons Learned From Acquisition Efforts

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Technical Report

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United States Government Accountability Office Washington United States

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For over half a century, the Department of Defense has funded efforts to defend the United States from ballistic missile attacks. From 2002 to 2020, MDA has received about 174 billion to develop the BMDS and has requested about 9.2 billion for fiscal year 2021. The BMDS consists of diverse and highly complex land-, sea-, and space-based systems and assets located across the globe. This statement summarizes lessons that GAO has identified from its prior reviews of MDA starting in 2004 that can be applied to strengthen the transparency and acquisition practices for developing and fielding missile defense elements. Specifically, this testimony provides information on 1 steps MDA has taken to increase transparency and reduce acquisition risks and 2 ongoing challenges associated with improving transparency and reducing high risk acquisition practices. In our prior work, GAO reviewed key MDA management documents including annual program reviews, tests plans and budget documents. We also interviewed officials from MDA and from other key DOD offices. GAO is not making any new recommendations in this statement. GAO has previously recommended that MDA take steps to increase transparency and align its acquisition approach to reduce high-risk practices. MDA concurred with certain recommendations and is taking steps to implement them.

Subject Categories:

  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Antimissile Defense Systems
  • Administration and Management

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