Accession Number:



Missile Defense: DOD's Report Provides Limited Insight on Improvements to Homeland Missile Defense and Acquisition Plans

Descriptive Note:

Congressional rept.

Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The Missile Defense Agency MDA is developing the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System GMD to defend the United States against an intermediate and intercontinental ballistic missile attack. As part of this system, the Department of Defense DOD has already deployed 30 ground-based interceptors consisting of a booster with a kill vehicle on top and a fire control system that uses information from sensors to formulate a battle plan. According to DOD, GMD is able to protect the United States from a limited ballistic missile attack from North Korea and Iran. However, in March 2014, a senior DOD official testified that due to test failures and the current ballistic missile threats, one of the highest priorities for the protection of the United States is to improve the reliability and effectiveness of the GMD ground-based interceptor. According to the DOD Guide for Achieving Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability, reliability is an essential element of mission capability and is defined as the probability that an item will perform a necessary function when required. Between December 2010 and July 2013, the program experienced three consecutive test failures one failure with GMD s original interceptor configuration called the Capability Enhancement I CE-I and two failures with the upgraded version called the Capability Enhancement II CE-II. These test failures along with other delays and concurrent acquisition activities have raised questions about the reliability of the GMD system. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, signed into law on January 2, 2013, mandated that the Secretary of Defense submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the status of efforts to improve the homeland ballistic missile defense capability of the United States that was required to include, among other things, a description of the results of two planned flight tests.

Subject Categories:

  • Civil Defense
  • Guided Missiles

Distribution Statement: