Wednesday, February 25, 2009

GAO: DEFENSE ACQUISITIONS: Charting a Course for Improved Missile Defense testing

DEFENSE ACQUISITIONS: Charting a Course for Improved Missile Defense Testing
February 25, 2009

Highlights of GAO-09-403T, a testimony before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has spent about $56 billion and will spend about $50 billion more through 2013 to develop a Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).

This testimony is based on two reviews GAO was directed to conduct in 2008. In addition to our annual review assessing the annual cost, testing, schedule, and performance progress MDA made in developing BMDS, we have also reported on MDA’s targets program. In this testimony we discuss (1) the productivity of MDA’s recent test program, (2) the consequences of the testing shortfalls, and (3) key factors that should be considered as MDA revises its approach to testing.

GAO assessed contractor cost, schedule, and performance; tests completed; and the assets fielded during 2008. GAO also reviewed pertinent sections of the U.S. Code, acquisition policy, and the activities of a new missile defense board.

What GAO Recommends
We have previously made recommendations to improve the MDA’s testing and targets programs that include establishing a revised business case for providing targets for a robust flight test program as well as adding sufficient scope to tests to enable an assessment of the BMDS’ suitability and effectiveness, but MDA only partially agreed. We also have a draft report that is currently with DOD for comment that includes additional recommendations regarding testing.

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