The Congress yesterday put forward its appropriations of $696 billion for the Department of Defense for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, as part of an Omnibus bill to be signed or vetoed by the President. In this appropriations bill, Congress provided the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) an additional $1.331 billion for FY 2021 that reversed the reduction in MDA funding attempted by the Department of Defense’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation Office (CAPE) in the President’s FY2021 budget request earlier this year.
The $1.273 billion cut of MDA’s portion of the budget put forward by CAPE to Congress was clearly not aligned to the 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS), the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS), or to the 2019 Missile Defense Review (MDR). It amounted to a 12.2% reduction in MDA’s budget reducing or eliminating specific capabilities required by the war fighters. CAPE’s plan would have resulted in a tremendous cut to maturing programs designed to provide high demand capabilities to U.S. military commanders around the world who are facing the proliferation of advanced missile threats. CAPE targeted cuts to MDA specifically to fund other DOD programs, not adhering to the President’s stated commitment to missile defense.
The $1.331 billion restored to MDA by Congress will go towards a number of critical programs and efforts:
- The production of 10 additional Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA interceptors that just proved a capability to intercept ICBMs
- A new 8thTerminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery that is in high demand in both Europe and the United States’
- Funding Hypersonic Missile Defense (HMD) against a near-peer hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) capabilities today (which was nearly non-existent in CAPE budget plans)
- Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) which is designed to detect near-peer HGV capabilities (also non-existent in CAPE plans)
- The Hawaii Homeland Defense Radar for better missile defense of the U.S. homeland
- The joint command & control for cruise missile defense which is under high demand.
All of these are absolutely critical programs for the defense of the United States against both today’s threats and emerging threats. The Congress’ direct adjustment to CAPE’s grab for funding, aligns completely with the 2017 NSS, 2018 NDS, and 2019 MDR.
Now is not the time for the Pentagon bureaucracy to reduce MDA funding. It is the time to align needed resources with our national strategies and best equip our Armed Forces to defend themselves and our allies from advanced missile threats.