Congressional oversight of homeland missile defense plans increase in FY21 defense policy bills

July 28, 2020

Defense News

Congress is establishing increased oversight of the Missile Defense Agency’s plans for its homeland missile defense system — designed to protect against possible intercontinental ballistic missile threats from North Korea and Iran — through provisions in the House and Senate passed versions of the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.

Displeased with the abrupt cancellation of the agency’s major upgrade to interceptors in the ground at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, lawmakers are demanding the agency show its work on its plan to build an entirely new interceptor for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System (GMD). It also wants more details on the agency plan to develop an underlay of additional regional missile defense systems to bolster GMD.

MDA announced in May 2019 that it would pause its plans to develop and field a Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) — essentially the warhead of the GMD system’s interceptors — due to technical issues. Then the Pentagon’s under-secretary of defense for research and engineering subsequently scrapped the program in August 2019 in favor of designing a brand new interceptor.

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