Missile Defense. The HASC markup would prohibit “any missile defense capability that could only be deployed in space,” according to a summary provided to reporters this morning, and further would reverse the Republican-backed requirement in last year’s NDAA for stand-up of a space-based missile defense test bed. It also directs the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to continue work on a space-based sensor payload for tracking ballistic and hypersonic threats from space, authorizing $108 million — copying the action by the Senate in its version of the NDAA in May
The committee also “directs the Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) to conduct a comprehensive AOA on current boost-phase technologies being developed or investigated,” by March 31, 2020, according to the strategic forces’ markup. The subcommittee’s version of the bill expresses skepticism in particular about the MDA’s plan to spend $34 million to initiate development of a space-based neutral-particle beam weapon for destroying enemy ICMBs in their boost-phase shortly after launch.