WASHINGTON – A senior U.S. Missile Defense Agency official expressed concern June 18 about a House spending bill that provides some 22 percent less funding than requested for a new kill vehicle and said the impact could spill over onto other programs.
The MDA requested $278 million next year for the Redesigned Kill Vehicle under a budget line dubbed Improved Homeland Defense Interceptor. The effort, identified by the MDA’s director as a top priority, addresses reliability concerns with the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicles that top the interceptors now deployed to protect the U.S. homeland against missile attacks.
But the House of Representatives, whose Republican leadership is generally supportive of missile defense, recently passed a bill that provides just $217 million for the RKV. That bill must be reconciled with a Senate bill that recommends providing $298 million next year.
“We are concerned, I’ll be candid with you,” U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Kenneth Todorov, the MDA’s deputy director, said at a breakfast here June 18. “We’ve seen the marks from some of the committees on the Hill. We’re watching them carefully. Some of them concern us and we sure hope we get some of this worked out in conference because the RKV is really at the forefront” of efforts to improve the U.S. territorial shield, he said.
“We need to get that settled and get our plan underway,” he added….