FY08 Funding Boost To Help Navy Deploy Missile Defenses




 
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FY08 Funding Boost To Help Navy Deploy Missile Defenses
 
November 29th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: FY08 Funding Boost To Help Navy Deploy Missile Defenses


FY08 Funding Boost To Help Navy Deploy Missile Defenses
National Journal's CongressDailyPM
November 28, 2007
A senior Navy official said today that a significant congressional add-on to the FY08 Defense budget for the sea-based missile defense program will allow the military to install defensive systems on all 18 planned ships by the end of calendar year 2008, six months earlier than planned. The plus-up "helps us to attain that," Rear Adm. Alan Hicks, program director for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, said during a briefing sponsored by the George C. Marshall Institute at the National Press Club. The military has installed the sea-based missile defense system on 10 warships, and plans to install the system on eight ships over the next 13 months. Hicks said training and certification on some of the last eight ships could extend until February 2009.
Unlike other more controversial missile defense efforts, the new Aegis system, which was declared operational last year, has significant bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. The recently enacted FY08 Defense appropriations bill added $75 million to the Bush administration's $1.1 billion request to pay for upgrades and other development efforts for the program. The add-on reflects a Senate-passed amendment to the spending bill sponsored by Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and ranking member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. Other areas of the missile defense budget did not fair as well, with appropriators trimming $200 million from the $8.9 billion request. Those cuts include $85 million slashed from the Bush administration's efforts to erect a launch site in Poland for missile interceptors. Congress also stripped all funding from the Space Test Bed, a key element of the program to develop space-based missile defenses.
During a test this month, the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System succeeded in intercepting multiple ballistic missiles, marking the first time the system has simultaneously thwarted multiple threats. Hicks observed that the military will have 153 short- and mid-term missile interceptors in the inventory by the end of 2009, but added that he believes the Navy needs to expand the program beyond current plans. "Is it enough? No," Hicks said. "Inventory's inadequate to meet our needs."
-- by Megan Scully
 


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