GAO: Missile Defense Agency again falls short on BMDS testing goals

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released its latest report on the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) progress on the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), which shows that the agency again fell short in meeting its testing goals last year.

The GAO compiles annual reports on the MDA’s progress on the BMDS, both in terms of achieving its fiscal-year goals, and in terms of developing and delivering capabilities and assets for the system, as provided for in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2012. The MDA has spent approximately $123 billion on developing the BMDA since 2002 and plans to spend an additional $38 billion through fiscal year 2020.

The GAO’s latest report said fiscal year 2015 saw the MDA make progress in the system’s capabilities, nearly meeting its delivery goals despite technical, testing and funding challenges. Some of the agency’s successes include integrating Aegis Ashore into its European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), upgrading the system’s ability to launch interceptors and improving performance through new capabilities.

The MDA fell short of its goals, however, in executing test flights, conducting 11 out of 20 last year. The agency delayed or removed approximately 40 percent of its planned flight tests between fiscal years 2010 and 2015. The GAO did not make any new recommendations in its latest report, but further reiterated previous recommendations, such as building technical knowledge, before making program commitments and conducting testing before initiating productions.