Pentagon urges support for missile defense budget

A senior Pentagon official briefed Congress about the fiscal 2013 budget request of $7.75 billion in missile defense, calling for support “against a growing ballistic missile threat,” the American Forces Press Service reported Thursday. 

Army Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O’Reilly, director of the US Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency, testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee on Wednesday in defense of the missile defense program.

The budget request was a reduction of more than 650 million dollars from the fiscal 2012 appropriations, O’Reilly told the panel. The United States has invested more than 90 billion dollars in missile defense.

He expressed his concern about “two critically needed programs that are in jeopardy” due to past congressional funding reductions.

One deals with the sensor capability provided by the precision tracking space system, whic hallows space-based tracking of ballistic missiles. The other is about the need to develop a second independent layer of homeland defense with the SM-3 IIB interceptor, a highlydeployable missile that would “destroy threat missiles earlier in their flight paths than thecurrent architecture.”

He said the agency’s priority this year is to conduct a missile intercept test with the newest version of the exo-atmospheric kill vehicle of the GBI, or ground-based interceptors, after two previous flight-test failures.

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