Missile Defense Request $9.3 Billion for 2007, Agency Head Says

Washington - The U.S. Missile Defense Agency's continuing effort to develop, test and deploy a joint, integrated, and multilayered ballistic missile defense system will cost $9.3 billion in fiscal year 2007, the director of the program says.

In prepared testimony for a Senate Armed Services subcommittee April 4, Air Force Lieutenant General Henry Obering III said that figure represents a requested increase of $1.6 billion over the fiscal year 2006 funding level.  The increase is due to "the robust phase we are entering in the development and fielding of the integrated layered capability," Obering said.

Overall, Obering said, the fiscal 2007 request for the Ballistic Missile Defense System breaks down into $2.4 billion for fielding and sustaining - on an incremental basis - long-range, ground-based, midcourse defense components, short- to intermediate-range defense components involving Aegis warships and their interceptors and necessary sensors, command and control, battle management and communication capabilities.  The remaining $6.9 billion will be spent to continue improving and testing the system, he said.

U.S. missile defense is envisioned as a combination of systems that find, target and destroy ballistic missiles in any of their three flight periods - the initial boost phase, the midcourse phase and the descent phase - from defenses arrayed on the ground, at sea or even in the air, according to the Missile Defense Agency. 

The system was conceived as a layered approach, so military assets could be brought to bear at any stage in a missile's flight against the United States, its deployed forces or those of its allies and friends, Obering said.

Obering's prepared testimony (PDF, 25 pages) is available on the Senate Armed Services Committee Web site.

Information on the Missile Defense Agency is available on its Web site.