28 March 2013
GAO: GMD National Missile Defense Program Costs To Exceed $40 Billion


The 2013 GAO annual “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs” was posted today.[1]  It shows that the projected cost of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) national missile defense program now exceeds $40 billion, at $40,926 billion.  This is an increase of about $1.76 billion over last year’s figure of $39,162 billion.  It includes costs from the program start in 1996 through FY 2017.   However, this $40+ billion cost estimate is as of August last year, and thus does not include the roughly $1 billion for 14 additional interceptors announced two weeks ago.  The current report says “GMD consists of of an interceptor with a three-stage booster and kill vehicle and a fire control system, which formulates battle plans and direct components that are integrated with BMDS radars,” which seems to imply that the radars  are not included in these cost figures.  However, reports from previous years indicate that radars costs such as those for the new Sea-Based X-band radar and upgrades to the Cobra Dane and other Early Warning Radars are included.

[1] Government Accountability Office, “Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapons Programs,” March 2013, p. 45.

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