11 March 2020
NGI passes muster with JROC, RFP 'about to be released'
By Jason Sherman
Inside Defense


Proponents of the Next-Generation Interceptor prevailed this week on the Joint Requirements Oversight Council to allow the new project to proceed, clearing the way for a top Pentagon board next week to conduct a final review and formally launch a competition for the new multibillion-dollar weapons project, sources said.

On March 10, the JROC reviewed the proposed acquisition timeline for NGI -- a roughly 10-year project to develop a new homeland defense interceptor -- in a meeting designed to allay concerns raised by U.S. Northern Command officials who last month said it needed to be delivered sooner.

"I'm happy to report that just yesterday we had the Joint Requirements Oversight Council that successfully met to talk about how do we successfully bring this capability to bear sooner," Gen. Terrance O'Shaughnessy, NORTHCOM chief, told the House Armed Services Committee today. "And I look forward to the [request for proposals] ultimately being released."

The project will be reviewed by the Missile Defense Executive Board next week.

In a separate congressional hearing, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin said the NGI request for proposals "is about to be released."

Griffin, who is spearheading the NGI effort, said he believes industry can deliver the new intercontinental ballistic missile interceptor much sooner than the government's 10-year estimate.

Griffin provided the first public explanation for why the NGI project -- a follow-on to the Redesigned Kill Vehicle terminated last August because of technical difficulties -- has a decade-long schedule estimate, and why he believes the new interceptor will not take that long to field.

"The government estimate for the time to complete the deployment of the Next-Generation Interceptor is about a 10-year program," Griffin told the House Armed Services intelligence and emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee. "That estimate was put together with a 75% confidence level so that I could have some surety that we were not over promising and under delivering."

Since pivoting to create NGI last summer, MDA has issued three draft requests for proposals asking industry to provide feedback on notional requirements.

"We believe, based on [requests for information] received back from the contractors that some significant shortening of that period is possible," Griffin said.

The RKV termination upended plans to modernize the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system in the mid-2020s with new warheads for the GBI fleet to counter expected advances by North Korea.

MDA is now proposing a new homeland "underlay" BMD architecture that would backstop the GMD program in the mid-2020s with a combination of new Aegis interceptors and an extended range variant of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.

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