Skip to comments.U.S. Missile Defense Agency Requests Bigger FY2011 Budget
Posted on 02/03/2010 12:26:04 AM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
The Defense Department agency responsible for U.S. missile defense systems has requested $8.4 billion for fiscal year 2011, an increase of about a half billion dollars.
The request comes after an announcement last September that the United States would move away from a ground-based missile defense system to defend against Iranian and North Korean threats, to a sea-based platform.
The budget supports continuous emphasis on development, testing, fielding, sustainment, David Altwegg, the executive director of the Missile Defense Agency, told Pentagon reporters yesterday.
We have shifted our emphasis from the ground-based defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles to the regional threat, short- and medium-range missiles, which comprise about 99 percent of the ballistic missile threat extant, Altwegg said.
When Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced plans to move from ground-based components in Poland and the Czech Republic, the rationale he offered was that the new sea-based approach is better suited to intelligence on Iranian threats and would provide protection sooner.
Going a step further, Gates -- a former CIA director -- said the new arrangement is preferable even if intelligence that Iran is more focused on developing short-range missiles over long-range capabilities prove incorrect.
But Gates emphasized that the United States would continue working with European allies on developing a system to defend against threats to the continent.
We are starting the four-phased approach to fielding a capability in Europe against the emerging Iranian threat, initially against the short- and medium-range threat that exists, Altwegg said, and hence our initial emphasis will be on southeastern Europe.
The Missile Defense Agency briefing fell on the same day the department released its first Ballistic Missile Defense Review, slated to take place every four years.
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