MDEB Update

By John Liang / April 4, 2011 at 7:45 PM

David Ahern, the head of portfolio systems procurement in the Pentagon's acquisition shop, recently gave lawmakers an update on the Missile Defense Executive Board's activities over the past two years.

Since 2009, the MDEB has conducted 12 meetings and the Pentagon acquisition chief's office "has issued 12 Acquisition Decision Memorandums," according to Ahern's March 31 prepared remarks to the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee. "Thus, it continues to meet more frequently than a Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) would meet for a typical program. Through the MDEB, the department maintains early and continued visibility into MDA programs and is able to provide the necessary guidance to achieve missile defense priorities within cost and schedule constraints," he adds.


The Department's current criteria for missile defense element production decisions includes: an assessment of the depth and breadth of preparation including element progress; performance validated by testing results; reports by the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation; funding to support program plans; and an executable plan for operation and support. MDA, in conjunction with the designated Lead Military Department makes the recommendation for a production decision. The USD(AT&L) is responsible for the production review and decision. In the past year, the MDEB reviewed development progress on the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System, and endorsed the acquisition of THAAD Batteries 3, 4 and 5 and associated equipment. A similar review of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense element is also planned.

Recent MDEB activities have also included reviews of the Fiscal Year 2012 Missile Defense Agency budget request, clarification of Operation and Support (O&S) funding responsibilities, and force structure recommendations such as the addition of an AN/TPY-2 radar to BMDS acquisition planning. The MDEB also established a Defense Science and Technology Advisory Group which reviews and assesses critical technologies that support missile defense missions and their maturity levels.

In February, Inside the Pentagon had more detail about the MDEB meeting on the radar addition:

Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter has endorsed buying an additional AN/TPY-2 radar in fiscal year 2012 for the Ballistic Missile Defense System, according to internal documents.

A Jan. 31 acquisition decision memorandum signed by Carter and reviewed by Inside the Pentagon says the department will add one AN/TPY-2 radar in FY-12 to the Missile Defense Agency's Ballistic Missile Defense System program acquisition plan "pending availability of additional funding."

The "for official use only" memo -- addressed to the Pentagon's policy shop, the armed services and the Missile Defense Agency -- lays out decisions stemming from a Nov. 1, 2010, Missile Defense Executive Board (MDEB) meeting chaired by Carter.

Raytheon has built seven AN/TPY-2 radars. Late last year, the agency awarded Raytheon a $190 million contract to build an eighth radar. The program of record calls for building a total of 14 radars by 2015.

An industry source said nothing has been announced yet, but the department has been discussing the possibility of boosting the planned quantity to 15 radars based on the needs of combatant commanders.