The Insider

By Cid Standifer
April 8, 2011 at 7:57 PM

The Navy League's Sea Air Space conference, arguably one of the biggest Navy industry gatherings of the year, may lose quite a chunk of its speaker roster if the government shuts down tonight, according to a spokesman.

Tom Van Leunen, senior communications director for Navy League, told Inside the Navy that the organization does not expect any government officials to be able to speak if the shutdown goes ahead.

“That, as we understand it, will be the policy that comes out of [the Office of the Secretary of Defense], and we are making arrangements to replace them with elected officials and potentially some foreign speakers,” Van Leunen said.

“I can't get into it yet because a couple people don't know yet that we're going to ask them,” he added, “but we are making arrangements to replace them with industry speakers, retired people, former secretaries, et cetera, and potentially even some foreign embassy people”

Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Alan Baribeau said that if the shutdown goes ahead, the NAVSEA booth will still be there, but no personnel will man it, and no officials will speak there.

In a statement posted on its publication's website, Navy League said it has been in close contact with the government to monitor the situation with its speakers and attendees. The organization pledged to make the conference worthwhile, regardless of what happens to the government.

By John Liang
April 8, 2011 at 3:20 PM

While the White House and Congress try to avert a government shutdown at midnight tonight and somehow pass a spending bill for the rest of fiscal year 2011, the Pentagon has been quietly lobbying lawmakers to include language for the FY-12 defense bill for a variety of programs. To wit:

On Tuesday, reported the following:

The Defense Department last week asked Congress to establish a fund to finance the development and fielding of new technologies and weapons requested by commanders to meet urgent wartime needs, according to Pentagon documents.

The fund would be backed by a $100 million account in the Pentagon's base budget that could be supplemented by another $100 million annually in war-cost appropriations bills.

On April 1, the Pentagon sent Congress a third package of legislative proposals for consideration along with the Defense Department's fiscal year 2012 spending request. The package calls for the creation of a Joint Urgent Operational Needs Fund within the defense-wide procurement account.

The fund would be “used to resolve immediate warfighter needs of the combatant commanders within the year of execution,” states the request.

The request seeks a total of $200 million for the fund in FY-12. Should Congress agree to establish it, the Pentagon would assume $100 million annually across its future years defense plan for the new fund in its base budget, according to the DOD proposal, which would add a new section to title 10 of the U.S. code.

Then on Thursday, Inside the Pentagon reported:

The Pentagon wants Congress to eliminate statutory language that pushes the Defense Department to acquire unmanned drones over manned systems in new programs and directs DOD to provide an explanation when that does not occur.

In a recent legislative proposal obtained by Inside the Pentagon, DOD states that this requirement in the Fiscal Year 2007 National Defense Authorization Act "potentially imposes cost and schedule burdens." The department wants to excise the preference for drones from the law.

"Because it does not allow for consideration of development and ownership costs, it forces the DOD to procure a system that may be more expensive to develop and operate than a manned system, which is equally or more effective and provides the same or more protection to service members," DOD writes in its request. The department notes that although the law's intent is "desirable," it creates a "burden."

But a congressional source said the current law does not bar the Pentagon from considering costs.

The intent of the legislation "was to make the default position unmanned," the source said.

DOD similarly sought last year to have Congress change the law, arguing the requirement is expensive, but Capitol Hill was not persuaded, the source said.

The Pentagon's proposal also notes that the current requirement could hinder DOD's ability to quickly fill a capability gap "because of the time required to mature unmanned technologies." The required certification that an unmanned system is incapable of meeting program requirements can also bump up the price and time needed to initiate new acquisitions, the department complains.

And this morning, Inside the Air Force reported:

The Defense Department has made the most sweeping changes to its Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) program in 15 years, according to a senior Air Force official.

DOD will realign the incentives for commercial industry partners who participate in the service's peacetime missions in a bid to make the partnership "stronger" and "more viable," according to Gen. Duncan McNabb, commander of U.S. Transportation Command. It is also looking to make some legislative changes to facilitate its relationship with those partners, according to a proposal released by the Pentagon on April 1. Through the long-standing CRAF program, the military's organic air fleet and its commercial partners have airlifted more than 2 million passengers and 848,000 tons of cargo.

McNabb said in his prepared statement for an April 5 hearing with the House Armed Services Committee that the Air Force implemented the "flyer bonus" plan to "address congressional mandates to improve predictability of DOD commercial requirements and incentivize carriers to use modern aircraft." It is the first bonus of its kind, McNabb said during his opening statement.

"Our plan for [fiscal year 2012] FY-12 is to amend the flyer bonus to provide increased reward to those carriers who fly peacetime CRAF missions with modernized aircraft," he said.

McNabb's announcement of a flyer bonus comes after the Pentagon sent a package of legislative proposals to Congress on April 1 along with the Defense Department's FY-12 spending request. In a section-by-section analysis of one proposal on CRAF, DOD says it wants Congress to allow for changes to be made to the current CRAF memorandum of understanding covering the operation of the program.

That legislative proposals package that all the above stories mention? We have it now -- click here to read it.

By John Liang
April 7, 2011 at 6:12 PM

The Israeli Defense Forces announced today that it had used the Iron Dome system to successfully intercept a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip.

"Immediately afterwards, an IAF aircraft targeted the squad of terrorists who fired the rocket and confirmed a hit," an IDF statement reads, adding: "It should be stressed that the 'Iron Dome' system, though operational, is still under evaluation."

U.S. funding for the system would be threatened by a government shutdown, as Inside Missile Defense reports this week:

Operating under a continuing resolution would be preferable to a government shutdown -- at least from a missile defense perspective, according to the head of the Missile Defense Agency.

"I think between shutting down the government and continuing contracting in a very inefficient way, I would rather continue the contracting in a very inefficient way," Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly said at a March 31 House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee hearing.

Singling out the Obama administration's proposed Phased Adaptive Approach to help defend Europe from ballistic missile attack, O'Reilly said there are "a lot of new starts in this budget that we're not allowed to turn on." Additionally, the fiscal year 2012 Defense Authorization Act in December authorized $205 million for MDA to procure the Iron Dome, the system that Israel has developed for short-range missile defense.

"Even though the president has committed and it is in the authorization act, it is a new start for me," the general said. "And so I can't even execute what the authorization act has asked me to do. So it's that and it is the impacts to the workforce trying to determine new contracts and things, whether or not they're going to be hired or laid off. It's buying material. We can't commit legally to buying material because we don't have the follow-on funding."

By Jason Sherman
April 7, 2011 at 5:37 PM

The White House, ratcheting up the brinksmanship with House Republicans over the FY-11 budget, is threatening to veto the House-proposed spending package -- H.R. 1363 -- that would give the Pentagon a fiscal year 2011 appropriations bill but deeply cut domestic discretionary spending for the balance of FY-11.

The White House Office of Management and Budget just issued this statement:

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 1363, making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and for other purposes. As the President stated on April 5, 2011, if negotiations are making significant progress, the Administration would support a short-term, clean Continuing Resolution to allow for enactment of a final bill.

For the past several weeks, the Administration has worked diligently and in good faith to find common ground on the shared goal of cutting spending. After giving the Congress more time by signing short-term extensions into law, the President believes that we need to put politics aside and work out our differences for a bill that covers the rest of the fiscal year. This bill is a distraction from the real work that would bring us closer to a reasonable compromise for funding the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011 and avert a disruptive Federal Government shutdown that would put the Nation’s economic recovery in jeopardy. The Administration will continue to work with the Congress to arrive at a compromise that will fund the Government for the remainder of the fiscal year in a way that does not undermine future growth and job creation and that averts a costly Government shutdown. It is critical that the Congress send a final bill to the President’s desk that provides certainty to our men and women in military uniform, their families, small businesses, homeowners, taxpayers, and all Americans. H.R. 1363 simply delays that critical final outcome.

If presented with this bill, the President will veto it.

By Christopher J. Castelli
April 7, 2011 at 5:36 PM

If the federal government shuts down, what will happen to the Defense Department's acquisition workforce? Will program managers and other acquisition personnel still be on the job? That will be decided on a case-by-case basis as senior officials identify which jobs are essential, DOD spokesman Col. David Lapan said today. Essential DOD jobs in this context are considered "excepted," he noted. Guidance issued today by Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn provides the framework for deciding who must keep working during a shutdown, though all uniformed military personnel automatically fall into this category, Lapan said.

“Operations and activities that are essential to safety, protection of human life, and protection of our national security, are ‘excepted’ from shutting down," Lynn said in a statement issued today. "The DOD will continue to conduct activities in support of our national security, including operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Japan; Libya-related support operations; and other operations and activities essential to the security of our nation. The department must also continue to provide for the safety of human life and protection of property."

“Other excepted activities," Lynn adds, "will include inpatient and essential outpatient care in DOD medical treatment facilities; emergency dental care; non-appropriated funds activities such as mess halls and child care activities; certain legal activities to support ongoing litigation and legal assistance for deployed DoD personnel; contracting and logistics operations that are in support of excepted activities; certain education and training activities to include the DOD education activity schools; and financial management activities necessary to ensure the control and accountability of funds."

Lynn will issue further guidance regarding specific activities that are considered excepted or non-excepted. "However," he adds, "the secretary and I understand that the military departments and defense agencies and individual commanders must tailor this guidance to many different situations around the world. Therefore, should there be a government shutdown, DOD personnel will be informed through their chain of command about how a shutdown may affect them personally."

By John Liang
April 7, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Inside the Pentagon has a story out this morning about a White House report to Congress that finds that the Defense Department's plan to develop and deploy non-nuclear weapons that can strike a target anywhere in the world within an hour will not be hindered by the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia. Further:

The New START Treaty "does not prohibit the deployment" of these conventional prompt global strike systems "and does not in any way limit or constrain research, development, testing and evaluation of such systems," according to the report, which has a Feb. 2 cover letter signed by President Obama. Inside the Pentagon obtained a copy of the report.

The Senate's resolution to ratify the treaty required the submission of the report. The treaty, signed by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last April and ratified by the Senate in December's lame-duck session, limits to 1,550 the number of warheads on deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles -- regardless of whether the warheads are conventional or nuclear -- and nuclear warheads counted for deployed heavy bombers. The treaty also limits the number of deployed ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers, and deployed and non-deployed launchers.

Read the report.

By Christopher J. Castelli
April 7, 2011 at 12:04 PM

President Obama signed the new 2011 version Unified Command Plan on Wednesday, making several major changes to the roles of combatant commanders. The plan "is a key strategic document that establishes the missions, responsibilities, and geographic areas of responsibility for commanders of combatant commands," a Joint Staff spokesman tells Inside the Pentagon.

The new plan makes "significant" changes to the previous 2008 iteration of the plan, the spokesman said. The key changes include giving U.S. Northern Command responsibility to advocate for Arctic capabilities; codifying the president's approval to disestablish U.S. Joint Forces Command; expanding U.S. Strategic Command's responsibility for combating weapons of mass destruction and developing global missile defense concepts of operations; and giving U.S. Transportation Command responsibility for synchronizing planning of global distribution operations.

By Gabe Starosta
April 6, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Members of the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee were given a classified briefing about the Air Force's next-generation bomber this afternoon, directly following an open session in which the committee discussed nuclear deterrence and complying with the follow-on Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia.

Sen. Ben Nelsen (D-NE), the subcommittee chairman, announced at the beginning of the hearing that the open session would adjourn at 3:30 p.m. -- after one hour of discussion -- to meet behind closed doors with Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, the Air Force's military deputy for acquisition. The topic of the closed session concerned the service's newest acquisition project, the development of a nuclear-capable, optionally manned, penetrating bomber. The service expects to procure between 80 and 100 of the aircraft, and the bomber will be fielded in the mid-2020s, service officials announced last month.

Nelsen and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the subcommittee's ranking member, were the only senators present at the open hearing.

By John Liang
April 6, 2011 at 4:35 PM

The Senate Armed Services emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee today announced it plans to hold a hearing on April 12 on the Pentagon's "plans and programs relating to counterterrorism, counternarcotics, and building partnership capacity."

Witnesses will include Garry Reid, deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combating terrorism; James Schear, deputy assistant secretary of defense for partnership strategy and stability operations; and William Wechsler, deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics and global threats.

Inside the Pentagon reported in January that the Navy was planning to draw upon the thinking and actions of the other military services and the U.S. military's most elite forces to design a new way forward for countering irregular threats through a new initiative. Specifically:

Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris, the director of the Navy's irregular warfare office, recently established a "community of interest" that will counsel the service on tackling irregular warfare challenges and developing related Navy capabilities.

The community will focus not only on how the Navy fights the threats, but also on how it organizes and trains for the mission -- and what is needed in terms of weapons and gear, leadership, personnel and facilities, according to the five-page charter that Harris signed Dec. 22, 2010.

The aim of the initiative is to ensure the Navy gleans and capitalizes on the best ideas for countering irregular challenges -- not just from within the service, but also from the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and elsewhere in the military, Harris told Inside the Pentagon this week in a brief interview at the Surface Navy Association's annual conference in Arlington, VA.

"As budgets get tight, the military is going to have to pay for things that operate across the full range of military operations, and not just things for major combat," Harris said. The Navy must abolish the myth that a dollar spent for irregular warfare is a dollar unavailable for major combat operations, Harris said, stressing the two areas overlap. Another myth, he said, is that there is a "huge bill to pay" for irregular warfare. Building partnership capacity, for example, is relatively affordable, he noted.

Harris said initiatives aimed at addressing irregular warfare gaps will likely be funded in the department's fiscal year 2012 budget request, which is due to be unveiled next month. "We can't afford specialized things, so we're looking for things that go across a range of military operations," he added. The Littoral Combat Ship program, for instance, "will have a big part to play in confronting irregular challenges," Harris noted.

The charter describes the challenge facing the new community of interest: "Balancing efforts to enhance the Navy's proficiency at [confronting irregular challenges] with ongoing, competing requirements will demand continued leadership and require active engagement with organizations internally and externally to the U.S. Navy."

By John Liang
April 5, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Following a House hearing last week on the Obama administration's fiscal year 2012 missile defense budget request, House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee Chairman Michael Turner (R-OH) this morning mapped out the next steps for not just the missile defense investment plan, but also the FY-12 defense authorization bill as a whole.

Turner told attendees of a missile defense event on Capitol Hill that his subcommittee would mark up its portion of the FY-12 bill during the week of May 2. The full committee plans to debate the entire bill the following week, and then bring it to the House floor at the end of May, he added.

By John Liang
April 5, 2011 at 6:00 PM

While the Missile Defense Agency's fiscal year 2012 budget request "may look pretty good," even with a $200 million increase over the FY-11 requested level, don't be fooled, House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee Chairman Michael Turner (R-OH) warned attendees of a missile defense event on Capitol Hill this morning:

I ask you to look at the outyear funding profile. It is $2.4 billion less than the same outyear projection from a year ago. . . . MDA attributes this to efficiencies, but one has to seriously question the assumptions MDA is making to get these efficiencies. For example, MDA is planning to consolidate and reduce testing, implement multiyear procurement strategies, which require universal approval, revise program cost estimates, reduce engineering services, reduce intelligence support, and cut contractors. Any cuts affecting mission that are masked as efficiency will hit serious resistance in Congress.

By Titus Ledbetter III
April 5, 2011 at 5:14 PM

With three days to go before an ever more likely government shutdown, the Pentagon has yet to issue official guidance to service leaders to determine which functions would continue to be funded while the rest of the federal government goes dark.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters this afternoon that guidance is still being formulated and will be issued shortly.

“The clock is ticking,” Morrell said. “Obviously we hope to do it sooner than later so that these components can have the time to figure out” what qualifies as essential services for national security.

Marcus Weisgerber of Defense News reported in early March that draft guidance had been issued in anticipation of a potential March 4 shutdown.

Asked why the guidance had not been issued on the eve of a shutdown, Morrell said, “We're not quite on the eve of it, and these are determinations that aren't necessarily durable.”

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said today that all of the services are examining which of their activities would continue under a shutdown and how to deal with their civilian and contracted work forces, but no decisions have been made yet.

Planning will include discussions on which military personnel are exempt and non-exempt from the government shutdown, Donley said. Officials will also try to figure out how they would implement an approach once it has been developed. Donley said that he did not want to talk about the specifics of the planning options.

The comptroller for U.S. Fleet Forces Command wrote on USFF head Adm. John Harvey's blog that military personnel and exempt civilians will not get paid over a government shutdown unless Congress specifically passes a law authorizing such pay. Sailors will also have to put in overtime to cover for civilians sent home under a shutdown, Capt. Patrick Ward wrote.

“With history as the yardstick, there has never been an occasion that Congress has not authorized back pay for all government employees affected by the shutdown, including those who did not render services during the shutdown,” Ward added. “Although not a guarantee, my professional opinion is that Congress will pass legislation authorizing payment for all military and exempt civilian personnel who will continue working during the shutdown. Whether they will continue historical practices and do the same for non-exempt personnel who are furloughed could be a separate matter.”

President Obama told reporters this afternoon that he would not support another continuing resolution to keep the budget at fiscal year 2010 levels unless lawmakers can reach an agreement on an official FY-11 budget first.

“I can't have [agencies] making decisions based on two-weeks-at-a-time budgets,” he said. “We are now at the point where there's no excuse to extend this further.”

By John Liang
April 5, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Even though unmanned systems have their limitations when it comes to using them as platforms for infrared sensors in a missile defense mission, the former head of the Missile Defense Agency said this morning that they could still be useful.

"You cannot get enough sensors," retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Trey Obering said at a missile defense briefing on Capitol Hill that was sponsored by the Marshall Institute and Aerospace Industries Association. "You just can't. Being able to provide birth-to-death tracking is really critically important for missile defense."

Additionally, unmanned systems "won't be a stopgap measure," the former MDA director said. "They won't be persistent, they're not going to be flying 24 hours a day, seven days a week . . . but in heightened tensions, that kind of thing, having additional sensors, especially -- and again a lot of this happened after I left the agency, but apparently they've had pretty good development in terms of ranges of the infrared sensor capabilities on the [RQ-1] Predator; being able to provide that initial information in the sensor I think is very important."

That said, Obering does not "believe you're going to be able to use those [UAV-borne sensors] for discrimination. I don't see that occurring. But certainly I think that it could be a valuable asset to be able to handle larger raid sizes of missiles, that type of thing, in a more robust system."

Inside Missile Defense reported in January that MDA was looking for new ideas on how to use unmanned systems to detect ballistic missile launches. Specifically:

According to a Dec. 23 Federal Business Opportunities notice, MDA is "interested in obtaining information on new concepts to support the potential development of an airborne advanced sensor to improve acquisition, tracking, and discrimination in large raid scenarios.

"This concept notionally consists of a pod configuration that is mountable on multiple unmanned airborne platforms," the notice continues. The agency "is interested in obtaining information on concepts, subsystems, and components that might comprise an advanced sensor to support a potential 2-3 year development program that culminates in a rigorous test campaign to support a production decision in late [fiscal year 2016]." MDA wants responses by Feb. 10.

In its fiscal year 2011 budget request, MDA proposed the creation of a program that would build a new infrared sensor to be carried by unmanned aircraft to help detect missile launches aimed at European allies.

According to MDA's FY-11 budget overview submitted in February, the agency asked Congress for $112 million for FY-11 and $501 million over the next five years for the new "Airborne Infrared" (ABIR) program element. This effort would fund "the development, testing and fielding of ABIR sensor platforms to support tracking large ballistic missile raid sizes for Phase 2 of the Phased Adaptive Approach," the document states.

MDA Director Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly said in October that the sensors that may be carried aboard unmanned aerial vehicles for BMD missions might not necessarily be infrared.

However, "we may not go with infrared even though that's in its title . . . because we're looking at advanced sensors and [how] they can help us do discrimination and handle, again, very large raid sizes on unattended air vehicles or remotely piloted vehicles," O'Reilly said at an Oct. 12 Atlantic Council-sponsored conference.

By Dan Dupont
April 5, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and 11 colleagues have sent a letter to Senate leaders demanding "that adequate full-year funding for the Department of Defense be included in any legislative measure that would continue to fund the federal government beyond the expiration of the current Continuing Resolution (CR)."

From her statement today:

The current Continuing Resolution (CR) that is funding the government expires on Friday, April 8, and Senator Collins agrees with top Pentagon officials who have repeatedly testified before Congress that continuing to operate the Defense Department under a CR, or at significantly reduced spending, could severely impact military operations and readiness, service members and their families, and could threaten jobs in defense-related industries.

"I have received testimony from every senior leader of our military services in the past month -- and they all have the same message: our military faces a crisis if the Department has to continue to operate under a CR," Senator Collins said.

In a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Libya last week, Secretary Gates reiterated his concern regarding the continuing CR and our military commitments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Japan: "We are in serious budget trouble. The ongoing CR and significant budget cuts at a time when we are asked to do so much, I think, brings this issue home. And, frankly, I need help from the Congress. The Department of Defense needs help from the Congress. If we're going to do all these things, we need the resources to do them. And under this continuing resolution, we're canceling ship deployments because we don't have the money to pay for 'em."

Today's letter is also signed by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Jonny Isakson (R-GA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME).

And from the letter:

Operating under a CR not only hurts readiness, it is inefficient and expensive. For example, the Navy will not be able to take advantage of cost savings in the Virginia Class Submarine program or the efficiencies gained by procuring two DDG-51s in one year, and the Army and the Air Force will have to pay the costs associated with restarting programs they have stopped work on because the CR has frozen funding levels. . . .

Secretary of the Navy Raymond Mabus has stated that a CR will weaken the industrial base and jeopardize more than 10,000 private sector jobs at shipyards, factories, and Navy and Marine Corps facilities across the country.

In no time in recent memory has Congress failed to pass a defense appropriations bill. Even when a year-long CR funded the government during fiscal year 2007, Congress passed a separate bill providing for the Department of Defense. With troops in harm's way, now is not the time to break with that precedent.

By John Liang
April 4, 2011 at 8:34 PM

The Pentagon's chief tester told Congress last week that his assessment of the various capabilities of the Ballistic Missile Defense System remained unchanged.

"Although we've gotten additional very useful information, in my annual report I have not changed my assessment this year or the last year in terms of demonstrating capability of the Ballistic Missile Defense System," Michael Gilmore testified at a March 31 House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee hearing.

In his testimony, Gilmore gave Congress his grades -- via a six-point scale -- on the elements of the BMDS. Level 1 is "where capabilities are estimated using engineering analysis and laboratory testing," and Level 6 is "where capabilities are verified across the full range of scenarios and conditions possible in real world operations using a combination of rigorous flight testing and rigorously accredited ground testing models and simulations," he said.

On that scale, the Patriot missile system "has demonstrated Level 6 against short-range ballistic missiles. That is not to say that Patriot meets all of its requirements, but it has been rigorously tested across a broad range of conditions and scenarios," according to Gilmore.

The 3.6.1 version of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system is at Level 5 "against short-range ballistic missiles and the lower end of the range capable of medium-range ballistic missiles," Gilmore said, although against the "upper end of the range possible for medium-range ballistic missiles and the lower end of intermediate-range ballistic missiles" the system got a Level 4 rating. This was mainly due to its not having been tested yet against such threats, although he said that next month the Pentagon "will conduct a test against an IRBM at 3,700 kilometers range."

That intercept test "will incorporate a cue from a forward-based AN/TPY-2 radar and possibly launch on remote of the Aegis interceptor. And those are all important capabilities that demonstrate the support and implementation of the phased adaptive approach phase I to the defense of Europe," Gilmore said, adding that he assessed the European PAA to be at Level 4 against short-range ballistic missiles. "That's because it's been tested only against simple short-range ballistic missiles and the limitations on testing in [the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system] up to this point are in part due to the target failures that occurred last year."

Had the THAAD target not failed to ignite upon launch from a C-17 cargo aircraft, Defense Department testers would have been able to do a test against a more complex SRBM, according to Gilmore. "But so far we've only tested against simply short-range ballistic missiles and have not tested against other advanced capabilities of THAAD." Additionally, THAAD is at Level 3 against medium-range ballistic missiles "because it hasn't yet been tested against those," he continued.

As for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, Gilmore graded it at Level 3 "because it's been tested only against IRBMs. The first ICBM test is now schedule for the fourth quarter of Fiscal '17 in simple threat presentations with no silos, no simultaneous engagements and many of the models are not accredited," he added.