Senior officers: 'No validated military requirement' for East Coast missile defense site

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

WASHINGTON – Two military officers who lead U.S. missile defense efforts have confirmed that there is “no validated military requirement” for a proposed East Coast missile defense site, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced today.

The statement from Vice Adm. J.D. Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, and Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica, commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, came in a letter to Levin, who had written the officers seeking their professional opinions on the proposed site.

The proposed East Coast site is estimated to cost at least $3 billion.

Syring and Formica also write that they do not support proposals in Congress to mandate deployment of an East Coast site, and they say they believe there are more cost effective alternatives that are available sooner.

The Armed Services Committee is scheduled to hold a full committee markup of the annual defense authorization bill on Wednesday.

Levin's letter [PDF] to Syring and Formica follows, and their response [PDF] follows after Levin's letter. PDFs of both letters can be downloaded from the links above.

June 6, 2013

Vice Admiral James D. Syring, USN
Director, Missile Defense Agency
Department of Defense
5700 18th Street
Ft. Belvoir, VA 22060-5573

Lieutenant General Richard P. Formica, USA
Commander, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command
Post Office Box 1500
Huntsville, AL 35807-3801

Dear Vice Admiral Syring and Lieutenant General Formica:

Following the briefing you provided earlier this week, I am writing to request your responses to the following questions regarding possible future options for homeland ballistic missile defense:

  1. Is there currently a validated military requirement to deploy an East Coast missile defense site?
  2. Do you favor Congress mandating the deployment of an East Coast site before the completion of the pending Environmental Impact Statement required by section 227 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (Public Law 112-239)?
  3. At this time do you believe there is a more effective and less expensive alternative to an East Coast missile defense site that is also available sooner than deployment of an East Coast missile defense site?

I would appreciate your responses to these questions no later than June 10, 2013, so that we may consider them for our upcoming markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014.  I have written the questions in a way that will hopefully facilitate a prompt and unclassified response.

Sincerely,


Carl Levin
Chairman

* * *

 June 10, 2013

MDA/D   JFCCIMD/CC
5700 18th Street   P.O. Box 1500
Fort Belvoir, VA  22060    Huntsville, AL  35807

The Honorable Carl Levin
Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Levin:

Thank you for your June 6, 2013, letter requesting additional information regarding a potential East Coast Missile Field. The Missile Defense Agency and the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense jointly offer the following response:

  1. Is there currently a validated military requirement to deploy an East Coast missile defense site? 

    Response: There is no validated military requirement to deploy an East Coast missile defense site.
  2. Do you favor Congress mandating the deployment of an East Coast site before the completion of the pending Environmental Impact Statement required by section 227 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (Public Law 112-239)? 

    Response:  No. We support completing the requirements mandated by Section 227 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (Public Law 112-239).
  3. At this time do you believe there is a more cost effective and less expensive alternative to an East Coast missile defense site that is also available sooner than deployment of an East Coast missile defense site?

    Response: Yes. Investment in Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) discrimination and sensor capabilities would result in more cost-effective near-term improvements to homeland missile defense.  The Department of Defense is evaluating potential sensors enhancements that could be pursued to improve the BMDS kill chain and increase threat discrimination in addition to the evaluation of an additional interceptor site.  While a potential East Coast site would add operational capability it would also come at significant materiel development and service sustainment cost.  This evaluation, and others, will serve to inform decisions on our future BMDS architecture and budget requests.

Thank you for the opportunity to inform the Committee in advance of its Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act deliberations.  If you have additional questions, please have your staff contact [names of staff members at MDA and Space and Missile Defense Command].

Very Respectfully,

J. D. SYRING RICHARD P. FORMICA      
Vice Admiral, USN  Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
Director, Missile Defense Agency Commander, Joint Functional Command   
  for Integrated Missile Defense