Agence France-Presse – 2005-04-04 23:37:41
WASHINGTON (March 31, 2005) — US missile defense programs are beset by rising costs and budget shortfalls that are likely to grow worse in the coming years, an audit by a congressional agency warned Thursday.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Missile Defense Agency was $370 million over budget last year, which resulted in work being deferred until new funding could be raised this year.
“In the future, MDA (Missile Defense Agency) will likely face increased funding risks,” it said.
Although MDA plans to request 10 billion dollars a year to develop defenses against ballistic missiles, Pentagon weapons programs will likely be competing for a shrinking share of the total federal budget, it said.
Moreover, MDA is burdened by unanticipated growth in costs, citing plans this year to spend an additional 1.5 billion dollars to develop a prototype aircraft for its Airborne Laser program.
Funding requirements will grow even more as components of the missile defense system are fielded, the report said.
The GAO said MDA accomplished what needed to be done to put in place an initial missile defense capability last year.
But the system remains “uncertain and unverified” because a number of flight tests were postponed until 2005, and the MDA has not successfully tested the system fully, it said.
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