Status of the Peacekeeper (MX) Weapon System

NSIAD-84-112: Published: May 9, 1984. Publicly Released: May 9, 1984.

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GAO reviewed the Peacekeeper (MX) weapon system program to assess the Air Force's performance in meeting program acquisition goals and to identify risks in missile production as part of a continuing GAO program to monitor major Department of Defense (D0D) weapon acquisition programs.

The revised Peacekeeper weapon system is part of a modernization program to improve the capabilities of the U.S. strategic forces. GAO found that the Peacekeeper Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) did not reflect the cost growth in the program which is required by DOD instructions. In addition, plans for basing the missiles have been through several revisions, and the basing costs have been merged with missile costs. The Air Force has completed four successful test flights of development missiles and is confident that it can meet the December 1986 deployment date specified by Congress. However, some flight testing will not be completed until after deployment and production of several major components will begin before flight testing. GAO noted that, because Soviet silo hardness has increased significantly since development of Peacekeeper, the probability of inflicting the desired level of damage to Soviet targets may be impaired.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should revise the Peacekeeper SAR to show: (1) total estimated program cost from the time of program inception; (2) the cost estimates at the time of full-scale development approval as the baseline for measuring cost status and progress for the program; and (3) missile and basing costs separately.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should update the Soviet threat assessment and evaluate Peacekeeper's technical performance relative to the revised threat.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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