Ballistic Missile Defense:

Computation of Number of Patriot PAC-3 Interceptors Needed Is Flawed

NSIAD-95-45: Published: Mar 17, 1995. Publicly Released: Apr 3, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization's (BMDO) planned production of 1,200 Patriot Advanced Capability-Three (PAC-3) interceptors, focusing on the: (1) determination of the number of interceptors needed; and (2) affordability of the interceptors.

GAO found that: (1) the actual number of PAC-3 interceptors needed is uncertain; (2) the Department of Defense (DOD) used inaccurate assumptions and made mathematical errors in its affordability analysis; (3) if the estimated quantity is greater than 1,200 PAC-3 interceptors, the program could be underfunded by between $700 million and $3.4 billion; and (4) to avoid spending on programs that may require more funding than is available, DOD must determine the number of interceptors needed and adjust its program within budget constraints.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD stated that it would consider GAO's recommendation and matter for congressional consideration through an ongoing Theater Missile Defense Cost and Operational Effectiveness Analysis. Part of that analysis was to assess missile inventory requirements for future and current systems operating in different theater missile defense architectures. However, in a briefing on preliminary results of that analysis, DOD stated that it did not plan to readdress PAC-3 interceptor requirements.

    Matter: In light of the deficiencies in the analyses that supported the determination of the production requirements, Congress may wish to direct the Secretary of Defense to prepare a valid estimate of the number of PAC-3 interceptors required.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD stated that it would consider GAO's recommendation and matter for congressional consideration through an ongoing Theater Missile Defense Cost and Operational Effectiveness Analysis. Part of that analysis was to assess missile inventory requirements for future and current systems operating in different theater missile defense architectures. However, in a briefing on preliminary results of that analysis, DOD stated that it did not plan to readdress PAC-3 interceptor requirements.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should instruct the Director, BMDO, to provide both an accurate estimate of the number of PAC-3 interceptors required and a plan that resolves any resulting affordability problems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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