ICBM Modernization:

Small ICBM Weapon System Status and Current Issues

NSIAD-91-275: Published: Sep 30, 1991. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of the Department of Defense's (DOD) Small Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Program.

GAO found that: (1) although DOD anticipated deploying the Small ICBM weapon system in 1997, it is reconsidering that goal due to changes in the international environment, the reduced threat in a post-Strategic Arms Reduction Talks environment, and the high cost to procure and operate mobile ICBM; (2) although the DOD ICBM budget for fiscal years 1992 through 1997 will not support achievement of initial deployment in 1997, DOD stated that it is proceeding with ICBM development to provide a possible replacement for another missile, provide a survivable basing option for ICBM, and protect an option for basing ICBM; (3) until DOD provides updated direction, program funding needs are uncertain; (4) although DOD has made progress in developing ICBM, such unresolved issues remained as the missile's capability, viability of the missile's design, and availability of parts; (5) the Air Force failed to provide sufficient information to Congress in its ICBM selected acquisition report regarding information on the status of weapon system acquisitions to permit meaningful congressional oversight; and (6) DOD anticipates deploying ICBM with most of the design improvements in 1993.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The President terminated the program in January 1992.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider directing the Secretary of Defense to provide a report to Congress on his decisions regarding the future structure and pace of the Small ICBM program when the Secretary presents the fiscal year 1993 DOD budget. The report should: (1) include the cost and key schedule milestones for the Small ICBM acquisition program as defined by the Secretary; (2) identify the annual funding profiles necessary for the development, procurement, and construction actions necessary to complete the program; and (3) confirm the affordability of the defined program.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The President terminated the program in January 1992.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct that target damage, accuracy, range, and weight information in the Small ICBM selected acquisition report be expanded to show the capabilities being achieved in the development and testing program to date and the latest forecast of expected performance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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