Ballistic Missile Defense:

Records Indicate Deception Program Did Not Affect 1984 Test Results

NSIAD-94-219: Published: Jul 21, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO investigated allegations concerning deception in the Army's Homing Overlay Experiment (HOE), focusing on: (1) the nature of any deception plan for HOE; (2) whether the interceptor and target collided as claimed; (3) whether the interceptor had an undisclosed guidance subsystem; (4) whether the target and its infrared emissions were appropriate for the demonstration; and (5) whether the Army and the Department of Defense (DOD) accurately represented the performance of HOE 4.

GAO found that: (1) DOD had a deception plan to make near misses look as if they were successful hits in order to influence Soviet perceptions of U.S. ballistic missile defense capabilities, but DOD dropped the deception plan before the third HOE test; (2) although some deception hardware remained onboard the target after testing, it did not interfere with normal interceptor performance; (3) DOD never informed Congress of the deception plan; (4) analysis of HOE 4 test results shows that the interceptor and target collided as the Army reported and that the target was destroyed by the collision and not an explosive charge; (5) records show that the interceptor was guided by its onboard infrared sensor and not a homing beacon on the target; (6) DOD reasonably enhanced the target's infrared visibility due to uncertainties about sensor performance; (7) DOD did not report the infrared enhancement to Congress; and (8) the Army and DOD did not misrepresent HOE performance.

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