Suspension of Mobile MX Defense Efforts

PSAD-79-61: Published: Mar 13, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 1979.

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In September 1978 GAO recommended that efforts for the defense of the Mobile MX Ballistic Missile be suspended until a need for its defense was established. In early 1979 GAO reported to Congress that much uncertainty existed about the mobile MX program. It was pointed out at that time that several mobile MX basing concepts had been studied but a decision on the best basing concept to pursue in engineering development had not been reached. A followup was made on the recommendation regarding the suspension of mobile MX defense efforts.

It was found that the Army was continuing its efforts for the defense of the Mobile MX Ballistic Missile. The magnitude and cost of the Army's effort could not be readily identified because available program documents did not identify the MX work as a separate element. In view of the uncertainty associated with the MX program, particularly the basing concept, it was determined that the Army's efforts on a defense for MX were premature for the following reasons. If an air mobile concept were selected, the value of a prepositioned missile defense force would be questionable. On the other hand, if a land based mobile concept were selected, the need for an active defense force would have to be considered in view of the survivability inherent in the basing mode.

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