The MX Advanced ICBM Weapon System

PSAD-79-76: Published: Apr 18, 1979. Publicly Released: Apr 18, 1979.

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A review was made of Air Force activities and plans relating to the selection and acquisition of land for basing the MX advanced intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system. The review objective was to determine whether the Air Force has a realistic plan and is progressing toward timely site selection and land acquisition.

Public land acquisition for a project the size of MX has a large potential for major program delay, because the withdrawal process is complex, time-consuming, and politically sensitive. The Air Force has yet to coordinate its schedule with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to determine if the planned dates for withdrawal necessary for timely deployment could be met. Air Force officials indicated that they did not want to discuss the land withdrawal specifics with BLM officials until the MX program is approved for full scale development. BLM officials stated that the longer the Air Force waits to coordinate a land withdrawal plan, the greater the need will be for special action by Congress or the Administration. This action may not be acceptable to the public, especially in the affected states.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should take immediate steps to establish a memorandum of agreement with the Secretary of the Interior that would set forth a time-phased action plan. This plan will allow land to be withdrawn for the MX system in accordance with federal regulations in time to support the planned deployment date. The memorandum should formally establish the cooperative measures and specific responsibilities necessary for implementing the plan. Where land withdrawal requirements cannot be met within the time available, agreement should be reached on the extent to which the requirements can be relaxed. Those requirements that cannot be relaxed or met within available resources should be reported to Congress.

    Agency Affected:


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