To more quickly field ballistic missile defenses, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has been exempted from traditional Department of Defense (DOD) requirements development, acquisition, and oversight processes since its creation in 2002. Instead, MDA has unique roles and missions to develop and field weapon systems that address a variety of ballistic missile threats. To date, MDA has spent about $56 billion and plans to spend about $50 billion more through 2013 to develop an integrated Ballistic Missile Defense System. The system consists of a layered network of capabilities that includes defensive components such as sensors, radars, interceptors, and command and control. In reviews of DOD's approach to acquire, operate, and maintain ballistic missile defense systems, GAO has previously reported on several challenges that have stemmed from the broad flexibilities provided to MDA. This testimony summarizes the challenges facing DOD in acquiring and operating its ballistic missile defense systems and describes DOD's efforts to improve transparency and accountability. This statement is based primarily on previously issued GAO reports and testimonies. GAO also reviewed documents and interviewed key officials to update past work and identify DOD and MDA efforts to address previous recommendations.
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