Missile Defense: THAAD Restructure Addresses Problems But Limits Early Capability

NSIAD-99-142 Published: Jun 30, 1999. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 1999.
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program, focusing on: (1) the underlying problems in the program that led to test failures; (2) whether program restructuring efforts address these underlying problems; and (3) how this restructuring will affect THAAD's User Operational Evaluation System.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should determine and define which, if any, potential capabilities of the restructured THAAD User Operational Evaluation System are needed by the warfighter community. If warranted by that determination, the Secretary should: (1) direct that an independent operational assessment of the needed THAAD User Operational Evaluation System capabilities be conducted; and (2) require the Army to determine the minimum essential military personnel and equipment required to fulfill the defined mission.
Closed – Implemented
In June 1999, GAO reported that the restructured Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program does not include prototype interceptors intended for deployment in a national emergency. GAO also reported that this raises the issue of what the purpose of the 295-man THAAD UOES battery at Fort Bliss, Texas should now be. Following the report, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the Army reassessed the potential capabilities of the THAAD UOES. According to DOD, that assessment led to the decision not to pursue THAAD UOES contingency capabilities. Because one of the residual THAAD UOES radars was now available for alternative use, it was provided to the National Missile Defense program so that its components could be used as spares for the National Missile Defense (NMD) program's prototype ground based radar. The NMD program office estimates that the cost avoidance associated with this use of the THAAD UOES radar $28.5 million in fiscal year 2001 and $2.7 million each year for fiscal years 2002 through 2007. Therefore, GAO is claiming a monetary accomplishment of $32.539 million based on the present value calculation.

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