It’s been an entire fiscal year since the Groundbased Midcourse [missile] Defense system underwent a flight test, a congressional aide told me this morning. That failure of the Missile Defense Agency to perform tests for an entire fiscal year has got both Republican and Democratic staff and lawmakers pretty warm under the collar.
Very quietly and out of sight of almost everyone but the actual players, the Director of National Intelligence’s office and the Pentagon’s head of acquisition are battling for the soul of the next-generation of reconnaissance satellites. A decision on this is likely this week, we understand.
John Young, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (in the picture), is trying to do something lasting about it by signing a memo by the end of the week creating a new director-level position –- one of only seven in the department reporting directly to him –- for space and intelligence capabilities.
Gates’ May 13 message was heard loud and clear on the Hill. A few days later, the top defense appropriator — read money man — in the House of Representatives boldly stepped in front of the nation (also known as the floor of the House) and said Gates’ speech was “simply a rationalization of short-term budget decisions made in the waning months of this Administration.
For the second time since early March, the NRO has been stripped of Milestone Decision Authority on a program — the power to decide whether a program can progress from one stage of a program to the next stage. The program is so highly classified that we can’t discuss its name or what it does. The confirmation came from a former senior intelligence official.
At a Pentagon briefing May 9, two senior defense officials discussed how they will approach the new roles and missions work, outlining the seven main areas of focus. The one issue Congress told the Pentagon to study is whether there are unnecessary duplications of capabilities among and between the four services and other arms of the Pentagon.
That’s the story of Prompt Global Strike, touted as the answer to one of the country’s most vexing problems — how to take out high-value targets far behind the lines and way beyond line of sight with accuracy and great speed.