The Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) program, which is carried out by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Navy, gives Navy Aegis cruisers and destroyers a capability for conducting BMD operations. Under MDA and Navy plans, the number of BMD-capable Navy Aegis ships is scheduled to grow from 33 at the end of FY2016 to 49 at the end of FY2021. The figure for FY2020 may include up to four BMD-capable Aegis cruisers in reduced operating status as part of a program to modernize 11 existing Aegis cruisers.
Under the Administration’s European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) for European BMD operations, BMD-capable Aegis ships are operating in European waters to defend Europe from potential ballistic missile attacks from countries such as Iran. BMD-capable Aegis ships also operate in the Western Pacific and the Persian Gulf to provide regional defense against potential ballistic missile attacks from countries such as North Korea and Iran.
The Aegis BMD program is funded mostly through MDA’s budget. The Navy’s budget provides additional funding for BMD-related efforts. MDA’s proposed FY2017 budget requests a total of $1,774.8 million in procurement and research and development funding for Aegis BMD efforts, including funding for two Aegis Ashore sites in Poland and Romania that are to be part of the EPAA. MDA’s budget also includes operations and maintenance (O&M) and military construction (MilCon) funding for the Aegis BMD program.
Issues for Congress regarding the Aegis BMD program include the following:
required numbers of BMD-capable Aegis ships vs. available numbers of BMD-capable Aegis ships;
whether the Aegis test facility in Hawaii should be converted into an operational Aegis Ashore site to provide additional BMD capability for defending Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast;
burden-sharing—how European naval contributions to European BMD capabilities and operations compare to U.S. naval contributions to European BMD capabilities and operations;
the lack of a target for simulating the endo-atmospheric (i.e., final) phase of flight of China’s DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile; and
technical risk and test and evaluation issues in the Aegis BMD program.
Click here for the full report (73 PDF pages), hosted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists