MDA fully supports the National Defense Strategy with its FY 2019 President’s Budget request, allowing the nation to: Compete, Deter, and Win. MDA will support the strategy with the continued development and deployment of an integrated, layered missile defense system to defeat current and projected missile threats.
An ICBM can travel at extremely high speeds—at times more than 15,000 mph, or almost 20 times the speed of sound. Kinetic energy interceptors can travel fast enough to create closing speeds exceeding 25,000 mph. The speeds, trajectories, and points of launch that must be considered always change. In missile defense, everything is about precision. The BMDS must not only work in terms of milliseconds, but the missiles and warheads the system is targeting have bull’s-eyes measured in centimeters.
The FY 2019 request supports missile defense acceleration initiated in the FY 2017 Above Threshold Reprogramming (ATR) and the FY 2018 Budget Amendment (BA). The BA addresses the rapidly developing threat by increasing current capacity, expanding the sensor network and accelerating missile defense technology development. Recent escalation of the threat from North Korea has demonstrated an advanced and accelerated capability. The FY 2018 Budget Amendment request, for MDA, is in direct response to this increased threat.
Nearly all of our adversaries are concerned with U.S. missile defenses and are devising various means aimed at complicating missile defense operations. North Korea is committed to developing a long-range, nuclear-armed missile that is capable of posing a direct threat to the United States. In July 2017, North Korea launched two Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that impacted in the Sea of Japan, and on 28 November it launched another, larger Hwasong-15 ICBM on a highly-lofted trajectory that, at a lower trajectory, could theoretically reach all of the continental United States.
Over the past year North Korea conducted an aggressive intermediate-range ballistic missile testing campaign and is developing a cold-launched, solid-fueled submarine-launched ballistic missile. Today North Korea fields hundreds of Scud and No Dong missiles that can reach U.S. forces forward deployed to the Republic of Korea and Japan. Iran is fielding increased numbers of theater ballistic missiles, improving its existing inventory, and is developing technical capabilities to produce an ICBM, and this effort is benefiting from its ballistic missile and space launch vehicle programs. Iran’s ballistic missiles are capable of striking targets throughout the region, ranging as far as southeastern Europe.
The FY 2019 MDA request strengthens and expands the defenses for our nation, deployed forces, allies, and international partners against increasingly capable missile threats.
The missile defense program will continue to support the warfighter and needs of the Combatant Commanders with the development, testing, deployment, integration and sustainment of interceptors, sensors, and the command, control, battle management and communications (C2BMC) system for the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).
The program continues to invest in homeland and regional missile defense priorities and in advanced technology development and future capabilities to counter the proliferation of increasingly complex and diverse threats. The Missile Defense Agency is aware of the growing cyber threat and is aggressively working to ensure the nation’s missile defenses are resilient and able to operate in a highly contested cyber environment. MDA remains focused on supporting the DoD Cybersecurity Campaign through implementation of the DoD Cybersecurity Discipline Implementation Plan.
The following discussion provides a summary of highlights of the major program elements, but does not necessarily examine all funding and activities included within each program element.
Click here for the full budget statement (15 PDF pages) on the MDA website.