Missile Defense: Air Force Report to Congress Included Information on the Capabilities, Operational Availability, and Funding Plan for Cobra Dane
US Government Accountability Office
GAO-19-68
Dec 17, 2018
First fielded in 1976 on Shemya Island in Alaska, the Cobra Dane radar faces growing sustainment challenges that DOD plans to address through modernization projects.

Anticipating future needs, DOD began investing in new radar systems that share capabilities with Cobra Dane to support ballistic missile defense and space surveillance, including the LRDR (Alaska), the Space Fence (Marshall Islands), and the Pacific Radar (location to be determined).

The conference report accompanying a bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 included a provision that GAO review the Air Force's report to Congress on the operation and sustainment of Cobra Dane.

This report identifies information included in the Air Force's report and describes additional information that GAO reviewed on :
(1) the capabilities of the Cobra Dane radar and other planned radars to meet DOD's mission requirements,
(2) Cobra Dane's operational availability and the plan to mitigate the effect on those missions when Cobra Dane is not available, and
(3) DOD's funding plan and project cost estimates for the operation and sustainment of Cobra Dane and its site at Shemya Island.

GAO reviewed the Air Force report and related documentation, and interviewed relevant officials.


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