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GAO calls for MDA to change cost estimates

3rd February 2022 - 15:26 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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THAAD was among the MDA programmes analysed in the latest GAO report. (Photo: MDA)

The US GAO has released a report pointing out that the MDA's cost estimates for systems that detect, track and defeat missiles are incomplete.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended changes to programmes run by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in a report released on 2 February.

The document pointed out that the MDA's cost estimates for these systems are incomplete and do not include programmes’ full life cycles. Nor does the MDA regularly update flight test price estimates with actual costs.

As a result, the GAO argued, Congress has only limited insight into MDA spending and annual budget requests. 

In order to improve this process, the report made six recommendations to MDA. For example, the GAO called for  all programmes with a designated lead military service to be covered by a dedicated Joint Cost Estimate (JCE) or a system-level JCE that is promptly updated with any new costs.

Another recommendation was updating relevant policies and processes to require a comparison against the original programme cost baseline in each iteration of the agency's baseline reporting.

The GAO also called for the MDA to update relevant policies and processes to track each system's costs — the combined total of all programmes that comprise the system — in its annual baseline reporting.

Since 2002, the Missile Defense Agency has received more than $174 billion to develop systems that detect, track and defeat enemy missiles.

Among these systems are the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system and the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS).

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