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GAO Report: US Unable to Block Missiles From Iran, North Korea

Image: GAO Report: US Unable to Block Missiles From Iran, North Korea
(Photo by Gene Blevins/Reuters)

By    |   Thursday, 18 Feb 2016 03:59 PM

The Defense Department agency charged with protecting the United States from ballistic missile attacks from Iran and North Korea cannot fully do so, despite spending billions of dollars on building a missile defense system that has not been fully completed or tested, according to a government report.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency "has not demonstrated through flight-testing that it can defend the U.S. homeland against the current missile defense threat," according to the report, released Tuesday by the General Accounting Office.

The MDA also "has not proven" that the system, called Ground-Based Midcourse Defense, "can defend the homeland and may experience challenges improving the system," the report says.

So far, the system has only shown "a partial capability [to defend] against small numbers of simple ballistic missiles," according to the GAO document, which was disclosed by The Washington Free Beacon.

But "flight testing, to date, was insufficient to demonstrate that an operationally useful defense capability exists."

A full assessment of the system's "effectiveness is currently not possible," the report says.

The Defense Department claims that the current system is expected to defend against "small numbers of simple ballistic missile threats launched from North Korea and Iran," though actual testing does not support this claim, according to the report.

In addition, the department has spent "tens of billions of dollars" on the defense system — and billions more will be required to fix existing flaws, the report says.

The MDA is "relying on a highly optimistic, aggressive schedule that overlaps development and testing with production activities, compromises reliability, extends risk to the warfighter, and risks the efficacy of flight testing," the GAO says in the report.

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The Defense Department agency charged with protecting the United States from ballistic missile attacks from Iran and North Korea cannot fully do so, despite spending billions of dollars on building a missile defense system that has not been fully completed or tested,...
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Thursday, 18 Feb 2016 03:59 PM
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