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Pentagon Projects National Missile Defense Costs at $30.2B

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2000 – Building and operating a National Missile Defense System will cost taxpayers an estimated $30.2 billion by 2026, Pentagon officials announced here April 4.

The total life-cycle cost of the program from 1991 to 2026 is projected to increase from $23.8 billion to $30.2 billion in 1999 base-year dollars, DoD officials said. The increase includes expanding the number of planned interceptors from 20 to 100, as well as X-band radar improvements, Pentagon spokesman Adm. Craig Quiqley said at a news briefing here.

The United States is developing a missile defense system capable of defending North America and Hawaii against a limited long-range ballistic missile attack. The system would include sensors in space to identify and track incoming missiles, ground-based radars and interceptor missiles.

DoD officials say the system would protect the United States against an unexpected launch by a nuclear power or a rogue nation in the process of developing long-range missiles. The need for a limited national missile defense stems from the growing capabilities of nations such as North Korea that are building and testing multistage rockets capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

President Clinton is expected to decide by late summer whether to deploy the defense system, Quigley said. "We are committed to giving enough technical information to the president for him to make an informed decision," he said. Deploying the system may require altering the Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty that the United States and the former Soviet Union (now Russia) signed in 1972.

The Clinton administration has set a 2005 deadline for the system's initial operational capability.

For more information the National Missile Defense Program, visit the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization Web site at www.acq.osd.mil/bmdo.

National Missile Defense imagery is available at www.acq.osd.mil/bmdo/bmdolink/html/images.html. [link no longer available]

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DoD News Briefing, April 4, 2000

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