Key Sullivan Missile Defense Provisions Included in FY21 NDAA

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and chairman of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, secured key missile defense provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021. These provisions mandate a new program of record for a new interim ground-based interceptor (GBI), and include funding for the Missile Defense Agency to develop the Hypersonic Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) and $48 million in military construction for a new communications center at Fort Greely, Alaska.

“Iran and North Korea continue to develop nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, which they hope to use to threaten U.S. cities and influence U.S. strategic decision-making,” said Senator Sullivan. “Meanwhile, due to opaque decision-making in the Pentagon, our next modernization effort for the nation’s missile defense interceptors will not be fully deployed until at least between 2028 and 2030. The United States simply cannot afford to wait a decade, or more, for the Department of Defense to develop and field the new interceptors will know we’ll soon need to defend our nation. Our adversaries are not going to wait, that’s for sure. 

“While I fully and strongly support the future development of the Next Generation Interceptor, I also believe that we must adhere to the guidance in the 2018 National Defense Strategy. This document compels the DoD to quickly deliver capabilities to the warfighter and to ‘prioritize speed of delivery, continuous adaptation, and frequent modular upgrades’ instead of pursuing platinum-plated solutions for our weapon systems. An eighty percent solution tomorrow is better than a one-hundred percent solution years from now.” 

Sullivan Amendment:

Interim Ground-based Interceptor (I-GBI): In order to mitigate the risk associated with a ten-year capability and capacity enhancement for the ground-based midcourse defense system – as currently planned on the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) Program – Senator Sullivan’s amendment mandates that the Department of Defense (DoD) must robustly invest in an interim capability solution to add both capability and capacity to the ground-based midcourse defense system by 2026. This new “Interim GBI” will be required to appropriately balance interceptor performance with schedule of delivery and, at minimum, meet the requirements of the now-cancelled Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) Program. Importantly this amendment includes needed input from the warfighter – U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Strategic Command – so the new interim GBI will address the majority of current and near- to mid-term projected ballistic missile threats to the United States homeland from rogue nations. 

Additional Missile Defense Provisions of Note:

HBTSS Funding and Authority: This provision adds an additional $120 million to the Hypersonic Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) and fences funding to ensure that this important program is primarily assigned to the Missile Defense Agency and that it is funded appropriately in future years. 

Fort Greely Communications Center: Authorizes the construction of a $48 million communications center in support of the critical missile defense assets at Fort Greely to house mission communication equipment.

COBRA Dane Life Extension Funding: This provision increases Space Force procurement by $12.5 million, and $18.5 million in research-and-development to extend the service life of the Cobra Dane missile defense radar on Shemya Island.

Kodiak Launch Site and Aleutian Islands Test Range: This provision recognizes and encourages the use of launch and range complexes, like the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska, for long-range hypersonic flight tests and national security space launch priorities and recognizes the importance of developing new launch and range complexes, like the Aleutian Test Range. 

Layered Homeland Defense Report: This provision requires the Missile Defense Agency to submit a report to Congress on the layered homeland missile defense system proposed in the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2021. Specifically, this report would include an assessment of how the system would integrate into the existing Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, what types of interceptors would be utilized, potential interceptor locations, cost and schedule estimates, and other relevant policy and environmental considerations. 

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