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BMD Watch DODs IG Fumes At MDA

by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington (UPI) Mar 22, 2006
A major row has erupted between the Department of Defense's Inspector General's Office and the Missile Defense Agency.

The Missile Defense Agency has stymied staff investigators from the Defense Department's Office of Inspector General as they tried to conduct audits of MDA projects, policies and procedures in the past two years, the DOD IG said according to a report in Federal Computer Week Monday.

According to the IG, auditors working last year on the "Audit of Systems Engineering Planning for the BMDS," the Ballistic Missile Defense System, received only 20 percent -- 49 of 245 -- of the requested documents within five business days. The IG also said that in 2004, auditors working on the "Audit of the Capabilities Development Process and Management of Target Acquisitions at MDA," received only 2 percent -- 2 of 94 -- of the requested documents within five business days, FCW reported.

Delays in receiving documents resulted in the suspension of another audit, "Information Security Operational Controls at the Missile Defense Agency," for 24 days, the IG said.

That audit, which examined security problems with the Ground-based Midcourse Defense Communications Network, resulted in a recent report, which was removed from the IG's Web site sometime during this past weekend. Federal Computer Week published a Web story on the report March 16.

Victoria Samson, a research analyst at the Center for Defense Information, a watchdog group based in Washington, told FCW she had heard that MDA delays the release of documents to other government agencies, including congressional committees. But she added that the DOD IG report was the first evidence she had firsthand of MDA's tactics. She added that the strong language in the DOD IG report is a sign that MDA "must have really made someone mad" on DOD's IG staff.

The DOD IG report states that even though the IG staff is supposed to have "expeditious and unrestricted access to, and, when required, copies of all records, reports, investigations, audits, documents, papers, recommendations or other material," according to long-standing DOD instructions, MDA has a document release policy that conflicts with DOD policy.

According to the DOD IG, the MDA policy states that the agency may have as many as 10 business days to provide auditors with copies of requested documents, and that auditors must coordinate document requests through MDA and its general counsel.

The DOD IG said that coordination process led to unreasonable delays in receiving documents, which violates document-access requirements. The DOD IG added that MDA incorrectly classified it as an external audit agency, FCW said.


U.S. invites Indian officers to STRATCOM

The United States has invited India to appoint military officers to liaison posts in the U.S. Strategic Command, or STRATCOM, its largest and most critical defense set-up mandated to control strategic nuclear assets, space and missile defense and global deterrence against weapons of mass destruction, India's Financial Express newspaper reported Tuesday.

STRATCOM, whose area of operation spans the globe, controls all U.S. nuclear delivery platforms, including ballistic missile submarines, B-52 strategic bombers, Minuteman-III intercontinental ballistic missiles and Tomahawk land attack systems. Having an Indian liaison officer on board will allow a more efficient link between Stratcom centers and India's relatively new Strategic Forces Command that controls Indian military nuclear assets, Financial Express said.

The possibility of posting Indian officers at STRATCOM headquarters in Nebraska first came up when U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld broached it with Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee on June 28, 2005, the day the new Indo-U.S. defense framework was signed. Nine months later, the offer is now formal, the newspaper said.


Ballistic missile numbers fall worldwide

The number of ballistic missiles in service has dropped drastically since the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, reported Monday.

Since then, the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, in service has been reduced by half from about 4,000 to about 2,000. Intermediate range ballistic missiles, or IRBMs, with a range of 1,800 miles to 3,000 miles, have declined over 95 percent, the report said. There are only 20 such systems in service with China and India today, it said.

The number of MRBMs, or medium range ballistic missiles, with a range of 600 miles to 1,800 miles in use, have declined about a quarter. MRBMs have been the favorite with North Korea, China and Iran because they are adequate for attacking neighbors. Today there are some 400 MRBMs in service, said.

However, SRBMs, or short range ballistic missiles, with a range of under 600 miles, may not have declined in number, the report said. It's uncertain how many are still in use because there are still so many Cold War era SCUD missiles around.

"Many of these missiles are rotting away in North Korean, Iranian and various other Middle Eastern warehouses. There are a lot of them sitting around in Russia, but not in usable form. Several nations are designing and building new SRBMs (especially North Korea, Iran, China)," said.

"There are at least several thousand ... SRBMs out there. The best of them are not SCUDs, but more modern designs from China. There's a lot of work going on developing new missiles," it said. Last year, there were nearly a hundred test launches, most of them "for smaller missiles."

Source: United Press International

Related Links
US DoD Inspector Generals Office
US Missile Defense Agency

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