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Stevens Wins GBI Funding Battle

Fort Greeley, Alaska.
by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington (UPI) Sep 26, 2006
Congressional champions of ballistic missile defense led by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, have won another funding battle to increase the number of Ground-Based Midcourse Interceptors, or GBIs deployed around Fort Greeley, Alaska.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Monday that the annual Pentagon appropriations bill approved last week by a reconciliation conference of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives included an extra a $200 million to purchase and deploy more GBIs in addition to the 11 currently deployed. "The bill now must return to each house for final passage, but no amendments are permitted so the money is virtually certain at this point," the newspaper said.

Over the past year, Stevens has locked horns with the Bush administration and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency because they have pushed far larger funds into other part of the U.S. ballistic missile defense program.

Stevens is the powerful chairman of the defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Under his leadership, the subcommittee pushed this year for a slightly larger sum of $225 million to buy more GBIs.

"This is the second year Stevens' subcommittee has added not only many millions for interceptors but also language expressing dissatisfaction with the Missile Defense Agency's direction," the Daily Mirror said.

The Senate Appropriations Committee stated: "The committee is concerned that MDA is investing too much funding in future systems and technology in advance of adequate testing and fielding of currently available technology," the newspaper reported.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror noted that Stevens used almost identical language last year in pushing the MDA to devote more resources to its GBI program. "Contrary to repeated Defense Department statements on spiral development and block upgrades for the missile defense program, MDA at best plans only marginal improvements to the capability of the GMD program's ground-based interceptor," the appropriations committee said in 2005.

The GBI program is now enjoying a boost in its reputation following a successful test interception of a target rocket on Sept. 1. But the Government Accountability Office warned in an earlier report that the administration pushed so hard for the current interceptors to be deployed that they were not component tested previously according to the Department of Defense's own well-established standards

Source: United Press International

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Washington (UPI) Sep 21, 2006
September has turned out to be a banner month for the U.S. ballistic missile defense program. First, on Sept. 1, a Ground-Based Midcourse Interceptor fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California successfully hit and destroyed an intercontinental ballistic missile fired from Kodiak, Alaska.

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