Miller Defends Missile Defense Policy

The failed intercept of the target missile during the July 5 test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system was “surprising,” said James Miller, undersecretary of defense for policy, on Wednesday. However, the test’s outcome has not derailed the Obama Administration’s plans to expand the GMD system in the next several years, he told attendees of his speech on Capitol Hill. AFA, the National Defense Industrial Association, and Reserve Officers Association sponsored his talk. Missile Defense Agency officials are “looking at what happened and determining how they will proceed,” said Miller. Still to decide is whether to conduct another intercept test of the exoatmospheric kill vehicle’s capability enhancement I configuration—the version used on July 5—before the new CE-II variant sees testing, he said. The EKV sits atop the GMD system’s interceptor missile. Despite the setback on July 5, the CE-I kill vehicle is “batting at about .500,” a record with which the Pentagon is not satisfied, but one that isn’t as dire as some charge, he said. Miller said he wants to see both the CE-I and CE-II flight tested within a year of MDA identifying the cause of the test failure. Reuters reported last week that a faulty battery may have been the cause.