The House Appropriations Defense subcommittee cut nearly half of a Defense Department request to start working on air and missile defenses for Guam due to a lack of detailed information.
The Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) FY ‘22 budget request sought over $118 million for the initial development of integrated air and missile defense systems for Guam. This was divided into $78.3 million to assess systems to support Guam defense and $40 million in procurement of long-lead items (Defense Daily, June 16).
In June, MDA Director Vice Adm. John Hill explained how the agency plans to spend $40 million in procurement funds that would apply to all of the options they are considering (Defense Daily, June 23).
“It would be for those things we know would apply to all things. So it could be display systems, it could be some sort of flexible launching system because you know you’re going to need that while we work the details of how you lay down the sensor architecture in a pretty tough place, which means different heights and things like that. So, it won’t just be some deckhouse,” Hill said.
He also confirmed they are not, by default, just planning to build another Aegis Ashore station for Guam and it could involve a mix of various systems.
However, while the report said the committee is “supportive of the defense of Guam from ballistic, hypersonic and cruise missile threats,” it highlighted a report on the defense of Guam required by the FY ‘21 defense authorization act has not yet been submitted to the defense committees.
Moreover, it said, “the lack of detailed information on the budget request, especially the request for $40,000,000 in procurement, is troubling.”
The subcommittee thus recommended denying the $40 million in procurement funds and also cut the $78 million in research, development, test and evaluation funds by $15.9 million until DoD submits the report “and adequate budgetary information for the Committee to make informed funding decisions on these efforts.”
On its budget tables, the report labels the $15.9 million in cuts as due to “unjustified growth.”
In a hearing of the House Armed Services subcommittee on Strategic Forces last month, Hill admitted the report was due by June. However, “given the complexity of it, that’s going to take us a little bit longer to get there.”
If the defense panel’s recommendations are enacted, this would result in MDA’s Guam defense work getting $62.4 million, cutting the total requested $118 million almost in half.