Sea-Based Ballistic Missile Defense- Background and Issues for Congress [Updated April 18, 2008]   [open pdf - 221KB]

"As part of its effort to develop a global ballistic missile defense (BMD) system, the Department of Defense (DOD) is modifying 18 Navy cruisers and destroyers for BMD operations, and has deployed a large BMD radar -- the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) -- on a modified floating oil platform. The eventual role of sea-based systems in the worldwide U.S. BMD architecture has not been determined. The overall issue for Congress discussed in this report is: What should be the role of seabased systems in U.S. ballistic missile defense, and are DOD's programs for seabased BMD capabilities appropriately structured and funded? Potential specific issues for Congress regarding sea-based BMD systems include technical risk in the Aegis BMD program, the number of Aegis BMD ships, the role of Aegis BMD in European missile defense, the number of SM-3 interceptors planned for procurement, the proposal to equip the SM-3 Block IIA missile with a Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV), whether development a far-term sea-based terminaldefense BMD capability should be accelerated, the potential role of the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) in sea-based BMD operations, procurement of the planned CG(X) cruiser, development and testing of the Aegis BMD system, and potential allied sea-based BMD programs. This report will be updated as events warrant."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33745
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