News

BMDO Forms New Joint Program Office

MEMORANDUM FOR CORRESPONDENTS
Memorandum: No. 049-M April 3, 1997

The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization has formed a Joint Program
Office for the National Missile Defense program, effective April 1, 1997.
This new organization will provide management oversight for NMD
program elements from the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense
Command and Program Executive Officer for Air and Missile Defense,
Huntsville, Ala.; U.S. Air Force Electronic Systems Command, Hanscom
AFB, Mass.; U.S. Air Force Space and Missile System Center, Los
Angeles AFB, Calif., and the Joint National Test Facility, Colorado
Springs, Colo. The JPO will be responsible for the design, development
and demonstration of an NMD system to defend the United States from
ballistic missile attack by 2003, if it is determined such a threat exists.
Brig.
Gen. Joseph Cosumano, U.S. Army, will lead the NMD JPO, reporting to
Lt. Gen. Lester L. Lyles, U.S. Air Force, BMDO Director. Gen. Lyles
also serves as the Department of Defense ballistic missile defense
acquisition executive. In the Fiscal Year 1997 Defense Appropriations
Conference Report, Congress directed the Secretary of Defense to
complete a cost-benefit analysis on the establishment of a NMD JPO, and
that no establishment of a JPO would take place prior to the submission of
a report to Congress by March 31, 1997. BMDO met this requirement,
and the cost-benefit analysis was delivered to Congress as directed. Last
year, Dr. Paul Kaminski, Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition and
Technology), directed the BMDO Director to establish a JPO “because the
development of an NMD capability is truly a joint effort, requiring
proponency and capabilities from the military services, industry and DoD
agencies.” He added that formation of the JPO “should not result in the
creation of a large government organization.” As directed by Dr. Kaminski
last year, the JPO will not exceed 65 people in the Washington, D.C. area.
The NMD program is now in development, and has been designated a
Major Defense Acquisition Program. An integrated system test is
scheduled for 1999. At the end of the development phase, an analysis will
be undertaken to examine the threat of a potential ballistic missile attack to
the United States. If warranted, the NMD system could be operational in
2003. Questions should be addressed to Lt. Col. Rick Lehner, BMDO, at
(703) 695-8743. 

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