As I noted recently, combing responses to questions for the record from Members of Congress after Congressional hearings can reveal all sorts of interesting information (assuming of course you can navigate the Government Printing Offices not so user friendly website).
Below is a question from Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), ranking member on the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee, at a hearing last year on the FY 2012 missile defense budget. The response is from Dr. Michael Gilmore, Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, Office of the Secretary of Defense. There’s nothing here that we didn’t already know about the shortcomings of the Ground Based Mid Course Defense (GMD) system, but the detail is striking:
Ms. SANCHEZ. How many successful operationally realistic GMD tests have we had? (How many included countermeasures and have we designed a test scenario that envisioned more than one incoming ICBM?)
Dr. GILMORE. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and my office jointly published operational realism flight test criteria in 2005 as required by the Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization Act. There are nine criteria: Operationally-Representative Interceptor; Threat-Representative Target; Complex Countermeasures; Operational Sensor(s); Operational Fire Control Software; Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs); Warfighter Participation; Unannounced Target Launch; and End-to-End Test.
Every Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) flight test since then has demonstrated at least some of the nine operational realism criteria. No test has yet demonstrated all nine criteria. FTG–05, conducted in December 2008, was the most operationally realistic test of GMD conducted to date, demonstrating at least partial operational realism for eight of the nine criteria. Although simple countermeasures were planned for FTG–05, a malfunction prevented deployment. The targets for both FTG–06 and FTG–06a successfully deployed simple countermeasures but the GMD kill vehicles malfunctioned before they could complete their intercepts in the countermeasures environments.
No GMD tests against a true intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) have yet been conducted. A multiple simultaneous engagement of two ICBM targets by two GMD interceptors launched from Vandenberg AFB, California, is currently under consideration for inclusion in the third operational flight test, FTO–03, included in the Integrated Master Test Plan that General O’Reilly and I recently approved.