A Standard Missile Three (SM-3) is launched from the guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh during a joint Missile Defense Agency, US Navy ballistic missile flight test on June 22, 2006, while at sea in the Pacific Ocean. (US Navy/Getty Images)
HUNTSVILLE, ALA. — The Obama administration is not likely to make major changes to the US Defense Department's ballistic missile defense programs and will focus efforts over the next two years on implementing current plans, a senior Pentagon official said.
But fiscal pressure will "continue to challenge implementation" of these policies, Elaine Bunn, deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, said during the annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium.
The Pentagon will also continue to focus on the "value for dollar" of the systems it is purchasing, she said.
Two of the Obama administration's major missile defense plans are the "European Phased Adaptive Approach" and increasing the number of US-based missile interceptors.
The Phased Adaptive Approach calls for installing of a mix of missile interceptors and land and sea-based radars in Eastern Europe in a deliberate manner through the early 2020s. The administration is also increasing the number of US-based missile interceptors at Fort Greely, Alaska, from 30 to 44 and installing a second early-warning radar in Alaska.
All of the DoD systems are designed to intercept long-range missiles launched by North Korea and Iran.
Bunn said DoD would also focus on missile defense-related engagements with allies and partners.
A number of Middle Eastern nations already operate, have purchased or are interested in buying missile defense systems.