May 14 2009
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, today included language in the Fiscal Year 2009 Supplemental for Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Pandemic Flu bill to encourage the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to execute the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) flight test.
KEI provides significant ballistic missile defense capabilities and strategic flexibility to protect against constantly evolving ballistic missile threats. On May 11, 2009, MDA issued a stop work order on KEI. On May 13, 2009, Senator Shelby sent a letter to Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, Director of the MDA, objecting to the stop work order.
“KEI is a critical capability and preventing the upcoming test from being conducted is misguided and irresponsible. The Committee’s inclusion of language at my request reinforces the importance of KEI and the significant technical knowledge this test will bring to the ballistic missile defense program.”
The text of the language included in the bill is as follows:
“The Committee understands a stop work order on the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) was issued May 11, 2009. However, the KEI program has a booster flight test scheduled in Fall 2009 that could provide an important understanding of the technology risk for any future interceptor development. The Committee encourages the Missile Defense Agency to execute this test to gain significant technical knowledge for this program.”