Ballistic Missile Defense Organization gets agency status

The Department of Defense has elevated the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization to agency status, rechristening the organization as the Missile Defense Agency, the department announced Jan. 4.

The reorganization will grant the agency "expanded responsibility and authority," including more flexible acquisition practices, said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a Jan. 2 memorandum.

The new agency will develop a single ballistic missile defense system that can be operated by the armed services. All work now being done by the organization is expected to be placed under a single program.

The organization's budget for fiscal 2002 is approximately $8.3 billion, according to agency spokesman Air Force Lt. Col. Rick Lehner.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, will become director for the new agency. He will continue to report to Edward Aldridge, undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.

A joint effort among all the armed services, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization was created in 1984 as the Strategic Defense Initiative to test the feasibility of using missiles to thwart nuclear attacks. It became The organization's name was changed to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization in 1993 to reflect the change in focus of using missile intercepts to combat ballistic missile attacks.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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