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The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) site in Poland will become operational as soon as 2022. The programme will be officially delayed by at least four years by the time it is completed as part of the U.S. Navy’s Naval Support Facility (NSF) in Redzikowo, Poland.

The head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, V.Adm. Jon A Hill, confirmed completion of the AAMDS site will require $96 million additional funding. The final cost of the project will increase 13%, exceeding $844 million.

 

Background

Construction of the AAMDS installation at the NSF Redzikowo started in 2016 and expected to reach Initial Operational Capability by Q2 of 2018.  In early 2018 confirmation came from U.S. and Polish sources that the deadline would pass unmet and with a need for additional work.  The consequential postponement of the AAMDS official launch means the site would become operational by the end of 2020.  However, news came in mid-February that 2020 completion is unlikely.

 

Why?

Among reasons for AAMDS delays are the inadequate quality of services provided by a number of subcontractors, some are responsible for constructing support facilities within the base. These include management installations and essential electricity, heating and cooling systems.  These are critical for proper storage and use of the RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 Block IIA weapon systems, arming the base upon completion.

 

However…

While there are significant cost overruns and delays of four years, the matter is one of quality over speed. Ignoring construction and infrastructure standards facilitate failure of the AAMDS and could pose a hazard of untold lethality.

On balance it is likely to be better to have a safe and secure facility instead of a rush job lacking in essential systems that fail the people it is intended to protect and serve.

True to its mission the U.S. GAO will address the source(s) of the problems in due course. Certainly this debacle will affect future U.S. DoD programmes on foreign shores.

Michal Jarocki