WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) issued a statement in support of the United States Senate’s decision to eliminate funding for the wasteful tri-nation Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) in its National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year (FY) 2013, which passed 98-0 on December 4. The vote came just one day after Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) described MEADS as a “waste of money” in his response to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s letter urging further funding for MEADS.
In calling for the funding to continue, Secretary Panetta cited the age-old excuse that canceling the program would jeopardize transatlantic cooperation and lead to a dispute over cancellation costs. But the Senate’s vote did not include even the $400.9 million in funding that had been requested by President Obama in his FY 2013 budget, which had been included due to concerns over cancellation costs.
A confidential April, 2012 DOD report obtained by CAGW concluded that the U.S. can withdraw from its agreement with Germany and Italy without committing additional money or paying termination fees. As a result, CCAGW has advocated canceling MEADS immediately, a decision that will save taxpayers $16.5 billion over the duration of the program. The report cited language in the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding among the three countries stating that if Congress fails to appropriate funding for MEADS, the U.S. can extricate itself from the program without penalty.
MEADS’ troubles are well-documented. The program has been plagued with cost overruns of nearly $2 billion and is 10 years behind schedule. A March 9, 2010 Washington Post report quoted an internal U.S. Army memo asserting that the program “will not meet U.S. requirements or address the current and emerging threat without extensive and costly modifications.” A March, 2011 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report recommended terminating MEADS in favor of continuing production of the Patriot. CBO cited an internal Army memo that urged “harvesting MEADS technologies and improving the Patriot program it was designed to replace,” rather than completing the entire MEADS program.
“The Department of Defense is facing a slew of deep budget cuts with little regard for national security priorities if Congress cannot find a way to enact more targeted reductions,” said CCAGW President Tom Schatz. “While there is much work to be done, it is encouraging that misguided programs like MEADS are being cut. CCAGW will be watching carefully to make sure its funding remains moribund, and will hold accountable those lawmakers who would revive the program.”
The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.