The Pentagon announced today it would kill MEADS, an anti-missile program once declared the highest priority weapon system for the United States and its allies to build together.
The Army has tried several times before to kill the program, which uses the Patriot interceptor, but has always been overruled before by the Office of Secretary of Defense. Germany and Italy have made major political and industrial commitments in pursuit of MEADS and they will doubtless let America know just what they think of this decision.
Defense Comptroller Robert Hale said during today's budget briefing that the partners could go ahead with the program, but the United States would not.
Lockheed, the main US company involved, has lobbied to keep the program alive in the face of an estimated $1 billion price increase. Congress had declined to act on MEADS until Defense Secretary Robert Gates made his decisions about what programs to cut. Now that Gates has decided, Congress seems unlikely to fight to restore funding for the program.