Discontinue Funding for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS)
March 8, 2013
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Leaders Reid and McConnell:
You will soon consider the Continuing Resolution (CR) for the rest of fiscal year (FY) 2013. On behalf of the more than one million members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), I respectfully request that you discontinue funding for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS).
The problems with MEADS have been well-documented. The program, which was intended to replace the Patriot missile system, has been plagued with cost overruns of nearly $2 billion and is 10 years behind schedule. A March 2011 Congressional Budget Office report recommended terminating MEADS in favor of continued production and upgrading of the Patriot missile system.
For several years, officials at DOD have stated that cancelling MEADS was prohibitive without agreement from the U.S.’ partners, Germany and Italy, because of high unilateral termination costs. They argued that the cost of cancellation made it necessary to continue funding the program.
However, recent assertions that FY 2013 funding should be used for termination costs are without merit. A confidential DOD report to Congress obtained by CCAGW concluded that the U.S. can withdraw from the contract without committing additional money or paying termination fees. The report cites language in the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding among the three countries stating that activities related to MEADS were subject to “the availability of funds appropriated for such purposes.” The DOD interprets this to mean that, if Congress fails to appropriate funding for MEADS, the U.S. can extricate itself from the program without penalty.
CCAGW strongly urges Congress to eliminate any further funding in the upcoming CR for the remainder of FY 2013. All votes pertaining to MEADS and the FY 2013 CR will be among those considered in CCAGW’s 2013 Congressional Ratings.
With ongoing questions about the continued viability of the program, three out of the four congressional defense authorization and appropriations committees zeroed out funding for MEADS for FY 2013. There are no plans to ever build a single missile. As Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) stated, “We feel strongly that it’s a waste of money.”
Unfortunately, the current CR, which funds the federal government through March 27, 2013, included $195 million for MEADS. The taxpayers’ frustration with that decision was partially mitigated when President Obama signed into law the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which zeroed out funding for MEADS.
CC: U.S. Senate
1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 1075
Washington, D.C. 20004 202-467-5300