National Security

US Missile Defense Agency Conducted Just Half Of Planned 2022 Tests, Failed Numerous Key Goals, Report Finds

(Photo by South Korean Defense Ministry/Dong-A Daily via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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The United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is woefully underperforming its own key goals, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The MDA conducted less than half of its planned missile tests in fiscal year 2022, including only two of seven planned cyber tests, according to the GAO report. The agency performed slightly better with flight tests, conducting six of the nine planned, but only achieved their objectives in one test where they were the primary participant, the GAO found.

In addition to the lack of successful missile tests, the MDA did not meet all of its delivery goals in fiscal year 2022, which is “consistent with its performance in prior years.” The underperformance in deliveries “leaves MDA with less fielded capability than planned,” the report states.

MDA officials cited pandemic-related issues as part of the reason its baseline goals weren’t met. (RELATED: LEAKED DOCS: New Chinese Hypersonic Missile Has ‘High Probability’ Of Penetrating US Defenses)

The failures of the MDA could prove costly at a time when the U.S. is engaged in a hypersonic missile development race with Russia and China. At least two hypersonic tests were either delayed or failed, the report states.

“MDA’s inability to conduct all its planned flight tests limits its ability to validate that the systems will provide the capabilities needed,” the report reads.

There are at least 23 recommendations the office has made since June of 2022 to improve operations at the MDA that have yet to be implemented, according to the GAO. The fiscal year 2022 GAO report is the 20th to be conducted to monitor MDA operations, as mandated by Congress. The MDA spent more than $10 billion in taxpayer money in fiscal year 2022.