Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced this week the redesignation of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) as the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). Consistent with the president’s emphasis on missile defense, the secretary also provided direction necessary to meet the top four priorities for the United States in this important mission area. These are:

  • To defend the United States, deployed forces, allies and friends from ballistic missile attack.
  • To employ a Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) that layers defenses to intercept missiles in all phases of their flight (i.e. boost, midcourse, and terminal) against all ranges of threats.
  • To enable the Services to field elements of the overall BMDS as soon as practicable.
  • To develop and test technologies, use prototype and test assets to provide early capability, if necessary, and improve the effectiveness of deployed capability by inserting new technologies as they become available or when the threat warrants an accelerated capability.

Elevating BMDO to agency status recognizes the national priority and mission emphasis on missile defense. The current director of BMDO, Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish, will assume the title of director, Missile Defense Agency. He will continue to report directly to Edward C. “Pete” Aldridge Jr., undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. The secretary has tasked Aldridge with the responsibility of implementing his direction and will look to the Senior Executive Council for oversight of missile defense activities. Also, the full and cooperative efforts of the military Services, Joint Staff and defense agencies are essential.

The overall objectives for missile defense include: establishing a single program to develop an integrated missile defense system; assigning the best and brightest people to this work and applying a capability-based requirements process for missile defense

The MDA is charged with developing the missile defense system and baselining the capability and configuration of its elements. The military departments will procure and provide for missile defense operations and support.

News media points of contact are Cheryl Irwin, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Public Affairs, at (703) 697-5331, and Lt. Col. Rick Lehner, MDA External Affairs, at (703) 697-8997.

The secretary’s memo and related documents at on the web at