Status of the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Program

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-10-27.

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                            DOCUMENT RESUME      .   -

04000   -   (a30543171 (Restricted
                                               Eallistic fissile
[Status ot tha' Minuteman III Intercontine.itl
Proqram1. B-115398. October  27, 1977. 3 p.-

                                          1. Keller,'acting
Letter to Rep. Jchn J. LaPalce; by ictert
                                                 -       --   -
Comptroller General.
                                          and Services 41900).
Issue Area: Federal Prccuremenft 'f Goods        Studies and
                                Coansel: Special
Contact: Ctfice of the General
                                                   (057 .
Budqert Function: National Defense: Veapon Systems         ci  he       -
                                    ox Eqferse; Depart3e6t
Orqanization Concerned: Department
     Air Force.
Conqrsssional relevance: Rep. John J. Lafalce.       ,

Authcrity: Impoundment Centrol Act of 1974, title-i'(P.L.

               COASPrRO.LLER GW74RAL   OF' TM   UHMTE   WrATM

 0                                    2 7W?
                                                                 0   X-115398

The Bonoretle John J. Lafalce          D                        to
house of F presentatives                        -

Dear 4r. LeFalce:
     This is in reply to your letter of Cctober 12. 1977,
and subsequent discussions with Pir. George Randels of
your staff regardinq your reouest that we provide you with
a report on the stat..s of the iinuteman III Intercontinental
rallistic Hissile (ICMN) program.
      As you know. in his 17th srecial messaee for fiscal year
1977 dated July 26, 1977 (submitted to the Congress pursuant
to the Innoundment Control Act of 1974. title X of Pub. L. :o.
!s3-344. July 12. 1974). the President Droposed the rescission
of 5105 million of budqet authority that had been aecrcD;izted
to the Be-artment of Lefense for missile Procurement of the
Air Force. Rescission Kessaae No. P77-20. These funds were
deernea excess to the needs of the Devartmzent of Lefense as
a gesult of the PreLident's decision to limit vroduction of
the ininuteman III ICa:4 to 1G missiles instead of 60. This
deciaion was implenented on July 11. 1977. when the Govern- -
nment itsued termination notices for parts of the linuteman
III procurement contracts reducing the number of missiles
to be built from 60 to 10. The Ccncress did not act favorably
on the rescission reouest within the 45-day period proviced
by the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 and. consecuently, th~e
SJC5 million was required to be Iade available for o-lication
on October 16, 1977, the 46th day of continuous conoressional
ression after July 26. l977. we have confirred that the Office
of hsanaement and Buaget and the Department of Ieiense have
reoe SM5 million available for obligation.

      On October 18, 1977. we met with the Air Force Prooran
Llement i-.onitor for the M.irateman Souadrons concernino the
currer.t status of the Minuteman III ICBZi proqram. There-follows
a summary of our findings.
      Cn Gctober 12. 1977. the Department of the Air Force. in
anticivation of the rejection of the Presicent s rescission
proposal, recuested the Space and Ijissile Systems Crcanization
(SAmSCO) to submit its Procurement -len for the linuteman III
wissiles in liqht of the Conqress not acting. favorably on the
 -11 S398

proposed rescission of S105 million. S.nSO submitted its clan
to the Oeputy Cnlef of Staff for Research and Development
on October 14, 1977.
      After review of the SAIISO proposal, the Air Staff
sub'itted its recommendations for the program to the Air Force
Secretariat on Cctober 17, 1977. The Air Staff recommended
reconstituting the linute"man III production'line to build as
rar.v ccc~leted tNinuteran III boosters eas possible within the
410t million.   khereas, originally, 60 boosters were to have
been built. we were told that the S105 million would now only
ce suificient to procure 20-25 boosteral that to build the
reiaininq 25-30 missiles would recuire an adoitional $60
      Air Fcrce officials estimate that, oi.ec authority is
aiven to vroceed with further Hinuteman III production, it
will take about 6 ,nonths to dcilnitize the contractual docu-
nents associatoz with the program. In the meantime, work would
cosrrence on the basis of supplemental agreements to the
existins termination noticec. In this connection, we were
tolo that tne bulk of the bit.5 million will be obliqated
at the ti'e these supplemental agreements are entered into-
in approximately 4-3 weeks.

      we were told that delivery of the Hinuteman III missiles
-could beain- in 7 to 10 months after apptoval is given to
 restart produdctiorn 4 missiles the first month. and 5 mis-
 siles ner month thereafter. The Air Force reports that if
 all 60 missiles were rrocurec, proaram slippage would be
 about 9-12 months. This delay would be due to the Air Force's
 naving curtailed the program and having to restart the activi-
 ties. Specifically, delivery of the 60 missiles was oriai-
 nally schenuled for completion by Cctober 1l 1978. Under the
 present circumstances, all 6C missiles would not be delivered
 before June-September 1979. In the event additional funds
 are not -rovidaed .or all 60 missiles, we were told that program
 slipcage will be less-about 2-5 months for the more limited
 procurement oi the 20 to 25 eissiles that the $105 million
 can tuna. In this case. delivery is expected to be completed
 between Uovember 1976 ana February 1979.


     Finally, we were told that any strikes or work slowdowns
in the aerospace industry, if they occur, can be expected to
affect directly the cost and delivery estimates discussed above.
     We hope the foregoing will be of help to you.
                             Sincere!7 yours.

                        ciUng Comptroller General of
                              the United States