Ten Giant Weapons in the Pentagon's Shrinking Budget

By Emma Fidel - 2013-02-19T20:46:05Z

Photograph by U.S. Navy via Getty Images

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Ballistic Missile Defense System

Project cost: $126.2 billion

FY 2013 estimate: $7.5 billion

This complex system of missile sensors and interceptors is intended to protect against possible attacks from such countries as Iran and North Korea. Yet the Pentagon branch responsible for the program has suffered its share of problems closer to home. The Missile Defense Agency was criticized in an April 2012 government audit because of flight-test failures, delays and “high-risk” production strategies. “None of the programs we assessed were able to fully accomplish their asset delivery and capability goals,” the Government Accountability Office report said. A flaw in a Raytheon Co. interceptor was projected to cost the government $1.2 billion.

Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly stepped down Nov. 19 as agency head after a Pentagon inspector general report said on May 2 that his abusive behavior toward subordinates had hurt morale. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wrote a letter of reprimand for O’Reilly’s file but did not demote him.