The Department of Homeland Security Needs to Fully Adopt a Knowledge-based Approach to Its Counter-MANPADS Development Program
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AbstractCorrespondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "In late 2002, terrorists fired surface-to-air missiles at an Israeli airliner departing from Mombasa, Kenya--the first time man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) had been used to attack commercial aircraft in a non-combat zone. Given concerns about the vulnerability of the commercial airline industry and the potential impact of an attack in the United States, the House Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Aviation Subcommittee, requested that we conduct an assessment of the federal government's efforts to address the MANPADS threat against commercial aircraft, including its nature and extent; the Department of Defense's monitoring of Stinger missiles exported to other countries; and U.S. bilateral and multilateral efforts to address international MANPADS proliferation. After we began work on this assessment, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took steps to initiate a 2-year system development and demonstration program for a counter-MANPADS system and awarded the initial contracts in January 2004. On December 4, 2003, we briefed Congress on our views about DHS's approach to developing the system. This report summarizes that information and transmits the portion of the briefing related to DHS's counter-MANPADS development effort. Our assessment of the other federal efforts to address the threat is ongoing, and we expect to complete our report in the spring of 2004."