Missile Defense Updates: New Leadership, Challenges & New Goals

Published: January 28, 2020

DEFENSEDefense & AerospaceMDAResearch & Development


The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is a research, development, and acquisition agency within the Department of Defense (DOD). Over the course of its brief history, the MDA has gone through a few name changes. Originally, the roots of the agency can be traced back to the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program. Launched in 1983 by former President Ronald Reagan, the SDI’s initiative was to develop non-nuclear missile defenses. Then in 1994, the SDI was renamed the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO). The BMDO’s primary responsibility was to defend U.S. ballistic missile sites. Finally in 2002, under former President George W. Bush, the Missile Defense Agency was created.  

The Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) mission is to develop and deploy a layered Missile Defense System to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies, and friends from missile attacks in all phases of flight. The MDA is partially or wholly responsible for the development of several ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems, which include the the Patriot PAC-3, Aegis BMD, THAAD, and the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System.


In June 2019, Vice Admiral Jon Hill became the 11th director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). As Director of MDA, Hill will be responsible for managing, directing, and executing the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program.  Hill previously served as the Deputy Director, Missile Defense Agency. 

Some challenges the director will face are:

  • Refining its approach to a global, layered missile defense.
  • Tackling advanced threats like hypersonic missiles, upgrading homeland defense to protect against, ballistic missiles, to designing, developing and initiating a space-based sensor layer.
  • Space Development Agency and how to quickly get it deployed soon as possible.

MDA’s priorities for missile defense development and fielding are as follows: 1) continue to focus on increasing system reliability to build warfighter confidence; 2) increase engagement capability and capacity; and 3) address the advanced threat. A chief goal for Mr. Hill is to develop advanced missile systems in the capacity for multidomain operations that involve global command-and-control and sensor systems. The United States ultimate objective is to install sensors and radars both in the continental United States (CONUS) and outside the continental United States (OCONUS) to thwart attacks from our adversaries; primarily Iran, North Korea, Russia and China. The goal is to install these sensors and radars on islands in the Pacific region and eventually in Space.

According to MDA’s website, the following are the strategic goals of the agency:

  1. Support the warfighter.
  2. Prove the power of missile defense through testing.
  3. Continue development and fielding of the integrated Ballistic Missile Defense System for homeland and regional defense.
  4. Team approach to agency operations.
  5. Optimize available resources.
  6. Inspire professional excellence.
  7. Foster a supportive environment for a diverse and professional workforce.
  8. Implement National Security Strategy through international cooperation in missile defense.
  9. Capitalize on the creativity and innovation of the nation's universities and small business community.


In Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, MDA’s budget request was $9.431 billion, a decrease of $1.06 billion from the FY 2019 enacted budget of $10.491 billion.  According to Deltek’s Agency Profiles, MDA’s reported spending in FY2018 and FY2019 was $8.357 and $8.788 billion respectively. Prior to FY2018, FY2015 - 2017 showed a reported spending of approximately in the $5-6 billion range. We see in the data the reported spending has significantly increased in the last couple years and appears FY20 will continue to follow in this direction. Below is a table of the reported spending over the last few years within MDA:


Fiscal Year (FY)

Value (Billions $)











*Please Note that FY20 reported spending is not currently available.

When we closely observe the Profile Spending Overview, it shows the majority of MDA’s spending type is for Defense & Aerospace and Research & Development. As a result, this accounts for roughly over three quarters of all MDA spending. Over the last two years (FY2018 - FY2019), Defense & Aerospace accounted for $4,981,241 and $4,917,262 for total spending, which resulted in roughly 60% and 56% of all MDA spending. As for Research & Development, it accounted for roughly $2,087,624 and $2,431,740, which is approximately 25% and 28% of all spending. *Please Note that FY20 reported spending is not currently available.


Within MDA, NAICS Code 541712- Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology) and NAICS Code 33614- Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Manufacturing account for over half of the NAICS Codes.  Over the last two years (FY2018 - FY2019), NAICS Code 541512 accounted for approximately $3,867,919 and $1,539,413, accounting for approximately 46% and 17%. As for NAICS Code 33614, it accounts for approximately $2,155,173 and $3,459,284, making up roughly 25% and 39%. In FY2018, NAICS Code 541512 led the way in NAICS Code and in FY2019, NAICS code 33614 lead the way, respectively changing places.

In GovWin, we are currently tracking approximately 22 Missile Defense Agency projects. The table below shows some of the Top Opportunities we have highlighted:


Opp ID

Program Name


Value ($K)



Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Advanced Capability Development





Airborne Sensor Mission Operations (ABMS)

Forecast Pre-RFP




Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Integrated Logistics Support (IRBM)

Forecast Pre-RFP




Ground-based Midcourse Defense Development, Operations, and Sustainment, and Production (GMD) (DOSP)

Forecast Pre-RFP




Integrated Research & Development for Enterprise Solutions (IRES)

Forecast Pre-RFP




Missile Defense Data Center Contract (MDDC)

Forecast Pre-RFP




MDA Radar Test Contract (RTC)

Forecast Pre-RFP



* Deltek estimate(s) and values are subject to change.


Due to Federal Budget allocations, MDA is expected to show an increase for future projects and requirements concerning the homeland and overseas. The Missile Defense Agency has a great responsibility to protect both our homeland and military assets globally. As long as the nation faces international threats from our adversaries, MDA will continue to provide the best equipment and machinery to protect our nation. Moving forward, the majority of requirements issued from the Contracting Office will remain to be those dealing with Defense & Aerospace and Research & Development, under NAICS Codes 541712 and 33614.