The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) specifically prohibited funding for MEADS, but the continuing resolution (CR) put $380 million in and gave the Pentagon the option of using the money for the program or to cover termination costs.
“I’m not here to defend MEADS,” Hagel told Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), one of MEADS's critics, at a House Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday.
“According to our office of general counsel, I asked for legal advice on this, and they told me that we’re obligated to finish that contract as a result of the appropriations” bill, Hagel said.
“Well I respectfully think you need to get some new layers,” Shuster responded, noting the prohibition in the Defense authorization bill. “It is foolish for us to be spending almost $400 million on a system that nobody is going to procure.”
Shuster and Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) introduced legislation this week to rescind the funding for MEADS that was included in the stopgap funding bill. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who tried unsuccessfully to strip the funding during debate on the CR, also introduced a bill this week, with Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), to kill the funding.