Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD)

America's Homeland Defense Shield

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system is the United States' only operationally deployed missile defense program capable of defending the entire U.S. homeland (including Alaska and Hawaii) against long-range ballistic missile attacks. GMD is designed to detect, intercept and destroy long-range ballistic missiles during their midcourse phase of flight. The system provides early detection and tracking during the boost and midcourse phase, as well as target discrimination, precision intercept and destruction of the target through force of collision. GMD is an integral element of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's layered ballistic missile defense architecture. As prime contractor, Boeing designs, produces, integrates, tests and sustains all GMD components deployed across 15 time zones.

GMD Program Milestones

Ground-based Midcourse Defense Customer

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Boeing has helped the United States Missile Defense Agency guard against all missile threats through its Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, which became operational in 2004. Boeing has been the lead for the capability since 1998.

Ground-based Midcourse Defense Feature Stories

Tara Melton

‘Why are we here?’ This engineer knows her answer

March 1, 2023 in Defense

Maintaining systems that keep a nation safe heightens Boeing teammate Tara Melton’s vigilance for seeing potential in others.

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A Boeing and MDA team emplace a ground-based interceptor at Fort Greely, Alaska.

Boeing delivers additional Ground-Based Interceptors to MDA

December 19, 2022 in Defense

The missile components help the U.S. Missile Defense Agency protect the United States from long-range ballistic threats.

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Aaron Sumner rides a horse on his Alabama family farm while wearing a helmet and protective vest.

A fall to grace: Employee’s accident refocuses his mission

December 6, 2022 in Defense

Proposal manager Aaron Sumner’s most important life lesson was also one of the hardest.

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Kristin Cohen

Marine tough, no excuses

November 10, 2022 in Defense

She has piloted massive helicopters and excelled at a once off-limits job. Now Kristin Cohen is bringing her combat-tested grit to missile defense.

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Dan Shanahn, dressed in Army fatigues and helmet, sits in the front of a helicopter.

Service to the nation

November 4, 2022 in Defense

Love of country and bringing out the best in others brings a retired Army colonel to Boeing’s homeland missile defense team.

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Get the picture?

August 16, 2022 in Defense

Technical expert Will Garrison’s home renovation reminds him what engineers should never forget.

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Randy Vandiver playing an electric guitar in his home.

Rock solid on homeland defense

July 14, 2022 in Defense

Whether making music or directing a flight test, one engineer keeps everything in sync.

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Head-and-shoulder portrait of Dr. Therese Suaris.

The power of ‘no’

July 13, 2022 in Defense

Dr. Therese Suaris wasn’t supposed to earn one degree, let alone three. But she is growing and succeeding by being herself.

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Paul and Cathy Clawson smile while standing in front of snowmobiles.

He’s hot then he’s cold, but he’s always content

June 22, 2022 in Defense

Boeing site leader Paul Clawson uses his adventurous spirit to stay positive through times of challenge and change.

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Once an outsider, now an advocate

Once an outsider, now an advocate

May 31, 2022 in Defense

Feeling different from her peers, Boeing proposal manager Dawn Warnstrom reinvented her approach to work and parenting.

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How to give back to the country you love

How to give back to the country you love

May 31, 2022 in Defense

An ocean away from where she grew up, Boeing Missile and Weapon Systems engineer Romina Cutescu is home.

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Man smiles as he sails on a boat

Engineer’s creative edge helps customers chart their course

April 15, 2022 in Defense

Modeling and simulation engineer Kyle Weiskircher hones his out-of-the-box decision-making skills pursuing hobbies like motorcycling, flying and competitive sailing.

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Woman poses for a portrait in a photography studio

A veteran’s secret weapon: connection

April 15, 2022 in Defense

Program management specialist and U.S. Army veteran Marcie Purser builds relationships to meet customer needs.

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Woman leans onto the shoulder of a man, both of whom are smiling at the camera.

Like father, like daughter

March 16, 2022 in Defense

Inspired by her dad’s example, project manager Rayni Sivley leads the way on Ground-based Midcourse Defense.

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Man in a Navy working uniform and life jacket smiles at the camera.

Three keys to mission success

March 16, 2022 in Defense

Alex Campos, a Boeing Missile Defense contracts administrator and Navy reservist, shares steps for staying on mission.

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Kyle Jenson’s experience woodworking has taught him valuable lessons he brings with him to his role on the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program.

Building skills for Ground-based Midcourse Defense

February 1, 2022 in Defense

A quality engineer uses lessons from woodworking in his job supporting homeland missile defense

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Odom has been baking cakes for several years, and with each creation, she tests and learns something new.

Homeland missile defense meets homemade baking

February 1, 2022 in Defense

A Boeing Ground-based Midcourse Defense engineer has a recipe for success

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Every moment counts in the new era of missile defense

July 22, 2021 in Defense

To innovate with the speed necessary to stay one step ahead of these threats, Boeing is investing in next-generation, disruptive technologies across our Missile and Weapon Systems division.

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GMD team installs silos, vaults in Fort Greely, Alaska

GMD team installs silos, vaults in Fort Greely, Alaska

May 3, 2021 in Defense

Strike while it’s hot: GMD team installs 17 silos, vaults in Fort Greely, Alaska in 2020.

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SilosSIVS on barge

Ground-based Midcourse Defense makes big delivery

July 30, 2020 in Defense

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) team completed two sizable deliveries this spring to the Fort Greely, Alaska, military installation on time and on contract, despite the potential for COVID-19-related delays.

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Ground Based Interceptor

Milestone Delivery Achieved

March 20, 2018 in Defense

The Boeing-led industry team delivered the milestone 44th interceptor ahead of schedule.

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FTG-15 flight test video

May 30, 2017 in Defense

A long-range ground-based interceptor is launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and successfully intercepted an intercontinental ballistic missile target launched from the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll.

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'Impossible' Problem Solved

August 19, 2014 in Defense

Boeing intercepts and destroys a target in flight – essentially hitting a bullet with a bullet – using the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

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FTG-06 Flight Video

June 22, 2014 in Defense

A long-range ground-based interceptor is launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and intercepted an intermediate-range ballistic missile target launched from the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll.

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Ground-based Midcourse Defense Quick Facts

  • Interceptors are emplaced at two sites in the United States, one in Vandenberg, Calif., and the other in Fort Greely, Alaska.
  • Altogether, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system requires 20,000 miles (32,187 kilometers) of fiber optic cable.
  • Boeing has been prime contractor since 1998.
  • Boeing has partnered with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency in the design, development, integration, test and sustainment of all GMD components.
  • Key subcontractors include Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.